Monday, June 30, 2008

Month 14, Month 14 1/2, Month 15

Dear Will,

I have sat down to write this letter to you so many times over the past 8 weeks, but you have kept me on the move. When you are finally asleep (for the first part of the night, anyway) I am usually too tired to do anything but read a few blogs or watch something on Animal Planet. But suddenly you are 15 months old, and I don’t want to stop writing these letters to you. Maybe they are even more for me than for you. I want to be able to capture a little bit of who you are at this point in your life.

As you may have guessed from my exhaustion, you now excel at walking. You still totter around like you are a little bit drunk, and you often lose your balance or fall. But you walk everywhere now, almost never crawling. You are both fast and particular. If you see something that interests you then you take off towards it, but if there is a little step or some grass in your way, you study it for a long time before deciding whether to attempt the new terrain. Grass usually isn’t something you want to touch with your feet, incidentally; you much prefer the harder surface of the sidewalk.

Your approach to walking exemplifies your confidence, a quality I am so happy that you possess. When we were in the mall the other day, my friend had to stay with your stroller while you explored benches and wandered into stores. You loved walking into a store, stopping to listen to the music, dancing for a moment and then tottering out again. Since you love walking back and forth on the equipment, I have found a new favourite playground for us, one that has a safe enclosed area with no holes for slides or poles. You love to explore and get very excited when you see a playground in the distance. If there are any other kids there it’s even better – you wave and follow them around, and sometimes they even stop to play with you.

I have also taken you to a couple of different splash pads in the warm weather, and Will, you are fearless. You want to explore every fountain and toy, oblivious to the ten-year-old boys tearing by you with water guns. The splash pad at Zooz is a little less stressful for me; there you can wade through the water and explore the fountains more freely. When we go to Zooz you also adore visiting the goats. We are allowed to go right into their pen, and you take my hand so you can follow them around and pet them or lean in for a kiss. Grandpa gets a little bit nervous that the ones with horns will knock you down, but you are very comfortable tottering from goat to goat for a visit.

Your memory is amazing and with it, you are starting to really like some of our “rituals” (if not quite routines). When I ask if you want to get the mail, you walk right over to the door and point to the handle. Then you take my hand and lead me to the mailboxes, stopping to see the firehose, the electrical socket, the elevator, the lobby chairs and the plants along the way. You have started taking my hand whenever you want to show me something or take me somewhere. You are very strong, and it takes a lot to pull away from your grip if it isn’t a good time to follow you. I love that you can show me what you are interested in, and lead me where you want to go.

Of course, this ability to tell us what you want has exploded over the last few weeks. You now point at everything and make lots of sounds letting us know that you want something over there, right now! Some days you do this by shrieking, which is something I can do without. We try to ignore your shrieks and make a big deal out of all of your other sounds, and unless you are really excited, usually it works. You shake your head adamantly for “no” (this has replaced the waving of your hands) and very rarely nod your head “yes.” You babble more than ever now, using a lot of “nya nya nya” sounds and a sort of “fsh fsh” sound. I am pretty sure I have heard you use a few “real” words too: “up up up,” "banana," "no," "water," "Mama," "Dada" and "cat". But you also do things on your own terms, Will, and you refuse to repeat any word I repeat back to you.

You do use lots of signs consistently, and you now use them without prompting and in context. If you see a dog (or another animal, even on TV!) you make the sign for dog. You sign “more” when you actually want more of something, “eat” when I ask you if you are hungry, “cracker” after watching your video, “wash hands,” “shoes” with a pair of shoes in your hands, your version of “cat” (the petting motion), “sleep,” and “thank you.” You point at dogs and squirrels and birds when we are in the park. You love waving to anyone and everyone, but especially to Daddy when he’s leaving for work. You get quite upset when he goes out the door, but if we go outside and wave as he drives away you are okay again.

You can also point to many of your own body parts – belly button, nose, ears, hair, knees, toes – as well as some of mine and your doll’s. You love to find your doll’s belly button and eyes, and you like to pat my hair and take my glasses off to see my eyes. You use your brush (or mine) to brush all of our hair, and when you see the picture of the doctor in “The Velveteen Rabbit” who is wearing glasses, you point to them and then grab at mine. You love to stack toys, and put things in and out of containers. You are becoming an expert at your big legos, not only pulling them apart but after focusing really hard one day, you are very good at putting them together. You still love snuggling with your stuffed animals, but now you are very focused on make them sit up. This works better for some than others.

You have become a little bit obsessed with things that honk. You love the horns on your trucks and Dora car, which you have figured out how to sit on, if not actually move forward. You also love putting things on your head, not only hats but your “baby legs” legwarmers, cloths and towels, and even one of your auntie's cat toys, which made you look like you were wearing a boa. You still love reading stories, and now you enjoy colouring too. You have figured out how to make the crayon work, and you can focus for quite a long time choosing colours and making artwork in one of your colouring books.

There are so many images of you that capture your emerging personality: the way you dance so expressively when the Judge Judy music comes on, the way you look like a professor (albeit a naked one) when you walk around with your hands behind your back before your bath. The way you now drop your body weight onto the floor when you do not want to do something or go somewhere. The way you eat your Life cereal and even pieces of chicken like a big girl. The way you stretch your arms up to mimic me when I stretch, and reach up to me when you want me to pick you up. The way you make kiss sounds and pat me on the back when you give me a hug.

You are fun and fascinating and so interesting to be around. I’m so happy that I get to share this time with you.

Love, Mama

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