Dear Bee // 43

Dear Bee,

You’re starting to teach other children bad habits. Sunday, I took you to church for our annual Hanging of the Greens and dropped you off in the nursery to play with fabric food while I stacked Christmas trees and stringed (strung?) ornaments and sipped cocoa. It was a magically delightful night of community and labor, and a few hours later all of the parents picked up their children to witness the most intense squealing baby band we have ever heard. Your father and I like to joke that you don’t laugh, you squeal, because that is the only word to properly capture the sound that spills forth from your lips. It is treacherously delightful, very swine-like and mildly annoying, especially for other parents that don’t love noise, or other people’s children, or other people’s childrens’ noises.

Still, in just two hours, you had singlehandedly convinced each and every tiny soul that squealing was the new laughing, of which I had to apologize on your behalf to each and every tiny soul’s parent. Bee, you are turning us into social outcasts, even among the church-folk who have to like us because Jesus said so.

It’s only fair, I suppose, that you’re making your own foray into the proactive side of vocal training. A few weeks ago, a California friend taught you to say “Mine” and “Gimme,” and last week you learned the most assertive “No” imaginable from my nephew. It is the kind of “No” that lasts eight syllables long and furrows brows with sheer force. And I now realize that swapping germs isn’t what parents should fear: it’s the swapping of vocabularies.

Still, you are a boisterous delight. You’ve learned a million words and animal sounds all of the sudden, and our list of fan favorites are “Gobble Gobble” and “Cock-a-Doodle Doo,” namely because they sound a lot like you’re an old man with four gumballs in your throat. Update: We finally figured out what “Bips” means (“Sippy Cup” which stems from “Sippa Sippa” and then “Spspsp” and then “Bips“), a completely coherent derivation, naturally.

Speaking of nourishment, your new favorite food is The Graham Cracker, which you call “Cook,” which I call the only sane way to coax you into a car seat. It’s a miraculous invention, this graham cracker of sorts. Semi-healthy, it has a shelf life of forever and a baby entertainment score of 9 minutes, which is exactly how long it takes to get to the grocery store in complete and total silence. Graham crackers are magic.

You’re very interested in ketchup (this is where I thank your Grandmother in a totally not at all sarcastic way for introducing you to condiments) and dinnertime is a fiasco if you’re not offered something to dip things in. Hummus is the norm, but every so often we go for broke and succumb to your ketchup demands and cringe for the remainder of the day as you breathe ketchup breath on everyone in the house. Bee, even the dogs have taken to their cages on Ketchup Day. It’s an odor that is indescribable.

Other things of note: Favorite songs are “If You’re Happy And You Know It,” “Wheels on the Bus,” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” which is the frenemy song that you ask for often, but wind up hating halfway through. You love to hate that bastard spider, Bee.

On any given minute of any given day, you can be found (a) with toilet paper in your ears, (b) jumping from ottoman to sofa and back again, (c) asking to watch ‘Cailou,’ which is completely my fault but gracious if I didn’t cave to a half hour show so I could get some dinner on the table, or (d) stealing crayons from the office credenza to hide in secret places. Yesterday, I found the purple one in the diaper Genie, which made me laugh because you hate the color purple but you hate green more, so I’m looking forward to finding where you’ve stashed that one.

I read once that, after the year mark, parenting gets better and better and better and better. (I mean, it’s got to be the graham crackers, right?) And Bee, it’s the truth. You are spreading your wings and spreading toilet paper throughout the house and spreading hummus all over our dining room table, but most of all, you are spreading so, so, so much joy.

Babies are rad. You’re the raddest.


  • Love love love your letters to Bee!!!! And the picture is adorable. She is getting so big and she is starting to look more like you more and more!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh, I love these updates/letters- and I am glad that we’re not the only ones who have a condiment-loving toddler:) Bee sounds like a delight!

  • I had to laugh out loud at so many parts of this letter…the ketchup, (remember, we did warn you about those white walls?), the graham cracker silencer, the purple crayon in the diaper genie, the toilet paper in her ear, but my favorite was the line about “the church- folk liking us because Jesus said they had to.” I think Bee should sing in the children’s choir….and make her own joyful noise as she spreads her version of the good news!

  • I have to laugh because Dean is starting to sound SO much like Bee! The cracker thing? OMG THE TRUTH! For Dean it’s graham crackers, Ritz crackers or, as he was introduced at my in-laws over Thanksgiving, CLUB crackers. Baby crack….SERIOUSLY.

    You are right — things are starting to get SO FUN now! (Of course, we just have to finish up with some of the pesky teething business that’s still causing some ouchiness in our house first!)

    • Awww, Bee got her molars, so I can totally relate. I think she’s all done with the rough ones, luckily!

  • Erin, I so agree with all of this! Animal sounds, screeches, hoots, hollers, sweetness and orneriness – it’s all coming in spades and I love it. I’m currently trying to teach Forrest “Uhoh Spaghetti-o” and he was *this* close this morning.

    Bee is so lucky to have you two.

  • She is so adorable! I love how her hair is growing in, so cute! The expression on her face to me looked likes Her 2 youngest boy cousins, I think.

  • She is such a doll!! Sounds like she has an even cuter personality to match! :)

  • Bee sounds like a mirror-image to my son Liam, who is due to turn 1 in a few weeks. I admit that at times I cling to this blog as a validation that all kids are as curious as mine and that it’s ok to let chaos rule in one’s house. It’s how babies discover who they are! Thank you for the wonderful snapshots of parenthood where we can lean wearily and say “Oh thank goodness, it’s not just me.”

    • Ha, it’s definitely not just you! It’s pretty nutty in our house most of the time. Just last night, Ken and I were chatting and looked down at the floor where Bee was playing with mixing bowls quietly for like, 4 minutes. We just couldn’t believe it! Today she’s up to her crazy tricks, but at least we had 4 glorious minutes of conversation. :)

  • this is one of my favorites you’ve written! she sounds like a real ham, and I love how kids have a knack for “turning us into social outcasts, even among the church-folk who have to like us because Jesus said so.”

  • Another great letter that reminds me of my 18month old. It’s amazing how they develop. Mine goes through Liebniz butter biscuits like no tomorrow and begs for a cartoon called Pocoyo daily. We also bribe her with it when at restaurants so it our fault. I think there are certain times where a little bad parenting is ok. I’m over trying to be perfect. That thought lasted about a week. Oh and love the ketchup breath!

  • I love the idea of writing to your child. And as for the battle of Ketchup vs. Humus. My adult preference is humus, but as a kid I too loved to play with ketchup. Looking forward to the next letter to Bee.

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