Dear Gem – Month 18

toddler loves bookstores

You toddled your way right out of babyhood – I don’t have a baby any more. I really miss the baby you used to be, but we are having so much fun with the little girl that you have become. You are hilarious, and intelligent, and very sweet.

Right now you are trying to figure out counting. You still repeat “two” over and over as you work your way through a pile of items, or run through your fingers. But you’ve figured out that something is going on, that there is a method and a goal in place when we count, whether it’s our fingers, or crackers, or crayons. You are so close to “getting it.” I hope I’m there, I hope I get to see it when it finally clicks for you. I love that moment when you figure something out. The air becomes electric, and you positively glow.

You’ve been frustrated with your fingers lately. As you try to mimic our counting on fingers motions, you have figured out that your ring finger does not behave as well as the other fingers. You’ll pull that ring finger up again and again and try to make it stay in place, but it just keeps folding back down if your other fingers aren’t up as well. You purse your lips and furrow your brow and try it again, but that ring finger just keeps curling back down. I was a lot older than you when I figured out that my ring finger behaved differently from my other fingers.

You actually have great small motor control. You love to color. You can color for hours. I can take you out and know that as long as you’re not hungry or tired, I can keep you well entertained with a piece of paper and a handful of crayons. And you are not just scribbling, you are very specific about where you place color on the paper, and you draw circles most of the time. You also frequently say “eye” and “nose” while you are coloring so I wonder if you are trying to draw faces. Daddy draws faces for you a lot when you color together.

toddler drawing

I knew it was time to start getting coloring books for you when you started coloring in the polka dots on your chair. I’m not sure I want to be the mom who blogs about how her daughter stays in the lines when she colors on the furniture, but here I am. To be honest, I don’t care a bit about staying in the lines. Lines are suggestions, not rules. Don’t let lines limit you. Still, I think it’s pretty cool that you mimicked the forms on the fabric when you were coloring – but about coloring on the furniture, not cool. The walls and books are off limits, too.dont let the lines limit you

Also not cool: yelping “HELP!” when I’m trying to strap you back into the stroller out in public. Ok, a little bit funny, just a little bit, but mostly not cool.

You’ve recently developed a little fear of heights. This is probably a good thing and age appropriate, but it does damper your fun on the playground equipment. You used to go up the stairs and down the slide with reckless abandon, and now you’ve noticed that you can see the ground through the little holes in the platform and it’s freaking you out. You’ll make it to the top, and just stop and sit there, refusing to budge. I’m sure you’ll get over this on your own time, until then, we’ll keep taking you to the playground and let you go at your own pace. You still love to go to the playground. Sometimes new knowledge or awareness can be scary, it alerts us to our limitations. This new fear just shows us that you’re smart. Eventually you incorporate that knowledge into your understanding of how the world works, and it gets a little less scary. You’ll be scampering across the playground equipment again in no time.

toddler loves bookstores

Your favorite place to visit is the kid’s section at the bookstore. We go nearly every day and it just doesn’t get old for you. I love the fact that we live within walking distance, it makes our daily appearances much easier. And in the past couple weeks, you’ve been able to walk the entire distance yourself.

toddler loves books

Everyday you surprise us with another new word. We are still learning to hear what you are saying, you enunciate like a toddler, and that makes things interesting at times. The other day you were identifying body parts and said “eye” and “nose” and then when you got to my mouth you said “cake,” or at least that’s what I though you said. That was pretty funny. But the next day, you did it again, and this time I heard a little better. You didn’t say “cake” when you got to my mouth, you said “kiss.” That just melted my heart.

I am so lucky that I get to be your mother.

I love you


Seattle writer, Judy Schwartz Haley, blogs about raising a toddler while battling cancer, finishing a degree, and fending off ninjas. Also, she needs more coffee.
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