Monday, September 3, 2012

Letter to Calliope at Age 1+

September 3, 2012

My darling Calliope Sage,

I wasn't ready to write you this letter on your birthday... life was a whirlwind, with us getting ready to move into our own apartment, as well as going on vacation with Grammy and Uncle Thaniel. I couldn't quite wrap my head around you being in the world for one whole year!

But now we are somewhat settled, and on the cusp of another school year starting... I go back to work tomorrow, and you go back to spending your days with your wonderful nanny, Nastya, and your partner in crime, Eleanor, who is just two weeks younger than you.

Just two days ago, when I said Nastya's name, you said "Nana!" and started waving happily and looking around. I know you will be thrilled to spend time with her and Eleanor again.

But I'm sad for me, because I've loved spending so much time with you this summer. We've been together nearly constantly, generally with a short break just once a week.

You are a remarkable person already, and I know I'm just beginning you know you.

You are such a happy little person. After a morning cuddle, you look up with your face full of smiles, ready to discover the world. You love to wave to people, and also to dogs, pigeons, traffic, parked cars, puzzle pieces, characters in books, and sometimes, to nothing that I can discern. You burst into laughter when you sense there's an entertaining story being told, even if you can't possible understand what's being said (though sometimes I wonder if you understand far, far more than is possible) -- you just love being in on a joke.

You also know how to make me lose my composure when I scold you for throwing food on the floor, once again -- you flash me a toothy, mischievous grin and I can't help but burst out laughing, try as I do to maintain a stern face. I'm pretty sure you will go off to college still throwing your food as a result of my poor parenting.

Even as a tiny baby, you were so easy going. You never cry to this day, unless you are tired or hungry or hurt. And even then, you put up with these with good grace. I am able to take you to restaurants and keep you out past your bedtime without complaint on your part. I try not to do this too often but I do appreciate the opportunity occasionally. Even more fun, you are always willing to taste whatever I ordered when we eat out.

You have, and have always had, an incredible focus and ability to entertain yourself. Even at just a few months old, you would lie on a play mat and entertain yourself for thirty or forty-five minutes, while your little friends needed to be moved every ten minutes from bouncy seat to arms to play mat and back to arms. You study and examine things thoughtfully and thoroughly. I wonder if you will grow up to be an engineer because of your fascination to detail.

Yet you are such a social creature. You love it when people come to visit. Nastya has to ask the cleaning lady, Jasia, to pretend to leave because you will never go to sleep otherwise -- you are so afraid of missing out on anything Jasia might do while you are asleep. You peer inquisitively into stranger's faces and wave on the subway until they are forced to look up from their Iphones. Last weekend, you delighted in feeding all of your crackers to Eleanor.

A month ago you were very clingy... but it passed and now you are affectionate with people you know. It's very gratifying, for example, when you open your mouth and lift your face to "kiss" Grammy (you don't know how to kiss, exactly, and just sort of press your open mouth towards her). I love the fact that you offer me hugs and kisses so often! You are such a cuddly girl, yet also so independent.

On your first birthday, our pediatrician, Rita, asked if you had any words, and I said no. But the very next day, you started saying "yeh" (for yes) and occasionally even "yeh-sss" and Mamama (for me, usually when you want to nurse or be comforted). In the two weeks since then, you've started saying "doggy" and "no" and "Nana" for Nastya and "da" for diaper.

After months of trying to teach you some sign language, you're suddenly signing, and are quickly learning new signs. Sometimes you seem to invent your own signs... which would be wonderful except that I don't know what they mean! I wouldn't have realized that "da" was diaper except for the fact that you sign "diaper" at the same time as you say "da" (except you are supposed to touch two fingers to your pelvis, and you joyfully slap your belly with both hands instead.) You use "more" and "all done" and "milk" regularly, and just a couple of days ago when I asked if you wanted water, you spontaneously made the sign for food instead, telling me you were hungry, not thirsty!

You are crawling everywhere, and pulling up, and you love to climb. Today at the playground you figured out how to go backwards down the stairs on the playground equipment, which was very exciting. You also went down the spiral slide today and didn't cry, another first!

Yesterday you crawled into the shower with all your clothes on before I could stop you. Grammy was supposed to be watching you but I guess she turned her back for a moment! You love the water, and had so much fun crawling around in the crab pond in Rhode Island a couple of weeks ago. I'm excited to start going to swimming lessons again later this fall...  you were fabulous at them last spring, and didn't cry when the instructor swooshed you underwater. I have always felt at home in the water and am so grateful that you feel the same way.

You are not so enamored with eating. For months, all you ate was yogurt (and milk). Now you've mostly lost interest in yogurt, and it's not so easy to figure out what to feed you. Grammy introduced you to peanut butter on toast, which was a huge hit. Today I substituted peanut butter on french toast instead, to get some extra protein in you. You seemed to like it okay. Rita was a little worried about the fact that you hadn't gained any weight in the last three months, but you seem to have gotten a little more interested in food since we saw her, and you suddenly seem bigger -- your face is a little rounder but mostly you just seem like a taller, bigger person without being a lot heavier.

We just moved to our new apartment a week ago! Hooray! You seem to like your new room, and will crawl there to play all by yourself. Since you got your own room, you have started sleeping through the night, not without a little crying at first, but now you don't let out a peep. Mommy is so grateful for those twelve hours to get things done and also sleep... and so happy to see you well rested and happy in the morning.

When I think back to a year ago, I'm amazed. From the day you were born, you have been peaceful, happy, and a joyful presence. You were absolutely yourself from the day you were born and I can't wait to continue to discover just who that is!

I am so grateful for this most magical year of my life. You are a miracle to me. I love you forever, my blessed daughter.



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