Wednesday, July 21, 2010

15 Months

My Beautiful Gabriela,

Whew! These last three months have been busy, busy, busy! It seems like ever since you turned one we have been on the go! (I'm not sure how that is different from the first 12 months of your life, I guess, but still...we've been busy!) You totally roll with it though and adapt to any situation we put you in. All the while growing up so, so fast!

Just for fun, we entered a Mother/Daughter Look-a-Like Contest Mother's Day Weekend. Out of the nearly 60 participants, we didn't win, but you were definitely the cutest daughter on stage that day! (And luckily I'm not biased or anything.)

Shortly after your first birthday, we hit the road. The second week of May, you and I made the 14 hour drive to Georgia without Papai (since somebody has to work and pay the bills!) We got to spend some good quality time with Grandpa and Momo before heading over to South Carolina for Uncle Justin and Aunt Casie's wedding festivities.

You were a hit at Aunt Casie's lingerie shower and bachelorette party (although you and I called it a night before all the girls headed out to a club to go dancing.) We were planning a little family mini-vacation to Myrtle Beach after the wedding, but Papai got called away on a last minute trip to Brasil. So, you and I got a little more solo time.

After getting back to Iowa, we attended Aunt Kelly's High School Graduation Party, and then you, Papai, and I headed south to your homeland. Our trip got extended, and we ended up spending a full 3 weeks in Belo Horizonte. Papai was working, but you and I were most definitely vacationing (do you see a recurring theme here?) Then we flew back home to Burlington and left the following day for a week-long family trip to Georgia.

You spent your first night ever completely away from the parental units and got totally spoiled by Uncle Travis and Aunt Brii while we attended my 10-year class reunion. (And as a side note, we never actually meant to wait this long to leave you behind while we took a trip, but you're such an easy kid that it really is no trouble at all to take you along with us. We've never felt like we needed a "break". And so, you were 14 months old before you ever spent a night away. Lots of people were surprised that I never called to check up on you nor were we the least bit anxious or worried. We knew you were in good hands and have full confidence in you to behave with or without us around.)

A trip to Hilton Head Island, a visit to Great Uncle Ruben and Aunt Betsy in Waycross, a quick visit with Uncle Nathan in Tifton, a stopover with the Mizells in Cairo, and then we returned to Colbert to spend the 4th of July with Grandpa, Momo, Uncle Nathan, Aunt Megan, Uncle Justin, Aunt Casie, and Cousin Tyson. And then we drove 14 hours overnight back home.

After all that, I was left feeling more than ever like you are a complete rock star! In less than two months, you logged over 5,000 miles in the car, more than 25 hours on planes, slept in countless cribs/rooms, got kept up past your bedtime regularly, had to skip multiple naps, met dozens upon dozens of new people, used disposable diapers instead of your usual cloth, and Mamae got lazy and did not give you nearly as many opportunities to use the potty instead of your diaper like you're used to. Yet you still slept 12 hours every night without ever waking up, you ate like a champ, you never complained about getting put back in your car seat AGAIN, you entertained the masses with huge smiles, squeals, and babble, and we received countless compliments on what a happy, outgoing, beautiful, and well-behaved little girl you are!

Despite my mild concern that we were going to have to get you dentures, it seems you might have teeth somewhere under your gums after all. You cut your two bottom teeth simultaneously at 12 months, 3 weeks while we were at Grandpa and Momo's. More than two months later, there is no sign of any more teeth yet, but you're doing pretty good with those two bottom ones and can gum up darn near anything we feed you.

A couple weeks ago, you started crying when we lay you down for bedtime and naps. That was totally new for you! But luckily it was short-lived and only lasted a week. The first night you screamed for 30 minutes and I was almost convinced something was really wrong with you. You quickly let us know it was just that you were mad and didn't want to go to sleep though: That night, you only calmed down after Papai came in the room and took you from me. Then you looked at me, scrunched up your little face, shook your head, and said "Oooooooooooo". After that you got laid right back down and we let you cry your little self to sleep. For the next week, you continued to cry each time you had to sleep, but it was a little shorter each day until you finally stopped altogether. (Thank goodness!!!)

My goal since your birth was to wait until your first birthday to cut your hair. We made it, and your bangs and mullet got a nice trim in May. You are no longer rocking a curly mullet. You're welcome.

You are walking like a champ and even starting to run now (although your little runs usually end with you sprawled across the floor or ground!) And your latest passion is climbing. You are constantly trying to throw your leg up and over things to climb up. Your short stature limits you a bit, but you've recently figured out how to drag things around and make little steps for yourself (oh joy). You climb on and off of your tricycle over and over again and even love to take a book to read while you sit on it.

Just after your first birthday you finally started to use some sign language. "Eat" was, not surprisingly, your first and favorite sign. Then you added "Done/Finished", "Want", and "Milk". (Although we say the words in Portuguese while using ASL - yeah, I know, confusing.)

Verbally, you're still not saying a whole lot of actual words. Mama, Dada, Nana (for banana), and Nene (baby in Portuguese) are your only words right now. You are constantly babbling your own little language though. There is so much inflection in your voice it sounds like you're telling all kinds of stories. And you are able make all kinds of sounds including clucking your tongue and rolling your tongue (as in a rolling "r" in Spanish). Despite your lack of ability to speak to us, you understand nearly everything! You follow most the commands we give you now and know the names of most things around the house that you regularly play with or get into. You only understand Portuguese as that's all Papai and I speak with you, but the English will come as you get older and spend more time with extended family, friends, and playmates.

You love most foods, although you might not eat something today but eat it fine tomorrow. Your favorites right now are tomatoes (we couldn't keep you away from Grandpa's tomatoes in Georgia, every time we turned around you had picked one out of the basket and taken a couple bites!), berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries), bananas, plain yogurt, cheese, and whole wheat crackers. You also have a strange affection for lemons and limes - you don't even make a face as you happily eat away at them! You generally eat table food now, but we're careful to make sure you get plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. You still haven't had any sweets or super-processed food of any sort. You drink water with meals and throughout the day and have three 8-ounce sippy cups of whole milk each day (one first thing in the morning, one as an afternoon snack, and one at night before bed). We've started giving you a fork and/or spoon with your meals. If we load it up for you, you do a great job of picking it up and getting the food into your mouth. You haven't quite mastered getting food onto the utensil yourself though.

You love dolls, adore purses or anything with a strap you can throw over your arm as a "purse" (such as my bras), and have been totally obsessed with books the last couple weeks. While we're at home you almost always have a book in your hand. You will spend a lot of time walking around and flipping through a book by yourself, but if anyone is sitting on the floor you back up and plop your little hiney into our lap and hand us a book to read. We rarely make it through an entire book, as usually you hop up and go pick out another one about halfway through. We hope we can continue to foster your love of books and reading for many years to come!

You've become even more affectionate lately. You run to the door the moment Papai gets home and immediately want him to pick you up so you can give him a great big hug. And you love to plant huge, open mouth, slobbery kisses on us when we least expect them! Your constant chatter makes us giggle and your movie star smile and wave lights up a room the moment you enter. Attention is definitely your thing and, at 15 months, you have yet to ever show the least bit of stranger anxiety!

You hit a sudden vertical growth spurt the last month and are up to 30" tall (30th percentile). Your feet grew at an even faster pace! Size 3 shoes were huge on you at your birthday, now you fill out a size 4! (Although all your summer shoes are size 3's and so long as they are open-toed they are still working out alright.) You're a tall and narrow thing, weighing only 20.5 pounds naked (15the percentile).

You are growing up so fast and we want to savor every moment. You are a busy little toddler and into everything these days, but we love to watch as you figure out how things work and gain more coordination and confidence. Our days are filled with laughter and smiles and your Papai and I enjoy you so much!

I love you lots, Minha Princessa!


Gabriella said...

I love how you speak only Portuguese too her, keep doing that she grows up knowing the 2 languages well. I wish I had done the same with my daughter who's now 5!!

She's so cute!

Jenna Davis said...

she is so beautiful you guys! hope to set aside some time to see you guys soon!

Maher Family said...

Simply adorable!!! She is so precious

Casie Parrott Tyson said...

Emily, I know I say this all the time, but Gabriela is the cutest little girl I've ever seen! :) (And I'm not a biased Aunt or anything either!)

You're such a wonderful mother!

Love all of you!

Katiebell said...

I am LOVING the last picture of her holding that little purse! Precious!!