Avery is 18 months!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Let me tell you about this kid. She is hilarious. And sweet. And wild. And adorable.

Our daughter keeps us cracking up all day long. Her development is exploding lately, leaving almost no traces of her baby self as she quickly transforms into a toddler. Her language skills improve exponentially each day. She is connecting multiple ideas and stringing several words together. Her first sentence ever was, "Baby poop booty booty." She is learning her colors (her favorite is purple, hands down), counting ("two, two, more, nine, tent!"), and every day she finds a new use for the word "no." She also loves to give me step-by-step instructions. "Mama,  deez shoes on. Mama, buckle shoe. Mama, more shoe on. Mama, buckle more shoe. Mama, go outside. Mama, go park." And so on and so forth, all day long.

Anyone with a toddler knows that silence is suspicious, and Avery is no exception. If she is quietly entertaining herself, it is a sure bet she is doing something she shouldn't: drawing on the walls, cramming discs upside down into the poor DVD player, removing her diaper and peeing on the floor, eating some chocolate chips she pulled out of a drawer she couldn't reach the day before, putting Elmo stickers on her daddy's important government paperwork... you get the idea. When I obey her command, "Mama, play!" we usually find ourselves trying on shoes and hairbows, caring for her stuffed animals, or drawing ("Mama, draw fish! Mama, draw rainbow! Mama, draw balloon. Purple balloon, mama. More fish. No no no, mama! Blue fish! Two blue fish!").

(Don't be fooled by the pictures. Mon petit artiste only gives me short breaks for taking pictures, and then I'm back to fish-drawing duty)

More than playing, of course, she likes to "help" me. She loves to assist in cooking, cleaning, gardening, transferring loads of laundry, and emptying the dishwasher. Sure, there aren't many flowers left on our plants, or many intact dishes left in our cupboards, but it is all part of the toddler parenting experience, and we love it (...usually).

She is also recently interested in babies. She has a doll that she has started taking care of, and a few friends of mine have small babies. For such a wild child, she is really gentle and tender with babies. She tip toes around them, gives them pacis when they cry, pats their backs, kisses their heads, and is generally sweet to them...as long as they don't touch her toys. She especially loves bouncing and rocking them in their bouncy seats, and commenting on their poopy diapers. ("Baby poop! Yuck, baby poop.")

But her most favorite thing of all? JUMPING. And also running and stomping and squealing and (literally) bouncing off of the walls, but primarily jumping. Jumping in her crib, off her stool, on the couch, in bouncy castles, on trampolines, off the playground equipment, on her unsuspecting parents, on our bed, off the window sills, off the kitchen counters, in her wagon, on the kitchen table, into the pool, off docks, into mud puddles, down the stairs ...onto or off of any surface that she can reach. She jumps...and jumps and jumps and jumps. It is also a great stalling technique around nap and bed times, as jumping down the entire hallway takes much more time than simply walking.

This is such a fun age. Every age is fun and exciting and different (and hard) in its own way, but this one is my favorite so far. As she develops, we get more peaks into her thoughts and her sense of humor, and it is amazing to get to know her better as she can tell us more about herself. That's not to say that toddlerhood doesn't bring with it a whole bucket of crazy challenging behavior. She is hyper and crazy for most of the day, and she can throw a pretty mean tantrum already, but during tender moments she crawls up on our laps and covers us with kisses and hugs and gives us her best snuggles and squeezes. Is anything sweeter than a wide-eyed, "Mama, big hug?" It's almost enough to make me forget about how I caught her flushing $40 down the toilet earlier this week.

I could go on forever about how funny she is, how much we love her, and all the crazy things she says and does each day. In the interest of time and digital space, though, I'll try to pare it down to a shortish list of her most favorite things at this point in time:

-Yogurt with blueberries and bananas ("Gogurt a bluenana? Gogurt a bowl, airplane spoon!")
-"Purple juice," "apple juice," and "more juice"
-Elmo anything
-Jumping (I know I already mentioned this, but she loves it so much it deserves a second mention)
-Animals, real and stuffed, and especially puppies and fish
-Playing at the park
-Older toddlers
-The phrase "Nopey nopey nope." I have no idea where she learned that!
-Manis and pedis, especially with sparkle. She loves to show off her "Purple hands! Purple toes!
-Talking to family on FaceTime
-Footwear! Good grief, I've never met anyone who loves shoes as much as this child does. It's unreal.

Have I mentioned that we love her to pieces? Despite the meltdowns, despite 18 months of her not sleeping through the night, despite more messes than I thought were humanly possible to create ... we wouldn't trade her for anything. Every day I think that surely I couldn't love her anymore, and then the next day, I do. 


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