Letter to Camille: Nineteen Months

Hello sweet busy bear! You are 19 months old today and I’m so proud of you. Every day you seem so much bigger, stomping around the house, giggling, screeching, and playing. I laugh so much when we’re together, like when you’re lying on the floor and I tickle your belly with my toes. You laugh so hard your whole body shakes, and it’s very contagious. I laugh at the way you love to wear your pink sunglasses and your hats like my prima donna princess. I laugh at you when I tell you to “march!” and you waddle around the house in little stutter steps.
Sometimes I laugh at you when I know I shouldn’t too, like when you threw a tantrum yesterday as we left the mall. You loved the carousel and didn’t want to leave, and as we walked out you arched your back and starting yelling “No! NO!” But I had to turn my head to hold in the laughter because your fury was kind of cute, and I knew it would dissipate in seconds. Which it did.
I wish I could tell you “Happy 19 months” in person and scoop your wiggly self into my arms for a big kiss, but I’m in Miami and you’re in Tennessee. And tomorrow, when we leave for Cuba, we’ll be even further away. That’s not cool. I miss you so much. One day, I think it would be a lot of fun to take you on an adventure like this, to learn together about other cultures and people. I keep imagining you as a ten year old, tagging along while we head for the baggage claim. But for now, I think you’re having much more fun with Nana and Granddaddy. At this age, I don’t think you would enjoy being with us while we wait for bags, stand in the line for shuttles, etc. But from everything I’ve heard, you’re having quite an adventure of your own.
You love having new and different toys to play with, and seem quite fond of your Nana and Granddaddy. They tell me you ask about us sometimes, but haven’t had any miserable meltdowns because we’re not there. Nana said earlier today you brought her cell phone over, asking “Mama? Daddy?” We’ve talked to you several times on the phone today, savoring your long-distance kisses.
You are so cute when you wake up from naps. Your hair is usually wild and adorable, and you are a very cuddly monster. On weekends, I often take you downstairs so we can lounge on the couch together and you’ll lie on me or nestle in the crook of my arm. It’s one of my favorite times of the day.
One of your favorite things to do these days is color. When you wake up in the morning and head back to your play area, you usually start looking for your Elmo tin that holds your crayons. “Paper? Paper?” you plead. We’ll pull out your huge drawing tablet and watch you color. Sometimes we sit and draw with you, seeing if you can figure out which animal or shape we’re drawing. You, my little genius, can recognize, point out and name a circle, triangle, square, heart and star. You’re also very interested in knowing the name of each color. You’ll often go through the crayon tin, one by one, holding up each crayon until we tell you what color it is. You can usually name two of them on your own – yellow and black. I am so proud of you, even if they are Georgia Tech colors. At least your favorite colors aren’t orange and blue for now.
And how cute is this picture your Daddy took with his cell phone camera? When he dressed you in your UGA football uniform the other day, you took one look at yourself in the mirror, raised your hands above your head and shouted, “Touchdown!” I was floored when he told me. Back when we were watching Georgia play their bowl game, I tried to get you to say touchdown, but you weren’t interested. But apparently, you remembered, and have been chanting “Touchdown!” periodically ever since we put your uniform on.
Thanks to a little stuffed animal you have that recites a child’s prayer, you like saying the word “Amen.” That means you also like saying the blessing before a meal. We all sit down at the table, and your Daddy and I reach out for your hands. You grin, and obligingly grasp our fingers while we pray. When we’re done, you add a simple, “Nah-nee,” your word for amen. I love it!
You also still like playing pretend, and you are SO FUN to watch. When you put your baby dolls “night-night,” you still lie them down on their tummies and pat their backs. But now you also say “Shhhhhhhh…” too. So cute! You even shush us from time to time if the babies are going night night. You had a cold recently, and we had to give you breathing treatments for a couple of weeks. One day after your treatment, you decided all your stuffed animals and baby dolls needed a breathing treatment too. You held the mask up to their faces and made a humming noise like the nebulizer. You are so adorable you break my heart.
Sweet little girl, you are getting so big and I’m very proud of you. I don’t know how we got so lucky, but I am thankful for every centimeter of your sweet soft self, and I can’t wait to see you again soon. Please have fun with your grands, and know that you are loved beyond measure. I love you. Night nght. Shhhhh…