My sweet girl, you are now 18 months old! A year and a half! Most days I look at you and catch a glimpse of the little girl you are becoming. You're thinning out a little bit and some of your expressions show us what an energetic and outgoing person you're going to be (and are!). Your dad and I frequently think about you in years to come: how you will look when you head off to kindergarten, the "no" face you'll make when a boy asks you to prom (you make a pretty fantastic No face). It's amazing to think that a year and a half has already flown by. It makes my heart grow and ache at the same time. My sweet little girl, so big already. So much your own person. You have been from day one. We are trying our best to nurture you and guide you as gently as possible into the person you already are. We're showing you the ropes of this crazy world and hope we're not making too many mistakes along the way that you'll later remind us of. :) Each day is a joy, a struggle, a whirlwind. I've been told that's life with a toddler. But no matter how hard or difficult a day feels, at the end of the night when you've been sleeping for a couple of hours, I already miss you. Life with you is amazing!
Adelaide, you are a finicky eater. Some days you'll eat so good! A variety and lots of it. But other days, all you'll eat is a couple crackers and maybe some fruit. You will always eat whatever carb is placed in front of you: pasta, bread, crackers. You love apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and grapes. You love sweet potaotes, any kind of bean (green, chickpea, black, etc.), mashed potatoes, hummus. You really like smoothies and fruit drinks (the real stuff, not fruit-flavored junk).
You're really good with your fork and spoon, though you will always revert back to using your fingers to eat - it's just so much faster and foolproof that way!
You just recently drank successfully from a real cup. You love your sippy cups, and often will refuse to even try to drink from a real cup. However, the other morning I had some chocolate almond milk, and you wanted to drink some, so I poured a bit into a small cup for you and you did it! Of course, you ended up with a chocolate milk mustache (and beard) and some dribbled down the front of your dress, but you did it! And you were so proud of yourself too!
You are still nursing strong at 18 months. Some days I feel like you are a newborn again, nursing every couple of hours. I still nurse you whenever you want, except when we're out and I know you've had milk recently and you're not hungry. I will nurse you in public, but only if you really need it. I still nurse you to sleep every night and nap. Seeing your sleepy milk eyes makes me so happy. Feeling your hand rub my belly and chest makes me so happy. Seeing the contentment in your eyes, hearing it in your deep sigh when you latch on, hearing your happy gulps... this is what I'm meant to do... nourish you until you're ready to be done. Which ain't happening any time soon!
Oh boy, you are a babbler. All. Day. Unless we're in the company of strangers. Then you clam up. But you really do love to talk. Aside from the nonsense babbling that we don't understand (but nod and answer to), you do have some words. Ball, car, eat, apple, bean, bear, bee, baby, dada, mama, papa, book, yuck, uh-oh, pee-pee, poo-poo, diaper, store, yum, down, up, yeah, no, hi, bye-bye, night-night, balloon, draw. You also make a ton of animals sounds: moo, roar!, monkey sounds, woof, meow, an elephant trumpeting sound, cock-a-doodle-do (in your own way, of course!), and sometimes a pig snort.
Along with talking, you also sign a lot of words: Please, thank you, more, sorry (we taught you that one when you started hitting!), tree, apple, music, book, help, milk, eat.
You still wake often throughout the night to nurse. Sometimes you'll sleep for 4-5 hours, and rarely will you sleep for 6 straight. But, those nights are happening more often, which is really good for all of us! We are following your lead. If you need me, I am there. Some people really don't agree with the way we're handling your sleep, but my thought is that no matter what, you'll know that mama and dada will always be here for you when you need it. You can trust us. We will never abandon you to let you cry-it-out. That method does not agree with our parenting style. You are also still in our bed, and we love to snuggle with you. Your crib is attached to the bed, and I'll often place you in it after you fall asleep, and sometimes you'll roll over into it. My feeling is that when you are ready for sleep independence, that crib space will be there for you, and we'll still be nearby so it won't be scary. (Of course, if it got to the point with your night-waking that it was hurting us and making it unable for us to cope with day-to-day stuff, we may have to nudge you quicker into sleep independence, but right now it works for us.)
You are FUN! You love to roughhouse, tickle, run at us, spin around, dance... anything active. You like to hide behind the curtains and call "dadddddyyyyy" and run out and tackle us. You like to play hide and seek... the kid that ends with a roar and squeal! You love, love, love to be outside. We draw on the sidewalk with chalk, walk through the grass, take neighborhood walks, hang out by the garden, play in your water/sand table. Anything really. You just love the fresh air and sunshine. You LOVE to read. You will bring us book after book after book (and on and on and on). You plop down into our laps and help us turn the pages and even act out some of the actions of the characters. You particularly like "Papa Please Get the Moon for Me" by Eric Carle. You point Papa out on each page, and even say "Papa" like an ornery Italian woman.
You LOVE to draw! You make a drawing motion and say "dwaw." You love to use crayons, markers. You love to paint. You use your fingers, paintbrushes, and even sponges to paint. You have a chalkboard that you draw on whenever you want, and you have sidewalk chalk that I mentioned above. I am in the process of creating a special art station here at home, where you will always find the things you want to create with, instead of having to ask me for it. Paper, crayons, markers (washable, of course) top the list. But I want there to be so much more. I want you to grow up creatively and be able to make your own decisions. Art will help you do that!
Oh, there's so much more... I will have to write you again soon, sweet girl. I could tell you about our potty training beginning, about bathtime fun, about our strong attachment, about switching daycares, about our summertime fun so far, about so much. But, this letter is getting long, so I will wrap up for now.
We love you very much. You are our moon girl!