Tuesday, January 21, 2014

14 Months: Two Feet High and Rising

Dear Katherine,

You're 14 months old, my dearest, and I haven't written one of these letters since you turned one.  You haven't recently conquered any of the major milestones such as talking or walking, though you've just started cruising along the furniture in earnest.  So things seem much the same from day to day, but the fact is that there have been many, many little changes that have added up to quite a big difference since I last wrote.  

You now weigh in at a whopping 20 lbs, which puts you around the 40% percentile - pretty good for a young lady who spent most of her infancy not even on the scale.  You've got a big pot belly and chunky little thighs.  You're are sporting 11 teeth, including four molars.  I measured your height when you first stood up nice and tall at 12 months and you were exactly two feet tall, and I'd guess you've grown an inch or more since then.

Just after your birthday, we took a family holiday and celebrated it a couple of days late in a charming stone cottage in North Wales.  We had a little cake for your birthday; it was Christmas cake (aka fruitcake).  You much prefer it to the sweetness of regular cake, and since mummy thinks it's vile stuff, that has cemented your status as a proper little Brit.  We were anticipating much enjoyment, ours and yours, of the wanton paper destruction that comes with opening birthday presents.  Daddy was keen that you do it yourself, and given your tendency to happily muss any sort of paper you come across, that seemed a reasonable expectation.  But you were. not. interested.  Not even providing tantalizing open bits of wrapping paper could entice you.  In the end it took several days for your birthday presents to be opened and that was only because your momma finally caved and mostly did it for you.

Your favorite toys are still books - you absolutely love turning the pages.  Recently you've started to enjoy being read to as well.  There is a book that has farm animals in it and when I make the animal sounds you laugh and laugh - you know what's coming now and start smiling broadly even before I launch into my impressions.  You also have a set of nesting cardboard boxes that is endlessly fascinating, and a play mobile phone that is nearly as interesting as mummy's real one.

Unencumbered by safety gates, in the holiday cottage you discovered an enduring passion for climbing stairs, and ever since then you practically throw yourself out of my arms whenever I approach the stairs in our home.  Initially we had to watch you carefully since you only knew one way down: head first.  It was the same when you approached the edge of a bed or sofa.  We had to move quickly to avert dangerous diving maneuvers.  But then suddenly several weeks ago you just knew how to turn around and slide down backwards safely.  How did you learn that? We never showed you; it was something you discovered for yourself.

There are many cute little things you've learned all on your own.  One day you clapped your hands - another thing I never showed you - but when I applauded back, you were delighted and now love to clap, clap, clap all the time.  You throw your hands up in the air to express surprise or delight.  After months of having us place your cuddly toys next to your face for a little kiss (which is generally an open-mouthed gnaw on the nose) you've started to shove them back at us for a kiss and a cuddle as well.  This afternoon Daddy peeped in to watch you wake from your nap and witnessed a priceless moment.  You picked up Pooh Bear and collapsed over in a hug, then popped up and shoved him at Bear Teddington for a cuddle, just like you do to us.

The last binky photo
You aren't talking yet, but you understand so much.  If I'm playing with you and start a sentence with "I'm going to go..." you immediately throw yourself head-long into my arms to beg me to stay.  If I tell you "don't touch..." you know exactly what I'm saying.  You've grown cheeky as well.  If I say "don't touch" when you know I really mean, "please don't pick that up, throw it around and endanger it or yourself," you place a tentative finger on the object for a second and then turn to me to test the consequences.  You'll do this over and over while I laugh inwardly, watching for what you'll do next and wondering if I should be holding the discipline lines more strongly.

Ever since you've started standing, you've seemed to also develop a much stronger will.  You no longer hesitate to express your opinion by wailing a protest, and I've even seen you break out into a proper little temper tantrum now and then.  Usually these moments are mercifully short-lived, though you've been suffering with your first cold in the past week and have been much higher-maintenance than usual.  It makes me appreciate just how easy-going you usually are.

You spontaneously gave up your pacifier shortly after your birthday. One day you just decided you wouldn't have it anymore, even when you were upset.  It was yet another sign that you're no longer a baby.  I can't believe how quickly these past months have passed and what a little young lady you've become.  This is the enduring theme of parenthood for me - days are both endless and fleeting and I wish I could capture precious moments to be revisited at will, but unfortunately these letters are the best I can do.

I love you with all my heart,