You turned 18-months-old this week. You’ve been with us for a year and a half now. It’s amazing that a whole year and a half have flown by. It seems like just last week you were taking your first steps when really that was over six months ago. And every night when I check on you before I go to bed I remember the first night after we brought you home from the hospital and how I spent that evening wondering how our lives were going to change. Since you’ve been with us, life has been nothing short of great.
But with the great comes the bad and the things that nobody likes to do. On Monday your Mom and I took you to the doctor for your 18-month checkup. As usual, you passed with flying colors, including the fact that you’re in the 95% percentile for head size. You have a big noggin. It’s a perfectly shaped and beautiful head, but your body is yet to catch up.
At the end of the doctor’s visit it was time for your booster and flu vaccination. As instructed I sat you on the edge of the examination table with your legs hanging over the edge. The nurse leaned her thighs into your legs to prevent you from kicking. Then I got my hated second set of instructions: to hold your arms down. The nurse proceeded to remove the cap from the booster vaccine and quickly jab it deeply into your left thigh. You immediately screamed and tears quickly started streaming down both sides of your face and onto the table just below your ears. I winced and let up on your arms enough so you could feel as if you had some form of retaliation strength. You cried and screamed. The nurse then removed the cap from the flu vaccine syringe and as quickly as the first, jabbed the needle into your right thigh. You jerked, shrieked, screamed and in a fleeting moment you caught my eye and gave me a look that said, “Daaaaaaddy, how could you EVER let this happen to me?!?!”
The nurse couldn’t put the little Tweety Bird band aids on you quick enough. The moment the second one was on your leg, I scooped you up and pressed you as close as I could to my chest and just started talking to you, trying to distract you from the pain.
I went on to work that morning and couldn’t stop thinking about you all day. Not that I don’t think about you all day, but on this particular day I couldn’t wait to come home and hold you again. I wanted to physically be near you so I could protect you and apologize again for having to let you get hurt. Of course by the time I got home that evening, you were completely normal and had forgotten about your morning of being a pin cushion.
This past month you got to ride a horse for the first time. You and your mom stayed at Grandma’s for a few days while Daddy was in New York on a business trip. One afternoon Grandma, Momma and you visited Tim and Wanda. Wanda took you on a horse ride and, from what I was told, you had a blast. I’m looking forward to the next time we go to visit Grandma because hopefully we can go to Tim and Wanda’s house and I can get to see you ride a horse.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever made mention of your teeth to you in the past. Your Mom suggested that I mention your teeth in this month’s letter. Maly, you have teeth. Eight of them to be exact. Well, I’m sure you have more, but they just haven’t managed to start piercing through your gum line to create an ever-flowing river of snot from your nose and a pain-induced crabby attitude that will most likely leave your mother and I wondering if we should have paid for the extended warranty on you.
Eight teeth. Eight teeth that I have a hell of a time trying to brush. For me, brushing your teeth is about as easy as a three-legged cat trying to bury a turd on a frozen pond. Your Mom seems to have a good system. I’m sort of of the thinking, “I’ll try as best I can, but if I can’t I can fall back on her mom.” Plus, the way I figure it, you’re just going to lose those teeth anyway. And the way that I let you play it’s a miracle you haven’t already knocked a tooth or two out.
One of your most recent past times has been spinning in circles. Just tonight your Mom and I stood in the kitchen and watched you spin and spin in a counter-clockwise circle to the point where you fell forward, bonked your head on the refrigerator door’s edge which then launched you onto your back on the kitchen tile. Then you tried to get up and you fell again. Once you regained your balance, you stood up and just started spinning again. You’re funny like that.
A couple of weeks ago your Mom and I took you to a local neighborhood park. We were lucky in that we had the whole park to ourselves. We watched you as you played on the springy horse, the see-saw, the swings and the merry-go-round. But the playground ride that you liked the most is what you excitedly and affectionately refer to as, “Da Wee”. The rest of us know “da wee” as a slide. You call it “da wee” because whenever you go down the slide your Mom and I both say, “Weeee!” as you descend.
Hearing you say “da wee” has got to be one of my favorite things that you say. Your excitement invigorates me. But in the same breath it makes me scared and sad. Scared and sad that before I know it a slide down da wee won’t captivate you enough. Da wee will be borrowing Daddy’s car just so you can get out of the house to be with your friends instead of Momma and me. In the meantime, I embrace every moment I have with you as I watch you grow and enjoy life behind such an innocent and beautiful smile.
I think the milestone that sticks out the most in my mind this month is kisses and hugs. Nothing melts my heart more than when you give me a kiss and then you throw your arms around my neck. Which is usually followed by, “Oosh?!? Bah bye!!” Which is your way of saying, “Get my shoes, I’m going to work with Daddy!” So, having to leave for work in the mornings has been really hard for me the past month. I generally make it a point to forget something in the house just so I have to come back into the kitchen and get another kiss from you.
There’s just some unwritten, unfathomable pride to having a daughter. The bond I have with you is amazing. There are no words to describe it. I cherish each and every moment I have with you. I cherish you now at 18-months and I will cherish you the same at 18-years and even then beyond yours and my scope of existence.
I love you, Sugar.