Letter to my schatzi: 21 months.
April 26, 2011

Dear Charlotte,

You turned twenty-one months amazing last week and all we have to show for it is a bouncing little girl.  This boggles the mind, little bird.  How your father and I ever created YOU, someone so much better than either of us, will always remain a mystery to me.  All I know is that I’m glad we did.  You are still, now and forever, the very best part of our lives together.  You make us a family.

Your comprehension and language development has been astounding to witness this month.  Every day you make associations that stun us.  Last week, you saw an earthworm in the ground when I was hand-tilling.  WUM! (worm), you screamed.  Then, before I even had time to parrot ‘worm’ back at you, you jumped with excitement.  WUM!, you screamed again.  WUM! CHI-KEN! WUM! CHI-KEN!

I know it’s such a simple anecdote, but I think it’s adorable that you pair worms and chickens together.

You pair snails and worms together too!

You’ve also started to make other associations.  You like to organize things in clusters of two or three and then name them.  Momma and Baby if there are two.  Daddy, Momma, and Baby if there are three.  You also make color associations.  You can identify and communicate most colors (BOO! GEEN! PEEK! WED! BWACK! WHY! OWAGE! BOW!) (there is no room for yellow in your universe) and you seem to connect most colors to something.  You see someone wearing a WED! shirt and suddenly you want BAYS! (strawberries) or you see BOO! on a book jacket and it makes you think of CHEEN! (jeans)

Cutest. Thing. Ever.

This month you have begun to refer to yourself as well.  The 21-month-old version of your name sounds a lot like SHOTS, though, and so I’ve taken to calling you SCHATZI.  When I was very little, your grandparents frequently spoke German and some Dutch at home with your aunts and me – and later we spent some time enrolled at a nearby German school.  I’m not certain how or why that came to an end, but a few years ago your father convinced me to take a German class with him at the local community college.  I have this very distinct memory of sitting in class listening to German all around me and thinking that this language felt like coming home.  There was something so warm and familiar and HAPPY about that moment.  I still don’t speak a lick of German beyond random-ass sentences like “Ich werde go-go tanzen gehen” (why I couldn’t remember something useful like ‘bus station’ is a great mystery of the universe), but when I call you Schatzi, I have that same sensation: it’s like coming home.

That seems appropriate.  Because to me, everything about you is like coming home.

I love you more than bears love honey, (and everyone knows that’s an awful lot),

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  1. By Alicia S. on April 26, 2011

    Wow, Matthew is super, super sharp, but he was a late bloomer when it came to learning his colors. Those associations she’s making are amazing.

  2. By Ashley Austrew on April 26, 2011

    So amazing and so sweet. What a precious gift she is :)

  3. By Kimberly o'Rosky on April 26, 2011

    My brother lived in Germany for 17 years and ended up marrying a German. They just moved back to the States a few years ago. She calls my brother and my daughter schatzi :) Charlotte just giggles every time Tante Babsi starts talking to her in German.

    Your Charlotte’s associations are fabulous. Love how she pronounces everything as well.

  4. By Weekend Cowgirl on April 26, 2011

    Sweet, sweet blog post. They are amazing little people aren’t they?

  5. By Stefanie on April 26, 2011

    Have you heard of the book “Basic Color Terms” by Berlin/Kay? The authors show a parallel in the development of color terms in languages and in children’s language acquisition. No term for yellow when there is blue, brown and pink already does not quite corespond to their theories. Quite intriguing!
    P.S.: In case you might need it one day, “bus station” in German is “Bushaltestelle”.

  6. By on April 26, 2011

    Just another odd conincidence I have found here on your posts! We too call our kids schatzi! They are also enrolled in a German school here. Two quick questions…what kinds of chickens do you have that are good with Charlotte and what baby carrier do you use with Charlotte still? My little guy is a good size at 18 months (26 pounds) but still loves to be carried and would not be able to walk for long periods at the zoo and such…the maya wrap isn’t cutting anymore! Another wonderful post. Isn’t it amazing how our children posess the best of both parents??!!

  7. By Sarah Christensen on April 26, 2011

    Kate - Right now we only have eight chickens (one mysteriously vanished a few weeks back) and we only know two of their breeds.  One is a barred rock chicken and is, hands down, our brightest chicken.  When I go outside and call GIRLIES and click my tongue, she comes running while the other ones are like ‘huh, look, there’s a sky above us.‘  Another is an Aracauna and she is the stupidest bird we own.  She’s destined for a stew someday soon.  She hardly lays (although when she does, they’re green) and when the others are all eating or drinking, she mostly just stands and squawks like there’s too much excitement.  She is a good brooder, though, so we’re going to put her to work brooding soon.  The other six birds we have no idea - our neighbors mixed and matched breeds as part of a genetics lesson for their home-educated kids and they just gave us the extras.  They’re all super great with Charlotte because: a) we don’t have a rooster, and b) they’ve all been very frequently handled.  That said, they do still sometimes take food out of her hand or peck curiously at her fingers.

    We just placed an order for 20 hatching eggs (mixed breeds, all layers) and for 12 turkey hatching eggs.  Most of the time you’re not supposed to mix turkeys and chickens because chickens can carry an organism that spells certain death for turkeys, but we’ve decided to just give it a shot and see whether or not ours are carrying it.  We’re hoping to use the hens to raise the poults and the chicks together, but the eggs won’t arrive until mid-May so we’ll see how it goes then!  I’ll know more about which breeds we have and which are most reasonable for our needs at that point.  We’ll be slaughtering all of the roosters and most of the lazier layers in the fall and freezing them then.

    As for carriers: I predominantly use the Ergo right now, and I mostly use it on my back unless I’m going to need to nurse Charlotte or she’s just woken up from a nap.  I would love to still be using the Moby, but we can’t find ours, so the Ergo it is.  I’ve retired the sling because it’s hurting my shoulder to carry her long distances (she’s around 27 or 28 pounds, I think).

  8. By missjoules on April 26, 2011

    Oh my goodness, she is suddenly so long and lean!

  9. By Amber on April 26, 2011

    Schatzi is a beauty! That chicken picture is absolutely perfect. Happy 21 months! And by the way - I would absolutely LOVE to speak German (I was born in Germany), but have absolutely no knack for languages, so I’m jealous of even your random ass phrases :)





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