Monday, August 06, 2007

Letter to Swee'pea: 18 Months

Dear Swee'pea,

Your name means helper in Hebrew, and you most certainly are. Here you are helping us pack for the cottage.

Today you are 18 months old. Since I last wrote, you have found a doll of your own. When we arrived at the cottage, you quickly discovered a cabbage patch doll, which you immediately hugged and cuddled, and the owner very kindly gave it to you. It's adorable to watch you play with your baby. You put her in the stroller, or lay her down on cushions, and give her sips of milk from your sippy cup.

toddler at the cottage
Swee'pea: the new high-speed edition

Nevertheless, your obsession with vehicles, the bigger and louder the better, remains untempered. When we're out on walks, every time you see one, you point and sing out, "Da-ah!" And if it's a REALLY big one, you'll make a sort of Beavis and Butthead kind of noise, "Oh ho wo!" You've also recently begun making that noise when you see very tall trees or smoke stacks. You love things that roar, like the blender, and now every time you see the blender you make the roaring sound it does. At the cottage, every time you heard a boat, long before we'd notice it, you'd exclaim, "Bo!" and run to the deck to see it.

Outside the national gallery in Ottawa.

You seem to have become more cautious in the last month. On the playground, you mostly wander around and pick up wood chips. You like to watch kids on the swings, but you want nothing to do with the swing yourself. Where you used to love the slides, giggling all the way down, now you have to be coaxed to go down, even on your dad's or my lap. Once coaxed, you enjoy it and giggle, but you won't want to do it again. I don't know if it's the static shocks that the slides can sometime generate or something else.

Never judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. Here, you demonstrate your great empathy for your dada.

You are working on your eye teeth right now, which the doctor says are the most miserable to teeth to cut through. You are having trouble sleeping, had a fever for a few days during which one little fang came through, and are definitely irritable, though whether the result of teething pain or the sleeplessness, I don't know. Even at your most irritable though, you are still a joy, often hamming it up with funny faces and big smiles, or doing one of your huge whoopie cushion raspberries on one of us. That never fails to raise a laugh, and you relish it.


As your language and communication skills improve, your frustration level rises. Sometimes you will calm down if I explain that I understand what he wants I'm just not going to do it, but other times that just enrages you. You love to go outside, whether in the stroller or on foot. Yesterday you insisted on getting out of the stroller and walking for the first time. I believe this is the beginning of the end of our decently paced, productive walks to pick up milk and bread. Bring on the stopping every two feet for a new twig, leaf or crack in the sidewalk.

You seem quite interested in maintaining order, which must be some kind of throwback: there's now way you got that from me or your dad. If we leave the gate at the bottom of the stairs or the door to the kitchen open, you are quick to remedy the situation. You spend hours tucking little toys, washclothes, diapers, what have you, in little gaps and crevices. This is only a problem when you tuck the remote control away, and we can't find it until we start looking at the room from your perspective. With the air conditioning on, you've become fascinated with the vents and the cool air that blows out of them. The other day we sat and cooled our feet down on them, and the next day I noticed you'd lined up a bunch of toys across the vent, to cool them down I guess.


Ok, so you had some help spelling out your first initial... note the calamine lotion on your cheek from all the mozzie bites...

We painted the dining room a couple of weeks ago, and turned a tall bookcase on its side to keep you from going in while the paint dried. I didn't pay too much attention to the bookcase until the next day when we went to put it upright and I discovered you'd parked all your vehicles, your bus, your VW car, your train and your digger, all lined up facing the same direction, evenly spaced from one another just like a real parking lot. It seems that no detail is too minute to escape your notice. Your grandma came over this morning while we were out for a walk, and I didn't think she'd arrived yet, but you immediately caught sight of her hat and purse on the dining room table, and announced, "Mama!" which is your word for both Grandma and Mama.

They say that kids should have 18 words by 18 months, and I've been looking forward to this milestone for a long time, wondering if you would meet it. Your vocabulary seems to have exploded in the last week or so, but if someone had asked me a few weeks ago, I'm pretty sure I could have come up with nearly 18 words you use regularly. In the last couple of days, you have started referring to your soother as dewdew -- or maybe I've only just cottoned on. It seems that having a name for your dewdew has unleashed an even stronger addiction and I think we will soon enforce a sleep-only policy on it. All day now, you say, "Dew dew" with such an adorably plaintive note (NOT whining) and irresistable pursing of your lips that I give in. But not for long.

The other night I went to a party with childless people. I left relatively early, knowing you would have me up with the sun the next day, and said as much to the host. He said something about kids being a full-time job, and I felt the need to set the record straight. Yes, having a child is more work than I could ever have imagined but it's more everything in both volume and intensity: more love, more joy, more laughter, more tears, more fear, more anger, more wonder (forgive me: I've probably said this all before here, but it continues to amaze me). It's not a simple equation to draw, and probably not worth trying to explain it to anyone who doesn't have kids, but every once in a while I must at least attempt to convey a tiny bit of the wondrousness of our lives with you.

Discovering chalk outside the national gallery

Love Mum


Kyla said...

18 months is so fun. And Swee'pea is so adorable. Love the photo in Daddy's shoes.

Beck said...

He's such a lovely boy - that last picture!
My guy loved cars as a todddler, too - his interests have expanded quite a bit since then, but many of his buddies are still single-mindedly fixated on things with wheels.

flutter said...

This made me all sniffly. He's just a love.

bubandpie said...

I wonder if all toddlers are orderly like that. Mine certainly are - Bub is the consummate liner-upper, while Pie is the resident put-away-er. I assumed they got that from us - but maybe in your case it skipped a generation or too.

slouching mom said...

These letters! I love them.

He's a sweetheart.

Christine said...

happy 18th little guy. wow, it will be a long time before we say that again, huh!?

And I am in love with your bowl from the last post. love, love, love it.

Aliki2006 said...

Oh, I so love that last picture, c.g., I really do.

Wonderful post, as usual.

Mad Hatter said...

Oh that last piture, Sin! The wonder of it all, indeed!

I love that he likes order in the chaos. Love it.

nomotherearth said...

18 months is such a lovely time!

(Whenever I see Swee'pea in a hat, I am reminded of the Boy. He is one of the few boys on the playground wearing a hat with a large brim - he's so pale he has to. Redheads have to be careful!)

ewe are here said...

Lovely. Such a great age.

Love the pictures, especially in his daddy's shoes.

Nancy said...

Wow -- 18 months already!?!

Great pictures. I love the one where he's wearing the big shoes.

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

What beautiful pictures, and what a lovely tribute.

I like the letter out of cheerios!!