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Dear Elsie, almost 17 months

Dear Elsie,
You are almost 17 months old. That is amazing and awesome. You are so full of life, so full of passion and so determined. Not a day goes by when your daddy and I don't comment, "She's really fun" or "She's so sweet, isn't she?" You amaze us and surprise us.

I'm not sure what we were expecting...probably another little Ivar. But you are completely your own and I love getting to know you.

You are messy. Food ends up everywhere on you and you don't seem to mind. But this pairs well with your love of baths. You also have a real joy for toothbrushes. Most of the day you will have a tooth brush in your mouth or in your hand. If anyone is in the bathroom, you come begging. Your stocking this year will be full of tooth brushes, and I can't wait to see your reaction.

You don't let me put you down until you are ready. Your little legs clench my waist and if I dare peel you off of me you let me have it. Your scream is angry and your feelings are so sad. There's a real hint of drama in you, Elsie. I'm sure we'll see more of that as the years go on.

You have just a few words: Baba, Mama, Dada, Lolo (lotion, for your itchy, sensitive skin), Daydo Daydo (kitty, chicken, animal...) and my personal favorite: Crakah (which can either mean cracker and tractor).

Going outside is your very favorite thing to do. You get very excited when we start to bundle up and helpfully bring your shoes and jacket to me. Once outside you visit the cats and talk and laugh with them, and then visit the chickens. Even in this terrible cold you insist on being outside and protest with sadness when it is time to come back inside.

You love your brother, and lately have been taking the lead in finding things to do. He watches you, and no matter what you are playing with, you make it look fun. So he wants it too. You are the one who pulled out all of the canned goods to play with. You are the one who figured out how to climb onto the kitchen table with no assistance.You are the one who waddled into the living room with the bread knife you found in the open dishwasher. You have no trouble finding things to do...

When you wake up in the morning we will hear you jumping in your crib, hanging onto the crib you jump as high as you can. And it is impressively high. Eventually you tucker out and start to call for us. But listening to your squeaky mattress crib aerobics in the baby monitor makes us laugh every time.

We love you so much, Elsie. Love your smile. Love your spirit. Love your strong sense of self.
I am so glad you are mine.

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