Happy 19 Months! (Oops, and 18 months, too!)

Dear Yeladim,

Happy 18 & now 19 months! Last month Abba forgot to write down our letter as we had so many things going on in our home. We’ll be using this letter to recap all that’s happened and what this next month will bring. But despite Abba forgetting, it’s been an incredibly 19 months that we’re both blessed to be your parents!

In your 18th month of life we took our first real family vacation! We took a plane from Philadelphia to Florida. We spent a few days relaxing, swimming and exploring with Grandma Diane and Grandpa Marc, and then we took our first ever road trip. It was 9 hours! We drove from the north east of Florida to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Why? To meet up with Aunt Ashly, Uncle Mac, Kaisen and Evie, of course! Not to mention your first trip to a beach! Your 18th months of life was filled with so much fun and excitement! You both had tremendous language and communication bursts as well as incredible gains in your gross and fine motor skills.

When we returned from vacation we immediately shifted gear into what Abba calls, “Medical Support Mode.” Daddy was getting ready for surgery, and all the while Daddy & Abba had to prepare for Xander’s corrective eye surgery. On August 28th Daddy went in for his surgery and on the same day Grandma Diane flew up from Florida to stay with us (after returning from her first ever trip to Europe!). While Daddy recovered Grandma Diane (and Grandma Rose) were there to help take care of you both while Abba helped Daddy to be as comfortable as possible while recovering. Then, 10 days after Daddy’s surgery Xander you were taken into surgery to have your strabismus correction surgery. To say that Daddy and Abba were anxious is an understatement. So let’s recap all that’s happened with you both.

Phoebe – your personality continues to shine through. You are opinionated and know what you want, and with each day you continue to express what you want not only with words but in showing Abba & Daddy. You have an obsession with taking your shoes & socks off and trying to redress yourself, and that’s now extended to your shirt coming off. You find joy in helping us buckle you in your high chair and car seat and are always there to lend your hands. You still love to analyze objects and your environment around you, but girl, you have absolutely no fear. You love to dive head first into danger and face it, well, head on! You’re strong, independent and sassy to no end. Your favorite words are, “no,” “shoes,” and “hello!” You are super sweet to your brother (when you want to be), and you love to give both Daddy and Abba “running hugs.” Oh, and your favorite books are, “The Little Engine That Could,” and “Marlon Bundo.” Both great books with great life lessons: 1) Never Give Up and 2) Love is Forever, Stinkbugs are Temporary.

Xander – you personality continues to blossom as you show your sweet and tender side. You love to snuggle, give hugs and kisses to Abba and Daddy. Your gross motor and language skills have really shaped up this last month, despite being a little rough since you had your surgery; you bounced back more quickly than lightening can strike the ground in a storm! You enjoy challenging Daddy and Abba with climbing on objects you know to be off-limits and even give this little sneer that we try not to giggle at (as it’s simply adorable). You have picked up several new words but are still a bit shy with using them…except for one: bye-bye (which sounds more like “buh-bye.”). Since your surgery your eyes have dramatically improved and you’ve even been doing well without your glasses! We’ll soon see if you’ll need them now that your surgery has been completed. You’re favorite books are, “Marlon Bundo,” and “Joseph Had a Little Overcoat.” You love to sit on our laps as we read, point at the objects and smile when you know you’re right. The book about Joseph also has great life-lessons. But more on that below.

The both of you have started to consistently use utensils when you eat, assert your opinions when you know what you want and express how you feel. You both can communicate when you want more to eat and when you’re done, and it’s simply amazing to watch the both of you develop into your own little people and personalities. It’s almost as if while we’re teaching you all about life and how to maneuver through the winding paths that you’ll face, you’re teaching us what life is all about.

Although Xander has a particular affinity towards, “Joseph Had a Little Overcoat,” you both enjoy sitting down to read it with Abba or Daddy (though Daddy detests the over-the-top Yiddish voice Abba uses to read). This book has a very valuable lesson that you’ll find you need throughout your life. This story is about a man, Joseph, who has an overcoat that he re-purposes as it becomes torn and tattered. And, when he finally loses the last re-purposed object, a button, Joseph memorializes his overcoat by writing a book to remember it. So what’s the lesson? You can always make something out of nothing. This lesson is important. We will often face times where we feel we have nothing or are empty; but this just isn’t true. It’s an illusion. Our lives are rich and filled, even when we feel the toys we have are old and boring. Sometimes we just need to look at them in a different way – call it, “stepping outside of the box.”

Yeladim – continue growing, continue learning, continue exploring and most of all continue being yourselves. Our love for you is unconditional and infinite. And as we round the corner of time’s journey to year two we are more-so shocked at the warp speed that’s been attained. You truly are our little miracles.

All our love,

Daddy & Abba