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Month Seventeen

Mia Bean,

You have been seventeen months old for a little more than a week, and I have been avoiding writing this letter because you have also been sick for a little more than a week and there have been times this week that I have doubted whether all three of us would come out the other end with our sanity intact. Yesterday, your father had to go back to bed for an hour to try to rediscover a small amount of patience, and Mommy has needed to sample quite a bit of wine to the same end. I don't want to dwell too much in it, though, because I am not the most pleasant person to be around when I am sick, so I can sympathize, and also because it is definitely the exception that proves the rule. Almost every day with you right now is so wonderful and fun and exciting that I almost hate to describe our lives for fear people will think I am lying to make it seem better than it is. I am not lying, it really is that good.

You learned a lot of new signs and words this month, and also learned how to string them together into a series of detailed demands. You can tell me you want to sit in your chair and have cereal and water. You can tell me you want to put on your shoes, hat and coat and go bye-bye in Mommy's car. You can tell me you see a doggy or a monkey or a bear or a birdie. You favorite word by far is "ball." Your father and I could spend every waking moment throwing, fetching and bouncing your balls and it would still not be enough to satisfy you. You demand ball while you are eating, while we are reading, sometimes even while you are sleeping.

Your favorite games this month were Hide and Seek and Fanball. For Hide and Seek, you run into the powder room downstairs and wait for me to shut the door. Then I open the door and run like crazy to hide from you. You come barreling out of the bathroom and wander around searching until you find me, or until you are distracted by a stray soy chip you find on the floor. Then we do it again, for hours. I have been trying to teach you how to hide, but you don't quite get the point as it is not nearly as much fun as seeking. Fanball involves either throwing a small plastic ball at the fan in the kitchen and trying to get it caught on the light fixture, or, more often lately, lifting you up to the fan clutching the blue ball (always the blue ball) in your little fist and getting my face stomped on until you get the ball caught in the light. It's more fun than it sounds. Or at least it is more fun that a few hours of playing Buckles which involves, you guessed it, closing and opening various buckles.

This month you learned how to climb up on the kitchen chairs and the glider in your room and onto Mommy and Daddy's bed. You learned how to run, although it is still more of a rapid, barely-controlled stagger than an actual run. You are trying very hard to learn how to jump, and I can see you sometimes concentrating and just willing your little body to leave the floor. You have not, however, discovered that there is a physical component to jumping that must accompany the mental component, so I think you have a ways to go on that one.

You love to sing songs, and can request the ones you want by using the various signs you have invented to represent them. You love to be tickled, love to climb up on my bed and throw yourself down on the pillows, and love more than anything to do things yourself. You are still very particular. Doors that are usually closed must remain closed, and heaven forbid I leave one of the baby gates open because you will scream at me until I come running back to close it. Your hands and clothes must be clean at all times, but this does not extend to your hair, which frequently sports mashed banana or spaghetti after you used your head to wipe your hands. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose.

You seem to learn new things by the minute lately, mostly by copying me which scares me a little bit. I suppose the best way to break my bad habits will to see the mini-me versions acted out over the next months and years.

The one thing I will say about this past week, is that even when you are driving me up the everloving wall with the whining and the tantrums and the refusing to eat solid food for four days purely out of spite, even when I want nothing more than to run out of the house just to get away from you for a few blessed, peaceful minutes, even then I love you more than anything in the world, more than I ever understood it was possible to love, so much that it is a physical presence, a weight that sits on my shoulders and chest and that I carry around with me all the time. I don't think you can fully understand it unless you have a child of your own, and if you do someday have a child I want you to know that the way you feel in those moments so distant and foreign that I can barely imagine them now, that is the way I feel about you. There is no other way to describe it, you will just have to wait and see.


Comments (18)

Fanball sounds fun! Well, except for that face mashing part.
Mommy love IS grand...just wait 'til you're a grandma. That love thing just expands exponentially.

That was beautiful Beth. I have no idea how you come up w/ new words to describe your love for Mia every month, but you do.

Happy New Year!

Beautiful post, Beth. You rock.

Beautiful. The last paragraph made me cry, and is so true. Thanks for sharing.

That was very beautifully put. I too am not sure how you find different words each time to describe your love for mia, but you do, and its great to read. Makes me want to have children one day, more then usual, just to enjoy the moments you describe with your adorable daughter. Happiest of Happy New Years to you all, best wishes for a HEALTHY 2007!!

Aw man, this is awesome. It might be my favorite letter yet.

Daya says to Mia:

"Bah! Daya! Ladaladalada...."

Jessica says to Mia:


Happy New Year!

Beautiful, just beautiful.
Thank you for sharing, you give me so much to look forward to.
Happy New year! :-)

Mia has a great, loving mom in you. As someone who knows beyond a shadow of a doubt how much my mom loves me (and how fun it is to giggle with her, no one is my brand of silly like me except my mom) it's just such a gift for her to know of your love. We can't tell our kiddos enough, even when they do drive us bonkers. Here's hoping the New Year will bring health for all the Cactus Fish household!

Wonderfully well written. Happy New Year, Mia! Happy New Year, Beth & Chris!

I have to agree with the rest that your post is so very beautifully written Beth. Mia is blessed to have you and Chris for her parents as are you two to have Mia. Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family.

I hope you save these letters for when Mia is older. She is so lucky to have you and Chris - beautifully written!

Once again with the verklemptedness here.

It must be nice that there's someone else making sure that the baby gates are closed. And clean hands? Sounds awesome. Please tell me it's something she grew into.
Happy New Year! Wishing all of you a healthy and puke-free, or at least puke-minimal 2007.

Thats one heck of a beautiful letter. And from the sounds of it, you also seem to have a heck of a smart daughter!

It's so wonderful to see my feelings reflected so eloquently in the writing of another.

THE TANTRUMS, OH, THE TANTRUMS! Horrors, they are. But, kind of funny, when you take away the frustration....

this is the most inspiring blog that I have read so far. thank you for your candid contribution to the world about your experience with your daughter and for providing this profound an loving account of your daughters's growth and development. i just want you to know, mrs. big fish, that you have inspired my first comment ever after reading lots of mommy blogs. i wish all of you fish(es) the best and I shall be inspired to do likewise on my blog, too! thank you!

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So the Fish Said...

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.

- Walt Whitman

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