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dear wren (15 mo)

October 18, 2016

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Dear Wren,

A couple of weeks ago, you turned 15 months old. It’s taken me a while to write this post because, truth be told, it’s been a bit of a rough month. Teething (on your part) and illness (on daddy’s part) has meant that I’ve only had a handful of sleep-filled nights over the past four weeks and although I hate to moan about sleep-deprivation, there is something to be said for sleep. I mean, I’m pretty sure it exists for a reason.

But it hasn’t been all doom and gloom. Whatever pain you put us through in the middle of the night, you made up for tenfold during the day.

You’ve grown leaps and bounds this month. Your vocabulary keeps evolving, though most of your words still start with D. This is particularly funny when you spot a fly and say douche for the French mouche. Having said that, you do now say nanana for banana. So, progress.

Our big adventure this month was a trip to Italy. You charmed the pants off every single Italian you met, men and women alike falling to their knees calling you bellissima, bella, carina, felice. They particularly got a kick out of the Italian translation for your name, Scricciolo, which is rather onomatopoeic for how screechy you’ve become lately. You’ve certainly found your voice and I’m afraid to say that you sound less like a wren and more like something prehistoric. Your favourite thing about Italy was playing in the pool at the villa, tasting gelato for the first time, being pushed around on the tricycle and having both granny and grand-ma at your beck and call. Your least favourite part was sleeping. Surprise, surprise. So daddy and I would sit in the hammock with you as the sun set and as the lights started to twinkle over Florence, one at a time, a thousand city constellations, you’d eventually fall asleep to the sound of us talking. This was my favourite part. A little family time on a warm indian summer’s eve. We rarely get those hot nights in London so it was a special treat.

You are learning at a rate of knots. Just the other morning I showed you how to polish an apple on your shirt and that afternoon you did it for your dad. You now say bye-bye cat (rather, dye-dye dat) whenever you say goodbye to a cat or a train or the bath water, or anyone for that matter. You also come up to me and wave your hands in front of your nose to let me know that you’ve done a stinky poo. I generally smell you before you tell me but you’ve surprised me on occasion. You also shrug your shoulders and say ah-ah, as in “oh well” when something doesn’t quite work out. For example, if I tell you there’s no more cheese (lie) or the volume on your toy pig is broken (another lie) or we can’t go outside because we’ve lost your shoes (a-hem), I just say oh well, and you shrug your shoulders and say ah-ah and walk away… until you find your shoes and I’m busted.

You still refuse to drink milk unless it’s in cereal. But you have no problems dipping your fingers into the ground cumin and coriander in the little bowl on the counter. And you can’t get enough of fried mushrooms with garlic. And you never miss an occasion to drink my cold Rooibos or peppermint tea, or to dip your fingers in the kilo tub of peanut butter.

Your laugh. You love a good laugh and I love to hear you laugh. If everyone in a room is laughing, you chime in with great exaggeration like it’s the funniest thing you’ve ever heard even though you haven’t a clue what we’re talking about. You’ve also somehow figured out how to be cute — by turning your head slightly to the side, ear to shoulder, squinting your eyes, and flashing of one of your irresistible smiles. Sometimes, however, your enthusiasm turns your face into a grimace, like a dog smiling, which still somehow manages to be cute.

What else? You’ve sprouted a record number of teeth this month (five), which accounts for the sleepless nights. That’s been super fun. This last molar though. Ouch! I felt for you, my little dumpling, I really did.

You’ve become quite the train spotter. Every time we hear a train, I have to rush you to the tracks and prop you up so that you can wave at it. Bye-bye train.

You’re also a serial dental floss unraveller. Woe is the dental floss that falls into your hands. You unravel it within an inch of its 50-metre-long life in a matter of seconds.

Last month, I rescued two small yellow chairs that were about to be binned at the local children’s centre. Perfect Wren-sized wooden chairs. And I’m so happy that I found them because you LOVE them. Whenever you have a little collation or a cup of water, you plop yourself in your chair and snack away. You also love the small ledge that leads to the terrace. Any kind of stoop, really, any place where you can contemplate life’s great mysteries, or indulge on a piece of cheese.

You’re very much into doing things the adult way these days. Using my spoon or fork. Drinking out of a big person’s glass. And you’re so helpful, my little scricciolo, whether it be hanging clothes or wiping messes or emptying the dishwasher. You love to give me one utensil at a time, each time yelling ta-da as if you’re a magician pulling spoons and knives and forks out of your hat.

You continue to dance to all manners of sounds: onions being chopped, a train passing by, the dishwasher starting, the little jingle the washing machine makes when a cycle has ended. But you block your ears every single time you hear a siren. Sometimes I think you are doing it for fun and then I stretch my hearing as far as it can go and sure enough… the faint sound of a siren twenty miles away.

When I say I love you, you reply with mm-hmm. I’m not sure if that means I know or I love you too or yes, mom, you already told me ten times today.

You run away whenever I tell you it’s time for a nappy change and when I catch you, you giggle and giggle and curl up like a beetle or a little hedgehog so that it’s nearly impossible to pick you up.

Your walk has turned into a confident march. We walk ev-e-ry-where! And it takes fooooorever. Because, of course, you must open and close each gate you encounter and, these days, attempt to pop every single crab apple you find along the sidewalk, into your mouth. I’m teaching you how to look both ways before crossing the street and you are learning to wave to motorists to thank them for stopping at cross walks.

I especially love that you know the way home. You know exactly how to get there and where our walkway is. You guide me home. Everyday, even when I’m lost in the throes of motherhood, you help me find my way back home. Back to you. Back to now, where nothing else matters. Ok. Maybe not at 2am. At 2am, I have visions of putting you up for adoption. But most hours of most days, you make me blissfully happy.

Every morning, at 6:30am, I pick you up out of your cot and take you into bed with us for a ten-minute snuggle and then we come down the stairs and you use all the strength in your pudgy fingers to turn the light on, which blinds us both. And when our eyes adjust and the sleepy fog lifts, I look at you and I swear you look different from the night before. Every single morning. How is that possible? I’m still amazed by the miracle that is you. How is it that not that long you didn’t even exist and now here you are? A star among us, shining bright. Today, at Stay and Play, a woman remarked on how you smile with your whole face. I can’t imagine a better compliment for a parent. You light up this world, you do. And I’m so proud and grateful to be your mama.

Love,
Mama

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2016 11:23 pm

    Oh, what a wonderful letter. Now I am smiling with my whole face! I hope the teeth are all erupted and that sleep will happen in long, dark hours–when it is supposed to happen. Sleep tight tonight, little Wren!

  2. Alison permalink
    October 19, 2016 12:05 pm

    Oh yes indeed she does light up this world and this world is a much better place because she is In it. What an amazing personality this little one has. She will not go unnoticed in this life. The laugh. That tummy tickling laugh that makes everyone want to laugh along with her. I’ll never forget the plane ride to Italy – it was so completely hilarious. And yes she is a world class walker. So many children take a few paces and then want to be up in Mom’s or Dad’s arms but not this one. No she’s out there forging her way on those adorable little legs going, going, going. There is not a lazy bone in this bird’s body.

    And Jeanine, what you said about her helping you to find your way home is heart achingly beautiful. It makes me feel happy. This whole blog makes me feel happy especially those family hammock pictures. Sigh. 🙂

  3. Christina permalink
    October 22, 2016 2:50 am

    Oh Jeanine!!! I’m happy sad! Happy to read about my magnificent niece and all her new discoveries. She’s growing up so fast and it makes me sad to miss it all! Thank you for blogging her monthly birthday for us it somehow makes me feel closer! I miss you all so much! We must skype this weekend!!!! Love you all! Mucho kisses xoxo

  4. Danielle permalink
    October 24, 2016 6:15 am

    How very very lovely! Your letter to your daughter transported me in place and time to when my daughters were her age – now they’re 31 and 28! Thank you for sharing so beautifully.

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