Your imagination is taking off these days, and you love to give me or Dada some imaginary food to eat. When we thank you, your head just about pops right off, you're so proud. Also, a few weeks ago you told us a story, which was a real first. You were asking me to tell you stories, and I did tell a few - no longer than a few sentences each. I thought they were getting a little repetitive, so I started one with, "Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Christine," but you quickly corrected me, "No, a little girl named Gwen." Anyway, after that I asked you to tell a story, and you did! Here it is: "Once upon a time there was a little girl named Gwen. She went down the slide. The end!" (What more could you ask in a narrative, really!?)
Everyone who meets you is amazed by your vocabulary and your sentence structure. You do have some pretty amusing verbal habits as well. For example, instead of "mine" you say "mise" (rhymes with lies). It sort of makes sense, if you think about it: Mama's, Dada's, Gwen's, yours, mise. For some reason this word is far less annoying than "mine", and given how many times parents of toddlers must hear that word, I don't actually mind this, its gentler cousin. I guess someday I'll have to teach you the correct word, but not yet.
Also, remember how I wrote about your tendency to say to me what you expect me to say to you? This actually goes way back to when you were only a year old and said "nuh" instead of "no": whenever you were doing something you shouldn't, you'd look at me and say "nuh". Then cheerfully go back to doing it. Anyway, this habit continues to be in full effect: you associate the words you hear me saying with the action you are taking, and start saying the words yourself, even though you don't fully understand their meaning. The latest example is you merrily shouting, "Wait for me!" as you run away from me at full-speed.
Another word we've heard a lot of this past month is "sorry". This is always said in an upbeat, "whoopsie!" way. The thing is, you don't quite understand the context for saying it. So your dad tells you, "Here's your dinner, Gwen. It's still hot, so you need to blow on it." And you respond, "Sorry! Sorry, Dada! Sorry!" We tell you several times a day that there's nothing to be sorry for, but you carry on cheerfully apologizing for random things. If you weren't so chipper about it, I might worry you were getting a complex.
I have my own verbal quirks, too, though. I didn't think I'd be one of those people who constantly uses the royal we when referring to (or talking to) my child, but it turns out I am. I actually didn't even realize I was doing it until a few months ago, when I commented aloud that I planned to change you into your jammies before leaving our friend's house, "just in case we fall asleep on the way home." My friend replied, "Hopefully only GWEN falls asleep, not you - you need to drive!" I was totally taken aback that I'd used the word "we", and now that I know I'm doing it, you might think I'd be able to stop, but I can't. Now I notice it, though, and feel ridiculous.
Your language skills aren't the only things that are growing. You are now tall enough to be able to reach up and turn off the light switch in your bedroom - though not quite tall enough to turn it back on. You also have started calling me "Mom" instead of "Mama" as a sign of your growing maturity. It could be worse - Dad tells me you sometimes call him "Chris"!
You've had some big adventures this past month. We spent nearly a week up the lake at the end of July/beginning of August, and you had the time of your life. We were really pleased with how well-behaved you can be when you put your mind to it: we only had to tell you once that the rule was, "If you're outside you need a lifejacket," and every time you went to the door after that you said, "Need me lifejacket!" You only fell in the lake once, and it was under very controlled conditions and everything was fine (though it took quite a while for my heart rate to return to normal). You also did well with napping and sleeping in a strange environment, which was very encouraging to see. And of course, you were thrilled beyond belief to be surrounded by your grandparents, your auntie, and your cousins.
Another adventure was our trip to the Vancouver Island Exhibition, which happened just this past weekend. You loved seeing all the show animals and excitedly telling us what noises they would make. It was really fun to see it all through your eyes - everything is an adventure for you. At the fair, you met Dora, rode some fun midway rides, and met a clown. But I think your favourite part was the yellow balloon you were given. At this age, it's so simple to give you so much joy.
Gwen, you are growing up into an amazing little girl who brings a smile to everyone she meets. I'm so glad you're my daughter and I can't wait to see what the next month brings.