So much has gone on in the past month.
Let’s see — the Saints won the Super Bowl. You’re too young to appreciate the significance of that, but you sure enjoyed beating the hell out of that Peyton Manning voodoo doll.
Also, you had your first real Mardi Gras. I can’t imagine what you thought of all those people in those crazy colorful costumes. I’m pretty sure you loved it, though. You smiled and laughed a lot, and for an extended period your mouth was quite literally agape with amazement.
You also enjoyed a mini-evacuation when we had the house fumigated. I think you really did have fun staying at the house of my boss and her husband. For your mother and for me the whole thing was rather stressful and a big pain. But you were blissfully unaware.
It seems to me you’ve started to become more abstract in your thinking. You can identify emotional states as depicted in your books. You point to a face and say “happy” or “sad.” You recognize shapes and can name them. For example, you spotted a shape on our front door, pointed to it, and said, “circle.” I asked you about another shape on the door and you correctly identified it as “diamond.”
But what’s most impressed me is your recognition of similitude. You will often spontaneously point back and forth between two objects or pictures and say “same.” Sometimes these will be identical things, but often you are recognizing some similar aspect. Last week as we were looking at one of your picture books, you noticed that a snail’s spiral path matched the spiral on its shell. “Same!” I had never noticed that myself.
Things like that amaze me.
I forgot to mention last month that we finally weaned you from your mother’s breast milk. You were down to one feeding, in the early morning, and your mother wasn’t even sure you were getting much milk then. There were a couple rough nights, but I think you were ready. It may have been tougher on your mother than you, but it’s meant better sleep for all of us. Also some time in the past month we finally stowed away your last remaining baby bottles. You are drinking from sippy cups only now. You were just a little upset about that, but only for a few minutes, and now I think you’ve forgotten about the bottle entirely.
So much has gone on in the past month; it’s hard to think about the past year. But you are two years old now. In the past year you’ve learned to walk and talk. You’re big enough that I no longer carry you around strapped to my chest. I take you to daycare on a bike seat now. You still love to have books read to you, but you no longer want to repeat the same book a dozen times in a row — you’d rather read a dozen different books.
It was also in the past year that we got scared about the level of lead in your blood. I’ve been giving you extract of chlorella and cilantro pretty much every day for half a year now. This is supposed to detoxify the body, and you like the taste of it. Your last test indicated a drastically reduced blood lead level, and now that you’re two you are getting another screening, the results of which we will await anxiously. It remains my sincere hope that this is nothing but a footnote in your personal history.
It seems longer, but it’s really only over the last five months that we’ve taken a more disciplined approach to your sleep habits. You are sleeping better than ever, and so are we. There have definitely been some more and less difficult phases along the way, but recently I changed something in your bedtime routine that seemed to make a huge difference. After reading some stories and rhymes, I used to hold you and sing to you and then put you in your crib. Now I’ve changed the sequence slightly. I put you in your crib and then sing you a lullaby. You seem much happier with this arrangement.
For your birthday I got you an octopus made from a recycled sweater. You seem to like it.
Oh, one last thing: Now you really can make a stack of blocks as tall as yourself. Four months ago, nine blocks was your limit. Now you can do sixteen and not even blink.
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As I sat recently finishing my last piece of my daughter’s 18th birthday cake, just a day or two before she and her mother when to look at a college, all of these moments from her life came flashing back. Relish and remember each one.
Thanks for sharing these pictures; I really enjoyed looking at them. I love your habit of writing a letter to your daughter on each of her birthdays. Your little gal is adorable.
I hope you are making a nice Hardcopy Print-down every so often, for the
Fire-Proof, Flood-Proof Storage Vaults, and, I think, possible
Wow, I have a daughter named Persephone, live in Luling and write Dear Persephone letters (on Facebook) too!
When is your next trip to Indiana? I haven’t had my arms around her yet!
[…] One year ago, I was impressed by your emergent abstract thinking. That development has continued apace. The most recent manifestation has shown up just before you drift off to dreamland. While you’re in your crib, under your blankets, I tell you a story and then sing you some songs. I usually try to work the songs in to be a part of the story, a natural conclusion, but sometimes it functions more as a separate sequence entirely. You’re aware of the structure, and over the last month you’ve started to ask, when the singing starts: “Is the song a part of the story?” Doesn’t sound like much, perhaps, but I was thrilled because it represents a new level of conceptual sophistication. […]