Friday, July 27, 2012

Letter to Lainey: 16 Months Old

Sweet Daughter of Mine,

Where do I begin?  You turned 16 months old five days ago.  And it seems the past five days, you've just gotten cuter and cuter.  If you would've asked me six day ago, I wouldn't have thought that possible, but, as in every way, you've proven me wrong.

Your smile.  You smile so often and when you do your eyes sparkle.  You reserve your smile for those who work for it, but what a reward when they do!  You are opening up to others a little more quickly, but still reserved enough that this Mama feels comfortable that you know who you belong to.  And your facial expressions.  So funny!  I've tried to capture pictures of them so I can hold onto them forever.  

And speaking of opening up, you and Daddy are forming quite a special bond.  You have special songs that are just for the two of you, songs that Daddy makes up and you learn and sing along.  While you are eating, you lean your forehead toward him and he bumps you with his.  It's just a Daddy-and-you thing that I hope you'll never grow out of.   Just tonight you played in the hot tub for the first time - with Daddy - so naturally he was your hero.  When I put you to bed, after your milk, you said, "Daddeeeee, daddeeee!"  When he leaves in the morning, you kiss and hug him and tell him, "Bye, bye, Dee," and continue to wave at the door and blow kisses long after he is gone.  You squeal with delight when he comes home and often drop everything to run to him.  If only you knew how much joy that gives both of us; it's taken much time and patience; but so worth the wait.

Today when we were out and about, Daddy and I spoke of how much older you look now than when you first came home.  You seem to be turning into a little girl rather than a baby.  It's a little bittersweet, having to box away those 12 month clothes...but so much fun to open the 18 month box!  Not only are you looking like a toddler, you are acting like a toddler.  You rarely crawl, unless it's under or up something, and not too often do you walk, either.  Run, run, run.  Today at the zoo, you kept up with Teegan and Corbin, 4 and 2, just fine.  You are fearless.  The water doesn't scare you, and neither do heights, sharp objects, hot objects, slides, or toys.  Even after bloody lips and scrapes and cuts, you're a tough little girl.  When you cry from a spill, it's only for a minute or so and then you are ready to play again.  

Not to say you don't cry.  You've mastered the whiny cry.  Giving me a run for my money in that area.  It's so difficult not to give into your every want when you sign, "please," by beating your hand against your chest.  I find myself saying to you often, "Please isn't a ticket to get everything you want," and I often have to remind myself the same.  I fear spoiling you.  I'll love you with everything I have, but finding the balance of spoiling and meeting your needs has been a challenge for me.  I suppose that won't change as you grow older.  You'll continue to teach me.

In addition to knowing how to get what you want by signing, "please," you are learning so much more!  I, for one, think you're the smartest 16 month old girl that ever lived.  I was shocked the first morning you put the words "bye, bye" and "daddy" together to form, "bye, bye, dee."  Since then, your daddy and I have been a little more intentional about working on building your vocabulary and practicing sounds.  (You poor, poor child.  Parented by two educators.)  You repeat so much of what we say.  Daddy's favorite thing to have you repeat is "avocado."   It really is the cutest four syllables one's ever heard.  I wish I could list all your words, but lately new ones are outside, strawberry, Opa (grandpa Tazelaar), and Grandma.  So many more surprise us every day!  The things you pick up from me, without me knowing, are a bit frightening.  Yesterday I caught you talking to Boone and pointing, using the exact. same. intonation I use with you. Exact.  I guess you're learning the pecking order in this household!  (Poor Boone; he is learning it, too.)

You're an independent little gal, that's for sure.  Once you think you've mastered something, even if it's walking in a parking lot or grocery store, you refuse to hold my hand.  You love to feed yourself with a spoon or fork, though it usually isn't a very efficient way to eat.  You can reach many door handles now and let yourself in and out of rooms freely to do as you please.  Two days ago, you were in time out for playing with my glasses.  (You LOVE our glasses, though you KNOW you aren't supposed to have them.)  When time out was over, you came downstairs with me.  I heard you crawling yourself up the stairs and stomping around.  You came right back downstairs so I didn't worry too much about mischief or safety.  When you came to me, you were obviously proud of yourself.  "What an independent girl!" I exclaimed.  And then you handed me my glasses.  You were so proud of yourself for going all the way upstairs to get them and bring them to me without playing with them.  You little stinker.  

You're a mover and a shaker.  You love, love, love to dance.  Grandma Marsha gave you a keyboard and it's one of the only toys you will play independently with.  You love any sort of toy with a button or dial.  Including the oven.  Which, I hope you'll learn soon, isn't a toy.  So many people have commented on your energy level.  "Does she ever stop moving?" "Does she ever just snuggle with you?" "Does she ever just fall asleep in the middle of something?" No.  No.  And no.  From the moment you wake to when you go to sleep, you are climbing, running, jumping or dancing.  We wouldn't take you any other way.

Your sleep habits are improving.  They were never awful, I've come to realize after talking with other moms, but they were frustrating.  I wish you enjoyed falling to sleep.  Because you don't, I worry that you do not feel secure or safe with us as a family.  Rarely do you fall asleep or wake up without fussing for a minute or two.  Sometimes longer, and sometimes shorter.  It breaks my heart to walk away from you in your crib, knowing doing so makes you cry. Believe me, I'd rather snuggle with you for hours; it's the only time you'll be still in my arms!  But I want you to learn that sleep is safe.  I'll be here when you wake.  I'll always be here.

Health - wise, you are a rock star.  You are a champion eater.  You'll try most things, and you like most things.  Rarely do I worry you aren't eating enough.  You went from the 14th percentile to the 40th for weight, and I couldn't be more pleased in that area.  Your giardia is cleared, you passed your hearing test - finally - and I feel pretty positive your little legs are straightening out, slowly.  The remaining question is that of your eyes.  Your daddy doesn't see it, but every now and then I notice your right eye seems a bit lazy.  It's a little slow to catch up with the left.  We have a referral to a specialist and just need to get motivated to make the appointment.

What else can I say to you?  I don't know how to put into words how much joy you bring me.  How many times a day I squeeze you until you push away from me, just because I can.  Because physically, you are here in my arms, in our home, making a mess of our kitchen and plugging up our toilet with shoes or underwear.  You are here.  I'm in awe at God's grace and love.  He gave us YOU and we all just fit TOGETHER.  It's not been all fabulous and peachy; for every success story, there is a struggle behind it.  But, we are working through this as a FAMILY.

16 months old - I'm not sure you can get any cuter.  But if you've proven anything, it's that I don't know a thing.  We shall see!


  1. Rachel this is awesome. Every single word.

  2. She's adorable Rachel, was so happy to finally meet her last weekend!