Letter to Camille: Twenty-One Months

Hi sweet girl! I hope you are dreaming sweet dreams right now about all your favorite things, like playgrounds, running in the grass, naked baby dolls, and strawberries. You are 21 months old today, and that sounds really close to 24 months old, better-known-as two years old! I know I tell you all the time that you’re such a big girl, and you are. For example, today on the playground for the first time you were able to tell me why you were crying. You’d taken a tumble off a metal duck, and I asked you if something hurt. You said, “Mouth. Duck!” While I was very sorry you hit your mouth on the duck, I was ecstatic that you could tell me about it!
Your vocabulary has really grown in the last few days and weeks, both in the words you say and the words you will attempt. You now often repeat one random word out of many of our sentences, like the other day when I said, “Camille, I love all your new words.” And you happily shouted, “Words!” This is cute, but also dangerous, because I hit my foot the other day and said, “Dangit!” (I give myself some credit for not saying anything worse), and you followed up with a “Dangit!” or two of your own.
You’ve done very well learning the names of your body parts, but we are having a little difficulty with “elbow.” You refuse to say that word, instead sticking out your elbows like you’re doing the chicken and stating confidently, “ELMO!” I’ll say, “El-Bow” with great emphasis on the “b,” and you’ll laugh at me like I told a funny joke. Then you’ll repeat, “ELMO!” It works in reverse too – sometimes when the Elmo song comes on, you’ll stick out your elbows.
You have also begun stringing together a few more words, like “read it!” You really like to say this one when you’re looking at books in the car, which is unfortunate because I can’t follow through while I’m driving. Your requests can come across rather bossy, so I’ve been working with you on the word “please.” I was thrilled today as I was fixing you a grilled cheese at lunch, and you tugged at my leg and said, “Cheese toast please.”
You are adorable. Did you know that? Well you are.
You’ve also decided to start calling me Mommy instead of Mama. It was a surprise to me at first, because you’ve always called me Mama without exception. Then one day, you looked at me and said, “Mom-eeeeeeeeeee,” with a grin, and since then that’s what you call me most of the time. I think it’s cute, especially since you decided on it yourself. That makes it more authentic.
Well, your Mommy is very excited about spending two extra days at home with you during the week. I’m planning to take you to story time at the library, to the pool and to the beach, to Oatland Island to see the animals, to the museum, and whatever else we can think of. I feel very, very lucky to have this opportunity, and I’m very grateful that your Daddy is so supportive too.
Another place you love to go is to baseball games. Last week, while the Valleses were visisting, we went to our first Sand Gnats game of the season. The weather was absolutely perfect, and you loved watching all the people and cheering whenever the crowd cheered.
You also liked the food – dippin’ dots ice cream was a big hit. Andrew gave you your first taste of popcorn, and you definitely liked it. It was all I could do to keep you from picking up the stray pieces off the ground and eating them.
You love the Valleses too. From the second they left you’ve been asking about them every day. “Nate? Ikki? Nah-nee? Ah-drew?” I’m always amazed at how sharp your memory is. When we drive by the ball field, you’ll point to it and ask “Gnat?” (for the Sand Gnats mascot), and then you’ll ask about each of the Valleses. When we drive by the playground, you’ll say “Play! Elsie! Hart!” naming the two friends we sometimes meet there for playdates.
We had a great playdate with Elsie the other day at the Strawberry festival in Bloomingdale. The two of you got to pick strawberries and put them in your buckets, and you were such a hard worker! The only thing I had to fuss at your for was filling your bucket full of sand. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but we paid for the strawberries by the weight of the bucket, and I didn’t want to buy the sand.
A couple of days later, you were eating some strawberry yogurt, and I pointed to the picture of the strawberry on the container and asked you what it was. You paused for a minute, and then triumphantly said, “Elsie!” I’m glad strawberries bring up good memories for you.
You have a good memory about not-so-fun things too. Several weeks ago, you fell in the park and skinned your knees. As I was washing them, I called them boo-boos, and you haven’t forgotten. Even though they’ve healed, at least once a day you’ll suddenly point to your knees, get a sad look on your face, and say, “Boo boo! Kiss it!” And I do, because you’re so dang cute.
You still like your baby dolls to be naked, that’s for sure. When we flew to visit Aunt Erin and Uncle Dave a couple of weeks ago, you took naked Baby Rose along for the flight.
You’d been carrying her around the Fort Lauderdale airport, and suddenly we heard this over the loudspeaker:
“If someone has lost a baby doll, we have a naked baby doll at gate B3.”
We knew right away it must be yours, and sure enough, they had poor naked Rose seated in a chair by the gate. I think if you had it your way, you’d be naked too, because no matter what I put on you, you always say, “Tight!” I put a too-tight shirt on you once, and now it is your mantra. I could put a paper sack over your head, and you’d still tell me it was tight.
You are quite a little diva, too. You LOVE to have your feet rubbed, and demand massages on a regular basis. It’s Nana’s fault, because she started rubbing your feet one day in the car, and you didn’t want her to stop. Now, you’ll often pick up my hand and place it gingerly on top of your foot. If I don’t start massaging them right away, you’ll say, “More.” If I do rub your feet and then pull my hand away, you’ll bring it back. “More.”
My princess, you are so funny, and if rubbing your feet makes you feel good, then I’ll be happy to oblige now and then.
Thank you for another great month sweet peanut. I look forward to seeing what you’ll do next, and hearing what you’ll say next. Thank you for all the hugs and smiles, all the kisses, and all the “love you”s. Mama – or should I say Mommy – loves you very much.