This is another non-food post. My baby girl has reached the 18 month mark and it’s time for me to write to her again. Be ready for some true sappy right here.
I can’t, in good conscience, address this to Baby G. because you really aren’t anymore. You are a walking, running, talking toddler with a mind, agenda and opinions of her own. And boy howdy, do you have opinions of your own! It’s even more fun to spend time with you now because even though I don’t always understand what you’re saying or doing, you’re always saying or doing something that is very clear to you. You’re growing into a strong self-advocate, even at 18 months, and I hope it’s something you never lose.
Your language is amazing to me. You have excellent receptive language and I am always amazed at all you understand. Multistep directions? Sure thing. Lots of prepositions and pronouns? No problem. You may not always want to do what I ask and your response these days is often an immediate, “No.” or “Nope.”, but you always understand me. Your expressive language isn’t quite there yet but is growing in leaps and bounds by the hour. The doctor asked me on Friday how many words you had and I had to say, “a zillion” because I didn’t know. Then I started to think about it and was able to list at least 20 off the top of my head (including cracker, quack, milk, no, yes, stinky, more, mama, dada, rachel, jane, doggie, uh-oh, book, egg, banana, nope, kitty, bye, and baby) and then more kept coming over the course of the next hour.
Developmentally speaking, you’re right on track. You’re still small and I’m sorry, my girl, you will never be tall, but you’re strong and happy and you run like a pro. In fact, it’s getting harder and hard for me to keep up these days! You’ve gotten better at saying goodbye to me and when I leave you at daycare, you wave at me from the window before going about your day. It’s a nice way for me to start my day but how I wish I could stay there with you! You’re even sleeping in your own room in your own bed and sometimes even through the night. It’s been a slow, long transition from our bed to yours but we are more than on the right road and I am confident that in the next month or so your sleeping will get even more consistent. It’s been a nice reminder to me about not pushing you but letting you get there in your own time, since you always do.
So that’s all the factual stuff. Here’s the mushy stuff: oh. my. god. do I love you. Every day I wake up and think I can’t possibly love you any more, that I’ve reached my capacity. Every night I go to sleep having exceeded that capacity. It really is unlimited. The joy I find in watching you, hearing your belly laugh when I tickle you and curling up with you at the end of the day is almost unspeakable. I say this every time but every time it is true: I never knew I could love anyone as much as I love you. Loving you has taught me to be more patient, to be more open and to slow down and savor the moments. Sappy, yes. But so, so true. It has also made me more prideful (is that a word?) because people will not stop telling me how beautiful, fun, good-natured and amazing you are. I am happy to agree with them because they speak truth but I also get a little zing of “I made that” which I hope will not come back to bite me in the behind later.
You’re going to be a big sister in about five months and I am desperately praying that it won’t change your temperament. Being an only child, I have no sense of what it’s like to go from an only to one of two and I am so worried that you will somehow morph into someone else when that happens. My hope is that you will love your brother and tolerate him when you want him to go away. My plan is to continue to lavish you with love, structure and cuddles and hope that it’s enough. You will always be my first-born and (chances are, unless our financial circumstances change) my little girl. That makes you special to me in a way that no one else can be. A piece of me is sad because I don’t want to share you with anyone but I also think it’s important that you have a sibling.
Seeing your face light up when I walk in is better than any substance known to man. Holding you while you put your hands on either side of my face, say “Mah-Muh”, and plant a kiss on me makes my heart melt and my eyes tear every time. Lying in bed with you, talking about your day before you go to sleep is my best time of night. I never get tired of you and I’m sort of wondering how that’s possible. I can’t wait to see you grow and change and I hope that I never tire of you as you do.
Being with you makes me less anxious, calmer and more at peace. Even when you’re cranky. I am certain that I was born to be your mother and that everything I have learned in my life up to now has been so that I could be. I can only hope that I can bring you as much joy, comfort and peace as you’ve brought me.
I love you, my sweet, strong, happy, beautiful, amazing girl. I am so lucky and honored to have you in my life.