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Dearest, darling Emmie,

If this month is any indication, we are in for a lot of trouble. I’ve been thinking about my word lists of things you understand and use, and I don’t even know if I can list all of them. You are understanding SO MUCH that it’s terrifying. I’ve already had to start spelling things because I knew you knew those words and I didn’t want you to hear them and want them when they were not around.

But first: WALKING! You took your first steps just a few days ago, straight into your grandma’s arms. You knew exactly what you were doing the whole time and looked pleased as punch. Right after doing it the first time, you then took many (short) trips betwixt Mama and Grandma, until collapsing from exhaustion and glee. While we were sure (SURE!) that full-on walking would come immediately, you reminded us again that you like to do things on your own time, when you feel utterly confident in your capabilities. So the days since have been spent practicing standing up: you stick your bum straight up in the air, hands and feet on the floor, then raise your torso up to standing with control a yogi would envy. Then, you look around the room to make sure everyone is watching, and finally you clap for yourself. You can now stand for quite a long time, and can even bend down or squat and go right back up to standing with nary a bobble.

OK, so back to the language. I’ve tried to list the words you understand here, but I know I’m missing so many because every day you shock me with something else you secretly understand. I also love seeing the things you misunderstand. Like when I said something about a hat and you started blowing (thinking I said “hot”). This month is also the month you’ve started to understand multiple things in a sentence. Before, if you understood a direction, it was most likely because you understood one word in the sentence and knew what to do with that word. Like, with “Put it in your hair,” you knew that you only really do one thing with your hair, so you just put whatever you had up to your hair. But now we can say “Tickle mama” and it will look different than “Kiss mama” (tickling is opening and closing your hand on someone, while kissing is either leaning your forehead into them or, if you are feeling very generous, offering your open mouth to them). I can also tell you to brush your teeth, and if you are brushing your hair with your toothbrush, as you so often do, you will immediately put the brush into your mouth instead. It’s so neat to see language really developing.

Words you understand (new words this month in italics): Soothie, avocado, baby, blow, belly, diaper, drink, sock, brush, toothbrush, comb, in, out, elephant, hair, foot/feet, leg, teeth, sunscreen, window, stairs, airplane, plane, outside, car, drive, hat, hot, noodles, chair, sit down, hi, bye, kiss, tickle, tummy, mama, dada, grandma, grandpa, Jasper, dog, doggie, puppy, light, fan, hook, book, ball, downstairs/upstairs, eat, food, breakfast, hungry, more, yogurt, drink, water, all done, shoe.

Directions you understand: Sit down please, put it in your hair, give it to ___, tickle _____, give ____ a kiss, give ____ a hug, brush your teeth, brush your hair

Words you use (new words this month in italics):

Spoken: mama, dada, grandma (sort of, “mama” with more syllables)

Sign: baby, sunscreen (your invention), drink, please, bye bye, avocado (your invention), fan, rain, outside, hat, brush, eating (as a comment on others eating, which is different than “food” for you to eat), where (not the official sign, but a gesture you use), airplane, ball, noodles, daddy, water, dog, Soothie (your invention), more, eat, all done, yogurt, milk (this only means “mama milk” now, “drink” is everything else).

Sounds: “brr” for an elephant sound, “ff-ff-ff” for what a dog says, sniffing for what YOUR dog says, “brrr” to mean car

While you have always had an attachment to your Soothie, this month saw that deepen into a deep and lasting love (says the mama who had her “binky” until she was at least 4). You can spot a Soothie ANYWHERE, and remember where one got tucked away absentmindedly hours or days earlier. Pretty much every morning, you greet me by glancing at me, then pointing insistently to the Soothie on the ground outside your crib (where you likely threw it just moments before). When you do have a Soothie in your crib, you use it as a bargaining chip for release. You very clearly understand that Soothies are for certain times (bed, car seat) and you will give it back to us if you just aren’t ready for bed yet. You’ve developed a similar attachment to your lovey, although it’s not nearly to the same level as your Soothies.

This was the month of accessories. I think it really started when your Aunt Jen bought you an incredibly cute pair of sandals, but it might have also started when I bought you the teeniest pair of Keens ever made. In any case, you now insist on wearing shoes more or less constantly, you will try to put on multiple shoes at once, and you love them all. You also love your hats and frequently ask for them. You will wear your sunglasses without complaint and love playing with mommy’s too. You’ve also figured out purses and try to put mine on your shoulder (I really need to get you one that’s more your size). Bracelets? Also love them. Pretty much anything you can accessorize with is something you love.

This month also saw some serious changes in your life in general. First, you started “school.” Technically, it’s day care, and it’s only a few days a week, but it’s still the firs time I’ve ever just dropped you off with complete strangers in a totally new environment. And… you did fine! I think it helped that you were the only “toddler” not toddling, so Miss Melissa just takes you straight into her arms and you never even touch the floor. The very first day, I had to laugh because I sat you down on the floor, and another little boy instantly came over and began bringing you “gifts.” Books, toys, you name it, all were piled on your tiny lap and all around you. You accepted these as your natural due, of course. When I left, you barely even glanced in my direction as every kid in the class gathered around you, like the princess that (you think) you are. Since then, you come home happy and exhausted from school, and have discovered the joys of climbing up the slide.

You’ve also transitioned to one nap a day. This means you are seriously a big girl now. It also means we can do a little bit more in the day, too, which is nice. You are a bit more whiny in the morning, but we are all learning to live with it, since you refuse to sleep.

Your favorite things: steering large humans around as you walk hanging onto their fingers; hats, sunglasses, purses, shoes, socks; Jasper; your babies; emptying & putting away bathroom drawers and cabinets; your Soothie; reading books; pulling books off the shelf; dogs and other animals; going to the zoo; snuggling your baby dolls; listening to Signing Times song; slides; swings; airplanes; cars; mama’s purse & wallet; fruit, especially cantaloupe, peaches, & blueberries (and avocado, as always); sliding backwards underneath furniture; stashing things away under cushions.

Things I love about you:  my favorite thing, bar none–the way you voluntarily snuggle me and lay your head against my chest; your crazy-girl laugh; the way you say “mama” when I come into the room; the way you keenly observe everything around you; your open mouth kisses (which you now also share with Daddy); your funny little teeth; your baby-fine hair; your incredibly long eyelashes; the practiced and deliberate way you open a book’s pages with your thumbs; the way you shove an open book at me to ask me to read it; the way you wake up wanting to tell me about your thoughts right away (“Jasper, dog, sniff sniff, airplane, outside” is usually how it goes); the way you can tell me exactly what it is that you want (provided you know what that is yourself); the way you laugh and are so delighted with yourself when you do something clever, like stand up on your own.

I love you, always and forever,

Your Mama