Hello Sweet Camille, and Happy 23 month birthday (plus one day)! I started writing this letter to you yesterday, but a storm knocked out the power in our house and it didn’t come on until this evening. No electricity = no internet = belated birthday wishes. I can’t believe that next month you’ll be two years old! Your Daddy and I are making plans to celebrate your birthday, and we’re hoping to have a little party at our house in our new backyard. Right now it looks pretty crazy out there because the landscaper has been tearing out old trees and bushes and overgrown weeds and vines, and making room for sod. And your Daddy and I have been laying stones for our new patio. You love being outside, and we want a backyard you can enjoy – in fact, I know we’ll all enjoy it.
We’ve settled on a theme for your party. After narrowing it down to three, we passed on Elmo and Yo Gabba Gabba characters and decided to go with a farm animal theme. You are CRAZY about farm animals! Now that I stay home with you two days during the week, we get to go to the Oatland Island Education Center’s Toddler Story Time every Tuesday. There are lots of animals there, but your favorite area right now is the barn. You love visiting the cow, donkey, goats, sheep, turkeys, chicken, ducks, rabbits and the pig. In fact, you love it so much you talk about it all the time. You’ll be riding in your car seat, and suddenly exclaim, “Cow! Eat hay!” Or “Pig! Night-night!” You’re remembering things the animals did when you last saw them. Your memories can be pretty specific too, like the fact that the goat was scratching his ear. “Goat itch ear!” You’ll remind me about that goat’s poor itch for weeks and weeks. Recently when we saw him rubbing against the fence, you pointed at him and told me to give him medicine. You know that when you get an itchy bug bite, I put benedryl cream on it, and you were pretty sure the goat needed medicine too.
You also really want to feed the animals. The goat can be munching on her own personal bale of hay, but you’ll pick a stray piece of hay off the ground and hold it out to her, saying, “Here you go! Here you go goat!” It’s really cute.
But your love of animals doesn’t stop at Oatland Island. Nana got you a farm set with little plastic animals, and it’s currently your absolute favorite toy. You play with it longer than anything else, and love arranging and rearranging the animals in the different stable areas. You’ll often carry the goat all around our house with you. And your favorite DVD is about farm animals, which you watch with rapt attention and frequent squeals of delight.
You definitely assert your independence more and more every day. It wasn’t that long ago that I was still feeding you grits, but now even before I’ve finished making them, you’re demanding, “Hold spoon! Hold bowl!” And actually, you do quite well with it and don’t usually spill very much. Sometimes, when I turn my back, you’ll stick your hand in the bowl and start eating fistfuls of grits – but if I ask you to use your spoon, you try to comply.
But your absolute favorite food right now is a popsicle.
“Camille, what do you want for breakfast?”
“Camille, what would you like for a snack?”
You get the idea.
Sorry, but I don’t think popsicles for breakfast are a good choice, but we usually have a popsicle break at some point in the day. Whenever I get one for you, you almost always say, “Mama tooooooo!” So we enjoy a popsicle together.
Dinner time has become easier as you’ve grown to accept and understand our bargaining techniques. It used to seem impossible to get you to eat vegetables, and if you saw something on our plates that you really liked (a.k.a. mac and cheese), then that’s all you could focus on. But now that we are better communicators, we can bargain. “Camille, if you’ll eat two green beans, you can have a bite of macaroni and cheese.” Sometimes you grimace while eating your veggies, but you do it, and I’m grateful! It’s so much fun being able to communicate with you – not just because you eat your veggies, but because I feel the more we can say to each other, the stronger our bond becomes and the more we understand one another.
Your current favorite book is Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess. Whenever you spot its bright orange cover, you shout, “Dr. Suess! Dr. Suess!” It’s a pretty long book, but you have already memorized the endings of many of the sentences, and will say them for us.
Me: “I will not eat them with a…”
Me: “I will not eat them in a…”
Your beautiful hair is getting longer and longer, and now curls up at the ends and is so cute. I can even pull it into a ponytail, although it never lasts long.
Another of your favorite things these days is anything having to do with water (except having your hair washed). It could be a tiny puddle left over after we watered the yard, or a big river stretching under a bridge as we drive over, and you’ll see it and beg, “Touch water!” Quite often I have to reply with, “No, we can’t touch that water, we can just look.” This is especially problematic in all the great downtown squares that feature many beautiful fountains. You cannot understand why these should be any different than the spray pools you enjoy so much, and you’d dive in head first if I didn’t hold you back. That’s another reason I want to get our backyard renovation done – so we can just turn on the sprinklers and let you run wild! I think you’ll have so much fun, and Savannah is just too hot not to find creative ways to cool down.
Last month, you got to meet your new cousin, Baby Jones. Even though you were a bit jealous, I still think you liked him, and I believe you’ll grow to love him even more as the years go by. And in just a few days, you’ll meet Elliot, the daughter of Mama and Daddy’s good friends Anna and Jason. She’s practically your cousin too. Then later in the week, you’ll spend several days with your cousin Stella. I’m excited for you to have all this time to spend with the people I love and their kids, because I hope they are important fixtures in your life as you grow. And you are growing so wonderfully and strong, my sweet girl – every day I feel so lucky to have you in my life.
Thank you for another great month. I look forward to seeing you in the morning for our daily snuggle. Couldn’t think of a better way to start the day. I love you pumpkin.