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Dear Carter at 18 Months

By on Apr 16, 2011 in Love Letters | 2 comments

Dear Carter,

I’ve started a letter to you in my head about a million times, but somehow I never find the time to sit down and write it. I’m constantly making mental notes to myself to remember this, or write that down, so that I can remember all of the wonderful, endearing qualities about you at this age (and really, every age), but since my memory isn’t what it used to be and I know it’s not getting any better, I’m finally forcing myself to sit down and write you this letter as your turn a year and a half old, despite the fact that as you well know, your mom is a big sap, and I’m already teary as I write.

Let me start by saying that I really wasn’t prepared for just how much I would love you. Before you were born, I spent a lot of time imagining what life would be like as a mommy, but nothing could really prepare me for you. Being your mother is my greatest accomplishment, or should I say that YOU are my greatest accomplishment. More often than not, I’m just amazed by you…watching you grow and learn before my eyes, the clever connections you make, your sweet, generous nature, and your ability to love. I know that someday you will just roll your eyes at me, but I love how much you love your family at this age, especially Mama, Dada and Grancy (CiCi). Your eyes light up whenever you see one of your favorite people, and you give us hugs and kisses freely.

In addition to loving your people, you also completely adore our four cats. Your favorite is Sophie, who you call Phie-Phie, our long-haired black cat. I think she grudgingly loves you, too, and especially loves that having you around means she gets to eat your leftovers. You call her name whenever you see her, and often go right up to her, push her down on the ground, and hug her, which she tolerates surprisingly well! You also love Bailey (Bay-ee), Kenny (Ken-eh) and Zoey (who doesn’t really have an official name from you yet). Bailey doesn’t have the good sense to run away from you, so he often scratches you when you over-enthusiastically give him love. Zoey is patient with you but keeps her distance, and Kenny is scared to death and has the good sense to steer clear of you whenever he can!

I’ve never laughed as much as I’ve laughed since you were born…your joy is truly infectious, and you love to be the comedian, whether it’s intentional or not. My favorite moments are spent with you and your Daddy, and I love watching the joy you obviously both feel when you’re together. I love how silly he can be just to make you smile, and I love to hear your sweet giggle when he makes you laugh.

It is so fun to watch you becoming an adventurous eater even at this young age. I was always picky, so it makes me happy to see you try and like so many new things, and I hope you stay that way! So far the only things you’ve rejected have been tacos and brownies, and you later took the brownies when offered them again, so I think it may have just burned your tongue since Mommy was eating one fresh from the oven…sorry about that! Some of your favorites, in no particular order, are avocado (cado), apples (a-a’s), cheese, broccoli, black olives, pasta, and the rolls from Texas Roadhouse. You love when we go to salad bars, and you will always sample all kinds of different vegetables when we’re there. You love your fruits and veggies more than meat, which is so rare for a little guy like you! I’m so proud of your adventurous palate.

You love, love, love to go outside now! It’s really hot out already (in April!) so something tells me we won’t be going out too much over the next few months, but you really enjoyed springtime. You’re so curious about the world around you, and you love to point to things and either tell me what it is or ask “what’s that?” and have me tell you. You love to look at the birds (peep peeps), trees, flowers, pond, dogs (woof woof), cows (either cow, or moooooo), sunshine, moon, cars, trucks and more. You love going to the playground, too, and can finally maneuver yourself around the play structures without too much help from me. You love to go down slides, though you do insist on lying down instead of sitting up. You love to steer the steering wheel and turn the big tic tac toe boards. And you love to ride on the animals…the purple dinosaur, horsies and anything else you can get your hands on. You love to run around, too. And while you used to need me to watch your every move, now you run off by yourself with barely a backward glance at me. I love to watch your growing independence as you find your own way in the world.

You’ve already learned to say so many words, and you learn more every day. You’ve recently become a little parrot, and you will repeat words back to us. I can almost see the light bulb go off over your head as you make the connection…oh THAT’S what that is! The best time to teach you new words is after you’ve just eaten, during which time we call you “fat and happy.” I love that you’re finally learning to communicate with us, and it’s such a joy to watch you learn! You learn so much from looking at books with us…your Little People lift-the-flap books were the ones we started with (and you’re a pro at remembering where things are!), and now you love your look and find books: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Myna Mo) and Elmo (MoMo). You love other books, too, but those are your favorites. I also love reading you Knuffle Bunny, and you always laugh when Trixie says, “Aggle Flaggle Klabble!” We have your books on a bookshelf in the living room, and you often bring books out for us to read together. You also love reading at naptime and bedtime now, and this seems to be the magic way to calm you down before sleep. You love reading Ferdinand, which was one of my favorite books when I was a little girl, and I love that we share that! And then we read one of two sleepy time books, Snuggle Up Sleepy Ones or Time for Bed, and we always end with Goodnight Moon. You always say “moon” when I bring it out, and lately you’ve been obsessed with pointing out the fireplace on each page it’s on.

Which leads me to sleep. I know that some day this will absolutely mortify you, but you’re currently sleeping in bed with Mommy and Daddy. I will remind you that this was TOTALLY your idea…we tried, and tried, and tried some more to get you to sleep in your crib, but you always hated it, and we really hated hearing you cry. So we finally gave in, and you just snuggle with Mommy at nighttime. Because you sleep with us, you also have pretty weird hours for such a little guy…you don’t go to bed until 9:30 at the earliest (usually closer to 10) and you sleep until 8 or 8:30 in the morning, which I really appreciate! You’ve just gotten to the point that you refuse to sleep in your cute “footie pajamas” anymore and hate having anything on your feet at night, even covers, which you kick off. You were a really horrible sleeper for the first year of your life, mostly because I kept “fighting” you, trying to make you sleep in your crib, but now that you sleep with us, you sleep very well at night, usually sleeping from the time you close your eyes until morning. Mommy was very, very tired after months of not sleeping through the night, and it’s so nice to finally have a good sleeper! We’re really not sure what’s going to happen when your brother gets here, but I guess we’ll just figure it out later. You’ve also finally started napping very well. It’s still hard to get you to settle down long enough to realize you’re sleepy, but once you do, you usually sleep for an hour and a half to two hours, which is helpful for Mommy when I have work to do.

We’ve been working on your colors for a while now, and you’re finally starting to “get” them…sometimes at least. You usually get yellow (ye-wow) right…sometimes green (gween), blue (boo) and pink…and occasionally red. The others are unlikely, but I know we will get there eventually! After your first Easter egg hunt, you had a lot of brightly colored plastic eggs to play with, and I think this is when you really started understanding color.

As I write this letter, I’m just about halfway through my pregnancy with your brother. While I’m nervous as to how you are going to handle having to share your favorite people (and your toys), I’m so happy to see how you’ve already started taking steps toward being a great big brother. You immediately learned his name, which surprised us, and whenever we ask you what your brother’s name is, you repeat it back to us with a little smile. (And you even told Grancy the name, but thank you for not telling anyone else…yet.) You recognize that he is in mommy’s tummy, and you will even give him a kiss there sometimes. And you point him out proudly in his ultrasound picture on the refrigerator whenever we walk past it, plus you’ve started pointing to pictures of other babies and saying his name. I hope that the two of you will be the best of friends…having grown up an only child, it’s a foreign concept to me to have a brother or sister, but your Daddy and I wanted the two of you to be close enough in age that you could be good buddies. ( I just hope the two of you take it easy on your old Mom!) When he gets here, I hope you realize how much I love you…even if your brother has to be the center of attention for a while, you are and always will be my first baby, and I promise I won’t love you any less, even if my attention is divided.

I’m sure there’s much more I could add here, but I will just finish by saying how very, very much I love you, my sweet Munchkin. I’m so proud of the wonderful little boy you are becoming, and I’m so happy that you made me a Mommy.

Lots of love,
Mama