On Sunday you turned eighteen months old. At your 18-month doctor’s appointment you measured 32”, but are still a tiny 21 pounds. This puts you in the solidly in the 60th percentile for height, and the 10th percentile for weight. The past six months have been a whirlwind of activity: cross-country airplane rides, weddings, the stomach bug, summer colds, morning sickness, summer school, Momma/Daughter Adventure days, and the list just keeps on going. I feel almost a little silly saying that because I’m pretty certain that it is common knowledge that the word BUSY is actually the definition of TODDLER, and you my sweet little monkey have taken it all in stride. In fact, you are an extremely mellow toddler. You follow directions, you listen to my commands, you never stray too far from my sight, and my favorite of all, you still take a solid 2 ½ to 3 hour nap – Every. Single. Day.
When I started to reflect back on all that has happened in your life in the past six months, I realized there is simply not enough space in my little corner of the blogosphere to write it all down. And because I am a veritable prodigy in the field of list-making, I thought a list of eighteen things I love about you might be appropriate to celebrate this toddler milestone:
1. You constantly teach me how to find the beauty in the ordinary. One of the greatest gifts you have given me is to remind me to slow down and enjoy life’s simple treasures – whether a pebble from our morning walk or the taste of a perfectly ripe strawberry from the Farmer’s Market.
2. When you are eating a food that you are particularly enjoying or especially love, you do this little wiggle and squirm as soon as the flavor hits your mouth and let out a giant “MMMMMM…”
3. You have the most incredible belly laugh. I spend my entire day figuring out the many ways I can get you to laugh out loud.
4. You adore the sunshine. Being outside in the sun and fresh air always brightens your mood.
5. Oh, how you love your father. It warms may heart to see you hugging him, chasing him around the yard, giving him kisses or saying “HI!” to him when he steps through the door after a long day at work.
6. Sometimes when I ask for hugs, you will run at me from wherever you are and squeeze me tight and not let go for several minutes before patting me on the back. Sometimes you just shake your head and say “NO”, and that’s okay too because it’s always with a smile. And sometimes, you just run at me unprompted to cuddle, hug, and kiss. It is the very best part of my day.
7. You swim like a fish in the bathtub.
8. You have completely changed the way that your father and I view the world. You inspire us to be better, challenge us to be stronger, and remind us to fall more in love every day.
9. Your favorite color is red. However, you love all bright colors, slides, Fancy Nancy, puzzles, jewelry, swings and above all…swimming. There is something unspeakably brilliant about watching your personality grow.
10. You absolutely LOVE the beach and the ocean. You laugh and squeal and wriggle with delight at the crashing of the waves, running fearlessly right towards them causing me heart palpitations.
11. Every week you learn a few new words: “”Uh-oh,” “Thank you” and “Hot” being your current favorites. Mom and Dad’s favorite: “WOW”
12. There are no words to adequately describe your love of music. Children’s music, Bearnaked Ladies, The Beatles or P!nk – you love it all. And, listening to music with you, turning on the tunes on our walks, or having a boogie-fest in the living room, is quickly becoming one of my very favorite parts of every day.
13. You are growing into a very independent little girl. You feed yourself at nearly every meal, and although you make a beautiful mess, it’s nothing compared with some of the masterpiece of the past.
14. Playing ball in the afternoon is one of your favorite things to do.
15. You love to wave hello and say “HI” and “BYE-BYE” and lean in for a kiss when people leave. Even the sweet nurse who gave you your 18-month vaccinations.
16. When you roll a truck on the ground you say “vroom-vroom” really fast. When you play with your little musical table, you always turn it to the Spanish ABC’s.
17. You say “Good girl, Momma” after I give you your milk in the morning. Like you are so proud of all that I accomplished.
18. Upon lifting you from your crib each morning, you insist I give your stuffed elephant a kiss and a hug and a kiss for your green blanket before you climb into my arms for a morning snuggle.
I cannot imagine life without you. I cannot imagine missing our morning story time. I cannot imagine taking our walks without conducting a thorough examination of every sprinkler head in the greater Los Angeles area. I cannot imagine going a single day without you turning to me, arms outstretched, lips pursed, to give me big hugs and kisses. Above all, I cannot imagine going through life the way I once did, without you there to brighten the days. I love you more than the moon, the sun, and all the water in the oceans.
Happy eighteen months my love.