Fifteen Months

Dear Andrew,

You are fifteen months old, and you are so awesome.


I’ve pretty much given up on you ever saying “Mama” with any frequency or reliability. And honestly, it doesn’t bother me anymore because it’s more like a joke now that we share. You try to say all sorts of new words like, “faster,” and “strawberry,” and you get increasingly excited when your brother tries to teach you new things to say because, hey, he’s talking to you and not yelling at you or snatching his stuff out of your hands. You are learning animal sounds and can bark when I ask you what the dog says. You can repeat a lot of the other animal sounds, too, once I clue you to what they are, but your default is the barking, no matter which animal I ask you about first.


You also like to sing and dance. Your dance is this tip sideways that sometimes results in you falling all the way over. Even so, you have a big cheese-ball smile on your face and occasionally applaud your own efforts. (This does not only happen while dancing, but any time you try something you didn’t know you could do.) And I love to listen to you talk or sing to yourself. It’s especially entertaining when you don’t realize that anyone is actually paying attention. You will wander around some days singing, “Yo-ah, yo-ah,” because of the song that Michael often requests at bedtime. It’s one of the few songs you recognize and try to imitate, but even if I just hum or “do-do-do” to myself, you’ll often repeat those various sounds, too.


You will climb or try to climb anything. You can’t resist stairs, and you’re really getting good at going up and down. You can climb onto the couch or the bed without any help at all anymore, and there are fewer and fewer “safe” spots where we can put things that we don’t want to fall into your curious little hands. You want to do anything that anyone bigger than you is doing, and even if you can’t quite make your body replicate the motions exactly, you throw yourself entirely into the activity and often fail with a flourish.


You love to help. You sweep and pull weeds (or other plants). You load the dishwasher at Grandma’s house, you pick up toys and you “sort” laundry. You are happy enough to be part of whatever mundane task we have to get done in a day, except vacuuming. That big old vacuum cleaner scares the pants off of you every time. If it even appears from within the closet, you run off screaming. You cry and need to be held even while I’m trying to suck the crumbs up off the carpet. And you’re not happy until that monster machine is locked back up behind closed doors again. Same goes for the food processor, the bread machine, the magic bullet. You’re even wary of the slow cooker, the rice maker and, most recently, the food dehydrator.


And speaking of running and screaming, your tantrums are getting more and more dramatic. You don’t deal well with disappointment at all, and denying you of the one thing you need to have happen right now at this moment will lead you to throwing yourself on the ground and writhing around in agony. You put your mouth to the floor (or the grass or the pavement), and you wail. And when that doesn’t work, you return to whoever offended you by denying your most reasonable request and repeat your gesture of desire. Some of the things that have set you off have included: offering you a bite of banana instead of a sip of coffee, not opening the bottle of glitter/glue/water we made to distract you and/or help your brother calm down when he has his own moments of rage so you can drink from it, putting away the scissors before you’ve had your turn and daring to cut your food into smaller pieces than the rest of us have on our plates.


For the most part, though, you are the happiest and most friendly baby, wait, toddler, that I could imagine being around at this moment. You always wave and say, “Hi,” to our neighbors, and you blow kisses and wave and say your version of “Bye,” when you or anyone else leaves or goes to bed. Your bliss at being alive and discovering all the world has to offer you is contagious and encouraging, especially during my bad days and hard moments. Because guess what? Even if you never, ever say the word, I can see in your eyes that you know your mama well. When you squeeze me tight and rest your head on my shoulder before running off and trying some other daring feat, when you run at me with your mouth closed and saying “mmmmm” in preparation for some big kisses, when you smile and laugh just because you caught my eye, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you love me. Completely. You love your family, friends and neighbors without reservation, and there are not enough words in the world to tell you exactly how much this unbridled affection means to us all.


The One Who Shall Not Be Named


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