Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dear Fern, part XXVI

Dear Fern,

Listening for an easter egg

You're twenty-six months old today. Thirteen-sixths of a year!

We still call you "baby" sometimes, but every day that nickname is less accurate. Your attitudes, your interests, and your capabilities are quickly becoming those of a little girl. The real line to kidhood was crossed when you widened your eyes to perceive the greater world around you -- no, not just your eyes; you're tuning every sense you've got to your surroundings. So for this month's retrospective, let's go on a tour of your senses and how they've expanded of late.

Taste. You've got a New Yorker's palate: you love pastrami, grilled onions, and pickles, not to mention mushrooms and gourmet olives. Clearly, you inherited this eclecticism from your mother, who also loved a good ethnic nosh as a toddler, and not your father, who wouldn't even touch a mushroom until his 20s. Which isn't to say that you're a fantastic eater; some days you won't eat much more than a few Goldfish no matter how hard we try, but then the next day you'll wolf down an entire slice of pizza. Or four.

Touch. One of your favorite backyard activities is burying your feet in the birdseed bucket. (Let this serve as a reminder to all of you not to eat our birdseed.) Interestingly, after you've done that, you obsessively remove every grain of millet from between your toes. You also insist on stripping off all your clothes should three drops of water sully your sleeve, although that may just mean that you like being naked.

Hearing. "What's that noise?" comes up so often that we as parents find ourselves listening to our surroundings a lot more, too. You'll point out a distant lawnmower, or the sound of a hammer next door, or odd new bird sounds. (We're jealous of the fact that you can already tell a chickadee from a hummingbird by their songs.) Music, as always, is one of your greatest joys. Listening to the Nutcracker Suite a couple of weeks ago, you said, completely unprompted, "I hear butterflies singing." Oddly, you repeated the comment when Ray Charles played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which I guess shows you've got some good taste in music, too.

Sight. You're always looking around these days. When we are driving in an unfamiliar place, you ask "What's happening here?" or "Where are we?" You also want to know who lives in every house we pass. More than ever, you're sensitive to things that you see that have changed: if a doll is not where you left it, you'll notice. Your eyes are sharp, too: you can point out the last tiny ripe blackberry on the vine or the cat in a distant window down the street.

Smell. Spring means heaps of blooming flowers in the neighborhood. Smelling flowers is a favorite pastime, although one of them turned on you a couple of weeks ago. That's when you discovered a marigold: when you sniffed it, you recoiled from the stink almost like you were personally offended. Ever since then, you've been checking out different flowers somewhat… suspiciously. Still, you'll go out of your way to smell a rosemary bush (and taste it too, more often than not).

You're developing other senses, too: your sense of humor has been bolstered recently by the riddles printed on your string cheese wrappers that you love to repeat, although you sometimes mix up the punch lines. ("What kind of room has no windows and no doors? A necklace!") And your sense of mischief is ever-present and ever-growing: at the playground the other day, you purloined your friend's hat and hid it in the merry-go-round, and you're forever sneaking into the closet so we'll hunt for you. (Just now, writing this, daddy found a change-of-address sticker on his back. I wonder how that got there?) And, as we've written before, your sense of style is emphatic and pronounced. You've got firm ideas about what goes together in an outfit -- stripes, flowers, and butterflies are big at the moment.

The changes are coming blisteringly fast now, although amazingly, you're still that same big baby we met in person over two years ago -- that, and yet so much more that it's hard to put every transformation into words.

We love you very, very much,

Mommy & Daddy

Here's this month's slideshow. If you can't see the pictures below, click this link.