Letter to Camille: Fourteen Months

Hello sweet girl, and Happy 14 months! This last month has been such an up and down ride for all of us. I have loved watching you grow, watching you respond to us and communicate with us, watching you explore. I’ve also watched you struggle with sickness and medical procedures, and it breaks my heart every time those really big crocodile tears fall from your soft blue eyes. But, although this hasn’t been our healthiest month, I’m happy to tell you we’ve still had more good times than bad.
This month you really seem to be picking up on more and more words, and making the connection to actions or items. And a lot of this you have figured out without our prompting. One night after your bath, you were a little fussy because I was apparently taking far too long to get you in your pajamas. I handed you a brush as a distraction technique, and after eyeballing it for a minute, you started brushing your hair. It was so cute! Now, anytime I have a brush or a comb I can say, “Cami, do you want to brush your hair?” and you’ll brush those golden strands for a long time.
The other day, I’d just finished changing your diaper and, like always, squirted some hand sanitizer in my palms. I usually follow this by saying, “We clean our hands after we go to the potty,” hoping if I start the messaging early it’ll be ingrained in your memory. Apparently it worked (even sooner than I’d hoped!), because before I had a chance to utter my clean hands mantra, you started rubbing your hands together just like I do! Now, almost every time I change you, I can just say, “Clean hands!” And you’ll rub your hands along with me. You’re so cute! And smart! And hygienic!
But one word you apparently don’t care to say anymore very often is Mama. But what you do instead is pretty cute, so I find it hard to be upset. This is how the conversation has been going lately:
Me: “Camille, can you say Mama?”
Cami: “Daddeeee!”
Me: “Say Mama.”
Cami: “Daddeeeee!”
The thing is, I know you can say Mama, and every now and then you let one slip. But you mostly just say “Daddeee!” with absolute glee and affection. And it doesn’t hurt your Daddy’s feelings one bit.
Speaking of affection, you are such a little love bug! You have always enjoyed hugs and cuddles, and you’ll still respond to me with a big, loud kiss when I tell you I love you. Your love is not just reserved for family – you seem to just love people in general, but especially other children. Last weekend, we were visiting your Aunt Erin and Uncle Dave in Miami, and took you to a neighborhood playground. You crawled up on one of the playsets where a 2 year old was already playing. We didn’t know this child, but you managed to back her into the corner of the playset and kept holding up your arms for a hug, leaning in closer until she’d tentatively push you away. She wasn’t trying to be mean, she just wasn’t sure she wanted to cuddle with a perfect stranger. You, on the other hand, just wanted a hug! I thought it was adorable, and I’m proud of you for being such a loving soul. I know one day you’ll have your heart broken when/if your love isn’t returned, but I think you’ll gain much more than you’ll lose by being a loving person. So keep it up, little love bug!
We all had so much fun in Miami. We went shopping, took walks (you love to walk and are doing SO well!), ate good food, played games and really enjoyed each other’s company. But your favorite part was the trip we took to Monkey Jungle. We spent several hours there watching all the monkeys running around, and you’d ohhh and ahhh at all of them, pointing to be sure we saw them too.
You spent some of that time walking, and some of it riding in our new backpack, which was very handy. It gave you a good vantage point to see all the activity, but kept you out of the dirt. It also has a sun shade, which was really beneficial when the monkey overhead peed on you and your Daddy. Thankfully, it just dribbled down the sunshade. If it had gotten all over you, I might’ve had to hunt down a monkey and break its legs. You also loved it when your Daddy swung you around like a little monkey.
You still love books just as much as last month if not more. I read a recommendation somewhere that parents should read to their children at least 10 minutes a day. I’ve often wondered if there is also a maximum recommendation. How much is too much? 4 hours? Okay, so I’m exaggerating, and I promise I’m not complaining. I love reading and I’m glad it’s something you seem to love too, at least for now. Here you are with Nikki and Baby Ella on our Tybee vacation, enjoying another book.
Your absolute favorite book these days is actually a scrapbook Aunt Erin made for you on your birthday. Anytime you see it, you’ll beg us to read it (and cry if we don’t!). We flip through the pages and look at all the pictures. You’ll even sign the word “hat” without being prompted when we come to the page where you’re photographed with a hat on your head. Smarty pants.
Your hair is still like baby hair, but it’s beginning to get longer (and maybe a little curly on the ends? Too soon to tell). Last weekend, I was able to get two little pigtails. Even though they were tiny and the rubber bands quickly slid off, they were still cute while they lasted!
They made you look so grown up. Just like this picture makes you look grown up:
And while I’m constantly amazed by how quickly you grow and change, you’re still my little baby. When you were at the hospital Monday, you seemed so tiny and so helpless and way too little to have to go through such a grown up ordeal. But you pulled through just fine, and I’m happy to say the experience didn’t upset you for long. Thank you for all the giggles and laughs; they heal my soul when it hurts for you. Thank you for being the loving little girl you are, and for sharing that love with your Mama. I love you.