Surprise! Yup, still here. Part of me grieved stopping these letters at two years, so I'll continue for now on a month-by-month basis. As per usual, I have to cut myself off at some point, because I could spend days documenting the minutiae of you.
(10.20) We unexpectedly spend a Thursday together and have the simplest, most wonderful day (including your first COVID-19 vaccine…) We end the day watching some Frozen before dinner – your request, which stuns me. (“Fah-zee!”) I finally sit down to join you, which I don’t get to do often during viewings as I’m usually meal-prepping, and you pat the couch next to you. My heart…Here I come, beautiful little being!
I read you books at bedtime and carry you over to turn off the light. As we sit in the chair, I have a moment of “Wow, what a gift of a day” and hope that you want to rock for at least “wah meenee” (one minute – a request you make often when we say we’re done with an activity…you’ve certainly got our number, Wise One). You somehow sense the emotion filling the room. You turn around so you sit facing me and stare into my eyes. You then take your hands and put one on either side of my face and plant the gentlest of kisses on my lips before pulling back and staring deeply into my eyes again. You settle into my arms and savor some rocking as I try to find my breath again.
(I meant to continue with random dates, but I forgot, so here’s a smattering of the rest of the month.)
We celebrate Papa’s birthday at Atlas Bowl, and you get the biggest kick out of the entire experience. We help you push balls down the kiddie ramp, and you wriggle and shout with gleeful pride when you knock down pins.
You’re Marilyn Monroe for Halloween – the classic white dress from The Seven Year Itch – and when I ask you if I could take your photo, you look straight at me and assume some version of ballet’s third position.
We make it through Daylight Savings. Even though we try to adjust bedtime in preparation, we have two 4:15-4:30 ams in a row. On the third morning, I put on La Llorona from Coco – your current bedtime favorite – and you sleep for over an hour. This trick works all week and helps us get back on track. And the shift makes bedtime easier, which is a blessing!
You have your first civic lesson: voting! You come with me, help me push the ballot into the machine, and get a sticker. I’m so proud.
What’s Big This Month:
Books: You love most library books, as well as books you receive as gifts. You love to sit with Papa and look at the “I spy” book. You also love to finish sentences, and you’re remarkably skilled at it. You catch on quickly in general.
One book that has a special place in your heart these days is Piper and Purpa Forever about a little girl named Piper with a beloved purple sweater named Purpa, because that’s how she originally pronounces “purple.” Every time we read it, you point out that you have a Purpa, made by Mema. And my heart catches in my throat.
You also get a big kick out of I Have To Go, and you generously help me read it. ("What does Andrew say?"..."No no no no no!")
TB [TV]: Frozen, Frozen 2, and Coco join the party as you continue to venture into new Disney films.
Fun fact: You request most songs from Frozen EXCEPT Let It Go. As usual, you march to the beat of your own drum. Who knew that the one-minute Reindeers Are Better Than People would be such a crowd-pleaser? I totally get it, it just wouldn’t be my first guess.
And thanks to Coco, you aren’t scared skeletons. In fact, you’re fascinated by them. Here are your favorite Coco songs in chronological order: Memma Me (Remember Me), Cahko Guy (Coco Loco – “What color is the sky…”), Da Doh-ona (La Llorona), and Fo-eh-ba (My Proud Corazon – with a line about how our love will live on forever).
Drawing and coloring – chalkboard, whiteboard, paper, the magnet board from Amy Jo…You love it all. You’ve started coloring in certain sections of coloring pages, and, when prompted, you can draw most body parts – facial features, hair, arms, legs, hands, feet – in the anatomically-correct locations.
Pretend play. You love to pretend to eat things – pretend food, my nose and ears…You quietly smack your lips, like a little mouse. You sit in your dollhouse corner at the Wolff house and gab away in your own imaginative world, setting the figures in a circle of chairs, putting blankets on the baby in the crib…fully immersed in a story that only you fully understand.
When my lips get “stuck” on your cheek. You think this is the best game and squeeze me to hold me in place for what feels like an eternity.
Hiding. Hiding remains big, but your current fave is hiding under the sheet in Mama and Papa’s bed with your stuffed friends and having a “pahtee” [party]. I once made some friends dance, and now you start the dance parties on your own.
Sitting on my lap at some point during dinner (“Seet…Mama…yahp!”)
Wearing two different-colored socks – already a trendsetter
Who are you this month?
Pops is astounded when you greet him one evening, your hair in a top ponytail (the only way to keep that crazy hair out of your eyes). “She looks like she’s ready for college…or maybe Kindergarten.” You are no longer a baby, as you explain yourself:
“Are you a baby?...”
“No. Bee guh.” [big girl]
You are indeed, Curly Lu. You are indeed.
You continue to stretch and shift toward little girldom. Thank goodness for that perfect round belly: It reminds me that you’re still a tot. You move pretty gracefully, sidestepping around toys, twirling, marching, and running running all the time with those limbs going every which way. Your playground skills have advanced greatly. You easily move from stairs to see-saw (with one of us on the other end) to slide to swings to rock climbing.
And I continue to see more of myself in you.
You don’t miss a thing, absorbing it all like an exquisite purple sea sponge, and your vocabulary is on fire:
Salt and coffee are “Papa.” Tea and wine are “Mama.”
When you play with a wand, your “magic words” are “Abydabby.” (How do you KNOW?!)
You can read the word “Boo,” which you learned from an I Spy book, and you can identify more than a few letters of the alphabet.
After accidentally knocking a framed photograph over your changing table, you exclaim, “Keefo. Emmy.” (Careful, Emmy.)
Looking a photo album, you recognize most people, including those you don’t see often. You remember minute details – where we were, who was there, what we did, and how you felt. When you see us on the carousel, you say, “Emmy keer!” [Emmy was scared.]
You are truly a digital-age child. One morning, I catch you standing in your diaper and yelling at the light, “YahT! On!” That’s the light attached to our Alexa (renamed “Ziggy”), so we say, “Ziggy, turn on the light” whenever we want it on. When I help you turn on the light, you shout, “Ziggy ott!” [Ziggy: Off!]
I tell you we’re going to Ithaca one morning, and you squeal and dance with delight. I say, “What do we do in Ithaca?” – genuinely curious as to what tickled your fancy. You respond, “Fud!” That’s right, sweet pea: We go grocery shopping. We hadn’t gone together in about a month, so it was apparently very exciting. After Trader Joe’s, I say, “Where are we going now?” You respond “Eega!” That’s right again. We usually go to Wegman’s after Trader Joe’s. However, I surprise you by taking you to the Sciencenter, which elicits a full-on happy dance in your carseat upon realization.
I randomly ask you, “What’s my name?” “Jeebee.” Floored. We continue:
“What’s Papa’s name?” “Didee.”
“What’s Mema’s name?” “Mimi.”
“What’s Pops’ name?”...“Ba.” Forever Ba.
On one occasion, as you're running around the room like a wild woman, I say, “What’s my name?” You assume I’m going a different direction with the question and respond, “WhaT. Mama. Doo-ee?” [What’s Mama doing? A common back and forth these days.] You immediately realize your mistake and quickly say, “No.” with a slight shake of your head – as if to say, “Nevermind. Oops.” I fall over laughing.
We’re listening to Remember Me from Coco, and you exclaim, “No! Diffa Memma Me!” (different Remember Me, as in the other version)
Pointing to the garage outside, you say, "Mama wuhkout" (because that's where Mama works out).
"Do you know who Santa is?"...[Big smile/excited "Heh!"]..."What color is his suit?"..."Red. Suit."
Papa teaches you how to "smack Mama's butt" after I take a shower. You know I put on lemon oil afterward, so you smell your palm after the smacks. One morning, Papa holds out his palm to you and says, "What does this smell like?" You respond, "Mama butt."
You’re as independent as ever. “Sef” is a common word these days, as in “I want to do it myself.” You can usually take off your socks by yourself, using your thumb to push off the heel first, as we taught you. This has been an ongoing source of extreme frustration, so it's thrilling that you're so close to mastering it. (You've mastered the art of blowing, as evidenced by blowing a tiny fuzz off a book one mid-November afternoon.)
You continue to learn and develop skills. Your dexterity is off the charts: placing one pea at a time on a spoon, placing one dry grain of rice at a time in a tiny dollhouse sink...You love to help zip clothing and carefully carry our glasses of wine or cups of (warm, not hot) coffee/tea to us from random places we've left them.
You are particular. You don’t like to see any slivers of light when we’re hiding under the sheet. You spend 10 minutes setting up all your people figures in concentric circles in their basket. You like your blankets just so. You sometimes like food cut, sometimes not.
You are absolutely hysterical and so goofy. A total hambone already. One evening at dinner, Papa “freezes” and you catch on immediately. A minute later, you stick a chickpea in your mouth and “freeze” with your mouth open and hands in jazz position. It takes kisses from Mama to unfreeze you, which is pretty darn sweet. We’re listening to Frozen at the time, so I wouldn’t put it past you to associate the film’s love theme with that moment. You are a genius, after all. One morning, we’re talking about our bedtime routine, and you start calling, “Mama! Papa!” just like you do at night. You know exactly how it goes, fully self-aware.
You are the LOVIEST LOVE. You have reached the height, thus far, of snuggle puss. You love to pull in me and Papa – one with one arm, one with the other – and make a “Lulu sandwich.” You randomly run to me throughout the day and hug me so tightly and/or plant the most tender kiss on my lips.
There's so much I'll miss...
Your little breaths, the audible exertion as you move through your days
This version of “yes” – still communicated as either “Heh” and “Mm” – though I do hear you say “Yes” for the first time mid-November (!)
The exclamations! “Hoky cow!” and “Yah” and “Oh yah” with both words falling from a high pitch
The way you say “edamame” by sticking out your tongue for the “d” (we have absolutely no idea why you do this, but we try to get you to say it as much as possible, knowing it will eventually fade)
odoh bubby whaht (other white vitamin)
paypee tahwa (paper towel)
Satto Sahtee (Sciencenter)
“I’m! TucK!” (I’m stuck!)
WhaT dees? (What’s this?)
NoT yeT! (for example, when we remember how you were ready to get up at 5 am, but Mama said it wasn’t time yet)
Namana, your word for “cat” and pet name for Lily – You start calling her “Lily” in mid-November.
goonah (goodnight, as in, "Goonah, beebee.")
phrases like "bow pisey" (bowl of spices, because you love to sample different spices in a bowl)
Coo me. (Excuse me."
I know I’ve said for several months in a row now, “Your language has EXPLODED!” But, really and truly, this month marked a new level of flight. Take this little exchange the other morning:
“What would you like for breakfast?”... “Ohmee!”... “Oatmeal?!”...Giggle of delight.
A few minutes later, you find a bobby pin on the floor. You pick it up and ask, “WhaT dis?”
“Okay, it’s ready! Come to the table for breakfast!”... “Oh teebo!” (Own table – you want to sit at your little table, not the dining room table)
The next morning, you put your milk in the oven of your pretend kitchen and shout, “HeaT! Up!” The following night, you’re trying to move the big rocking chair, and you exclaim, “Heavy!...OOF!”
The following week, we're lying in bed snuggling and you say, "Hurs boo-boo Emmy bup" [hurts boo-boo Emmy bump]. You got a pretty bad bump on your lip the previous evening.
SO many new expressions coming out of the woodwork!
(Finding a tiny cloth bag in your closet) "Memba DEES?" (Remember this?)
Look a DAHT! (Look at that!"
And my heart, well, sings, when I hear you truly sing for the first time: the "Ah ah ah ah" from Frozen 2. It's so close to perfect, I can't even stand it.
We manage to bypass illness until the final days of this month, at which point you catch a terrible cold that morphs into double conjunctivitis. You’re a zombie of yourself, the most miserable peanut imaginable. Your eyes glazed over, just wanting to snuggle sideways in my lap. At one point, you burst out crying. I wish I could breathe the illness into myself, but I know you’re building a strong immune system.
I catch moments constantly and twirl them in ribbons as they wrap around my heart:
Bouncing on a ball with you, your arms wrapped around my neck as you laugh
You pointing to everyone in the room and saying “I love you” in turn: “Ah yah YOW…Ah yah YOW…Ah yah YOW…”
Our bedtime rituals: you running into Papa after bath to give him a big naked hug, me giving the essential belly kiss before putting on your pajamas
Your eyes boring into my soul as you look at me with rapt attention, waiting to hear what I’m going to say, or trying to grab a memory from your brain
Rubbing your arm in the morning as we snuggle in bed, your tiny hand curled in shadow against the backdrop of early morning light through the blind
You touching my face ever-so-gently for seemingly no reason at all other than to assure us both that I’m here, and you’re there, and as long as here and there aren’t very far apart, we can never be lost [I stole that line from a book, but isn’t it practically perfect in every way?]
I clip your hair out of your eyes, and I wonder at the fact that I’m clipping my daughter’s hair. I’m clipping her curly golden locks, and she is the most beautiful creature imaginable.
According to research, you can remember what happened to you a year – half your lifetime! – ago. This makes sense. We mention Christmas trees, and you seem to genuinely remember them. However, your long-term memory probably won’t kick in until you’re about 3 ½ or 4. Still, the more we talk to you and share stories about memories, the more likely you’ll remember snippets from these earliest years.
And, when all else fails, you’ll have these stories here.
I love you.
Love, Your Mama