Dear Elle: You’re 18 Months Old!

Dear Elle,

You are a year and a half old.

Is that not the craziest thing?

I find myself absolutely cherishing the moments rocking you to sleep. There have been a few nights where I just love the weight of your chest against mine, your head under my chin. You still fit. And I just love the way it feels being your Mom in moments like those.

You love outside.

You talk.

A lot.

A lot.

And it’s so stinking cute.

You get PISSED OFF about things and I just don’t like that very much. Like today, you wanted to play in the bathroom and I said no and closed the door, so you proceeded to walk across the hall into my office and take a pile of papers sitting on the ledge and push them all off onto the floor.

Retribution. A characteristic you own.

You love songs where you get to use your hands. You walk around ‘singing’ the ABC’s but really it’s just the tune, no words. Sometimes you get “G” right.

You still LOVE bath time!

You still DISLIKE having things taken on/off over your head.

You have begun saying “MINE” about things, which your Dad and I then rip whatever it is out of your hands and say ‘no’.

I have to confess that I’ve stopped reading parenting blogs and books. I probably should, it might help with combating some of the “MINE” and retribution issues. But…you’re too easy and too good to feel like those things can’t be managed.

You still do not sleep through the night. Every once in awhile you will, and I feel so rested. But largely, you wake up at some point in the night and come to our bed.

I love the conversations that you and I are beginning to have. You have such an absolutely charming, lovely personality. You’re somehow a party girl and shy all at once, you’re good playing alone or with others. It’s so nice to see you grow up.

I still find myself wondering who you’ll be, how you’ll look.

Sometimes, I can’t believe that you’re so old already, growing up so quickly. And yet, I can look at you from time to time and still see those little, tiny, newborn faces you would make.

You are the puzzle and the joy of my life.

And you fill my whole body with love. And frustration. And guilt. But mainly, with love. I didn’t know I could be this full.

Love,

Mom

Elle’s Hairs Cut

Elle got her hair cut! All of her hairs, in fact.

I struggled…her wispy, thin hair was in her eyes, Jon kept saying “she needs her hair cut” and I kept trying to get emotionally worked up about cutting her hair. And I just couldn’t.

So, I scheduled an appointment with a trusted friend – Andrea’s stepmother-in-law, Kate, who is awesome! I took Elle after work and it was a riot!!

March2013-1Here we are having just arrived to Kate’s salon. The barette was a huge help to keep the hair out of her eyes, but at school they can’t really keep it in because the chances of some other kid eating it are pretty great. So, on school days pigtails, which didn’t go all the way back into pigtails, so then there was hair everywhere. And with our wedding on the horizon, I didn’t want Elle’s haircut to be just before the wedding and then hate the hair cut. So, I chose a random day in March for her first hair cut.

Here’s a link to the video of Elle’s first hairs cut. I sound pretty emotional, actually, in it. I kind of was after the snips had happened. But, I was glad it was done.

March2013-2And here she is, one simple ‘snip’ later with bangs!

I’m glad that we got her bangs cut — as awful as I sometimes feel admitting this, the bangs hide the birthmark remnants of her hemangioma. And while people don’t ask about it nearly as much, they often assume ‘oh, she must have really bonked her head’ or ‘did she just learn to walk and take a nasty tumble?’. So, for now, I kind of feel like keeping bangs might just take that conversation away. I know it comes across as vain, but it’s not just that. I just want everyone and anyone else to see her, not the birthmark she’s got on her head.

So, there’s my super cute girlie. She was so good the entire time getting her hair cut. She sat on the stool thing with that cape on the whole time. She held onto her magazine (an Avon catalog) and was so darn cute the whole time. She loved getting pumped up in the chair and checking herself out in the mirror. It was just so much fun to take her to the salon and have her get all do’ed up!! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Letters to Elle: February 2013

Dear Elle,

I’m getting this one in by the hair of my chinny chin chin. It’s the last day of February, 2013 and I haven’t yet written to you, though I’ve composed this letter about a hundred times in my mind, watching you fall asleep each night, watching you play hide and seek, watching you develop and grow. But part of me wants so bad to be PRESENT in the moment, that I’ve gone on hiatus from social media’ing documenting the daily. I may regret it eventually, but I’m pleased with myself for living in the moment, for living the moments rather than capturing them…for all the sense that makes.

I look at the way you play — with me, with your Dad, with your Grandma’s and Grandpa’s and all your friends and it makes me so proud. You’re so smart and fun and funny…you get a kick out of things that make me laugh too — I’m glad we find the same sorts of things funny!!

You’ve entered a phase, at 16+ months old where you want to be independent and yet don’t at all. You’re interested in exploring, but want to stay connected. You have a daredevil streak in you. This has been the most trying time to be your Mom. You were a phenomenal baby and early toddler. But now — you’re a whole new ball game. You take our ‘chaos’ nickname one level further. Whether it’s knowingly, in the 10.3 seconds your diaper is off, when you walk to the edge of the rug and hardwood floor and proceed to pee down your leg and stare at the pee as it pools on the floor at your feet…or when you begin splashing and dancing in it in the 20.2 seconds before I whisk you away to a quick hose down…you are chaos.

Our morning routine is fun, most days, but some days you have a distinct mind of your own about how the morning is going to go. Those are most often the days I’m late for work.

You love books, of course. You also love the iPad and can figure out how to unlock it and do just about anything you want, including nearly buying in-app stuff the other day. The restrictions on that have been tightened a little bit.

You are so cool, really. I know all parents think that of their kids. But I really think it of you. You crack me up and make me laugh. I look forward to seeing who and what you’ll wake up as — happy and excited and fun or a little bit cranky. Will you have slept funny so your hair goes wild all over the place, or will it have gone pin-straight in the night? Will you have six binkies in your hands, or just one in your mouth? Will you wake up in the middle of the night or not? Will you want a bubba/bottle or will you just need a quick cuddle? Will your teeth have popped through and your smile be wider and brighter? Will you insist on brushing with the motorized or regular toothbrush? Will you use my toothbrush or yours? Will today be the day the bathroom mirror gets messed up with tiny handprints…or tomorrow? You are a puzzle, but one I look forward to the challenge of every minute.

You have taken to ‘cheers’ ing others with your sippy cup. Which means you can get those of us drinking ‘adult bevs’ quite drunk with your penchant for ‘cheers’ ing!!! You also very much enjoy hanging out with your grandparents. You built your playhouse the other day with your Grandpa Scott and you are quite enthralled with the playhouse now.

You are able to converse, in small ways. You know what you want and what you don’t and can shake your head accordingly. You weigh probably around 22+ pounds and you’re quite tall.

In the last month, you’ve helped to celebrate the birthdays of both Emmerson and Holden, which was a lot of fun.

As your Dad and I keep planning our wedding in two months, we ordered your dress (so freaking cute!) and your little slippers to go with it (again, too much).

I don’t know, girlie. You are just a ton of fun right now. I often feel like I’m not doing enough, like I could do more or better by you. I think the world of your Dad — he’s such a good Dad and you just find him to be the best guy in the world. As you should – for for always. Saturday I’ve planned a girls day just you and I. I haven’t had enough just you and me time lately — where I get to enjoy you and not battle you as I try to get ready for work. I’m looking forward to that in the next few days here.

I feel like I may regret that I haven’t taken as many pictures lately, that I haven’t blogged as much. But I kind of like what I said earlier even in this blog post. I’m making memories, not capturing them. I try so hard to imprint in my mind the things you say and do and try…and I know I’m missing some things, but I’m present for them in the moment and I guess that’s all I want for now. It’s a phase I’m going through — just like you’re going through a phase!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I look into your eyes and I feel like most of the time I’m trying to look into the future, to see who you’re going to be and what you’re going to think or say or do. I am so thrilled to continue to discover the girl and woman that you’re destined to be.

Even tonight, as I rocked you to sleep and intermittently your eyes were either rolling back in your head fighting off sleep or focusing on my eyes, I felt that emotion you feel when you watch Free Willy when Willy looks into the boy (why can I not remember his name!?) and there’s this connection and it’s like they both just KNOW what the other needs/wants/feels. That’s dramatic, yes, but that’s how it feels with you, what it was like tonight and so many other nights. Sometimes, I feel like you can see through my facade better than anyone and it’s humbling and enlightening, all at once.

I’m so enamored with you — more so than at any other time in your life — and I just find it remarkable that together, your Dad and I created you…I feel like now that you’re YOU I have so much more respect for that process. This is the coolest time so far of being your Mom, even if it means cleaning up a lot of pee on the floor.

You’re phenomenal already. You fulfill me and my love for you overflows out my eyes.

As ever, girlie —

Mom

I Can Relate

I laughed out loud at this blog post from Type B Mom Stays Home just now.

I laughed – sort of scared – because about the time Elle turned one – in October – she moved into 12 month clothes. The second pair of 12-month PJs she wore were some two piece blue with monkeys Carters pjs. Cute.

And after the first time wearing them, I find her in the office, a pair of small scissors from my ‘locked’ bathroom drawer on the floor next to her.

“Whew” I think, believing I’d found her just before she’d done anything to herself. Like poke her eye out.

Until after the clothes go through the wash, I’m folding them and realize that there’s a large L-shaped cut in the top.

I pondered if something had gone amiss with the washing machine.

Until I recalled the near-miss on the poking out of the eye.

And it turns out that I wasn’t there in the nick of time. Not at all.

 

Snow Day, 1

It’s my Friday today — and a snow day for the rest of the area.

Sitting in my office trying to find the itinerary for my parents to figure out if they have a chance of making it home through the storm tonight (they might).

I hear, in the other room, my girlie girl playing and all of a sudden some clanking that sounds like…well…no good.

And instead of getting up to investigate, I took a moment and played ‘what is she banging together’ to see how good I am at guessing.

Admittedly not the safest game to play with a toddler, but it worked in my favor this time.

I was half right: a hair brush and a small pan (that she’s swiped from the cupboard).

Now…she’s trying (unsuccessfully) to rip the princess crown cover off the nite light in her room.

So, that’s one minute of my morning…

 

Dear Elle: December 2012

Dear Girlie,

You’re 14 months old now. Isn’t that incredible? It is to me.

Every day is so new with you – you do new things, you become more YOU.

You are making a lot of different sounds – mainly just gibberish grunting, but there is almost always a point to what you are saying.

You now point at what you want and will take someone by the hand and lead them to what you want, then point at it.

The other day, you did this with your black sparkle shoes. You had worn them to Christmas with Santa at the club, and the following day, you brought me to them, sat down with your feet out, and it was evident you wanted them ON.

The reason you wanted them ON had more to do with the fact that your Uncle Trevor (once, a long, long time ago) was in tap class. And, Grandma and Grandpa still have his shiny black tap shoes (two times too big for your feet) but you LOVE to tap and you love the sound those tap shoes make on the ceramic tile. So, because you had a pair of shiny black shoes at your house, you wanted to tap. It was very clear you knew what you wanted as you stomped around ‘tapping’.

You are also more work – not going to lie. Your sleep remains inconsistent, though you’re going to bed easier and staying asleep better (for the most part). I fear that you will never NOT need a diaper at night as waking up NOT soaking wet hasn’t happened EVER. But, that’s a ways off. For now.

You still have just the six teeth that I can count and I keep feeling around for more, but none yet. They’re definitely getting bigger and coming in more, but nothing new since the six popped through at once.

We have had a few tries with Santa in the last few days — and you haven’t been an up-close fan. From far away, Santa doesn’t seem so bad. From up close, it’s a whole different story altogether. So far, no pictures of Elle with Santa. YET. We’re going to get one – I’m not really caring what you have to say about it!

We have lots of presents beginning to build up around our tree. It’s fun to see it happen, but I have to admit that Christmas shopping and preparing are so different this year. Last year at this time, I wasn’t working (because I’d just had you!) and I had time to decorate and time to do things that this year just are slipping away from me.

You are now in the “Young Toddler” room at school. It’s different teachers and different ‘stuff’ but you learn so much that I can’t imagine you NOT going there. Seriously, so much of what you have come to know I’m certain comes from being with those other kids your same age.

Girlie, this last week, there was a big thing that happened at some other kids’ school in Connecticut. Someday, you may be able to appreciate this, but it was like 9/11. It was something so awful that it made you freeze where you were in time and not be able to look at anything else.

At work the other day, another girl’s Mom was very mad that the news on the TV was showing the bad things that had happened. Very mad. And someday, when you’re old enough, you’ll understand this: Every once in awhile a bad person does a really, really bad thing to really, really good people. Sometimes it’s the words they say and what they want their words to mean; sometimes it’s the things they do and the results they want; and sometimes, it’s just bad. This week, a bad bad person did something to good little kids like you. There hasn’t been a night since when I haven’t thought about those little kids’ Mom’s.

I know that part of the reason I think about those kids’ Mom’s is because I’m your Mom now. It’s incredible, really, how big my love is for you. Sometimes, I feel like you made my heart grow bigger — not just to love you, but to love everyone we know (and even people we don’t know) just a little bit more than I thought I could.

I love you.

Love,

Mom

I Spent the Day With Santa

 

 

I spent the day with Santa today, as part of my job. And let me tell you, THAT is one quick way to restore your faith in people after the insanity of yesterday.ย Santa with Shoppers-5So, here are some random people with Santa.

You walk along, as Santa’s ‘elf’ and hold the bag of candy canes. Being dressed in regular clothes, you’re inconspicuous. And you watch people. You watch kids, some who believe and some who questionably believe and some who’ve given up, ย for whatever reason, in believing.

And you see them all, each of them, and the way their faces light up at the surprise of Santa.

You see the smile spread across their face.

You hear the horns honk from cars as he waves, his bells jingling, and his jolly smile emanating.

It’s AHhhhh-MAZING.

And it was what I needed today.

Despite not wearing the right clothes, or shoes, to be in the cold for so long, I had the best time. We took our time, we interacted with people.

One woman came up and said ‘I haven’t had my picture taken with Santa in over 20 years’ and she hugged him tight.

Some families said ‘oh good, we weren’t sure we’d see you this year’ and parents with kids seemed grateful for the distraction.

In one store, a little girl squealed with delight and the whole store laughed heartily when she, in that little tiny voice reserved for very little girls, said breathily “Sah-ntahhhh, I can’t believe you’re here!!!!!!!”

It warmed my heart (if not my toes).

Honestly, the light that comes over people when they see a man with a white beard, dressed in red velvet is absolutely incredible.

So, Santa Claus, as I always have, I still believe in you.

Thank you for today.

It is the only gift that I need.