Friday, September 27, 2013

Letter to Greta: 23 Months

Dear Greta Banana,

Two is just around the corner, and you're changing in ways that continue to surprise me. All along you've been brave and bold, outgoing and cheerful, always eager to greet strangers and run into the mix. Over the past couple of weeks, however, you've exhibited a new caution, even shyness. You and I are doing a Music Together class once a week while Lucia's in preschool, and when I signed you up I felt confident that you'd love it--you sing and dance constantly; any snippet of music compels you to bend and bounce. And yet last week, and this week, you cuddled in my lap during class, even hanging around my neck and burying your face in my shoulder. You seem unnerved by the whole thing--yet as soon as class is over, your usual self returns, and you wave and say "Bye!" to the teacher and other kids. I suspect this is partly your age--this new hesitation--and partly the fact that you've never done anything without Lucia. You are used to having her around to watch, and you take your cues from her; if she were with us in class I think you'd be much more comfortable.

On the playground, too, you're doing more climbing but are also uneasy once you reach wherever it is you're going, often reaching down to be lifted back to the ground instead of heading to the slide or the steps to come down yourself. All of it is surprising and shows a growing sensitivity, and watchfulness, that I hadn't expected.

Besides music class, you and I have an hour or so afterwards to wander around and have some one-on-one time. I've been letting you wander at your own pace, which you don't normally get to do, and I'd forgotten how slow-going it is to walk anywhere with a near-two-year-old. You stop to collect leaves and flowers. You climb up and down stoops. You look at your reflection in shop windows. I've been encouraging our babysitter to take you outside for walks during the mornings she's with you, because I do feel like you've gotten cheated out of this part of your toddlerhood--the time, and independence, to just walk and look and explore. It's hard to do that when there's the competing interests and goals of your sister to manage too.

You are finally sleeping through the night, and sleeping in to a very leisurely 7am. Your eating has come down a notch, from amazing to just regular good eating. You're refusing more meals, however, usually breakfast and sometimes lunch, which I attribute to both two-year molars and a general inability to focus on eating when there are so many other things to do.

You are still only saying one syllable of most words, though your vocabulary is large--and you're putting two words together in new ways. "Ma fee," you'll say, pointing to my coffee. "More chee," you'll say. More cheese. I'm not sure how concerned to be about your inability or unwillingness to catch all the syllables; we'll talk to your pediatrician about it next month.

You are wearing 3T and size 8 shoes. Growing like a little weed.

Favorite toys/activities: Squinkies, your doll, My Little Ponies, stickers, markers, coloring books, throwing things away in the trash can, chalk, collecting "pretty" weeds in a bucket, climbing the stone walls in our yard, stealing Lucia's scooter to ride

Favorite books: The Jolly Barnyard, Goodnight Gorilla, Elmo's colors, At the Pond One Day, Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs, Barnyard Dance, Runaway Bunny

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