You are nineteen months old today. Nineteen. More than a year and a half. Almost two. I am half expecting you to get your driver's license this weekend and head off for college early next week. Ok, so not quite that, but I am starting to be able to see you as a kid. When you were a newborn, I couldn't picture you as anything other than a baby, but now I can imagine you going to school and learning to read and write and tie your shoes and do all sorts of big-girl things, and I love it. I adored you as a baby, but there's something different, and better, about now, about seeing you turn into a person.
This month has been all about getting better at things. You have gotten better at talking and signing, better at running, better at jumping, better at feeding yourself yogurt and getting at least half the carton actually into your mouth. You have learned how to throw a ball up in the air instead of just out or down, although admittedly the upward arc is a few centimeters, if you are lucky. You have figured out how to put your shoes on and how to fasten the straps, to your continuous (sometimes 60 times a day) delight.
I am looking back fondly on those few weeks several months ago when you slept nearly through the night. That hasn't been happening lately due to vicious canines and probably other issues that I don't understand. You sleep a few hours in your crib and then scream until I bring you back to bed so you can spend the rest of the night kicking me in the head. I know that when you are 12 or 22 or 52 I will fondly remember the nights we spent cuddled together, just the three of us tucked away from the world, but right now I sure would appreciate just a little more sleep.
We got you your very own potty this month, because you were always fascinated when you saw a picture of one in a book. For a couple of days it was your favorite toy and you carried it around with you and all of your stuffed animals took turns sitting on (or in) the potty. You lost interest pretty quickly, though. Two weeks ago, you spent the weekend informing us every time you needed a clean diaper by saying "poo-poo?" At that point, we thought that surely you were some kind of savant and potty training wouldn't be far behind, but you lost interest in that too.
We had a couple of snowstorms this month, and you were not amused. You hated having the snow fall on you, hated walking in snow (although madly adore your snow pants and boots) and especially hated that Mama refused to clean it all up. You did learn to say snow ("ssshhhn") and ice ("yie"), and spent hours looking through the front door reproachfully and telling me you were all done with both.
You are a climber and a daredevil. No piece of furniture is safe, you love to be thrown up in the air or tackled or spun around until you are so dizzy you spend the next 10 minutes falling down. You love to hang on the bars at your gym class and swing back and forth and then let go and plunge to the mats with a mighty crash, where you squirm and giggle and beg Mama to lift you back up to the bar so you can do it again.
You love to get tickles, and to give them. You like to put your finger to your lips (or up your nose) and shush me, especially when Dada is sleeping or Mama is singing. You like to blow on your food to cool it down. You love having your nose cleaned out, can amuse yourself for 10 minutes with a Q-tip by pretending to clean out your ears, and adore bath time. When I give you baths, you like me to run the faucet so you can put your head or knees or toes under the water.
You can identify all the different parts of your body, many shapes, some colors, and just about every animal on earth. We taught you some new animal signs this month and it brought you sheer joy to be able to talk to us about gorillas and zebras and crocodiles. You are madly in love with Elmo, and recently obsessed with his sidekick Mr. Noodle, "noo-noo" to you. You are fascinated by belts and toes and bellybuttons and knees and books. You go to bed every night with your pillow, blanket, monkey (in socks), doggy (in socks and hat), Elmo (naked as a jaybird) and beloved copy of Goodnight, Moon. It's always interesting in the morning to see how many of those items you managed to grab and carry into Mama and Dada's bed with you.
Mia Bean, yesterday was the worst day we have had in a very long time. With only a few short breaks, you screamed at me from the time you woke up at 7:00 until you finally snapped out of it at 3:00. I eventually told your father he had better hurry home before I sold you to the highest bidder. I mention this because I hope that someday you will read these letters and hope that someday will also decide to become a Mama yourself. And if you do, I can assure you that there will be some very bad days, some days where you feel like the worst mother in the world and want nothing more than to get your kid the hell away from you for a good long time. When you have those days, I hope you will remember that everybody has them, that your Mama had them too, and that it is ok to just try to do better tomorrow.