Fourteen months and 8 days. My love, you are sugary sweetness with a crunchy chocolate coating and warm fudge drizzled on top. If I could eat you up I’m quite sure that’s what you would taste like.
This month your sensitive and soft side has become apparent. When your Daddy says “no” to your repeated attempts to push “Open” on the DVD player when he’s watching a movie, you completely melt into the carpet like a heap of fresh candle wax. Tears and a frown and a wail that hurts my heart. Even if I had wanted to practice any kind of discipline in my parenting, it would have definitely fallen to the wayside beginning this month. I cannot bring myself to causing you this devastation for silly, silly things like turning off the TV, or spreading Ziplocs all over the kitchen, or splashing supervised in the dog bowl. Instead, I watch and sit with you and say “What a grand mess you made!” Some may say you will be spoiled. I will say you have experienced great exploration and discovery, with the dirt on your hands to prove it.
You still don’t sleep through the night, though you flirt with the idea on a random basis.
A few weeks ago, you applied your usual bite when you finished nursing. You sat straight up, looked me squarely the eyes, and deliberately said “Ow, Ow, Owwww”. You formed the word slowly and methodically. Let’s say you are quite skilled at saying “Ow” now. I recently struggled with deciding whether or not to wean you after you almost bit my nipple off. The thought of weaning you broke my heart more than the thought of not having a nipple. I figured I could still get the job done with only one. So, you are still nursing a handful of times a day.
You also mastered the phrase “No, No, No”. Not to worry, it wasn’t because we had said it to you. You’ve heard us say it repeatedly to our dog. “No, No, drop it”, “No, no, no don’t jump”, “No barking”, “No, no, no don’t eat her food”, “No, No, don’t eat her poop”. Now, when you see the dog traipse into the room, you stand straight, point firmly in his direction, and actually yell with force “No, no, no GUHDA IT AHGUHD DAHGU AHHH, no, no, no”. You pause for breaths and continue the rant with furrowed brow. Your belly heaves with each word. I cannot believe we sound that way. But, alas, I know we do. You go girl, shining that mirror right back at us.
Your newest sign is “all gone”, and lemme tell ya, it takes a loooong time for your food to be all gone. Many a sitter has commented on your voracious appetite. Sometimes you eat as much as I do. Your metabolism rocks. I realized you like baked squash with butter and brown sugar, as well as baked eggplant smothered in cheese. Aunt Tee discovered that you love tofu and cinnamon toast. MaryBeth found out you like kiwi and roasted asparagus. Why, oh why, won’t you eat MY asparagus?
I’ve commented a few times on your love for naked elimination. The trend continues, with me picking up after you. Usually, you pause, grunt, and then poop while standing up. Most of the time, you move right along your merry way with me trailing behind, wiping your jiggly, wiggly baby butt. Hey, it saves diapers.
When we went to visit my doula client and her new baby last weekend, you sat on Daddy’s lap and gazed at the baby in awe. Your mouth agape, your eyes wide, your little hands in your lap…you were intrigued. Oh, my love, how I’d love to make you a big sister someday soon. I’ll talk with Daddy about making that happen.
While you have a sensitive heart, you have nerves of steel. I’ve never once witnessed anything, any noise, or any person scare you. The sound of thunder lulls you, the vacuum never fazes you, and a dog’s loud bark doesn’t make you skip a single beat. My brave little girl, full of zest and curiosity. May I steal but a fraction of that?
Your limbs are growing longer, your muscles stronger, your mind sharper. You are only 14 months old, but in your eyes I see wisdom and yearning for more, more, more. My darling, I look at photos of you a year ago and my proud heart yearns to steal a few of those moments back, moments when you depended solely on me, when we shared heat and breath and nourishment.
But now, I am a witness to your path of exploration. Without a map, you study and search the world with your heart as your guide. May it always be that way. Because I know your heart is the truest thing in the whole, wide world. And it will never lead you astray.
In my selfish longing, I hope it will always lead you back to me.
My baby, my girl, my soul’s connection. I love you.