I haven’t done of these in a VERY long time.
My darling little girl, you are no longer a baby. It kills me to admit this because part of me isn’t ready to give up my baby, but you are leaving babyhood further behind with every breath.
Physically you are growing taller and bigger. I don’t know your current weight, but I feel comfortable saying that you have most likely hit 20 pounds (FINALLY). You recently moved up to size 12-18 month clothing and while 6-12 still fits-although it’s quite short, the 3-6 month stuff is finally skintight and has been fully retired. I’ve put away all but your favorite pieces in size 6-12, mostly from boredom (considering you’ve been wearing some 6-12 month items for about a year now and consistently been wearing it for 9 or so months). However, I don’t need to safety pin the waistbands on the bigger size anymore, so we’ll officially say you’re a size 12-18 months. In fact, you’re growing so quickly that just to be safe I ordered your Halloween costume in size 18-24 months!
Your hair is growing almost as fast as you are. When wet and straight, it’s well past your shoulders in back and your bangs are almost to your mouth. However, dry it’s just a massive riot of curls, with the back hanging past your shoulders. I’m not sure if it’s because *I* love it or because my hair is usually up, or if like me you’re just more comfortable with it up, but it’s usually back in a short ponytail. We sometimes do two ponytails, but you only reliably stay still long enough to do one, so that is far more common.
Your face looks less babyish, too. I’m not sure exactly how to explain this, but as your personality gets bigger, you look like yourself and not like a baby doll brought to life (although I am guilty of dressing you up daily in matching outfits as I’m only going to be able to treat you like my living doll for so long in that regard).
You’re maturing in so many ways.
Your speech is becoming clearer (for the most part…there are still large chunks of gibberish each day) and you’re starting to speak in 2-3 word sentences (although I could do with less “Mommy no”). You can not, for the life of you, correctly do the /l/ sound. As I’m not a speech pathologist, I did not realize that most kids can’t correctly say it until they’re 4-5. Sorry that it’s the major part of your name and nickname. I *had* planned to call you Nora, but you’re an Ellie.
You love the word shoe (and you love your shoes), but when you say it, your mouth gets stuck in the “oooo” position and you stretch it out to say “shoooooe” which is highly entertaining. You also do that that when you say “moooon.”
Your biggest word is “watermelon.” You ask daily to wear your watermelon clothes, your watermelon shoes, your watermelon hairbows. You ask to eat watermelons. I don’t know if you really love watermelon that much or if you just like to say it because it’s such a big word. But it is a clearly articulated word and you know what you’re talking about when you say it.
You consistently have the majority of facial features down and can name them (eyes, ears, head, hair, nose, mouth), and know hands, feet and belly as well. You can’t say tongue, but when I ask you where it is, you stick it out and move it around in a way that makes me want to fall over laughing as it’s just so funny. We’re starting to work on shoulders, knees, elbows, fingers, and chin.
You’re starting to pick up random numbers and have picked up on the letter B. I finally figured out why B was the easiest letter for you when I realized all the buildings, malls, etc around here have Basement levels and we’re constantly on elevators so you’re always seeing “B1, B2, B3, etc.” You know we always push “6” to go home, as we live on the 6th floor and you know 3, 4, 8, 9 because those are buttons you can reach in the elevator, but not with total consistency.
Our lifestyle has also influenced your speech in regards to transportation. You know what a taxi is (although you don’t say taxi). You greet the taxi drivers with “Hi uncle” (sometimes). And you always get in and say “bucklie” and gesture that we need to buckle you in (as I don’t haul a car seat around Singapore with me).
You are going through a phase where all kids are “babies,” even kids much bigger than you. I’m telling you now, this WILL get you into trouble with a bigger kid one of these days.
I think the most interesting aspect of your speech is that you add “eeee” to most words. Socks are “sockies.” Bottles are “bottlies.” And so on. It’s not every word (shoes are shoe and a ball is A BALL), but it’s consistent. We didn’t teach you that, but it’s just something you do. I wonder where you got that?
You’re using your spoon 80% of the time or so correctly, although you still eschew the fork in favor of your fingers (you get that from your dad, who I’d also like to see use his fork more often). You’re drinking from regular cups without straws and cups with straws, although we are often lazy and give you the sippy as it’s less messy. My goal is to stop that in December after we return from our trip to the US…I can’t handle planes without sippies at the moment.
You are rarely in the stroller except for when it’s easiest for me (such as during grocery shopping, when it feels like you sprout 4 extra sets of arms and hands). Your stamina is impressive, and even if you’re tired and need the break you protest as though we were trying to force you to sit in boiling acid rather than your yuppie overpriced ride. You do not like to hold my hand while we walk though, which is often frustrating. The two exceptions to this are if another adult and I are willing to “swing” you between us, or we’re going on an escalator (where hand holding is a non-negotiable). When you don’t want to hold my hand, you lift your legs and dangle from me until I put you down. When you do get tired, you ask to be carried, which I would love to do, but you are coming up on the limits of my safely lifting you at all (with regards to my back), much less carrying you for long periods of time. However, it’s one of the few chances I get to snuggle you, so I’ll sometimes do it for as long as I think my back can take it before putting you in the stroller. Often, I bring the stroller more for it’s storage capacity than any other reason, and it’s not uncommon for us to walk down the street together pushing the stroller of groceries or whathaveyou.
You are far more adventurous in your climbing, and I live in fear of the day you decide to scale our bookcases. You’re also jumping (when you want to, never when you’re asked to in gymnastics), and spinning in circles. You love the water and have upgraded to just swimming using arm floats. You still hate to have your head go under water as you’ve yet to learn to hold your breath, though, and that’s holding you back from dropping the floats entirely…which is why we’re planning on signing you up for swim in January(ish)…you’ve reached the limits of my abilities to teach you to swim.
I think you’re teething again, and am not loving the 2 year old molars so far. Or the way you’re constantly chewing on your hand…if you eat it, it won’t grow back. I’m just letting you know.
We are gearing up at serious attempt #1 (half-assed attempt #1 was a while back) to potty train you. We’re going to be home next week and work on having you try the potty. You can push your shorts down (you have trouble getting them back up) and you don’t like your diapers anymore (I get a lot of Mommy No and pointing at the bathroom) so we’re going to see if you are ready now. However, you’re highly distractable and don’t like to sit on the potty for more than 3-5 seconds at a time, so you may not be ready (I’m almost expecting that it’s a bit soon) but we’re going to try and whatever happens, happens.
The big development, of course, is the move to your big girl bed. We put my old (but still relatively new as it’s barely used) mattress on the floor, dressed in up in brand new bedding from Target, and moved you from the crib. You love the big girl bed, but you hate being alone in your room. Getting the nightlight from IKEA (it changes colors) helped, but there’s always initial protest. We tried laying down with you (again, you’re not a super cuddly kid so part of me loved having that time with you, and having you fall asleep next to or on me reminded me of when you were a small baby and would sleep on my chest or in my arms) but that turned into you waking in the middle of the night and demanding that someone come in very quickly. We are now doing tough love, and it kills me because I know the answer is so simple, but it’s the right move as I know that if I give in, I’m hurting myself and I’m hurting my relationship with your dad (who barely sees us to begin with). I may be overly optimistic but it’s been a week and we’ve never seriously considered putting you back in the crib, so I think once we smooth out the wrinkles (the 7am screaming today was not fun, fyi) we are in business.
Your grandparents (Dadi and Dada) came to visit for 3 weeks. You knew who they were because we regularly skype with them, but from what they say (I was asleep) you warmed up once the presents started flowing forth from their suitcases. Now you make a point of identifying them in pictures, and are more excited when we skype. You also are happy to skype with Grandma and Auntie Debbie, and point to them but aren’t saying names yet…probably because Dadi and Dada are much easier to say. I’m excited for you to see them again in November.
We’ve made friends here in Singapore, although, as in Boston, everyone of Mommy’s friends (with the exception of your cousin) has a son. I have a feeling this will mean you will either be “one of the guys” or a girl with a LOT of suitors in 13-15 years or so. I really want to see statistics on boy/girl births in 2008, because it feels (in our limited experience) that there were 10 boys for every girl. I don’t mind, except of course that it would be nice to have more friends who are having the same potty training and such experiences that are unique to having a girl. But I wouldn’t trade you for a million boys.
The hardest part (or so it seems) of being around so many boys is that we’re at the age where some kids are going through a hitting phase (and right now it does seem fairly gender specific at the moment, although I know that won’t be true in 6-12 months). You are most often (as in 19 out of 20 or so times) the victim of the hitting. It’s really hard because right now you don’t stand up for yourself, shout no, or even hit back (not that I’m super crazy about the last option). I’m often bothered by how to communicate about this with you or how to help you deal better with it (or if we should keep our distance from the hitters for a time…although that seems like an unhealthy option and overparenting…I want to teach her to communicate “no hit” or to ask for a sorry or something instead).
Your personality is as big as your smile. You are sweet (you love to give kisses, you run up and hugs us and then run away, you don’t like seeing kids upset), you are sassy (you said “biiiiiiiiieeeeeee” to someone trying explain that metal plates in the ground are slippery and you shouldn’t run over them), and you are filled with the kind of enthusiasm that is sadly only really seen in little kids. You wake up ready to fully explore and experience the world each day. You are rarely shy (although you definitely talk a great deal less around strangers than around family) but you are becoming less extroverted over time. You have no problems telling us that you’re all done, that you don’t want that, and what you do want.
In terms of toys, you have recently embraced the baby dolls and now drag 3 babies around with you, and insist on them being in bed with you at night. I see you less with your blocks, these days. Balls are always a huge hit (whether big, small, in a pit, whatever) and you’re always excited to see and point at them to tell me it’s “A BALL!!!” (in that exact way…capslock exclamations). You are still a huge fan of books and constantly are asking to be read to, although you rarely stay for the whole book, and Leslie Patricelli’s books remain the top of your list, especially “Yummy Yucky.”
You remain a huge Elmo fan, and are saying “Elmo” and “iPod” as we only show you Elmo on the iPod. I have tried you on a few other popular kids shows (Blues Clues, The Fairies, Ni Hao Kai Lan) but while they’ll hold your interest, you are still all Sesame all the time. You ask for it and are often irritated with us when we tell you it’s for bedtime.
You also have a strong understanding of what cell phones are and how to use them. When I called your dad yesterday and hung up without offering you the phone you got mad at me and insisted that I call him back so you could say Hi Daddy and Bye Daddy. You also know that my iPhone has the “Mama Video” (Muppets singing “Bohemian Rhapsody”) which is our go-to entertainment in cabs.
I often forget you’re not already 2 (or older) because you are constantly blowing me away. You are my darling and exasperating girl, and I love you to pieces. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for me next.
Mommy (which, by the way is now what you call me instead of Mama).