Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Twenty Five Months!

My darling Baby Bowen,

This month came and went so incredibly fast. Suddenly I looked up from what we were doing and it was already the 11th again! I can't believe your big birthday was already a month ago, and all of the significant changes that have come along with that.

We've had such fun this month, baby monkey. You communicate with me more, and this enables us to more swiftly sidestep huge tantrums. When you get upset, I realize that it's not you trying to give me a hard time, but you having a hard time. I remember often that you're just like a little caveman; you're new here and you're learning the ways of the world. I try to give you space and patience often, and I think that in the end it truly pays off.

Early this month I was busy making the bed and you sauntered into the bedroom telling me that you had to pee. I casually told you to pee in the potty... and you did! This was something you'd never done before and you just sat down and did it like an expert! I was so proud and shocked, (I think that you were rather startled by the reaction!) but nowadays you absolutely love using the potty. You know you get a sticker and a treat when you use the potty and absolutely love doing so. You're excellent at your big girl peeing at home, and we're still working on moving that to the outside world, where you're still in diapers. But baby, am I ever proud! I really wasn't expecting you to start potty training this early, and when I left it up to you I saw you pick it up and lead the way in your own pace and in your own style. I'm so incredibly proud of you, my big girl.

This month your favourite activities are spinning in circles, running together, and reading your favourite book: "From Head to Toe." You love acting out all of the actions alongside the animals in the book, and I think you've actually memorized the whole thing! We finished up another semester of Music Together, and you've truly grown to love it. While at first you were a bit shy, you ended the class being fully integrated and looking forward to it each week. Your favourite parts are always the instruments and helping to clean up at the end. At Cypress Corner you've slowly been graduated to the older kid program and it's been an amazing transition to watch. Now you get to play outside with the rest of the kids, eat snack at the big table, and participate in circle time. Now instead of me coming inside to pick you up, the teachers pack you up and you walk outside to find me. I must admit, little one, sometimes your dad and I hide outside and watch you be a part of this little world of yours independently. We love watching you slowly warm up to your environment and it makes me tear up to see you loving your surroundings and participating in the world. With your once a week preschool, you love saying, "Bye-bye mama!" and often ask "More Bye-bye mama?!" It makes me really proud to know that I've raised such an independent little thing. Still, when you get anxious or stressed you immediately ask to "be a baby." You like to get into my arms and have me rock you and sing you your baby song. Nothing gives you comfort like being a baby in mamas arms, and it's something I'll never forget. Never do we cross over a body of water without you furiously waving out the car window and saying, "Hi, Daddy's boat! Hi, Daddy's boat!!!" You adore daddy and he adores you right back, my baby Bowen. Another fun pastime this month has been the pool. Every time we pull up to the pool you screech in delight and you absolutely adore spending as much time possible splashing around. We've been working on kicking in the water and even putting your head under! I know you'll feel quite comfortable once your swimming lessons commence next month.

A big highlight of the month has been Santa. Our first sighting was at his "arrival parade" at the mall. He walked up and down the corridors of Park Royal, where you caught several glimpses. Eventually I asked him to stop and take a picture of us, and Santa brifly held your hand. Wow, were you ever taken! You talked for days about Santa holding your hand and about how much you wanted to see him again! Later in the month you and I caught the Santa Claus Parade downtown, which was quite a treat. You're at prime "waving age," and you really enjoyed waving at everyone who passed. You and Santa crossed paths again when your Ganny took you to her Yacht Club, where you once again said, "Bye-bye mama!," ate yummy food, decorated cookies and crafts, and eventually... Santa pulled up in a boat! For days since you've been taking about how you got to sit on Santa's knee, showing me the baby doll he brought you, and practicing your magnificent Santa wave. The latest encounter was when we took Sandwiches to get his picture taken with Santa. Since there was no one after us in line, you simply sat next to Santa, staring at him wide-eyed. Every once in a while you'd ask him about his boots, or tell him about your "Mama, Dada, Titi" family. Watching your wonder in this season is truly magical and amazing, my little baby.

My love, several months ago we told you that mama had a baby in her tummy, and that you're soon to be a big sister. At first you were quite startled by that, asking often "Mama "um" [ate] at baby?!" but these days seem to really be really excited about the idea of becoming a big sister. Now that you can see my tummy grow, you love giving the baby kisses and offering it milk. You show whomever asks how you plan on hugging the baby when it arrives, and I know you're truly going to adore being a big sister. I absolutely can't wait to see you love the little being that comes into our lives next year. At the same time, I'm so aware and appreciative of the time we have together alone; it's been an amazing two years being together alone and while things will soon be different, I know they'll just get better.

Bowen, the day you were born I felt the entire world shift and you suddenly became the center. Watching and helping you grow is the most worthwhile thing I've ever done, and I've loved every minute of it. I can't wait to continue growing and changing as our family expands. We bring each other joy and laughter every single day, and I know with all my heart that it'll just continue getting better and better every day and with every change.

Happy twenty five months, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Sunday, November 11, 2012


My beautiful Bowen Naomi,

You're two today!! Happy, happy birthday, amazing little light of my life! I can't believe that just two years ago you were born; we've lived so much together in this short time. We've learned and laughed, and really, really loved. I'm so proud of you for all of your constant learning and accomplishments and to be a standing here watching it happen makes my heart absolutely swell with love.

Goodness, I don't even know where to get started. The changes in you are staggering and incredible! This month you love talking. Everything starts with, "Mama? Mama? MAMAAAAAA!" and you absolutely adore describing the world around you. The other day a bird pooed on your head, and I think you've told me about it about a billion times. It goes something like, "Mama?! Mama! Mamamamamamama!" And I say: "Yes, my love?" and you said, "Bird! Poo! Head! Yucky!" and then point wildly at your hair. I ask you what happened next, and you say, "Mama! Bath! Soap! Hair!" Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to a caveman; but luckily a very, very cute caveman. You're really good as saying, "Thank you!" and I love hearing it from you unprompted. I've really been enjoying hearing about the world from your perspective. After music class you like to tell me about how you gave your teacher a hug, and after you spend time at Cypress corner you regale me with stories of playing outside. It's so neat and funny what a little communicator you are now, and even thinking about it now makes me smile.

This month you're still tall and lanky, but suddenly you're getting a bit of a tummy. Your hair is very curly and quite long, and generally messy. While you used to love getting your hair done, now you want nothing to do with it. Everywhere you go, it's generally running or jumping; moving slowly rarely happens anymore. As always, you're a cuddly little girl who always loves hugs and kisses from mama. Lately you've been extra cuddly though; I often wake up to find you sleeping directly on top of me! I don't know if it's the colder weather, or what, but you sure love being close to your mommy these days. My favourite is still when you run up to me, arms outstretched ready for a giant hug and a million kisses. I bet we've reached a million kissed in these couple of years, little monkey.

While you continue to absolutely love reading, this month you've also added singing to your favourite things to do in a day list. In music class you tend to be rather shy and reserved. You sit back and watch, and prefer to dance in my arms rather than on your own. But once we're home, or even back in the car, you repeat everything you'd been silently taking in. You constantly ask to sing along to "Katie's music," and love singing along and dancing around the house. Your favourite song is "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and "You've got the love." And as usual, much of our time together is spent in your other favourite way: "Mama! Read! Couch!" You're also getting more into drawing lately. You love sitting in your chair and creating beautiful drawings. After every little bit you accomplish, you say, "Mama!" so I can look at the wonderful progress you're making. I absolutely adore putting up your art, always making sure that I write down the title of your piece exactly as you tell me to.

Today we had a little party to celebrate this exciting day, and my goodness little baby, were you ever thrilled to have such a celebration in your honour. All week you've been telling us that you're turning two, and since you've recently been to a few birthday parties of your peers, you knew all about the cake and singing component. When you woke up today you told me all about how people would sing the "happy" song to you, and how you were going to eat cake. You were a bit reluctant to get into your chair at first, but as soon as you saw the cake coming you knew it was your moment to shine. You beamed as we all sang you happy birthday, and the part you loved the most was blowing out your candles. You kept asking for "more" and "more!" so you ended up blowing out your candles about two dozen times. When your daddy brought out your gift, your eyes lit up and you absolutely squealed with delight! We've been reading a book about teddy bears riding bikes, and often you ask, "Me? Bike?" so when you saw your brand new red and black push bike you were as thrilled as thrilled could be. Now that you've been spending more time with family members you're becoming more comfortable in their presence. It takes you a while to warm up to people, my baby, but once you do, they're lucky to see the magnificent little girl that you are. Celebrating with some of them today was so much fun!

My Bowen Naomi, I hold your face in my hands and look at you and wonder how you got so big, so tall, so wise. When did this happen? Where did our time ago? Not so long ago the days seemed to last forever, and now they fly by - faster every day. I look at the happiness in your eyes and hear the love in your voice when you say "Mama!" a billion times a day. I tell you that I never want things to change from how they are now, but then they do, and then it's wonderful. I love you so much, and nothing brings me as much pride and joy as being your mama. I love you more every day; more than I ever thought possible.

Happy second birthday, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your mama

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Twenty Three Months!

My little baby monkey,

Here we are, enjoying the last month of the "ones" immensely! Seemingly just yesterday we were dreaming big dreams and hoping big hopes for your life, and now here you are being an amazing little thing and making us laugh each day. It seems like so long ago that you were born, yet it also seems to have passed in an instant. Such a funny thing. This month has been fantastic in terms of your development and watching your personality continue to form and shine is amazing.

This month has been a good one, as we've been loving the fall and settling back into our little routine. We've started our activities up slowly, and get out of the house bright and early and Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. You've continued with Cypress Corner, where you play and learn for a little over an hour each week. You love Joan and the other teachers, and your face lights up when I tell you you're going to "school." Each morning you see me making lunch for the students and ask, "Me, school?" It's awesome watching you learn in your this little environment that is your own. They've been gradually increasing your time there and you've started joining in on the "big kid" activities, as soon you'll be in the two year old group! On Wednesday we've gone back to Music Together. It's been interesting for me, because I really see your personality shining through there. You're incredibly shy and cautious, my baby. You truly stand back and observe before jumping into things, which hugely reminds me of me. You take your time to settle into a situation and want to really know what it's all about before you feel comfortable. When music first started you really took your time acclimatizing and now seem to be integrated into the program. You've started singing along a little, bouncing around at dancing time, and clapping along with the rest. Your favourite parts are the shaker eggs, and also hugging Katie, the teacher, at the end of the class! It's really important for me to remember that you need to take your time, and that there's no sense pushing you into something before you're ready. On Thursdays we've gone back to the library story time; a fun activity you attended for the whole first year of your life. The whole way to the library you generally keep asking, "Read?! Read?!!!" Seeing you at the library, little baby, absolutely makes my heart burst with joy. You love it there; you walk in with sureness and confidence and pick out a book for us to read together. When the librarian calls us over for baby time, you practically sprint and settle into your spot. Often you want to take your shoes off, and just as often you want to keep your jacket on. When a book is read you like to stand right in front, just to make sure you don't miss anything. I love it! I'm thrilled that you're becoming as passionate for books and learning as your parents are. The rest of our time together is spent hiking, going to the gym, and doing our usual life errands. Recently we were enjoying a walk and a Pinkberry together, and you just looked at me and said, "Mama... I'm happy!" It's these things that life is made of.

This month your vocabulary is slowly but surely coming along. You've certainly added more words to your lexicon, but the biggest change has been the huge increase in two-word sentences. Now you love saying, "Bye, Titi!" when we walk out the door, and just as often you say, "I poo!" Your favourite words to use this month are "Me" and "I" as you're coming into yourself and developing who you are in contrast to me, or to the rest of the world. We've been told that your vocabulary is on the low end of the average spectrum, while your understanding is above average. With this information I've made the conscious effort this month to encourage more words and talking, and while I have no doubt that you understand absolutely everything I say to you, we're also making a big push for you to talk back. Seeing you becoming this communicating little creature is one of the greatest things I've ever experienced.

Other highlights of your twenty second month include seeing you become a true big sister to your brother Sandwiches. You absolutely love telling him what to do, be it to go outside with you, or to cuddle you in bed. You love snuggling up to him in the kitchen, and often the first question when you wake up from nap is to ask where he is. When I'm in the middle of doing something and can't read, you grab your animal book and read to Sandwiches instead! You love giving me big hugs and when I see you with your little arms outstretched, my heart absolutely melts. You are love personified, baby. I've burst out laughing many, many times in the car lately, as I still have the bad habit of often turning around to see that you're okay. Not exactly the most safety-concious driving on my part, but perhaps absolutely worth it when more often than not I catch you dancing up a storm in your car seat! You love dancing in the car, as well as making up little songs about "daddies" and "puppies." You continue to be the cutest little thing that I ever did see.

Love of my life, things are about to change. I see big things coming up in our lives, and I know that we'll both rise to the occasion. I've learned with you how much life changes; blink your eye and the world has changed. I love seeing the changes through your eyes and with you. I'm loving our lives and can't wait to see what our incredible future brings. We'll celebrate every little thing this month, as we wrap up the last of the "ones." Onwards and upwards we go, Bowen!

Happy twenty three months!

I love you forever,

-Your mama

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Twenty Two Months!

My little baby Bowen,

Here we are, nearing the second year and I'm still astounded at how much you learn and grow each day. For twenty two months you've been the centre of my world and making me smile constantly.

We've thoroughly enjoyed the summer, and had the perfect place to do it surrounded by the beauty of our backyard. You constantly ask to play with "wara" (water) and many afternoons have been spent splashing around the frog pool and water table. Our walks are filled with blackberry picking, and there seems to be few things you enjoy more than me handing you fresh berries while you're strapped to my back. We've also had a bountiful garden season, and have spent a lot of time picnicking in the back, enjoying tomatoes off the vine or a warm fig together in the sunshine. You delight in our garden; you love eating things straight from a tree. These last few days you've been helping me clean up under the apple tree, now that the apples have begun to fall. Like always, you love neatness and order, so putting bad apples into the yard waste basket is quite the exciting chore. You've also been up and awake to help me with tasks in the kitchen, and we've even made a few zucchini loafs together! As you grow, including you in our daily tasks has become so much more fun and exciting, little monkey!

Your words this month are fantastic; you surprise me with new ones daily. The other day as we left the gym you asked me, as clear as day, for some ice. I didn't even know you knew what ice was, let alone how to say it! You have so many words that I've lost count, but your favourites lately seem to be "train," "puppy," "baby," (which you utilize often when you need to be comforted and held like a baby) and "Titi," (your brother). You've even began to string together words, like "More cheese!" and "Help, please!" The daily progress and changes with your language and vocabulary are incredible and I love seeing you change.

This month you had your first haircut, which was quite the milestone! I was weary about doing it (as was your daddy) but I eventually sucked it up and took you in. I wanted some way to keep your hair out of your eyes without constantly having to put it up - something you're not too keen on these days. The stylist didn't want to give you bangs, and I should have known that! With your wild curly hair, she just took off a little bit all around which made your baby mane a little more manageable. You loved sitting in the car-shaped chairs and felt very fancy getting all styled up. We even got a little envelope with your first baby hair to keep, as well as a "first haircut" certificate. Now you're looking more and more like a little girl, and your baby-ness is getting quickly left behind.

Little Bowen, some days you are testing me constantly. You are smart and willful and stubborn and funny - sometimes you seem like the the perfect mix of your dad and I. I see each element of us coming through in you and it makes my heart burst with pride that we made you; that you are little bits of us. I really stop and think about these days often, because I know that they won't be forever. I'm so, so lucky to get to enjoy you every day; every step of the way. I'm so lucky and privileged to be alongside you for your first years, your important milestones, your day to day knee scrapes. I'm with you every day and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Some days seem tough and overwhelming, but at the end of the day I know I'm doing the most important job in the world.

My baby monkey, on we embark into another fall season. Your activities are starting again, and we're moving back into a good daily routine. We have two students living with us right now, and you absolutely adore playing with them and spending time in their rooms. Seeing you play and interact with others is incredible; I'm seeing you learn to be a whole person away from you mama. Slowly your little world expands, but I'm relishing each change alongside you. I cannot wait to see what the next few months bring.

Happy twenty two months, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your mama

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Twenty One Months!

My precious little Baby Bowen,

Happy 21 months, my little monkey! We've had a full and exciting month together and I can't believe the summer is almost gone. We've absolutely enjoyed it to the fullest, and I realize how different it is from last, and how different it will be from the next. 

This month you've continued to come into your own - you know what you want and what to do to get it. The month was full of exciting events and new experiences. First of all, your parents finally went ahead and got married. This was really exciting for you, since you had a steady stream of friends, family, and visitors to play with. You spent a lot of time with your grandma, and reminded us of what a fiercely independent kid you are. You guys visited the farm and did a lot of exploring together, and aside from asking for your parents once in a while, you were perfectly happy to spend time with new people. At the wedding itself, you got to travel on a boat with your aunt, and you looked beautiful in your yellow dress. You got to have a day at the hairdresser, and while your first haircut is still in the works, you liked getting all pretty for the big day. Now I'm happy to say that our entire family shares the same last name! 

We spent a few days at the cabin where your daddy grew up, and you were absolutely taken with it. You loved the chance to run around in the heat, and became quite a little water baby. You'd wake up from a leisurely nap and the first word out of your mouth was always "Wara," (water) and you swam in the ocean time and time again, not minding the cold. The beach was also endless fun, with all the sticks and rocks to play with. 

Once all the excitement of the month had died down, we got back into a routine at home while continuing to enjoy the warm weather. Now you know that you must wear a hat when you're outdoors, and you've reluctantly warmed up to it. You spend a lot of time wandering in the yard, and the look on your face when we pull out big carrots from our garden is priceless. We've been doing a lot of gardening, baking, and even some canning. We're enjoying our home to the fullest, and nothing makes it more beautiful or wonderful than doing so with you at my side. The other day when I was getting tired after making several zucchini loafs with you playing underfoot, it all hit me. This is it. This is what I wanted from life, and here it is. You, our beautiful family and home, this life... This is all I've wanted, and here it is. I really feel like the luckiest mama in the whole wide world. 

This month you've learned several new things. Your vocabulary continues to grow at a rapid pace, and each time you say a new word I'm blown away at how fast you're learning. You love listing off what you'd like to eat, as well as telling us who your family is: "Daddy, mummy, 'itchies." You run more than you walk; arms flailing and feet pattering. You laugh really loud when we do, and it's become apparent that you come from a very cuddly family. You always dole out hugs when asked, and when your dad asks if you'd like a kiss, you instruct him on where you want it - be it forehead or tummy, or arm. You ask for us to return to bed often for some lounging time, and love sitting back and reading piles of books with me. Now when it's time to go to bed, I tuck you in, spend just a few minutes there, and then leave the room. You putter around for a few minutes, and then put yourself to sleep - quite a huge change from months prior! You received some baby dolls as a gift, and take good care of them, making sure they're always fed and bathed. Little baby, you're a miraculous little thing and teaching you things and experiencing life with you is my single greatest joy. 

Now, my Bowen, we'll round out the summer by spending a lot of time at the beach and at the park. Soon you'll be back to your activities in the fall, and I can't wait to see you trying new things. Your dad is heading away for most of the month, so while I'm nervous about you being without him for so long after having so much time together, I'm sure we'll get through it as we always have. I know you'll miss him, and that he'll miss you, but hopefully it'll pass quickly. Baby Bowen - continue to thrive, and learn, and grow and I'll continue to delight in the ride. 

Happy birthday, Bowen Naomi! 

I love you forever,

-Your mom

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Twenty Months!

My precious little Bowen,

Here we are, twenty whole months into your life! We leave the "teens" with some sadness and wonder at the all too quickly passing time, but also excited for all the big changes ahead. 

This month you've been learning to talk and have an insatiable desire for new words. You can repeat everything I say to you, and make your needs clearly known. Your favourite words this month are "cheese," "car," and a very important one: "no." Your "nos" are incredibly cute, but also quite helpful in distinguishing exactly what it is you want. I must say, coming from two rather stubborn parents, you have not fallen far from the tree! Lately when I call "Witches!" while we walk, you make sure you call him too. You love pointing out every single "Car!!!" when we walk, and when I tell you to get in the car you know exactly what to do. You love to tell me when you need to either pee or poo, but while you enjoy being seated on the potty you still would rather go in your diaper! All in due time, baby monkey! Communicating with you is incredible and amazing and makes this amazing journey all that much more fun. 

This month we've been enjoying the warm weather, and spending a lot of time outside. You love our walks to the park, and playing to exhaustion on the swings and slide. It's all that much better if you get to walk there with a popsicle in hand! We took you on your first camping trip this month, and although it was quite cold and rainy, you had a wonderful time. The first little while was filled with "uck" as you got your hands quite dirty on the ground, but eventually you learned that you could simply wipe them off. We all snuggled into the tent that not so long ago only fit mommy and daddy and Sandwiches, and got a wonderful sleep listening to the rain fall. 

You're the sweetest little girl, Bowen. You're the only person in this whole wide world that loves hearing me sing, and singing always ends with demands for "more! more!" You sing along with music, and like always, enjoy nothing more than a good dance-off. You're very kind to your stuffed animals, often asking me to put them in diapers. Lately I've seen you offering them all food and milk, and even sharing your very beloved pacifier with them. Yesterday I noticed that things were a bit too quiet while I was showering, and when I looked out you were very happily giving your pink bear a bath. You're absolutely adorable, and not a day goes by that you don't make me laugh. 

This month you suddenly started calling your dad "daddy," and I'm still "mama." You love getting on the bed and saying, "Mama! Daddy! 'Itches! UP!" meaning that you'd like everyone to join you for some cuddle time in bed. When bed time does come, we've said farewell to the bottle, but you still love your cuddles and plenty of stalling time by making sure you've pointed out your eyes, nose, ear, hair, belly button, toes... all while it's way past your bedtime!

Baby Bowen, you are magical. My heart grows every day and when I don't think I could love you more, it turns out I was wrong. We have an incredibly exciting month coming up, filled with fun things and plenty of family to reconnect with. I'm thrilled that you're here with us and so happy that you're here for our family's most precious and important moments. 

Happy twenty months, Bowen Naomi! 

I love you forever, 

-Your mama

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nineteen Months!

My little baby Bowen,

Happy nineteen months! You're such a little girl now and are quickly leaving your babyhood behind. This month you continue growing and learning and sucking up everything about your environment that you possibly can. 

Your favourite activities this month are both reading books and parroting everything you hear. You try very hard to say everything you hear me saying, and your favourites right now are, "Mama, dada, Wichies, more, bottle, ball, cat, and cheese." You attempt to say everything you hear, and no word is too difficult to at least try out. Likewise with your books, you like trying them all out. You definitely have your favourites, and when you bring them to me and I begin reading, you clap your hands with delight and hunker down in front of me to give it your fullest attention. 

Another big pastime this month has been spending a lot of time at your "television," which is the front window of our house. As soon as you wake up you love standing behind the couch and facing the world, narrating everything you see. Sometimes you scream, "Puppa," with glee, and many other times it's "bird!!!!" but no matter who or what passes, it's to your absolute delight. 

Speaking of animals, in our trips to both Maplewood Farms and the aquarium this month, you've really shown the love that you have for animals. Of course, you've grown up beside Sandwiches and these days you love showering him with wide-mouthed, wet kisses. When we went to the farm, you loved petting the goats and the constant "gentle" that you hear when petting your brother certainly came in handy. You pet all animals with such a loving and gentle hand, as if nothing could make you happier. At the aquarium, although you didn't actually get to pet anything, you exclaimed with glee any time you saw anything; from a little salmon to a giant beluga. I love how happy animals make you, and how a "cat!!!!!" can be the absolute happiest part of a walk together. 

My little baby, seeing your likes and interests form is the most wonderful thing ever. Any time we have music on, you like to do your little baby dance, which is essentially shuffling back and forth. Lately I've also looked into the backseat as we're driving in the car, singing along to the radio, and you're animatedly clapping your hands. Your girlie-ness, too, comes through often. You always bring me hair clips or hair ties and show me where you want them in your hair. You love trying on my clothes and trying to model everything you possibly can as a hat. You sure love hats, baby Bowen! 

You're absolutely charming, my little monkey. You love cuddling and now when I ask if I can have a hug you crawl up into my lap and give the best and cuddliest little hug your 19 month self possibly can. Your dad loves asking you for kisses, and while you went from reluctant, to sloppy wide-open mouth kisses, now you love giving kisses complete with the kissing noise. You say "hi" and "bye" to everyone you meet, and make it known that you're certainly expecting a response. 

My little baby, I can't believe how much you're growing. These months keep flying by and our lives keep changing. Some days and weeks are long, but having you as my little companion makes everything alright. Watching you change, learn, and grow is the most amazing thing this mommy could ever ask for, and often all this mommy asks for is you. I love our days together and I wouldn't want to spend them any other way. 

Happy nineteenth months, Bowen Naomi! 

I love you forever,

-Your mom

Friday, May 11, 2012

Eighteen Months!

My Little Baby Bowen,

Happy half-birthday! A year and a half already, my love! Now that you're fully immersed in todderhood, life with you keeps getting more and more interesting and funny. You make me laugh and take joy in doing so, and you keep growing into this magnificent little girl. 

Your comprehension is incredible and we're both in awe of how just a blink ago you were a teeny little helpless thing and suddenly you understand absolutely everything we say. We ask you to get a book in your room and you love bringing over dozens, you go to your high chair, you go up and down stairs in the yard, you go investigate when your brother is missing. Everything we say, you understand perfectly. On the converse, everything we tell you NOT to do, you understand also! When we tell you not to put a piece of honeyed toast into your hair, or tell you not to climb onto the table, you're fully aware of what mommy and daddy have said. However, a big part of life right now seems to be to test these boundaries and rules, and you seem to be slowly but surely getting it. This month you've been trying so hard to talk and communicate with us, and I know it's really coming soon. 

Your favourite words this month are certainly "hi" and "dada." When we took you on a walk earlier this week you made a point of saying "hi" to every house we passed, and when you're walking around on your own you love when your hi's are reciprocated by everyone you greet. As usual, you've been absolutely obsessed with your dad, and ask for him from the moment you get up until the moment you go to sleep. Luckily he's been off work a lot lately, so you've been spending a lot of time in the yard with him, helping make our lovely planters. You're so fun to have outside with us while we work, and seeing you entertain yourself is amazing. You like walking up and down the path, climbing and descending the stairs, and every so often sitting in the grass. When you get a chance to walk the back lane, you run with delight picking up little rock treasures and greeting all the neighbouring houses. 

The most major milestone to happen this month, little one, is that you've started to sleep through the night! You'd been sleeping in your own bed for a while already, but getting up a few hours in to switch over to our bed. One night out of the blue, I woke up past five and couldn't believe that you weren't in bed with us! I went to check for you, and sure enough, you were sleeping soundly in your own bed. It's incredible that after almost a year and a half of sleeping in the same bed and waking up at all hours of the night, suddenly you're here going to bed and not waking up until the morning! Granted, your naps are shorter but this big stretch of sleep is making us all so much happier and more rested lately! You still curl up against me while you fall asleep, and you like to stroke my arm as you do so. You're the kindest and gentlest little thing, my baby monkey and we absolutely adore you. 

Everything changes so fast, baby Bowen. I savour every day and every moment, because all too soon they're gone. It sounds cliche, but these days I want to press a "pause" button on every moment. Every day you're growing and changing and learning new things. Today I took you on a walk, which was just that... you actually WALKING around our neighbourhood alongside your brother and I. It seems like such a little thing, but these milestones are adding up and here you are, becoming a whole little person. I'm filled with joy and pride at how you're growing and learning, but I'm also looking backwards a little bit at the teeny baby you were not so long ago. It goes to fast, my little one, and I'm not wasting a single second of it. A year and a half ago we were all together in the hospital, with you sleeping and me wide awake, high on the endorphins of giving birth and having you here to complete our family. Every day with you has been an adventure and a pleasure and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Happy 18 months, Bowen Naomi! 

I love you forever,

-Your mom

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seventeen Months!

My darling baby Bowen,

Happy seventeen months! I continue to wonder with awe where are this time is going; like always, it's passing way too quickly. This month you've continued to make us laugh and beam with pride at the amazing little girl you've become.

Your biggest milestone this month by far has been walking! Walking, little baby! At first you were quite reluctant to let go of that final finger of assistance, but once you finally did, there was no going back. Now you walk all over the place, with your face absolutely lit up with pride. You look so happy to be taking these wondrous first steps, and we're always right there with you, cheering you on. You couldn't even crawl a year ago, Bowen, and now you're toddling around all over the place! It's amazing!

The other very significant milestone this month is that your mommy and daddy went on vacation alone for the first time since your arrival. Your dad has had many nights away from you already due to work, but for me, it was an incredibly big deal. We told you that you'd be gone for a few days and prepared everything for our absence. Your doting aunt and uncle came to stay with you, and you took immediately to them. Nothing could prepare me from being away from you, little monkey. I knew for a long time that it was coming, but the second day of being gone I just missed you with all of my heart. For your entire life, we'd never had a day apart and I was still waking up in the night to put in your soother. You, on the other hand, did great! You loved all the new and exciting people at home and seemed to truly enjoy your time with your family. You behaved very well, and continued eating and sleeping as normal. I'm so proud of you, baby Bowen! This was your first time without mom for a few days, and truly, you thrived. We were all thrilled when we finally reunited! It was lovely for your dad and I to spend some time together alone, but we also realized what a family we've become. Sometimes going somewhere all together is more difficult and complicated, but we don't want it any other way.

There were a few others milestones in this exciting month as well. Your comprehension is developing quickly. Now I ask you if you're tired, and if that is the case you lay your head down to show me that you're indeed tired. When I ask you to put your toys away you comply happily, and you make your desires clear by shaking or nodding your head in response. Also, suddenly you started using your sign language after many months of neither of us practicing! You sign "more, "all done," "milk," and your absolute favourite: "soother." You sign towards your mouth for soother, which was originally taught as "food," and you've modified it. Speaking of the soother: this month you've become absolutely obsessed with it! I've been trying to limit it only to sleeping, car, and walks, but also sometimes hesitate to take away your little comfort item quite yet. We'll start thinking about the subject once we hit the big year and a half. For now, I want you to have what makes you happy and comfortable. Last but not least, this month you've started sleeping in your own bed! It was a bit of an adjustment for us all, and you're still crawling over to our bed in the middle of the night. But you happily walk over to your own bed when it's bedtime and it's even getting easier to put you into bed. You're really growing up, little one.

Little Bowen, we truly could not love you more. I love our life with you, and wouldn't change it for the world. Keep changing and growing and laughing. You've been called "stubborn" or "determined," but it's your personality that makes you you. You know what you want, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to get it. We love your smiles, your constant giggles, and how when you see a few people around you having a laugh, you're quick to join it. You're a bright little thing, and you make our family complete.

Happy seventeen months, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your mom

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sixteen Months!

Dear Bowen Naomi,

Happy sixteen months! These days it's becoming more and more apparent that you are indeed a toddler and not a baby, and finally I seem to becoming accustomed to it. You amaze us every day with what you can do and understand, and truly you're a pleasure to be around.

We've had a lot of little milestones this month, my monkey. I must admit that for a very long time I've been quite worried about your lack of clapping. Clapping is an eight-month milestone, after all. I would admit it in hushed tones to those who would listen how I'm quite worried about your lack of clapping and got advice from very experienced moms about the subject. Actually, they didn't give me any advice - they just laughed at me because I was worrying about it in the first place. But just a few weeks ago, my love, you were sitting on the couch and suddenly you looked at me and clapped! It was timid at first, but with encouragement you kept going and even do it on command these days! It's important to remember: you're going to do things on your schedule and when you feel like it. And for now, baby, that's perfectly fine.

We just ended our third term of music class and will take a break though the summer and until September. This time around you didn't enjoy it nearly as much, prefering instead to be free to wander the rec centre at your leisure. You've been attending child minding for an hour a week, and there you really seem to thrive. That little hour per week is both of our special time - the only time we're really away from each other! I love walking by (so slyly, of course) and seeing how you're there doing activities all on your own. The teachers love having you there and always gush about what a lovely child you are. Last week when I went in to get you, you were sitting quitley in a chair eating a cookie. The teacher said that you'd been motioning towards the cookies, and she said to you, "If you go sit down, you can have a cookie." And off you went to sit down! You amaze me with how much you understand these days! Another big activity this month has been hiking. We got you a backpack where you ride up high on (usually) dad's shoulders. You've been loving seeing the beautiful North Shore trails and squeal with delight when we see another dog or a waterfall. Even on the days you're tired, we know that a good hike around the beauty that is our back yard is bound to make you happy.

These past few weeks your personality has continued to emerge, and you're just the absolute cutest thing ever. You love blowing kisses to people (at first I thought it was just to us at home, but even when we see goodbye to a cashier at a grocery store you blow kisses!), and also delight in singing songs. Every time we have music on, which is often, you bob along to the tune and quite often make up your own words to the tune of the song. You've been spending countless hours running around behind your wheely bug, climbing onto the couch, and trying to get a rise out of your brother. Your favourite words this month are "hi" "bye, "up," and "hug." When you're tired I ask if you want to "rest your head" and you immediately stop what you're doing and put your head to the floor.

This month we've been working a lot on walking. You're happy to cruise along, leaning against a wall, or a table, or a walking-toy. Lately you've become more comfortable holding on to just mommy or daddy's finger and leading us the entire house. Even at the mall or on the street, you much prefer walking while you're holding my hand than being held or going in your stroller. I know that you're fully able to do it, but as is your nature, you are taking your time and will do it on your own only when you've decided that YOU actually want to! And as for me, I like holding your hand as you walk, and am not keen at all to wish away this time.

You're a very "cautious" baby, my love. When you're set down into a new situation, you just take a few minutes to look around, acclimatize yourself, figure out the lay of the land, and only then dive in and proceed with partaking in the activities. In this, you remind me of me. The other day I had spilled many drops of water on the floor as I was frantically cooking dinner and you hurriedly grabbed the dish towel off the stove and proceeded to wipe it all up with a little sigh. In that you remind me of your father! In fact, even when you're finished taking a bath these days you proceed to put all your toys back into their proper buckets. It's so funny and wild to see little pieces of us shining through you.

This month you've been enjoying eating as a family. We've had two students for the past few months, and you make sure to develop a nice relationship with each one of them. You know when family dinner time is, and relish your little spot at the end of the table. Lately you've also started to enjoy sitting at the table like a big girl, and love it when the students share their breakfast with you. Your favourite food this month is turkey; no one could believe how much turkey you managed to devour. Not only that, but you were incredibly keen on the casseroles and soups that were leftovers. Altogether you're becoming a great eater, and really enjoy a wide variety of foods. Still, you manage to remain tall and lean, weighing in at under 21 pounds.

You're the light of our lives, Bowen, and we love watching you grow. You make me proud every single day, and sometimes I look at you and wonder how I got so lucky. I always remind myself to enjoy every second, for it passes way too fast, but then I realize that I so, so am.

Happy sixteen months, Bowen!

I love you forever,

-Your mom

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fifteen Months!

My little Baby Bowen,

Fifteen months already! I know I say this often, but time with you is just flying by. This month you've continued to flourish and our days with you are just getting more and more fun.

A couple of times during the past month your father has just looked at you and said, "I can't believe she's actually getting cuter..." Your personality these days is very much in full force. You're asserting your independence, and along with that comes a lot of shrieking! You really like to be left to do what you're doing uninterrupted, because anything that stands in your way gets shrieked at. And these tasks that you're so busily accomplishing? They range from climbing onto the table, to climbing onto the toilet, to climbing onto the couch, to basically, climbing onto every surface available. As usual, your absolute favourite activity is climbing! We try to make surfaces as safe as possible for you (except for the toilet; that one's absolutely off limits!) and the pride you beam with upon conquering your climbing quests is fantastic.

In terms of your cuteness, the most remarkable thing this month is your hair. In the span of a short month, you've suddenly got a full head of bouncy blonde curls. Everyone that hasn't seen you in a few weeks remarks on how long your hair has gotten! It seems like when you go to sleep, you focus a lot of energy on hair-growing! It's starting to get into your eyes a lot, but your dad insists that we should let it grow until at least the summer. You're still long and lean, but after the doctor's advice of encouraging you to eat more full fat cheeses and yogurts, you've definitely got a cute little tummy started!

We were at the grocery store last night, busily inspecting the apples while you sat patiently in the cart. A woman came up to me to say that she'd blown you a kiss and you blew one back! She interacted with you for a bit and then looked at me in the most sincere way and said, "You are so lucky." And all that was in my head and heart to reply was, "I know." I really truly know how lucky I am to have you for my daughter and there's not a day in which I take that for granted.

There are times when I look at you these days, my baby, and try really hard to take a picture of that very moment in my mind. I want time to stop, because so often I'm thinking, "This. It doesn't get better than this moment with you now." But then another moment happens and that's better yet. I'm trying so hard to not forget these amazing little moments with you, because all too soon you change and grow and it's time for another amazing moment. I still remember so clearly you being brand new and stopping to truly relish smelling your little baby-smelling head and thinking that it just doesn't get better. Well, Monkey, it does! And your head smells just as sweet.

My baby, you're sweet, and funny, and precious and no matter what's going on, you manage to bring a smile to our faces. I love how happy and social you are lately, and how your favourite word is now "up." Constantly you want "up;" on the couch, in my arms, just "up!" always. You're careening around the house with your walker, and with the wheely bug you have. You seem really ready to take off and walk, but you're still enjoying being supported by something or even holding my hand and walking around the house. I can't say that I'm altogether looking forward to the day when you won't need to hold my hand for walking anymore. You're doing great, Monkey!

Happy fifteen months, Baby Bowen!

I love you forever,

-Your mom

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fourteen Months!

Hi Rabbit,

I told myself that once you turned one, I'd stop writing you these monthly letters. We'd been through so much together; what with growing you in my tummy for nine months plus the whole year you'd been on the outside. For some reason I thought that in that time of writing to you I'd imparted all the lessons I had and told you all I had to say. Hardly! My little baby, you continue to not only consume my thoughts but also my days. Until that's no longer the case, I don't see any alternative but to continue writing to you monthly. Why did I think that a yearly letter world be sufficient after your 12 month birthday? You still grow and change so quickly and to neglect documenting that would be a shame. So, we'll forever have a missing Month 13, but I'll do my best to recap two months into one.

Shortly after you turned a year old, monkey, you had your first real sickness. I'd been pretty proud of keeping you ailment-free for your first year, but after a couple of days of extreme irritability, a runny nose, and eventually some throwing up, I knew something was really going on. I took you to a walk-in clinic, and after a quick look it was determined that you had a full-blown ear infection. I felt so horribly; obviously you'd been dealing with this for a few days prior and acting all tough and stoic. We went through your first round of antibiotics and you handled it all like a trooper. It was so scary to have you feeling badly, my baby. I can see, however, that when it comes to illnesses you're tough and strong, but you let me do my part in taking care of you.

In your thirteenth month you continue to be long and thin. After your 12 month vaccinations, which obviously hurt you a lot, but again you were quite tough and recovered very quickly, the doctor said that you were getting taller but not gaining much in the way of weight. You're a pretty good eater, but gravitate heavily towards fruits and veggies. Your doctor recomended that you move onto higher-fat things, so cheese and full-fat yogurts have been staples for you these days. You're becoming more adventuresome with your eating also; lately loving chili with lots of beans, stews, turkey, soups, and anything that you can hold yourself. Your pincer grip is outstanding and you're even getting curious about spoon feeding yourself!

The holiday season as a one year old was very exciting, baby Bowen! We decorated the house, and you loved being held up to inspect each shiny pretty thing on the mantle. We got our first real tree set up one night, and when you did your crawl-run out of the bedroom that next morning, the wideness with which you opened your eyes was priceless! You were absolutely riveted with the tree, and were even allowed to play with a few ornaments. Once you learned about the deliciousness of candy canes, however, it had to be fenced off. You got your picture taken with Santa not once, but three times this year! One time was with the whole family, including your brother Sandwiches, and the other two times were just for you. I have to say, you're not the biggest fan of sitting on Santa's lap! You were very keen on looking and smiling at him from afar, but once the time came to actually sit with him and be photographed, you just wouldn't have it! At least we've got some hilarious pictures to laugh at for years to come! You also got to ride on the Christmas Train in Stanley Park this year, as well as watch the Santa Parade! What a fun Christmas season, little baby! We spent Christmas eve with your grandparents and family, and you absolutely loved the feast before you. Not only that, but you finished it all off with a nanaimo bar. The next morning you woke up to your plethora of presents, and stocking. It was so wonderful to have our little family of four together. We helped you a bit with the opening, since you'd be so keen on looking at one gift and didn't want to move onto the next. We also rang the new year in together as a family, going to bed at the extremely moderate hour of eleven! When the clock stuck twelve, I woke up both you and your dad and we all shared a hug. It was the best new years because we were all together.

Another not-so-happy thing that happened in your 13th month was an overnight stay in the hospital. Since you've been getting so mobile and curious, I've really had to step up my enforcement of the "no standing on the change table!" rule. However, one morning you slid past me and had a bit of a fall from the change table onto the floor. I somewhat broke your fall, and after a lot of crying you seemed to be okay. We went about our day, but later on that evening you started vomiting everything you ate. I knew that there was something very wrong, so off we went to the emergency room. You continued throwing up as we were being admitted, and after some observation the doctors concluded that it probably wasn't a head injury, but rather just a common stomach flu. They did, however, want to keep us overnight to make sure everything was okay. We went up to a room on the floor where we were born, and I have to say that your mom was more frightened and upset than ever. Seeing you throwing up time and time again in a hospital bed was an awful sight that I soon won't forget. Not long after we settled in our room, I started throwing up too! This was a happy occurrence, as it confirmed that you didn't have an injury related to the fall, but instead merely a flu. We spent 24 hours together in that hospital bed and as horrible as it all was, we survived! It's scary when you're sick, monkey, and the return of your happy, normal self a few days later was so welcomed.

It's been quite an eventful couple of months, my baby! Lately your absolute favourite activity is climbing things. You're obsessed with climbing onto the kitchen table, no matter how many obstacles I put in your way. You also like pointing things out to me, like bananas or your dog, Wichies. This semester you're returning to Music Together, where you've become quite independent. You actually love to sit on the other side of the circle as me and groove along to the music! We're also enrolled in a tumbling class, which with your keenness on climbing is right up your alley! Today, on your fourteen month birthday we went on an interview for the daycare at the West Vancouver Community Centre. Usually it takes a few visits for toddlers to warm up to being left in a new environment, but you just jumped right in. You got right down to business, checking out all the other kids and the plethora of toys for you to explore. I actually left for half an hour, which is sort of unheard of for the first visit, and you were absolutely fine! The teacher said you were a very self-confident and secure young lady. Amazing, baby! It was bittersweet how you absolutely fine without mommy, but on the other hand I'm so incredibly proud of you. You're an amazing baby and turning into an even more incredible toddler.

Your favourite activities this month are: dancing along to music, climbing everything you possibly can, hugging Sandwiches, screeching, cruising along furniture, and doing a hilarious fast-crawl thing, which gets you around the house in an incredibly quick stompy way. You've grown another four teeth, brining your grand total up to ten. You love baths and throwing all your toys out of the tub. You smile and laugh often, and you're truly an amazing little thing. You continue to be the joy of my days, little baby, and I'm so lucky to get to spend my time with you.

Happy fourteen months, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your mom