Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear Gwen: Month Twenty

Dear Gwen,
For twenty whole months, I have been hedging my bets on you. Several times a day, your dad and I discuss your two most prominent traits, which are your intelligence and your sense of humour. But throughout these discussions, whether in my mind or actually out loud, I tell myself that every parent sees their child this way, and that in actuality you are probably no different from any other kid. This era is now over. I, your mother, free from bias and hyperbole, am ready to declare you the smartest and the most hilarious twenty-month-old in the history of the universe. Guinness Records can relax, the search is over. GWEN FOR THE WIN.

As evidence: at twenty months of age, you can count to ten. I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING. For most of the numbers, it is rote memorization; however, we are confident that you do know what “two” means. For example, the other day we were looking at a picture with many items, including two angels, which appeared in different areas of the picture. I said to you, “Do you see the angel?” (SINGULAR.) And you pointed at them both and said, “two angels”. YOU ARE A GENIUS.

(I’m sorry for all the shouting, but YOUR BRILLIANCE CAUSES ME EXCITEMENT.)

On top of this, you are hilarious. It's much harder to come up with examples of your humour that can be expressed in writing, but here's one: a few weeks ago, your dad was trying to coax you into showing off your incredible vocabulary. "Gwen, can you say I love you?" he asked. You looked at him with a perfectly deadpan face and replied, "YEAH." All that was missing was the eyeroll.

You are also crazy about the alphabet, which you call “ahbeecee”. You request the ABC song several times a day, and sing along as best you can. It sounds like this: “ … … cee, dee … … gee!” etc. You have great rhythm, by the way.
As for the written word, you can recognize several letters by sight, now: X, R, S, Q E, and many others. Your dad and I are really enjoying this stage with you: it’s like you have figured out how to learn, and are trying to learn as much as you can, as fast as possible! You seem so excited and happy about your learning, too, and so proud when you can show off.

You are putting together sentences really well. Your most common types of sentences are greetings and goodbyes: “Hello, Mama,” or “Night-night, Dada,” for example. You also like to point out who various objects belong to: when you see my water bottle, you will say, “Water. Mama water.” You haven’t yet learned the word “want”, so I haven’t heard the phrase “want orange” or “want milk” – when you want something, you just point and grunt, or sometimes whine the object’s name over and over until it appears. This? Is not my favourite of your habits. On the other hand, you have learned to say “I love you” and have even started to say it without being prompted. This ensures that we will keep you around for a little while longer. Well done.

This month has been full of changes and milestones. At the beginning of December, you took your first float plane ride, over to the Sunshine Coast to attend your first English Family Christmas (we missed last year’s due to excessive snow). You did fine on the plane: a little bit of fuss as we ascended, probably due to discomfort in your ears, but you settled fairly quickly. It was a real treat to take the trip in 25 minutes instead of 5-6 hours by ferry (including several hours’ wait at a ferry terminal).

In preparation for this trip, as we were forced to pack light, we decided to see if you could sleep without your waves CD. Sometime between moving you to your own room (July 2008) and sleep training (November 2008) we started playing a CD of ocean waves for you at night: it was on repeat all night long. We even ripped the CD to mp3 so we could take an mp3 player and a small set of speakers along with us when we traveled, to place under your playpen. Anyway, as I said, for a day or two before our trip we decided to try putting you to sleep without the waves, to see if we could skip bringing them along. And sure enough, you had no problem. So one more of your “sleep crutches” disappeared. It seems such a short time ago that we needed to swaddle you and plunk you into a wedge cushion so you wouldn’t roll over and smother yourself. We even had an Angelcare sensor monitoring your breathing. One by one, all these things have disappeared. Next you’re going to tell me you want to sleep in a BED instead of a CAGE. Pshaw!

(A flashback, the better to aid your memory. I think this was taken, like, a week ago?) (Just kidding. It's from July 2008.)

Another big event this month was you spending a whole weekend with your Grandpa Keith and Gramma Karen (and Fritz). Your grandparents offered us this as an anniversary gift, and your dad and I went away for the weekend to a B&B. You had a great time at their house, and didn’t cry or get cranky all weekend (I can only assume this is because they gave you everything that you wanted, at the precise moment that you wanted it, which is exactly what Weekends with the Grandparents are for.) We missed you terribly, but this didn’t stop us from having a wonderful and relaxing time. It was great to come back home at the end of the weekend and get back to our normal, crazy, family life.

We’re on the brink of your second Christmas, Gwen, and I think you are ready to dive head-first into all the joy and exhilaration of the hustle-bustle holiday season. We’re so excited to share this time with you, to see how you respond to stockings and presents and carols and having all your grandparents around you. We love you with all our hearts and are so glad you are our daughter.

Merry Christmas, Gwen!


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