Dear Sweet Girl,
I’m sorry that life has been too busy to allow time to write regular letters to you. But I’m not sorry that we have been filling our days with outdoor adventures, art projects, and road trips. We have visited farms, museums, parks, and playgrounds. Created mini masterpieces with stickers, markers, glue, and glitter. Traveled to Virginia, Maryland, Penn State, and Alabama. And we are just loving all that there is to explore in Morristown. Perhaps we will be Jersey girls, after all?
You are 19 1/2 months. Full of spunk and sass and a little bit of drama. Your giggle is contagious, your pouty face is hilarious, and your hugs are addicting. When you run at me with open arms, I can’t help but scoop you up and squeeze tight. You know how to bat the lashes above those big blue eyes to get exactly what you want — especially if Daddy is on the receiving end! You are mischievous and often steal things from Sam when he’s not looking, then you hold them tight to your chest and turn and run in the opposite direction. With a sly smile on your face.
It’s not uncommon to find you and Sam in his bedroom, dressed as a firefighter and a superhero or a princess and a train conductor, building a fort out of pillows and blankets and your Pottery Barn chairs. Or inside the closet huddled around flashlights, sharing sibling secrets. Or racing dump trucks and Matchbox cars across the hardwood floors between his room and yours. On rare quiet moments, the two of you will climb into the rocking chair with a pile of books and your favorite stuffed animals (a baby doll, a pink turtle, Minnie Mouse, and a bunny). He absolutely adores you, and you absolutely idolize him, even when you’re fighting over the iPad or the train table or the Little Tykes car or who gets to pull the drain in the bathtub.
You try so hard to keep up with Sam. If he’s pushing his lawn mower up the hill and through the mulch in our backyard, then you are following with your ball popper. If he’s riding his tricycle around the deck, then you are trying to keep up on your giraffe bike. If he’s scaling the rock wall, climbing the spider’s web, crawling up the sliding board, or hanging from the monkey bars, then you are right behind him — looking far too much like one of the big kids.
You like to sing and dance, play the harmonica, and beat the drum. You can walk on tip-toe and twirl in circles, and you try so hard to jump. We play ring-around-the-rosie, duck-duck-goose, and row-row-row-your boat on a regular basis. You roll around on the floor and can almost do a somersault and can climb onto basically every surface in our house.
That bravery got you into a bit of trouble while we were living in Dover. One morning, I found you in the bathroom sink. Another day, you pulled a chair over to the kitchen counter and were trying to reach the spice jars. You also climbed up into the tree house when nobody was watching. And, most shockingly, you got your head stuck between the stair railings! You screamed, Sam cried, I panicked. And Poppy came to the rescue with a wooden board to wedge between the railing just enough to slide your head back out. Whew! Never a dull moment.
You surprise us with new words every day. You love “b” words: ball, boat, book. You ask for water (wawa), cheese, cracker (cacker), goldfish (fishies), eggs. And my new favorite: Lucy, which sounds like “loo-shee.” Other words include: up, down, go, hot, ice, more, done, owl, hi, bye, open (ohp), on, hat. And NO. I sometimes miss the days when you only said “yeah.” Because now you say “no” all. the time. “No” to diaper changes. “No” to milk. “No” to it’s time to come inside. “No” to riding in the stroller. (Until we got our new luxury stroller for you and Sam to ride side-by-side!) It can be exhausting. So can your new desire to do everything by yourself. Like climbing into the tub and washing your own hair and like putting on your pants and shoes, even if you put both legs into the same pants hole and your feet into the opposite shoes. Not only do you try to put on your clothes, you try to take them off, too — diaper included. More than once, I have found you naked, pulling the potty seat out of the closet. At least you know what to do? Though you may be more ready to start potty training than I am.
You are fascinated by books, and we read no less than five every afternoon before nap and every night before bed. Current favorites are: Peek-a-Who (you help to read with “who-who, moo, choo-choo, and boo”), Today I’ll be a Princess (we have to look for the teddy bear on every page), Princess Baby (you get upset if I mix up the order of cupcake, giggly goose, miss muffin, and sweet pea), Ollie (though you do not like when Ollie the egg cracks open), and Peedie (every time Peedie falls asleep, you point to your bed and say “shhhh”), Silly Sally (and we have to turn the book around to see Silly Sally upside down). You can also identify almost every picture in your First Words book. I was especially proud when you correctly identified broccoli and carrots!
Speaking of broccoli and carrots, you love both. You also love waffles and sausage or scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast; pretzels, hummus, raisins, cucumbers, blueberries, or apples with peanut butter for snack; chicken nuggets and French fries, macaroni and cheese with peas, or quesadillas for lunch; and you typically eat whatever we eat for dinner: spaghetti or zoodles with meatballs, tacos with guacamole, turkey burgers, pork chops, or pizza. I still can’t get you to drink milk, so we do a lot of full-fat yogurt and cheese. And ice cream, of course, because it’s been 90+ degrees for most of the summer.
You love to help in the kitchen — measuring flour and oats, cutting bananas with a plastic knife, stirring pancakes, rolling out pie dough, placing cheese and pepperoni onto pizza, stealing bites of cookie dough. It’s challenging to get any cooking done with two mini sous chefs and our new — much smaller! — kitchen. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.
You spent three months as my roommate, while we lived with Nini and Poppy. And then had to spend another three weeks in your pack ‘n’ play after we moved because the hardware for your crib was lost somewhere between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We finally purchased a new crib and assembled it … and you hated it. It took a good four days for you to adjust to the extra space and the softer mattress. But now you love it! You take a solid two-hour nap every afternoon and sleep for about 12 hours every night. When you’re ready to get up, you yell “mamamamamama.” And, if I don’t respond fast enough, you move on to “dada buh-buh dada buh-buh” (daddy and brother).
We did a lot of FaceTiming with Daddy while we lived apart. And you don’t understand why every phone call isn’t a FaceTime call.You always want to smother the screen with sticky kisses. It’s also great for seeing grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends from Greensburg — though they often only see the top of your head because you insist on holding the phone or iPad.
It doesn’t take long for you to figure out technology — just like your brother. I downloaded a few iPad apps for you before our trip to Alabama, and Peek-a-Boo barn is your absolute favorite. You also bring the iPad to me and request Daniel the Tiger (dah-lull) or Elmo. Once I unlock the phone, you know how to find Amazon and click play. You only watch about five minutes, but Daniel and Elmo are definitely your favorites.
Mommy finally bought new shoes for you — blue sandals and pink sneakers — because you complained every time I tried to squeeze your feet into the size 5s. Sorry! But you need to stop growing so fast. You also need a completely new fall wardrobe because you have no pants that fit. At least you have finally learned to keep barrettes in your hair — good thing because your bangs (that I regretfully cut a few months ago!) now hang in your eyes. Oh, and your hair is officially long enough for a ponytail. Which makes you look like a teenager
Nora Kathryn, I love to witness the world through your eyes. Your “whoas” and “ohs” make little things seem like amazing things. I hope you are always so curious and eager to explore.
I love you, sweet pea!