Last Sunday you turned eleven months old. I didn’t get a chance to write your letter on time because of being in the middle of tech week for a show I’m directing, a phrase I’m sure will resonate through your formative years and result in a deep and abiding resentment of all things theatrical. That’ll learn me.
Actually, I don’t know who I’m kidding: I had to take you with me to the theatre last week and you just about lost your MIND you were so excited to be there. I brought you into the dilapidated dressing room/greenroom and you stood against the ratty sofa and babbled and bounced and laughed out loud at nothing at all. You checked out every nook and cranny of the building, and then sat happily on my lap while I ran lines with one of the cast members. You clearly know you’re a theatre baby, so we’ll hope the resentment will be saved for when I refuse to let you play with Barbies or go to Cabo San Lucas on spring break. THAT I can live with.
Your Uncle Stan says you’re going to be a performer when you grow up, and maybe he’s right: you certainly know how to work an audience already. You’ve developed what your father and I can only call a “shit-eating grin” that you pull out whenever something particularly pleases you. You adopt an underbite, and show all your little teeth, and crinkle up your little eyes in a truly mischievous manner. You may be your father’s daughter in many respects, but the shit-eating grin? That’s from your mama, babydoll. You remember that.
Speaking of teeth … well, I won’t speak of them because I’m sure everyone we know is sick unto death of me bitching about how many teeth you have. Suffice it to say that I am now the proud owner of several permanent tooth-sized dents in my nipular area, and at the rate you’re going we should be able to make some fat cash in the coming months harvesting teeth from your ever-burgeoning gums. “Ellie’s Tooth Booth” we’ll call it. It’ll be a hit.
You’re still not walking unassisted yet, but you can stand like nobody’s business, and one of your favorite games is to stand in the middle of the room and have your daddy flail his arms at you like he’s going to knock you over, just missing every time. You think that’s HILARIOUS. Your Tante Laura can get you to walk holding onto just one of her hands, but you won’t do that for anyone else. You’re working at it, though – we can almost see the cogs spinning in your brain as you figure out how to get ambulatory. Baby steps, kid. Baby steps.
Milestones this month: you’re getting SUPER fun to read to. You definitely have favorite books now (Sandra Boynton is always good) and you anticipate the pages and sections you like best, even mimicking the appropriate sounds – a cat’s meow, the baby hippo saying “bee-bo,” saying “oops!” when the turkey can’t figure out where to put his clothes. It sounds so minor, so little, but I just enjoy the hell out of reading to you. Reading was – is – such an important part of my life, something I get so much joy and comfort and knowledge from, and I feel incredibly lucky to get to pass that along to you.
In more mundane news, you’ve outgrown your wee little orange shoes that I got you for Christmas. I loved those shoes, dammit. Fortunately, now that you’re a size 5, you have like three new pair that you couldn’t wear before – whee! Just wait until you’re big enough for handbags!
You’re acquiring new sounds all the time, including some this month that your father says make you sound like you’re cussing us out. When you really get going it sounds something like “doi doi doi ding ding dang dooee nah bah bah mamama MAAAAH!” To which the only possible response is “okay, then!” You loooooove other kids (to whom you also speak in your cussing voice; that should be interesting when there are actual words involved) and you’re never happier than when your cousin comes over or we take you out to the mall or the park or somewhere else where you can watch those other small people doing their small people things. It’s finally getting warm enough to be outside again, and I see a lot of parks and playgrounds in our future. Now if we can just work on not actually eating the playground sand, that would be a good next step.
I can’t believe we’ve had you around for almost a year, kid. Just ca-nnot believe it. I’ll save the reminiscing for next month’s letter; for now I’m just enjoying the ride. Hope you are, too.