Thursday, October 17, 2013

These are from a hike we took about two weeks ago.
Dear Ev,
It's been so long since I've sat down to write one of these. It used to be easy to share all the details of the ways you were changing. It used to be that I would celebrate each milestone and make a mental note of it, but you change so rapidly these days that I can hardly keep up with what new thing you've started to do or what new word you've started to say. The fullness and busyness of our collective lives allows me to barely recognize the passing of time. I'm sitting here, legs crossed, counting the months on my fingers. I find myself doing this often now. When someone asks me how old you are, I have to stop and think of the date and usually just end up saying 'almost two.' Twenty months have passed since I first met you. It's hard to believe that such a small number of months in the grande scheme of life has had such a profound impact on me. I know I've said this a lot in past letters and I will probably say it many more times, but you have changed me in an inconceivable way. I am more confident and driven. I smile more in one day than I used to smile in a week. You make me laugh like no one else has ever been able to (and your Papa is a funny man, so that's saying something).

When I look into your eyes, I can see a full-fledged little girl. I see a maturity beyond your years, a lust for life that some people never experience. You are curious and wild coupled with selfless and gentle. You love to run with wild abandonment and explore and touch and smell and taste - everything is interesting! Everything needs to be experienced! It is both endearing and exhausting. However, in the middle of the chaos, you never fail to stop and try to share your snack with a friend or give one of us a head rub and neck hug followed by an 'ohh' that you hear us make when we 'give you love.' One of the hardest things I've experienced as a parent is watching you become me in so many ways and knowing that there is nothing I can do about it. You have taken the passionate and sensitive soul route already, and it's hard to watch you navigate the effects of that in the toddler world. It usually results in you being pushed out of the circle and receding into the back of the group quietly, or toys being taken out of your hand and you responding with a short 'mine' or 'no' or nothing at all, and walking away defeated. These things aren't abnormal at your age, but I know that if you continue to become who I see in you, your personality is destined to attract a lot of heartbreak in your older years. I've been making an effort to talk with you about standing up for yourself and telling someone when they're doing something to you that you don't like or isn't right, but you're still a little young to understand or voice your opinion yet.

From the moment you rise (which is pretty early these days) until you drift off to sleep, you are driven - driven to explore and learn and love. You are quick to smile at anyone and make friends. Your entire being radiates joy and it seems to attract people everywhere we go. Twice now I've had little boys come up to me in the grocery store with an infectious grin and say, "I like your baby," and you always like them right back, of course. A few months ago, we were stopped at a red light and Papa and I noticed you waving from your carseat. It took us a few minutes to realize that you and the man behind us had a game going on. You would wave, he would wave back, you would giggle and wave again, and on it went. We looked back and he was bent over the steering wheel, laughing uncontrollably. Papa and I couldn't stop laughing either. You spread joy wherever you go and it is so incredible to watch. You enchant people with your brown eyes and your sparkling smile and your beautiful personality. You make the kind of impact on people that I've always wished I could bring to the adult world.

You have just learned that there are other babies out there and you are very adamant about pointing them out in public and trying to get a glimpse. You even call kids 'bee-bees' and I don't have the heart to correct you. Sometimes when you're being fussy, I'll pick you up and cradle you and talk baby talk to you, telling you about the days when I used to shush shush shush you to sleep and bounce you up and down. I was putting you to bed a few nights ago and when I tucked your bear in beside you, you started to pat its back and shush it too. You are always interested in baby dolls at other people's houses or in a store and will carry one around with you relentlessly, but you don't have one at home yet. I'm thinking a nice one is in order for Christmas or your 2nd birthday. Besides babies, you are also infatuated with any dog, even the ones that bark and run after us on our walks. Even more so than babies or dogs, you are captivated by the moon. Every night you insist on telling it 'nun, nun' (night-night), so we walk out in the back yard and find it and you giggle and point and are reluctant to leave, even after you've told it bye-bye five or six times. Then we come back inside with you yelling 'moom' (moon) and you pluck Goodnight Moon off of your bookshelf and climb into your chair. This is an obsession I hope you never outgrow. I love seeing the wonder in your eyes as you search the sky each night.

For those of you who are still reading this, I commend you. You're dedicated.
And for those of you who aren't interested in reading about stats and potty training and how many words my kid knows, skip ahead to the unitalicized paragraph.

We haven't been to the doctor in months, but I put you on a scale at the gym a few days ago and you weighed somewhere between 23 and 25 pounds - probably not enough in a doctor's opinion, but you're healthy and vibrant and will probably just be small like Mama was. After all the trouble you went through with gaining weight as an infant, you have finally adopted a round toddler belly. The seasons have changed, which means that I'll have to go through your closet and pack away the clothes that don't fit you. Each time I do this, I do it with a lump in my throat. Sometimes I cave to my internal voice and squeeze you into my favorite outfits just one last time. Forgive me, I just want one more day of seeing you run around in a piece of clothing that is so ingrained in my memories of you. Your hair has grown long enough to constantly be in your eyes and you always pull the bobby pin out that I try so hard to keep in. I've stopped counting all the words that you can say because there are so many. You are still using sign language frequently, but you make an effort to pronounce each word that we ask you to say and seem to be learning new ones everyday. Mama, Papa (bah-puh), baby (bee-bee), milk (mil-mil), boobies (boo-boo), chicken (chickie), dog (daw-daw), truck (tuck), bird (buhd), bear (beaw), shoes, chair, more, help (uh-boo), up, out, hey, hello (hwow), yeah, no, bye, do, two, uh-oh, ouch, night-night (nun-nun), shoo (when something is stinky), butt, moon (moom), sun (nun), beep/boop, bowl, beer, pizza (pee-sha), peas (the food), and cheese (chee - the food and a smile) are the ones that I can think of. You also sign please, thank you, food, milk, water, hot, down, sleep, book, one, wash, all done, poop, and change.

You like to blow kisses, wave bye-bye, pretend you're getting milk from Papa, hold our hands while we pray and when we walk together, give eskimo kisses, blow on our cheeks, give high fives, poop on the potty, chase the chickens and carry their eggs to the back door, shoo the flies away, wipe up messes (usually after you've been running naked and peed in the floor), clean the stainless steel in the kitchen with paper towels, beep/honk our noses, draw/color/paint, pretend to talk on Mama's phone, say 'chee' (cheese) when I point the camera or phone at you/pick up my camera or phone and say 'chee' while holding it up to your face, dance and spin to music while we do chores, put socks on your hands, take showers with Mama and help me wash your hair, play 'Where's the Jeep?' when we're in a parking lot, pretend nipples are buttons and make the appropriate 'boop' noises, squish mosquitoes by clapping your hands, play the piano, laugh at 'toots,' lay in the hammock, play in Papa's truck, do yoga with me (mostly just unroll my yoga mat), ride in the stroller (not kidding - you LOVE the stroller), and go to the library. You also like to make animal noises (cow, horse [nay-uhn is how you say neigh], dog, cat, squirrel [you pretend you're eating an acorn with two hands], penguin [you make kissing noises because a book you have shows their beaks touching]) and can point to almost every body part (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, belly, butt, toes). You aren't that great of an eater as far as quantity goes, but you eat things that are good for you. You love cheese, yogurt, chicken, salmon, broccoli, peas, tomatoes, grapes, apples, squeezable applesauce packs, seaweed snacks from Trader Joe's, milk, and almond milk. You even like black coffee and sips of Papa's beer.

This will probably be the last count that I do on all the words you say and things you know, because I know you're right on track and I'm not in any hurry to rush you into formal education. I'm introducing letter, color, and shape recognition through lots of book reading, but I'm being protective of these early childhood years. You will learn all about reading and writing and counting soon enough, but for now, my greatest focus is on art, music, adventures, stories, songs, and lots of time outside. Those things seem to be working, as everyone that has watched you has said you're a good kid. We took a trip to New York City last month and visited a church. We let you play in the toddler room and when we came back, the woman who was watching you asked if you went to daycare. When I told her that you stay at home with me, I thought she would tell me you were the weird kid, but she said you were very sociable and played really well with the other kids. It feels good to get such great reports of you when I'm not around. I work really hard to parent intentionally each day, so it's nice to know that I'm doing a decent job.

You are rarely in a hurry and always searching the world for something to learn, someone to watch, something new to explore. You love to help. If I ask you for help, it doesn't matter what it is - you are right there, excited about the task. You take your diapers to the trash can for us, you hold the dustpan while I sweep the pile into it and you dump it into the trash can, you put clothes into the dryer for me - you even helped me put the caps on Papa's beer bottles a few days ago. You insist on being a part of the family and as cumbersome as it might be, I love that you like us enough to want to be with us and be like us. I've always felt that your Papa was made for me, but I never thought I would feel the same way about you. You are the perfect soul for our family, our third musketeer. I can tell, already, that your goodness will make waves in this world.

All the Love in the Universe,

This is a a part of the Letters to Baby link-up happening over at First Comes Love. 
Click on the link below to join in or read some of the other letters.
(Also, my friend Whitney over at Life Alaskan Style is hosting a Mom-Lovin Blog Hop today.
I've linked up and met a lot of awesome women through it, so check it out and leave your link.)

First Comes LoveJoyful Life


  1. I am so guilty of slowing down on writing these too! I love that she says 'bee-bees'. I support you in not correcting here. :)

    Thanks for reminding me that though it is tough to sit down and write beautiful letters like this to my child, I'll appreciate it later.

    XO/Lena @ Root&Blossom

  2. Beautifully written letter! I love it! Mya has a lot of similarities to your daughter :) It amazes me sometimes how much they have to teach *us*, vs the other way around. :)



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