Letter to Bella, month fourteen

Dear Bella,

Last summer you were an immobile cuddlebug. This summer, you are a busy bee who has an active social calendar and a bevvy of friends. Whether we're hitting the library, attending the weekly reading session, meeting up at the pool or the park, you are always on the go ... and ready to party.

This month has turned you into a full-fledged toddler. We sold your bottles at a yard sale, relegated the pacifier to nap times only, moved you into a big girl car seat and even let you spend a little daytime with a sitter. Despite all these changes, you've taken the past month in stride.

But that doesn't mean you've gone easy on us. You've discovered the Temper Tantrum and boy do you ever love it. You're also a climbing fiend - causing many to predict you'll become a gymnast. If there's something to climb, that's where we'll find you. That means we've had to remove all the DVDs and CDs and tighten up the books on our bookshelves so to keep you from climbing up after them. We're almost ready to pull all the prints down off the walls to keep you from hanging on them.

I'm okay with your high level of activity, though, because it explains to me why you aren't talking. Don't get me wrong, you have some words, namely: hi, bye-bye, Dada, Mama (only when you're upset), uh oh, ball (gaw) and star (gar). But I am still hoping for a baby who will repeat words and chirp out the easy ones before she's a preschooler. You aren't quiet, though. You babble all day long and often "read" out loud to yourself.

Each and every day brings a new reason to smile. Yesterday, you went on a walk with your big brother to the next street and back. The whole way, you held his hand and followed his lead. Every few seconds you smiled up at him. You were amazed by him, by the freedom that comes with growing just a tiny bit older. I stood back and watched you: a marvel, a whirling dirvish, a monkey girl, a miniature person growing so fast that it takes my breath away. Those are the moments I cherish.

Love, Mama


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