Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Another month, another long period of absence from you that I had to suffer through. You and your Mom and I went up north to help out with your Grandpa, who is/has been recovering from major surgery. Alas, I had to come back home to work, so I ended up missing out on another week of the fun that is hanging out with you.
You learned a whole host of words again this month. You learned the hard 'K' sound and have been delighting in saying words like 'Book' and 'Milk'. You have begun to string words together in 2 word 'sentences', and some of those begin or end with the newly understood 'Please'.
You continue to be so much fun to be around. When I'm not with you and your Mom, you're pretty much all I think about. I love that you repeat Daddy over and over every time I walk into a room. Even rooms I just left seconds earlier. I will never get tired of that.
You are facing your first 'real' christmas this year. And by real, I mean a season that you are actually aware of. I don't know how aware you are going to be of the whole gift giving and unwrapping thing, but you can be certain that you know about the ridiculous amount of presents in our closet and that they are for you. You have been regularly pulling one of them out and playing with it if that door is left open for longer than a millisecond.
Now I wouldn't want you to think that everything is a party with you all the time. That wouldn't be fair to paint a picture of your childhood that omits the bumps that came up along the way. I'm sure you want an accurate picture of things right? The funny part though, is that even when it isn't a party, its still lots of fun.
The other day you decided that you were going to test your Dad by seeing how long I would let you get away with playing your newly invented game of 'Smash Something As Hard As You Can Against The TV'. While it was funny to watch you smashing first a book, then a DVD cover, then a picture frame against the TV screen, all the while knowing I was not going to let you continue with each object, it was also interesting to notice how you were purposely doing it not at all because you wanted to play that particular game, but because you wanted to push my buttons while doing it.
That game was probably a very telling foreshadowing of things to come.
I love you,
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I've mentioned this before, but I imagine that there will be times when you read these letters and you are less than thrilled with me or with things that I have done. But as I was leaving for work tonight, you came up to me, nonchalantly threw your arms around me and gave me the best, tightest hug you've ever given me. And then you smiled, released me and toddled off to play with whatever happened to catch your eye. I think it was a Sesame Street book.
It was all I could do not to just break down and bawl right there. As it was, I barely got out to the car for the tears welling in my eyes.
So if, during any of the times that you might come across these letters and wonder how I felt about you, and if even the seemingly insignificantest things you did changed my perspective on the world, if only for a short time, know that they did. And yes, Daddy knows insignificantest is not a word, but sometimes you gotta make do.
You have had another busy month as far as the learning and the milestones go. I have lost track of the foods you eat now, and that's not because I'm working or sleeping half the time. I'd be better off to say what you don't eat because you pretty much try everything your Mom and I have. Your unquestioned favourites right now are Ice Cream (which sounds like 'Eyes Chee' coming from you at this point) and Pizza (which sounds surprisingly like Pizza).
You celebrated another Halloween with us at home again, this time by stopping whatever you were doing every time there was a knock at the door and running over to help me dole out candy. You loved ooing and ahhing over the different costumes. You also loved slamming the door on the departing trick-or-treaters and running in to the living room to await the next batch.
You did not, however love your costume. Or even like it. To be completely fair, you pretty much hated it, and screamed until we took it off you.
You have been learning a lot over the last month. Your vocabulary flat out astounds me. Not a day goes by that we don't try to introduce you to a new word that you are only happy to reproduce. And the really interesting part happens when you pull the word out of nowhere a few days later, and use it in context. By way of example, we can't go by the produce aisle at the grocery store without you demanding an apple.
You have picked up on some fun bathroom associations too. One of them is to march in behind me when I get up and want to brush your 'teef', which we both do. I find this one uproariously funny, watching you run around the bathroom as I sing Raffi's 'Brush Your Teeth' song. Another bathroom trick of yours is to watch with unmitigated fascination whenever your Mom or I sit down to do business in there. And as much as this one will likely aid in you mastering what goes on most often in bathrooms, I can't help but find this one even funnier.
We have begun getting ready for the winter, and as part of that, we have had to buy you some more winter gear, and try on what we already had for you. You look more than a little silly in your vastly oversized snowsuit that was supposed to fit you this season, but I have no doubt that you'll be nice and warm in it.
I am looking forward to introducing you to winter this year. Last year you were too new to take you anywhere but in and out of warm places as fast as we could get you through the cold. This year I plan on taking you to the park, possibly in a toboggan, teaching you to make snowmen (or women, or Elmos or whatever). It should be fun.
Speaking of Elmo, you have officially developed your first real childhood attachment: Your 'Say Your Name Elmo Doll'. In case you don't remember him, we plug him into a pc, and can configure him to say all kinds of things, songs, games, etc. But the cool part is the name, because when he says it in that high voice of his, it tickles you no end. And there's nowhere you don't want to bring him along. That means sleeping, strolling, reading a story, shopping, even bringing him into the tub. That last one has presented the only major problem with the attachment, but we're working around it. I foresee a time when we look for a bathtub 'Wetsuit Elmo', but that time isn't here yet.
Your Mom and I have had a lot of fun doing some early shopping for this coming xmas. Never having been the huge fan of christmas that your Mom is, I'm finding that I am more excited this year for it than I have ever been. I'll be sure to let you know how that goes when the time comes.
I love you,
Friday, October 06, 2006
This week you turned 15 months old, and what a fun month it has been.
YOU ARE WALKING!
Yup, that bears capitalization. And repeating: You are walking now. Not just giggling as you lurch around from couch to chair to parent, etc. As fun as that was, and exciting in what it meant was coming, this is so much better.
You walk everywhere, and rarely crawl at all anymore, unless we're playing. You walk all over the house, outside, pretty much everywhere we go nowadays. And if we try to confine you to your stroller, or a shopping cart, or even carry you? You go crazy trying to get those feet flat on the ground so you can get there under your own power.
You also got to spend some more time with your new cousin, and you seem to be coming around to the idea that this little person is somebody to get interested in. I hope that by the time you can read this, you two are the good buddies that all parents involved would like you to be.
What else? Well we got to take you out for your first 'real' dinner out. We've taken you with us to restaurants before, but we always brought you a little baby food for your dinner. This time you got to hit the kids menu (kids pasta in alfredo sauce) and between playing with your own bowl of pasta, swinging your balloon around, and lapping up the attention being lavished on you from these strangers called waiters, you had a very good time. It is something we will definitely have to do again soon.
I guess these letters are a little bit like me breaking the boundaries of space time, in that I am writing to you from your past to a future when you will be able to read them. I hope that in that future you can get an idea of just how loved you are and how much joy you bring to your Mom and I.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
I'm writing this letter a few days late, and I can't say why I haven't found time to write this month yet. I spent my days off over the long weekend with you and your Mom, and it is hard to take time away from playing or reading a story or going to the park to write you a letter about the same.
So now before I crash for my day's sleep, I'll take the opportunity.
There have been some fun developments over the last month. You continue with the firsts: You're trying so many new foods that it really is hard to keep track. A few off the top of my head are broccoli, steak, mashed potatoes (which you love, btw). You also love to fling whatever it is you're working on in all directions. You really amuse yourself with that one.
You went on your first carousel ride this month. You went absolutely delirious riding that thing. I think the music kinda scared the crap out of you, but that was overshadowed by how much fun the lights, the movement, the horses were to you. You just latched on to Mom and rocked out the whole time.
You also tried out swings for the first time. Now we can't go by the park on our daily dog-walk without you trying to jettison yourself out of the stroller in an attempt to get yourself into one of the swings.
And that's another thing: You're vocabulary is increasing by leaps and bounds. Your version of swing sounds something like 'weeng', cheerios sound like 'cheer' and you have 'do' and 'des' for no and yes respectively. You have Mom down great, but you only trot that one out when you're very sad. You know, as you should, that Mom = Comfort/Safety/Love. Daddy, I'm happy to say, you've had down for a few months now. That will never get old for me.
You also have a new person in your life, as of sometime around 6:00 pm last night. Your Aunt had a little baby girl, and hopefully by the time you are old enough to read this, you've done a good job of befriending her and teaching her your unique view of the world.
Or of at least giving her some great ways to annoy her parents.
And here's a pic of my favourite part of my desk at work. If I ever get stressed out over an issue or bummed that I am not home half of the nights to put you to bed or read you a story, I look over at your pictures and remember what I'm working these crazy shifts for in the first place.
Love you lots,
Friday, August 04, 2006
So here I am finally getting comfortable with the fact that you are already in your second year of life and then I have to deal with not seeing you for A WHOLE WEEK.
Your Mom and you stayed up north with your grandparents while I had to come home and work six 12 hour night shifts in a row. And yes, I do feel that italicizing was appropriate.
I won't see you yet until the end of next week, which seems an eternity right now.
I miss you both so much. You more, probably because I got to spend the last ten years of my life with your Mom, so even though it's no fun whatsoever, I can dine on those years until I see her.
But you; you change by the minute at this age. I'm afraid that when you get home next week you'll ask me to drop you off a few blocks from the mall so as not to be seen with your loser Dad.
Ok maybe it's not that bad. But it's close.
What have you done this past month?
Well, you took your first ride in a shopping cart, which you absolutely loved. Don't worry: your Mom and I went through about 30 baby wipes sterilizing the thing prior to putting you in it. You spent the entire shopping trip laughing and swinging your legs around like a crazy person. You take so much pleasure from the things that I would totally take for granted and are a constant reminder to me to enjoy every silly insignificant thing that I can. I try to take a look around for those things now because of you, so I don't miss them.
You swam for the first time, first in a public pool at home with your Mom and Aunt Lisa and I, and then in the lake at your grandparents with me. You love to swim!
You have been practicing walking too. You've now taken a few tentative steps on different occasions and when you fall into my arms each time I just melt.
So in case you ever go through these letters when I'm not around or you can't get in touch with me, I miss you all the time when I can't see you. And I keep loving you more and more every day.
And right now, I can't wait to see you next week.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Today was your first birthday.
I've been both looking forward and dreading this day for a long time, because its such a huge milestone in your life with us, and because it means that you have been with us for a year already. I have a very hard time trying to get my head around the fact that you have been such an integral part of our lives for so long and it seeming like its been only a few moments.
You had more firsts this month: your first swim in your turtle pool, although swimming is a strong word for the splashfest you threw on my lap. That was a lot of fun!
You also got to go to your very first movie. We went to a drive-in to see Superman Returns, and while you slept through pretty much all of it, you managed to sleep well even with the warm summer air coming through the windows and the sounds of the movie pouring out of the radio.
This month, you went to the zoo for the first time, and even though it was a long day for you, you loved it. You particularly liked the parrots and macaws, because when you talked to them, they talked back.
You spent your birthday mostly with your Mom and I, though we had your Aunt Lisa and your Grandma and her husband over for a barbecue for lunch. We took you to get professional pictures taken of you in your birthday dress this morning and just like you do through most things, you laughed and smiled your way through the whole sitting.
You also got to go to another barbecue later this evening, one which I had to work through, but I heard from your Mommy that you got sang to by everyone there, and that event wasn't intended to be about you at all. My only regret about today is that I had to work and couldn't help put you to bed tonight. But that is tempered with the knowledge that your Mommy, who is such a good Mom, is there to do it for both of us.
We had your birthday party on Saturday, and we invited those people that you have come to know well over the first year of your life. We figured it would be hard enough having a few dozen people around, so we made sure they were people you knew well and were comfortable around. It must have worked, because you had a great time. You shared your day with friends, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, even your cousin-to-be showed up, though he/she was in your Aunt's tummy!
You got lots of presents from everyone, further proving how much everyone loves to spoil you. And you got to have your first ever taste of cake! Up until Saturday, your palette was limited to pureed veggies, fruit, and meats, and the occasional cookie. But you dove into that cake like you were born to it, and in so doing, you let everyone there know that you are your Mother's daughter.
I know that I have written along these lines before, but when your Mother gave birth to you a year ago, you changed our lives irrevocably and for so much the better than I would ever have believed possible. Every day with you is a joy, and I hope you know that I will always love and support you for as long as I live.
This last year of our lives has been so exciting and seen so many changes in you, I really don't know what to expect for the next 12 months.
I have watched you grow from the tiny, fragile being you began as into the animated, personable, beautiful child you are today. I have seen you crawl and laugh and point and cry and sleep and hug and wave and say Dad, and each of these things has humbled me and made my heart melt.
I can't wait to see what the next year with you will be like.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
I've often heard people talk about how everything happens when they close their eyes for 'a second', and I always figured their perception of time is just more skewed than they would like to think. As in, "I looked away for a second, and she crawled all the way across the living room", or something similar.
It turns out I was wrong. Because I closed my eyes for a second and in that instant, you've gone from being a tiny, fragile newborn infant to a 22 pound, communicative, laughing child, complete with her own personality and everything!
I can't believe that the first year of your life is almost complete.
It boggles the mind.
You become so much more important to me each month, each day, each moment I get to spend with you. I don't know how I have the capacity to keep up, but somehow, there's more room to love you even after I think there can't be any left.
My working nights continues, and everytime I get up after sleeping the day after a shift away and see you light up like a newborn star as soon as you see me, my heart just melts. I love how much you love me.
So just in case you wonder after a particularly embarrassing moment spent with me (maybe you caught me singing or saying something completely uncool in front of your friends) if there was ever a time when you loved me for me, there was indeed.
And I can't wait for your first birthday. Your Mom and I are going to throw a little party, and invite your family and some of our friend's over to celebrate with you. We're going to buy you too many toys and likely regret letting you feed yourself your own birthday cake, but we can't wait for it.
And of course, this will be the first year of many that we'll be telling you that all of those fireworks being let off are not in fact for those Americans celebrating Independence Day, as people would have you believe.
They are, like everything else, just for you.
Friday, May 05, 2006
As of today, you have now been with us for 10 months. Almost an entire year!
I find my perceptions of time so confused since you arrived. At times, it seems like you've been with your Mom and I for as long as the two of us have known each other (which is at this point about 15 years so far). But at other times, it seems like you just got here, and in no small way made us realize how empty our lives were without you.
I have seen you both less and more over the past month. At the beginning of April I began working 12 hour night shifts 4 days out of every 8. So I have seen you less in the evenings (I miss putting you to bed!), but on my 4 days off I get to spend all my time with you and your Mom. So it’s working out great. I miss you and your Mom a lot, but I know that it’s worth it.
You have really taken this crawling thing to an unexpected level. You can get from our couch in the living room to the kitchen sink (maybe 20 feet) in less than 30 seconds. I know because I followed you trotting in to check out what your Mom was up to just the other day.
As always, you are more expressive, and emotive, and communicative. You are starting to tell us when you like or don't like things. Under the 'don't like' category, vegetables come to mind, particularly sweet potatoes. Because every time I wear them after a feeding wherein you spray them across my face, you are laughing your ass off the whole time.
You are starting to understand the finer points of spatial relationships. When we hide a toy under a blanket, you know that it is still there, and are absolutely delighted with yourself when you find it again.
Lately you have been really cultivating your separation anxiety. Or we have. I'm not sure which. When I leave for work you cry, and when I see you in the morning you go bananas. And when we are around people you don't know (or don't remember) you cling to us as tight as you can, making yourself feel as secure and safe as possible.
One last thought about nicknames. We've been using two new ones for you this past month.
The first, Trinitysaurus, is usually brought out at feedings that don't go at all as planned. Lots of roaring and spitting of food about. When we use this nickname it usually means I'm going to need a shower.
Your next one is trotted out only during the more sleepless of sleepless nights. When we can't seem to make you comfortable no matter what we do, that's when we call you the No-sleepinator. Sort of like the Terminator, but sweet and cute and the only casualty is sleep that I probably make up the following night.
Just in case these names don't stick and you never hear them again, I thought you should know that we had fun with you way back in 2006. I can't wait to see what fun you're inspiring over the next month.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
It is now official. You've been with us now longer than the nine months we waited for you. (Not counting the 10 years we waited to decide to have you.)
You had a few more major milestones over the last month: Your second tooth showed itself, with only a little bit more fanfare from you than the first one.
And you crawled forward for the first time! You've been crawling backwards for months now, and in fact we figured since you were so good at it, you would just go from backwards to a full walk. But the other day you purposefully crawled forwards to claim a toy that was just out of reach. And you were so delighted by the praise we both heaped on you.
With one exception, you keep right on loving the different foods we've been trying you out on. This past week you officially made the move to carnivore after trying your very first meat. Strained beef I think it was called. The pic below describes your feelings about this far better than I ever could.
I don't know how its possible, but somehow you keep getting more important to me, occupying my thoughts somewhere between often and all of the time. And the longer you are with us, the more you are capable of returning our affection; the bubbly laugh you give when we play or read together; the whoop you yell out when I come home from work; the hugs you give when we cuddle together.
There has been one big change in my life this past month that only indirectly affects you: I took a 'real' job away from home in order to give us a more steady income and to help facilitate your Mommy staying home with you permanently. I miss you both so much; I guess I got used to working from home and getting to see you at anytime during the day. But the look on your face the first day I came home from work made up for any amount of missing you I will ever experience. If I get to pick which things I will forget as I get older, that moment is the absolute last one on the list.
Talk to you next month,
Saturday, March 04, 2006
So without further adieu,
Today you are now 8 months old. I woke up today to write this without being able to see you for the third day in a row. You have been visiting your grandparents with your Mom, much to my chagrin. I am on my way to see you today though, so I’ll get to hold my little girl again before the day is over.
You have had an exceptional month. You are now getting very good at crawling (still backwards, but Newton's first law says nothing about which direction the motion has to be in). Because of all this movement, we're in the process of converting the main floor of our house into a safe zone for you, complete with outlet covers, cupboard locks and baby gates. I even had to move my office upstairs to avoid any confrontations between you and all of my power cables.
You got your first tooth!
Without any indication from you at all, your first tooth appeared very unceremoniously about a week ago. Rest assured though that when we found it, there was more than enough ceremony to make up for your lapse. We called your Aunt Lisa over; we recorded some video of us making a GREAT BIG DEAL about it. And once you’re old enough to read about episodes like this, you will probably smile knowingly, realizing that this sort of embarrassing behaviour is in fact nothing new for your parents.
But it was a very cool moment.
As all moments pretty much are with you.
And yes, that is a videogame controler in your hand. For a few seconds at least, you were actually playing a game. It makes the old man proud.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Sometimes it seems odd writing you a letter every month, considering how often I see you and how really hard it is to take a step back and examine how you've changed over the last four weeks each time.
Not that you aren't experiencing all kinds of changes all the time: You absolutely are.
Maybe it’s just that because I'm lucky enough to get to spend as much time as I do with you that it’s harder to notice all of the incremental changes.
So what are you doing now that you weren't doing a month ago?
Well, you've taken the whole backwards crawl thing to a whole other level, opting now to perform a sort of semi-circling crab walk in order to see what's going in your periphery. It’s really something to watch.
You have expanded your vocabulary ten-fold, adding some very novel strings of consonants and squeaks and whoops to your repertoire. And often, as you hold forth in that way that you do, I nod my head and encourage you and you keep right on babbling, as if we're having a completely 2 way conversation. I think though, that instead of me patronizing you, you really believe that it’s the other way around.
And you're probably right.
You are growing so fast it seems, though I really can only tell that one as you move through new clothes sizes (a lot of what you are wearing is already 12 months stuff), and when I look at pictures of you.
I accomplished what was likely the best gift-giving you can expect from me this past month: I found out about a USB Elmo doll that can be hooked up to a computer and be customized for your name, favourite things, etc. So now everyday, we hear you squealing with delight every time Elmo says your name in the middle of a song or a story. He's pretty seamless about it too. It’s maybe a little creepy, sort of like Bart's Krusty doll on that Halloween Simpson's episode. Don't worry; if you don't know what I'm talking about when you read this, we'll dig it up for you.
You are really developing an affinity for my somewhat unique sense of humour. As long as your Mom and I are laughing about something, you laugh along with us very easily. That’s likely to change right about the time you realize that I’m a goof, but in the meantime, we’re all having a blast.
You are eating real food now!
You’ve been eating first rice cereal and now oatmeal twice a day, with no problems at all. I can’t wait until we get to the good stuff: steak, ice cream, baby food jars of fruit.
You seem to have taken to your crib very well, although there seems to be a trend developing where you wake up in the middle of the night and need to be cuddled back to sleep in our bed. So now most nights I have a snoring Mommy and a smacking, hair pulling little buddy for company, but that’s just fine with me. I don’t know what I’d do in an empty bed anymore except be awfully lonely.
I hope you know how much you mean to me and you’re Mom. Talk to you in a month.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Well, I would say the first six months of parenting have gone a lot better than expected. You are funny and happy and you hardly ever cry. You sleep for almost 9 hours straight most nights, and I think you woke up for one early morning feeding this month. Not that any feedings have much to do with me, but I thought I'd mention it.
You can sit up on your own pretty well now, although you haven't yet found out how to balance yourself if you reach too far for something. And you still need an assist to sit up at all.
But man are you talking now. One day last week you discovered that you could make a kind of growling noise, and you spent the better part of the next two days growling through everything: changes, feedings, naps, etc. And every day since, you figure out new and interesting consonant sounds to add into the repertoire. It’s really fascinating to listen to.
You made it through your first Christmas and New Year's. And for a six month old baby, I'd say you did pretty well. You had a hand in opening many of your own presents, and you even managed to meet the big guy, thanks to a very cool Uncle.
Just FYI, some of your favourite presents from your first Christmas were a four key piano (from your Mom and me), a cartwheeling Tigger (from your Grandma Yemm) and a camcorder (from your Aunt Lisa and Uncle Dino). I say that its yours because they got it for the fam to record all the fun stuff you do. And if you're old enough to read this you're probably old enough to roll your eyes at this point, as I'm sure I've trotted the DVDs out many times.
Don't worry. I plan to save the good stuff for your wedding.
I hope that the next six months are as much fun as the first.