Dear Brooklynn, You are now 16 months old. It's a big enough number that sometimes I feel like I should start telling people you are one and a half when they ask me. At the same time, you are still our little girl and keeping your age firmly planted in the month status seems to enforce the fact that we aren't all getting (in your case) grown up and (in our case) old too fast.
A lot of the milestones that people typically refer to have come and gone. First tooth, first steps, first words. First time grabbing a toy and running away from Mom when it was time to put it away. You know, those things that, as they happen, you think you'll always remember. Then, when a new parent asks you a year later when your kid first started to sit up on their own, you realize you have no idea, because sitting up? Don't kids come with that feature enabled, because I'm really struggling to remember a time when running wasn't the preferred method of transportation.
And so, rather than focusing on waiting for the big, life changing developments, we are in the mode of enjoying your daily growth as the little person in our family of three. I am sometimes surprised at how much you pay attention to what we say and do. You have a small plastic laptop that plays music; the other day, when you and Mom were dancing, she used her toe to hit a button to restart a song from your toy on the floor. It didn't seem like something you would necessarily pay attention to, but sure enough, a minute later you were stepping on the buttons to be just like us.
You want the food that's on our plates and you want to the look at the computers and remotes and keys that we use. You want to push your stroller around like we push you. This past weekend, we were outside planting some flower bulbs while it was still warm and you needed to be right with us on the kneeling pad making sure everything was still going according to schedule.
And then, just when we think that we're home free, that all we have to do in order to get you cooperate is model the behavior ourselves, you go and form your own opinions. You don't want to go in the car, you'd rather go for a stroller ride. You don't want to stay in the house, you'd rather go outside and play even though it's almost dark and cold outside. And even if Mom or Dad gets down on the floor to play blocks with you, it sure doesn't mean that a laptop isn't the most tempting thing in the room at any given moment.
We know that you have your own ideas and understanding of the world. You empty the silverware rack of the dishwasher for us, taking each spoon and fork out, one at a time, and handing them to us to put in the drawer. You also get a little upset when the spatulas don't go in the same drawer as the silverware, enough that sometimes we put them in there temporarily just to appease you.
This past weekend, we were cutting up some grapes for you for a snack. I handed a couple pieces to you before I finished all of them. When you realized what I was doing, you opened the cupboard that has our tupperware and got out the small bowl we use to hold your pieces of fruit. It seems like such a simple thing, but trust me, it's amazing to watch you figure things out.
You are becoming quite the little socialite. You spent a good portion of your time in the airport and plane looking at other people, smiling, and waving. You are always a little shy with new people right away, but it doesn’t take much to get you to smile and soon you are much more interested in walking over to see what they might be doing than in anything Mom or Dad might have. And don't even mention other kids, because really, who would need an adult when you can hang with people your own size?
I hope that we are nurturing your development like we should be. I hope that you will be excited to see snow for the first time that you are old enough to enjoy playing in it. I hope that our Christmas tree and ornaments will make it through the holiday season in one piece. (We did switch to plastic decorations last year, with you in mind.)
Most of all, I hope you feel safe and loved in our house. Your mom and I have had a few conversations recently that it's almost impossible to remember what our daily life was like before you were in it. And trust me, we wouldn't have it any other way.