|Me: "What the heck is going on here?!" (upon reviewing the photos I took at the pool that day)|
Matt: "She was pulling my chest hairs."
Photos were taken last week at French Creek State Park. After many years of successfully avoiding the sun, I got a burn so bad it hurt for days to put on a bra or lie down. Annie - who has developed a fear of baths - took to the water after about ten tentative minutes.
OK - so this stay-at-home mom thing? It isn't so bad. I'm loving (while simultaneously being exasperated at) this age - 18 months - and taking such delight in your little burgeoning personality. You are clever, mischievous, still willful as ever, and loving life. You actually "oooo" at things. Like, I picked up your father a new bath sponge (the boy uses sea sponges in the shower, what can I do) and when I pulled it out of the bag you literally oooed and awwed over the thing. I mean, it's a damn loofah.
You get so excited over things: "Do you want to go outside?!" I say, emphasizing "outside" and you perk up and go to the door and start doing your toddler version of the "running man", stepping in place and banging on the door. You're like a dog, in that way (I mean that really nicely...you know I love dogs.)
I've been struggling to find meaningful work that makes sense outside of the home, but am finding comfort in caring for you, although I've had a couple breakdowns this past week: your father has always been your fun favorite (I'm more behind the scenes at times - packing your diaper bag, readying lunch, making appointments while he is on the floor with you and your puzzles) and I accept that - and honestly didn't mind it one bit - until "Dat-tee" became the end all, be all. He would leave the room and you'd break down. Or you'd rush past me to find your father. A few weeks ago I thought I had finally crimped his style - you were saying "Mama" much more than Daddy, but after some "Daddy lessons" (I seriously heard your father practicing the word Daddy with you as he put you to bed several days straight) I was back to square one. It's a give and take - he's very hands-on and honestly, if you're going to chirp away to "Daddy, Daddy!" at least I get to lay on the couch with my Oreos when he corrals you. And your father assures me you'll soon see how dorky he really is, so of course I find solace (and agreement) in that.
Also, you have discovered the word "No" (it's second only to "Daddy"). Like any toddler, you can be belligerent and stubborn and you are saying "no" to everything. At the library today I told you to stop taking books off the shelves, and you yelled "NO!" and took five more off and ran off to the train table, where I swear you were trying to look strong and nonchalant but were spying on me and trying to gauge what my reaction was (by the fifth or so "NO!" we packed up and it was time to go, and by the way, my reaction was pissed off). Another mom, who had a 22-month-old in tow, said from experience your next word will probably be "mine". I told her you're already on the cusp of that because the other week you took sprinkles from our baking supplies, starting shaking them on the dog, and when asked to give them back, said, "No, no, mine, mine!" Then you ran into the living room to sprinkle the carpet. It was one of the longest, most coherent thoughts you've had to date so I let it go.
You never really watched TV before, but I have been using it as a crutch so I don't lose my mind, and you've developed a love for Elmo. You love Elmo and shout his name and bounce on your little butt when he comes on-screen. What's with kids and Elmo?
You're finally sitting with us nightly when we read with you and your two current favorites are "Goodnight Moon" and "I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words", although the simple baby touch-and-feel "Farm" you still have a soft spot for. Whenever you spot a duck you screech, "Duck, duck, duck!" (as in "quack, quack, quack").
And last but not least, I'm going to try to start potty-training you. Or at least getting you accustomed to the little toilet we bought you so we can have a leg-up when your little brother/sister makes their appearance in October. Today at the library we picked up some "I love the potty!" books and today I sat you on it and you looked rather amused. Almost regal sitting high on your throne. Maybe it was because - I swear - about a minute after you got off (and I was running to get a diaper for you) you pooped on the floor about three feet from the thing. Then you stepped in it. Then you started wailing. Your father thinks this is the sign of a genius (sans the stepping in it part), but unfortunately you've had some stomach issues the last few days so I think it was purely coincidence.
You are really giving us a run for our money, kid, and we're just trying to keep up (and last until your bedtime). Right now you're napping beside me (naps have become a battle of wills), and you're stirring, so I'm going to end here and say we love you times infinity.
And, also, please be easy on us.
Here's to a spectacular year-and-a-half.