Today wasn’t any kind of milestone, but it was one of those days that I know I’ll never forget.
You’re almost twenty months old now, and every day that passes brings another change that takes your further away from that little swaddled bundle I used to snuggle on my chest at night. Where you were once padded with soft baby fluff, there are now lanky arms and legs. They get you into trouble more than you would like. (That’s why I bought you a leash today. It is in no way dignified, but it will keep you safe.)
You think and talk and have your own opinions, and they’re often different than my own. Shoes are your mortal enemy. Every time I manage to shove a pair on your chubby little feet so we can go bye bye, you promptly pull them off. Then you wiggle your toes with a happy sigh and chunk those confining torture devices across the room.
You’re so much, so fast. At the beginning of this year, you could only crawl. Now all you do is run, especially away from me. You’ve had your share of falls, and every time this happens, my heart stops beating for an instant. I can’t bear to see your face crumple up when you cry, because I know there’s nothing I can do to take away your pain.
You talk so much, all the time. Sometimes the words can’t come to you fast enough, so you make up your own. There’s a noddaduck (that’s actually a penguin) living in your bathtub that holds all your bath toys. When I can’t understand what you want, you point and yell until I get the point. If that doesn’t work, you throw yourself to the floor and wail like you’ve been shot.
(I honestly don’t know where you get your flair for the dramatic. It’s not like you’ve got a mother who overexaggerates as a hobby.)
You eat so much, all the time. I have no idea where you’re putting it. For breakfast this morning, you ate two packages of oatmeal, a banana, cheerios, and a handful of graham crackers. At lunch, you devoured three chicken strips and a whole plate of French fries. With ketchup, of course, because anything that can be dipped in ‘keh-sa’ gets crammed into your mouth before I can even blink.You are a ketchup monster.
Every morning (when I’m not at school) you wake your dad and me up chattering away, carrying on conversations with your stuffed animals. If we don’t get into your room to free you from your baby cage fast enough for your liking, you throw every single animal out of your crib. There are a lot of them. When I try to put them back in with you, you use my head for target practice. You have VERY good aim.
Every night after your bath we read a book together. I always tell you, “Just one. One book and then it’s bedtime.” I let you pick the story you want to hear from the massive, teetering pile underneath your television, and you always bring me three. Every time. And I always read each one, because you beg me, “One more book-uh, peas?” I can’t resist you when you say that. If Dad has the night off, you take him the longest book you can find so you can push bedtime back for as long as possible. You’re so damn smart.
Today you climbed into my lap after we finished dinner and asked me, “Rock baby, Mommy?” and I cried. I couldn’t help it. It confused you, and I’m sorry for that. You didn’t understand why Mommy seemed so upset, so you reached up to my cheek and touched the big alligator tear that was streaking mascara down my face, trying to comfort me. That made me cry even harder. I held you against my chest and sobbed into your hair. You smelled of Baby Magic and sweaty little boy all at the same time. It’s the best thing I’ve ever smelled. Before I was ready to let you go, you wiggled out of my grasp and ran away from me, giggling.
Even at twenty months, you empathize and feel other people’s pain, so much that another baby crying in a restaurant physically distresses you. You look at me with big wide eyes that plead, “Please, Mommy. Do something.” Tonight you knew that Mommy needed a hug, and that made you want to cuddle–which is a miracle in and of itself.
You’re such a big boy. I love you more than my heart can contain, and that’s why I cried tonight. I can’t imagine my life without you. God sent me a precious gift that cold January night you were born, and every day I thank Him for His blessing. You are the best thing that every happened to me.
With love in my heart and tears in my eyes,
P.S. I sincerely apologize for the leash thing. I think you’ll be able to forgive me one day when you realize just how adorable you looked walking around with monkey on your back.