So, right around Valentine's Day, Ila said “I love you” to me for the first time ever. Well, technically, she said, “Olive too,” but I know what she meant. In the intervening month, she has gotten a little closer to the standard pronunciation, but it still often sounds like a strange contraction, “lovetoo.” I think she's trying to say, “I love you, too,” or maybe she just can't say words that start with y? Either way, waking up with her in the mornings now, which was already so snuggly and sweet, is even more adorable punctuated by her little attempts to tell me she love me. It's very lovely. I know that co-sleeping doesn't work for some folks, and I get that, especially on nights she's very restless, but I can't imagine not having her in our bed right now. When she wakes up now, she says, “kiss” and “hug” repeatedly while she gives us snuggles. How freaking cute is that?
Speaking of standard pronunciation, I'm trying to just revel in all her odd little saying as I know they will not be here forever. “Bub-bel-ee wa wa” for carbonated water, which she weirdly really loves. “Blank-uh-let” for blanket, which is my favorite right now. But I know these little Ila-isms will not be around forever. She used to say “block-oh-lee” for broccoli, and she's already lost that. The last few weeks her pronunciation has been getting better and better. And she said her first full, real sentence last week, “It's right here” (about a temporary tattoo on her knee). What a simple sentence, yet it sounded so sophisticated and erudite after so many weeks of “Mama, drive” or “Mommie, walk” or “Eat, peas, corn.” It's amazing to see her really focus and grow verbally...but it's also a little sad to see some of the most surprising and humorous pronunciations go.
I've been trying to record samples of her speech. However, she has become fixated on watching videos of herself on my camera (hopefully not the start of an extremely narcissistic personality) whenever I take it out to record anything. She just asks to see "the baby"...
I am now in school again, so we've been looking for a preschool. That's fun. Meh. Actually, I shouldn't complain too much, we found one we really like that had a spot for her in the fall. Now that she is almost two, there are a lot more options out there. I look forward to having a place that she will – hopefully – enjoy going to so that I can get work done...but I also feel torn about losing so much Ila time. It somehow feels different than when her grandparents watch her now. When they watch her, it sort of feels like an extension of our little family unit, still close to us and part of our lives. I guess that's why picking a pre-school that really “feels” right, with nice families, etc. is so important. I want to be clear...I don't feel guilty about leaving her exactly...it's more like I feel greedy, like I should be the person who witnesses most of her little toddler moments of life...I don't want these pre-school interlopers. I'm not sure this is a super-functional and healthy feeling. I mean, it's really about me...Ila can certainly grow by having some time with other adults and children in a safe, nurturing environment. I'm not saying it's required at the age of two, but it can be great for a toddler. After all, I am not, realistically, going to keep her home forever and home school her...but I am a teensy bit embarrassed to say that I sort of secretly want to do this.
I'm not necessarily convinced she loves being away from me for long periods of time anyway. I mean, I think she will adjust and enjoy pre-school, but there is definitely a threshold she hits and then just wants to be with me. I think children are supposed to be “energetically” connected to their mothers until they are three according to Chinese medicine...this seems about in keeping with my experience. She is certainly becoming more and more opinionated, more individuated, but she still feels very, very sensitive to how long she is apart from me. This can be stressful, of course, but I remind myself that this is such a tiny, fleeting amount of her life. And much of the time, especially during morning snuggles, this connection feels so completely wonderful that it's easy to forget about how difficult it is to, say, do the dishes when she wants me to hold her the entire time.