Monday, August 1, 2011

21 Months of The Bird

Dear Hazel,
This weekend, you turned 21 (months).  We celebrated by going to a pool party where you were almost successful in giving Mommy a heart-attack by jumping into the deep end.  And then after you survived that near drowning, you were pushed to the ladder, climbed up and REPEATED the insanity for the rest of the day.

When you turn 21 years, I can only hope that you won't show as much persistence with what normally occurs for 21st birthdays.  And, just to be on the safe side, promise me that you won't go near a pool that day, mkay?

So, the last two months have been amazing for you.  You are growing and developing in leaps and bounds.  You continue to mimic your Daddy and I every time we turn around.  You also appear to mimic Millie... and you want to sit in her car seat or her jump-a-roo whenever she's not in it.  And if YOU can't sit in it, then your dolly will.  Sometimes, it's a race for Mommy to get Millie into the jump-a-roo before you can stick your dolly in it.  Today, it was Raggedy Ann in the car seat.

You love your little sister something fierce.  And, I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating:  You make my heart melt every morning when you run out to give Millie a hug and a kiss.  And every evening when you give her a kiss goodnight before she goes to bed.  And in between when you want to hold her, or hold her hand in the car when we're driving.  You can't get enough of your sissy.  And she feels the same.  Which makes us feel like we're the luckiest parents in the world.

You have been pretty happy lately.  Oh, trust me.  You have your moments of bi-polarness that comes with just being a toddler in a big world where, yea... you don't have a whole lot of power in yet.  Not that you don't try to have all the power.  But either we've grown numb to it, or you've decided that being happy is better than being difficult.  Could be a little bit of both.  But whatever it is, it is most welcome.

You've learned how to pout.  That didn't take long.  You pout about things like Mommy not letting you drive the car.  Or the nice girl on the playground who stopped you from picking up the gum she just spit out.  But, it's a cute pout.  One that makes me feel bad for you and giggle at the same time.  You also demand a binkie.  You remember... that thing you REFUSED when you were a baby?  That's the one.  And you want your binkie all the time.  And if you can't have your binkie, you'll gladly take Millies. And then hand it to me.  Or try to put it back in her mouth.  Because, how in the world did it get out of there in the first place?

When I pick you up from day care these days, you walk out with me and wait patiently for me to put Millie down so that we can put you in the car first.  I have to do it this way because I'm terrified that you'll run out in the traffic and get killed in the 2 seconds it takes for me to get the carrier secured into the car.  So, I set Millie on the sidewalk and turn around to pick you up.  As soon as I set her down... THE GAME IS ON.  You take off running and giggling back to the door for day care.  You love the chase.  Mommy doesn't mind the chase, unless she's sore from Crossfit... which is 90% of the time.  Sometimes, I have to trick you into getting closer to me before I set Millie down so I have a chance at catching you. But you seem to be picking up on my cleverness.

You are full of words these days, too. Besides truck (tuck), tractor (takta), and binks (binkie), you've now incorporated a word that makes me giggle: Nope.

Hazel, do you want Mommy to change your diaper?  
Hazel, do you want to go outside?  
Hazel, can you please stop licking the pool deck?
Hazel, would you like to eat chocolate cake and stay up all night long? 

Seriously... there's just something about the word "nope" that cracks me up and is so much better to hear than the word "no".  It might be the emphasis you put on the P, or it might be that I'm seeing so much of myself in you by you just using that word vs the standard "no".  I don't know.  But it's honestly so heartwarming to me.

You also say "yea"... a lot.  This upsets your Daddy as he's all about you speaking correctly.

Hazel, do you want some grapes?  
Yessssss.  Say yesssss.
Okay! Let's get some grapes.

Meanwhile, when Daddy's not looking, Mommy continues to say "Yea".  Because I can't remember not to say sh%t, d#^m and h*ll in front of my little mimic.  There's no way I'm going to remember to say "Yes" instead of "Yea".  Call it the White Trash in me.  I can't change.

And yea... let's talk about the swearing for a bit.  Honestly... has the music industry always had this much swearing???  I am now FORCED to listen to nursery songs because I think that you like Chris Brown a leetle too much and he's got a couple of f-bombs in his song that Mommy keeps forgetting about.  See?  These are things that I always thought parents needed to chill about.  So the FCC allows the words "ass", "hell" and "damn" to be played on the radio.  Who cares?  Good parenting should overcome that.  THE REST OF US SHOULDN'T BE FORCED TO LISTEN TO EDITED VERSIONS OF WORDS THAT, LET'S BE HONEST, ARE THEY EVEN SWEAR WORDS? 

And then I had a toddler who is an absolute sponge.  And I really don't want to be raising "that kid" in day care.  The one that teaches all of the other kids the four-letter words.  Trust me... every class has that kid.  I still remember "that kid" that I went to school with. 

Anyway, we're trying to get you to say "yea" or "yes" a lot.  Because this means you're not being disagreeable and are willing to do what we ask you.  Because if we ask you something and you say "nope", and then we force you to do it anyway... THE TODDLER IS NOT HAVING IT.  But, if we can trick you by asking you questions that you say "yea" to... in rapid-fire succession, and then throwing in the one that you would normally say "no" to... well, it's like magic.  Because even though you don't necessarily want to do something, it's like you know that you just said "yea"... and there's no going back on "yea".  Or, at least you haven't quite figured that out yet.

It's awesome.

And, you have recently put together your very first phrase.   I had always dreamed of the first semi-coherent sentence would be something like:  "Mommy.  I love you and you're the most beautiful Mommy in the world.  Can I rub your feet with lotion, please"

Or something like that.

Never, in any of my dreams, was your first phrase:  "NO WANT IT!"  The good news?  Now we know that if we give you the banana anyways when you say "NO WANT IT!", that it will likely end up on the floor.  The bad news?  Holy crap... now you really think you have a choice in your life.  No bueno.

You've also become super "helpful" in the last couple of months.  You pick things up off the floor.... or the table... or out of the trash can... or out of your nose... and hand it to me.  Yay. Mommy.

This has been an epic summer for you so far.  We've gone to the beach, we've gone swimming, we've gone to parades, we've hit the park every weekend, we've gone to Kangaroo Zoo and let you jump around all afternoon, we've hit petting zoos, we've gone to the farm, we have gone to the farmers market so you can ride the choo-choo train and the covered wagon.  WE HAVE WORN OURSELVES OUT FOR YOU!  And you have loved every single minute of it. 

You continue to adore music and moving your body. You've started to jump up and down as well.  And you're getting some good height! Your new favorite song (and I can't believe I'm admitting this) is Chris Brown's Yeah 3X's.  We are required to listen to this song on the way too and from school.  Or whenever we're out and about.  For whatever reason, you LOVE this song. Mommy used to love the song... but Mommy's kind of over it right about now.

You love to take walks to the park with your little sister.  Our favorite park is Mt. Ogden... because it's super shady and you don't burn your little tush going down the slid.  And can we talk about the slide for a second?  Because, kiddo... you have NO FEAR.  You go to the biggest slide they have and just launch yourself like it's just another day at the... well, park.  And if there are other kids there, oh, you're ALL ABOUT other kids. And you're also all about climbing and being a monkey.  Mostly when Mommy's not looking.  The first time this happened, I turned my head for one second to make sure I didn't step in dog poop and when I turned back to tell you to that it was time to go, I discovered that you were hanging by one arm - BY ONE ARM, HAZEL - from a bar at the top of the playground equipment.  I knew that if I yelled and ran over to you, it would startle you and you might let go... and rather than wearing the poop-eating grin you were sporting, you'd have a broken FACE.  I tried to nonchalantly run over to you, but when I was about 8 feet away, you lost your grip and fell face first on to the ground.  About a 7 foot drop.  I have no idea how you didn't scrape you face along the giant beam that you landed by.  And I have no idea how you didn't break a bone.  What I do know is that it scared you... but not enough to keep you away from other death traps.  There are currently bets out there to see who is going to survive your childhood.  You or me.  I'd say right now it's 70-30 in your favor.

You still love to eat.  Although, I will say that sometimes you don't eat your whole meal... because you're too excited about playing or rough housing with Daddy.  OMG do you love rough housing with Daddy.  It's the best part of the day.  You're also learning how to play with other kids and adore hanging out with Gavin and Jilly. Gavin took you to a parade and made sure that you didn't get lost.  Cuz that's what big brothers do. 

You're still a Daddy's Girl, but you are getting over your need to have him hold you the minute he walks in the door.  You still run to him and jump up for a hug, but you're able to go about your business after that.  And, can I be honest?  AWESOMENESS. 

Last night, you made me laugh harder than I've ever laughed at you.  Seriously, baby girl.  You discovered last night how much fun it is to make Mommy laugh.  For the first time, you did something purposely to make someone else, besides yourself, laugh.  It all started when you ate a grape that, perhaps, was a little sour or tart.  I happened to be watching you eat and caught the fist-clenched, eyebrows-arched, lips-pursed, full-body shiver that followed.  And it CRACKED me up.  You didn't catch on at first, probably thought that Mommy was just being weird again.  But then you had another tart grape and another full-body shiver.  And Mommy lost it again!  That's when you figured it out, and started making the tart-grape face.  Over.  And over.  And over, again!  Seriously... I could not stop laughing.  And you kept making that face.  Pretty soon, I asked:  "Hazel.  Can you make Mommy laugh?"  And because you're brilliant, you understand exactly what I'm asking and pull the tart-grape full-body shiver face.  Daddy couldn't figure out what all the ruckus was about... and was sure I was exaggerating how funny you were.  But then he caught a glimpse of "The Face".  And, well... he realized that I was right.  Funniest.  Thing. Ever. (below is a pic of "the face"... along with a scrape of "the nose".  it's rough being a toddler)

I think we realized that it was the first time you've ever recognized that something you're doing is making someone else laugh.  And you LURVE it.  I suspect that you're going to have quite the sense of humor when you grow up.... which is good because one of the most important tools you can have in your personality?  Humor.  How in the world do you think I survived college?  How in the world do you think I survived those first few dates with you Dad?  For the love, how in the world do you think I have survived every day of your childhood thus far?  I have to laugh.  Laugh at you.  Laugh at your Daddy.  Laugh at myself. Laugh at this world that changes every day. And, most importantly, laugh at the absurdity that is the cost of a gallon of gas.

You are a friendly little cuss, Hazel.  So much so that I feel the need to teach you about Stranger Danger.  But to you, in your innocent world, everyone is a friend.  And everyone is capable of holding you when you demand "UP!".  You love visiting the farm and spending time with Grandma and Grandpa. Especially on Grandma's hammock.  There are so many cool things at the farm... I can't wait until you get a little older and can really enjoy it


You have started to become much more balanced in your demands of who should be paying attention to you.  No longer do you demand that Daddy hold you all the time.  Now, sometimes you actually want Mommy.  Which is awesome.

Seriously, Hazey.  You have turned into such a little girl.  You're not a baby anymore.  (Which I keep reminding you when you try to get in the jump-a-roo) And it happened when I wasn't looking. It's like you turned one... and then the world started to spin faster and you aged and developed at a faster rate than I was able to adjust to.   It wasn't that long ago that you were screaming in my ear all night long.  It wasn't that long ago that you took Daddy and me through the initiation of First Time Parents.  How you managed to escape relatively unharmed is still beyond my comprehension.  And now... now I have this vivacious, happy, not-quite-2-year-old that brings a smile to my face every stinkin' day.  HOW DID YOU DO THAT?  And is the rest of your life going to fly by as quickly?

I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that.  


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