January 2011 Newsletter: 17 Months and Smarter Than Her Mama
This month is nearly over, and I'm just now getting around to writing this. Now, before you start thinking your mom has turned into a big ol' slacker, let me just tell you how crazy this month has been. First of all, your great grandpa's sudden diagnosis of cancer threw me for one heck of a loop. Then his death just five days after that was... well, lets just say my head is still spinning from that one. When you factor in the regular stresses of life, a few sick days here and there, an important job interview for your dad, and a leaky upstairs faucet that resulted in flooding through our kitchen ceiling... it's not a big surprise this letter hasn't been the first thing on my mind.
Something incredible happened to you this past month, Morgan. I looked at you and for the first time I saw not my baby, but my little girl. When did that happen? I'm amazed not only by how big you are getting and all the new things you're doing, but also by how well you are understanding things; even things that aren't necessarily being said to you. A couple weeks ago I was wondering aloud where I had put your sippy cup. You disappeared for a second and the next thing I knew, you grabbed my hand and set your cup right in it, like here you go, Mom, no big deal.You then kindly picked my jaw up off the floor and placed it back in it's proper place before going about your business.
Your communication skills are, in my opinion, pretty freakin' amazing. You've signed several words for quite sometime now (more, please, eat, drink, milk, candy, all done) which has been very helpful. To my delight, you've never been the point-and-grunt kind of child. I have to admit there have been times that you've signed something completely new to me, and I've had to look it up online or ask your babysitter (from whom you learn these new signs) what it means. Now in addition to your signing, you are talking up a storm! It seems like each day at least one new word is added to your vocabulary. Granted, you don't always pronounce the word perfectly, but you get the gist of it.
A couple weeks ago we bought you a little pink stepping stool in the hopes that you would stop attempting to climb on top of Dixie to reach things. Oh Morgan, had we known what joy that stool would bring you, we would have gotten it months ago. You love to climb on it, jump off of it, eat on it and sit on it to watch TV, but your favorite thing about it is it's portability- you can carry it anywhere in the house. You bring it in the kitchen to get a better view of me cooking dinner, you carry it into your room to reach certain toys, you stand on it in the bathroom while we brush your teeth. The downside of the stool is that you can easily reach things now that you couldn't before, which means I've had to find a new place for several things, but the proud smile on your face each time you use your stool to put your own cup in the sink totally makes up for that time you used it to reach my hairspray bottle and pour it's contents onto the floor.
You are still sleeping in your crib, which amazes me. When you began sleeping there last month, I honestly thought it was a fluke. I thought that, much like times in the past, you'd sleep alone for a couple weeks then be back in bed with your dad and I. But this time it wasn't something I was trying to make you do because I thought it was time; it was something you decided you were ready to do, and that has made all the difference in the world. Often you will begin our bedtime routine on your own, saying "ni-night" then setting your books and blankets on the rocking chair signifying that you are ready. After your jammies are on and your teeth are brushed, we snuggle up with a couple blankets and read a few books. When it's time for bed, your dad carries you into your bedroom and we get your B's ready. That's what we call your bedtime paraphernalia - "your B's". There are certain things that must be in your crib with you before you'll fall asleep, and they all happen to begin with the letter B: a blankie, a baby (a musical glow worm), a bottle (with just a little water), a bunny, and a book (yes, you insist on sleeping with a book). Once those things are placed around you, I have to kiss you and your baby goodnight, then you calmly drift off to sleep. I sneak back in your room once you've fallen asleep to remove several of those things from your crib and kiss you one more time. The other night while I was doing this, you mumbled something about candy ("nanee") in your sleep. Sweet dreams, indeed.
Morgan, I want to talk about your grandpa for just a minute. Several of us were gathered in his hospital room as he passed away and the only way I can describe the feeling in that room is LOVE. Pure and overwhelming love. That feeling lasted through the whole next week and got even stronger during his funeral. Our family is a close family, but going through such a difficult time together brought us even closer, and it was beautiful. As one of my cousins said, we "connected hearts and loved immensely". Immediately upon entering the viewing room, you saw Grandpa lying in his casket and your face brightened. "Pam Paw!" you said excitedly. It broke my heart to hear you call for him and I remember thinking she doesn't realize he's gone. But then, as the funeral proceeded and I thought about it more, I realized how foolish I was to think that. I believe that you, probably better than most of us there, understood that he isn't really gone.
The experiences I've had this month have just solidified my belief that even amidst adversity, beauty exists -- we simply have to be willing to recognize it. That sentiment is something I hope to hold onto and eventually pass on to you... but the more I think about it, you probably already know that, don't you?