March 11, 2017

Dear Aria {18 months in}

Dear Aria,

Every day you wake up with a smile and forward motion. Those two properties hardly subside until you're fast asleep again at night. You don't walk or run anywhere; you flutter, you bounce, you dance. You beg for music to play. Your most-requested songs are "light-light" (Light of the World) and "nah nah nah" (Every Move I Make). When you dance, you expect everyone to join you. You also love to be held and danced with, especially with daddy as your dance partner. You'd let him sway back and forth forever with your head contentedly resting on his shoulder. You've taken to calling him "Daddy-daddy" of late, which fits perfectly with your teasing, endearing personality.

You are suddenly quite empathetic, offering an unbidden hug when you sense someone is feeling down. You're quick to say "'scuse me!" if you burp or cough or even if you need to squeeze past someone in a doorway. You are struggling to realize that food belongs on the table and not on the floor, but we'll get there.

 You still adore books. Favorites now are "123, To The Zoo" and "Cheeky Monkey and Friends" and "The Wee Little Chick." You've developed an attachment to your blanket, a supremely soft pink, grey, and white confection I have kept near you since you were born. You love tissues. Oh my, any tissue will do. You look for excuses to ask for a tissue—sneezes, coughs, tears in your eyes, boredom. Tissues are your answer for all.

You love buckles and anything that hooks together. You'll spend a half hour sitting in your booster seat at the kitchen table, just buckling and unbuckling the safety belt while I clean up the kitchen. You have little interest in drawing with markers; no, you are fascinated instead with capping and uncapping them. And you'll sit on the floor for long stretches of time, intent on twisting lids on and off jars or bottles.

You love to hug your cousin, your favorite playmate. You greet him day after day with explosive enthusiasm. I wonder what the world would be like if all of us lavished affection on each other in the fashion of you and your cousin.

I love watching you play outside, your brilliant curls bobbing in the sunshine. Every step you take reveals a new wonder, as you narrate "flower!" "bird!" "stick!" "bug!" "doggy!" The world is amazing to you, and you are amazing to me.

Yet you still request "milk milk" when you're tired. You crawl into my lap with your blanket, hug my neck, kiss me with a warm "mwah" sound, and snuggle up to rock before bed. When you're finally still, when all the day's motion and noise and adventure have sighed away, I look down at your profile. And to me you still look just like the newborn whose secret midnight smiles I'll treasure in my heart forever.