My dearest, darling, Big-Girl Emmie,
You are one! One whole year old! No words can express how proud I am of you and how far you have come in just a short year (or how unbelievably astonished, thrilled and grateful I am that I am here to celebrate this milestone with you).
First off, your language has really taken off this month. I know it will be small potatoes compared to the language explosion you’ll have in the next year, but compared to what you’ve been doing, things are super exciting right now. We can say, “Where’s Grandma?” and you look right to her (you know each of your grandmas and grandpas). There is no question at all whether or not you understand these words anymore. You’ll even point if you are feeling so inclined. You also are starting to understand some simple commands with minimal help (yes, sorry, your mama is an SLP). We can tell you to “Put it in your hair” or “Give it to mama/dada” (sometimes without holding out our hands or anything), and you’ll do it.
So here’s my list (for my own sake) of words you understand and use now:
Words you understand: mama, dada, grandma, grandpa, Jasper, dog, doggie, puppy, light, fan, hook, book, ball, downstairs/upstairs, eat, food, breakfast, hungry, more, yogurt, drink, water, all done, shoe.Words you use: Spoken: mama, dada (emerging), grandma (emerging) Sign: more, eat, all done, yogurt, milk (means drink/water/want and mama)
Although your babble is starting to get more variegated (“abadaba”), you are more likely to say “uh! uh!” when you want something or to point something out to us. You are also starting to come out with things that sound freakishly close to real words, just out of nowhere. I swear you’ve said something like “doggie” twice while looking at Jasper, and there have been other things too. But for now, your sign is the most consistent way you communicate, other than calling for me with your “mumumumumum.”
One of the things I’ve enjoyed watching is the development of your play and its interaction with prepositions. First everything was “out.” Taking books out, blocks out, everything was out. Then it was “on” (briefly). You figured out you could take a block out of the box, then put it on the chair next to you and that was very exciting. Then you were quickly into “in,” which was Daddy’s very favorite (guess who’s the neat one in the family?). You loved to put everything “in” a box or a bucket or pretty much anything you can find. This has led to several toys getting lost in Jasper’s toy bin, and was extra exciting if you were helping us pack, since it means we will be finding random bits and bobs in all kinds of boxes now. However, it was perfectly timed with us packing, so you were endlessly entertained by dropping items in boxes (then wanting to take them out again, also endlessly). After “in” came “around” and then “through.” It started with some cardboard rings that were packing material for something and quickly became your very favorite toys. You put them around everything you could find. Your ring stacker, small boxes, other toys, you name it. At some point you realized you could hold the ring up and put your toy ball THROUGH the ring and your head exploded. Shortly after this point, you suddenly became a prodigy at the ring stacker and putting the stick through the round stacking rings (or maybe this is “onto”?). At each of these steps, you’ve been experimenting as soon as a skill is mastered. Once you had the rings down pat, you tried putting your little cheerleading cone onto the stacker. Success! Then you tried your shoe. WOE! Perplexion! Why in the world did this one not work? You tried and tried to make that show go down onto the stick, but it stubbornly refused. Luckily, you again found something else that would stack onto the stacker and all was right with the world again.
One of my very, very favorite developments this month has been your real demonstrations of affection for me. Smiles are wonderful, but there is nothing like you resting your sweet little head against my shoulder, or feeling your little arms cling to me in the best hug ever. I even love when you “kiss” me by biting my nose (although I’ve had a few kisses now that showed me exactly how sharp those new little teeth are!). You’ve even started kissing me right on the mouth, which is adorable except that you prefer to kiss me with an open mouth. Up until now, you’ve always been too interested in the outside world to do anything but push away from me to look around, no matter how tired you were. But now, when you are tired, you will crawl into my lap, pull yourself up on my chest, wrap your arms around me and nestle your head in. I can’t even describe how sweet that feeling is.
You’ve also truly developed a sense of independence this month. One day, you simply did not want me feeding you with a spoon. So I let you have it and you instantly dipped it into the bowl, put it in your mouth and ate it happily. You’ve certainly used a spoon before, but had never dipped it yourself and we had never even shown you how. You just knew from watching us so many times. After that point, you screamed if I even touched the spoon to help you get a little more food on the spoon (your “dipping” was really more symbol than functional), but you loved doing it by yourself. Since then, I rarely help you eat, I just provide the foodstuffs. You can suck all the food out of a baby food pouch on your own, drink milk from both a straw and a sippy cup and drink from an open cup too.
You can go up the carpeted basement stairs all by yourself. You still won’t go past the third stair on the wooden steps, probably because they are too slippery and you get a little scared. You can pull up and down on anything remotely stable and can cruise around quite well. We finally got you a walker for your birthday, and by the joy in your face every time you see it, I think you will be making some serious progress on the walking front.
You’ve started really helping us, too. You help us empty the dishwasher by taking out each utensil from the silverware caddy and holding it up to us to take. You take your job very seriously. It’s clear from your face that this is not “play” in the same way that you play at taking blocks out of boxes. This is work and this is serious business. You never put them back in, like you do with your toys. You hand each utensil to us, and quickly turn your attention back to the next one.
Favorite things: coming around a corner and suddenly seeing a favorite person (mama, dada, uncles, grandparents); playing in the down comforter on mama and dada’s bed; the tupperware cabinet; your walker; cars, blocks and balls; crawling around with a toy in each hand (we call you Peg-Leg McGee when we hear you clanking along); tickles; chasing balls as they roll; playing in water; swimming; avocado, yogurt, whatever food is on Mommy’s plate; drinking from a cup then splashing your hand in it; opening and closing boxes with tight fitting lids; straws; your green chair.
Things I love about you: how persistent you are when you are thwarted in something you are determined to do (double-edged sword for me as a parent, but still an admirable trait); how much you love to “help” with the dishes, the laundry, and unpacking; your belly laugh when we fwomp your tummy; your pudgy little feet; the way your hair sticks straight up so crazily, no matter what we do (unless we are in California, where it lays perfectly flat without even trying); the way you can point at exactly what you want and vocalize or sign “more” to tell me what you want; the way you are looking more and more like a big girl each day; the slobbery kisses you give me; your sweet little voice when you say “mama.”
Songs I sing to you: The ABCs; Hush Little Baby; Down in the Valley; Row, Row, Row Your Boat; Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; You Are My Sunshine.
In just one short year, you’ve come such a long way.
No matter how old you get, you will always be my baby. You are my sunshine, my Emmie Sunshine, and I love you, when skies are gray or sunny and bright. You are my sweetest pea and my darling doll.
I love you, always and forever and ever,