Monday, 13 August 2012

Dear Charlie - 22 months

Dear Charlie

You turned 22 months old on the 2nd of August. It's been six months since I've written you a letter. Sorry little one.

We've had some huge changes over the last six months Charlie. Lily started school and you desperately wanted to join her. Then we tried a childcare for you - just three hours in the morning - and you really hated it and we bailed. But I still had to finish writing my PhD and so you spent more time with Papa and your Grandparents while I hid away in my funny cupboard study and eventually took myself off to the State library for a full week of full-time writing. Unlike childcare, you handled that really well. Although you did make up for the lost breastfeeeding time at night and I'm still suffering for that.

Finally, we packed up and moved from Melbourne (where we'd been for less than 9 months) to Hanoi. You've handled this transition well too. Although you have asked to go home on the plane a number of times. I'm hoping that when we move into our new house and get all our stuff it will be even easier.

In the last six months you've grown up so much. Your language is incredible. There is little that you cannot say now. You express yourself clearly and recite your favourite books from start to finish. You still mispronounce a few words, but I have to admit that these are my favourites. You say 'entient' for elephant, 'boon' for spoon, and 'gayfu' for thank you. You say 'gayfu' a lot too, as you have learned the value of being charming.

You remain a friendly, gregarious little soul. This is lucky because people treat you a bit like a rock star here in Hanoi. Your little head of blonde curls is a bit of a novelty, I guess. People gather around to touch your head and to seek cuddles from you. Sometimes you do give them a cuddle, but mostly you just smile and say "xin chao." I am looking forward to the day when you can speak more Vietnamese. I'm guessing you'll be better than me shortly.

You are quite a kooky, strong-minded person. You like to dress yourself and have very particular ideas about what you want to wear. You love to wear your backpack and pack it with things for "work." You also love beads (necklaces & bracelets), hair clips and head bands - much to the distress of people with very fixed idea of appropriate gender roles.

Another non-comformist preference of yours has been an enthusiastic interest in meat (we are a vegetarian family). Lately you have taken to crying at night, "I want meat!" (And I mean crying, with tears and all.) You have also insisted on trying a few different types of meat at the hotel breakfast buffet. You rejected ham as "yucky," but enjoyed both bacon and a chicken nugget. Earlier I would have found this really challenging, but for some reason I just find it amusing. I guess I'm mellowing... The real test will come when I have to decide whether to cook it for you. At least I know where to buy organic meat here, if it does come to that.

I'm looking forward to the next six months, little one. I hope to write you a few more letters between now and then.


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