[Almost every. single. time. I go to type “Mena,” I inadvertently type “Mean.” And it makes me afraid of her future gradeschool taunting. Hopefully, she’ll be so sweet that “Mean” will merely be an ironic nickname and not an apt description. ANYWAY…back to the sappiness.]
Yesterday you turned 19 months old. Before I had kids, when people would say, “my child is 17 months old…or 20 months old…etc.” I would smile politely while thinking, “um, why don’t you just say ‘about a year and a half,’ weirdo?”
But now, I get it. I really do. You truly are a different little girl than you were last month. A couple days ago, I even corrected someone when she called you an “18-month-old.” Um, “she’s almost 19 months!” I chided. And now, Mommy is the weirdo.
I digress. This is not about your Mommy’s many ineptitudes.
Instead, I wanted to let you know just how much your Daddy and I are loving this age. You are so curious, so open to the world. You are making so many connections, it sometimes boggles our minds. I know you need to grow up (tear), but I pray you can keep this utter delight in life.
You have always looked like your Daddy [and your Aunt Sally and your Great Grandma Jane], but I have been noticing lately that you are starting to get his personality too. You have become a little bit more shy, more reserved. You have to take in all your surroundings and the people around you before you will really warm up. This cautiousness will serve you well in the future.
Although you are starting to exert your will more, I can tell you are still pretty laidback. If you don’t get your way, you get upset for an instant, but usually Mommy or Daddy can find something to distract you fairly quickly. You haven’t had a major tantrum yet.
You are not very verbal right now; you only say a few handfuls of words. However, you have become a masterful communicator. Through your baby signs and pointing and taking Mommy’s hand places, you make your desires known quite clearly.
For example, Mommy bought you a little treat of bunny graham crackers. If you want one, you stand in front of the pantry and say “hop! hop! hop!” while performing said motion, followed by your sign for “cracker.” Yes, indeed.
the little bunny in the flesh
You still are a good napper, but lately nighttime has been a bit difficult. You insist on sleeping with your babydoll, which I find unbelievably cute. You still wake up ridiculously happy, which is baffling to your Mommy.
You fiercely love books. Usually it’s Mommy who gets tired of reading long before you do.
You are still ambivalent towards food. Again, this is inexplicable to your Mommy. Thankfully, you’ll at least try even the strangest of foods I put in front of you, but often your calories consist mostly just of cheese, broccoli, oatmeal, eggs, and fruit/green smoothies. We’ll get there, honey.
You insisted on eating your granola with the ice cream scoop. One can probably imagine how well that turned out.
Mommy has discovered the trick to getting you to eat more: she sends you out on the back deck, with little bowls of food. You’ll take bites in the midst of your playing. It might take an hour to get through a bowl of oatmeal, but at least the mess is outside. I realize I might regret these tactics in a couple years when you refuse to ever sit down at the family table, but we’ll just let future-Mommy deal with that.
Music is one of your new interests. Our days wouldn’t be complete without multiple renditions of “Wheels on the Bus” and “Do your Ears Hang Low.”
You are a little bi-polar when it comes to play. Sometimes, you are great at independent play. You’ll be outside on the deck by yourself for an hour (Mommy watching out from the kitchen, of course). Whereas some afternoons, you have a meltdown if you are farther than 2 inches away from Mommy for a millisecond. But that’s okay, I can be inconsistent too.
“Let me get a picture of your independent play!”
This summer your favorite activity has undoubtedly been going to the pool to swim with your cousins. Just seeing your swimsuit gets you in a tizzy. Auntie Marie and Grandma Mary have very generously taken you swimming many times. Mommy has even braved the dreaded swimsuit and taken you too. Like all things, you are cautious at first, but end up giggling and getting excited after just a few minutes of splashing and going down the slide.
Oh, Philomena, your Daddy and I love you immensely. This is such a special time. I want to bottle it up, so I can experience it when you are a distant teenager. We desire desperately to give you the gift of a little brother or sister, but we also know that this time with “just you” is unique and special.
And I am making myself gag with the sappiness of this. So, I will stop here.
All my love,
your Ma Ma
“Just call that one the ‘artistic picture’ ” – your Daddy