Dear Little Elephant,
You are your own person, clearly full of ideas, opinions, and jokes that you want to tell us. You are so communicative despite having no language. You say “Mama” when talking about me. Last week, you knew I was asleep upstairs and your Abue (Grandma) was walking you up and down the hall downstairs. Each time you past the staircase you would point at it and say “MAMA”, demanding to be brought to me. It was an argument, but you won and my nap lost. You also say “Maaa Maaaa Maaaa Maaaa” when you want us to feed you more. This is particularly true when you are getting to taste some new treat off the dinner table. You say “Mamamamamamamaa” to refer to mangos in any form. You say “Mama” to refer to Dada sometimes; although, you appear to also be learning both “Dada” and “Papa”. You should have them in the next month.
Have I mentioned how much you love mangos? You discovered them while in Thailand and will eat them in any form. You drink mango smoothies, either straight or with other fruits or vegetables (such as passion fruit, cucumber, carrot, berries, melon, watermelon and more). You also eat them mushed or cut into small pieces. Once, you father let you attack one whole! He peeled it and held it in his hands. You threw your entire body, wide open mouth first, into the mango and took huge bites. You ate the whole thing yourself. You are a very happy mango baby. Sticky too.
Studies say that children who grow up in bilingual households often speak later than their peers. Studies also show that by kindergarten bilingual children have caught up to their peers in BOTH languages. While our multi-language house and lifestyle might be slowing you down—your desire to communicate, I am sure, will speed things up.
These last two months have sadly taught you that the world is not as soft as you thought. When you first started moving, Mama or Dada were always there to catch you. Now that you are faster (and walking without our hands), you have clunked your head a few times. I know that everyone tells me that accidents happen and that toddlers fall. I know that as soon as you were distracted or nursing, you would stop crying. I know that the tears were more fright than pain. I know that you don’t remember any of this. But, I do. It kills me to watch the crocodile tears fall. To wish I could have moved faster or been in a different place. I have no idea what I am going to feel when you get an actual bruise!
There have been some other major changes. We have left Kazakhstan. Of course, to make things interesting, you got sick as the movers were packing up our stuff. Dada called from T-Raz’s house, where you and he had taken refuge, to ask if I had a thermometer or meds. Sadly, we had not set them aside and the movers had already packed that area. The night before we had no idea you would be getting ill. You spiked a fever over 103. Boy did we worry. And we tried to love the sick out of you. And we tried to medicine the sick out of you. And, in the end, the fever broke 5 days later just as we were about to board the plane.
Speaking of plane rides— you have been a rock star. In the past two months you have flown from:
- Thailand to Kazakhstan
- Kazakhstan to Holland
- Holland to USA
- USA to Chile
Basically, you have crossed the entire globe. On every single flight, you were complimented by the flight attendants for what a wonderful baby you are. You slept. You played. You cooed at everyone in sight. You rarely cried. You nursed. And, you let Mama get some sleep. We joked after the flight to Chile, that it might have been my best night of sleep in months.
Leaving Kazakhstan, we had to say goodbye to a lot of people who love you. Uncle Dennis refused to say goodbye. Auntie Anya writes almost everyday and is planning to visit in July (See, Ann, it is official because it is on my blog), Uncle Jimi Jimi and T-Raz miss you too. As does my office and our local friends. I hope that many of them will stay a part of your life and continue to watch you grow.
On one side of your nose, you grew five tiny little white heads that formed a perfect pentagon. I know! How could white heads be cute??? I am sure that in your teens, they will be the bane of your existence—along with pimples. I am sorry for that. I hope, for your sake, that it is a malady you only suffer in your teens. Not in your 30s, like Mama, or in your 60s, like Grandpa. Still, the pentagon was endearing. Your Dada’s desire to rid you of it was less so.
The last two months, you have gotten to sample a HUGE variety of new food. Much of this is thanks to some much needed spoiling by your grandparents. While not all foods will be repeated for a while, the list includes: artichokes (a huge hit, a personal favorite of Mama, and very hard to eat with two tiny teeth), sugar, frozen yogurt, cheese, manjar, prickly pear, melon pear, cheese, pastel de choclo, many types of beans and much more! Yum! You are a great eater despite being skinny and in the lower 1/3 of average baby weight for your age.
Playing, you pretend to answer the phone. If people let you, you will take their cell phone away, hold it to your ear, and babble to your heart’s content. You also are learning to throw things. You have a good pitching arm, both left and right! Still, above things, you prefer people. And above people, you prefer Mama. And above all else, your Mama loves you.
Next month, my little researcher, you will be one year old. I have loved every minute exploring the world with you and can’t wait for all that is to come.
Hugs and kisses forever and ever,