Monday, December 27, 2010

Twenty-Six Months

Dear Peeper,
You are twenty-six months old today. I had to remind myself of that, because I've found that I just think of you as "two" now, instead of months.

Which makes it much more efficient to answer the "How old is she?" question for random strangers, but much more difficult to remember to take panda photos and write monthly letters!

The biggest thing that's been going on over the past month, of course, has been Christmas - and you have absolutely loved it.

It seems like you are the perfect age for Christmas, because it is all still so new and amazing and magical to you, but you're big enough to get into it, but you don't yet know to anticipate the gifts, or to expect and demand them.

How long do you think we can maintain that wonder of it all without the gimme gimme gimme part?

Mommy and I  are really worried about how you're going to handle the end of the holiday season, because you've loved it all so much.

I think it's good that you and I will be heading to Texas in a couple of days, because for one thing, there will be a bit more Christmas when we get there, but also I think that a change of scenery while Christmas goes away might be a good thing.

We have been talking a lot about how we're going to have to say "bye-bye" to the decoration and, most importantly, your "Humhummuh movie," (The Year Without a Santa Claus) before we leave for Texas, and pack them away until next year, and that Mommy will be putting away the other Christmas things while we're gone. (Right, Mommy?)

I'm hoping that you kind of forget about them while we're away. I'm afraid you're going to ask for the movie as soon as we walk back in the door next week, though. Please don't.

I think we will let you keep out the singing Santas, though. After all, the pumpkins are still around, and even the singing Easter Bunny, so why not?

The movie has to go though, because you've been spending way too much time watching it, and it's been way too easy to let you, and that's just not how we want to do things, long term.

Through December, we've been doing lots of Christmas activities, of all sorts, and when we get home from Texas, I hope to keep up / get back to doing some sort of structured activities with you, not everyday like the Christmas Countdown, but a few things a week, maybe in weekly "themes" like we sort of tried in the fall.

I think you'd enjoy doing more art and craft activities, especially if I can find ones that you can do with a little less guidance from me, so that they really are your projects.

You've really been enjoying coloring, and you've liked the little bit of painting that we've let you do. You got some paints for Christmas, so I guess we'd better let you use them sometime!

You are talking up a storm these days. Still almost exclusively one word at a time, but it's amazing how much you can communicate that way. Every now and then you'll use a two-word phrase, such as "iiiiinnnn tent!" (when you're crawling under your desk) and I expect we'll be hearing more and more of those in the coming weeks.

You have some other two word phrases that I think of more as single words, so I don't really "count" them. Your favorites are "love YOU!" and "uh (other) side!" (when nursing).

And speaking of nursing, yep, you're still going strong with that, and showing no signs of slowing down. You are usually agreeable when I ask you to just "goody to ten" (or twenty) and then finish up later, when it's not really convenient (like when you ask for it just as I'm getting you strapped into your carseat) which I really appreciate.

It's very cute, because sometimes you stop in the middle to say some of the numbers, and you (usually) stop voluntarily when I get to ten (or twenty) and sometimes stop before I get there and say "Ten!" yourself.

Another thing I love about nursing you at this age, and with this level of communication skills, is that if you've slipped a bit and I'm not comfortable, I can just say "Honey, please relatch," and even if you are starting to doze off, you'll let go, open wiiiiide, and start again with a better latch.

And, of course, there's that thing about how you bring me the letter "G" magnet, and know that it stands for "goody."  

Actually, you know lots of your letters. I need to try to go through them with you in some organized fashion and get an idea of which ones you've got down, just so I know. You recognize probably most of them, and for several, you can tell me a word that starts with them. It's usually the same word, so you've probably just memorized it, but that's a start.

(For example, you know that AuntieKay starts with K, but occassionally, you'll get confused and tell me that "Aunt" Frappa (AuntieKay's daughter) starts with K. She doesn't.)

Sometimes we talk about the fact that "Mommy's real name starts with K," but that's kind of confusing. It was even more confusing up until a week or so ago, when you insisted on giving Mommy my real name.

The answer to "What's Mama's real name?" "What's Mommy's real name?" and "What's our last name?" was my real name.

You're getting Mommy's right most of the time, but still struggling with our last name. That's okay, nobody else can pronounce it either.

Once you do learn to pronounce it, I'll be interested to hear how you do it, because I realized a few years ago that Mommy and I say it differently. I say Shrike-Whozat, and Mommy says Shrike-Whozat. That is, we each put the emphasis on our own "maiden" name, which I think is pretty funny.

You are also kind of confused about your "big name." You can't say your full first name, and it either comes out as my name or one of the other diminuatives that's an option for that name. (There are lots and lots of options. You are one, I am another, you usually pronounce it as a third.)

I've not even attempted to teach you your middle name (although it's much easier to say) but I have told you about all three of our full names and explained about how you're named after us. You don't get it.

But, we're working on it. For now, if you were to somehow get separated from us, I'm pretty certain that the best answer you could give to "What's your mommy's name?" would be "Mommy."

So don't go getting separated, okay? Okay!

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, letters. You know your numbers, too. You can identify all 1 - 10 (even 7, although you don't like it), and you can count to all the way to ten, although you more often skip numbers. "None, tooo, free, ate, tehn!"

You're not consistent about it at all, but you sort of seem to sometimes have the idea of one-to-one counting (pointing to items and counting them), although you're also very likely to just say that there are "none, tooo, ate!" of something.

I am so loving watching you play with your new Christmas gifts, and all your toys, really. You are getting so into imitative and imaginative play that it's just fascinating to see what you come up with.

In your new kitchen, you open the microwave, put something in, close the door, push some buttons, putter around doing other things - opening and closing the fridge, moving dishes around, playing with other food - for a minute or two, then go back to the microwave and take the food out!

It is probably not surprising that you do that a whole lot more often than you put food in a pan on the stove.

It's not all sunshine and roses, of course. You are starting to be more and more two, and the answer to pretty much any question these days is "No." Unless, of course, it's "NOOOOOO!"

It requires a lot of creativity on our parts to phrase things as either/or questions and not yes/no. Of course, that doesn't necessarily stop you from answering "no" anyway.

Last weekend, you had a couple of full-on tantrums, which really kind of freaked us out, because you just don't do that. Then, the next day, you woke up with a runny nose, so we're hoping that it had more to do with you being sick than being two.

We just keep trying to remind ourselves that even on your least compliant days, you are still pretty laid-back and agreeable and as frustrating as it can be, it's what you're "supposed to be" doing at this age.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Shut up and get in your carseat, kid, I'm freezing out here.

Oh, but it doesn't take much for you to redeem yourself.

One "loooove YOU!" or one "Bo-bo!" followed by a kiss when I've stubbed my toe, or one big ol' hug - especially when you hug me and mommy at the same time, and say "Bofe!" (both) and my heart just melts.

Again. And again.

I swear, you just get more and more amazing every day.

Sure, two has brought some new challenges, but mostly it's just such a joy, watching you grow and learn and become more and more of your own person (see: challenges) every day.

With all these Christmas activities we've done, I've just been blown away by how much of them you've been able to do yourself, and how much you've enjoyed them.

Even with the things that you're really not quite ready for, you are close enough that I can see just how into them you will be next year (and, really, well before that) and I am so looking forward to doing more and more things like that with you as you get older.

In some ways, of course, you are still very much our baby, but you are also such a big girl, and I can see glimpses every day of the kid you are becoming, and it is just the most amazing thing to watch.

I can't wait to see what the next few months will bring!

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, my little Roo, and may the New Year bring wonderful things for us all.

I love you,

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