Thursday, January 15, 2009

1 year, 2 months

Dear Alli,

Crawling is officially a thing of the past. Your feet were made for walking, and now you know it.

At first it seemed so strange to watch you enter a room standing, but now I just expect it. I also expect to race you to things on the floor you shouldn't have. Or try to beat you to the steps so I can close the gate. Or the refridgerator. Or the dishwasher.

You are constantly underfoot, clinging to the sides of my pants as I try to make breakfast or make my way to the bathroom. If not, I can usually hear you screaching in glee in the opposite direction as you attempt to run fast enough to break the sound barrier.

Because of this, playing with Toby has become more of a competitive sport. If I give him a treat, the two of you will take turns chasing each other for it. I know I should be completely grossed out that you're playing with a slimy rawhide, but I have too much fun watching you guys run in circles to care.

You can now cover almost every square inch of the house and it shows. If your father and I neglected to pick up after you, we'd struggle to remember what color the carpet is. When you were little, your toys were primarily confined to your two play areas. Now they migrate with you.

I'm never surprised when I find something of yours in even the most unusual place.

Like your Legos in the bathtub.


Your verbal skills have improved too, but what's more impressive are your comprehension skills. After months of talking to you about "Toby the dog," you've finally picked up on both words.

They come out sounding somewhat similar, but if I pay close enough attention, they're easy to differentiate. Toby sounds a lot like "Toe." Dog sounds more like "Doh."

Homer Simpson would be proud.

I couldn't tell whether you understood that Toby was the name of our dog specifically or that all dogs were also called Toby. I imagine that would be a tough concept to grasp. But last week, when we got home from running an errand, our neighbor's dog was outside giving us an exhuberant greeting.

As I hoisted you higher on my hip, struggling to open the latch on our gate while carrying my purse and your diaper bag, you laughed at that big silly black lab and said "DOH!" as your little puff of breath created a cloud in the cold air.

"YES! ... DOG!" I said, thrilled that you were able to correlate Toby's small stature with another much larger breed in his species.

Then, when we got inside, you saw Toby, smiled and said, "Toe."

You're so smart, I might have to invent a baby diploma.


You've also made huge strides while playing. I know. It sounds silly to commend you for using your toys appropriately, but that's how you learn.

Just this morning, you were able to put all of the stackable rainbow rings on their peg in the correct order. I've been working with you on this for awhile now, but it still amazed me when you zipped through the activity without struggling.

To the uninitiated observer, it probably wouldn't seem like much, but for weeks you didn't understand that you needed to aim the peg for the negative space on the ring. You kept jamming the plastic together and would get frustrated when you couldn't make them fit like I could. Then it just seemed to click for you.

Now you can disassemble and reassemble with ease.

Pretty soon I'll have you cleaning up after yourself! Wee! Won't THAT be fun!

Another surprising moment during playtime was a few days ago while we were in your room. I pulled out your car and, as usual, it only had one of its original two occupants. The baby was in the driver's seat and the mommy was no where to be found.

But as I started to push it around on the carpet, making vrooming sounds, you charged away into the other room. Not understanding why you left, I started to call for you, asking what you were doing.

Moments later, you walked back into your room, smiling ear to ear, carrying the mommy triumphantly high over your head.

If I hadn't already been laying on my side, I would've fallen over.

You knew what piece was missing, remembered where it was, knew how to get it and did.

That almost makes up for the Legos in the bathtub.


Speaking of the bathtub, can we talk about bathtime for a moment?

You no longer swish at the water with your toys. Now the water itself is a toy. And you swat and slap and pound and twist and shake and kick that water until there isn't a dry surface in the entire bathroom.

A few days ago, I walked in to find Dad's sweatshirt sopping wet up to the elbows and asked if he had to retrieve you from the water in a panic.

"Nope," he said. "Bathtime is like having a front row seat at Sea World."

Then, as if right on cue, you stuck your tongue out and summoned Hurricane Allison. Within seconds, my jeans were wet enough that it would've been uncomfortable not to change. I've never laughed so hard. I just ducked behind your father and tried to weigh the pros and cons of attempting to get it on video.

I figured years of videos to come are more important than one last video of you in the tub and a shorted-out video camera.

But your pre-bath routine has gotten even better. I thought I would miss watching your bare butt swish toward the tub when you used to crawl, but I don't. Now Dad has taught you how to carry your own towel and washcloth to the bathroom, and the task has empowered you.

You walk with purpose.

But he didn't think it all the way through. If the tub is full and he isn't there to intercept you, you run straight for the bathroom and chuck your towel and washcloth into the water.

And last night, when he didn't hand you your towel and washcloth fast enough, you found the clothes you had just been wearing, carried them to the tub and tossed them in.

I can't say it often enough: You're lucky you're cute.


When your grandparents from New York were in town for Christmas, we went out for dinner one night. While we were eating, you started choking on your drink, something that isn't all too uncommon because learning to handle a cup isn't the easiest thing to master.

Well, grandma summoned something from my childhood that I had forgotton. She immediately threw her hands into the air and said, "HANDS UP!"

The idea behind it is that putting your hands in the air lifts your diaphram and helps you breathe more freely while you're choking, but conveying that to a 1-year-old isn't easy. So there, in the middle of the restaurant, grandpa, Dad and I all joined in, raising our hands high above our heads shouting "HANDS UP!" in the hopes that you'd join us.

You stared at us like we were idots, which we are, but well, you're stuck with us kid.

Eventually you followed suit, but not until after we had all put our hands down.

And so it continued for awhile. Every time you coughed after taking a drink, we put our hands up, then you waited until we put them down to join in.

It became a very fun game.

Now, every mealtime, you randomly throw your hands into the air with wild abandon and stare at us expectantly. So Dad and I indulge you and join in, knowing the reward will be one of your fantastic giggles.

The whole thing seemed like it was getting a little out of hand until Sunday night when we went to a party to watch the Steelers playoff game. Then, right as the referees announced the first touchdown by raising their hands in the air, it dawned on me.

"HANDS UP!" I yelled, and you obliged, tossing them high in the air, smiling wide.

You were a big hit.

And the Steelers won. And now there's only one more team standing between them and the Super Bowl.

And Dad's pretty superstitious about these things, so you better be prepared to put those arms up this week, too.


The most memorable part of month 14 for me isn't anything that would show up in a baby book.

Frankly, I've struggled with the fact that I'm not filling out one of those prefabricated record books for you, but after years of predominantly typing, my penmanship looks like I'm trying to strangle a goat.

At least this way you'll be able to know what the hell I was trying to convey to you instead of spending your entire adult life going to handwriting experts trying to decipher whether that's a "p" or a "q" and paying for a top-notch psychiatrist because you think I said something entirely different about you in relation to Sea World.

And hopefully by my bucking the trend, you'll have off-the-cuff memories recorded of yourself instead of how many teeth you had each month -- 10 by the way, soon to be 12 -- memories like how you spent this entire month with your tongue out.

I'm not sure why, but you've decided that every emotion can be conveyed with your tongue. When you're feeling coy, just a peek of your tongue. When you're happy, a full tongue. When you're mad, a forceful tongue. When you're deleriously overjoyed, a full open mouth with your tongue all the way down to your chin.

I call that one Little Gene Simmons.

And lady, those moments make me so happy I should probably summon my inner Gene Simmons, too.




Anonymous said...

I love these letters. =) Alli is adorable as always. And she's growing up so fast!

Ray said...

That little girl of yours is extremely bright. Bless her. It seems like each new month with Alli keeps getting better and better. And I'm happy for you. =) Thanks for posting up a photo of Alli in the sled. That's just too cute. And that close up shot of her smiling, showing all her teeth, is too precious. I also love that photo of her with the green hat, "She looks so big there!" Wow. It's like she's a little girl in that photo. Anyhow: you're doing a great job of raising her. I know she'll appreciate these letters MUCH MORE than just a couple of facts in a baby book. Plus if you want to: in your letters to her you can add little facts such as how many teeth she has, at the bottom of the letter. Just a thought.

Take, care.

Sarahhh said...

Dude, best post everrr. Your girl rocks and you rock for getting to know your daughter so well. Dad rocks too. Oh and toby too!

Go steelers!!

Kristy said...

What a doll! She has so much personality. That's always fun, even as they get older. I hope that your family continues to be blessed.

Cate said...

She is so precious! I love reading these letters. I hope she loves reading them later, too.

Jennifer Suarez said...

The last picture and this sentence:

"At least this way you'll be able to know what the hell I was trying to convey to you instead of spending your entire adult life going to handwriting experts trying to decipher whether that's a "p" or a "q" and paying for a top-notch psychiatrist because you think I said something entirely different about you in relation to Sea World."

Are the best.

Beautifully written!

Timberly said...

I can't believe she's so big already. They really do grow up so fast.

Anonymous said...

Hah, I love these monthly letters. Another great one.

LeslieAnn said...

Sooo, soooooo cute. :) You're daughter is awesome. I love reading about her adventures. And knowing I have another niece or nephew on the way makes reading these even more exciting, because I'll get to relive the baby moments with my brother's new child soon.

P.S. Go Steelers! We're rooting for them because, well... We're from Michigan and barely have a football team to begin with. Stupid Lions. Stupid Ford family!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how long you're planning on writing the letters, but my friend's mom wrote her a beautiful letter for graduation. I think it would be cool that if you keep writing letters to her, even if they're just once a year while she's in school, and maybe turn them into some kind of scrap book or something, it would mean a lot to her as a graduation gift.. Just a thought! They're wonderful!

Rachel said...

Kelly, I was laughing out loud in my office while reading about the towels and clothes going into the bathtub. Great letter, as always. I love comparing my own little girl (born Sept 07) to yours. They could be two peas in a pod!

the in awe plainsman said...

Another amazing piece of writing, Kelly. Don't fret for a moment that you have not filled out the blank book. Those can be wonderful keepsakes, too. But your gift is for writing, and your writing of these monthly illustrated letters is a gift of incredible proportions for Allison. And generations that may follow.

Please perserve them in hard copy format on archival paper as well as in several places. I can not imagine the stregnth and power that Allison will gain from reading them into adulthood.

julie said...

I had to laugh out loud when I read about your family doing the "HANDS UP!" when coughing while eating. My family does the same thing except my parents always held their hands in the air and said "WIGGLE YOUR FINGERS!" I never knew it was to raise the diaphragm - I always thought it was just to distract us from being scared about possibly choking!!

Haley said...

When I read the part about Alli retreving the Mommy, my heart literally jumped. That is so precious!

bornforthis85 said...

Don't think for one minute you're not making a baby book--this blog is proof you're documenting every major and minor milestone in Alli's life. You're putting a lot more detail in it than the average mother with a pre-packaged book with glossy pages that have been used to document dozens of other children's first haricuts and first teeth. This is far more unique and personal. It's going to be so much fun when Alli is older and she can go back and look through her virtual baby book--I remember reading through mine and my sisters' not so long ago, rediscovering all the little quirks that makes each child so adorable and unique.

Anonymous said...

hi this is "wawa" on facebook. Beautiful little girl. I've been reading/lurking on your blog since your xanga/dating years. Wonderful writer I must say you are. And after reading this post and saw the last picture, i must share I got a little teary... <3 -wa