Tuesday, October 18, 2011

15 months

Dear Elle:

You are 15 months old. That doesn't seem right. I saw a baby today at work who was about six or seven months old, and that seems like the right number. 15 months feels too far along.

You are right on the brink of so many things: your one-year molars (two down, two to go), walking, complete sentences. There is not a moment where you aren't looking around for something to get into. You are a nonstop blur of activity; in fact, I'm having trouble getting clear pictures of you these days, even on the good camera. You have Things To Do.

These Things To Do are often hard on you. Molars are painful, and you don't understand why your mouth hurts. You are so good, really, even though you hurt. Walking is still something of a mystery to you, though you're figuring it out more each day. Language-- well, I'm not worried about that. Your vocabulary and receptive language are both exceptional. I don't understand all of your babbling, of course, and feel bad about that-- you sometimes look at me as if you're thinking "Lady, could I be more clear? Why don't you know what I'm saying?"

Sometimes, I feel like I'm just in your way. You have never been the snuggliest of babies and that has continued into toddlerhood. You are so alert and interested and independent; taking time to nestle into my shoulder probably seems like energy that would best be spent planning on how to destroy the dining room. So the rare moments when you wrap your hand around mine, or lean against me, or rest your head on my shoulder, are moments I treasure. It's also one of the ways I can tell when you're truly tired-- if you rest your head on my shoulder, I know you're really ready for bed.

We've started saying prayers at bedtime, as part of the routine. Nothing fancy-- we sit in the rocker and ask God to bless the people we love, ask for good dreams and a good night. Sometimes we'll say a more formal prayer, but it's usually just a few words before our last lullabye. You seem oddly attentive during this time; I think you recognize some of the names I list off, and maybe this short addition to the bedtime routine is already familiar and comforting.

I don't want to underestimate the power and importance of routine to you. Routine, especially for children, gives you something to hang on to. It's a structure that's part of your world. That lullabye (which has been the same since you were born), no matter where we are when I sing it to you, is always the same lullabye. All these tiny things, woven into your life in different ways, are things I can do to reassure you how much you are loved, and that you are safe.

You may only have one parent, but I will always try hard to be the best parent I can be. Sometimes that will mean getting out of your way. Sometimes that will mean holding your hand in mine as you toddle awkwardly across the floor. Sometimes it will mean holding you as you scream for no reason at all. Always, it will mean loving you.

Your mom

1 comment:

Tiara said...

Beautiful, brought tears to my eyes