It’s hard to believe you are rapidly closing in on 2! In many ways you still seem like my baby, yet every day I see glimpses of the little kid you’ll be turning into over the next few months and years.
The toddler phase has had some rough days for both of us, I think, but those days are starting to be fewer and farther between. Last weekend Daddy went to New Orleans for a few days with an old college friend, so you and Emma and I had our own little girls weekend at home. It wasn’t until Monday evening arrived and Jose was back that I realized you hadn’t really been cranky at all and were happy pretty much the entire weekend! You played with Emma, and me, and on your own. You enjoyed being a sidekick at a couple 5-year-old birthday parties. You splashed around with me in the pool.
I can’t say the crankiness and clinginess is completely gone — and you were definitely on the grumpy side a couple evenings this past week — but our weekend made me see the light at the end of the tunnel. As you continue to grow and learn and become more communicative, I know things are just going to get even better! And so I reminded myself that parenting and life in general is one phase after another. You won’t be like this forever, and that’s both good and bad, and it helps me re-appreciate this phase where you’re still a little snuggle bug and often want to be as close to me or Daddy as possible. (For example, the photo above! Ha!)
Three months ago I wrote that you still weren’t saying “mama” consistently but I’m happy to report that has definitely changed — I hear it all the time now! To keep things interesting, your versions of “mama” and “Emma” sound essentially the same, which makes it a bit challenging at times to figure out who you’re talking about! But it works, and sometimes there’s absolutely no doubt. In the mornings, when you haven’t seen me yet, “mama” definitely means me. But when I pick you up in the afternoon and you take off ahead of me down the hall to the big kid side of the school, “mama” means you can’t wait to find your big sister!
Your vocabulary is growing daily and I had forgotten just how awesome this can be! Off the top of my head, your list of words now includes banana, cheese, milk, water, more, uh oh, hi, bye bye, please, thank you, stick, ball, plane, truck, duck, dog, and pig. Within the last week, “no” has become a favorite thing to say regardless of whether you actually mean it or not. “Fish” is a hilarious one because instead of actually saying anything, you purse your lips together and make smacking sounds. Oh, and “yellow” of course! It might actually be yellow, or it could be blue, red, purple, whatever — any color is “yellow” in your world. And while all but a few of these words are totally unintelligible to an outsider, we get you, and that’s what matters.
Other awesome things? Well, you love sticks, and anytime we go outside whether it’s in the backyard or to the mailbox or to the park, you’ve usually got a stick in each hand within minutes. Your obsession with books has only grown, and sometimes when Daddy or I go to get you up in the morning, you request books in your crib instead of wanting to get out. You love bananas and applesauce, pizza and ice cream. You break into a huge grin and enthusiastically play along with the hand motions when we sing Itsy Bitsy Spider or The Wheels on the Bus. Your canine teeth haven’t come in yet, which has left you with an impossibly cute little grin. And my absolute favorite thing lately is that you LOVE giving hugs and kisses. You had the hug thing down already, but the kisses are new and incredibly endearing.
On the flip side, you’re still not a great napper, but since you sleep great at night I (mostly) accept the fact that naps are only so-so. Aside from books in the morning, you don’t seem to like having anything in your crib. It’s been tough to find a protein or many vegetables that you’re willing to eat. You have a clumsy streak that both Daddy and I are hoping you grow out of because so far, it’s resulted in a lot of tripping over your own two feet and bonking your head into things because you don’t watch where you are going! And you don’t like being put down when you’d rather be held — or being held when there’s something you’d rather be getting into that you shouldn’t. I suppose this last one is rather obvious, but my point is that you now often have an opinion on where you’d like to be and are quite vocal at making it known!
Your mess of curls continues to grow and it’s becoming crazier and crazier — in the bath when I wash your hair and it straightens out for a moment, I realize that it’s actually gotten pretty long! I’ve never had to deal with curls like yours and I adore them, but I also really need to figure out what to do with them. Cut it? Let it grow? Can I put clips in to keep it out of your face will you just pull those out? I guess it’s time to just start experimenting and see what works…
…Which, coincidentally, is also a pretty good description of our life philosophy these days! As the fourth member of our little family, you are equally adept at going with the flow and making your own desires known. You seem happiest when we are all together and sharing hugs or giggles. Charlotte, every day you show me a personality that is truly your own and I love being surprised and delighted by what you do and what you know.