We’re now a full two months into the new year, and what a year it has been so far. Emily is growing and learning so fast, and Rachel, it seems like every time I look at you, you’ve grown another inch. It never fails to amaze me how quickly the months go by, and how different you are at the end of each month.
What a difference a month makes in the weather. We had a snow day at the beginning of the month, and even though it was less than 1/2 an inch, you both went out and played in it like it had snowed a foot. By the end of the month (OK, it was really two days after the snow day), we were wearing shorts and t-shirts.
Emily, your words are coming fast a furious now. You make an attempt at repeating just about everything we say to you. You’re not quite there yet, but you sure are trying. You will babble on and on to us, and I know that you’re actually saying things in your mind…we’re just not getting them. That’s been leading to some frustration on your part, and I remember this part of toddler-hood with your sister vividly. This sweet, happy little girl that we laugh and play with suddenly turns into a screaming, crying mess for apparently no reason. But there is a reason: you are mad because we don’t understand what you want.
We’re pretty sure you understand everything we say to you, though. Even if you can’t tell us what you want, we will question you until you nod your head. We’re getting really good at this little game of charades you play, while at the same time trying to get you to verbalize what it is you need. You do a great job of listening to us, too, when you want to. Your grandparents have you doing things around the house, and you are able to follow directions very well. We can’t wait until your speech becomes really clear and we can start having conversations with you.
Rachel, your teacher keeps telling us what a smart little girl you are, and it’s getting close to the time when we’ll need to decide where we’re going to send you to school next year. We have some options, and I’m sure every parent with options goes through the agonizing choices of deciding where to send their child for their first “official” year of school.
You are so far ahead of the curve, it scares me. You are already reading and writing, things which I didn’t know 4 year olds could do. I always thought that kids learned to read and write in Kindergarten, but you are blowing me away. I’m actually very worried that you will be bored next year. Not every student in your kindergarten class will have had the educational opportunities that you’ve had up to this point in your life. You’re a very lucky girl for being able to go to school for two years already, and have great teachers that have helped you learn to do so many things.
Emily, your sense of humor really started to come out this past month, too. Your whole personality has been fun to watch, but you recently started doing things to try to make us laugh, or would do things to try to get us to make you laugh. You have silly walks that you do, and you’ll walk around with your head thrown back making funny faces.
Another thing that’s fun about your personality is your boldness and shyness. Let me explain. You are one of those kids who, if you’re near an adult you know, you’re the most playful and friendly kid in the world to complete strangers. When we’re in a restaurant, you’ll sit there and wave at people, reach out like you want to touch them, and generally act like you’re not afraid of anything. However, if one of those people you wave at, or reach out to touch tries to touch you, or takes a step toward you, you cower and try to hide yourself. It’s the funniest thing to watch.
We went to the rodeo again this year, and both of you got on the pony ride. Rachel, you were ready for it, and were asking about it. Emily, I was shocked that you wanted to go. As we stood there watching the ponies walk around in a circle, I asked you, “Do you want to get on a pony?” and I pointed at it, so you’d know what I was talking about. You nodded your head yes. I had prepared myself for the worst…I was ready to hand you over the fence to your mother the second I put you in the saddle because I was sure you’d start crying. But there you sat, calm as could be, like it was the most natural thing in the world for you to be riding a pony.
Rachel, you of course, wanted to go on all the rides. I love that you’re not afraid of anything like that. You even took your little sister on some of the rides with you. I can tell we’re going to have a lot of fun when you get older and we can start going to Six Flags and Sea World. This year, you wanted to go on the big slide, and I was fully prepared to let you go all by yourself. Your mother was a little worried that you’d get scared going up the stairs, but you told me you could do it. I don’t think the guy running the ride thought you could handle it, though, and he handed me a burlap sack to ride down on, but didn’t charge me to go, basically forcing me to go up with you. We also rode the Ferris Wheel again, and
you have absolutely no fear of heights. If I’d let you, you probably would have hung halfway out of the car we were riding in so you could see everyone else on the ground.
Emily, you loved looking at all of the animals. We’ve been reading books to you about animals and making the sounds at you, but it freaked you out a little bit the first time a real animal (other than a dog) made a sound. You were standing there looking at the sheep when all of a sudden one of them bleated, and you turned tail and ran over to me. It didn’t take long before you were back at the fence, though, looking at them again. You got to see lots of animals in person for the first time: goats, sheep, roosters and chicks, pigs, and cows.
Finally, Rachel, you got to go camping for the very first time this past weekend. We’ve been talking about taking you camping for a long time, but just hadn’t found the right time (or had someone to spend the night with Emily). The last time your mother and I went camping was right after she got pregnant with you, so you’ve actually been camping before, just not since you’d been born. You were very excited to go, and you and I stayed up really late, and watched all of the stars come out. I don’t know if it was the staying up late, or sleeping on the ground, but you were worn out the next day, and fell asleep in the car on the way home. I hope you had a good time…we’re looking forward to going camping with all of us sometime soon.
March is the last month that your grandparents will be here, and spring break is coming up soon! We’re really looking forward to a week off to spend with both of you, and not having to worry about work or when we have to be somewhere. We hope the weather cooperates so that we can go and do some really fun things, too. We love you very much.