You turned 16-months-old today. Today is your first sweet sixteen and I’m not with you to enjoy it. You’re on vacation in Des Moines with your Mom, Boppa and Gran. It’s been four days since I last saw you and I really miss you.
You’ve experienced many milestones this month, most of which are clear indications that you’ve become a sponge. You’re neurons are firing on all cylinders and you’re on a quest for knowledge and to experiment with how the rest of society will react to your newfound wisdom.
You’re beginning to refine your vocabulary. A few weeks ago while your mom was bathing you, you picked up your green rubber duck, held it out to show your mom and said, “This duck”. I wasn’t in the bathroom to witness this monumental occasion but your mom was quick to call me in to give me the news. My inclination is to take credit for teaching you the word ‘duck’ because I usually give you your bath. Your mom is really good about reading to your and teaching you new things so I’m sure she was very instrumental in teaching you the word duck. “This” is a word I think you picked up on your own. Or, when you said it, it was just by happenstance. Either way, what is important here is that you know what a duck is. Unfortunately, when we take you to a duck pond for the first time, you probably won’t know what we’ve taken you to see because real ducks aren’t green. Or rubber.
Your mom and I have determined that your first real word was “baby”. You have baby GG that your cousin Grant bought for you while we were in San Diego in June. Your Grandma also bought you a baby doll that we’ve yet to name. You love both of your babies and you even know which one is GG. Now instead of “baba”, you say “baby!” And every time you say it, you say it with such enthusiasm. “BAYBAAAAY!!!!” You love to run to get your babies and hold them and hug them. It’s so cute to watch your nurturing side for the eight seconds before you drop babies on their heads onto the hardwood floor to be forgotten about as you scurry off to play with an electric outlet or to go splashing in the cats’ water bowl.
You also know the word “more” very well now. We taught you months ago a sign where you point your index finger to the opposite palm if you want more food. Every time you do this hand motion, we ask, “do you want more?”, to which you would be given more food. Over the past few weeks you’ve taught yourself to say “mo” while gesturing with your hands upon our inquiry. We recently made the mistake of giving you a sampling of a Twizzler. This innocent and loving gesture of a treat turned you into a Twizzler fiend. Without even a notion of offering, you immediately gestured and said, “mo, mo, mo, mo, mo, mo, mo MO MO MO!!!! DAMNIT I NEED ANOTHER TWIZZLER BEFORE I START BUSTING SOME FRIGGIN’ SKULLS!!!”
You’ve become quite astute in that you try very hard to mimic our words:
“Maly, this a fish”
“This is a ball”
“Maly, where’s my eye?”
“Where’s my mouth?”
“What’s the kitty say?
“What does the dog say?”
“No, silly, a dog says ‘wuff'”
“What does a donkey say”
“Hell, I don’t know, Dad, just go get me another one of those Twizzlahhhhhs!”
I’ve been informed and have witnessed on a few occasions that you have a flash temper. You get this from your Mom and me both. You’re now experimenting with hitting. You’ll get frustrated with your mom and you’ll slap at her. This really frustrates your mom. We’re both trying to determine how to prevent you from physically lashing out and slapping. You and Mom went to the library last week and checked out a book entitled, “Hands Are Not For Hitting”. So now whenever you try to hit at either one of us or another object or cat, we try to grab your hands and say, “hands are not for hitting, they’re for…” I haven’t had to endure many of these mini-psychological remapping endeavors. I think it’s just you testing what will get a reaction out of your mom or me. And you’re entitled to that. You and your mom can go to the library. I’m going to Costco and buying a palette of Twizzlers.
I guess you’re considered a toddler now. This means you toddle around and absorb everything you can. While I’m not around during the day, you Mom is left to her own devices in which to train you, for the most part, to be a functioning “tween”, which means at that point, I will be employed to teach you that boys are bad and that the music that Dad listens to while driving you and your friends to the mall is real music.
As you’ve toddled around the house as of late, you’ve maintained a significant level of codependency. So much so that you’ve predisposed yourself to follow your Mom to the bathroom. Her closing the door isn’t really an option in that you get really upset if you’re not tended to or if you’re ignored when a faction of the parental unit has to “tend to business.”
I think your Mom is embarrassed but I think it’s hilarious whenever we’re in public and you find yourself with a napkin or a tissue and, with solid research, go about making motions with said paper product towards your crotch. You know how to wipe. You’re such a clever kid.
I’m so happy that you’re learning so much. I’m happy that you’re such a blessing and a joy to be around. I’m enlightened and invigorated when I watch you embrace what your mom and I are trying to teach you. I love watching you grow. I’m amazed when I look at photos of you from a mere three months ago and realize how much you’ve grown and changed. But I find comfort in knowing that you’re my little girl. You’ll always be my little girl.
I really miss you right now. I wish you were here so I could hug you, give you kisses and say “Maly, you’re 16-months-old today!!!”
I’m so proud of you and am so happy that you’re growing into your own. Every day greets me with an opportunity to step back into my childhood through you. The circle of life is starting to make sense to me now. And I thank you for bringing me into that circle.
You’ll probably never know how much I truly love and cherish you. Only I know and I just wish I could put it into words.
I love you, Sugar.