Saturday, August 15, 2009

1 year, 9 months

Dear Alli,

I have often found myself through different stages of your development wishing for a pause button, but none more than this. Almost every day I comment about what an awesome little person you are right now. You're fun, you're agreeable, you know how to entertain yourself, you're constantly grasping new concepts and you can communicate very well.

If your great-great-grandma was still here, she would've told me to put a brick on your head to stop you from growing. And, believe me, I've thought about it.

Yesterday you and I took a trip to the grocery store. On the way home, I heard you repeating "wiggle toes, wiggle toes." When I looked in the rearview mirror, there you were, kicking your feet. It's a game we play from one of your favorite books where you do different dance steps. We hadn't read that particular book in weeks, but there you were recalling it, saying a new word for the first time and putting it together with the movement.

We spent the rest of the trip doing the dance steps -- wiggling toes, putting our arms in the air and clapping our hands. I can honestly say the drive home from the grocery store has never been more fun.

Then there are little moments like when you get it in your head that it might be fun to try to walk while looking up at the ceiling. Then you giggle to yourself as you attempt to make it to your destination that way.

I dreamed about these days when you were just a wrinkly newborn. I wondered and tried to imagine what you'd be like as a little girl.

You've exceeded all of my expectations.

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This month we went to Gamma and Campa's house for our summer vacation. Well, that's what you call them anyway. You had more requests for appearances than we had days to spend in Rochester, and you loved every minute of all the attention.

While we were there, you started talking in three-word phrases. "I see pool" while pointing and looking outside to the back yard. "Don't hit, Mommy" after we had driven home the point. "Yes, I do" in response to a question.

By the time we left, I was no longer surprised at you attempting to say anything and everything that came out of anyone's mouth in earshot. You love to mimic, which is how you learn.

Because you played particularly hard there, your legs ended up covered in scrapes and bruises, so we thought we'd make you feel better by introducing you to Band-Aids. Well, they were a huge hit. You proudly announced "Boo Boo" and pointed to your Band-Aids all day.

When we got home, I remembered that I got a box of Hello Kitty Band-Aids at one of my baby showers, so I thought I'd blow your mind by digging it out. The fact that they were pink and fun made them that much more irresistible. You asked for a new "Boo Boo Kitty" the second the old one fell off.

One afternoon right after we had finished lunch, your Band-Aid fell off and you started whining for its replacement. Choosing to pick my battles for the day, I yelled up to your father who was changing.

"Jer? When you come down, will you bring a Hello Kitty Band-Aid?"

Apparently you thought I hadn't stressed the urgency of the situation, so you marched over to where I was standing, stuck your head in the stairwell and yelled, "JER! GAACHA CAPY SCCH BOO BOO KITTY!"

I laughed so hard that I had to sit down.

You certainly have a way with words.

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One of the things I hadn't mentioned last month is that you have developed a massive shoe obsession. You are very concerned with the status of everyone's feet, want to take inventory of every pair of shoes in the house and NEED to have shoes on at all times.

Even over your footed pajamas.

Sometimes you bring me two pairs and get upset that you can't wear four shoes at once.

This obsession is actually quite handy at times. Like when we're trying to get everything together to get out the door and you excitedly bring everyone their shoes. But it can also be annoying as hell because it's hard to communicate that high heels aren't suited for Sunday mornings when I haven't showered yet. You don't care that I'd rather die than chase you around in my most uncomfortable pair. You brought them to me. I should show my gratitude by wearing them.

When you realize I won't budge, you ask to wear them. "On? ... Help? ... Wear?"

It is hilarious to watch you shuffle around in my huge flip flops or Dad's massive Homer Simpson slippers that Toby likes to dry hump. One always ends up sideways, but you ride it out to the bitter end until one falls off your foot or you fall down.

On vacation, Gamma bought you a new pair of shoes for the fall. A beautiful pink pair that you were so excited about that you even let the salesgirl measure your feet. When you finally had both on with your new socks, you looked up at me, gasped and put both hands on your cheeks.

So I let you do something Gamma NEVER let me do when I was growing up.

I let you wear your new shoes out of the store.

Just remember that when you're older and you want to do something stupid like go to a co-ed sleepover. I'll say, "Absolutely not, but you can always wear your new shoes out of the store."

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One of the ongoing battles we're having right now is that you've pretty much stopped eating. It's not that you don't like food, I just think you're too busy. There are too many fun things to do in a day that you can't be bothered to sit at the table and do something as mundane as put a fork to your mouth.

Dad and I get a few moments to eat at a meal, then you announce, "All done," and start piling everything on your plate and handing it to one of us as if to signify that, "Hey, parental units, I have places to be."

For awhile, we tried everything. We tried the airplane game. We tried offering you stuff to dip it in. We tried presenting it different ways. Dad even pretends to hang it on the wall then zoom it into your mouth.

Then I realized that I don't want food to become a battle. When you're hungry, you'll eat. It's our job to provide you with nutritious food. It's your job to eat it.

If you don't? Well, you'll eat at the next meal.

And that's good enough for me.

There are a few foods you'll eat consistently, though. You love Jell-O, yogurt, cheese, every kind of fruit that exists and corn.

That's right. Take a minute to process that list. And remember that we're still changing your diapers.

THAT'S HOW MUCH WE LOVE YOU.

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There are so many other things that I could write on and on and on about, but because I need to sleep eventually, I'll just sum up a few more.

  • You've become an expert swimmer. You can easily swim on your own while wearing floaties and you're an amazing listener at the pool. You seem to grasp that you need to pay extra close attention to the rules when you're near the water. You never try to get in without our permission and you always wait for one of us to give you the okay. I'm so proud of you for this.
  • You adore our neighbors' son Nicholas. He turns 7 today, and you think he's just about the best thing alive. We can see his door from our back yard and you always point to his house and ask, "Nicky? Play?" When he's home, the two of you motor around playing hide and seek. Nicholas loves that he can point in a random direction, yell, "LOOK! SQUIRREL!" and trick you into looking every time while he makes a getaway to his next hiding spot. The two of you are such good buddies I love watching you play.
  • You've started calling me Mama again. You could call me anything. In your sweet little voice, it makes my heart burst.
  • There isn't much you fear, but when something startles you like our new landline, you run to me saying "Honey" over and over again. It's one of the sweetest things ever feeling you bury your head into my knees and wrap your arms around the back of my legs. It shows me that no matter how independent you get, you still need me sometimes. And for that, I'm grateful.

Because I'll always need you.

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Love,
Mama

8 comments:

the_plainsman said...

Another cool milestone report, Kelly. All the amazing details aside, following your and Jerry's story these past serveal years has given me insight as to why people have these things called babies, and why they grow attached to them and love them so much. Thanks Kelly, Jerry and Allison for leaving the window open!

Tiffany said...

Oh my! She is a BIG girl now... wow. Look at that hair, and those gorgeous eyes. No wonder you burst with pride. :)

Finally got the chance to check out your website, and was blown away. Now, I'm thinking ahead to our newborn session (not even pg yet!). Husband's gparents live near Butler... thinking a trip to have you photograph our baby will be in the works!!

Timberly said...

She looks so grown up!

Jaclyn said...

The ending of this month's letter brought tears to my eyes. It's nice to be reminded that -though now they're asserting their independence even more- they still really DO want and need us. Well, until they're 9 or so. Then we're on our own.
Lovely letter, Kelly. As always.

Ray said...

OMG, that last photo! The sweetest thing (that and I'll never be tired of pigtails. Adorable). Alli really is becoming a little girl. I can't believe that in 3 months she'll be two! Also: you need to show us a video of Alli swimming! PLEASE?! ;o)

Erica said...

Beautiful as always : ) She sounds adorable!

Fit Mama said...

such a sweetheart. I can't believe how much hair she has already! she looks like a little girl!

Maria said...

I love these!