Saturday, May 18, 2013

17 Months: No!!!

Well, we've arrived....."No!" is your new favorite word, and you use it frequently. "No!" can be said with a playful smile, a determined spirit and strong voice, or an angry voice accompanied by a little swat at whatever is near you to hit. "No!" can also mean, "Yes."  In any case, it seems to be your favorite word.  Just today, you responded with "I Mama" and a little nod yes when I counseled you that "Yes, Mama" was the proper response.  Oh how my heart melted just a bit.  I have heard those words emerge with each of our children, but each time, they are a special treat.  Firsts are always special.  You'll still nod your head up and down with your mouth opening and closing as well to indicate yes.  And....I love that. I wonder if it will be something you continue into your childhood.  I hope so. 

Oh, and if ever there was a girl who loved are the one! You probably spend a great majority of your free time trying on shoes.  Sometimes one....other times two....someone else's.....your own.  It simply doesn't matter.  But you do LOVE shoes!  I'll even catch you glancing down at your shoes from time to time, as if to admire them.  How you make us smile, Gracie! :-)

The other words we hear frequently are near and dear to my Mama's heart....."Mama, I need you. 
Need you."....typically drawn out when crying as "Mama....I neeeeeeeed you.  Neeeeeeeed you."  Last month, it was "Knee you, Mama. "  Whatever the words, I love that it's me that you need.  Your Papa has always been the natural nurturer of the two of us, so often the other kids would be comforted by Papa, with little complaint. But not you.  It's me you you reach for, even when in Papa's arms. You'll often walk up to me with your arms held high, wanting to be held.  And when I lift you into my arms, you rest your little head on my shoulder, sometimes sucking on your thumb, sometimes shoving your arms down in front of you as if to nestle in as close as you can get.....sometimes just holding onto me.  It is one of the greatest gifts I can imagine.  I am so glad to be wanted by you.  I'm happy you need me.  I am so much more patient with this than I would have been in the past and am thankful for this change in my own heart.....the realization of how quickly time passes and these brief seasons end.

You love to snuggle and cuddle, dollies and stuffed friends, and recently blankets. Burrowing into them and cuddling in your sweet head.  I love to see it. 

"My" is another of your favorites now.....and means "Mine" or "Me."  And, slowly, the words are becoming more clear and distinct. You have started to point at things and say their name with a little question as if to receive confirmation from me if you're a little unsure...."Shir?" (Shirt) "Shoe?". If you are sure, however, there is no question.  It is either said with excitement or assuredness. For instance, when you point to Greta, you say "Dog" and nod your head down.  Today, on exiting our car at a friend's house, their chickens came into view and you excitedly exclaimed "Ducky!!"  To your credit, there were two ducks there as well, though I'm pretty sure you were pointing at the chickens. :-) 

You do say, "Thak You", changed from "Dah Koo", but it's mostly doled out when you want to.  Please is still "Cheese".....and you definitely say "Cheese" before any photo opportunities....any time I say "Look at Mama" in a sing-song voice.

You can now climb up......and down....the stairs. The down part has been happening for the past week or so.  In fact, the first time might have indeed been the time that you decided to climb out of your crib, also as a first, after I had laid you down for a nap. Then, down the stairs you came and into the living room where I was sitting with a friend.  You stood there for a while as we watched you, and I know you were speculating what we might do.  Finally, as I stood up, you started walking towards the back door and pointing to it, indicating you wanted to go outside with the rest of the kiddos.  No luck for you! Back to bed.   I had heard a strange little cry a few minutes before you came down, so I assume you might have been a little frightened in getting out of the crib. You haven't tried it again. :-)  However, the stairs are another matter.  You seem so pleased with yourself each time you descent the stairs.  And, you do it just like your big brother Emet did.....starting about 2 feet from the first stair, you turn around and crawl backwards, reaching your leg out until you reach that first step.  It is adorable! 

Coloring is a new thing for you.  The picture at the top was taken only a few days ago, and it was the first time I had seen you laying down, crayon in hand, and coloring.  Well, a couple of days before, you were at the table "coloring", but it turned out to be mostly on your face.  Thank goodness for washable markers! :-) 

And you are about as silly as they come.  A real ham.  With your frequent "No's" and your silly sunshiny smiles, we have dubbed you The Sassy Sunflower. You have an unmistakable gleam in your eye that shows you are fully aware you are delighting us with your happy smiles and sunshine.  You love to cock your head to the side and smile, looking up at us, then tuck in your chin and chuckle.

As a wonderful illustration of your valiant spirit, you have never been intimidated by Greta, even after she moved from the annoyed yet patient family dog of infants to the snarling family dog of "children who should know better than to bug her". When she growls at you, you simply growl right back, no matter how many growling snarls she brings on.  And, we love that about you.  I finally got that on video today, even though it was Papa you were growling at - not Greta!

Music is your absolute delight. I'm not sure you could hold still if you tried.  The very minute music comes on, your left elbow lifts up, as if it's going to send you into your musical twirls.  You are not shy at all about your dancing! You may well be headed for Broadway.

You are not to be left out by your brothers and sister, and
want to be with them at all times.  You do not appreciate when they head out of doors without you.  And, every minute they are inside the house, you are with them playing and interacting.  And, how you love them!  You'll come up behind them when they are sitting on the ground and give them a hug, laying your head on their back or shoulders. Just yesterday morning, after you finished nursing, you looked over me to see Anna Ruth laying on the other side of me in our bed, still asleep.  You crawled over me and laid on her, giving her a hug.  She sleepily wrapped her arm around you and patted your back.  It's times like those that make my heart simply melt.

I know that before too long, you'll be talking, being sassy, and being 2....(and in our house age 3 seems to be a similar experience!).....full of joy and annoying little habits that drive your siblings crazy.  However, at this age and stage, everyone is still fully in love with you.  (Though Anna Ruth has started down the path of tattling and getting angry with you.)  Still, however, she loves you dearly.  And, though I believe the two of you will have many hurdles ahead in learning to share and get along, I think she'll always have a special place in her heart for her "Gwacie."

For some reason, you love to get into cough drops and seem to find an endless supply of them.  You must have found a secret stash of them somewhere, but they are multiplying like loaves and fishes! I am thankful that you seem to most often bring them to me, as if to check in to see if you can have one, even though I'm pretty sure you know you're not supposed to.  I wanted to write this down, because I wondered today if I would remember that about you.  Often, the little things that children always do are forgotten as they fade away.  And, this is a fun little memory.

You are growing and changing, right before our very eyes, Grace. As we have planned for you to be our last child, we are watching each minute with a sharp focus.....seeing change, and saying goodbye to another precious last time and time again.  At times, it seems more than my heart can bear.  Yet, somehow I know that there is a greater hope.  I know that time is not going, it is coming.....and that which is before me is going to be better than that which is behind, even despite hard and painful times that are part of any human existence.  However, that is hard to grasp when all I know for sure is that which I can hold within my hands......and that which is ahead is yet unknown. I wonder how many Mama's ponder life like I do?  How many of us are sharing the same thoughts? 

As a follower of Christ, this defines much of my existence, and I have seen it prove true in my own life over and over again. is still a concept that is hard to grasp for the human mind and heart, and so I struggle on. 

But, oh Gracie - in your sweet, pure innocence, you don't struggle with these concepts yet at all.  You simply charge forward, growing and changing as quickly as you can, living life to each moment's fullest.  Nothing holds you back but Mama's hands for nap time.  :-) 

Charge ahead, sweet Gracie, charge ahead.  Let nothing hold you back as you come into the fullness of who God has made you to be.  We love you!

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