Monthly Mara Letter: Month 19

Dear Mara,

IMG_5652You turned 19-months-old today. Just in the past few weeks it seems like that magic little switch has been flipped inside of you — that one where you suddenly become kind of a functioning and coherent member of the family. It’s almost like you’re communicating with deliberation and some kind of intent. This is awesome because it affords us all countless new opportunities to interact with you.

Most notably in your newfound communication style is the drawing out of syllables, specifically in the word “more.” When you first learned this word, it was easy enough as you would say “mo” as you tapped your fingers together to give us the universal sign for more, which invariably meant more food. Now, it might be because you’re experimenting in your vocabulary, or it’s just the southern coming out in you, but the word has become three very distinct syllables: “MOOOO EEEEE YAAAH!” And “moo-eee-yaah” generally applies to most everything. You like to walk up to the closed refrigerator, point to the door and say, “moo-eee-yaah,” and the same goes for the pantry. Just this past week you learned that you really like dried prunes and apricots, so you get a kick out of retrieving the bags of dried fruit from the pantry, bringing them to your mom or me and saying “moo-eee-yaah” until we concede. This is also the case with the Halloween candy. We used to hide the Halloween candy in the lower kitchen cabinets and, while we have toddler-proof cabinet locks, you were able to open the cabinet door enough to look inside, see the trough of candy and say, “MOO-EEE-YAAH!!!” And as if saying it isn’t cute enough, you also look us dead in the eyes with your little orange eyebrows raised as if to imply, “hey, why not?! Give me one good reason why this isn’t the most awesome idea ever!”

IMG_3593One of my favorite things is that you seem to have figured out that I’m Daddy. You know “mama” for mom, and “mia” for Maly, and “meow” for the cats, and I used to be “mama” as well. But just recently you said, “hi Daddy,” so I think you’re finally putting two-and-two together and realizing who’s the one who’ll actually give you moo-eee-yaah Halloween candy.

You still have an undying fascination with airplanes. I’m more conscious of their overhead existence, but you catch each and every one that passes over. And I know exactly what you’re talking about when you say “ah-pane.” I envy this fascination, and I hope it, or something equally fascinating and something that adults otherwise take for granted, sticks with you. And airplanes are a pretty cool thing in which to take an interest.

IMG_5657Watching television is “hup-bah?” This is after a couple Saturdays past that I’ve excitedly asked you, “do you want to watch Texas football?!” So, “hup-bah?” is “football,” which equates to turning on the picture machine in the living room. Either way, it’s cute. You’ll sit down next to me on the love seat and look at the television set. You have no idea what’s going on, but I’m sure the scattered motion is interesting enough to watch. Invariably you’ll get bored however, and you’ll let yourself down off of the couch and find something to play with on the floor.

It still baffles me a bit, but you’re totally okay with going to bed. If your mom and I ask if it’s time for you to go night-night, you’ll nod your head and say, “night night.” And putting you to bed involves a bit of a ritual. For me, I’ll lay you down in your crib, lean over the railing and give you a kiss. Of course you’ll already have your Ghost Bear, and then we’ll have to put on your socks (you lift your feet into the air for this part), and then we turn off the lights and say “whoa!” at the glow in the dark stars on your ceiling. And when we get you up and out of your crib in the morning or after a nap, you’ll turn, point at your crib and tell us, “night night,” so we know where night night is.

You get so excited and serious about the words and ability to communicate with us now, and I’m excited to see you grow, learn and develop the ability to communicate even more. And while it’s exciting, it’s scary and a bit saddening because it means you’re growing up too damn fast. Slow down, squirt!

I love you, Mars.