Dearest darling Emmie,

Holy mother of… slow down! Yep, you are W.A.L.K.I.N.G now. Not just a few steps here and there, but ALL the time. I love your slightly-unsteady toddling, but I have to admit I do miss your manic crawling. Even though you could crawl faster than you now can walk, somehow walking has now given you a better view as to all the trouble you can get into. Er, should I say, all the things you can “explore”? Also, I never realized it, but walking is MUCH quieter than crawling. You can sneak off much quicker and more easily than before, although you haven’t gotten in to TOO much trouble… yet.

You are just quicker at everything these days. I just have to show you something once and you are instantly mimicking. This month, you’ve mastered so many new skills, big and small. You can blow your nose quite successfully (and often stick a finger right up your nose when there is a booger that needs to come out). Daddy taught you how to make music by blowing through a straw and you’ve figured out how to put on shoes, socks, and clothes (or at least, you have the general idea). My favorite is that you can now put on your own sunscreen. Obviously, I put on the majority of it, but you can take a bit from the bottle or my hand, and wipe it on your own leg or cheek with no help. You don’t even try to eat it! You’ve also learned our routing so well that if I ever try to leave the house without putting on a hat, shoes or sunscreen on either of us, you will stop me and sign the thing we are missing. It’s amazing.

I have to keep you occupied and entertained at all times, or risk a shrieking meltdown. I told some of my friends about how… toddler you are now, and they couldn’t believe that their sweet Baby Emmie could pitch a fit or whine or cry. But o! the fits, the whines, the cries, yes, they happen! One of the most interesting developments of the month, and a sure sign of your toddler-dom, has been your possessiveness. When other kids or babies around your age come over and so much as look at one of your toys, you are liable to start crying with the agony of one who has been grievously wronged. Sometimes you will cry if another toddler just walks too close to you. And God forbid another baby touch your Mama!

But in general, you are an incredibly sweet and loving girl. In my absolute favorite development of the month, you have started giving hugs and kisses with great regularity. I love that I am your favorite target, even when you are determined to hug my knees at exactly the moment when I need to walk somewhere. I love love love coming home to you and having you rest your sweet head on my chest, or lean your whole body forward, chin-first, to try to give me a long distance kiss from across the room. You love giving stuffed animals a kiss, and you try to give Jasper kisses too (rarely are you successful). Your kisses have even gotten closer to what most humans would call a “kiss” rather than a “mouth attack.”

Your communication just keeps getting better. Even though you are only just starting to imitate words (and only those that start with /b/), Daddy jokes that you communicate better than him already. This may not be a false statement. You understand so stinking much. I tried to keep a log of the words you are gaining, but every day it seems like you understand something new that surprises me.

Words you understand (new words this month in italics): sunscreen, booger, boogie, snot, nose, mouth, tree, bird, outside, behind, floor, window, shirt, pants, belly button, wipe, dance, jump, bounce, lay down, sit down, 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: Go get your other shoe, blow your nose, wash your hands, look behind you, lay down, Sit down please, put it in your hair, give it to ___, tickle _____, give ____ a kiss, give ____ a hug, brush your teeth, brush your hair

Directions you do NOT understand: Don’t eat that, not in your mouth, don’t play in Jasper’s water bowl.

Words you use (new in italics):

Say: ball, bye bye, bath/wash (kind of), bread, mama, dada, 

Sign: bread/noodles/food-you-like-that-is-not-avocado, “lovey,” sock, hair, straw, sleep, baby, sunscreen, drink, please, bye bye, avocado, fan, rain, outside, hat, brush, eating, where, airplane, ball, daddy, water, dog, Soothie, more, eat, all done, yogurt, milk.

Your favorite things: sitting on things (anything, but especially soft things); giving hugs and kisses; jumping on your crib mattress; balls; Jasper; your lovey; your Soothies; accessories; shoes; hats; taking everything out of Mama’s wallet; taking everything out of the Tupperware cabinet; taking all of your toys out of their bins; avocados; walking everywhere; snuggling; riding horsie on mama’s back or leg; drinking from an open cup; standing on things to get a little taller; blowing your nose; soft things getting thrown near you/at you; picking tomatoes and taking a bite of them, but not eating them; helping outside; playing in water; watching bigger kids; walking around carrying random items; “using” nail clippers, combs, brushes, toothbrush, any tool you can find.

I love you, always and forever,

Your Mama