This is a very auspicious day for you and me: you turn 18 months the same day I turn 36. Everything’s coming up chai for us. It is certainly an occasion for one of your hilarious open-mouth kisses, which you often give while gazing off in another direction as if to say, “I could do this in my sleep, mom.”
This month you have been working harder than ever on learning to talk, and while you still only say a few words, you are experimenting all the time with new sounds and tones of voice, and are becoming better and better at repeating new words.
You worked for days on how to say “water,” trying and discarding “waddo” in favor of “wawa,” and then you carefully expanded your definition of wawa to encompass any drink (leading to conversations wherein I offer you water and you say, “No…WAWA,” until I bring you what you want — recently milk, preferably in a regular glass). You started saying “eat” as you bring your hands to your mouth in one of our half-learned baby sign language moves, and unlike a month or two ago when that would have meant “I want to eat — or drink, or have my diaper changed, or for you to pick me up, or hand me a new toy,” that really now means “I want to eat.” And when you are finished eating, you say “done,” and then, “down” to get out of your high chair.
Today I asked you, while not in sight of any of them, to bring me your shoes and socks, and you did, though it required you to make two trips and a visit to your dresser to find a pair of socks. You chase the cats through the house yelling “meow!” at them. On our recent trip to Florida, you followed a pack of seagulls down the beach, pointing and saying “bird, bird, bird” to them the way we do when we read your books.
You definitely wowed ‘em in Florida, charming your grandfather and uncles with your kisses and hugs and basketball prowess. We visited the pool every day, and you loved it, becoming so brave by the end of the trip that you would stand on the edge and just leap into our arms, giggling and splashing as we caught you. You even liked hanging on the edge of the pool all by yourself, floating your chubby legs in the water and getting ready to let go and swim.
This month you have continued to show yourself to be a serious and self-sufficient kid. A few weeks ago, we had our first visit to the Kohl Children’s Museum. It was crowded and overwhelming, but you took it in with aplomb. I put you down and watched for two hours as you simply walked from place to place, experimenting, watching, touching, pressing buttons, and then moving on. For two hours, you didn’t ask for a snack or to be picked up. You never cried or even whined. You just concentrated and wandered, occasionally pointing at something you thought was awesome and exlaiming, “whoooooooa!” It wasn’t a fluke either. We went back today, and you were exactly the same way.
You were even pretty laid back a few days ago when your curls finally grew back past our ability to keep them out of your eyes (and mouth), and your dad decided to give you a haircut. We set you up in your high chair, put on some Sesame Street videos, and gave you a graham cracker. Your first haircut occasioned intense crying. This one was more like a slight inconvenience. I am delighted to report that even cut short, your mop still curls up.
Your easygoing attitude makes you great with babysitters, and you passed the ultimate babysitter test a few weeks ago, spending your very first overnight away from us with your Nana and Papa, where you napped, ate, and slept through the night like a champ. You even let Nana brush your teeth. While you three were partying, your dada and I were busy going swimming, reading for hours at a stretch, and eating fancy meals at a babymoon downtown. We loved the chance to get a little time away, but found ourselves doing Ezra impressions all the time, waving and blowing kisses and telling each other “Bye” in Ezra voices each time we left the room.
You continue to love books, and this month you have increased your demands that we read you certain books over and over and over again, while you absorb the images and sounds. You love the rhymes and crazy drawings of Hop on Pop and the antics of the Dogs and Cats, and the story of the sad-sack Squid. (And I love them, too, though I find myself murmuring random lines from those books under my breath all the time, like a song I cannot get out of my head. Stop! You must not hop on pop!) But I am most excited that your new favorite bedtime book, which you like to hear three or four times each evening is all about babies. You love those babies, poring over the images and kissing them goodnight.
You also love real babies, pointing at them and saying “baby” over and over again. You are slightly less interested in your new baby doll. You’ll hug him, sure, but when I try to encourage you to hold him on your lap when we read a story together, you roll your eyes at me and drop him off the side of the chair unceremoniously. I do not know how this bodes for your treatment of little Rummicub. I do frequently point to my belly and say “there’s a baby in there!” but I’m certain you have no idea what I’m talking about, even though she vigorously kicks you in the back every time you sit in my lap. Boy are you going to be surprised in a few months when my lap reappears, but those kicks turn into real baby feet.
I just keep imagining you pointing at your new sister and offering a bemused “whooooa!” and I can’t wait.
Squids will be squids,