Sunday, January 15, 2012

Letter to Lucia: 27 Months


Dear Little One,

What a run for our money you’ve given us this month. The holidays were hard on all of us: two weeks of visitors, a tree in the living room, an overload of presents—couple all this with some late-arriving sibling jealousy, an ear infection, and general two-ness and you have a recipe for an explosive finale to the year.

Things are better now that we’re back in our usual routines, though some of the jealousy and two-ness remain. It’s immediately apparent when you’re starting to go into the “red zone,” as a parenting book described it. Your whole face changes; the look in your eyes is pure challenge and defiance. You lash out with your arms, trying to push away or hit whatever offends you. Your voice pitches higher and tilts into shrill screams. We try to deflect it when we can. When we can’t, we’re trying out other ways of halting things before they get out of hand.

Fortunately you don’t direct your anger at Greta. She’s the source of much of your frustration, of course, but you seem to understand that she’s a baby and not really at fault. You might say “No Greta” when I retrieve her from a nap, or tell me to put her in the office when you want her out of the way, but you still give her lots of hugs and kisses and are, more often than not, happy to see her.

You like to show things to Greta—toys, and things you can do. “Look, Greta,” you’ll say, holding out a stuffed animal. “Look, Greta,” you’ll say, doing some sort of acrobatic maneuver. You usually offer Greta a bite of your snacks.

Your language continues to rapidly develop, and you narrate your actions constantly throughout the day. “I put it over here.” “Where’d paw-paw go? I see it! I found paw-paw.” “Read Olivia Goes to Venice.” “The baby dropped his ice cream.” “Move high chair over there.” “I’m making a stack.” You can sing your ABCs.

Favorite toys and things to do this month: Play-Doh, especially “tiny balls” (which you always say in a high, tiny voice)—tiny balls of Play-Doh that have hardened into colorful pebbles and which can now be found all over our house. Much of your day is spent arranging them, transferring them among containers, finding them, hiding them, pushing them in your stroller, or “cooking” them in a pan. Other favorites: your new doll; stuffed animals (always); small basketball; buckets; stickers; small canisters of Play-Doh you can stack; a Little People pig from your farm, which you hide around the living room; sitting at your little table to draw.

Favorite books this month: Olivia Helps with Christmas, Olivia Goes to Venice, Frosty the Snowman, Henry in Love, Madeline, Memoirs of a Goldfish.

You miss our Christmas tree. For a week or so after we took it down, you’d run over to where it was, spread your arms, and say, “No tree!” Then you’d give me a serious look and say, “Get another one.” You also seem eager for snow to arrive, though you really, really hate the cold; after a certain threshold you won’t walk on your own, and if we do manage to get to the playground you are listless and uninterested. It’s been a mild winter so far, but the cold has definitely reached us now, and long days inside aren’t good for anyone. It would be wonderful if you like the snow, but I’m not banking on it—though I did buy you snow pants just in case.

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