Eighteen Months: Toddler Highway

Dear Miriam,

Where has my baby gone? In the past month you've morphed into a full-fledged kid, you play with Moki, you pick out clothes, you give us orders, and you toddle away when we call you, laughing maniacally at your forced game of chase. You remind me of Moki when he nips Yudi's tail, then chases him when he runs away: We're playing! I had no idea how quickly you would go from newborn-in-arms to this independent little person, if you didn't still like to cuddle so much, I'd be utterly lost.

You still cuddle, tucking your head into our shoulders, sometimes tapping us gently, other times holding on tight. In the mornings, you still snuggle in for a sippy of milk and a few books, but in no time, you're wandering the floor, bringing us found objects, sometimes dropping others along the way, which results in involved searches for a missing shoe or the surprise of a set of iPod headphones in the garbage can. We've taken to closing the gate at the top of the stairs on our way back with your bottle, so that when you announce Get down we can enjoy another 15-20 minutes of lounging.

We haven't quite seen a temper tantrum yet, but we've seen temper, and frustration. We're learning to help you transition out of activities instead of simply picking you up and carrying you off the way we used to. We say goodbye a lot: Bye bye zoo, Bye bye toys, Bye bye park, and it works remarkably well -- you've picked it up too, saying Bye bye helicopter or Bye bye ocean as we drive. You've been known to say Again to helicopters, and while we did a double-take when a 'copter turned and came back the other day, you looked as though everything was right with the world.

You also like word play. You love your Quiet LOUD book, so when you seemed to be confusing bicycles and motorcycles on a recent hike, we told you that Bicycles are quiet, motorcycles are LOUD. You giggled Again until we were completely tired of the distinction and resorted to singing songs with you instead (you particularly love Do You Know the Muffin Man and Wheels on the Bus).You're speaking in phrases now: Up/Down we go, Get down, All bored, Read it to me, Other hand and the borderline Stop it! which comes out as snop eet (often accompanied by The Heisman) and which we find so irresistible despite ourselves that your Daddy nudges you constantly in the hopes you'll say it. Tonight, as often happens when it's just you and me during dinner prep, you declared Uppy-up as I was chopping vegetables. I hugged you and told you I was cooking dinner and you wandered away mumbling oo-ing dinner. You will repeat almost any phrase when the mood hits you, and sing Ashes Ashes All fall down to admiring audiences everywhere.

Of course, your pediatrician doesn't necessarily believe your verbal skills. She paused her examination to look indulgently at me when I said you were starting to put together sentences. You were so undone by the promise of shots that you barely said a word, so I'm sure she thinks I'm one of those moms who hears Latin or algebra in every ga-ga-goo.

If it weren't for the shots, your 18-month appointment would have been downright mellow. Usually I start my list of questions six weeks out and have filled half a page by the time we get there. This time I had just two: when to start using toothpaste and what's the new dosage of Benadryl, you know, just in case. You had already overcome The Worst Case of Diaper Rash Ever, and by all objective measures you seem to be doing marvelously. You're holding firm at 25th percentile for weight at 22 lbs 11 oz, 35th for height at 31 inches, with a strong showing in the head category: 95th percentile. Since we know your Daddy has a 98th percentile head, no one's alarmed by this.

Of course this doesn't stop me from occasionally obsessing on obscure conditions affecting early-talking, late-walking babies with ginormous heads and anemone feet, but I've finally accepted this as an affliction of parenthood.

We can't control the future, but right now you're a healthy happy toddler and we wouldn't change a thing.

All my love,
MommyPosted by Picasa


At 25.7.06, Anonymous heather said...

I have a son who is two-weeks younger tham Miriam, so I always love to read your updates. He is also of the VERY late-walker, early-talker, big-headed variety. He was seen last Monday for an early 18-month evaluation because of the not walking, given a referral for Early Intervention, and he started walking that afternoon! Not one-step, fall down, get up, step again. Just plain old walking.

I also believe you on the phrases as we are getting them here too. My favorite is "Oh no Mommy, oh no." Or the incessant go pool.

She is a beautiful little girl.

At 26.7.06, Blogger bernalgirl said...

Hooray for him! I love that the late walkers generally start as though they could have done it for weeks.

Thanks for commenting, it's great to hear of a BOY who is a l-w, e-t, bh (almost sounds like a personality index), I have been lulled into thinking that MZ is simply a classic girl.


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