Letter to my Flower-Power Gnomie Girl: 17 months.
December 20, 2010

Dear Charlotte,

You are seventeen months old today and all I have to show for it is a loss of words.  Over the past month your curiosity and your personality have exploded.

Living with a TODDLER! is like cohabitating with a cyclone: you never know what will hit you next.  And that is what we call you these days: TODDLER!  In all capital letters, with an exclamation point, and possibly with some heart palpitations and hair loss thrown in.  We love you, we love you with all our heart, but I’m pretty sure that alcohol was invented for parents of children who are seventeen months old.  Last night, in a perfect example of what life is like with you at this age, we had dinner at your aunt’s house.  Halfway through the evening, you taught yourself how to climb the ladder on your cousins’ bunk beds while your father and I had heart palpitations.  Later in the evening, we noticed that you had vanished.  Your father found you two seconds later.  On the top stair of the bunk bed ladder.  IN.  THE.  DARK.

See what I mean?  TODDLER!

This month, we also rescued two kittens and if your bunk bed ladder escapade weren’t proof enough, guess what?  Those kittens agree with me.  At night, after you are sound asleep, they venture out into the living room.  We pet them, we play with them, and they act all crazy and kitten-like, always in approximately seventy places at once.  But as soon as you wake up in the morning?  As soon as you grab your wood alligator toy and pull it clack-clack-clacking around the house at the speed of light, shrieking at the top of your lungs with delight as you go?  They turn into a small heap of frightened fur behind our toilet.

Then when your father and I need to take a leak, there they are, quivering and looking at us in utter fear.  Like, HOLY SHIT, DID YOU SEE THAT MONSTER?!  And we’re like, yeah, that’s a TODDLER!  Beware.  People have been known to incur less bodily harm walking through fields of landmines than they do convincing a TODDLER! that their diaper needs to be changed.

Don’t even get me started on the acrobatics I have to perform to wipe poop off your ass, child.

No, really.  Don’t get me started.

The thing is, though, that at seventeen months…no matter how much mischief you get into…no matter how many times you overturn the kitchen garbage and wriggle around in it to see what I just chucked, no matter how many times you take a crayon to the wall when I turn my head, no matter how many times you strip every item of clothing off your body and run in circles around the living room beating your chest like a gorilla because I asked what a monkey says…no matter how much you challenge me, I cannot imagine life without you.

I cannot imagine showering without you circling my feet or knocking at the door impatiently.  I cannot imagine entering the kitchen without you hanging off the fridge door wailing.  I cannot imagine opening the curtains and the windows in the morning without you ‘helping’ me out by undoing everything I just did.  I cannot imagine reading to you in the morning without singing Knick Knack Paddy Whack five times in a row.  I cannot imagine taking a walk without you stopping every few feet to conduct thorough examinations of every sprinkler head in southern California.

But I also cannot imagine going a single day without you turning to me, arms outstretched, lips pursed, to give me big hugs and kisses.  I cannot imagine a single afternoon without snuggling beside you in bed while you nap, smelling your hair and kissing your nose and singing lullabies until we fall asleep.  I cannot imagine going through life the way I once did, without you there to brighten the days.

I wouldn’t want to.  You live big, but you love bigger.  And if that’s not the definition of a TODDLER!, I don’t know what is.

Happy seventeen months, sweet gnome monkey.

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


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  1. By kbreints on December 20, 2010

    So sweet. She is getting so big!

  2. By on December 20, 2010

    oh boy. the kitties. ours try to be brave, since it’s all snowy and cold outside.. but most of the time a good dip in ice-cold snow is way more appealing than the top-of-the-lungs shrieking of happiness.

  3. By on December 21, 2010

    Geez, every time I read your posts I get teary-eyed because that is the exact way I feel about my daughter. Even at just 7 months I cant wait to see if she gets into the same mischief as Charlotte :)

    Thank you for capturing all the moments you do and sharing it with us, such a joy to read!


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