Are you really 18 months already? Then why can I still feel the precise sensation of your warm, little, newborn lips on mine for the first time in that cold, sterile operating room? Perhaps it's because it was so cold... your new warm body left such a strong impression? Or because half of my body was without feeling... the feeling in the other half was heightened? It must have been something, because the calendar says you turned a year and a half last month... and I could swear that moment was yesterday. If it wasn't for your raging appetite, your mouth full of perfectly-placed and misplaced teeth, and rapidly growing vocabulary... I might not believe it.
I'm sure the fact that you came second plays a role in you're being SO GROWN UP! Every day I get waves of joy and panic as I realize that you've stepped out of but another phase and moved on to bigger and better things. You love all things GIRL. You love wearing Sophia's dresses that hang to the floor, you are OBSESSED with shoes and always want some on. I try to make sure you have some of your own on, or you will insist on wearing whatever you find which might be mine, or Daddy's, or Sophia's, or old newborn ones that are way too small. You are not deterred by the size discrepancy but rather, just come back to me relentlessly begging (and screaming) for me to fix the shoe faster than I possibly can. And while I put one on, you point at the other shoe screaming "I want shoe I want shoe!!!" ... shoes go on one at a time. But you probably know that by now if you're reading this.
You are already SO in to princesses. You learned the Sleeping Beauty song from your big sister and now, you sing it on cue if we ask you to "sing a song" (I realized that when in church I'd say "we're going to sing a song" and you'd start "IIIII KNOW YOUUUUUU"- with your lips puckered out so far in front of you on the "you").... and then of course you start up pretty much every time you see any of the Disney Princesses. (Now you only sing those first three words... but sometimes you come in just in time for the second round in falsetto... THAT is especially cute.) Sophia wasn't interested in any of this stuff 'till she neared 3. She kind of made me think everyone else was lying and just forcing their disney-love on their children. But now I know that some are naturally, more taken by the princess-magic. "I know you'" was one of your first phrases, "tincess" (princess) is one of your regular words now... you joined your sister early, as a true fan.
Another thing I thought was fabricated by movie-babies... was stuffed-animal addiction. Because your older sister didn't care for them when she was little. But Mila. Oh Mila. Do you love your dog. Daddy and I just picked up a second on our last Ikea trip to serve as back-up when "doggy" got lost, or thrown up on, or pooped on... (the latter two surprisingly more of a problem than the first). Both were floating around the house for a day or so without you realizing there were two. You'd play with each as if it were the one you new and loved. You should have seen your face when you discovered he'd doubled. Amazement. Wonder. Pure joy.
You are a snuggler, you need your blankets (another regular word), and if we've forgotten one on a long drive and you're screaming when you should be sleeping, we've learned to not hesitate before we remove whatever softest piece of clothing we're wearing and drape you. (We've been a pretty interesting sight if someone were to see us. It's true.) You pull it to your face and go to sleep. Such a simple need for comfort.
You turned over to one nap last month and now I can't believe you ever took two! It seems like you could go all day. I mean you fight a ton with your sister, pull all sorts of hair, bite on occasion, and throw a fierce tantrum, but you definitely know how fun it is to stay up now. And certainly say "NO" when I ask if you're tired... you used to say yes. Have you already learned the purpose of a lie? That big sister of yours. You're too smart for your own good these days. No.... just too smart for my good.
Daddy bought apple juice at Costco the other day. Remind me not to let him go in there alone, he always comes out with all sorts of packaged goodies. To his credit, he looks at the ingredients and tells me right away "I looked babe, no poison." But now you know, that we have chocolate bunnies, and cheese crackers, and grahams, and juice-- and their all from Costco which means we have like a year-supply, and why on earth would you want to drink water when you can have juice? And I can't play dumb when you cry like I used to because you talk so much and you seem to make it a priority to learn the words to all the good stuff. A wah joo (I want juice), a wah cuh-cakes, a wah tooties, a wah cancakes, a wah teat (treat). A wah MORE! I swear Sophia didn't know what any of those things were at this age. I think you got pretty lucky to be sent second. :)
(Don't get me wrong... we're not above snacky foods... but I like to be more discreet... HUGE boxes in our pantry are not discreet.)
For the record (my record) here's a list of some more of the words or phrases you've impressed me with:
outside, kitty cat, I-love-you, I-hungry, cheese, toast, pasta (papa), spoon, water, milk, I want down, hold-it, doggy, daddy, mommy, (you say "Hi mommy!" with the sweetest tone every morning when daddy brings you in our bedroom), please, thanks, nose, hair, ears, eyes, STOP (she yells it at Sophia when she's doing something she doesn't like), I want a show (I know... it's awful), bed, blanket, amen, I poohed (and accurately), ....and so much more I'm sure. Your sister held out on me a bit longer, so this much communication at 18 months is AMAZING to me. I think it's what we needed to keep the frustration in our house bearable. Thanks.
Your favorite foods right now: pesto pasta, peas, turkey, avocado, cheese, eggs, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, blueberries, applesauce, yogurt, and all the junk food in the world. But isn't that the case for all of us. I just hope hope hope I can teach you to enjoy the wonderful foods that will keep your body healthy enough to survive that love-of-treats I'm clearly passing on. Please forgive me the tummy. We call it hereditary. I think it helps us with modesty in those challenging teenage years.
-You love me. You tell me so, and you show me all day long when you're nice and stroke my hair, or play with my necklace (ooh another word of yours), or nuzzle into my shoulder... or when you're awful and volatile and grouchy ... all those wonderful traits we only show to those we love most. Lucky for you, I know that rule.
-You love your sister. You go willingly in the gym childcare if she'll take your hand or save you a seat for the puppet show. She makes your laugh HARDY.
-You love your daddy. You run to him with open arms and fast little, chubby legs yelling "daddy! daddy!" every night when you hear the alarm beep letting us know he's opened the garage door. Sometimes I think you wait for that sound all day.
I love your deep voice, and your pucker, and your morning breath, and how your front two teeth don't line up. (I wonder if your grown-up teeth will mimic your baby teeth. Secretly, I sure hope so. That will give me a little longer to enjoy them before you get braces like the rest of the world because as an adult you'll want perfect teeth since it's the one perfect trait you CAN buy,.... but until then, I'll cherish that perfect asymmetry.
It's just amazing how you came into this world so tiny and new, and now that I know you, I can remember you being you from your first moments. I can't wait to see what you become and then look back and realize you'd always been those things. You are spectacular.