You are sixteen months old and taking it to the extreme. You are a ball of energy, rivaling even that of your big brother. You love to run and jump and laugh and tumble and do anything and everything that your little body of yours will let you do. You run fast. You love hard. You throw your emotions around the room. When you’re upset, you wail and thrash about. You fling yourself to the ground and if it doesn’t solve your problem once, you pick yourself up and try it again.
You want to do EVERYTHING that your brother does. And God love him, he’s really trying to not be annoyed by that. But you do tend to push him around and grab his things a bit too much for his liking. Most of the time, though, I love watching you watch him. You take in his every move, studying as much as you can with how fast he goes. And you launch yourself right after him. Whether it’s face planting off the arm of the couch (which I find much more hilarious than others in our household do) or tackling your daddy or jumping on the bed, you do what you can, a miniature, more awkward and fumbling shadow of our Michael. So we try to help him to be a good example for you.
You have so many more words now. There seems to be nothing that you won’t at least attempt to repeat. Well, except Mama, that is. I have managed to trick you into saying it by teasing M when he says “um-uh” and I repeat it and we laugh and laugh. You repeat it as “ma-ma,” and shriek with joy. Whatever. I’ll take it.
You say “Thank you” to ask for things. You pretend to talk on the phone starting with hello and ending with bye, pressing a finger to your palm like you’re ending a call. We’ve been enjoying the cool Wisconsin summer evenings by taking walks around our block, and you are eager to point things out to me and chatter away about it all. I feel like we are coming to understanding each other pretty well, even though I often wish I knew exactly what you were trying to express with all your sounds and syllables.
I love to see your blossoming understanding of people and words. You enjoy singing and dancing with your Rock-n-roll Elmo, and when he sings the alphabet song, I can almost see the light go on as you run to the kitchen and press the button for the Leapfrog magnetic alphabet thing we have on the fridge. You are so proud of yourself that you understand it’s the same song that can come from two different places. You understand potty time, which is now regularly part of our pre-bedtime routine. You know how it works and what’s expected of you, even if you don’t always entirely follow through with it all. And those are just a couple of small examples. I’ll have to remember to talk you through some other things to see if it helps.
And speaking of bedtime, you have come to know exactly what to expect. You sit with me on the couch after you and M are brushed and washed and pajama-ed. M will announce himself or have someone else introduce him, and he’ll come out and rile you up. We have to work on this part, I think, because sometimes he gets you a little too excited right before you’re supposed to sleep. Then you tend to take FOREVER to finally fall asleep. And since we still need to be there with you for that, it can be a little tough on your old mom and dad.
This month, I went to an interview and got a job. It’s a pretty good deal so far, because the shifts are short, and I’ve been able to work them pretty well into our current schedule without having to farm you and M out to whoever will have you. You have a great time with friends and family when I have to be apart from you, but when I’ve got you back in my arms again, I can tell that deep down, it freaks you out a little bit. I know how much you still need me, little one. Trust me, I know. And I want you to know that no matter how far away I go or how long I’m gone, you are part of my heart, too, and I will always return. Eagerly, gladly, enthusiastically to those little arms, reaching up, wide open for those hugs, that special embrace that keeps me smiling.