Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Month 11

Dear Alli,

You are officially a person. Not that you weren't always one, but now you're able to communicate, you have definitive likes and dislikes, you react to your surroundings, you exhibit comprehenshion of ideas and, mostly, because you wear shoes.

Speaking of which, have I told you yet how fun you are to dress? Not literally, of course. You are a writhing body on the move who would much rather go around in a pea- and puke-stained outfit than be interrupted long enough for me to shove any combination of clean clothes over your head.

But fashionably speaking, you are so fun to dress. I love all the nauseatingly adorable ensembles you have in your closet. The corduroy overalls with matching hand-stitched applique collared-top onesie. The floral-print pants with the fuzzy fleece top. And the pink! Gah! I could eat you up in pink!

Each time I put you in new clothes, I have to resist the urge to take 4 gaswillion pictures of you.

And the shoes. Oh, the shoes.

Now that you are using your feet in the manner in which they were intended, shoes have become somewhat of a necessity when we go outside. And it's like something clicked. Like this shoe addict just found a WHOLE NEW GENRE OF FOOTWEAR TO FALL IN LOVE WITH.

So what if you can't totally walk just yet?

I promise your first steps will be in style.

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Your love of music grew by leaps and bounds this month, which couldn't make me and your dad any happier. Well, maybe we'd be happier if you pooped gold nuggets, but it honestly ranks right up there.

Ever since you were born, you showed an intense interest in melodic sounds, but now you're completely captivated. The mere presence of music will stop you in your tracks, put a huge smile on your face, and if it meets your approval, you'll dance.

When you started rolling and standing up while I was changing your diaper, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to get you to stay still. So I started grabbing random items around your room that I wouldn't normally allow you to have and stick them in your hands in hopes that it would hold your interest long enough to get a clean diaper around your butt. The snaps and zippers on your clothes I've learned to do on the move.

Things like extra outlet safety caps, the butt paste container, my hair ties and an empty tissue box worked for a few days, but then they just lost their luster.

At one point, I got so desperate that I reached into my hoodie pocket and pulled out my cell phone. In a moment of pure parenting genius, I scrolled through the toolbar, selected the sound settings and started playing the ringtones one by one.

You would've stayed on your changing table all day.

You just held my phone very delicately, completely uncharacteristic of your usual hurricane hands, and stared. It was as if you knew that hitting a random key or flipping the phone shut would stop the wondrous sounds delighting your ears.

Now we listen to the phone on a regular basis.

I'm just happy to report that you have good taste. Ringtone 9 is my favorite too.

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I could be crazy, but you seem to have an aptitude for sounds and rhythm. I know, the entire world population just rolled their collective eyes. Because don't all parents think their child is a super genius? Faster than a speeding bullet? Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?

Maybe so. But frankly, after 40-some hours of labor, I think I'm entitled.

A few days ago, you and I were down in the basement while I was doing laundry. Since I detest the task so much, I overloaded the washing machine as usual, and it was making some insane clunking noises as it tried desperately to complete the final spin cycle.

Meanwhile, you were standing at the dryer while I was unloading it, and without prompting, you started slapping your hands on the lid. IN SYNC WITH THE WASHER.

A total fluke, right?

So I stopped the washing machine and you stopped. When I started it up again, you did too. IN SYNC. AGAIN.

As if that wasn't cool enough, the next day while we were playing in your room, I started imitating one of your random "Ahh" exasperations. You stopped and listened and joined in, matching the note I had picked.

So I stopped and picked another note.

Then you matched it.

I nearly fell over and made a mental note to tell your great grandma who has dedicated her entire life to teaching, playing and otherwise fostering music. And New York grandma who has directed high school musicals every year for the past few decades. And Pennsylvania grandma who plays piano for church. And Dad who turned his obsession with music into a career.

But, no, it can't entirely be your genes. I credit all that awesome music I listened to while you were in the womb. Please tell that to your father who insists my taste sucks.

It just goes to show that NOT EVERYTHING BLURTING FROM SPEAKERS HAS TO MAKE YOUR EARS BLEED.

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When we're all home in the afternoon, Dad likes to play house deejay. Apparently doing it professionally on a radio station all morning isn't enough.

In addition to our constantly growing iTunes library, MySpace has become one of his favorite sites for free music. He has his usual bookmarks but often mixes it up with an occasional surprise. Either way, it livens up our playtime when the three of us hang out on the floor in the office and toss random stuffed animals to Toby.

In his online travels, Dad discovered that you love Vampire Weekend. Not their entire repertoire, not even a full song. Just the first few notes of "Ottoman." A couple guitar plucks before the bass comes in.

I'm not sure what's so special about those notes, but they are the shining pinnacle of your days. You could be having the worst meltdown of your entire life -- Toby could've just denied you access to the toy he was playing with, throwing you into a convulsion of tears and flailing appendages -- but if Dad walks over to the computer and plays those notes, all is forgotten.

You burst into a grin, and life? What could be better?

If drugmakers could harness that kind of euphoria, you can bet it'd require a prescription.

And maybe even a waiver.

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Every few months, I have to come up with a new trick to get you to smile and look at the camera while I'm trying to take your picture. First there was holding up toys, then there was whistling. After that, I simply called your name! ALLISON! With EXUBERANCE! But when all of those things became commonplace and no longer elicited a smile, let alone a passing glance, I decided to sing.

Wouldn't you know, it worked. Now whenever I want you to look in my direction and smile, I start singing the alphabet. The other customers at the farm we went to for pumpkins a few weeks ago must've thought I was nuts, but I've officially come to terms with the fact that my days of being somewhat cool have come to an abrupt end.

You lose interest around the letter Q, but A through P? Captivating.

In my former life -- you know, before I became a mother -- I used to sing quite frequently. But as my solo days dwindled, so has the quality of my voice because I'm out of practice. I still sing in the car on occasion, but more often than not, I've taken to zoning out to talk radio just to clear my head and let other people's thoughts rattle around in there for awhile.

But lately I've been finding myself singing to you all the time because you love it so much. You know, really engaging stuff like "Twinkle, Twinkle," "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and "Puff the Magic Dragon." Even so, it calms you when you're upset. It gives you joy when you're in need of a boost. It allows you to wander into another room because you can hear me and know I'm nearby.

Lady, of all of the audiences I've sung for over the years, of all of the stages I've performed on, singing to you in our living room is by far my favorite.

Thanks for giving me a reason to sing again.

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Love,
Mom

7 comments:

edmundo said...

omg! absolutely frickin adorable! it's been awhile since i've read your blog, but it seems like you and your daughter are doing so well! :)

Jennifer Suarez said...

Adorable!

julie said...

Beautiful.

I love knowing that Alli and Shobha were both born on the 15th and I always look forward to reading your letter after posting my own.

the plainsman said...

Eleven Months! It seems like each month goes by in two weeks. Interesting on how Allison is picking up on the music and notes, that affinity will last her whole life - cool.

Ps. It is going to be hilarious reading your letter to Alli on her 25th birthday, you know the one where you and Jerry finally allow her to date! By then, she better be writing regularly to you, too!

Ray said...

Kelly, that letter was absolutely beautiful. You have such an awesome way of stringing words together. I hope one day to be that great of a writer. Or to even come close to it.

I think this has to be my favorite letter. The first and last photos of Alli I love the most. Maybe it's because you can tell how big she's gotten. It's amazing really. Time files by so fast. She's such an beautiful baby. Bless her. And thanks for sharing with us your letter's to Alli every month. I can't believe next month she'll be "1." Wow! Over the last 11 months you've already brought up such an amazing person. You and Jerry should be proud about that. ;o)

Take, care.

chelsea said...

I can't believe its been 11 months!!!

jess said...

awesome idea you're doing writing lettrs to your daughter. =)

Another way your husband could be deejay at your house is www.pandora.com You can pick a genre of music, artist, or song and they'll put a list together for you. Course... then I guess pandora.com is the deejay and not Jerry... just an idea I guess.