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Dear Zella: Month Fifteen

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters Linda Gartz

Dear Zella,

The city of New Orleans called. They’d like you to come wave to all the people on the streetcars again soon.

During your 15th month, we went to visit Uncle Bob in New Orleans, and you were delightful traveler. You dealt with the odd schedules, you rarely melted down, you slept through the night. Seriously. I was completely taken off guard by that. Ezra never slept through the first night in any new place ever until he was over two, let alone a tiny hotel room with squeaky floors. You were tired; you slept. It was amazing.

You have turned, for the most part, as Ezra did by this age, into a pretty good sleeper in general. You sleep through the night, take one good long nap, and are mostly reliable about not waking up terribly early any more.

You are not, however, unlike Ezra at this age, interested in slowing down on the nursing. Now, when Ezra was your age, I was already several months pregnant (can that be?) and my milk supply was probably waning from the pregnancy hormones. I am, for the record, not pregnant this time around, and you’re very content to keep right on nursing me up as much as you possibly can. You’re working hard on coming up with a word for it (this week it sounds like “Mana Mana”) and when you see me sit down on the rocking chair or any other likely nursing spot, your face breaks out in hysterical joy. It’s adorable, really, if sometimes a little inconvenient.

Besides Mana Mana, you’re starting to say a lot of other words. In New Orleans, there was an afternoon where over the course of a few hours you started saying “dog” and “woof woof” very clearly. You also like to quack like a duck, say “hi” and “bye,” and ask for a ball. You occasionally seem to be saying water, banana, milk, and a few other standbys.

But my very favorite expression for you to convey is “yes.” You don’t say yes, or even nod your head. When I ask you a question for which the answer is yes, you simply burst into a face-filling smile and sigh with delight. I know this stage is fleeting, in fact, the sigh is already starting to morph into a sly chuckle, an incipient nod. But for now, the feeling of having hot-wired into your deepest wishes is addictive. “Do you want to nurse?” “Aaaaaaaaaahhh.”

I am excited for you to learn more words and get better at conveying the specific things you want, because this has also been a month full of great anguished wails of unfulfilled desires. But when you do figure out how to convey your needs, it’s pretty cute. You love wearing your rain coat around the house, standing beneath it and pointing urgently until I get it down for you. (“Aaaaahhhh.”) Occasionally you demand to be zipped into my sweatshirt, which cloaks you from head to toe like a tiny wizard. You also spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to put on Ezra’s shoes and walk around in them.

You continue to be pretty fearless. I had to hold tightly to the back of your shirt lest you lean all the way out of a streetcar window, and your favorite part of the World War II museum was definitely the two story concrete staircase from which you could look down on the people below. The other day at Indian Boundary Park, you were so excited about the ducks that you tried to climb through the fence to get closer, succeeding only in dislodging your shoe and sending it floating into the pond (a kind stranger rescued it). You climb the stairs to the slides at the park without help, and you know how to sit down and scoot yourself forward until you start the inevitable slip and slide down with a huge grin. Aaaaaaahhhh.

Love,

Mama

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