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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Letters to Emmeline : Twenty-Four Months

Dear Emmeline,

Back when I wrote the first letter to you, it felt like this day would never come. It feels like I wrote that first letter ten years ago and ten days ago simultaneously. My gosh. I just can't believe I'm writing this, that we've come this far (it's equally mind boggling to me that when Carys was the age you are now, I was pregnant with you!).

Man, this is a hard one to write. I keep staring at the screen and the words just aren't coming. (Me? At a loss for words? QUICK LOOK OUTSIDE ARE PIGS FLYING?). It's the end of a (personal for me) era. The end of your babyhood. The end of me raising babies, which I've just loved beyond anything. The end of counting ages in months, the end of toddling, the end of monthly letters. And the words are just failing me. So I'm sorry if this last letter isn't up to par - I'm writing it under duress.

I just can't get enough of two-year-old Emmeline. You're so funny - if you discover something makes us laugh, you repeat it ad naseum in an effort to keep us in stitches. You will be doing something totally normal, then suddenly you'll just start walking funny or making goofy faces and Carys and I will just start laughing and you love it. Your dad and I have often mentioned that this stage that you're in right now is reminding us that the 24 to 36 month stage with Carys was our absolute favorite (don't get me wrong - all the stages are pretty great, but that one was particularly adorable) and so we're both really excited to enter this stage with you and re-live it with you. It's a lot to live up to, but based on what we've seen over the last few weeks...it's going to be just as fun with you.

The only part of this age I don't like is the OMG INDEPENDENCE stage - but not the OMG I CAN ACTUALLY DO IT MYSELF stage, just the OMG I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF DESPITE THE FACT THAT I HAVE NEITHER THE STRENGTH NOR THE DEXTERITY TO DO SO stage. It's only a slight exaggeration to say that literally everything I go to do for you is stopped by you yelling, "NO! EMMELINE!" You want to pour your own milk. You want to get dressed yourself. You want to put your shoes on. You want to climb in and out of your car seat (which you can actually do, it just takes forever). You want to wrap the presents. You want to cook dinner. You want to chop peppers. I'm sorry for not letting you handle the razor-sharp knife. You can talk it out with your therapist in 20 years.

I'll get it out of the way here: yes, you still take a paci at night and naps, and will steal a paci if you find one at someone else's house. You're still nursing, though we've cut way back, and you don't nurse before nap or bedtime anymore. KNOCK ON WOOD but you're a great sleeper and really easy to lay down.

You're talking more and more every month and have even started singing. You sing "Jingle Bells" (Dinga beh, dinga beh, dinga beh, dinga beh, dinga all the da way, HEY!) and "Let It Go" (leh it goooo, leh it goooo, anyMOOOOOORE!). You're starting to express more and more complex thoughts and your vocabulary has exploded. Which, since you weren't a big talker for a very long time, is really good. I'm glad you've found your voice. It's a really cute voice. It's a voice that seems to never stop, so it's a good thing it's cute.

You know several colors - definitely yellow and purple. I think you know blue and green and red and pink but those are a little more hit or miss. Yellow and purple you can identify, say, and pick out. The others you can pick out of a pile if I say, "Emmeline, give me a green crayon!" but you don't say the words yet. You're starting to get the hang of counting, and pointing to items individually while I count. Your dad taught you to hold up two fingers and say "two!" whenever anyone asks you how old you are. He also taught you to answer "Daddy!" when he asks you who your favorite person is - stinker! He did the same with Carys. I can't be mad - it's cute.

You're still the tag-along to Carys and the other big girls - always a minute or two behind them. They'll run a lap around the house, yelling some phrase at the top of their lungs, and a few seconds later you'll come running the same path, yelling gibberish at the top of your lungs. It's so endearing (and a little heartbreaking). Soon enough, girl, you'll be able to keep up entirely. Too soon for my liking!

Maybe because you're always trying to keep up, you're a total climber and daredevil (although it may just be in your genes, since big sis was the same way). You learned to ride a trike during the last warm days of fall in late November and early December. You are nearly as good on a scooter as your sister is (in fact, you love HER scooter so much, there's one on your Christmas wishlist). You love being tossed in the air and playing airplane with anyone who will have you (but especially dad).


You've REALLY gotten into dressing up - I don't know if you developed this interest by yourself or if it's part of copying everything Carys does - but you're entering the "put the Anna dress on and then not take it off even to go to the store and throw a fit when I forcibly take it off you because you can't wear it to swim class" stage.  There are a few different outfits you like to dress up in - a tank top of mine, a shiny play skirt of Carys's - but by far your favorite is the Elsa dress. And the Elsa dress. And then the Anna dress again. And then Elsa.

Speaking of Elsa and Anna, it's the first movie you've really taken an interest in and ask to watch. You urgently point to the TV saying, "Movie! Elsa! Anna!" over and over until we put it on for you. We probably watch at least a snippet of it five days out of the week. Carys is pretty sick of it, but then I remind her that she was JUST as obsessed at your age, and she thinks it's cute that you are into the same thing she was, so she relents.

Almost concurrently with becoming obsessed with Frozen, you became obsessed with my phone. It's like a switch flipped and you suddenly recognize those screens can offer you entertainment. Much like your sister, I actively avoid letting you have my phone. Much like your sister, your dad thwarts my no-screen-time plans. But in the course of less than a week, you learned to navigate my phone almost as well as Carys can and it's a liiiiiiiiiiittle frightening.

We did some fun things this month, though it was pretty slow as we prepped for your dad's birthday, your birthday, and Christmas. We went to the Children's Museum. We had several playdates in the circle, and had the two daughters (Charlotte and Shelly) of friends from out of town over. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house. You slept through most of it, but I did manage to get you in the same outfit I wore when I was just a little older than you, and the same outfit your sister wore at your age. We saw Santa (and you wanted nothing to do with him - though you love pointing him out in pictures and saying "ho, ho, ho!"). Nana came into town - once for Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas break - and you've decided that she's your all-time favorite person in the entire world and attach yourself to her hip permanently. She'll leave again at the beginning of January to go back to Dubuque and I'll immediately start counting down the days until her next visit on your behalf.

You experienced the first snowfall of the year and absolutely loved it. This surprised me, because you strongly dislike being cold. But when you saw the snow, you ran out, touched it, ate it (why?), threw it, stomped in it, and enjoyed the heck out of it. I had to physically drag you back inside when your fingers turned purple.

You've also discovered that with snow comes hot chocolate, which to you is like manna from heaven. CHOCOLATE IN A CUP TO DRINK? YES PLEASE. AND MORE. MORE MORE MORE. (This is good for me because I, too, love hot chocolate and you present a great excuse to have it more often.)

Also you can see in these pictures that you still have your total cheeseball fake grin. 

We got an Elf on the Shelf this year and I didn't think you'd be into it at all - or even notice - but Carys really involved you and would ask if you wanted to go find Callie (named after our neighbor's dog). A few times, you'd find her totally on your own and would yell, "Callie! Callie!!!" and be so proud of yourself. We didn't follow the "no touching" rule for either you or Carys, so we'd often find you carrying Callie around treating her like a baby doll.

I am so, so, so eternally grateful for you, my sweet, spunky, hilarious girl. I love you so much.


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