Sixteen Months with Olive

Dear Olive Sixteen Months

Dear Olive,

Every month when I write my letters to you, I tend to return to the theme of promises – things I vow to give to you, or teach you. These promises are things that will help you learn about and love the magic in the world, develop your confidence and self-respect, and hopefully show you a glimpse of who your mother is and how the many experiences I have had growing up have contributed to the Momma you know. Right now I’m writing this letter as 29-year-old Momma, a young woman with a new toddler, a messy house and big dreams. You are becoming very strawberry blonde, a little stubborn, and you love books and toy trucks. You are a really quiet girl, only saying Da-Da, Ma-Ma, Ba-Ba, Pa-Pa and hilarious little sounds, but you understand everything. Everything. Watching you makes me realize that your little brain is turning constantly. You understand how to brush your teeth and brush your hair. You try really hard to put your own shoes and socks on, and your arms immediately go up when we are getting you dressed for the day. You know that your little red phone goes to your ear when it rings and can always find the thermos in the cupboard (they are incredibly fun to play with)! Your hand-eye coordination blows me away. You stack your blocks taller than you, insert straws into their very tiny holes, and clap for yourself every single time! You know your nose, Momma’s nose, and Da-Da’s nose. You can find your ears and give us the “home alone” face. Time with you is priceless. You continue to keep me humbled. You continue to teach me to see the world through your eyes. You continue to love your blueberries.

Dear Olive Sixteen Months

For better or for worse, you’ve reached the inevitable point where you want to copy every action and emulate the behavior of your Daddy and I. Not only emotionally – when I am happy, you are happy, when things aren’t so glorious you become upset and a little vociferous – but also with routines and behaviours. You need to brush your teeth when I do, have a spoon in your hand at every meal, and even “dust” with a cloth with I am cleaning up the kitchen. You are starting to let us know when you want something, and won’t give up until we figure it out. We were visiting Granny at work last week and you were getting very fussy, pointing towards the door. You were tired of her office and wanted to stand out in the hall. You were not happy until we stepped just outside the room. I must say, sometimes it is incredibly difficult to figure out what you are eying up. Your outstretched, pointed finger and loud squeals have me realizing that you are going to be a very independent, self-sufficient young lady. It makes me proud to think you are developing a strong self. I will never ask you to accept what someone else says is best for you. Whether it’s how boys and girls are supposed to act, what you’re supposed to study in school, who you’re supposed to love, where you’re supposed to live–29-year-old Momma is telling you now that all I want for you, all I want you to learn from me, is that your life is your own experience to make sense of. You only get one and your only purpose on Earth is to be happy. It is that simple.

This month I want to tell you how important it is to avoid preconceived notions about how things are supposed to be. When we are young, we are such blank, impressionable canvases, and we learn how to make judgments about people, places, and ideas from our parents. The opinions and views of your Daddy and I will help shape your fears, your dreams, and your beliefs about what kind of person you want to become. Your Da-Da and I promise to carefully examine ourselves as we interact with each other, as we react to situations, and as we behave toward each other and consider the power we have to influence your mind. It’s a big deal to be responsible for the upbringing of a human being – you could live a hundred years and be such a gift to the world, such a light of hope and good will for others. Long after your dad and I are gone, and long after we are finished raising you, you will be making your own decisions as an adult, formed from the foundations of your experiences in our home.

You are slowly throwing fear aside and using those little legs to carry you across the room. You are still pretty wobbly, but every day you add more and more steps to your routine. You are becoming more interested in letting go and trying to walk on your own. You stand up in the middle of the room without help. First you clap with a huge smile on your face, take a deep breath, and make that first step. The first step has turned into 2 and 3 and 4. You can walk! You are doing it all on your own, and you are so darn proud – just like Daddy and I. We are so amazed that 16 short months ago you were so helpless in our arms. Sure, many babies learn to walk well before they are 16 months, but I think it just shows your priorities! You are so far ahead of other babies on many other levels. You knew you could get around the house just fine on your bum – it wasn’t a priority to you. That is just another thing that makes you stand out among the crowd.

We celebrated Da-Da’s second Fathers Day. He didn’t want to do a lot – just hang out with his two favourite girls. You let him sleep in until 7:00 (which was a huge step for you). We got dressed and headed in to town to go for breakfast at the Tea Room followed up with a walk around town. It was such a beautiful day. We visited Grandpa Blair at the lake in the afternoon and then headed to Popa’s for dinner. It’s the simple days that are the best. No plans, just fun with family. You truly make Da-Da proud. I love watching you two together. You play off each other so well. Daddy is the only one who can make the true Olive giggles come out – and they are amazing. I yearn to hear those giggles. You look at Da-Da like he is a superhero (and guess what? He really is)! It makes my heart melt. I never imagined how good he would be with a little girl. Every day he surprises me. Although I am missing out on many morning breakfasts now that I’m back to work, I am incredibly grateful that you get that time alone with Daddy. You both need that time. It is a true gift. Cherish it every day.

You have started having some overnights at Granny’s! She has been waiting a long 16 months for her chance to have you all to herself. She was incredibly patient and is so excited to wake up with you in her house. You go on walks, and eat fishies, and play in the grass. You love Uncle Kenney’s wooden trucks and his big boat. You go up and down her sunroom steps 10 times in a row, and then do it 10 more times. You keep Granny on her toes! This is exactly what she has wanted for such a long time. You love her so much, I can see it in your eyes whenever you see her. Thank you for loving her as much as I do.

You spent the full day with Grandma and Auntie Kara and Hilary just a few days ago! You made strawberry jam and played with Misty the kitty cat. You love anything to do with the kitchen and food – Grandma knows your sweet spot! In the afternoon you made a trip to Kingston to watch Aunt Kara at her Track practice! You walked around town and went grocery shopping. I didn’t see you until 9:00 that night! I think you had so much fun hanging out with the girls. I’m so happy you are having so much time with your Aunties and Grandmas. Your relationships are growing so strong every day. Family is so important to me. Seeing you head out on adventures without us is very bittersweet, but I’m glad you enjoy your time with family. You love it.

Other notable things from the past month:

  • You are about 22 pounds, 32 inches long and have just popped through 2 molars (making a total of 10 teeth – that we know of)!
  • You love squishing blueberries onto the end of your finger before eating them
  • You eat shredded wheat with blueberries and milk for breakfast – by yourself. You are getting so much better with a spoon (although there still is a fair bit of a mess to clean up)! You slurp that milk off your spoon like it’s nobodies business.
  • You can stand up all on your own in the middle of the room. You clap every time you stand up completely!
  • You have discovered the stairs. Every stair you see, whether it be one step or an entire staircase, you must go up it. You figured out how to do the stairs before you figured out how to walk!
  • You love drawing – on yourself. You can thank Da-Da for that one! You drew a nice maple leaf on your cheek for Canada Day! I think we are in trouble!
  • You dance. ALL. THE. TIME. Music is in your soul. Great Grandma Murray would be so proud. You move and shake you little body every time you hear a song. Sometimes you even throw in a little head-banging!
  • We FaceTime every morning! I eat my breakfast while watching you eat yours. It is my favourite time of day. Everytime you see my face on the screen you point and giggle and point again… and again.. Thankfully no one else is in the office – they would get a good laugh I think!
  • You are obsessed with the dryer. Saturday’s are laundry days. You help me put the clothes in, you close the door and wait for me to start it up so you can watch the clothes go around and around.
  • You’ve decided you would rather push the stroller than ride in it. Just the other day you walked from the rink to the bank, which is no small feat for little girl! I was so proud of you!
  • Momma hit a deer a few weeks ago. Luckily you were not in the car (you would have been fine, but I would have felt so bad)! We are still playing the waiting game to see what is going to happen with our car. We may have to get a new one… So you may be getting an upgraded back seat with a little more room! What do you think?

We are so proud of you, Olive. You are smart. You are brave. You are independent and you are beautiful. Never let anyone change who you are.



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