Twenty-one Months: That's not so bad...

Dear Miriam,

I started this letter while we were in Mexico (you've accomplished the North American Passport Trifecta!), and am now struggling to complete it. It's always so difficult when looking back even a few weeks to keep straight what was then versus now.

The theme for this month is the simultaneous flowering and defeat of fear. You are suddenly afraid of actual things, like the ocean or big snuffling dogs, but not so much that you won't investigate further given enough time and space. You spent the first few days in Mexico watching the ocean from the safety of your Daddy's arms. Each day you were willing to go closer, enjoying the experience of having the waves wash up on our legs before you were willing to subject your own. With each step towards ocean immersion, your Daddy would say, That's not so bad, see? and when you finally went in on your own, we could hear you murmuring That's not so bad fervently to yourself. This quickly changed to Go see ocean, Daddy every waking moment, you were positively addicted.

You are also focused on making sentences. You seem driven to put more and more words together, to put two thoughts or actions together. You repeat our instructions and observations, as if internalizing them for future use, and in the mornings, when you're super-talkative, we wait as you struggle to find the words you want: pillow, hop, spider. Go downstairs, make bottle, Daddy still astounds us with its shear length and multiple instructions.

Your new habit of singing songs to yourself seems to be part of this effort. You remember lines of lyrics and repeat them in tune, as though practicing for conversation. You sing Monkeys jumping on the bed with a curious predilection for the number four, and Rockabye baby, which surprises us since the rhyme fills us with horror and we're not sure where you picked it up. You've mostly mastered the ABCs, occasionally leaving out O-P and always ending with the endearing Y-M-Z. You count to 10, although not always in order, and you are a commanding presence at all times, instructing us to sit down, stand up, put shoes on, take pants off.

Mexico served as a two-week playdate, and that seemed to suit you fine. You asked for Pugawug and H. each morning, and regularly hollered out the names of every person in our party, usually as we centipeded up the beach or down the dusty streets. You remained fairly adult-centered, and sometimes seemed perplexed that our comrades had children of their own to occupy them. However, you remained ready to climb into any empty lap, and dinners frequently found you making the rounds.
Doing things with you for the second time - like visiting the pumpkin patch - remains an amazing opportunity for reflection. Last year, you were happy to sit in the wagon and watch, this year, you were an active participant, charging around the patch and selecting pumpkins. While you remain shy with your peers, you are assertive and direct with us, and we feel lucky for it. You get frustrated with your physical and verbal limitations, but overall you're pretty even-keel, and seem focused on getting out of any temper ruts.

I'll keep this brief, after-the-fact as it is, and simply say that it's been another great month, MZ. Thank you.

All my love,


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