Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy 18 months, Helen!

Dear Helen,

Oh dear, oh dear, Helen. It seems as if you have gone and turned one month older. And do you know what, you're perfect. Really, Helen, I'm not bragging about you or just trying to boost your self esteem. We went to the pediatrician's office and that's what Dr. B. said. And is it any wonder, my love? As he was getting up to leave, you looked at him and said "bye-bye do-tor". You weighed in at a full 19 pounds and 3 ounces, which means in another couple months, we might actually flip your car seat around so you can see all of the wonderful things that Connor constantly points out to you. Or not. You seem pretty happy facing backwards, and you might as well know, I do not like to rock the boat when there are content children in the car. Neither you nor your brother have always been that way. Your weight puts you still below the growth chart for weight, but you are 30th percentile for height and have a head in the 70th percentile. Which is just to say, you sound like one of my kids!

And speaking of cars, I have instituted a new rule in the car. Occasionally, when I am performing a very tricky maneuver like merging into traffic when I have about 20 feet to perform the merge and there are about three million cars coming at me, I announce that "I need everyone to be quiet in the car for two minutes" which ALWAYS results in Connor shutting his yap for about a millisecond, which encourages you to open your yap, because DOG FORBID there be silence in my life...ever. And then Connor shouts "Helen, Mommy said to be quiet! She's trying to drive! You have to be quiet!" and this causes you to squeal, and me to bang my head on the steering wheel, close my eyes, and hope for the best. So far it's working brilliantly.

I am alternately known as "mommy" and "mama" to you these days. When you are grumpy, it's "mama". When you are delighted about something, it's often "mommy". You are also working very hard at internal consonants. We went on a very long hike at a nearby Nature Center a few weeks ago, and you spent much of it saying "wahTrr, wahTrrr" as we walked first along the creek, then crossed over the creek, and then along its other bank.

The folks from the Georgetown Early Learning project came by because you were eligible for a new study, and I think we have found your calling, my dear. For this study, a person showed you how to put three pieces of an object together to make it a rattle. It took you, oh, I don't know, maybe THREE SECONDS to perform the task. Clearly, you should be a mechanic. And Helen, this is a great occupation. It does not require me to send you to graduate school, and with a little entrepreneurial spirit, you'll do fine. You might not realize this, but your dad and I have been gambling away your college fund by "investing" money in a 529 account for you, only to watch it disappear by the time the next statement comes around. This has not turned out to be the best college savings strategy.

You are the principle raspberry giver in the house - doling them out whenever you see a piece of bare skin.

You're making your brother seem much less impressive. You see, as a new parent, pretty much everything Connor did was amazing. And a part of me felt that it was possible he was the only one doing these things, but as it turns out, you do them too. At roughly the same time. Apparently it's called "developing". Until I went back and read Connor's 17 & 18 month letters, I had not remembered that when I would sing "Ring Around the Rosie", he would twirl around all by himself, as if playing a game for one. You know what, Helen? You do it too, only your song of choice is "Here we go round the mulberry bush" which has you twirling, brushing your teeth, trying very hard to "jump out of bed", and laying on the floor pretending to sleep. You also do Ring Around the Rosie, but we don't sing that as often.

I would not fully be capturing you if I didn't write that you are STUBBORN, STUBBORN, STUBBORN! The most extreme example is that a few nights ago, you asked from some "choc", so your dad gave you a piece of chocolate with a foil wrapping on it. He would've taken it off, but you were totally annoyed at having to wait even one second to get your beloved "choc". So then I said "Helen, if you give me your chocolate, I will take the wrapping off so you can eat it" and you shouted "NO!" and I said "give me the chocolate, Helen" and you hid it behind your back and shouted "no", and then I finally just took the damn thing from you and started taking the foil off which caused you to scream so I handed it back with foil half on and half off, and you popped the whole thing in your mouth, because I guess you were going to show me - but then you did capitulate and spit the candy out so that the remainder of the foil could be removed.

You believe you are three years old, and are incredibly offended when anyone suggests otherwise. Which means you paint, and climb, and do any number of things all day that are either incredibly messy or dangerous. But everyone around you is a sucker for your smile, so things seem to work out just fine.

You have also decided that you must sleep with your baby and "bah" (a sheep) each night. The baby is a felt doll about three inches big that I purchased for you at Connor's school in the Fall. I believe I know who made it, and I am going to have to ask her to make a few more, or teach me how to make them, because "baby" is not long for this world. She's easy to lose and doesn't take too well to all the love she's been getting (like when she went swimming - and bless your heart, right after tossing her in the water table, you came to be and said "bay-bee, swim" - so I could at least keep her from drowning too quickly). "Bah" has his own problems. Compared to your arm, he is enormous, so it's a little awkward at night when you lay on my lap to nurse with one arm attempting to hold onto "bah" and the other hand filled with "bay-bee", but we get by.

Mama / Mommy


  1. I was cracking up about the 529 plan comment. What's the definition of stupidity? Doing the same thing and expecting a different result, right? So why do I keep putting money in the 529 each month?

  2. I am in awe that you make the time to write these for both kids each month. What an amazing chronicle of their lives.

  3. I love reading your letters to Connor and Helen as well. What a wonderful present you are giving them