Letter to Camille: Happy 2nd Birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY sweet Camibear! We had so much fun today celebrating your birthday. With all the the presents, the balloons, the cake and food, the friends and the water games, I think you really enjoyed yourself. And I thoroughly enjoyed watching you!
Your party was an animal theme, and I wanted to make your cake again this year. Your Daddy and I decorated it together – it was a simple idea and not quite ace-of-cakes, but you loved it.
I couldn’t help but think about your party last year, and how you dug into your cake with your hands and weren’t quite sure what to do with it all. But this year, you knew exactly what to do with cake!
After eating and opening gifts, we took the party into the backyard where you got to play with your new “animal splashers,” and they were a hit!
It’s an elephant, alligator and giraffe that spray water in various ways, and all your baby friends seemed to have a very good time. It was impossible to get a picture of all of them at once – here you are with Elsie and Hart, and Faith and Baby Thomas were playing too.
The only thing you didn’t like about your animal splashers was the occasional spray-in-the-face!
But a quick toweling-off fixed the problem, and you played so hard all afternoon. I think you’ll sleep well tonight!
Speaking of sleeping well… I’ve been afraid to address your recent change in sleep patterns for fear of jinxing things… but this month you’ve begun sleeping in! Until now, you’ve always been an early bird. For a long time, you got up between 5 and 5:30, and that was pretty rough on Mama and Daddy, who aren’t early birds. Then gradually you shifted to a 6 a.m. wake-up time and stayed that way for months. Six is much better than 5, but still a little early. What really made me wish you’d sleep in was that you often woke up grumpy. You’d turn into my happy, sweet girl soon enough, but it took you a little while to wipe the cobwebs away and I thought you’d feel better with more sleep. But you were not interested in going back to bed.
Then we went to Colorado, with a 2-hour time difference, and at first we really had to work to convince you not to get up at 4 a.m. After all, that was 6 a.m. Georgia time, and your little internal clock was pretty strong. But toward the end of your trip, you made the adjustment. Now I wonder if we scrambled your internal clock enough to allow you to reset a bit once we returned. The first few days after we got home you still woke up at 6, but then suddenly one morning you slept until 7:30. And since then, you’ve been sleeping until 7 or later just about every morning. This morning you didn’t get up until 8! And on top of that, you’re stretching your former 2-hour nap into 3-4 hours!
It’s funny – in your one-year-old letter, I talked about the new leap you’d made in sleeping, which was that you would go to sleep without a fuss. And you still go to sleep like a dream, and we’re very grateful! And who knows – with this new change, you may be going through a growth spurt or something that requires extra sleep, so if this is temporary that’s ok. But it sure has been nice, because you wake up so much happier, and Mama and Daddy wake up more rested too!
This month you got to see your first movie at a theater – what a big girl thing to do! A local theater is offering a few free kid movies this month, so I thought that’d be an easy way to test the theater waters. My suspicion was that you would be interested, but only for a little while.
You sat in my lap at first while we were waiting for the movie to start. Then you wanted to sit in the seat by yourself, and you were hilarious. The seat kept folding up on you, and you kept making it open and close. I snapped this pic with my phone camera.
There was a pre-movie cartoon with an unfortunately-named main character. It was called Cami Island, and it was about an island ruled by a big monster named Cami Monster. I couldn’t believe it – that was not the big-screen introduction I’d hoped for, but you didn’t seem to mind. Then the main movie, Wallace and Gromit, came on. As I predicted, you liked the movie but wanted to walk around, so we didn’t stay long. But it was a fun experiment, and I look forward to taking you to movies when you’re older and can really enjoy them.
We’ve done a tiny bit of potty training in this last month. We’re not pushing the issue, but a few times, the potty-training stars have aligned and you’ve actually used your potty appropriately. When you do, we heap tons of praise on you. And now you return the favor! Whenever I go potty, you encourage me with a very upbeat, “Good girl, mommy!” Oh how you make me laugh!
We’ve been working on sharing and taking turns this month too, and I’m so proud of how well you’re learning this tough toddler skill! I realized you’d finally grasped the concept when I saw you projecting it on your own toys. You were playing with your toy farm animals the other day, and you had the goat eating hay. Then you said, “Sheep’s turn!” and removed the goat and let the sheep eat hay. Later, you were having a tea party on your new table, and the panda bear was in the other chair. You said, “Ok, doggie’s turn!” And off the panda bear went to make room for the doggie. It may seem like a simple thing, but I was very excited to watch you practicing what we’d been teaching you, and without any prompting from us.
Oh sweet Camille, while watching you play today, there were so many times I thought, “I can’t believe how big she is!” You are playing and running and talking so much – and I’m so glad one of your favorite things to say is still “Hi Mommy!” This year, you seem so much more like a little girl, and less and less like a baby. I think you know this too, because whenever I scoop you up in my arms and hold you like a baby, you say, “Mille baby!” and you laugh like it’s a funny joke. I feel very mixed about that, because I still love holding you like a baby and cuddling you close. But at the same time, I’m so excited to watch you grow and to experience your childhood with you. You are an amazing girl, and everything your Daddy and I could have wanted, and we will cherish each phase of our lives with you. Thank your for blessing my life so much. Sleep well, little two-year-old … my big girl who will always be my baby.