I'm late writing this letter, but I feel like I just sat down to write the last one and am having a hard time accepting that another month has gone so quickly and you are eighteen months old. I love the way you are now, it's so much fun to watch you learn and explore, but lately I am feeling the loss of your babyness and taking it a little hard. You are so tall and thin and your feet are so big and I miss, just a little, the days when you were so fat that you had three separate rolls of chub on each thigh and I could fit both of your little feet entirely into my mouth. I know that months and years from now, I will look back on this time too and feel it's loss just as keenly.
You became a Toddler this month. Sure, you've been walking for 6 months, but this month you really developed the Toddler attitude. You are in charge, the world is all about you, and the rest of us had better get out of the way while you work to bend it to your will. At the same time, you are an incredibly sweet and gentle child. You love to give kisses to anything that will stand still long enough - people, stuffed animals, lamps, rugs, and especially your own knees and feet. You shiver with glee when you get the chance to be near a baby and pat her gently on the head. You love to share - toys, food, bits of trash you find on the ground, and you love to applaud your own efforts after you have handed off whatever it is in the name of sharing.
You are also good, so good. You don't touch things I tell you not to touch, you don't put things in your mouth, and you have stopped biting (can I get a hallelujah?). You know that you are allowed to touch electric cords if they are not plugged in (like yesterday when you dragged my hairdryer all over the house and styled all the stuffed animals), but that once it is plugged in it is off limits. You may stand there and point and wheedle and beg, but you know you are not allowed to touch and you do not touch. I appreciate that more than I can say, and I hope you will keep it up forever.
You are still a very particular child. Lately your obsession is with doors. They must be closed. Frequently you feel the need to open and close them, just to insure that they are well and fully shut. The transom over our front door is the bane of your existence as you do not understand why we refuse to close that hole already. (It's as closed as it gets babe, as we keep telling you.)
You fell in love with the moon this month. You learned to say it "MOO!" and ask for it constantly. For a while, Dada would show you the moon when he got home from work, and you seem to have decided that Dada brought the moon home with him from work. You were hugely disappointed the first day that moonrise happened after your bedtime and you didn't get to see your new friend.
We spent lots of time in the car this month. Not going anywhere, just parked out in front of the house while you "drove" and played with the radio and turned on the hazards and the wipers and then climbed into the back seat to open and close the buckles of your car seat. You are now able to locate the correct key on my ring, put it in the ignition and start my car. Not a very useful skill for an eighteen month old child, but an example of your amazing powers of observation and mimicry. Starting the car is exciting, but not nearly as exciting as honking the horn. I think our neighbors are starting to hate us a little bit.
You say, after a fashion at least, mama, dada, hat, ball, moon, knee, cheese, pillow, buckle, bubble, bye-bye, Elmo, banana, umbrella, book, Baba, (fruit) bar, hi, backpack and bamboo. You sign eat, more, water, dog, monkey, bear, help, clean up, share, all done, down, flower, cereal, bread, later, yellow, tree, bird, plane, car, duck, chicken, baby, star, please, thank you, type/computer, color, keys, chair, table, refrigerator, sleep, swing, shoes, socks, apple, milk and cloud.
You identify any picture of any man anywhere as "Dada," including Mr. Spock and Paul Simon. Other things you identify as "Dada" are his shoes, camera, hat, socks and especially car. You spend all day every day asking for Dada and always seem hugely disappointed by my standard response of "Dada is at work, baby." Of course, most of the time the second Dada walks in the door you decide you are a big-time mama's girl and cannot be separated from me for an instant.
This month you also learned how to take the top off a tube of chap stick and how to turn the wheel at the bottom to expose more of the chap sticky goodness, and more often than not these days you can be found carrying a tube around with you, smearing it on your lips (and chin and cheeks and Monkey and Elmo) at regular intervals. You also adore balls, plastic bottles, piling your stuffed animals in the shower, and wearing mama's underwear on your head.
You woke up halfway through writing this and I have been trying to finish up while you pulled books off the shelves and played with tape. You just came over and demanded access to my lap, and when I picked you up you just sat there for a second with your head on my shoulder and let me hug you. Now you are coloring all over our tax forms and as soon as I am done typing we'll sit here and watch the Pandacam. It seems strange to say that these past few quiet minutes have been the greatest moment of my life, but I am hard pressed to think of anything that tops it.