Hello sweet silly bear, and Happy 32 Month Birthday! The baby monitor is quiet right now, as you seem to have drifted off peacefully into sleep. But this month, you’ve really been entertaining us (and yourself) during naptime, and I’ve enjoyed having the monitor so I could listen in.
Today, for example, you spent the first 20 minutes of “nap-time” reading books and singing. You flipped through the book “Put me in the Zoo” and read it nearly word-for-word from memory. Then, you read your “Mr. Met” book, ending with a nice rendition of “Take me out to the ballgame.”
Fortunately today, you wound down and eventually took a good nap. Apparently you like to talk at school too. One of your teachers said you woke up the other day just chatting away to yourself. When she asked you who you were talking to, you said, “Nobody.” You’re getting quite good at entertaining yourself in your crib, which is a mixed blessing. Sometimes, your own chatter seems to keep you awake, but at least you’re happy at nap-time. I’m just not getting as much done because I find myself glued to the monitor, wondering what you’ll come up with next!
Your language skills have continued to develop at a rate that both astonishes and thrills me. I love hearing you talk and getting an even deeper glimpse into your thoughts. And you say such grown-up sounding things sometimes. Like the other night, when I asked if you would like some strawberry pie (duh), instead of a simple “yes,” you said, “Actually, yes, I think so.”
In addition to being a smarty, you’re also a very gentle, sweet soul. You’re not a big fan of rough-housing, and would prefer to cuddle instead of wrestle most days (although you do like a really good tickling). You seem to like routine and order, but lately, you’ve begun to realize that not everyone feels the same way.
The other day, we were at the soft play area at the mall, and you scrambled up the steps and prepared to go down the slide. Except there were two kids crawling up the slide at the same time. Patiently, you sat at the top and waited for them to move. Meanwhile, other kids had climbed up behind you, and not having the same patience, they scooted past you and went down the slide, bumping into other children and not concerned about it one bit.
Frustrated and confused, you looked at me, your eyes welling up and said, “But Mommy, it’s my turn!” I couldn’t figure out how to help you – I was proud of you for sticking to our rules about taking turns and not sliding until the path was clear. But at the same time, when chaos rules on the playground sometimes you have to just go for it. How do I teach you about gray areas? And I know this is just the beginning – few things about social relationships are truly black and white. Still, I’m glad you’re my gentle girl, and I know over time you’ll figure out when the rules can be bent just a bit.
Your gentle spirit has, at times, translated into a timid one too – you’re certainly not a daredevil. On the contrary, you’re not even willing to sit on a moving horse on a merry-go-round. Though you love the merry-go-round, you want to sit on a stationary bench with me or your Daddy, with no interest in any ride with moving parts. This tentativeness has kept you out of trouble, because you’re not willing to push too many limits if there is a chance you’ll get hurt or frightened.
So imagine my surprise last weekend when you got in the swing at the playground and cried because you weren’t swinging high enough. Until then, you’d enjoyed sitting in a swing only if no one pushed you, and only for about a minute at a time. “Don’t push! Don’t push me!” you’d remind me as I helped position you on the swing.
I wasn’t sure this time if you really wanted to go higher, but you insisted so I finally started pushing you. And you weren’t satisfied until you were going so high that your feet were well over our heads at the peak of your swing! You laughed and sang and giggled (and only told me it was too high twice), and stayed in that swing for about ten minutes until I finally said you had to get out in case someone else wanted a turn. I’m not sure what brought about this surge of bravery, but it’s been fun to watch you enjoy the swings so much!
You’ve also become a bit obsessed with body art this month. It really began that day in preschool when Elsie came in and showed you her new (temporary) tattoos. I could read it on your face – you were fascinated, but also quite disappointed that you didn’t have a tattoo too.
Later that night, as we strolled around the neighborhood, you just couldn’t take it anymore. Sobbing, with your head in your hands, you creid, “But mama! I need a tattoo! I need one!”
Me: “I know you want one baby, but we don’t have any tattoos.”
You: “BUT I NEEEEEEEEEEED ONE!”
Your Daddy and I had to laugh – this is the sort of conversation we didn’t expect to have with you for at least another 16 years.
The next morning, you found one of your ink stampers in the car, and on the way to Target proceeded to stamp yourself silly. I was in the front seat and couldn’t see what was happening. This is what I encountered when we arrived:
All day, I had to explain to people that you had stamped yourself, and that no, you did not have some strange pox or horrible bug bites. Once inside Target, we located some temporary tattoos in the dollar section. Your need for a tattoo was so intense we couldn’t wait until we got home – we had to march into the Target bathroom and apply one there. An Abby Cadabby one that says, “Girl Power.”
I swear the packaging says these tattoos are temporary, but it’s been over a week and yours is still going strong. But, it makes you very happy, so I don’t mind.
This month, you got to enjoy one of my favorite times of year – St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. I think it’s becoming a favorite for you too. Just as spring begins to wash over this town, with flowers bursting from every yard, the masses descend to celebrate St. Paddy’s. The fountains turn green, the schools close, and everyone heads downtown for the parade. I’ve always thought it was a fun celebration, but now, watching it through your eyes, it’s even more exciting.
We didn’t go to the parade last year because I felt you were probably too young to maneuver through the crowds, but this year I couldn’t resist. I’m glad we made it out, because we all had a good time (although the parade wasn’t nearly as exciting to you as riding on the city bus to get downtown!).
This really is a fabulous time of year to be living here. I’m looking forward to lots of visits to the playground, the beach, Sand Gnats baseball games, Oatland Island and more. And mostly, I’m looking forward to experiencing it all with you. I love you so very much.