You are fourteen months old. You are talking so much these days. Sometimes we can even hear actual words. You point to things and say, “see,” with this upswing on the end that’s just adorable. And you make me laugh so hard when you say, “see,” as you’re grinning at me with your hand on your boy stuff. Yes. I see. Now put your pants on, kid.
You are always happy to see people. You wave and say, “hi.” You call everyone who lives with you, “Daddy.” Including me. The one whose name you used to know. The one whose name you used to use until you realized how hilarious it was to pop off the boob and grin up at me with your big smiling eyes and say, “Da-eee!”
You are getting better and better at climbing, and you will practice on stairs and chairs and tables and anything else you can at any opportunity. We have to watch you closely because you are so adventurous. You will keep going and going and going. And heaven help anyone who gets in your way. You will yell and squirm in such a way it really is scary trying to hold onto you without letting you slip away. You love to try new things, and I can see that you are determined to master whatever it is you put your mind to. You will move mountains one day, son. And I’m so excited to see what feat you will master next, even if it does make my heart stop a little bit watching your early attempts.
You love to play ball. Especially, dare I admit to the Internet, fetch. You and M will make endless runs down the hallway after some ball or another (you really enjoy the ones that light up when they bounce), laughing and squealing as you chase the balls and each other. You both bring he balls back, eager to go again. You also enjoy tossing the ball yourself, which you do with your left hand, I’ve noticed, and you like it when someone rolls or bounces the ball to you. As soon as you see the bigger ball come out, you sit down on the floor with your feet apart, ready to catch, and so happy to play and practice.
Another game that cracks me up every time, which you learned from your brother, of course, is to pretend you’re a puppy and crawl and pant and bark down the hallway, around the house or even outside. Your bark is just a little, “ah!” sound, and it’s just so cute. You’ve been walking so long, and nothing can slow you down that when you first got back down on all fours again, I didn’t quite know what was happening. Then you started “barking” at your brother, and I just laughed and laughed.
As part of our bedtime ritual, M likes to be “introduced” to someone as whatever character he is identifying as at the moment. So he or I or Daddy will step out to the living room with that information and announce, “Presenting…the most dangerous super dragon in the city!” or whatever it happens to be that day, and M will come down the hallway, often wearing a large fleece blanket around his neck as a cape, or wings or Jedi cloak or whatever, and he’ll play his part as he makes his way out to his adoring audience. You have come to know your part in this nightly performance, and you will wait on my lap for him to come out. Then you’ll get down eagerly and wiggle your way into the blanket as M tries to pull it away and you chase him around the room. I love bedtime for those giggles.
However, earlier this month, your dad and I were discussing how impressed we were that falling asleep on your own was coming more easily to you, and we dared to look forward to a night where you might sleep longer, be able to settle yourself without us in the room with you and things like that. And then you entered a new phase, the exact opposite of the direction we’d thought and hoped you were heading. You’ve been having trouble settling down to sleep with Daddy. You’ve been impossible to put down into your crib unless you are dead out cold asleep. And it wears me out. To be needed. Like this. So much. Every night.
But I’ll tell you a secret. Your sweet sleepy face and the way you cling to me in the dark is why I got into this motherhood thing in the first place. Even when my back aches, and I don’t feel sleepy enough to lie down beside you for the night, I remember how it seems like not more than five minutes ago you were born. I remember how fast you go during the day. How independent you already are, able to amuse yourself for a time without me. Testing your boundaries and abilities every minute of the day. You go go go. You climb. You run. And at the end of each day, you snuggle in. You have your place. And even at fourteen months old, you still fit snugly in my arms. You are welcome there. You are my baby, still, and no matter what kind of day we’ve had, I know what I mean in those moments before you fall asleep. I am your haven. I am your nest. I am your comfort. And you still need me a lot. For now. And I love it.
I love you,