I'm sorry that I'm almost a week late with this letter, but I'm holding on to the 'better late than never' attitude, and I hope you will too. Every day you get a little bit taller, a little bit older, a little bit more of who you will be. I love watching you every day. (Even when I'm Grumpy Momma, and even when you're Fussy Tai.)
Today you said your first (relatively) clear, repeated word. We were walking down the street this evening, heading for Holly Park and you were pointing at everything (as you always do) and I was offering names of what you pointed to (as I always do). We found trees, cars, leaves, plants, dog poo, trucks, birds and flowers. And when we were almost at the end of our street you pointed at the ground under one tree.
"Dirt," I said. "That's dirt."
"Drt," you said back.
"Drt." We went around like this a couple of times. Then, on our way back up the street after the park, you pointed to that same patch of ground and said, "Drt." You remembered what we'd said, and you repeated it. You even showed off your new skill to Daddy, when he got home, though you didn't say it quite so loudly. Were you being a bit shy, since I was so proud? Or were you getting tired of saying 'dirt' over and over? The world may never know.
We're getting into a bit of a routine the last couple of days, where you take a very short morning nap (or skip it altogether) and then do a very long afternoon nap. I have to admit, I love this. We've been going to the park in the morning, and doing something else in the late afternoon. We've been exploring together, on foot. You are so good at walking already - sometimes you can even approach a run. Hills are still a bit of a challenge, both going up and down, but if you're holding my hand it usually works out.
You love to check everything out. When we're walking you pick everything up - sticks, leaves, mulch, dirt, flowers - and then you offer it to me. You want to know what it is. I try to discourage you from touching some things - cigarette butts, orange peels, dog poo. But as long as stuff is safe and not too disgusting I let you experience it. You dig in the sand and feel it trickle through your fingers. You pour your juice and water onto your highchair tray and play with the puddles.
When we go to the park, you want to try whatever other kids are doing. You don't always need my help. You climb up the play structure, and you can almost slide down the slide by yourself. You can ride the teeter-totter, you can push the merry-go-round. You kick your ball and chase it around and look out the fence. You do your own thing.
You like to meet other people, especially men. You show them your ball, the sticks you pick up, your book. Most of the time you aren't shy - not even with big, bearded, Harley riding guys eating lunch at the taqueria. You flirt with them and they flirt back. No one can resist your charm. When we went down to the desert, you wanted to spend most of your time with Granddad, even if he was trying to cook dinner. You loved it when he stood you in the sink. And you thought Uncle Quin was just the best thing since sliced bread. You also enjoy meeting other kids, and also playing with whatever they're playing with. You love dogs - all dogs, no matter how big or small. You aren't put off by slobbery dog kisses, and will kiss back.
It seems to me you're going to be a sports-loving kid. Not only do you enjoy watching football with Grandma (especially doing 'touchdown'), but you are entranced by basketball, both on TV and people doing pick up games in the park. If I hadn't stopped you, you would have wandered onto the court and joined in. You also like to kick your playground ball like it's a soccer ball and have better control than I do. Your Daddy and I are going to have to cultivate an appreciation of sports just for you.
Of course, you still love reading. Your favorite books at the moment are: Who's hiding in the garden; Brown bear, brown bear; the Dog book; the Quiet Cricket; How big is a pig; and Goodnight Moon. Sometimes you prefer to read the book yourself, sitting on the floor and turning pages.
When we were down in Palm Desert, we went to the Living Desert and you saw all sorts of animals. Your favorite, though, were the butterflies and the hummingbirds. You loved seeing the butterflies so close up, and checking out all of the plants and flowers. I think you're going to be as much of a nature lover as I am.
I can't wait to go on more adventures with you. Watching you discover the world around you is helping me to appreciate it more than I ever have.