Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear Zoe,

Wowee! How old are you now? Five? No? Alright, you're actually almost 16 months old now - 1 year 3 months 3 weeks and 5 days old - to be exact. Can I just tell you that every single day with you has been an adventure? It has, sweetie. It's been a crazy, roller coaster ride of an adventure. We've had some crazy days. Your mother has had some moments where she's asked herself what the HECK she is doing. There have been some tears between the two of us. There have been some disagreements. But mostly, there's been this clarity that I am doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and you were meant to be my daughter.

Bubble beard; New bangs

But I'm not going to talk about the rough times right now - I'll save that for when you're a teenager and I'm trying to make you feel guilty for being such a wild child. I kid, I kid. Mostly. What I am going to talk about is what an amazingly sweet little girl you are.

Words: You are a talker! Big time! Sometimes we have no idea what in the world you are saying and I've got to tell you this was one of the things I was most worried about. Before I was your mom I would be around kids trying to communicate with their parents and/or me and I would just nod my head like I totally got what they were saying and then they'd give me that WTF look because they were totally on to me. And I was convinced that I would never learn this secret language toddler’s have and I would never understand what my kids were trying to tell me. But you know what? For the most part I just get you and for the other thirty percent of the time I straight up tell you "I have no idea what you're trying to say, baby." I believe honesty is very important and lucky for us, ahem - you will stop at nothing to make your point/get what you want.

Not so sure....

Here are just some of the words that your Daddy and I can very clearly hear come out of your mouth:

No. This is your favorite word in the entire world. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I'm hoping this never stops, especially when you are a teenager. No is a marvelous word that I would like you to continue to embrace with as much fervor as you do now. Right now, you tell Bailey and Max this when they bark, lick, get too close to you, or are are merely doing something to annoy you like, ignoring you. You also use this word to scold the television and your toys. Sometimes you make our job as your parents even easier because you tell yourself no as you are physically doing something that you are not supposed to be doing. This is awesome and is something I would also like you to continue to do going throughout your adolescence, mmkay? I just have a feeling we're gong to need all the help we can get. Sometimes though, we - and by "we" I mean you - confuse “no” with yes. The word yes hasn't really entered your vocabulary yet, so you tell us no when we offer you food when you so clearly want it. But can I just say, no never sounded so sweet or funny as when it comes out of your mouth.

Daddy/Mama. For a while there everything was "Daddy": inanimate objects, the dogs, me. Now you've gotten better and quite clearly know who your Mama and Daddy are and ask for us repeatedly until we give you the attention you are clearly deprived of. But seriously, I think these words most make our hearts melt when we hear them.

Bailey/Max.

Baby. You have your own baby doll. Actually you have like, four. At least two of them are living at Cheryl's house and you have two that live here with us. We recently got you the fourth one because unlike your fabric baby, it looks more like your baby brother might look - except for the hard plastic skin and creepy eyes that never close. You actually helped picked out your fourth baby by reaching out at ALL the babies and exclaiming "Baby!" If we had let you, you would have adopted all those babies right then and there. You're a good little mama, except for when you get bored with your baby and you throw him on the ground and walk away. We'll be working on your babysitting skills, I think.

Down/Up. We hear "down" more often than "up" these days. You have places to go, things to pull down from shelves.

Hi/Bye. You love getting to say hi and bye to everyone now. You wave and smile until people notice you and I’m sure you make their day with your friendliness.

Hugging: You know how I said sometimes we have our rough moments/days? Well, those things are easily erased from memory when you give us hugs. There is nothing as sweet as having you run up to me with your arms outstretched for a hug. When I take you into my arms and you give me those big bear hugs with your cheek to my cheek or you put your head on my shoulder as you pat my back to comfort me as I have you so many times, my heart feels like it might burst with my love for you. You are so precious and so loving.

Kisses: We’re still working on kisses because you’ve chosen to model your kisses after Bailey and Max. But when you want a kiss, you go straight for your target and plant it. It’s very sweet when you give us kisses, but I’m most amused now by you kissing your babies.

Raspberries: Remember when you were an infant and we started to give you zerberts on your belly? Well, apparently this stuck in your mind because recently you’ve taken to coming up to us and giving us zerberts on our arms. You also like giving them to yourself and laugh every time you do so.

Belly: In the past few months your mama’s belly has grown quite a bit. You were one of the first to notice this and I started seeing you modeling my stance: belly out, one hand behind back, the other hand patting or rubbing belly. Soon you would add some giggling to your stance that suggested that maybe you thought I was kind of funny looking. I took these opportunities to teach you the word “belly” and you now show me your belly repeatedly during the day. As my own belly has continued to grow you also request to see mine. I started pulling up my shirts so you could see and now you come up to me, exclaim “Belly!” and pull at my shirt for a peek. You pat, rub and have been known on occasion to give me a zerbert, which always gets a kick from your baby brother.

Crazy Hair

Music/Dancing: It gives your Daddy and I a great deal of joy to see you respond to music and singing the way you do. You are a fan of musicals, especially Annie. You have a stereo in your room that I usually turn on for you when you’ve gotten up from a nap so we can sing and dance along. You rock out in your car seat when we have the stereo on. When we are watching television you dance to the opening/closing credits and you dance to the commercials with music. I think you might get some of your funkier dance moves from your Daddy and this makes me smile. My favorite is when you kind of rock/jerk from side to side with your arms up and your ear on your shoulder and a big smile on your face. My favorite moments are when your Daddy takes you up into his arms and you dance together: your face beaming, laughing, head back, feeling the breeze in your hair as he twirls you.

Waking up: Without fail, every time we go into your room to wake you for the day or from a nap, you spring to your feet quickly with a smile. You are truly a morning person and I do not know how this happened. What I do know is that you make my mornings better getting to see your bright, happy face.

Zoe's pigtails

I think as a person, I tend to look at my faults and what I feel like I need to improve upon more than what I am good at, my successes. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best mom I can be for you and it’s only been recently that I’ve started to see that I really am. I adore you, Zoe. Since becoming your mom I’ve grown as a person and experienced such joys watching you grow and learn and play. You make me laugh. You make me smile. You make me want to be strong. You love me unconditionally and I love you with every ounce of my being. You have amazed me these last 16 months and I’m looking forward to everything our future holds for us. You’re everything I dreamed you would be and more and I am so grateful that I get to be your Mama. You are our ray of sunshine and such a special, sweet little monkey lady!

Hugs and Kisses Always,
Mama

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