Dear Brooklynn, As you pass 17 months in age, it is getting harder and harder to continue to call you our little baby. For one, you aren't really all that little anymore. You can't walk under the tables without banging your head, but since they are still just above eye level, it seems like you walk into them a little more than you should. You run and stomp and dance and spin and climb, all things that babies aren't very good at doing. You are definitely the third full-fledged member of our family.
You sit at the table with us for meals and use your silverware. I won't try to estimate how much of your food makes it into your mouth on the first try, but I'd say you're well over fifty percent. Scooping with a fork is still harder than stabbing, and even now, stabbing sometimes devolves into banging and then giving up and using your hands. It's ok. Mom and Dad use our hands to eat sometimes too.
You like to have snacks, and if you know we're cutting up grapes or a banana or finding some crackers for you to munch on, you will open the cupboard door, get out a small plastic bowl, and hand it to us so we can put your food in it. Sometimes, you assume that we're making a snack for you when we aren't, but we know what you want when we see the bowl come out.
One of your favorite places eat your food or just to hang out over the past few weeks has been the pack of water bottles sitting beside the garbage in the kitchen. We bought them to replenish the supply in the house and made the mistake of leaving them on the floor where you could find them. Ever since then, that pack of bottles has been a seat, a bed, a chair, a desk, and a table for you. I think that we have to find a stool or something to take their place before we can think about using the water for its intended purpose.
Much like you have claimed the water bottles as your own, you are starting to get the idea that some of things in the house are yours. Your stuffed animals and toys are things that can be shared, but, ultimately, you would like them back, thank you very much. You also seem to think that our computers, iPods, and cell phones all belong to you as well, so we still have some work on defining age appropriate items in the house. Don't worry, though. Mom and Dad are pretty good at sharing with you.
You like to play with things, but you are also starting to enjoy playing with people. The latest game in the house is for you to run back and forth on one side of the butler's pantry while someone else runs back and forth on the other side. It's like an extended game of peekaboo, but one that you are never quite sure when we will pop out at you during. And you squeal with excitement, jump a little with shock, put both hands up to cover your wide open mouth, and laugh as if to say, "I can't believe you were there again! For the seventeenth time!!"
You still don't talk with very many words, but the communication is there. Uh-oh means you dropped something. Ow means you are hitting yourself in the head (and no, we don't know where that started). Arms apart at the dinner table means all done, and you are almost always willing to gives hugs and kisses upon request. If you want either me or Mom to come with you, you will come over to us, grab our hand, and lead us to wherever you think we should be. You will run away screaming no if we request you do something that you don't like. Notice the inequality there? Trust me, I'm filing this information away for when you are a teenager.
Don't feel bad, though. Most of the time, you are a very good listener. After you bath, if I tell you it's time to put your diaper on, you will lay down and lift your legs up for me. You know how to help get dressed, raising your feet for socks on request. You can throw things away in the trash, you know how to go looking for Mommy and Daddy, you know how to "Close it!", and the it can be anything from the garbage to doors to cupboards to the washing machine. You know how to rub lotion in your hands and how to scrub your tummy with soap in the bath. We know that you understand so much.
You dance on command, and your dancing has evolved from simple head bobbing to full on butt shaking and circle spinning. The circle spinning only goes one way and you will turn until you are stumbling. Then you pause for a minute, get your bearings again, and start spinning some more. You will dance when you hear music, even if we don't ask you to. You throw things overhand (apparently, that's a milestone) and you give fives all the time.
When you were little, we would cuddle with you on the couch or sitting in your chair. You loved it, or at least, you were incapable of moving away under your own power, so you tolerated it. And then that went away for a while. You were too busy with the moving and exploring and thanks, but no thanks, you didn't really have time get cozy with us. But know, it's coming back. You will sit on our laps to read stories, to have your shoes put on, and just to have a snack. Sometimes you lay on the couch or on the bed with us, and when you start to get tired, you request to be held just so you can put your head down on someone's shoulder.
We don't have a stationary chubby baby anymore. We have ourselves a wild haired, strong willed, outspoken, bonafide toddler.
And we wouldn't have it any other way.