Thursday, April 02, 2009

Happy Birthday to You: 14 Months Old

Dear Anabella,

This week you turned 14 months old. This has been a tough month, but believe it or not it has nothing to do the hectic pace of our life as a family with two working parents and toddler. March came in like a lion because your little Rah Rah, aka The Momes, aka Momo, aka Doy, aka Moet the family pug suffered a terrible injury in his back. As a result we've all been thrown out of balance, because though we are only three people, our family is really a party of four.

You have been such a huge part of these past 14 months (23 if you count the time you spent wreaking havock inside my midsection) and the impact that your presence has made in our lives is evident right here, in that I rarely have the inspiration, or time, to write about anything else. If there is one thing that we know about Moet, it's that he does not take well to the thought of becoming just another family pet. You have been my baby for just over a year now, but he has been my fur-baby for seven years. It seems this month he decided that he'd take back a little of the attention he's been missing out on -- by throwing out his back and demanding that we look down and take notice.

If there's is one thing that I never want to happen in our family, it's for one of us, any one of us, to hurt. This month, watching Momo in so much pain has been extremely difficult for me, for Daddy and unfortunately, as a result, for you too. Because although you are still too little to understand exactly what is wrong, you are more than capable of recognizing that something is. You can read our body language, pick up on our anxieties and absorb our sadness.

**Author's note: Monday April 6: This post has been interrupted by the stomach flu**

Touche my little Bella. It seems you are far wiser than I give you credit for. Just as I was about to dedicate my attentions - and one of your monthly updates - to the dog, you caught wind and decided to one up the little fur ball by catching the stomach flu and turning all eyes back to you. You are a clearly a master manipulator, young one. I will not make such a foolish mistake again.

You've just spent the weekend in the hazy, uncomfortable state of feverish flu. This morning you seem a bit better, except I'm still cleaning up more poop than I really care to mention and yes, you have successfully averted our attentions from your sick fur-brother.

I think in your sickness; however, your dad and I have had a chance to see how much you have developed this past month.

In your sleepy silence we realized how many words you have now, and we've longed each day to hear you say them. To be met by silence and quiet whimpers in the morning was jarring, since we've become so used to your incessant chattering and singing.

To see you lying listlessly in your daddy's arms all weekend, when normally you fight such snuggles in favour of being on the floor by yourself, free to move and explore, we realized how busy you've become. How curious and active.

To try to feed you only to be met by, "No, no, no, no..." has been so worrisome because usually you attack your meals with such zest and joy, happily feeding yourself and the dog (that's the last time I mention him, I swear, do not revolt!) and chit chatting all the while.

Otherwise, though, you've handled your sickness like a trouper. Though clearly unwell and unhappy, you continued to sleep through the night, take your medicine and not get yourself too worked up with tears and turmoil. I think today you are on the mend and I can't wait for you to feel better and to hear your happy little voice around the house again.

My favourite new word this month is "caaacooor." It means cracker, and I'll tell you what it cracks - me up! But I think that your most endearing and heartwarming Bellaism has got to be your word for Moet, "Rah Rah" (your adorable version of a barking sound) because it's always filled with love. And I could swear that lately, in Rah Rah's time of need, your little voice has even been filled with concern. You are truly a sweet soul, little one.

I love you,