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Dear Aeralyn,

Last week you turned twenty months old.  I realized then that I had yet to even write your nineteen month letter, so I decided to put them together.  I was feeling a little like I had let you down because I didn’t get around to writing your letter last month.  And then I started thinking about all the fun things that we had been doing these past few weeks, and it made me feel a little better.  You may not a have a baby book that has every little detail filled out, or an elaborate scrapbook full of memories, but you do have a mommy who loves to spend time playing with you, and that is more important right now. 

You have changed so much these past two months.  Your vocabulary has more than tripled what it was when I wrote your eighteenth month letter.  Your favorite word by far is “No”.  The answer to almost every question is “No”.  Even when daddy asked you if you were a good girl for mommy the other day, you said “No” very nonchalantly.  Well, atleast you were honest.

That brings me to my next point…

You are what all the experts call a “Spirited Child”.  I should really let them put your picture in their books next to the Spirited Child description.  You are on the go non-stop from the time you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night.  You have opinions about the way things should go during your day, and if something happens and things don’t go just right, you let everyone know that you are not happy about it.  I’m learning to deal with your tantrums a little better now than when they first started, even though I will admit that it is tough.  There are some days when I think that if you throw one more fit, I’m going to list you on ebay.  This stage you are going through is the hardest so far, but I know we will make it through. 

I’m also learning to stop comparing you to everyone else’s kid.  You are your own person.  You have your own way of expressing your thoughts and emotions, and I’m finally realizing that that is okay.  Remember that one day when you have kids of your own.  Trust me, it will save you ALOT of aggravation.

As soon as you wake up in the morning, you want to put on your shoes and head outside.  We spend more time outside than in these days since the weather is so nice.  You love to swing, climb, and slide on your little swingset.  Most of all, you LOVE to go fishing at the river.  We have already been fishing three times so far, and you have loved every minute of each time.  You are not the slightest bit afraid of the fish, and you get so excited when daddy or me catches one so you can touch it.  You also, much to my horror, like to play with the worms and the crickets that we use to catch the fish.  I guess you are going to be a bit of a tomboy. 

I have had so much fun lately watching your imagination at work.  You have started pretending quite often lately.  You will pretend to change your babies diapers and feed them a bottle.  You will “read” books to your stuffed animals, and make your little Backyardigans figurines dance.  Which, by the way, you LOVE the Backyardigans.  Your favorite movie is Surf’s Up, and you ask for it atleast once a day.  As soon as I put the DVD in, you start to dance and sing the songs that they sing.  You dance during the whole movie and I’m sure would watch it 25 times a day if I let you.  At first I worried about letting you watch TV, but as much as you love watching the Backyardigans, you love to play outside, color, read books, and play with your toys even more.  I’m happy about that and I hope it stays that way.

You have started communicating to me when you want things, which makes my life and yours a billion times easier.  If you want a drink, you will say “I grink, I grink!”, or if you want to go outside, you will say “I shoes on!”.  You will say “more” and do the sign for it when you want more of something.  You will say “Surf’s Up” and grab the remote when you want to watch your movie.  You say yes and no when we ask you questions (although mostly you just say no), and you follow simple commands with ease.  You can open the refrigerator and grab whatever snack you want, and you love to help me pour your drink.  It is amazing how much you have changed into a little functioning person.  It seems like it has all happened overnight. 

I almost afraid of typing this for fear that something will change, but I feel like I need to put this in here; You are the best eater I have ever seen when it comes to toddlers.  You almost always finish whatever it is I give you for all of your meals, and you eat plenty of snacks to keep you satisfied throughout the day.  Some of your favorite foods are: cheese (of course), yogurt, tomatoes, ranch dressing and ketchup for dipping, grapes, oranges, raisins, bagels with cream cheese, cinnamon toast, spaghetti ( I have learned that I can pretty much hide ANYTHING in spaghetti sauce and you will eat it.  I wonder if it’s because of all that spaghetti I ate while I was pregnant with you?), grilled chicken (you’re not much on fried chicken or chicken nuggets, which is so weird but totally ok with me), grilled cheese, potatoes, butter beans, corn, green beans, sweet peas, carrots, fruit snacks, anything and everything that is sweet, peanut butter sandwiches (hold the jelly)…and seriously this list could go on forever.  But, my point is, that I love that you are a such a good eater.  I love that you are almost always willing to try something, even if it looks a little weird.  I realize that most toddlers are extremely picky about what they eat, and that I’m very lucky to have such a good eater.  Now, just keep it up.   

Punkin’, you are mine and your daddy’s pride and joy.  We are having so much fun with you right now, and we know it’s only going to get better from here.  You have made me slow down and enjoy the smallest, simplest things.  I can never thank you enough for showing me what is really important in life.

I love you more than you will ever know,

Mama

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Month Eighteen

Dear Aeralyn,

You’ve been eighteen months old for almost two weeks now, and I’m still not having any easier time with it.  Eighteen months sounds so toddlerish and so much less babyish to me, and that is very hard to handle.  You are growing entirely too fast for my liking.

 Today was your well baby checkup.  You have finally exceeded the 20lb mark.  You are actually  21lbs even, and 30 inches long.  You are staying in the slightly below average range for weight and height.  Thankfully your pediatrician is sweet and reassures me that you are a healthy girl, just a little on the petite side.  You are just now getting into 12-18 months clothing, much to my despair because mommy thought she was smart by buying all your summer clothes last year on clearance in 18-24 months size.  Maybe you will grow into them before summer is over. 

Your pediarician was so impressed with how social and sweet you are.  You never once protested when he was listening to your heart or looking in your ears and nose.  He even held you for a little bit while you smiled and laughed at him.  I couldn’t be happier with your outgoing personality. 

We turned your carseat around in the car this month, and you were ecstatic.  You love to look out the window and play with your toys without having your legs squished into the back seat.  I like that I can see you better now and hand you things easier.  Like your cup for instance, that you drop no less than 37 times in a 5 minute car ride.  But atleast you are happier and more comfortable now.   

Each month, you have learned so much that it has been hard for me to keep up.  This month is definitely no exception.  You are almost constantly talking now.  You still have alot of baby jibber jabber, but you also say plenty of phrases and words that we can understand.  A few nights ago after your bath, you were examing the picture hanging above your changing table.  It is a picture of you sleeping when you were a week old.  You looked at the picture and said “It’s a bay-bee” followed by “It’s a cute bay-bee!”.  After laughter and praise from me and your daddy, you kept going.  You said “Bay-bee night night” and “sleepy”.  Then you kissed the picture and said “awwww”.  It’s amazing to me just how much you understand about the world around you. 

Your sweet and compassionate side has really started to show this month.  One of your favorite things to do is wrap your baby doll in a blanket and rock her in your rocking chair.  You softly pat her back and whisper “It’s awwww-wite baby.  Shhh.”  It makes me melt every time to see you act like that.  You have a routine at night where you run to give daddy hugs and kisses, and then you tell him  “Wuv you bay-bee, night night”, and he repeats the same to you.  Then you come to me and repeat the process all over again while you nestle down for me to rock you to sleep.  It is by far my favorite part of the day. 

Happy eighteen months punkin’!  I love you more than words could ever express.

Love,
Mama

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Month Sixteen

Dear Aeralyn,

You turned sixteen months old on Tuesday while we were all caught up in the start of a new year.  This past month has gone by so fast that it was hard for me to keep up with all the ways you have changed lately, but I’ll try to remember everything now. 

The biggest accomplishment so far this month just happened last week.  You are now completely weaned from nursing during the day.  I’ve had you daytime weaned now for a while, except for nap time.  But for the past week, I’ve put you down for a nap with only rocking you, and you haven’t even put up too much of a fight.  Nightime weaning is quite another issue though, but I am confident you will be completely weaned by summer, if not sooner. 

You have sprouted four more teeth this past month giving you a grand total of six teeth.  This has been so helpful because now you are learning to bite things into smaller chunks to make them easier to eat.  I was afraid you would just stuff big pieces of food in your mouth all the time, but you have only done that on a handful of occasions.  On another note about food, you have begun a love affair with ketchup.  You love to dip anything you can into it, and I’m also having an easier time getting you to eat meat now that you can dip it in your favorite sauce.  You ae quickly learning, however, that not everything tastes so great in ketchup.  Like cheese.  But you’re still willing to try it anyway. 

You have become so much more affectionate this month, and everyone is loving this about you.  I have to say that one of the best feelings in this world is when you wrap your little arms around my neck and lay your head on my shoulder for a quick snuggle.  You do this several times a day, and I can never get enough.  You’ve also learned to say “I love you”, and that just melts everyone into a big pile of goo.  You’ve got us all wrapped around your finger.

Along with becoming more affectionate, you have also become, how should I say it, more assertive I guess.  We joke that you are going through the “Terrible Two’s” early, but seriously?  If it gets much worse than this at two, I’m not sure what I will do.  If something doesn’t quite go your way, you will promptly throw yourself on the floor with the greatest dramatic flair and proceed to flail around and scream.  You did this yesterday for no apparent reason other than when you woke up from your nap, you were just cranky.  I’ve learned that the best way to handle these situations is to ignore you.  You will usually calm yourself down fairly quickly and we can all get back to what we were doing.   Most of the time you are pleasant and easy to deal with, so I won’t complain too much right now. 

For a while now, your favorite animal has been a cat.  You love your stuffed cat and any books that have a cat in them.  When we are out shopping, if you see a stuffed cat or a picture of a cat, you always point to it and “meow”.  So when we decided to get a real cat this month, I was a little worried at how you would take it.  Not that you would be upset or scared, but that you would be so incredibly excited that you just exploded with glee.  That almost happened, but thankfully not quite.  You love your new little kitty, and you try to show her that every second of the day.  We are still trying to teach you not to pick the cat up, especially by her head.  And not to pull her out from under the couch by her tail.  You are learning, but definitely testing me.  It is actually not as bad as I expected, and you are both getting used to eachother now.  I hope that you two will be lifelong best friends. 

I can’t wait to see what this next month, and year, brings.  I love you more than anything in this world!

Love,

Mama

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Month Fifteen

Dear Punkin’,

You turned 15 months old on Saturday.  We have been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to write your monthly letter yet.  The whole month went by so fast, almost in a blur.  And of course you have changed so much that it’s going to be hard to remember exactly what you’ve accomplished.

The first matter I have to address this month is the ear infections.  You have had one almost the entire month of November.  You’ve been on four antibiotics and we’ve been to the doctor six times.  You even had to go and have your first x-ray done of your chest to make sure that you didn’t have pnuemonia.  Thankfully you didn’t, but you have still been sick all month, and it has been hard.  We are going to the ENT tomorrow to hopefully get some answers.  And you may have to have your first surgery soon to have your adenoids taken out.  The surgery will be minor, but I’m sure I will be freaking out even so.  I just want to do whatever it takes to make you better. 

You have started learning to climb this month.  Earlier this week,  I left you in the living room for a minute to go to the bathrooom.  When I came back, you were sitting in the recliner grinning at me.  You try to climb on the couch all the time, and yesterday evening, daddy caught you trying to climb on the kitchen table.  I’m glad you’re learning your motor skills and all, but I can see that this particular one is going to get you into some trouble. 

You are starting to learn so much about the world around you.  You are quickly learning what things mean and what order some things go in.  Last week I asked you if you wanted to go outside.  You ran to your room and patted your dresser where your socks and shoes are.  You said “Socks.  Shoes.  Outside.”  Which really sounded more like “Sah.  Shoos.  Sow-si.”, but you got your point across.  And last night, Gammy was looking at a magazine with you and when you came to the page with shoes on it, you excitedly exclaimed “SHOOS!” and pointed to Gammys slippers on her feet.  When I tell you we are going for a walk, you will go and pat on the back of my car to let me know to get your stroller out of the trunk.  You run as fast as you can to the bathroom when I say lets take a bath.  And you hurry to your room when I say it’s time to change your diaper.  It is amazing how much you learn every day, and I’m always excited to see what new things you discover.

We spent all day yesterday at a friends house watching her nine month old little girl.  I was a little worried at first because you’ve never really been around another baby for a long period of time except at daycare.  But you’ve only even been there a handful of times, and I wasn’t there with you.  So I was curious to see how you would react to me taking care of someone else besides you, and how well you would share the toys and such.  I have to say that I was so proud of you.  You were so sweet to the baby, and I only had to tell you a couple of times to be gentle.  You wanted to hug her and bring her toys that she couldn’t reach.  And when she cried, you patted her back and said “shhh” to her.  You were so sweet and I was so happy.  I know that you can have your moments with tantrums and attitude, but that is to be expected.  But I’m glad to know that you are turning into a sweet and loving little girl.  I think you are going to be a caring and compassionate person, and I don’t think I could ask for anything more.  I think I might be doing something right.

I love you sweet pea, more than anything in this world,

Mama

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Tatertot Tuesday pictures are coming later this week….sometime.  I don’t know when yet, but they will be here.

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Month Thirteen

Dear Aeralyn,

On Monday, you turned thirteen months old.  You’ve made some radical changes this month, and I can hardly believe that this time last year you were a helpless little infant. 

You have turned into a little sponge lately.  Everything you see, you remember.  Everything you hear, you try to repeat.  It is nothing short of amazing.  The other day, I was reading one of your books about animals to you.  It is one that we have read almost every day since you were a couple of months old.  We got to the page with the big tiger on it, and you roared.  I always make the animal sounds when I’m reading that book to you, and you remembered that the tiger says “Roar”.  I couldn’t believe it.  Then later that day, a commercial came on with a tiger on it.  You stopped dead in your tracks and roared at the TV.  You also bark, which is funny because you whisper for some reason.  You meow when you see a cat, and you try to whistle when you see a bird.  You make a fish face sometimes when I ask you to, and you can say “fishy”.  You follow commands like “Get me a book” or “Put it in your toy box”, and you’ve started helping me pick up your toys.  You can choose between two snack choices by pointing at which one you want, and you let me know when you want to nurse by bringing me your pillow.  You are getting so big and independant every day.

With your new skills, you have also been busily developing your attitude.  You are now an expert at pitching fits, something I’d hope to avoid for a few more months.  Meal times are a challenge because when you’re done eating, you think it is time to get out of the highchair immediately.  And if that doesn’t happen?  You get a little angry.  But you will learn, I’m sure of it. 

You have developed a deep love for shoes, and if it were up to you, you would always have a pair on your feet.  Even while sleeping.  When I first started putting shoes on you, I worried that you wouldn’t like the confinement of them, or that you wouldn’t sit still for me to get them on your feet.  But that is definitely not the case.  You bring them to me and wait to be picked up so that I can put them on you.  Then you will sit on my lap patiently until I finish strapping them on.  I get the most fuss out of you when I take them off. 

We are taking you on your first vacation this weekend, and we couldn’t be more excited.  We are going to the GA Aquarium to see the fishies, and if the weather permits, we are going to the zoo to see the tigers.  I hope you enjoy it, and I will take plenty of pictures for you to see when you’re older.

I can’t wait to see what this month brings.  I love you punkin’, more than words can say. 

Mama 

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Month Twelve

Dear Aeralyn,

Saturday was your first birthday, and what a day it was. I got through the entire day without crying, so I hope you will be proud of me for that in the future. It wasn’t easy. We had such a great time at your party. You were the perfect birthday princess.
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I can still remember exactly how I felt the moment you were born. It is a feeling I will never forget. My heart was yours from the first moment I laid eyes on you. It seems like it was just yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital. Your daddy and I had no idea what to do with you, but it looks like we managed because you’ve turned out pretty good so far.
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You finally got your first two teeth this month. We were beginning to wonder if you would ever get any. You weren’t too happy about them, but I hate to tell you that there are quite a few more where those came from.
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It is amazing how much you have changed over this past year. You have such a fun personality, and I can’t wait to see it blossom even more over the years. You are curious, adventurous, loving, and spunky, and so much more. You are one of the busiest babies I have ever seen. You are constantly moving and playing, and you absolutely hate to be strapped down into any contraption. Especially your highchair. This has made for some fun times at dinner, but I’m sure you will get the hang of the idea before long. Atleast I hope so.
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This past year with you has been by far the best year of my life. I will never be able to express how special you are to me, and you will never understand until you have children of your own someday. I love you more than anything in this world. Happy Birthday punkin’!
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Love,
Mama

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Dear Aeralyn,

Yesterday you turned eight months old, and I know I say this every single month, but I can hardly believe it. This month seemed to go faster than ever, and I know that was just a preview of how fast the rest of your childhood will go. I’m enjoying every single minute with you.

You have accomplished some major milestones this month. Just last month I could put you on the floor to play with your toys while I went into the kitchen to do dishes or to the laundry room to put on a load of clothes. Now, you follow me everywhere I go. You are constantly moving while you’re awake, and you are curious about everything in your new world. Especially electrical cords and the dog food. And anything that is on the floor. I’m vacuuming several times a week now, but you still manage to find the smallest pieces of fuzz or paper on the floor. And then you promptly put your discoveries in your mouth. Yum!

All in one day two weeks ago, you learned to pull yourself to a sitting position from lying down, and you learned how to pull up on the furniture. You are so proud of yourself. I’m quickly learning that you are fearless because more often than not when you pull yourself up on the couch or chair, you will let go like you are big enough to stand up on your own. You have yet to protest when you fall hard on your bottom. Instead, you just try it again. I’m hoping you will keep that attitude.

You love to go shopping. Whether it be a quick trip to the grocery store, or an all day trip to town, you are always an angel. The only protest you have is getting in the carseat, but you are much happier since we moved you into a “big girl” seat and out of the infant carrier.

I’m not going to mention your sleeping habits this month except to say that they pretty much stink. I just want you to know this so that if you decide to have children one day, you can go back and read this letter and say “Hmm, I wasn’t sleeping through the night either at 8 months old. This little devil must have got it from me!” And then I will laugh and say how I remember those days and I will reassure you that those days will pass. And you will roll your eyes and let out an exasperated sigh I’m sure because that is what I do now every time I hear that these days will pass because MY BABY IS THE ONLY ONE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD WHO DOESN”T SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT! WAHHHH!!

I’m hoping you start sleeping better soon. But, if you don’t, that will be fine too. I still love you, even when you wake me up six times a night. Even when you refuse to take a nap all day and you scream at me because you’re so incredibly tired. Even when you get mad at me while I’m feeding you and you slap the spoon out of my hand, causing peas to splatter all over the kitchen. I will love you no matter what, forever. This unconditional love stuff is pretty great.

Love,
Mama

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