Sunday, September 09, 2012

A Letter to My Daughter as She Turns 18 Months Old

Dear Mouse,

I woke up this morning, your face in mine. “Mommy. Mommy,” you called, a big smile spreading across your face when you saw my eyes open. “Morning,” you said, giving me a kiss. The perfect start to a new day, and the best birthday present a mom can ask for.

Today you are officially 18 months old. Just six months ago, we were celebrating your 1st birthday. In those six months so much has changed. You have changed. You are no longer a baby, but a little girl. I didn’t think I could love you more, but I do. You warm my heart every day with your smile and laughter. You have such a good heart and spirit.

Your vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds. I can’t tell you how surprised I was when you pointed to my radio clock and asked me to turn it on by saying, “Sound.” You eagerly bring your dad and I books to read, sometimes wanting to “read” them yourself. I love that I can identify more of your words, particularly the ones that aren’t so clear.  You are better able to articulate your needs and are understanding so much more.

You sometimes get frustrated when you can’t have your way—or we don’t understand what you want. I know it can't be easy. Your dad and I try our best. Sometimes we can’t give you what you want, and I know that’s hard. It’s one of those lessons in life we all learn—and struggle with.

You sure do know how to throw a tantrum! Often falling to the floor, kicking your legs, screaming as if the world is ending. Sometimes it breaks my heart to see you so upset. But, I confess, sometimes it makes me smile. You are cute even when upset. And I love you just the same. One good thing though is that your tantrums rarely last long—unless you are extra tired. You are so good natured, never staying mad long.

You understand fairness and like to share (except maybe when it comes to going down the water slide at Mrs. C’s), whether it is food, toys or kisses and hugs. How many times have I seen you give up a doll or ball so someone else can have a turn even before your turn is over? So maybe you aren’t so willing to give up your teeter totter spot, but, hey, the teeter totter is so much fun! And what of those times you shared your snack or food with your dad or me, whether pretend food you’ve prepared or actual snacks we give you? Even when we don’t ask.

I love how, when one of your friends gets in trouble for something he or she has done to you, you are the first one to reach out and give that child a hug. Then the other day Maya was crying because she had to leave and you went over to her and patted her back before giving her a big hug.

Some of my favorite moments with you are when you run and throw yourself at me for a hug, do the same to your father and then come running back again for another hug from me--on and on it goes.  It never grows old. Then there are those times you make your father and I run around the table after you by saying, “Run! Run!” until we aren’t sure who is supposed to be chasing who (sometimes Riley, our dog, joins in too).  Or when you insist on blowing your own bubbles. And how fun are the peek-a-boo games and the dinosaur games where you say in the softest and sweetest voice, “Roar!” I treasure each of these moments with you.

I love seeing you care for your dolls, shushing them as you lay them down and covering them with a blanket (or a napkin—whatever you have handy), or pushing your train or police car across the furniture, walls and floor saying, “Choo choo”. You’re quite taken with your Duplo Legos, able to build towers and match like pieces together. Your father is so proud. Of course, so am I.

Bath time is rarely dull. We blow the bubbles off our hands and you now insist on washing yourself and sometimes me, whether it is with your body paints or the soap from the dispenser.  You love to splash water outside of the tub, even though daddy says no. You no longer cry when I wash you hair. You love the water so much! Maybe that’s why you’ve taken to your swim lessons so well. From the grin on your face, I think you love jumping into the water best.

How surprised I was when you wanted to start potty training a couple of months ago—and how quickly you’ve taken to it. Admittedly, your interest seems to have waned recently, but you’ve given your dad and I hope that maybe it won’t be as hard as we thought it might be. Maybe. We’re taking it slow, either way. There’s still time, and I believe in doing things as naturally as possible.

I love cuddling in bed at night or waking up with you in the mornings. You sleep in your own bed most nights, but often you still end up in dad’s and mine in the morning. Some would say it’s a bad habit, one that will be hard to break—I’m sure they are right—but for now it seems like just where we should be.

Your favorite food is pasta. You love ice pops (“ice pocks”), particularly the blue ones. You enjoy coloring—and eating the crayons. You love to dance. Your favorite song is "Camptown Races" (wouldn’t you know it, a song about gambling, horse racing, no less). I love it when you sing along. When we walk to the mailbox each evening, you make us go a little farther so you can sit us down in front of the "big green box" and clap while you sing to us. You like to feed the cats and dog (have even eaten their food) and play with Riley (“Ri-eey”). You still “torture” the cats. And yet they come to you for pets and love, just the same. I think they know you are still learning—and you have gotten better with the gentle touches and pets.

Your curiosity is endless and sometimes can be fearless, especially when you know I am there. I try to give you the freedom you need to explore and take risks while making sure you are safe. While you may be quick to try to run into the street (never failing to scare your mother half to death), you are shy of strangers or people you do not know well. You especially love being with other children, but even then, you take your time, considering, before you warm up and want to play. Unless, of course, they are well known to you. Your friends bring you such joy—I see it on your face and in your behavior, the extra sparkle in your eye and the squeal of delight you can’t contain.

I have been given a lot of parenting advice over the past year and a half. The one bit that has stuck out most for me is to follow my instinct, and that is what I try to do.  I have made plenty of mistakes, but my love for you never wavers. Being a parent is not easy, and yet you make it all worthwhile. Even on the more difficult days, you never fail to make me smile. I cannot begin to tell you how much you mean to me—how glad I am to have you in my life.

Happy half-birthday, my Sweets.

I love you now and for always,
Your Mom

© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

20 comments:

  1. This was just precious, Wendy! Your love for your sweet Mouse just shines out of these words. Thanks for sharing with us and thanks for sharing such cute pictures. She's really growing up. And that's not such a bad thing. Lots of fun to come. I promise.

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    1. Kay - Thank you. She's the love of my life. :-) I can't believe how fast she is growing up! We had her 18 month appointment with the doctor yesterday and she's grown since we measured her in August! She impresses me every day with something new . . .

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  2. Thank you! Beautiful words for a beautiful little girl! Your love shines through!

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    1. Linda - Thank you! She's such a wonderful girl. I can't wait to see what kind of woman she will grow into--and yet I want her to stay just as she is for as long as possible. LOL

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  3. What a lovely letter. It sounds like you're doing a great job by following your instincts.

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    1. Kathy - Thanks! I try. I'm not sure how great a job I'm doing some days, but she's turning out alright anyway so I can't be doing all that bad. LOL

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  4. This is a beautiful letter for your daughter....I love looking at your daughter's picture. She is one precious child but then you two are wonderful parents...

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    1. Ti - I confess I spend a lot of time looking at her pictures when I can't be with her.

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  6. Happy birthday, girls :) Such a sweet, sweet letter, mama. She is advanced way beyond her year and a half.

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    1. Stacy - Thank you, Stacy! It makes it extra special to share the day with each other. :-)

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  7. I am so glad you share these letters with us!

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    1. Carrie - I have such fun writing them--although it takes me forever to sit down and do it. I can't believe how fast she's growing!

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  8. What a wonderful letter--I'm sure you'll both treasure it as your girl grows older! And it's nice to let us share in the joys you're experiencing as her mother, so thank you for that :-).

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    1. Florinda - Thank you. I am putting a copy in my memory box for her when she's older. :-)

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  9. How beautiful! I have a 16 month old, and much of what you say about your daughter reminds me of my little girl. She loves eating crayons, too (when she isn't busy coloring the walls!).

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    1. A.M.B. - Thank you! It seems like yesterday when we first held them in our arms, doesn't it? Somehow I've managed to keep Mouse from drawing on the walls (so far)--although she does love to color all over the floor and table. :-)

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  10. Oh, Wendy, your mouse is growing up so fast! She is really showing you now the person she will grow up to be. Savor every minute - they grow up so fast and you will never regret the time you spent with her!

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  11. This was just priceless! It is amazing how fast they grow and I'm sure that you will love reading this over and over throughout the years. I love the picture when Mouse is reading the book. Too cute!

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