Friday, October 19, 2012

That Adorable, Bubbly, Brimful-of-Personality Nineteen Month Old

Emma Grace....My sweet grandma joyously informed me after you were born, that in low-German, which is her native tongue, Emma means "always". She went on to exclaim, "What a beautiful name: "Always Grace". Your great grandma is now in heaven, but one day I will share with you what she said about your name. May you grow to be a woman full of always grace!

A few weeks ago, your daddy was reading the story of Abigail in the Bible. He was impressed by her strength of character. She was willing to do what was right for her foolish husband and her property, in spite of her husband's decision otherwise. Your daddy and I want you to grow into this beautiful, confident sort of lady, and we know you will!

At nineteen months, your personality is beginning to reveal itself, a gorgeous flower opening to reveal those first tender, yet brilliant petals. You love climbing. Mommy has to watch you closely, and provide you with many safe climbing opportunities to help you get it out of your system. You also love animals. When you see the cat, you say "meow" and try to catch it (that crazy elusive creature!). You love driving through the Bolivian countryside dangling your little hand out the open window. When it is safe, mommy lets you put your head out the window. You love the feel of the wind in your face, and you squeal with glee at the occasional siting of a cow or horse or donkey in the road.

You are as extroverted as your brother is introverted. You can be tired and cranky, but when a new person enters your world, you morf into this cheerful little entertainer. You greet everyone with a smile and a loud exclamation of "ola" (one of the few words in your say "mom," "dad," "dog," "Teddy," and "ola," and "hermana"). You love to hand the people in our little church hymnals, even if they already have one, and you walk around and shake everyone's hand at least twice.

Aydon is the center of your world. You adore your brother. If he hurts your feelings, you cry like your wonderful world is torn to pieces. Aydon simply says your name, and your face lights up. When he invites you to play with him, you run around and follow him excitedly. You agree to most any request he makes, unless he wants a toy that you are holding that you really like: then, you will stand your ground and scream at him if necessary.

At nineteen months, the best word to describe your learning style is "scientist". If an object looks interesting, you feel that it must also taste interesting. You like to quickly pop it in your mouth and then look to see if mommy is watching, a question on your face: "Will she say it is ok to eat this?" If mommy seems concerned, you decide to see if she is concerned enough to chase you down while you run with the object still in your mouth. You are fast, but mommy is always faster. Mommy lets you see how scared she is about the tiny object in your mouth, expressing her fear with words like "yucky!" or "owchie!".

You are a scientist with behavior as well: "What will happen if I pinch my brother? Will he cry?" "What if I pull the dog's tail?" "What if I touch the light socket? Will mommy pick me up and show that very scared face? Will she prohibit me from touching it even if I pitch a fit? (I'm pretty good at throwing fits, but I get over it really fast)" "What if I open the one cabinet mommy won't let me play in? Will she stop me? Does she really mean that I can never ever play in this one?"

Mommy knows that your job right now is to explore and learn through trial and error. She doesn't mind if you try things over and over, and if she has to gently and firmly stop you over and over: she knows that you are learning right now, fitting together zillions of brain-puzzle pieces to help you understand the world around you. I hope that once it all comes together, you will have a picture of a safe, cozy, peaceful environment in which you can thrive.

I am so thankful that you are still nursing, though the nursing at night is starting to make mommy very sleepy. Mommy is helping you learn that when you wake up, you can fall back to sleep without nursing. She does this by nursing you till you are almost asleep (or walking around with you), and then gently popping you off her breast, all the while crooning "night, night, baby." You generally drift back to sleep peacefully, and lately you have been simply soothing yourself by snuggling a little closer to me when you startle awake.

Although your independence is growing, you have the tendency to be rather clingy on certain days. Mommy holds you when you need to be held, knowing that inside of you many things are growing and changing and sometimes the confusion of it all just means you need some stability from me and daddy.

Sweet little Emma, I am so glad that you are part of our family. One day you will grow to be an independent woman. Daddy and I wish for you to grow up feeling wholly loved and free to make mistakes and try new things. We wish for you to have a tangible walk with God that will draw others to Him as well.

Love you so much, little girl!

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