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Dear Zella: Month Seventeen

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters Gram Amy, Nana Adrienne

Dear Zella,

You can talk. Suddenly this month, your vocabulary has expanded from a series of “ma” and “ba” syllables to a pretty large set of clear words. I mean, they’re clear to me, in context, if I’m looking exactly where you’re looking, and I’m really lucky. These words include mommy, daddy, hi, bye, nose, nurse, ears, knees, toes, blueberries, baby, more, milk, up, book, ball, shoes, ice (as in cream), and beer. Yes, beer. Your dad lets you stick your finger in his, and you adore it. Your first sentence, we hereby admit, was “more beer.”

Your brother is a big influence on your language. For instance, the fact that “bandaid” made the cut for being one of your first twenty words. He’s obsessed with all things sticky, and so you, too, find reasons to wander into the bathroom and point at the medicine cabinet, begging for a “byee” and pointing urgently at your arm.

It’s not just the bandaids you want to emulate. You like to pretend to sleep in his bed, to read his books, to cuddle his Popo. If he screams in his best outside voice, you shriek louder. To his great chagrin, you are constantly causing tunnel cave-ins by sitting obstinately on the edges of his beachfront civil engineering projects.

But I am fascinated by the ways you and he are different. By this age, he was completely obsessed with Bubbles the monkey, as well as a large pile of other stuffed guys he was excited to see each day for his nap. You are fairly indifferent to stuffed toys. Happy to see a dog or bear or monkey or doll if one happens to be there, but certainly not attached to one in particular. Where Ezra probably knew ten animal names and noises by sight, you are content with “dog” and “woof woof” so far. Where Ezra has always been ambivalent about drawing, you gravitate towards crayons and markers and paints. I even think he’s going to be a lefty and you a righty.

And you are still our water baby, braver in the water than Ezra was at your age, braver even than he is now. You love the pool in particular. Your dada taught you to put your face in and blow bubbles, and when we sit in the shallow end, you dip your face again and again, giggling each time. It’s the tiniest bit terrifying how little fear you have about it, but mostly heartening to know that instead of panicking, you simply sit back up and grin.

You are still tough in the afternoons, frequently rising from your nap only to scream in frustration and misery for an hour. You don’t want to be: picked up, put down, fed, nursed, cuddled, or ignored. All options are equally the worst idea you’ve ever heard. I know it is a passing phase, one Ezra went through as well (which I know because I did a search of old IM chats on the phrase “crying inconsolably”), but it doesn’t make it easier for me. I sometimes feel close to unlocking the magic formula for post-nap happiness — one week it seemed to be sitting with me on the couch and watching Arrested Development; another week it was lots of applesauce — but I think the trick is just waiting it out. Those molars will grow in, your sleep cycles will even out.

In the meantime I will forgive your occasional hours of impossibility because in your other hours you are so hilarious and wonderful. You love nothing better than to touch my nose and your nose and yell “nose!” and then immediately cast your gaze around the room looking for other noses. You readily learned to respond to “gimme some sugar!” with delicious kisses. You enthusiastically mimic all sorts of phrases, including the day you managed to yell “come out, baby!” to our friend’s ridiculously overdue fetus.

Gimme some sugar, baby.


Gram Amy

Jul 19 / 23:58

Nana Adrienne

Jul 20 / 10:49
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