Letter to Camille: Twenty-five months

Hello sweet sleeping bear. You’re all tucked in and I wouldn’t be surprised if you were dreaming about kissing your cousin Baby Jones on his head. After all, it’s one of your favorite things to do these days.
Auntie and Jones are visiting with us, and this is really your first opportunity to spend any time with him up-close-and-personal. And you really like to get up close! You love kissing him, covering his legs with a blanket, and pushing him in the swing. I think Jones likes all these things too, except maybe the swing. Sometimes you push a little too hard, so we’ve been trying to teach you to give very gentle pushes. Last night, he was chilling in the swing and you gave him a perfect little push, and I praised you for it. In your excitement, you jumped up and down, waved your arms and yelled, “YAY! MILLE DID IT!” Jones nearly jumped out of his skin.
This month, you and I have begun cooking together a lot. You got a super cute apron for your birthday, and we put it to good use. On the days when I don’t go to the office, we like to cook pancakes or waffles for your Daddy. Another specialty is your banana pudding – the hardest part is getting you to put the bananas and cookies in the bowl instead of your mouth.
“Whisk, Mama! Need whisk!” you say. Then the best part, of course, is letting you lick the spoon when we’re done. Mmmmmmmm.
This month, you were also introduced to ice cream cones. We were visiting Boo, and on a trip to Dairy Queen, she and I got ice cream cones and I got you a bowl of ice cream. I don’t know what I was thinking – of course you wanted a cone like Mama and Boo! And Boo couldn’t resist.
I’m not sure you’ll ever want to eat ice cream out of a cup again if there is a yummy cone in a 15 mile radius.
Another first this month was your first trip to a comic book store with your Daddy. He’s already done a fantastic job describing this experience on his website, so I won’t even try. But you not only loved your first trip to the store, you have loved, loved, loved your new comic books. We read them every day, and it’s what you always request for your bedtime story.
The other day, I asked if you wanted to go to the grocery store with me. “Go comic book store?” you asked, hopefully. No, sadly, they don’t sell milk and bread there, but I’m sure you and your Daddy will go back again soon.
When we do go grocery shopping, we always have to stop at the lobster tank so you can watch them swimming around. And you make me laugh every time because at some point, you’ll inevitably say, “Lobster go night-night mama. Need paci. Need blanket.” And I can just picture you reaching in there to lovingly put a blanket over that poor lobster’s shoulders. You’re pretty sure nearly everything needs a blanket and a paci. You repeat that phrase for the snake at Oatland Island, the owl, the eagles … pretty much anything that might require sleep at some point. Funny girl.
You are talking so much more this month, and I love it! You chatter all the time in the car, and I must pay rapt attention to everything you say, because you want me to repeat it. I think you really enjoy being able to communicate, and you like the confirmation that you’re understood. If I’m not paying attention, it goes something like this:
You: “Mille see sunshine. Mille see sunshine mama. Mille see sunshine. MILLE SEE SUNSHINE. MilleseesunshineMilleseesunshine MilleseesunshineMilleseesunshine.”
Me: “Camille, do you see the sunshine?”
You: “Yeah.”
You’ve also begun singing this month, and as much as it pains me to admit, I owe a big thank-you to Barney. I never really liked that purple dinosaur’s show and we never turned it on here at home. But you watched it occasionally at school, and apparently really dug it. One day you and your Daddy were playing with playdoh, and you handed him the purple stuff and asked him to make Barney. He did, and you made that playdoh Barney dance all around your table while you sang, “I love you! I love you! I love you!”
That’s just the first line of his trademark song, but you’ve since expanded to include a few more lines. Now, we regularly get to hear you singing, “I love you! I love you! We’re a happy family. Won’t you love me too!” Sure, you’ve left out a few phrases, but I love your version and would be happy to hear you sing it all day long.
We’ve crossed a threshold this month – one I thought we wouldn’t reach so soon. You’re totally and undeniably into princesses. I’m not sure how it happened – we don’t watch any princess movies at home, but I guess the other girls at school have influenced you. I didn’t know we were already in such a peer-influence stage! We were in Target looking for sunglasses, and I picked out a perfectly cute Hello Kitty pair, but you pointed toward the rack and said, “Princesses Mama! Want princesses!” I was shocked – after all, I didn’t even know you knew what princesses were. Now, anything you see with princesses on it is an instant attraction. And it’s ok – I just thought we had another year or two before princess fever took over!
One last thing before I go to bed. Most nights we take a family walk to one of our neighborhood parks, and one of my favorite things in this universe is watching you play there with your Daddy. At some point while we’re playing with sidewalk chalk or pushing the stroller or walking the dog, you’ll suddenly take off running and yelling, “I get you! I get you!”
You want us to chase you and to say, “I’m gonna get you!” And it’s so cute. Your Daddy will run all over the park, staying just a little distance behind you, until he catches you and swings you up into the air. Then he tickles you as you dissolve into giggles. As soon as your feet touch the ground, you’re off again, saying, “I get you! I get you!”
Oh sweet girl, I’m so glad that I get you. That I get to spend another day with you. That I get to be your Mama. That I get to hear you sing your Barney song and tell the lobsters night-night. That I get to watch you fall in love with princesses and comic books and ice cream cones. Thank you for another great month. I love you so much.

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