(I've been writing monthly updates to my daughter, Claire, documenting all the changes that come with the passing weeks. You can catch up on past letters here.)
Oh, Claire. That little girl that we once referred to as “spirited” has given way to one who is full of spunk—and I love it. You are so much fun right now! You have the biggest, goofiest grin that lights up your whole face. You babble and blow bubbles and raspberries. You click your tongue and pop your lips. You are just pure joy to watch as you marvel at the world. Pure, pure joy.
Still no walking, yet, but you are perfecting your standing up. You regularly let go and stand up all on your own, usually because you want to multitask—holding a toy in one hand and suck the thumb on your other hand. It’s hilarious and adorable all at once. Your Mimi timed you once and you stood all on your own for more than thirty seconds! I can only imagine walking will be here before we know it.
This month you went through a phase where you started to show off a more introverted side: When a stranger would make eyes with you, you often would bury your head against me and bashfully divert your gaze. Though you’ve been in the nursery since you were six months old, you started to protest about 45 minutes into service when you realized we weren’t around. So for a couple of weeks, I’d come in and join you and once you knew I really was nearby, you’d go back to independent play and the other kids would come running to take advantage of the new storytime reader. Fortunately, last week you made it through the whole service without a peep.
If you asked your Mimi about yourself, one of the things she would say is that she’s never met a child with such a good appetite as you have. You were never a picky eater, gobbling up carrots or pureed corn, avocados or acorn squash. Here recently, though, you have started protesting fruit purees though. I feed you a spoonful and you squash up your little face, purse those lips and cough like it’s sour grapes I’m feeding you. Time and again, I’ll taste them myself to make sure, and they are always yummy. I think maybe you’re at the stage where you want real food, not just purees, so I’ve started sitting you in your high chair with finger foods for the picking: Cheerios, steamed carrots, pieces of toast, banana chunks. You seem to enjoy that, although you’re still not eating as much as it seemed you once were. (You still love, love, love rice cereal though. I think you’d eat that all the time if I let you.)
You still will not keep socks or shoes on your feet. We are constantly pulling your pants up because your waist is so tiny and your legs so long that you’re always stepping and crawling out of them. I am wholly anti-onesies now, thanks to the fact that you are such a squirmy-wormy. Trying to fasten even a trio of snaps after a full diaper change is like wrestling a fish. Not worth it. Consequently, you often wear the same outfit for a couple of days sometimes just so I don’t have to take on the task of wrangling you into a new one.
You love to tear up phone books. (I kept a miniature one just for this purpose. You still find the big one and prefer it.) You love clearing your GP’s shelf of DVDs and VHS tapes, throwing them all to the floor. You get a sparkle in your eyes when you survey the next thing you want to take on—the cat walks into the room, a remote sits on a low table, I leave my iPod unattended. You are stealthy and undaunted by height or distance, constantly amazing us at when you end up uncovering. Which is why we have to be more and more careful what falls to the floor because you inevitably find it. The other day it was a rubberband. Then it was an insect in the car. (And the only reason I know that is because there was a wing stuck to the side of your mouth afterward when I realized it. Gross.)
In essence, you keep us on our toes with your vivaciousness and zest for life. And I love it. I adore this spunky side of yours. I adore the joy and exuberance with which you approach the world. Even when you wake up from a nap, there’s no downtime. You’re ready to go, bouncing up and down, squealing with delight. I love it. And I love you.