Today, you are eighteen months old. One and a half years you've been in my arms. I can and can't believe it; it seems like a long time when I think back through all of the little phases you've grown through, but then, when we're living through each phase, the days go by quickly. One example: I pumped three times a day at work from the time I went back when you were two months old until you were a year old. For ten months I arrived at work at 7:30am and stayed until 5pm, and I never once left the building during the day. Some days I would also pump at home, because it never seemed like I was making enough milk for you, and then I'd have to clean all of the bottles and pump parts. Looking back, all of that work, every day, seems so grueling and confining. But at the time, I didn't question or even really think about it, I just did it. I nursed you for the last time about two months ago, which I still feel kind of sad about sometimes.
So here's a little snapshot of your daily life right now. Mommy wakes up before you and gets ready. Usually, you sleep, or at least lay in your crib, until I'm ready to get you up. Sometimes I can hear your talking to yourself in your own language. When I come in your room, say good morning and turn on the light, you sit up and laugh, like you've been waiting very patiently for this moment. A lot of times you'll stand up, laugh some more, and stamp your feet and shuffle from one side of the crib to the other. It's adorable.
We get you dressed and take you to daycare. You are in the transitional toddler classroom, and your teachers are Miss Amanda and Miss Jen. Your best friends there are Jude and Liam, who you've been with since you started at this daycare at eight months. We are so lucky that a daycare like this exists, is close to our home, and is affordable (as far as daycare goes!); it truly is a blessing to our family. Last month, every single child in your classroom got Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease--except for you. I attribute your superior immune response to the sixteen months of breastmilk you received. Anyways, when I come to pick you up from daycare after work, your teacher is pushing you (and as many as five of your friends) through the halls in this really big wagon. Miss Amanda says, "I see someone's mommy," and each of your little heads swivel in my direction. I love the look of recognition on your face when you realize it's your turn, that it's your mommy.
When we get home from daycare and Mommy starts dinner, it is the most challenging part of our day. I saw something on Pinterest that defined the word "hangry" as "a state of anger and irritability resulting from being hungry." And boy, are you hangry when I'm getting dinner ready. You are at my feet, whining and crying. Sometimes I give you goldfish crackers or veggie straws to snack on, but as soon as they are gone, the whining and crying ensues, and then I run the risk of ruining your dinner. Tonight I gave you the Jiffy mix box, a muffin wrapper, an egg carton, and an empty milk jug as I was making dinner, and it kept you pretty well distracted. However, you still didn't eat much for dinner, which is something that's been happening more frequently, but I'd still say you are a good eater. Your favorite foods are yogurt and sweet potatoes, and you love to dip things in ranch dressing. You are pretty handy with a spoon.
After dinner, we either go outside and you help Mommy water the garden, or we play in the living room. You take a bath every other night. I have been trying to teach you not to run on the bathroom tile, wet or not, but you've slipped twice. Both times you were naked; the first time you fell flat on your face and the second time your feet went out from under you--first your butt landed, and then your head. I felt bad, but I couldn't help but laugh. Sorry, buddy.
Once you're in your jammies (cotton 2-piece or just a onesie), we turn on your projector and all kinds of animals rotate around the ceiling. We talk about all of the animals we see (you usually roar for the lion), Mommy says a short prayer, and then I rock you to sleep. And that's a typical weekday for us.
Your personality, mannerisms, and speech are really developing, and are adorable. Right now, you say Dada, Mama, Grandpa, Nana, dog, baba (for pacifier or a bottle, as in a bottle of ranch dressing), ball, wawa, and all kinds of other indecipherable chatterings, babbles, and ramblings. You make the best faces, especially at the dinner table. Recently we were out to dinner with your Nana and Grandpa; we were talking to you about something you shouldn't do or didn't want, and you shook your head no. I thought this was funny, so I laughed and covered my mouth, and then you covered your mouth (I never realized I did that; it's funny the things you don't realize you do until you see your children do them). I guess you had to be there, but it was cute. You love to give me open mouthed kisses right on my mouth. You will usually give them to me when I ask for them, and sometimes you will randomly take my face in both of your hands and give me a smooch. I am trying to soak all of this love up while I can.
You are starting to get excited about toys. About two months ago we were working at your great-Nana's house, and Grandpa told you that he found something for you around the end of the couch. When you saw a pair of matchbox-size cars sitting there, your face lit up, you pointed at them and made a noise that was a cross between a grunt and a squeal, as if to say, "Me? Those are for me?" At the last birthday party we attended, you were very interested in your friend's new gifts, especially his Cozy Coupe. Your favorite toys are a set of wooden food that is held together by velcro, and any type of car or truck. Though Mommy can understand how parents want to buy things for their children to get the sort of reaction described above and also help them develop new skills, we are purposely trying not to buy you a lot of toys in hopes that only receiving toys on special or rare occasions will help you be grateful and imaginative with the toys you have and the toys you receive (for any readers here, The Power of Play by David Elkind has some really interesting ideas about play, toys, and learning).
I am happy to see that you enjoy spending time outside while your father and I tend to the yard, grill, and just hang out. Part of the time you keep yourself busy with the playhouse, lawnmower, and swing we received as hand-me-downs. The rest of your time is spent dragging around the watering can or the basket I put my weeding in, which reminds me a lot of your Uncle BZ when he was a little boy. You love playing with water (last week you were following your father around like Frankenstein trying to play in the water coming out of the watering can) but not in water. I placed you knee high in your kiddie pool last week, and you started screaming. You've also started screaming when I've put you barefoot on the grass, sand, and concrete, and also at the sound of the hose sprayer filling up the watering can.
We went to the Detroit Zoo together for the first time earlier this month. It was an employee appreciation event through my work, so our admission, parking, a meal, and some rides were free; however, it ended up being one of the hottest days of the year. You were a trooper. People kept asking me, "Is he always this good?" to which I answered, "Yes, as long as he's not hungry or overtired"--thus why we ate first when we got to the zoo :)
With the weather so hot, not many of the animals were active, but you definitely noticed the giraffes and kangaroos, and started cracking up when a seal swam by the glass in the Polar Passage in the Arctic Ring of Life. You also got to ride on the back of a tortoise on the carousel, which you loved, and the train, which you really didn't think much of either way. Hopefully your daddy and I can take you back to the zoo on a weekday this fall once school has started.
Thank you for being my buddy.