Saturday, June 12, 2010

18 Month Letters

Dear Olivia Ruth,

You are 18 months old! A true toddler. And you are a true toddler... but you have been for a couple months now. To begin with, your favorite word is "No." You even use it when you really mean "yes," so you leave us guessing as to what it is you really want. We've discovered, though, that it's all in the inflection. In fact, with you, everything is in the inflection. You are so very animated and always center stage. You jabber on and on with nonsense words, but your vocal inflection is so spot on that we can still carry on a conversation with you. This jabbering does not mean that you don't have a wide vocabulary. Almost any word we say could be repeated and added to the ever expanding dictionary in your head. You love to talk. Currently, some words you say are:

Neth (yes)
Abby (which is what you called me for a couple months before I insisted on being called Mommy.)
Gpa (grandpa)
Migy (you said this a few days ago when trying to say Grammy. Up till then that was a word you couldn't quite grasp.)
Bilk (milk)
Clock, Truck, Car, Cracker, Cook all sound the same. (A word I cannot write here. )
B'ball (football and any other type of ball.)
Wursty (thirsty. You do the sign for this one too and it might be my favorite word you say.)

Besides talking, dancing is another love of yours, and you shake and wiggle in the cutest way. When you move, you have wonderful control over your body. You can run now, in that fun little way toddlers do, and you run everywhere you can. With you it's all or nothing, and I love that about you. The other night we were talking with our friends the Browns, and they said you needed a shirt that said, "Liv Out Loud." That is so fitting, and I commented that you are not just a person, you are an event. Don't ever change that Livy. There is something very special about that aspect of your personality. It can be a great asset to you some day. It is something that I lack, and it has held me back in the past. Use this wonderful personality of yours to it's fullest. It attracts people to you.

Daddy has also been teaching you how to sing. He will hold out a note and you will join right in. It's gotten so that when you hear a song on the radio with a note that is held out, you'll sing along. Cute!

There still doesn't seem to be one or two particular things that you just can't live without. You enjoy dancing, TV, reading, and brushes, but you can still take them or leave them. The bunny that you snuggle with to go to sleep has become somewhat of a favorite lately, but still not a necessity. I often wonder if that has anything to do with your ability to rely on yourself for enjoyment, and to make the best out of a situation. Guess we'll have to wait and see about that.

Your hair has gotten so curly. It is absolutely beautiful, and after a bath or a swim it dries into perfect pin curls. I don't ever want to cut it because I think those gorgeous curls will be gone after that. But for now, I leave your hair down most of the time to enjoy it to the fullest. Everyone comments on it.

Lately, you have really been keeping track of my whereabouts. When we go for walks you call for me, "Mommy?, just to make sure that I'm still the one pushing the stroller. Just so you know, always am. :)

The relationship you have with Charlie is growing and it is such a treat to watch. Sometimes you are so loving with each other, and sometimes...not. You have learned the sign for the word "mine" and you are learning to use it when Charlie takes a toy you are using. When you don't say "mine," you let him know how you feel about it by yelling as loud as you can. I have to say, there are many times when I have to hide a smile or two. You are just so darn cute! There is definitely some of your mother in you when it comes to letting people know how you feel. :)

You have also shown a lot of physical affection toward him lately. The other morning when you woke up, I took Charlie out of his crib and brought him over to you to say "good morning." He leaned toward you and you gave him a kiss on the lips! Then later you kissed him on the forehead and said, "bye-bye" when you went down for nap. (You now sleep in separate rooms at nap time.)

Another big thing that you are doing is learning about prayer. When your Daddy and I let you know it's time to pray, you bring your little hands together under your chin and for the most part you keep them there through the entire prayer. Once the prayer is over, you say the sweetest little "ay-meen." Ah! It couldn't be any more adorable. Watching you and Charlie begin to learn some of the basics about our faith fills me with joy. Generally, you can see a picture of Jesus and know that it is Him. At 17 1/2 months, you began going to nursery at church and I am excited to see how that adds to the things we are doing with you at home. I hope that these things will set you a path that will make life the best it can be for you.

Mostly, Liv, being your Mommy is the greatest thrill of my life. There is so much that I am learning from much that you are teaching me about myself as a person, wife, mother and child of God. Not all of it is complimentary, thank you very much! But some lift me up and reflect my goodness back to me. More importantly, though, is that even on those days when I feel like every other mother in world, i.e. lacking, you still love me. And I still love you. And that is all that really matters precious girl.

I love you.

Dear Charlie Bear,

At 18 months old there are two things about you that I love above all else. You have the most beautiful smile, and a spirit that matches. Your smile just lights up the room. Everyone comments on how gorgeous it is. That big smile touches people and makes them feel so good inside. But lately, you have learned other ways to share that joy. You are so sensitive and affectionate sometimes. You will give hugs and kisses when someone is sad or hurt, and you will lay your head on our shoulder when you just feel like a little snuggle. This is wonderful for your Daddy and me because we don't seem to have snugly children. :)

Lately, you have been growing leaps and bounds cognitively. Having been an early childhood educator I think watching a child grow cognitively is one of the neatest things, and now I get to watch it in my own children. You are making connections all the time and are beginning to have a nice little vocabulary of words. There was a brief period when you refused to use your signs, but it seems you may have been trying to work out the actual word for things. Signs are being used again, but you use them along with their appropriate words. Right now some of the words you say frequently are:

Cack (cracker, truck. Crackers, by the way, are one of your favorite foods. You ask for them whenever you are at the table, even if you are there to color!)
Caw (car)
all done
ba (ball)
b'ball (football)
baket ba (basket ball)

It seems you have gone from zero to sixty in the word department over the last month or so. Now we just have to work on using those words when you are frustrated, which you often are. But that's natural for your age and you usually get frustrated when trying to do new things. But you just keep working at it, which is a wonderful quality to have.

Charlie, you definitely have intense interests in things that last for a while. So far you have fallen in love with shoes, balls, books, and now cars. You find them everywhere we go and point them out. You ask for them when there aren't any in sight, which is rare because you are generally carrying them around. You love balls so much, that you chose to go to sleep with a bunny you got in your Easter basket this year that is in the shape of a ball!

And while you love these things and focus on them in turn, you have learned so much about them. You can throw a mean spiral with a football little man! You learned how to match shoes during your shoe interest (which still continues), and you will sit and read by yourself if no one is available to read to you. I can't wait to see what happens with your newest car obsession. Your Daddy may have a new mechanic by the time you're done.

Recently you have joined in with your sister when she dances. And you will frequently sway to music on your own. Meal time, riding in the car or just hanging around the house; I may find your dancing with yourself at any moment. Adorable.

We have started to make more of an effort of the past few months to pray with you and Livy before meals and bedtime. This really isn't new actually. We've always prayed, we just never asked the two of you to do anything but be there. But now you participate. When we ask you to cross your arms, you fold your little hands in your lap and bow your head. After weeks of crying during these prayers and refusing to fold your arms, you must have noticed what everyone else does while we pray and now you've got it down. In fact, when I put you in your chair for a meal you say "ah-min" before I even have your bib on. You know the drill and you do it wonderfully. You say "ah-min" without being prompted at the end of the prayer, which is a HUGE thing.

As I write this, I am listening to your cries from your bedroom. We put you in bed an hour ago. Generally you go to sleep quickly and quietly, but not these past few nights. You must be preparing to do something big in the next few days. But it is so hard to hear. Knowing that you are sad and upset is so hard for me as your Mommy, but it comes with the territory. Thankfully, for every tear there is wonderful moment of learning and loving.

Being your Mother is a true joy. You are so special Charlie, for many reasons. I love everything about you. And boy, you are looking more and more like your Grandpa David every day. Sometimes it takes my breath away. He is your namesake, which is special, but you are precious in your own right. Though I would love to slow the hands of time to enjoy your infancy and toddlerhood, I am excited to see the man you become. So far, all indications are that you will be amazing. You already are.

I love you dearly.


nancy said...

quit makin' me cry, would ya?

Leslie said...

These always make me cry...

The Katzbox said...

Perfection. They are, without question, blessed...and blessings.

Eli Bowman said...

I always cry when i read these too...and at WORK no less!

Eli Bowman said...

That picture of Liv is just hilarious! Sorry, but it deserved its own comment.


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