Letter to Camille: Thirty-One Months

Thirty-One MonthsHi sweet girl, and Happy Thirty-One Month Birthday! You’re probably having Princess dreams right now since we spent the last half hour before bedtime playing dress up. First you were a woodland fairy wearing ballet shoes. Then you switched to your Cinderella dress. Then you insisted that I put your ballerina tutu on top of the Cinderella dress, making it a very poofy, very pink outfit indeed.

My Cinderella BallerinaYou look quite proud of yourself!

Playing dress-up was just one installment of a princessey month. You received your very first Barbie doll courtesy of Nana and Granddaddy. It’s the Princess Aurora Barbie doll, and when you opened the box I felt a mixture of dread and glee. Dread because now I have to keep up with tiny pink shoes and tiny jewelry, but glee because I knew you’d love it.

I loved Barbies growing up, so I don’t mind that you have one (with more to come, I’m sure), but I couldn’t help but feel protective as you admired her. Barbies are impossibly designed – an example of female beauty that is not only unattainable by most, but also unhealthy. But I don’t think Barbies had any negative affects on me as a child, so I’m hoping you’ll also grow up with a healthy dose of reality about body image.

Whuzzup?And although I find your girliness very cute, I’m glad your personality still has so much depth – you’re a magnificent well-rounded mix. For example, you like to raise your Princess Barbie’s hands over her head and yell, “Touchdown!” You still love to wear your princess crown, earrings, rings and bracelet, but then you merge this fantasy with your comic book ones. You shout, “‘Princess to the rescue’ I cried!”

I am fascinated by the way your imagination has continued to develop this month. You’ve been playing “pretend” for a long time, cooking imaginary food and playing with dolls and stuffed animals. A couple of months ago, you took things up a notch by pretending objects were something else, like when you imagined all the rice puffs in your Veggie Booty were elephants. You picked out various elephant families, then later decided the rice puffs were wheels, so you made a car.

Your imaginative skills jumped again this month. We were eating breakfast, and suddenly you got a very serious look on your face and leaned toward me. In a hushed voice you said, “Mama, I see monsters on the floor.”

Not sure if you really saw something you mistook for an actual monster, I asked for more information.

Me: “Where are they?”

You: “Right there, on the floor,” you said, pointing to a perfectly normal patch of carpet.

Me: “What color are they?”

You: “A little bit black, and kind of a little red.”

Me (ignoring that you’d used the colors of my alma mater to describe these monsters): “Are they silly monsters?”

You: “No, they’re a little bit scary.”

Me (wanting to nip this scary monster business in the bud): “Then we better stomp on them!”

And I did. Then you got down and stomped on them too. You also imagine sweet things. A few days after you discovered the “monsters,” you brought your cupped hands over to me and said, “Mama, hold my baby bear.” I held this imaginary bear for a while, then you took him back, scooping his invisible form out of my hands, and rocked him while singing a song. Such a sweetie.

StretchThis has also been a month of new culinary adventures. Your Daddy had the bright idea one Sunday afternoon to make root beer floats. I LOVE root beer floats, and while we don’t usually let you have soda, we felt you were ready for this special treat. You loved it, sucking on the straw until there wasn’t an ounce left in your cup. Girl, I know the feeling!

Root Beer FloatYou also helped me make a key lime pie, and I let you have free rein with the spatula and bowl when we were finished. Usually I don’t allow this because there are raw ingredients involved and I’m not ready to deal with salmonella in a toddler. But this was a no-bake pie, so all the ingredients were safe. And you had fun! I wonder if I’ll regret this the next time we make brownies and you can’t lick the bowl? Ahhh, it was worth it.

Key Lime Pie = GoodnessI am still really enjoying our story time outings – Oatland Island on Tuesdays and the library on Thursdays. I was so proud of you this month during the Oatland story time, as you began to participate even more, raising your hand to be called on and giving great answers to the leader’s questions. But I realized something while watching you interacting with the leaders and the other children. You are now one of the older ones at story time. How did this happen? You look so grown up, towering above the other children, many of whom are only crawling, or just barely getting around on wobbly legs. And there you are, poised and listening, your long, blond ponytail falling down your back, looking like quite the young lady.

Off to the Museum with My DaddyI’m very proud of you, young lady. I’m so thankful for another month to enjoy your sunshine and watch you blossom. I ask you sometimes if you know how much I love you, and you say, matter-of-factly, “Yeah, I do.” I realize you don’t understand, couldn’t possibly comprehend how loved you are, but just know that I love you a whole, whole lot. And I always will.

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