Friday, February 6, 2015

Letters to Amaliya - Two and a half


We celebrated your half birthday with a treat of your choice.  You chose candy, so we ventured downtown after daycare, in the rain, to visit a candy store and then over to the crepe place (because Mama needed a crepe).  You danced through the shops and ran down the sidewalk screaming whenever a rain drop touched your head. It was so good to see you silly and full of energy, after a long week of being down with a cold.

It's been a time of change, for all of us.  Your daddy started working full time, and you now go to daycare for four full days per week.  It's a new daycare, slightly more affordable for us, and though I worried about springing both of these changes on you at once, I shouldn't have.  You are thriving in your new environment - you are fond of your teachers, enjoy the structure of a classroom environment, and are sometimes reluctant to leave at the end of the day (especially when I have to tear you away from painting "beautiful things," as you say).

Also known as painting holes in the tablecloth. Hey, if it's beautiful to you, who am I to judge?

Two is a challenging age, but less challenging and more fun as the days go by. The older I get, the more of myself I see reflected in your developing personality.  You are assertive (I will not say bossy) and curious (I will not say nosy).  I can't so much as flip a light switch without you coming over and informing me that in fact, I did it wrong, and you need to show me how to do it "correctly." You test and defy and push boundaries all the time now, but not nearly as much as other kids your age might.  I see you blossom when you receive praise from adults, but you take criticism and correction very hard.  In some ways you are very easygoing - we rarely fight over what you will wear, or bedtime - but when you do not want to do something you will not do it (eating certain foods, using the potty, or taking pictures when you do not want your picture taken).  For the most part, we know better than to force you into something you don't want to do.  You have the memory of an elephant, and can whine about the same injustice for hours, refusing to be distracted from it.  So much your mama's child.

We can't eat anything without you trying to climb into the bowl.
Trying to take a nice family selfie, but nope, "No pictures today, Mama!"
You are demanding of our time and attention, never content to play on your own or venture off without companionship.  If given the choice to run around and explore by yourself, or sit with me and be involved in whatever I am doing, you will always choose to be near me. One-on-one conversations are your specialty. You've been surrounded by adults your whole life, adults who spend a lot of time working and talking, so I understand why your preferred forms of play involve lots of structure and discussion.

As serious as you are, as you have always been, you are still a silly goose and radiate such innocent joy.  You love...

... your Dora bathrobe and mittens...

... selfies....
And I love your big, beautiful eyeballs.
...Riding your tricycle...

... mama's belly...  

... Doc McStuffins (and by "love" I mean you harass me about watching it 24/7 and know all the songs by heart)...

...climbing on Daddy...

... and playing pretend.  Seeing your imagination bloom is, by far, the best part of parenting for me.  My best memories from childhood involve the elaborate fantasy worlds my brother and I created, and seeing you unleash your wild imagination takes me right back to those carefree times.

You're fond of treats and extremely fond of eating.  You drink your tea tepid but love spicy food.  You're not psyched about cooked vegetables but will happily snack on raw mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, and (weirdest of all) frozen bell pepper strips. 

We started another semester of Music Together and you're already learning so many new songs.  You are much less inhibited this semester, dancing freely around the room and joining in with your instruments.  You can hit a drum and clap on beat, and are starting to get a handle on your vocal range (though you still shout songs in a tuneless baby voice, which I am in no hurry for you to lose thankyouverymuch).

You have a great many likes and dislikes, but your favorite thing on earth right now is.... me.  I wish that were ego talking, but alas, you really are a mama-obsessed little girl.  You won't let me out of your sight when I'm home, ask about me constantly while I'm gone, and won't let anyone else do a thing for you (the exception being my mom, your Nanny, who occasionally usurps me from the #1 spot in your heart).  It's a little overwhelming for me, to be honest.  I'm an independent sort and very high energy, used to jumping around from room to room and project to project on a whim.  You've put the kibosh on that - you are very communicative with your emotions, and let me know when I haven't paid enough attention to you or haven't engaged with you enough.  I'm very proud of you for that, now that you mention it.  It takes courage to be so open about your needs and expectations.  

So nowadays I may not be as productive as I once was when I'm home, but I spend a lot of time snuggled on the couch with you or outside horsing around... and that's better than domestic efficiency any day.

You always pull my shirt up and burrow into my belly.  You love the skin-to-skin contact while you're flopped on me watching TV.  I love that you're so snuggly, sweet, and affectionate.

You are so special, little girl.  So smart it leaves me speechless, sometimes.  You speak like a much older kid - full sentences, proper pronouns, funny little expressions (you've started addressing your daddy and I as "hey, guys!" and the other day you fell, reached up for me, and asked, "Can I get some help down here?"  I DIED.)  You've started asking "what's that?" about everything you see, and my answer is always met with an innocent, "why?"  You've recently gained an understanding of differences and opposites, and love pointing them out whenever you come across them ("that light switch is OFF, and that one is ON!"  "It's dark outside!  Not light!" and my personal favorite, "My (stuffed) puppy does NOT have a penis!")

You moved to a big girl bed last month, and though I was concerned about how you'd take the change along with all the other changes we've put you through lately, you are over the moon for that bed.  You haven't fallen out once!  And you probably sleep better now than you did in your crib. It makes you so proud to be a "big girl," except of course if I mention that big girls use the potty, in which case you insist that you're "still a baby."  Sigh. You still let me hold you, rock you, and sing you songs before bed though, so in that respect, I am very glad you're content to stay little for a while longer.

I'm trying harder these days to stay in the moment with you, to be present and put down my phone and soak you up.  It's hitting me hard now, how fleeting these stages are.  I love seeing you grow more independent and opinionated every day, but man... you're so utterly sweet at this age, so innocent and trusting and silly.  We, your dad and I and your grandparents, are literally your whole world right now.  I'm going to be a little bit sad when you realize that the world is much larger than you and me.  Larger, and not always nice.

May the world always be as light and good as you are, baby girl.


First time seeing snow!

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