Sunday, August 23, 2009

17 months

Dear Zadie,

I've been feeling a little guilty that I didn't write you one of these last month. We were in Chicago and I had a slow internet connection, and since we've been home it has been on my mind, but you and I have been very busy. I've been trying to make sure we have all kinds of fun before I have to go back to work. To that end, we've been to the zoo, ArtBeast, Old Sacramento, the wading pool, the park, on bicycle rides, to Grandpa John's house, out to breakfast... I know you'll never remember any of this when you're older, but it is important to me.

On to you! You are just amazing. You speak in sentences most of the time now. Sure, mostly it's simple subject-verb sentences, like "baby eat," "baby walk," "mama sit," "daddy read the book," and so on, but you're communicating very effectively. And you certainly make longer sentences as well. "Baby can drive the car!" and "Baby fall down, go boom on butt" and "Mommy, tickle my tummy" are among the more impressive sentences you've said lately. You have a full vocabulary with many three-syllable words. You clearly pronounce flamingo, Chicago, bicycle, koala, Odwalla, and domo arigato (which we taught you for fun).

One of the big changes this last month has been your ability to really make choices. Now that you can speak so well, I can ask "hummus or peanut butter?" and you'll answer (it was hummus, for the record). Or the other day, I asked you if you preferred to go to Old Sacramento or ArtBeast, and you quickly chose ArtBeast. It's fun to see you making decisions and taking a little control over your own life.

You are so energetic, and you really love many activities, but the things you like to do most are read books, walk up and down the street, dance, eat snacks (blueberries rank very high), watch Yo Gabba Gabba, play peek-a-boo, sing songs with me (you usually request Kimya Dawson's "Bobby-O," which you can sing along to), play with your magnetic letters on the fridge, color with crayons (and sometimes you even stay on the paper!), drum, and riffle through my purse.

You love trucks and trains and drumming, but you are for the most part REALLY into girly stuff. You clap and yell "Yay, shopping!" when we pull into a store parking lot. You request that we put lipstick on you, you want pink sparkly shoes, you want to put jewelry on (particularly earrings, but I don't have any clip-ons for you), and you love barrettes and headbands. After we put any of these items on you, you request "see mirror!"

You would love to drive the car or ride a bike. I think I'll get you a bike (with no pedals -- a training-type bike) for Christmas, because you ask about them all the time. Just this morning, you saw our neighbors getting out their bikes and clapped and said "Yay, bicycle!" Then you asked several times "Mama ride a bicycle? Baby ride the bicycle?" You also could spend hours in the driver's seat of the car just standing holding the wheel and pretending. You ask to be seat-belted in, too, which makes me smile. Your other favorite pretend game is talking on the phone. You grab my cell phone or your play phone, hold it to your ear and laugh like someone has told you a joke. Lately you've told us that you're talking to Elmo, Big Bird, Grandma, Boompah, Grandpa,Grandma Jan, Jenny and Aunt Maryam.

When other babies cry, it freaks you out a little, so I've been teaching you that when babies cry, we just pat them and say "It's okay." You have extended this to other people, too. The other day, you demanded that I cry, so I faked crying, and you patted me on the shoulder and said "It's okay." At the wading pool on Friday, I met an old high school friend and her baby briefly cried. You were too nervous to pat the baby, so you patted yourself on the arm and said "It's okay." Speaking of the wading pool, you seem to enjoy being there, but you don't really want to go in the water. You prefer to stand on the edge and throw things in. If I put you in the water, you cling to my legs and bury your face in my lap. You will NOT walk in the water, even if I hold your hand.

You have become quite a helper. You can bring me shoes, put books back on the shelf, and put small toys away. When we take showers together, you say "clean mommy" and rub my chest as if to help me wash. If I ask you to clean yourself, you will. It makes me laugh to ask you to clean your butt and watch you say "clean butt" and rub your booty.

You probably don't want this preserved on the internet, but you are also kind of weird. About once a week, we have the poop-eating discussion. "Baby eat poop?" "No, yuck-o! We don't eat poop." "Mama eat the poop?" "No, that's yucky." Long pause. "Baby eat poop?" And so forth... You have also asked if you can take your hair off, if you can eat the cat, and if I can take my boobies off.

You love you ride on your little zebra, and have recently discovered that you can stand on the saddle. You also can climb onto the kitchen table. Long gone are the days when I could put you somewhere and expect you to stay there!

A few other tidbits -- you have an Elmo doll you're pretty attached to. Sometimes you insist that he nurses, too. Other times you throw him violently to the floor, then pick him up, rock him, and tell him "It's okay." You love Dylan from down the street. Whenever you're both outside, you follow him all around. If we walk past his house and he's not outside, you look at me and ask "Dy-an?" with your palms up. Your memory surprises me -- A month ago, we saw cousin Cristin and baby Grant. He ran into a table, hit his head, and was crying. Just a few days ago, you saw a picture of Grant and said "Grant. Baby cry." You also regularly ask for Naia, a little girl we met on the airplane last month. In June, we met my step-brother's kids at Grandpa John's house. One of them is named Audrey, and she was playing in the hot tub. Several weeks later, we went back and you pointed at the hot tub and said "Audrey?"

We went to the doctor a few weeks ago for a check-up, and you're above average in height and weight, and way advanced for your age in terms of vocabulary. We still nurse, but we don't use the SNS anymore. Now I try to get you to drink milk from a cup. You don't drink as much as you're supposed to just yet, but I'm hoping that will improve.

Now you're on my lap begging to see pictures of yourself, so I'd better go. I love you tremendously.


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