On the Bayou

Dear Persephone,

It’s your half-birthday today. You’re one and a half years old.

Sometime over the past month you made a big transition. You went from hating hats to loving them. A month ago you wouldn’t tolerate a hat on your head. Now you wear a hat most of your waking hours.

Your vocabulary continues to grow. Here’s a list of some of the words you can say:

  • bird
  • ball
  • bottle
  • baa baa (for sheep and goats)
  • baby
  • bubbles
  • book
  • bye
  • eye
  • Ella (your cousin)
  • hi
  • juice
  • Mama
  • owl
  • scissors
  • shoes

Not everyone would recognize your pronunciation of some of these words, but we do. Your most common word is probably “dat!” which you exclaim while pointing at any number of things. Maybe you’ll be a Saints fan someday.

You obviously understand many more words than you can say. I can give you simple instructions (“Go get a book and I’ll read it to you” or “Take my dirty socks and put them in the basket”) and you follow them. Amazes me every time.

It was just a month ago that we got word you have an elevated blood lead level. I’ve worried more over this than anything since you were born. We are doing everything we can to protect you, and I sincerely hope that this never manifests itself as a problem for you later in life.

Meanwhile, your biggest immediate challenge is sleep. You have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep. This may be a problem we’ve created. You see, we’ve never put you down at night while you’re still awake, never let you fall asleep on your own. We’ve always put you to sleep with a bottle or breastfeeding or just rocking you. And so it seems you’ve never learned to fall asleep on your own. You’re also getting the night terrors, which is apparently caused by lack of sleep. You may be sleep-deprived, and I think your parents are too. I’ve been reading up on this, and it seems some sleep training is in order.

You no longer cry when I drop you off at daycare. I guess it just took a while to get back in the habit after spending the summer at home. Now you sometimes don’t even give me a backward glance when I leave. You’re still happy to see me when I pick you up. To see your face light up is worth a great deal to me. Sometimes you even do a little happy dance. You’re a New Orleanian, after all.

Another thing you’ve started doing is what I call the supervillain look. Sometimes you will get a super-serious expression and glare up at me from beneath your furrowed brow. You don’t seem particularly upset — when you’re upset, we know it — so I’m not sure what this means. But it’s one of the funniest and cutest things I’ve ever seen.

  1. aww, Bart, she is such a a sweet darling! What a great grin, and all those teeth! And, uh, apparently we need some “sleep training” at my house too! seriously, clue me in on how to do that please.

  2. My daughter is 1 year old and she loves to wear hats all day, too. If she is deprived of hats, she puts socks or pants on her head and wears them as hats. Babies must go through a hat stage.

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