Some day, I truly hope that you and your sister read back on these love notes I’ve written. They have been a wonderful way for me to mark special milestones through pregnancy, birth and each passing month and I review them often, reflecting on where we’ve been, remembering the great times and the struggles and soaking up the entire motherhood experience.
But I have always intended that these posts become ways for you and Audrey to have some framework for your childhood. And to always remember how truly, madly and deeply I have loved being your mother.
Now, as you read back, you may notice that your notes were not written as frequently as Audrey’s…that after the first year, your milestones were marked in half-years, not months. And you may internalize that to mean that as a second child, you were given less love or less attention or that those milestones meant less.
It’s the opposite, my love.
Some twist of fate allowed me to spend almost every hour of your first 16 months right at your side. Instead of sending you to daycare at 12 weeks like Audrey, you worked with me (I spent many a conference call nursing you or answering questions while playing with you on the floor of the playroom!). Another twist of fate ensured that we’d bond even more during your many (many many) nighttime wakeups and 5am wakeups.
I often wonder if writing to Audrey each month was my way of assuaging some of the guilt and sadness I felt over not being able to have a lot of time with her during her first year. Not writing to you over these last six months was in large part due to the fact that I was spending all of my time with you during the day.
Now, at 18 months? You are a joy, a terror, a tornado, a cuddlebug and a new adventure every day.
First of all, not only do you walk, but you run. You CLIMB (tables, the couch, trees, slides, me). You hide. You are clever and brave — no, fearless, to my dismay — and louder than I know one person could be.
You are high or low, and no in between. We can and often see you go from a full-blown screamfest to a docile little thing wearing kiddie sunglasses and blowing kisses to strangers from the stroller.
Stranger danger is really not a phrase you know or embrace. You are a born performer: you love to sing and dance and show off and the moment attention goes from you to someone or something else…LOOK OUT. You can be rough on your sweet big sister — shoving her off my lap to make room for yourself or taking food off her plate to shove it into your own.
And food is a central motivation in your life. You are weirdly picky but apparently subscribe to the quantity over quality approach. You will pick up a tiny speck of food, look at it from all angles…and then shove it into your mouth where it joins all of the previous specks.
You are a joy to me, every day. But I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that in many ways, you have put me through the paces of motherhood in a way that Audrey never did.
You are impatient. When you want something you want it five minutes ago. You like to be held, but only when you have asked. You love the stroller except when you hate it.
Naps? Sure, you’ll take one on a Monday, but not on a Tuesday. On Wednesday, you’ll nap for three hours and on Thursday, it’s down to one.
Sleeping at night? Yes…except when it’s no.
There are days that never seem to end and when I finally get you to bed, I sigh with relief…only to start missing you, desperately, 10 minutes later.
When you turned 16 months, I finally brought in the help I really should have gotten earlier, and hired a wonderful babysitter named Kate to come and play with you a few days a week. It’s been incredibly to watch you fall in love with her and learn new skills and yes — life is better when I’m not the only one you can turn to during business hours.
Your Daddy, big sister and I absolutely adore you. Thank you for being mine, Roo.