Monday, May 24, 2010

Dear Gwen: Month Twenty-Five

Dear Gwen,

Today, you are twenty-five months old. Isn’t that a nice round number? You might have thought that I would use your second birthday as an excuse to stop writing these monthly newsletters, but that is because you are too young yet to be familiar with the real way to spell Mom: O-C-D.

It seemed to me that this month has passed even more quickly than the previous ones, which may have something to do with the fact that the first four months of 2010 have been more or less a countdown to your second birthday, and now that it’s past, it’s like we’re on the whooshing downside of the roller coaster. It may have something to do with the fact that every single weekend (and most of the weekdays) have been full to bursting with birthday parties – after all, all your friends are born in the same season as you – as well as other social obligations. It may also have something to do with the fact that I am writing this a full week ahead of time, because you and I will be out of town and off the Internet-grid for ten days, including the day you actually turn twenty-five months old. So yeah, I’m kind of faking this entry. I'm hoping you don't pick up any brand new skills in the lag time between writing and posting this newsletter, making it completely obsolete.

You are turning into an incredible little kid. You are getting really good at singing – you almost always sing along to the lullabies before I put you to sleep (you know them pretty well, as they are the same two songs every night). You also sing by yourself sometimes, but never when coaxed or when you sense we are paying attention in any real way. I have heard you sing the alphabet song all the way through with only a couple of toddlerisms (right around the “L-M-N-O-P” section, for example) a couple of times, but I can’t get it on video camera because you have no interest in that type of performance. Brahm’s Lullaby is another favourite (that’s what your dad sings to you when he puts you to bed) and it was your Grannie who pointed out that in one of your birthday videos you actually sing the Hockey Night in Canada theme song (I didn’t even recognize it).

You also love to talk. You talk pretty much non-stop with a lot of repeating and clarifying. It’s not enough to point out that there’s a tree. No, it’s more like: “A tree, Mama. Look. Right there. A tree. See it? It’s a tree! Yes it is! A tree! Hi tree! How doing? Hi tree! It’s a big tree. It’s a big tree, Mama! See it? Oooh! It’s big! Hi, big tree! Hi! How doing? How doing, big tree? A big tree. Yes it is!” This may go on indefinitely, or at least until you see something else that catches your interest. You talk the same way about things we are doing or are about to do. “Go outside, Mama? Let’s go outside! Need a jacket – here’s Gwen’s jacket. Get Mama’s jacket too! Here go, Mama! We go outside. Put jacket on, Mama! Need help?” And so on. And yes, you do actually get my shoes and my jacket (if you can reach it) out of the closet so we can go outside. Outside is your FAVOURITE.

We are taking full advantage of your intelligence and willingness to be helpful by encouraging these types of things. You are good at fetching shoes and hats and other outdoorsy gear, and nearly as good at putting them back away when we come inside again. You need hardly any encouragement to fetch your bib prior to a meal (though you can’t get it on yourself yet) and you are happy to take it off and put it back where it goes when you finish eating. You are getting pretty good at tidying up your toys (with help and encouragement) at the end of the day. And the other day when you finished your meal, you did this:

Your independence continues to grow and flourish. Your newest demand is to go up (or down) the stairs “all by self”. This actually means that your Dad and I are not to be anywhere near the stairs while you are on them. We can’t even WATCH or risk the wrath of Gwen. Similarly, you like to get into your carseat by yourself. This adds a lot of time to our journey any time we need to leave the house and has definitely made us reconsider whether or not we really NEED to go out, after all.

We have had lots of adventures in the past month. You adored being surrounded by your grandparents at your birthday party, and it was wonderful to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen in a long time. We went to your first midway, where you were just as crazy about the rides as we’d expected from a girl whose happiest moments are spent swinging upside down by her ankles. We also started a class called “Trail Toddlers”, which features a little nature walk every week with other parents and kids. I’m so thrilled that this class is on Saturdays, as it means that all three of us can go together! We’ve gone on two walks so far and had a great time.

As I write this, you’ve been two for three weeks. And sometimes it feels like every minute of the day is a fight as your Dad and I work tirelessly to herd you from one activity to the next. Last Saturday was one of those days, as I spent nearly an hour with you in your room trying to convince you to nap. I even offered you what I thought was a sweet deal: just get in your bed and lie down for a few minutes and TRY to sleep, and if you don’t sleep then we’ll get up and do something fun. You didn’t even argue with me, just wholly ignored the words coming out of my mouth. There was nothing I could do or say to make you get in that bed. Sure, I could have picked you up and put you there, but then you’d scream and wail and fight, and that seemed to be the opposite of a restful nap-inducing mood. So instead I lay with you on the floor (is it more comfortable than your bed? I don’t get it) for about an hour, hoping you would wind down enough to sleep. It never happened, but I guess you DID get an hour of quiet time.

Mostly, though, life with a two-year-old is pretty entertaining. I love that you talk so much. I love that you are starting to be able to tell us stories about what you did with your day. I love that you see the world in this fascinating and utterly unique way. I love that you are big enough and competent enough to explore the world on your own terms. I love that pictures of you show a girl who thinks life is full of fun. I love that when you want comfort, you come up to me and say, “What’s wrong, Mama?” I love that you approach every day as if it were a wonderful adventure. I love that you mimic words like “beautiful”, “delicious”, and “jolly good”, and then very quickly adopt them into your vocabulary. I love that you pick up your duck puppet, put it on your hand, and then say, "Hi, Gwen. I'm a duck! QUACK QUACK."
We recently went to an event where a well-known author of parenting books put on a presentation about how to raise awesome kids. We learned a lot, but one thing sticks in my mind every day: when she spoke about how to demonstrate unconditional love, the author defined it as the way a parent’s eyes light up when the child enters the room. That is absolutely my experience of parenting you. I AM JUST SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU.

I love you so much and am so glad that you’re my daughter!


1 comment:

yagowe said...

"I'm hoping you don't pick up any brand new skills in the lag time between writing and posting this newsletter"

That was a bit of a pipe dream, wasn't it?


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