Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dear Gracie, Part 5

Oh girlie, you are closing in on 17 months now, where the heck does the time go? You are a demanding, high-maintenance child. You never, ever sit still. You get into everything that isn't locked up or out of your reach. You screech and throw tantrums when you don't get what you want. But you have the most infectious smiles I have ever seen.

You are a total Mama's Girl, preferring me to anyone. If I'm not around, Daddy will do, but if you know I'm around somewhere you must be with me, preferably carrying you around. While I make dinner at night you cling to my legs.

You say dada, mommy, sissy (you refuse to say "Mia" or "Gracie," both are simply "sissy"), no, apple, treat, up, down, hot, cold, shirt, baby, hat, car, ball (usually followed by "shoot"), kitty,  night night, "fff-fff" means "woof woof" for dog, shoes (which also means socks), cheese (for the food and also if you see a camera), eat (which you also use for "read"), seat/sit (for chair), you call Elmo "Wawa" (and sometimes apply it to other characters you recognize), "suit suit" (for swimsuit), "baba" (for bottle), "cuck" (for cup), "cuh cuh" (for cracker), "tutu" (for tissue) "soon" (for spoon or fork), "boops" (for boots), "coke" (for coat). You know the sounds of several animals: cows, ducks, dogs, monkeys, sheep, owls, horses.  If we ask you a question that doesn't have a yes or no answer you say "ummm." If you ask where daddy or sissy are, and I tell you they are at work or at school, you say "oh!"

Your favorite foods are macaroni and cheese, hummus and crackers, guacamole, chocolate, and apples.

We went to Florida a few weeks ago, and I thought I knew what we were in for, having taken Mia at almost the same exact age, but you were completely and utterly without fear around the water. You would walk right into the ocean if we let you. You would walk right into the pool if unsupervised. You would spend the whole time in the water trying to get out of mine or daddy's arms, convinced you could float. It was exhausting. And you were as bad of a flyer as I knew you would be. You hated being confined for several hours.

All this is said with love though, Gracie. You are exhausting and high-maintenence, but you are absolutely delightful. You are curious and silly and as cuddly as a squirrel. You think whatever your sister is doing is the most fun thing in the world and are outraged if you are not allowed in on it. You exhibit joy and rage in equal measures and very little in between.

You are very thoughtful and deliberate when you play. You set out to enact certain things (things I often have no idea about), and you get lost in your little world of play. Most often you like to play with your dolls. One in particular is your favorite, and if it is lost or in another room you act like you are being reunited with a long lost love when we find it. You love pushing it around in a stroller and giving it a bottle. You also love building with legos, coloring with crayons, and reading. I can't wait for the weather to warm up so we can get to the playground because I think you will love climbing and sliding and swinging.

You are timid around strangers, but warm up pretty quickly and after a few minutes you are trying to charm them with smiles. You are fine when I leave you at Child Watch at the Y now, you march right in. I'm not sure you exactly love it, but you tolerate it, and you are so very excited to see me when I come back for you.

I just love seeing the relationship grow between you and your sister. You play together more and more every day, but you also butt heads quite a bit. I'm pretty sure if the two of you can work together you will be able to take over the world one day. She's outgoing and bossy, and you're thoughtful and loud, and you're both smart and stubborn. I did not birth any wallflowers, is what I'm saying, and I couldn't be prouder.

You poop in the tub too often. You throw food. You tickle any exposed skin you see. When we try to get you to say "I love you," you walk around kissing everyone in the room. You dance. You do all the arm motions to "Wheels on the Bus." You scowl at strangers. You wouldn't mind playing in the snow, but you hate having cold hands. You still drink your milk from a bottle because you refuse it from the sippy cup. When you need a diaper you grab your bottom and say "toots."

If I had to describe having a child to someone without children, I think I would tell them that there is a certain window of time (say 8 months old to 18 months old) when you think, multiple times a day, about consuming your child. Like, you actually ponder the logistics of gobbling them up. Their chubby cheeks, their plump little bottoms and rubber-band wrists look simply delicious. Not to mention when they laugh it is more palatable than an entire chocolate cake. What I'm trying to say is, I want to eat you up. I love you so much, I want to eat you up. You spent 9 months in my belly, and I desperately wanted you out, and I've spent the last 17 months thinking about putting you back. You just have no idea what that love is like, what it's like to actually have to restrain yourself from consuming another human being, until you have children.

Gracie, you are sunshine... and then you are a hurricane. You are a wild woman, and I know it's cliche, but I can't imagine life without you.