Thursday, September 10, 2009

busy eighteen

Dear Alice,

There was a time when I wrote these notes for you every month. It was a way for me to mark all the amazing changes I was seeing in you each day, to remind you one day how miraculous every single moment had been. When I used to write these monthly notes, I could easily articulate each new milestone, pinpointing the exact day and moment when you turned another corner in your life. As with so many other things though, you have changed so much in these past several months, it's hard to tell you when and how the New You came to be.

Was it only just six months ago that you were just barely starting to walk--- when now you ca
n walk and run and climb with so much ease? You move through your days with the energy of a star: pushing and grasping and striving for big, bigger, biggest; fast, faster, fastest; high, higher, highest. That's how I see you: standing on tiptoe, reaching with all of your might to hold that bit of life that evades you. If we are walking, you want to run. If we are sitting, you want to stand. If we are moving, you want to stream beyond us and around us. That's your way, my sweet Alice: wanting more--- and because of your incredible focus, you get that more--- every moment.

You have an insatiable desire to know. You are always pointing at things and asking me to tell you its name: That? you ask, looking at me for understanding. I go through my day with you, saying the names of objects like a prayer: chair, table, cat, oven, car, camera, rinocerous, blanket. So many times you'll repeat what I say, a benediction to file away for later. Which is how you've come to say so many words: toes, toast, wow, uh-oh, bye bye, hi, all done, go door, some, you, ear, hair, two, nine, cheerio (which sounds more like chee-yo), daddy, mama, water, cheese. Some of my favorite words you use are those of your own making: calling your woobie, "Bo"; and the little radio we keep in the car for you, "cheem".

Amidst your burgeoning vocabulary, you are still doing some sign language too: signs for more, all done, kitty, swing, ball, car, bubbles, hat, and love. That last one just kills me, Alice. We've been signing I love you since the very beginning, and just the other day I looked at you and signed it, telling you for the thousandth time, the millionth time: I love you, dear one. And then you looked back at me, smiling, and put your arms up across your chest in the sign of a heart.

You love animals, and can spend countless moments contemplating them. You love to ROAR with abandon whenever you see a lion (or tiger, or bear, or buffalo, or anything remotely ferocious). You say MOO for a cow and BAH for a sheep and HOOO for an owl and MAA for a goat and ARF for a dog and ER for a rooster and KECKKKK for Fergus. That last one is because one day Fergus was standing in the hallway coughing outside your bedroom. We were sitting on the floor reading some books and when Fergus was hacking and KECKing away, you asked me That? And I told you it was Fergus. What does Fergus say, honey? I asked, and you answered KECKKKK, KECKKKK. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life.

That's what you do for me, my little Bean. You make me laugh. You make me think. You make me look at my world in an entirely new way, and I love it.

You are busy. You love moving things from place to place (hot pads from the kitchen to the living room, Tupperware from the cabinet to the couch, books from shelf to chair to couch to floor). You can catch and throw a ball. And you do it well. Which means that you are clearly y
our father's daughter. I am very far from being a coordinated athlete, my dear, and your dad--- well, he is athletic. And I think you've gotten some of that from him. You've also developed his sense of balance. I have never seen the likes of you, monkey girl. And you just don't fall! I don't udnerstand it, but there is inside of you a natural understanding of your own limits. And as much as it pains me to say, I need to trust you more, the way you trust yourself.

You know all your body parts. You know eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hair, knee, feet, toes, hands, fingers, belly button.

There is music in our life since you came, Alice. You want to be surrounded by music. You ask me to sing by demanding ROW ROW. And then I start singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat but so many times that's not what you want. You want Popcorn Popping or Somewhere Over the Rainbow or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Itsy Bitsy Spider. I sometimes feel like the human jukebox, but it's so funny how much it doesn't bother me. I've sung to you at church, in the car, in our yard, in the grocery store, at the mall, at the park, in the Home Depot garden section. I don't care who looks or what they say because it's you and me, my little Bean, and the look on your face and the way you clap your hands, it's a gift. You share music with your daddy, as well. He has special songs that he'll sing and play on his guitar just for you. There have been times when he's away on business and you'll see the guitar he keeps in your bedroom--- and you'll ask me to play it for you: pointing at the guitar, turning to me with your eyebrows raised high and that expectant smile on your face. I hate telling you in those moments that I can't play it, that it's something I can't give to you, but just the same--- it's lovely that you and your daddy have something that's just yours.

It's been so much fun watching you as you're also watching us. It's amazing how much you see, how much you catch. You spend a lot of time taking care of your babies--- Logan and Elmo and Lulu. You love to have me put a bib on them as you feed them from your little toy bottle or sippy. Just a few days ago I caught you putting plastic rings in Elmo's mouth. They must have been very tasty. It was just a month ago that we realized you have been folding your arms when we say prayers. Now it's one of my favorite things to see. It's time for a prayer, Alice. Fold your arms. And then to watch you clasp your hands together and sit so very still.

You've brought so much to our life beyond just these things I've articulated. You've brought play and spontaneity and screams of pure JOY.

I'm so honored to know you, little one. Happy eighteen months.




Pickles and Dimes said...

This is so beautiful, Whimsy! So well-written. Alice is a gorgeous little girl.

Shelly Overlook said...

Alice is so lovely because she clearly takes after her mother.

Amanda said...

I would like to nom her cheeks please!

Amanda said...

I would like to nom her cheeks please!

Alice said...

i love the monthly updates!! alice is so, so lovely :-)

Christina Domingues said...

She is so cute!!!

statia said...

It's such a fun age, isn't it? They're finally old enough to start getting it, and it's pretty amazing to watch.

Erin P said...

What a beautiful, beautiful piece. And it brings back so clearly the long past days of my son's toddlerhood...almost painfully so. It's such a fleeting time, and gosh I wish I had been writing like you to freeze those moments in time...

bethsix said...

LOVE the picture with the Chucks on the beach. So so cute. And her eyes in the first one? My gawsh!!

Did you make the brown with white polka dots? I want one.