Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dear Cadence, Month 30

Dear Cadence,

I am so happy that I am getting to write this letter to you from a new, happy home. We haven't been here even long enough to unpack, but I am encouraged by the fact that every time you walk in the door here, you declare "It's Beautiful!!!" and often talk about how you're "So excited to live here!"

This place is big and gorgeous and so full of hope. It's already more of a home than we've had in a long while, and we haven't even sorted out how each room will be set up yet. It is incredibly refreshing to be setting up our new home instead of trying to figure out how to make it work.

So, probably needless to say, this has been another extremely full month. You were a super duper help during the entire process of finding, then securing, and now moving into this place. You have been amazingly patient with us as we've been doing so much work and not paying nearly as much time playing as we would all like.

And then there is the complication of the Dreaded Shea Butter.

I've always had eczema that flares up when I eat certain foods, but lately it has been somewhat out of control. Starting around the time I was in the hospital my skin started to be unrelentingly dry, and my face, arms and hands were most severely affected. Once my hands started to get so bad the skin would split open if I bent my fingers, I decided I needed to fight back a bit more aggressively. One part of that action plan was a big tub of pure shea butter that I got to combat the dryness...I would apply it frequently throughout the day, and right before bed I'd really lay it on thick. At first you were intrigued and interested in the whole ordeal, and especially the substance itself, but that initial enthusiasm soon faded into a distanced interest as you came to your own conclusions about it, and finally into an all out aversion to anything Shea Butter.

Granted, you seemed happy to have me use it, you knew it was helping me somehow, but you also knew that you didn't like it for yourself, and you didn't want anything - or anyone - who had touched it to come anywhere near you. I don't think you liked the tacky feeling it left on your skin! This made it a little harder for me to play with you, and certainly to carry you from our bedtime stories into your bed at night. You wouldn't let me kiss you, either, lest my cheek have shea butter on it that could get on yours. In the morning you'd come over to our bed while we were still asleep and crawl in with us, then gently ask "mama, do you have shea butter on you?" "not yet" I would answer, and you'd dive in for some hugs and snuggles and maybe a kiss or two before I'd get up to medicate my skin.

But then again, as dramatic as your shrieking and recoiling away from it was, you also always made sure I used it if I needed it. If you noticed my hands being dry throughout the day, you'd tell me "mama, you need your shea butter on your hands. you want your shea butter? I'll get it for you!" and you'd run and get the tub, and as long as there was no residual butter on the lid, you'd bring it to me and unscrew the top. You'd pretend to put your own shea butter on from the underside of the lid, and then screw the top back on and put it away once I was done with it. You are just so thoughtful and helpful!!

You're also incredibly perceptive. You were sitting on my lap earlier this month and felt the baby that time we hadn't really discussed how a baby moves inside the womb at all, and up to that point the idea of there being a baby in there had been somewhat abstract and intangible (or so I thought) other than the fact that my front was rounder, so I was quite surprised when you looked up at me with a huge goofy grin on your face and declared "Mama, the baby in your belly is moving!"

It was perfectly timed, actually, to get us all ready to get our first really good look at the baby at the 20 week full fetal anatomy scan. You came with us, and I am so glad that you were able to be there for it! I think it was a little weird to follow that what you were seeing on the screen was actually what was inside of mama's I think it felt a little strange at first...but you seemed to be really excited to see the baby on the screen, and ever since then you've been talking to the baby and poking my belly button, which you claim is you tickling the baby. It's very cute.

We talked to you about whether the baby would be a boy or a girl, and you seem to be pretty satisfied with the fact that we don't get to choose the baby's sex, and change your mind from day to day about whether you want a baby brother or a baby sister, so I am hopefully that you'll just be happy with whatever this kid ends up being.

Which actually reminds me of an unrelated, but very cute and rather devious little tidbit. The other morning we were sitting at the table eating breakfast and talking when you suddenly cried out "I'm a bad boy!" to which I responded that no, you were a good girl! we went trough several iterations of this exchange, and it eventually morphed into you grinning ear to ear and declaring yourself a bad girl...and when I asked for an explanation, you leaned over close to me and said "I'm a bad girl because I'm going to steal your vaccinations!!" and with a plucky "yoink!" sound you grabbed at the spot on my arm where I would have received my shots and pulled them away and clutched the 'vaccinations' close to your chest, self satisfied little grin holding back a torrent of giggles.

You stole my vaccinations, you silly kid!

Seriously. you know what vaccinations are, and that it would be 'bad' to take them away're still 2, right? 'cause you pulled that out of the blue. It was not a contextual inspiration, you actually came up with that on your own. You smarty.

You've also picked up on the fact that most people around here don't call their fathers "Baba"
but instead refer to them as "Dad," and so you, almost overnight, began to do the same. Suddenly it's "daddy" unless you were in true distress...though this faded a bit and now you use both terms pretty much interchangeably, and Baba will answer as long as you don't call him "bobby", which you've tried a few times (a combination of baba and daddy, I guess...mama and mommy both work!). He was kind of sad when you first switched, he said he'd figured you would switch at some point, but he'd thought it would be a little further down the line, when you were in school and faced with more peer pressure. Perhaps this little phase will keep it from being an issue when you're older, perhaps not, but I think he's glad you haven't abandoned the phrase completely.

You've also continued your interest in've even invented your own style, which you refer to as a "ballerina tap dance." This seems an apt title, since it really does appear to be a combination of the two styles...lots of lyrical movements mixed with quick stomping steps...not too dissimilar from irish step-dancing, but definitely a unique style. At one point over the christmas holiday you even declared that you were going to teach it to kai-lan when we got back to New York.

You're growing up so fast, little bug. I can't wait to see how you blossom and grow with your new role as a big sister...but don't go too fast. As I so often tell you (and to which you respond "noooooo!") you will always be my baby, even when you're all grown up and off on your own adventures, whatever they may be.

Happy New Year!!
Love always,