At 19 months, you are full of opinions. You now say yes and no in answer to questions, and it is intensely cute to quiz you: Do you want an apple? No. Some cheese? No. An avocado? Yeeeaaah! This month you know which shoes you want and when you want them, and the rules are byzantine and constantly changing. You have opinions about which clothes to wear, which seat you want to sit in, what book you want to read, what spoon you want to use. When you have an extremely important opinion to share, you do it by putting our faces together, eye to eye, nose to nose, and saying “yeah,” while nodding seriously and blinking meaningfully.
You have started spontaneously giving hugs and kisses to people, which melts my heart, and the commitment you bring to your goodbyes is unsurpassed. You can turn a room full of people to see you wave.
On our trip to Wisconsin, you cheerfully played along. You watched the fishing, waded in the lakes, rode on our backs through forests, slid down the water slides right after your brother. Whatever he did, you did. You hated your life jacket, but you wanted his so badly. He potty trained himself on our trip, and you were determined to work on that as well, asking to sit on the potty, where you point down at the water, say “pssshhh,” and then clamber down and clap for yourself. You also like to tell me when you are peeping or pooping in your diaper, though you can’t really tell the difference, and we now have a whole routine where you tell me you have pooped, I act skeptical, and then you turn around so I can check. (This is so frequent that now, when you say “poop!” Ezra says, “oh, Zella…let me check!” and pulls on your diaper, like he’s my lieutenant.)
You did have one serious problem this month. After having just six teeth for an entire year, you suddenly grew six more this month. Four molars, two bottom teeth. All painful and frustrating. But I’m delighted they’re here. Some toothless kids merrily gum any food they can find, but you were not one of them. With your new molars, you are eating more meat and crunchy vegetables, which will help you maintain your, ahem, 0th percentile growth rate.
Ezra just started school, which means the coming months will bring lots of special alone time for you with me or with the babysitter, and I think you’re going to like exploring playgrounds at your own pace, getting to play with toys without interruption. I can already see you starting to put train tracks together, laboriously experimenting to find the right orientation and angle. You have never been in Ezra’s shadow, exactly, but still, it will be nice for you to have some time where you get to be in charge.
When we dropped Ezra off for his first day, you boldly walked into the classroom, packed with 3-year-olds and just started to play. It never occurred to you to be nervous or wonder if all this was for you. You were sad when I pulled you away, but ready to face your next adventure. On that day, it was climbing up the curved ladder at the playground almost entirely by yourself, then turning around and attempting to go back down it, facing out, with total fearless bravado.