Dear Brooklynn, You are now 18 months old, and you have been for several days. Some people may think that I've just been too lazy to write your monthly letter, but I will say that I was merely waiting to write your 18 month letter on the day that your Aunt Sarah turns 18. (Happy birthday, Sarah.) See, everything works out and I don't look like such a slacker. If there is one important lesson that I could teach you, it would be to enjoy your time as a child. No one expects things like letters or website updates out of you.
We are heading into your third calendar year of life, and just as I seem to say every time I write one of these, you are becoming such a little person. You have an opinion on what shoes you would like to wear and when you would like to wear them. You will tell us when you want your diaper changed and when you don't. You know what yucky stuff is and how to throw things away in the garbage. You are starting to be interested in clothes and hair clips and putting socks on your stuffed animals.
Yesterday morning, I was up in the morning with you. We were having a wonderful breakfast of a banana and some dry cereal when all of a sudden, you looked at me, said Mommy, and took off around the corner. I finished putting away some of the dishes I was working on and went looking for you to find out where you thought she was. I found you almost at the top of stairs and watched you finish climbing and walk over to the bedroom door. Very impressive indeed. Now if you could just figure out that doors need to be pushed to be opened as well as pulled, you would be able to access the entire house.
This month was Christmas, which so far for you has meant a trip to North Dakota to spend some time with your cousins. Your mom and I enjoy watching you interact with other kids. We know that you actually spend most of your time during the week playing with small people, but we don't often get to see it. You aren't talking in full sentences, but you do manage to get your point across. Mostly by saying No often and repeatedly.
If Grace wanted to pick you up: No! If Jacoby tried to say hi and put his face right by yours: No! If Bennett wanted to use you to stand up and then tried to grab your hair: No! If all of your extended cousins chased you around your great-grandma's house on Christmas Eve: No! No! Nnnooooo!
The best part is when I ask you if you want a treat like a cookie or cracker and you respond No without even looking at me. And then you glance over, see what I have, and hold out your hand. Sometimes I don't know if you understand everything you say in response to questions or if you just automatically answer in the negative and then consider what was actually asked.
Last year at Christmas you started sitting up and we were all very impressed. This year, you learned how to give a fist bump, or knuckles as we call it. Now we say Knuckles! and you smile, hold out your hand balled up in a fist and wait for us to bump it. Several times. If both Mom and I are around, both of us must fist bump you.
Another part of family gatherings is taking baths with the cousins. You don't like to get water in your face or lay down in the water or do too much splashing. This is fine with us because it keeps us and our bathroom pretty dry and requires little cleanup, but it also means that you get more than a little upset when it comes time to rinse out your hair. You won't let us lay you back and you hate to have water dumped on your head.
When you were in the tub with Grace and Jacoby, you watched both of them repeatedly dump water over their head and face with cups. This kind of freaked you out and you spent the majority of the bath slid against one side of the tub to stay away from the crazy people sharing the water with you. But a couple of days later, after they had gone, you took a full cup of bath water and dumped it over your head all by yourself. You didn't like it. You gasped and sputtered and dropped the cup to wipe your face and eyes like you thought you might be dying.
And after you recovered, you picked up the cup and did it again. Because the big kids did it. And now, when we ask you to dump water on your head, you will. You still don't like it. We'll take the progress.
Being in North Dakota finally gave you your first good taste of snow and cold now that you are old enough to actually get outside and play and you did not like it one bit. It has been unusually warm in Denver this year with a complete lack of snow, so seeing white all over was a bit of a shock. One afternoon, the whole family bundled up and headed out to do some sledding. We didn't go to a hill - instead the adults just pulled the kids around out in the alley. Yes, this type of afternoon is something you miss out on not growing up in a small town.
You were ok riding on a toboggan with your cousins, but you strongly protested when we tried to get you to stand on the snow yourself. It crunched and moved and didn't really seem like a surface you had much interest in playing with. Mom ended up sitting in a sled with you while I pulled both of you around. A few days later, we tried again. We managed to get you alone in a sled only after Aunt Sarah rode with you for a while. Brooklynn, if you think I need the workout of pulling around an adult in a sled along with you, you don't have to be so coy about it. Just go ahead and enjoy the snow. I'll start working out on my own.
Christmas also ended with you having a few more toys than a couple months ago. You have a tree house and slide, a kitchen complete with a set of pots and pans and so much plastic food, a cat piano, a couple sets of blocks and an electronic stuffed dog that knows your name and says it loves you. So far, you play with all of them, especially the kitchen. The other day Mom was making chili in a big pot on the stove. You demanded to be picked up so you could see what was happening and when you were back on your own two feet, you wasted no time in loading up your pot with lots of food and stirring it all up to make your own concoction. If I remember, you mixed bread, chocolate, some chips and french fries, grape juice, peas and a drumstick.
No offense, but we're going to let the adults do the real cooking for just a little bit longer. Regardless, we still love you very much and we can't wait until you're old enough to really start helping do some food prep.
Ok, we can wait just a little bit. Don't grow up too fast.