Thursday, October 15, 2009

1 year, 11 months

Dear Alli,

This was the month of song. You’ve always loved to sing, and when prompted, you would nod your head back and fourth and repeat a word like “Toby” over and over again in a singsongy voice. But now you sing actual lyrics to actual songs.

It’s just one more example of you surprising me with how much you know.

A few weekends ago, we took you and your big cousin Emily to see a performance of “Harold and the Purple Crayon” at Penn State University. More on that later. But before we left, you and Emmy were playing in your room, and she was singing “Old McDonald.”

At first, you just made the animal noises when the time came, but by the end, I heard your little voice chiming in. “Old ... Donald ... farm. ... Eeee ... yiii .... ohhhh!” The two of you singing together was the sweetest thing in the world to listen to. In fact, I’d be willing to bet it could stop wars.

A few days later, as I was walking you upstairs to take a bath, I asked you to sing me a song. And then, in the middle of the dark hallway, it turned into one of those moments of motherhood that I will cherish for the rest of my days.

You got very quiet, contemplated how to start, and then burst into your own compilation of your favorite songs.

“Aaaay Seeee Deeee Geeee. Da itsy bitsy spidey. Uppa waterspout. Down camea rain an WASHA SPIDEY OUT! Rocka baby ona teetop. Ina wind blows. Had a farm. Eeeeyiii Eeeeyiii aaaayyy.”

You make my heart sing.


So back to that play we took you girls to see. I figured I was being a bit overzealous to think that I could take a 22-month-old to a live performance that doesn’t produce enough noise to drown out a toddler who just had ice cream, but it was one of my favorite books as a child, and I was really curious to see how actors could make it come to life.

You were just a good excuse to go.

(Shhh. Don’t tell anyone that parents secretly use their children as beards to see Pixar movies and other kid-geared shows in public.)

So we made a day of it. We took you both to a little ’60s diner and played the table jukebox before our lunch came. Then we went to the theater early, where they had an activity room full of purple crayons, coloring books and angels handing out juice boxes and fruit snacks.

When it was time for the show to start, we had the bad fortune of sitting a few seats away from a woman with a baby. YOU. LOVE. BABIES. You want to hold them and squeeze them and call them yours.

If it hadn’t been for the free fruit snacks, I never would’ve been able to lure you back to my lap. Until the show started, I feared that you would simply scream “I SEE BABY?! I SEE BABY?! I SEE BABY?!” until I had to crawl for the glowing red EXIT sign.

Instead, this crazy thing happened. You were completely enamored. You loved the show. And even though there were some scary moments, you mostly sat on my lap and pointed to what was unfolding on stage.

By the end, you were overtired and cranky, and I’ll only briefly mention the public meltdown from hell that had Emily covering her ears. But once you stopped, we played a game of “I spy” on the drive home that had you screaming for “MY TURRRN!”

You always want to be in the thick of things, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.


I recently bought you a plastic kitchenware set, and it quickly rocketed to one of your top favorite toys. You love playing “cups” and walk around every morning passing out utensils to me and Bunny and Bear.

At some point, I realized you were saying “cups” funny, so I asked you to say it again.

“CUP ... sssssssss”

You say the singular word, pause, then add a long “s” at the end. It’s damn hilarious. I’ve tried to get it on video numerous times, but apparently I keep catching you at the wrong moment. So, instead, I have a ton of videos of you whining at me asking for milk.

It applies to any plural word, so we ask you to say things purely for our own entertainment.

“Hey Allison, say blocks.”

“BLOCK ... sssssssss.”

(Stifled laughter)

“Now say socks.”

“SOCK ... sssssssss.”

(Repeat with various words for as long as you’ll do it.)

You can get us back when we’re senile.


I was given yet another example of your ridiculous language skills from your aunt Amy after she watched you for a few hours while Dad and I attended a friend’s wedding. She had gotten the OK to bring you to a birthday party with your cousins, and the next day in Sunday school, all Dad heard was how much fun you had.

Apparently some people said you had more fun than the birthday boy.

Here’s how Amy relayed the story to me:

“She kept asking, ‘I want da red boon (balloon) peese.’ Then, ‘I want da yellow boon peese.’ And everyone kept saying, ‘How old is she?’ They didn’t believe she wasn’t two yet because she knew all her colors and always said please.”

That part alone made me really proud because we’ve been working on both of those things at home.

“Then Dan thought he’d try to show her up, so he said, ‘How many blue balloons are there?’ And Allison looked up, pointed at them, and said, ‘One. Two. ... Two blue boons.’ Dan just laughed, tossed his hands up and said, ‘OK, she’s really smart.’”

Way to show ’em up, kid.


This does, of course, lead to some interesting conversations. Now that you’re able to talk back, we aren’t left guessing what you want or what you’re pissed off about.


We don’t have a child anymore. We have a dictator.

After one particularly brutal lunch where you screamed to watch a show through the entire meal and we refused to give in, Dad just laughed, looked at me and asked what life would be like if adults acted on every emotion like toddlers.

The concept alone had me laughing, but then he got up, tossed a fork on the floor in a mock rage and stomped around the kitchen barking demands. I ran for the sink to spit out the gulp of water I had intended to swallow, and you immediately quieted down to watch him, well, act like you.

Then, after about 30 seconds, you started screaming, “DADDY, STOP! DADDY, STOP! STOP DADDY!”

Oh, man, if only that worked on you.

So now we spend our days dealing with constant requests for snacks, showers and shows.

Stupidly, I let you come in the shower with me one afternoon when I was desperate. You now think the tub is a waterpark. As if keeping you out of the bathtub wasn’t hard enough, now we have to come up with reasons you can’t spend your entire life in there.


But when you ask for things like, “Snuggle, Mommy?”

It makes all the rest of it disappear.




Jennifer Suarez said...

Adorable! I love how she pauses and then adds the "s" to things. It's stuff like that you'll be happy you wrote down so you can always remember.

BTW if you think seeing the two girls sing together was heart melting just imagine when it's your own two children singing together and holding hands. There's nothing like a sibling... just sayin' ;-)

Erica said...


Sorry for the all caps, but I got really excited when I saw that. It was one of my favorite books as a kid too. Along the vein of favorite childhood books I am pumped for the movie Where the Wild Things Are.

Anyway, I know you have been busy and it is absolutely wonderful that you still found time to write this letter. I'm glad to hear that your business is going so well and you're enjoying it so much!

the_plainsman said...

Priceless ... sssssssss

Funny ... sssssssss

Nah, gotta be a two year old Alli (almost) to make it work! LOL!

Ray said...

Awwww, even without the photos this is one awesome letter. And you have one amazing little girl. Wow, she's smart (imagine what her "two's" will bring and every age after...)! You're doing a great job at raising her and being a teacher to her. Give yourself some praise as well! ;o)

the_plainsman said...

I thought it kind of ended abruptly yesterday, but figured you're busy. Pa. As if you needed anyone besides Allison to tell you, you and Jerry are doing a great job with this parenting thing!

Kristin said...

My sister and I were laughing insanely at her song x'D
You HAVE to get that plural words thing on video. You have to. I don't care whether you have to follow her around all day with a camcorder to get it ;|

Anonymous said...

This letter is a particularly beautiful one. And wow, she is such a big girl now. It's amazing.

Anonymous said...

Oh Kelly!! How precious!!! How she has grown!


Anonymous said...

oh my gosh she has gotten so big and of course so adorable as always!!!!
loffe me

Anonymous said...

the last pic of jerry n allison is one to frame.....
shes getting so ur monthly letters to her:-)

ashley said...

LOVE the last pic of alli and jerry. it's definitely a keeper. she is growing up so quickly and becoming more adorable each month. i hope you continue with the monthly letters, i think they are awesome, and something she'll be able to look back on in the future.