Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dear Fern, part XXXI

Dear Fern,

"Thank you for a nice day, daddy."

Fern slideshow
Sweet girls.

Today, the day you turn 31 months old, that's what you said in lieu of "Good night." Mommy and daddy looked incredulously at one another. We didn't tell you to say that -- we've never told you to say anything remotely like that. Earlier in the day, unprompted, you came out with "Thank you for dinner, mommy!" It warmed our hearts, it was a nice sentiment, but where did you learn it?

The answer is obvious, of course: you heard someone use the expression, you understood and liked it, so you adopted it as your own. But not so long ago at least one of your parents was present and usually responsible for every one of your "learning moments." Now, it seems, you're teaching yourself.

The other day you wanted to show off your sunglasses to your cousin. You just whipped them out, unfolded the earpieces, and put them on in the fluid gesture of an L.A. driver. A few months ago trying the same action you would have nearly punctured an eardrum or else ended up with the glasses upside down. But we never taught you the skill -- we couldn't say for sure that you learned it this month, even. But you learned it, and you learned it somewhere on your own.

Have you been practicing these things during nap time?

You count now -- not just numbers, which you've done in a rote way for a long time, but you now enumerate things with numbers. You climb up on the big toilet and take care of business alone -- usually with the door closed, "for privacy," as you say. And you learned to turn the deadbolt and let yourself out of the house, a skill we'd just as soon you'd left for a couple more years.

You're learning to be a compassionate little thing, too. We get lots of spontaneous and apparently heartfelt thank yous, hugs, kisses, and knuckle bumps. You like nothing more than to care for babies by putting your face directly into theirs and saying "It's OK, little buddy." Apparently, you think that infant care is a Gilligan's Island rerun, but oddly, it seems to work: babies love you.

Stuffed and imaginary pals aren't forgotten, either. You spent a few memorable nights with your mom making beds for a monkey and a frog out of a fruit roll-up box and bits of felt using rolled adhesive tape for the pillows, and you're ever holding Joey's hand when we cross the street, the better to keep her invisible little self safe from cars.

There are still challenges, of course. Your nighttime sleep is still fantastic, but naps can be a struggle. You are sometimes bossy with kids your own age and slightly older (like your parents). But those rough edges only appear when you're sleepy or hungry -- on whole, you're a charming, personable little kid, and every day you master new skills and words and grownup emotions, whether we see how you're doing it or not -- usually not.

Well done.

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.