Letter to Camille: Eighteen Months

Hello sweet bear and Happy 18-month birthday! You are a year and a half old today. It’s hard for me to believe that you are as close to 2 as you are to 1. But you’re still my little baby, right?
I hope right now you are still napping for your Grammie, but you’ll be up soon and you’ll be busy busy busy. You love to play and run and cook and laugh, and I’m sure you and Grammie will do a lot of that today. Your Daddy and I are on our way to Ikea in Atlanta to buy stuff for his office, and you’re having a Grammie-Baby date.
I’m typing this in the car, and feeling that the car is strangely empty. We only packed one toiletries bag, a small overnight clothing bag, and our laptop bag. When you travel with us, we add your clothes, some food and sippy cups, the pack-n-play, travel highchair, stroller, toys and books. I keep fighting the urge to turn around and see if you’re sleeping well in your carseat. It’s just a habit, I guess. I miss you, bumblebee. I know your Daddy and I will enjoy our little trip, eating a leisurely dinner, and sleeping past 5:30 a.m., but I will still miss you very much and think about you all the time. You left an adorable little handprint on the windshield that I can see when light is just right. You left one on my soul too.
How do I begin to tell you how cool you are? You are growing so well and I’m infinitely proud of you. You moved up to the next class at baby school last week where they serve you lunch on a plate with a spoon, which blows my mind. They say you and the other babies mostly just eat with your hands and bang on the table with the spoons, but at least you’re getting used to the idea of silverware.
The teachers tell me you are very happy all day until 5 o’clock rolls around. As parents start coming in to pick up their children, they say you get very upset and start asking for me. Now, every day after work I race to go get you because I can’t stand the thought of you seeing the other mamas and daddies and missing yours.
When I went to pick you up yesterday, I peeked in the window first to see what you were up to. The teacher was having story time. Two children were sitting in chairs – they were in “time-out” because they wouldn’t sit and listen to the story. Two other children were sitting on the floor some distance away, playing quietly with toys. But you were seated directly in front of the teacher, staring at the book with rapt attention. Like such a sweet little scholar. I finally said something, and you seemed happy to see me, but then immediately started asking for Daddy. Anytime he’s not around, you chant several choruses of “Daddy? Daddy? Daddy?” about every five minutes. It’s cute though. I’m a Daddy’s girl, and it’s a good thing to be.
You said your first phrase during this last month. It was last weekend, when we were getting ready to go to the playground with Nia and Nate. You were getting excited and a bit impatient, and kept asking, “Go, go, go?” Then you said, “Go, go bye-bye? Go bye-bye?” I was so proud! Your language is continuing to develop so much, and it’s nice to get all the feedback. You’re pretty good at telling us what you don’t want, and getting even better at saying what you do want. Like at snacktime. You’ll start saying, “Nack! Nack! Nack!” and run to your highchair. I’ll sit you down, then start pulling a few snacks out of the cabinet to see what you want.
I’ll ask, “Goldfish?”
You shake your head.
Another head shake.
And you’ll squeal “Cheeeeeeeeeesh!” And everyone is happy.
Probably our only real struggle over this last month has been with our morning routine. You still like to get up very early. I feel like you’d be better off if you slept a little later, but then again, maybe that’s just because Mama would like to sleep past 7 a.m. Every now and then, you’ll sleep until 6:30, but you’re usually up between 5:15 and 5:30. I’ll be honest. It’s a little rough. When you wake up that early, you wake up mad. You cry and you fuss until we’ve all woken up a bit, but you refuse to go back to sleep. If I try to lay you back down you scream and fight like your bed is full of snakes. But on those mornings when you sleep in, you wake up talking instead of crying, which is much better. I’m going to talk to your doctor about it next week when we go for your checkup to see what she thinks. If 5:15 is a normal time for a baby to wake up, then I’ll quit worrying about it and just try to adjust my schedule. But if she says you aren’t rested enough, we may have a little battle on our hands. I’m sorry. I just want to be sure you have everything you need, including rest.
Last month you really got into this whole make-believe thing, and it’s adorable. You are obsessed with baby dolls, and especially with feeding them, changing their diapers, and putting them to sleep. Apparently, that’s what we do. You love putting your toys “night-night,” like you’re doing here with Baby Maya:
You’ll take your toy, whether it’s a baby doll, a stuffed animal, your batman, or your little plastic horse, and lay it on a pillow or blanket on its tummy. Then you’ll pat it’s back and say, “Night-night.” It’s SO CUTE. Sometimes, if you’re lying on the floor, I’ll lay down next to you and you’ll reach over and pat my back. “Night-night.”
You still like feeding everything too, even giving Mr. Elephant something yummy in his trunk.
Thank you for being such a sweet angel. I know Mama has been stressed out over these last several days as we tried to sell the house. And today I was so sad when the deal fell through. The house we wanted to buy had a lot of things going for it, but they all added up to one very important thing – it just felt like a great place to raise children. A great place to raise you. Who knows, maybe something else will work out soon. But if not, it’ll be okay. Your Daddy said it best just a little while ago. He said he can live anywhere as long as he’s with us. Isn’t he sweet and smart? And it’s the love we have for each other that makes a home, so thank you for making whatever home we live in feel like a warm, happy place to be. I love you little bear.