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Gifts, Unwrapped

I’ve written a few times before about love languages, and how I can see the girls developing differently in that area. They’re becoming more clearly defined, and I love to see their individuality, even as I see them both happily moving forward and reaching out in each individual language.

Cora is a big Words and Affirmation girl, and is more comfortable saying, “I love you so much, Mommy,” out of the blue, than any other kid I’ve seen. Her comfort with verbal intimacy is humbling, and makes me work harder to meet that and respond to her in her own words.
And while Cora is striving mightily to read and write, she’s not QUITE there yet – she can laboriously sound out “To” and “From” and “Love You” but isn’t quite up to writing letters. So she does the next best thing.

Every night the girls climb into their beds for Bedtime, at which point some real work begins. Neither girl is tired, and we’ve put together a lap desk for each girl with puzzles, crayons, paper, picture searches, and such. Cora sees this as her prime creative time, and she’ll hunker down happily on her bed, surrounded by paper, crayons, tape, and envelopes. And then she writes letters.

Lots and lots of letters.

Cora has a special notepad that she loves to use. She’ll draw a landscape – usually a flower – put it in an envelope, write the recipient’s name on it, and then sneak out of her room, tape it to a door with double-stick tape, and chortle her way merrily back to bed. One morning the house woke up to an envelope on every door – and a bonus 8 ½ x 11 drawing tacked up next to it.

Open your envelope in front of her, tell her how much it means to you, and Cora blushes and swells with pride, clinging happily to you. She visibly blooms right there.

Yes, Cora’s deeply interested in artistic things, happily painting or drawing or designing for hours at a time. But I think these “letters” to us are just that: her pre-writing versions of love notes to her favorite people in the world. And in a few more months, when her writing takes off, there’s going to be no stopping that girl.

Cora loves giving letters so much that she’s asked if each person in the family could have a mailbox outside his or her door. To that end, we went to the Container Store yesterday and purchased brand-new, never-before-written-upon-or-sent-through-the-mail boxes to use. White cardboard canvases upon which Cora can create. She’s all set to start designing them – keeping complete creative control – today after Vacation Bible School.

I foresee a mailbox covered in stickers and jewels and lots of hand-drawn flowers.

And filled with love.


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