Category Archives: Dear A

Dear A: 19 months old and completely awesome.

Hello, my dear! I haven’t written anything in a while and that’s a shame, since so much has been happening.

Any time there’s good weather your daycare provider takes you out to the park for an hour or so. You enjoy the swings and the slides, but your favourite is digging in the sand. You love to make sand castles and dig and put handfuls of sand on the play structure. You even say “sand castle” when you see your park toys.

You’ve been having a great time at gymnastics. The trampoline is still your favourite area, and you can jump with both your feet and keep your balance like a pro. This week you walked along a short balance beam, holding my fingers for reassurance more than support. You get along well with your only classmate, Max. You love to hand him a ball you are playing with, and say his name. A few weeks ago, as we were getting ready to go, he leaned in with puckered lips and so you did the same. We never expected you’d have your first kiss so young! It was absolutely adorable.

You seem to have overcome your fear of strange adults. You are still shy at first, but if Daddy or I interact with them, you will eventually warm up to them too. You love other children, and have been getting to meet the kids of Daddy’s and my friends. You remember their names, and can pick out who they are in photos, too. I’m pretty impressed by your memory.

You can also remember a ton of words. You’re stringing together 3 or 4 words now, and still continue to use the signs with spoken words. You’ve got a huge vocabulary, and pick up new words pretty effortlessly.  You love to repeat what Daddy and I say, too, and you’ve picked up some expressions, like “Awesome!”  It’s a treat hearing you testing out your new words.

Meals are still a bit challenging, though we’ve figured out some strategies to get you to try what’s on your plate. You’ll try almost anything once, but will have nothing to do with tomatoes. You’ve also decided that, instead of eating only green vegetables, you would rather eat veggies of any other colour instead. You have also realized that your sippy cup straw makes a great pea catapult. Our dog Phoebe loves this discovery as much as you do.

You’re growing, too, and you are getting to be such a big girl. We’re lucky that you’re starting to wear a new size of clothes right at the edge of a new season.  You are still quite petite for your age, but you’re so healthy and strong and agile and clever that Daddy and I have stopped worrying about your size and embrace the fact that you must just be meant to be small.  You are fabulous just as you are.

Building Sandcastles

Building Sandcastles

Dear A: 18 months old already!

It has been ages since I wrote, and so much has happened in the past few months.
You’re a very confident walker now and love to wander around the neighborhood, pointing out cars and flowers, and picking up handfuls of sand to let run through your fingers. Speaking of sand, you love going to the park with us and with your daycare. You like the swings and slides, but your favourite thing is to dig in the sand. You dig with a little shovel, or put handfuls on the shovel and then dump it over. You sometimes grab handfuls of sand and dump them on the bottom of the slide, and then swipe it off again.  Watching you play is fascinating, and Daddy and I love seeing you discover the world around you.
You started gymnastics class, and I think it’s the perfect activity for you.  The first day you were a bit shy, taking the measure of your instructor and the other little boy in the class.  This weekend, for your second class, you were ready to jump in and you had a great time.  Your favourite part was the trampoline area, and you love throwing a ball around and chasing it while jumping around.  You’re remarkably coordinated for your age, and can jump with both feet at the same time.  I’m so happy that you are enjoying it so much.
We don’t spend much time watching TV, but you do have one show that you ask for by name: Yo Gabba Gabba.  It’s fun and full of energetic music that you like to dance to.  You know all the characters’ names, and like to list them off at random times through the day.  The episodes have some good messages, and it’s nice when you snuggle into my lap and we watch together.  You’re not a snuggler, so it’s nice that for a few minutes, you’ll cuddle in, even if it’s just to watch a show.
You talk a lot now, and most of the time you like to announce what you see, or are doing, or are playing with.  You love to make animal sounds, and we go through your list of animal sounds in the car when the ride starts getting boring.  I love being able to communicate with you, and you still like to sign, although now you sometimes do the sign and say the word at the same time.  Daddy and I counted around 160 words that you know, which astounded us a bit.  You’re an extremely clever little girl!
You’re still a bit of a picky eater, and you still eat like a bird, but you’re able to handle bigger pieces of things, and you love to pick up a half a slice of toast in both hands and take a big bite out of it.  We have to work hard at getting enough protein into you, but you love fruit and bread and sometimes you’ll even dig into your vegetables with gusto.  You have your favourite foods, but singing the “Try it, you’ll like it” song from your favourite show will sometimes get you to try something new.
There’s so much more, but this is getting quite long.  I love you bunches and bunches, my little bean.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Digging in the sand

Digging in the sand

Dear A: Happy Birthday!

Oh, my sweet girl.  One year ago today you came into this world, and into our lives.  It has been a wild and wonderful ride so far, and I’ve treasured every moment.

I remember when I went into labour.  I was so excited to finally meet you!  I was terrified that something would go wrong, about the pain, about the unknown.  You were my first, of course, and all the books in the world can’t tell you exactly what your experience will be.  (You’ll find that to be true of most things in life, my dear.)  Daddy rushed home after I told him the news, and he was as excited and apprehensive and amazed as I was.  He was brilliant through the labour, making me laugh when I needed distraction and being supportive and just generally wonderful. (You know, how he usually is.)

Twelve hours blurred by, and then here you were!  Tiny, red, wrinkly, and perfect.  You cried at first, and then settled in for a snuggle.  Daddy held you first, and then me, and the world around us ceased to exist for a while.

Being at the hospital was exhausting, but we got you back up to a good weight (a recurring theme…), and they let us take you home.  The doggies got to meet you for the first time, and they were curious and unsure.  We settled in at home and the fun began!

Just like our stay at the hospital, the year has somehow slipped by.  We’ve watched you with love and given you encouragement as you’ve worked toward your milestones – lifting your head (boy, did you HATE tummy time!), rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and then cruising.  You’ve met lots of people, visiting family and making friends at play groups, charming everyone with your sweet smile and sparkling eyes.  You’ve travelled as far as Perth, to your grandparents’ place, and to Gracefield, Quebec, to visit some extended family.

We’ve had our struggles, too.  You’re getting taller but you don’t seem to put on a lot of weight, and that’s been a source of frustration.  I’ve nursed you, we’ve given you formula at different concentrations, and you’ve seen 5 different doctors and dietitians, including a gastrointestinal specialist.  You’ve been poked and prodded, we’ve tried different things, and everyone seems to have come to the same conclusion – you’re just wee, and that’s how you are.  You’re a bit of a picky eater, but we do our best to make sure you get good, homemade meals and that you get the nutrition you need to keep growing, even if it’s at your own pace.

You, my dear, have been a delight.  You’re amazingly even-tempered.  You take most things in stride, though you’re not fond of loud, startling noises.  You love watching other children and are very sociable, as long as nobody tries to pick you up.  You’d rather explore than snuggle, and that’s alright.  I love watching as you discover and start to understand the world around you and how it works.

You’re a year old today, little bean.  Happy birthday.  We love you more than you can possibly imagine.

Birthday Baby!

Birthday Baby!

Dear A: Your First Christmas

Dear A,

Merry Christmas, little bean.  I’ve been extra excited about Christmas this year, and it’s all because of you.  Our tree went up weeks ago, with the breakable ornaments high out of your reach.  You do like to look at it,  but so far you haven’t been interested in touching it.  Lots of gifts were tucked under the tree, mostly for you, and Daddy and I couldn’t wait to watch you tear them open.

You had a great time on Saturday at your aunt and uncle’s for an early Christmas dinner, and the best part about your gifts was the tissue paper.  You do have a hard time resisting things that crinkle and rustle.

Two cousins enjoying an early Xmas

Two cousins enjoying an early Xmas

Earlier the same day, we got together with some friends and made Christmas ornaments.  The idea was to put white paint on your hand and then have you grasp a ball-style ornament, and then add glitter and so on to make the fingers look like snowmen.  Yours came out a bit more… avant-garde than intended, but it’s special nonetheless because it’s yours.  It’ll be on the tree every year, you can bet.

Paint, meet ornament

Paint, meet ornament

Unfortunately, we didn’t make it out to grandma & grandpa’s last night for Christmas dinner and gifts.  Late the night before (Christmas eve eve?), I woke up to the sound of you being sick.  My poor little girl!  You managed to pick up a stomach bug somewhere, and while you took it in stride, I was worried we’d have to skip out on festivities, to avoid giving your bug to everyone else.  We took you to the doctor yesterday, who confirmed it was a run-of-the-mill virus, and that you’d be fine in a few days.  We stayed in and gave you loads of extra cuddles and attention, and Mommy and Daddy ordered in Chinese food and took it easy.

This morning you were a lot more sedate than usual, and way more cuddly as well.  We snuggled and read some books, and you had some milk and water and a couple Cheerios. You also sat still on my lap with your head on my shoulder for a good 10 minutes this evening, which is the longest snuggle you’ve had since you were mobile enough to push away.  Your sense of independence and adventure will be back soon, no doubt.

We stayed home today as well, opening presents through the day.  You napped lots, but were mostly in good spirits.  We may have missed the big extended family get-together, but Daddy and I loved having you all to ourselves.  You got lots of lovely gifts, and especially loved a talking book from Daddy, as well as any dangly tags.  We loved spoiling you rotten, as did everyone else, because you’re the most amazing little girl.

Merry Christmas, little bean.  It has been an incredible year, and my life is so much richer for having you in it.  I feel blessed to know you, to love you, to watch you grow and learn and become our sweet little girl.  We love you to pieces.

Merry Christmas baby!

Merry Christmas baby!

Dear A: First snow

Being born on New Year’s eve, you have had the opportunity to see snow.  However, as a newborn, there’s no way you were ready to play in it, and I don’t imagine you remember anything from so early on.  However, the year has passed, and the seasons have cycled yet again (for the first time, for you).  At nearly 11 months old, winter is here again and you’ll get to experience it this time.  

We’re in the midst of a huge snowfall today.  Not a blustery, windy blizzard, but a slow, delicate, steady drifting of snow.  At last count we’ve had 22cm fall, and it’s showing no signs of stopping.  Like the first snowfall of every year, I paused in the window and watched it as it fell for a while, making the view brighter, cleaner.  Of course, you were up at your usual time, and my moment of reflection was short.

You were playing happily in your high chair (and by playing, I mean pushing your breakfast around the tray and making a fantastic mess) when I heard the snow plows come by.  You were safely strapped in and quite content, so I ran outside to hurriedly throw some of the snow off our car and into the laneway for the plow.  (Luckily our parking space faces the kitchen so I could watch you while I swept off the snow.)  I hustled back inside and you were none the wiser, still mucking around with your bananas and cheerios.

Having had to stand in deep snow beside the car, some had gotten stuck in the cuff of my jeans.  I carefully lifted it out and put it on your tray.  You picked it up and your eyes widened, surprised by the sensation of cold.  You explored, closing your hand around it, squishing, rotating your wrist around, and then putting it down to melt into your breakfast.

You will get more opportunities to explore this fluffy white stuff as time goes by, but I loved sharing this first experience with you.

Dear A: our busy week

We had a wonderful, full  week, my sweet little baby.  We went to the university’s language lab to take part in a study on infant language acquisition.  It was neat, you seemed to have fun, and I’ll be curious to find out what the study’s results were. (Mommy’s a bit of a language nerd, you see.)

We had a quick visit with auntie Dani this week and we did a little Christmas shopping with her, but it was a short trip to the mall because you were determined to be unhappy unless you were being snuggled.  You slept like nobody’s business though and I even had to wake you up to feed you dinner.

We had a great swimming lesson this week as well.  You are starting to get used to splashing water, though you still haven’t figured out blowing bubbles yet.  All in good time.  You’re an enthusiastic kicker in the water now as well.

We also got together with some mommy friends and their babies, and went to the library for infant story time.  It took you a while to get used to the big crowd, but once you settled down you had a great time crawling around, exploring, and putting your fingers in the other babies’ mouths.  Things like this make me think you’ve skipped the “parallel play” stage.  You stare at other people, especially babies, and love reaching out to touch them and give them great big smiles (most of the time).

You’ve also mastered giving high fives, and this week you’ve also mastered clapping.  You do it all the time and it’s absurdly cute.  Mommy’s starting to feel like a bit of a rock star, with all the applause following her around!

I think our busy week caught up to you, though.  You were fussy last night and had a bit of a runny nose.  You woke up twice through the night, stuffed up and wanting to snuggle and nurse.  This morning you’ve got a full-on cold, with a very runny nose and an occasional cough.  No fever at all, which is good, but also no appetite.  You’re being a trooper so far, despite the reindeer-red nose and being constantly wiped down.  Let’s hope this is a short one and you fight it off quickly.

I love you, little bean