No longer in your “teens”, you’ve transitioned to the big dogs of the twenties. Happy 20 months, sweet child o’ mine! If your twenties are even half as grand and adventurous as mine were, then you are in for a fine ride. After all, it was with my late twenties body that I birthed you into this world and I’m not sure life gets much better than that.
My little spitfire, your engineering mind fascinates me. You are much more content to buckle and unbuckle latches, fidget with the workings of ordinary objects, master puzzles, and remove and replace covers to gadgets then any thing else these days. I am stunned by your ingenuity and the way you taught yourself a picture matching game without any help. A game, my love, labeled for 3+ years (and while numbers and labels really aren’t important, that’s my proud bragging Mama side bursting out). I sit on the living room carpet, your sibling dancing within my belly, and gaze at you methodically place a board to the game in front of you. Then, you pick up stacks of the cards, take time to study the shape and color of each unique picture, and place it on its matching square on the board. And you ensure the card is straightened within the defined box on the board. You are not typically content until you fill each box on the card with its match. It is a riot to watch, truly compelling, because I just seriously imagine the explosion of energy and neuro-pathways going on in your brain.
Your analytical mind seems to be blossoming quicker than your artistic, creative mind which is fun to see That’s a part of your Daddy that you inherited and I am so proud of that. Yet, you still have recently enjoyed learning to color and draw, particularly on anything other than paper or the chalkboard. Your little plastic piggy bank toy? Fair game! Our wooden desk chair? Totally cool. The glass top to the coffee table? Bring it on! Bless the human who created washable crayons. Last weekend, when sparkly MB was here for my weekly yoga session, you stopped and looked at her sitting barefoot on the floor. You pointed to her ankle and said “Color?” A bit confused, we watched as you ran to your easel, picked up a crayon, and squatted over the yet-to-be-filled tattoo on her ankle to begin coloring in the lines. This only lasted a few moments but we cracked up. How in the world did you think of that?
You laugh out loud at funny bits during movies. You point to things you want and say “This!” now, instead of the word for the object itself. You throw mini-tantrums, rolling and lolling on the floor, squeaking out a tiny little cry between your frowning lips. You’ve transitioned to saying “Mommy” instead of “Mama” and “Yesh!” instead of “Yeah”. Many things are “Owie” and “Icky” now. You love to be a helper, tossing trash into the can, picking up your puzzle pieces, and becoming irritated until I let you throw away your “Icky” diapers. We can carry on short conversations together. You run like the wind. You glow in the mornings. Your hair is perpetually either in your eyes, or in low pigtails. You are cutting molars like crazy, causing a little rash on your cheeks and a recent bout of fever and incredibly runny nose. You recognize people in photos and blurt out their names. You are picky about your eating, have decided that you barely have time in your schedule to eat, and beg for “Cookies!” even when they are none around. You climb on playground equipment and go down slides all by yourself, grinning with those grown-up teeth of yours.
Daddy especially enjoys how your imagination is kicking in full gear. You babble in the mornings in your crib, singing and talking to the dog. You play Mama to your babies, cuddling and strolling them, even learning to put a diaper on them. Recently, you began a ritual with some of your stuffed animal toys. You pick one up, hold it close, and then smack it a few times. This is followed with a firm “No hit!” and then a gentle, soothing, drawn out “Nice” while you gently pat and stroke the toy. I’ve witnessed you performing this ritual even to your own hand and can only assume you’ve learned it from the babysitter’s.
I’m constantly shocked at how a fast-paced, high-energy girl like you craves the routine of naps and nighty-night time. Mostly, you still take 2 (or more!) naps a day, gladly going down in an instant. At night, you recognize the routine of the PJ’s and binky-collection, and are laid-down in your crib even when you seem bright eyed and fully awake. You rarely protest and don’t make a peep the rest of the night. I still can’t believe it. I know we are lucky. My friends remind me almost every time I see them. Wow, how this new baby is going to rock our world with multiple night wakings again!
I honestly seemed to lose track of how much you’ve grown and changed over the last few months. Last week, your Daddy and I brought out the home videos and snuggled together in bed to watch them. We started from the beginning – me in early labor to you very recently. Both of us were shocked at how you have developed – mind and body – in a very short time span. We laughed at how a majority of the videos captured you in your most preferable state: naked. We had forgotten that when you first began to walk you were stout and chubby and walked kinda bowlegged. Now, you are lithe and taller, perfectly adept and the art of walking…even on your tiptoes. Then, we stumbled upon a clip that we’d never viewed, one of you nursing at around 15 months. It was only about a minute long, but I watched with longing as I saw myself holding your naked body to mine. Daddy got a few close ups of you doing what you did best, looking up at him as if to say “Uh, what’s up? Nothin’ new goin’ on here!” It’s the only video we have of your nursing and I am so grateful for the few, intimate and precious moments it captured. It’s only been 3 months since you weaned yourself but I struggle to really, really remember that part in our relationship. I am saddened by this loss of memory, but know that we are creating hundreds more every single day.
Just a little over three more months, my Kaia, of just you and me and Daddy. Three more months. It seems impossibility that our time in this clan of three is so short. And this countdown keeps me both anxious and ever-reminded to breathe in every last crazy-lovely moment with you as my only child. So, if you notice how I hover a little more, or sit behind you to cover your soft body in gentle kisses, or repeatedly inhale the smell of your hair and cheeks and lips….please try to put up with me. It’s only because I know how fleeting moments can be. It’s only because your tenderness melts me. It’s only because I am your Mama. Forever.
Oh, how I love you.