Thursday, June 07, 2007

Letter to Swee'pea: 16 months old

Dear Swee'pea:

Today you are 16 months old. I'm not gonna lie: this last month's been hard. In my last letter I thought you had your first ear infection but in fact it wasn't an ear infection at all. It was some kind of virus, perhaps one called roseola that gave you a fever for several days then a rash that made you horrendously cranky. Pretty much as soon as you got over the rash, your nose started sliming green something fierce, making it hard for you to breathe or eat or drink or nurse or sleep. That cold made us all miserable, not just because you were so miserable, but because your daddy and I also succumbed and started sliming ourselves. Your daddy still has a really nasty cough that you have recently started to imitate.

However, I am pleased and a little bit scared to tempt the fates say that the last week has brought a marked improvement and the happy little guy we have come to know and love over the last 16 months seems to have returned. It's been a week, I think, since you screamed and sobbed and fought us every time we put you in your high chair for a meal or changed your diaper. Finally. It's awfully good to have you back.

mmm beer... partay!

I can't believe how much you understand when we talk. Now, when I say you need a diaper change, you gather up the diaper supplies and sit down on the floor. We've had to start spelling out key words for fear that we'll set off a chain of events that we can't stop. You LOVE going outside, and the word walk elicits quite the Pavlovian response. You point at the stroller, pat the palm of your hand on the top of your head and say, "Ahh?" for hat, and then you bring us your new shoes. And you won't be put off by such words as later or maybe after dinner or a nap or whatever. No, we said walk so now we have to walk. If we actually are going for a w-a-l-k then after we put your new shoes on, you'll bring me mine and your daddy his. I find it surprising for some reason that you know exactly whose shoes are whose.


Other words that we need to use carefully are b-a-t-h-time (apart from a few days when you were sick you still love the water) and e-a-t (your appetite has returned with your pleasant disposition). The downside of all this s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g is that now we've started to spell e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, even if it's not strictly necessary.


For the most part, summer is here, and I can already tell it's going to be a lot more fun than last summer. You love to explore the backyard on your own two feet, and you laugh uproariously when your daddy blows dandelion seedpuffs into the wind. We've been taking you to a nearby playground in the park, and last time you even liked the swing, although I think the slide is still your favourite rush. We go for short warm evening walks after dinner and before your bath, and you sit forward in your stroller, hands on the seat, eagerly watching and pointing at the cars and the trees and waving 'bah bah' at passersby. Just last weekend, your wave became more sophisticated. It used to be a broad sort of wiping gesture with your hand, and you were somewhat unreliable in employing it when we said bye bye. But on the weekend you giggled as other diners at our local greasy spoon waved hello to you over brunch. Since then you have isolated the wave to your fingers moving up and down as a group, and it's adorable. As well, 'bah bah' has become like the Hawaiian 'aloha' functioning for both hello and bye bye.

Asparagus came into season a couple of weeks ago, which I was excited about, but it didn't excite you at all. Oh well. Soon strawberries will be in season, and I'm pretty sure you'll be all over those juicy red bursts of goodness. I can't wait for you to have your first taste of real, local, in-season strawberries, instead of the large nearly tasteless things that travel across the continent that you had this winter. And blueberries. You've had blueberries in a jar, but never the real fresh local blueberries that are so delicious. And cherries. You haven't had any kind of cherry at all yet. You've become a fully-fledged toddler now, and summer is the toddler's season.


I love to watch you toddling around in your lumbering, self-important way. You remain obsessed with putting things inside other things. You pick up various items and disperse them around the living and dining rooms, belly thrust forward. We still find the odd shoe hidden on or under a chair, though not as much as last month, but mostly it's things like the remote that you love to tuck away into places. And no matter how much we question you when we discover we can't find the remote, you are not much help in finding it. The other day we found it in the zulu beer basket in our living room, which had its lid in place, and before that it was tucked in between the tv cabinet and the wall behind it. We seem to alternate between laughter and frustrated grunts in these hide and go seek games.


This past month has taught me a lot about myself: that I'm not as resilient as I thought I was and I will never be totally on top of the important and loving job of mothering you -- something will always throw me for a loop, and make me question the way we're doing things. But then I will drop you off at your daycare, and you will reach your arms out to Sings when you Sleep as soon as we get there, and barely turn your head back to me for a wave goodbye, and I will think that we must be doing something right for you to be so confident in leaving us behind.

Love Always and Forever,


Christine said...

oh he is beautiful Happy 16 months swee'pea.

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful boy. Don't worry about the being on top of things all the time part, I don't think any of us are. Hopefully our kids remember the good times with joy and even get a chuckle out of some of the difficult times.

kgirl said...

He is quite the man. You'll have a great summer.

niobe said...

Such adorable photos. And with all that spelling going on, don't be surprised if Swee'pea begins to understand even the spelled out versions.

slouching mom said...

Those last two photos are phenomenal.

Handsome man!

I love these letters. They move me every time.

Beck said...

He's a gorgeous boy.
I've given up trying to be on top of everything all the time - it's just not going to happen.

Suz said...

Beautiful photos and narrative. As the twins are only a week behind your boy, I love reading about his progress!

Bon said...

he has such a curious, intelligent gaze.

and yeh, this summer IS going to be a lot more fun than last summer. i'm loving discovering the outside world with a, who generally eschews dirt and weather for a nice book. but it's fun, huh? they're fun.

you've got me all excited, too, hoping that soon we'll get to spell things around our house. i am such a geek.

nomotherearth said...

Lovely photos. I know exactly what it's like to miss the boy while he's sick, and be so happy to see the familiar temperament return.

Kyla said...

Amazing photos, especially the close up of him wearing the hat.

Mad Hatter said...

As always, the photos are great. I am glad that you are finally emerging from the fog that was May.

Oh and hot days, nothing beats frozen blueberries in a cup. Mmmmm, says Miss M.

Aliki2006 said...

Lovely, lovely post, c.g. I remember the spelling out of words! I also remember when we had to stop, because Liam got too smart for that. We can still pull it off with Tessa, though, but probably for not much longer.

Beautiful pictures, too.

jen said...

every time you post pictures of him it feels so familiar. that face of his. it's as if i've met him before.

lovely letter.

Ally said...

Gorgeous pictures, and beautiful letter. What a lucky son you have. He will know he is loved.

Em said...

Oh he is delightful! (I always love your monthly letters.)

Em xx