These last two weeks have been hard, for reasons both very big and small (big: legislation not passing, the Boston marathon bombings, small: work, always work). Which brings us to this past weekend, which was lovely. Sometimes I feel those two blissful days off are the only thing keeping me together, and I guess most people feel this way, right? So many of us have these corporate gigs we so desperately need but I’m at the point where I’m daydreaming daily about just walking out. Which isn’t healthy. But then the weekend comes and I exhale and just say, “It is what it is,” and go on my merry way. In my long-winded way, I’m saying this to you, Annie - as your mom I wish you this: I hope you find something that you love and loves you back.
I feel you’ll get there: you are spunky. And stubborn and demanding. And charming. Mischievous. Loving. I am too Germanic in my emotions but you light me up. You have this sparkle - this zest - and make each weekend with you a neatly wrapped gift with a bow on top. You also drive us mad and looking at each other, like, "What is wrong with this kid?!". Take last night. You hollered and cried and swung your arms to and fro, and no, I don’t want this, or that, and you just get me that, no, I mean this, waaaa! Sigh. You are a toddler. You trip and it’s epic. You drop your scrambled eggs and it’s epic. We take away the raisins you were munching on and it’s like you simply. cannot. survive. And we try to emphasize, looking at each other and the pitiful raisins, but we just don’t get your toddler brain.
This week we went to the zoo. We thought you’d like it, and did. Your father said that’s it’s so exciting you can actually experience things now, which is true. The day before we were at PetSmart picking out fish (whom you love to feed) and you were fixated on the cats up for adoption. “Hiiiiiii!” you said and waved. You screeched and gesticulated wildly. You were beside yourself and didn’t want to leave; you loved peering into their enclose glass room trying to figure out what they were up to. When one woke and looked at you, you were elated and took it as a personal victory. So, the zoo was fabulous: you stared wide-eyed at a baby orangutan swaying in front of you, and loved as the otters swam past. You fixated on the orangey-pink flamingos and enjoyed feeding a duck your lunch.
You surprise us with words. “Bubbles!” while playing with your father outside with a soapy set. “Elmo!” this morning as I flipped on the TV getting ready. When did you watch Sesame Street? You examine things every so closely - you live for being tactile - for figuring out how this clips to that, or how you can stack that. You dig into the bucket where we keep Penny’s food, grabbing a handful of kibble while following her around the house saying, “Dog!” more and more urgently. You love filling her food bowl and at school your teacher said you’ve really turned a corner (from what, I don’t know) and turned into a real helper. You fetch a dropped cup for a child, or put a blanket on another during nap time. You clean up. It’s wonderful hearing your teacher say, “Oh, I wanted to tell you what Annie did today” and it being followed with that (instead of how you stole your classmate’s lunch - true - or bit another classmate - also true). We’re very proud of the little person you’re becoming.
You also insist on going outside several times a day, and we oblige, because I suppose before you know it you’ll want to stay in, huddled with a computer (sigh). So we walk around and examine the grass and push you high on your swing. You give us high-fives with each pass and giggle. You laugh a lot now, especially with your father. He scurries around like a rat and hides, you chase him, and he chases you, until he catches you and you laugh laugh with glee in his arms.
You’re such a social baby at daycare and home, so it startles me when we run into a neighbor and you hide behind our legs. Or when the cashiers at Trader Joe’s try to give you stickers and you stare at them blankly (until I take it for you and give it to you, happy as a clam). This morning at daycare drop-off you you squealed as you burst into your room with milk and banana in hand. You have a routine and were irritated as I was taking my time putting your things in your cubby before we could make our way to the drop-off room. “I have people to see!” you seemed to say. You’re already becoming your own, independent little person and hardly notice as we say our good-byes in the morning as you sit among your friends. All toddlers at a tiny table, eating fruit and waffles and milk.
You warm my heart, Annie. You do. You drive me to hide under my covers in the morning, but once I'm up you win me over again and again. Happy 17 months.