Sixteen Months: Walking! Really Walking!

Dear Miriam,

In the last week, you started walking! Perhaps it was your pediatrician’s threat to send you to a physical therapist (you seem well on your way to a pathological fear of doctors), whatever it was, you did not start with two, nor twelve. You started with 38 baby steps, counted and duly reported by your Bubbie. And you’ve been doing a lot of walking ever since, although mostly while holding a hand. You wake in the morning, have your milk in bed with us, then announce Walking, making a distinction between this new enterprise and that outdated, holding-on-to-two-fingers Bawking thing. Throughout the day, Walking is declared, and it’s time to go. When you stumble, you order Hug, and we do, and then onward. You are freakin’ irresistible. And your dad and I are anxious to get one last video of your crazy skootch before you leave it behind forever.

Even without the walking, this would be an eventful month. Two more teeth are finally breaking through; they started exactly 1.5 weeks after you were perilously grumpy at your dad’s reunion. You’re on your way to six teeth and we finally have the signs down cold: slight fever, drippy nose, grumpiness as though we are literally standing on your last nerve, and a telltale diaper rash, and a week and a half later: teeth.

Speaking of cold, you comprehend extremes of temperature, declaring anything that’s not room temp hot. You also know On and Off, Open and Close, and you can distinguish between I and you in conversation, as in when I say You got it as I hand you a ball on the swing, you reply I got it. And you finally say Cheers!, clanking your sippy against our glasses with new vigor.

You’re all about vigor these days, actually. You slam pots, you wham your sippy on your table, you bang books and knock down towers of blocks with exclamations of Oh no! that are clearly for our benefit, since we love the way you say oh no and you demonstrate not one iota of regret. You have healthy fear, I watch other toddlers charging over the edges of the play structures at the park and am amazed that you show such care. But you like to bang things. And you love cars and balls. You’re learning the finer distinctions of trucks, buses, fire engines and street cars, but mostly you just like things that move, and wheels move. So do balls, and you’re teaching yourself to throw.

We’ve purposely not given this lesson because 1) as you're bound to know by now, neither of us do so well with the ball sports, but more importantly 2) we’ve seen what happens when creatures with no sense of consequences learn to throw and we love our cats and want the sliding glass door to remain intact and in general are no fans of the pandemonium created when virtually anything can be launched. But there you are, teaching yourself to throw, occasionally releasing when the ball is still behind your ear, reminding me so much of myself that I wonder what possessed me to reproduce. All I can say is, I’m sorry.

Just when I think you’re on your way to being the planet’s most disillusioned tomboy, you call for Puppy and I’m reminded of what a girl you are. Puppy, a gift from your Great Grandma Lil, is your favorite single toy, you hug him and kiss him and when I hear you wake in the night mumbling Puppy I can picture you finding him and hugging him before you go back to sleep. You will carry him anywhere we let you and while he’s not allowed to the park, to meals or in the pool, he may be what got you through the rough two weeks before you stopped crying at the daycare center at our gym. You’re clutching him when I leave, and you still have him when I return, and it’s time you knew that we actually have three Puppies because none of us wanted to contemplate the disaster that would be Puppy Gone Missing.

And you’re an artist to boot! We signed you up for an art class with your Nana and Papa, and you've produced some lovely works. You hate getting your hands dirty (when your hand is covered with sand at the park you hold it out to whoever’s closest, with a preemptive Thank you to indicate you’d like it brushed off), so finger painting is out. But you've created collages and water colors and even some sponge art and we are cataloguing each piece for the transformation of Casa Robmaliam into the Gallery of MZ.

In closing, this month has been an adjustment, but we’ve made it back to our happy place. I’m so proud of all your recent accomplishments that sometimes I think my heart will explode. I love you, sweet pea.

Your Mom
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At 25.5.06, Blogger meg said...

I just realized that MZ must be a day younger than my nephew Eddie. And Eddie is stuck at the stage of being able to take one step (from stationary object to parent), he can't get the second one figured out. It's been this way for about a month -- and no talk of PT from the pediatrician, either!

At 25.5.06, Blogger bernalgirl said...

In fairness I think the PT thing is because she was full breech and They don't stop worrying about her hips till she's 2 or 3. But honestly, she's just not that coordinated (and really, it's one of the few ways we can tell she's ours, cuz she sure doesn't look like us). Otherwise, not walking at 16 mos is late but not worrisome late.


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