my dearest jude,
eleven days ago, you turned two years old, and you decided to embrace this new year with all the enthusiasm you could muster. every remnant of the baby you is falling off like so much shed skin. you’ve left your high chair behind, and now sit like a grownup and feed yourself. you actively reject the presence of diapers (though you still mostly refuse to use the potty). and when i scoop you up into my arms for a snuggle, i ask if you’re my baby. no way, you say, and sometimes the question makes you so mad that you smack me. and then, once again, we have the conversation about hitting being unacceptable.
last night, you helped your mama put together your big girl bed. though you’re excited about the lively new dora sheets and all the room for jumping, your loyalties still lie with your crib, and that’s fine. take your time, love. you can lead the way with this transition. but just so you know, your legs are practically poking out the ends of that crib now. it is officially Too Small for you. and sooner than later, this mysterious “brother” we keep talking about will be taking it over. so, yes. take your time, but think about the many features and benefits of the big girl bed. ok?
oh your long legs. the rest of you is long, too. you currently measure 37 1/2″ tall, and you weigh 39 pounds. you wear 5T to 6X clothing (which means we get to ditch the baby section and start shopping in the proper kids’ section!) and you comfortably fit into a size 9 shoe.
did i mention that you grew an inch in a month? your rapid growth has made you equal parts graceful and klutzy. you dance and jump and spin like an athlete or a dancer, and then you smack your arm against a wall, trip over your foot, bonk your head on a table.
you are tough. injuries rarely make you cry, unless you’re afraid. you may growl in frustration and pain, but do not want to be comforted.
us: “ow baby! are you okay?”
you, picking yourself by some hidden boostraps: “YESH.”
us: “do you need a hug? a kiss?”
you: “no way.”
your imagination is blossoming like your language skills, and it is like some sacred epiphany to gain access to your mind through conversation now. for instance, dora has inspired you to become a starcatcher. dust motes in the sun are stars, and you catch! catch! catch! them.
the other night, you, your mama, and i were driving home from your first live music experience. it was way past your bedtime, and we were trying to keep you awake. the moon was full and bright and orange, often hidden behind buildings or hills. so you began a game of peek-a-boo with the moon. and every time it appeared once again, you’d pretend to eat it. nom nom nom. mama asked you, what does the moon taste like? cheese? to which you replied, no, the moon tastes like honey. mmmm. for the rest of the ride home, you called it a honeymoon.
a month ago, you were getting the hang of two word sentences, along with occasional three, usually for guilt trips: eg, “no go, poppop.” (i think you earned a herd of ponies for how thick you laid it on that day.) now, suddenly, you speak in full, many-word sentences. every day brings more and more words. you used to be shy about words, and were reluctant to hold them in your mouth. now, you are brave, and will try most multisyllabic words, with pretty astonishing success in pronunciation. the air around you is charged with new knowledge. every day is magic.
also, you count. you know your letters. you group like objects. you compare big and little.
my jude, you’re such an amazing girl. as you were from the beginning, so you continue to be a fiery force. you are stubborn, strong-willed and opinionated. i anticipate many years of learning how to effectively communicate compromise with you. however, i am constantly encouraged by your ability to temper your fire with grace. for every raging tantrum, you show kindness and affection for your people. you teach me. every day, you teach me how to be more like you.
i love you, my star-catcher, more than i knew i could love.
here’s to year three, in which you become a big sister.