You are just about to turn 18 months and I wanted to record some things about who you are at this stage of your life so I never forget. You and anyone else reading this are likely to find these thoughts incredibly mundane. But to me they are incredibly special and important.
I want you to know how much I like you. Of course, I love you. Every little molecule of you and more than you can imagine. But I also like the person that you are. I appreciate your spirit and enthusiasm for life. You have a lot of oomph. You manage to be both an angel-straight-from-heaven and monkey-like at the same time. It's a pretty nifty combination.
You are an extremely busy, inquisitive, and independent little person. You usually have your mind set about what you want to do and it is difficult to distract you or redirect you. You still throw tantrums when things don't go your way, but we've found that if we give you more freedom you respond better to the things in life that you dislike. For example, instead of picking you up and carrying you to your room, we now tell you its time for night-night or time to change your diaper and you jump up and run there yourself. Once there you are much more willing to be put in your crib or lay down on the changing pad. This is a big difference, since for the past nine months you have thrashed and cried through every single diaper change! I guess it feels more like your idea this way.
After 18 months of being ridiculously doted on by your two old parents, you have become pretty affectionate. We treasure your kisses and hugs and are mildly jealous when the other gets a smooch from you. Whenever you give us a hug we have always said, "aaaaw." So now whenever you hug a person or thing you also say it. You like to hug the big orange stray kitty that we've unofficially adopted and he is so sweet to let you do so. You even like to hug pictures of animals in books. You just put your ear to them and say, "aaw." You like all people (especially Grandpa Wayne and Uncle Harry), but you are just off the charts crazy about animals. You squeal with delight over your Gramsy's dog Maddy and never tire of watching her catch frisbees. You try to throw things for her but you haven't begun to understand that you throw things for her not AT her. You are also smitten with Bebe, our bird, and would love nothing more than to hug him. If only he would let you.
You have been doing a lot of new things lately. You like to imitate some of the things we do, which is very cute. We bought you a play kitchen and you like to pretend to drink out of the cups and say "aaaah!" after each sip. You spend a lot of time brushing your teeth in the morning and before bedtime. You wouldn't let us do it for you (without a tear-filled episode) until you observed your Daddy and decided to try it yourself. Now you are so thorough - sometimes you walk all over the house brushing your teeth for twenty minutes at a time! When the children fall down playing ring around the rosie on one of your videos, so do you. You also take our hands to make us tickle you or give each other five. Which is one of the tricks that you can do now, too.
You're also saying a lot of new words. Of course, only your Dad and I can understand what you're saying most of the time. For example, "apple," "bubble," and "Elmo" all sound remarkably similar. When you saw snow on the television this week you pointed and called it "buh-bos." You also say "oush" and "oh-oh" when you bump your big noggin or drop something. For some reason, shoes are "ish." You've been saying "dah-ee" for Daddy for a long time. When you want him you call for him with a desperate and heartfelt "DAAHH!" You never say Mama at all! But you also say "ooh" for "moo" and can't say "meow," so maybe it's an "M" thing? You say "up!" when you want up and when you want down. You say "haythe" for hat. You also know hot and head, but all three words sound pretty much alike. You say "hiii!" to everyone, everywhere we go and wave and say "biiiiiye" when you're ready to leave or when someone leaves the house. "Kkk!" means yuck and kick, depending on the context. "nmnm!" is no. But you don't respond to no at all, so instead we say "Leave it!" when we want you to leave something alone. And you are pretty compliant most of the time. "goomb-goomb" is gigi (pacifier).
You have most of the animal sounds down. Puppy can be panting or "reff." Cow is "ooh." Sheep and horse are both "ah-ah-ah." Monkey is "ooh-ooh." Our personal favorite is for piggy, which is your interpretation of your Dad saying "oink-oink-oink" very quickly. It's impossible to describe, so I have to catch it on tape. Kind of "bloiybloiybloiy." You even "Weep!" like Bebe. You're version of a quack is "cuhk."
You still have a few food-related quirks like drinking all your milk and juice cups flat on your back on the floor. And you still aren't a great eater, but have gotten much better with your swallowing. Your current favorites are Gramsy's zucchini bread and cranberry sauce. You also like pizza and asparagus, which proves you are my child. We discovered that you love Thanksgiving food, so you have had leftovers for two meals a day for almost a week! When you eat something you like you say, "mmmm!" and when we tell you to use your teeth you say "num-num-num."
Right now is a special time because in some ways you are still a baby, but in many ways you have become a little boy. You love to make noise - banging metal measuring cups on any and everything or just using your voice. You talk to yourself and us all the time in your own beautiful little babble language that Daddy calls "Nicklish." You like to throw and kick balls and run all over the park. You adore rocks and dirt and the great outdoors. You even squished a big fuzzy caterpillar before your Daddy could stop you/save it. You just put out your pointer finger and poked it in the middle until it was two caterpillar halves. :( Sorry, Mr. Caterpillar. You almost always look a little unkempt because of your molars, which cause you to drool and have a wet shirt most of the time. We had to get you another haircut because your fluffy fro got too unmanageable. Your Gramsy was so sad to see your big boy haircut last week.
Your favorite activity is still reading books. You read them several times a day. When you get up in the morning and from your nap we find you in your crib reading. Your favorite is your John Deere farm book, which we are both sick of. You are also really really interested in letters right now. You point to each letter on signs or shirts and "read" them. "D." "S." "E." Sometimes you even get the letters correct. ;) We sing the alphabet song a lot and you say the "a, b, c" and "w, x" parts. You adore Sesame Street and we watch a lot of it around here. You like to point out Elmo whenever you see him in a book or on TV. Today I was trying to figure out what potty chair had apples on it until I realized you were saying Elmo. We didn't buy you the that potty because I thought it might be too distracting - we chose a less exciting model.
You created your first "drawing" with a pen and paper a few weeks ago and it is a masterpiece I will forever cherish. You also enjoy bubbles. You like to play with the telephones and hold the remotes up to your ear. You've accidentally called your Grandma Helen and two of your Daddy's colleagues on the cell phone speed dial and a few weeks ago some unknown lady was on our speaker phone saying, "Hello?" because you'd called her. But she was very nice about it when I explained what happened.
You still love to play peek-a-boo and hide and chase and hang upside down and you have a great time at tumbling class. Although you are the worst in the class at circle time. You sit in my lap for about ten seconds (literally) before going limp (great technique, by the way) or squirming out of my arms. I just let you run around shrieking with delight while the other children sit quietly and cooperatively in their mommy's laps. I admire your gumption, I guess.
You aren't a cooperative child but you are mighty fun and there is never a dull moment around here. You are almost fearless, but your kryptonite is the dust buster and vacuum when they are left out and you play with the buttons and turn them on. They give you quite a start and you scream for help. Oh, that reminds me that last week you got your head stuck in one of the dining room chairs. You're always into things and you can unfold an entire basket of folded laundry and empty a cupboard or drawer in about four seconds flat. You keep us on our toes. We both would love for you to have a brother or sister soon but sometimes we look at each other and laugh and say we must be crazy to think of another baby when the two of us together can barely manage you!
Well, that's you in a nutshell. Your Dad and I are still absolutely ga-ga about you. We have the biggest crush on you and we talk about how precious you are when you're napping and miss you so much when you go to bed that we sometimes go get you from your crib to sleep with us. Even though you totally hog the bed and I end up right on the edge. I love you and I love our little family.
Oh, and the other day at Linens n' Things a woman left her cart and came running out of the store to tell us how beautiful you were and she even gave us her card because she is a modeling agent. So there you go. You would make the world's worst model because you would never sit still for a moment and if you were supposed to be interested in a toy you wouldn't like it and would instead want to look at the photographer's watch and would get red in the face and cry alligator tears about it. And besides, she probably gives a card to every baby she sees. But still.