A year and a half! It’s hard to believe. One of the books I’ve been reading recently says that eighteen months is when many parents really start to feel they can see “the person emerging more clearly at eighteen months than at any succeeding age. Later on the child will have become. Right now he is becoming”. Those words left a strong impression on me, as it seems every day now your father and I comment on something new that you’re doing and tell each other with such joy and pride, “He’s such a little person now!”
Your Daddy and I were sure that you’ve had a huge growth spurt in the last couple of months, and we were right! We had your eighteen month well baby appointment this afternoon (hence why I’ve posted this letter a day late). You’re 35″ (97th percentile for height) and 23 lb 4 oz (25th percentile for weight). We were very excited to see that you’ve climbed up the weight percentiles, although I suppose given your height jumped up as well, you’re probably just as slender as you were at fifteen months. Your paediatrician agreed you’re meeting all of your developmental milestones, including screaming pretty much continuously through the entire appointment. I guess she was expecting this reaction, as she told me that’s why they have the parents fill out a checklist before they see them, as the paediatricians can no longer count on observing the child’s reactions and behaviour during the appointment.
This was another big month of consolidation. You grow ever steadier on your feet, and you can be surprisingly fast. More than once when we’ve been out somewhere I’ve had to drop what I was doing and make a mad dash to catch you before you headed out the door. You’ve started kicking your ball rather than just picking it up and throwing it. You’re also very interested in experimenting with your feet. You walk backwards, march in place, sway and wiggle to music, and you are desperate to be able to figure out how to jump. It started with you trying to imitate a character in Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go (your all-time favourite book this month) who was jumping on the roof of a truck. If we saying, “Jumping, jumping!” you get this huge grin on your face as you alternate bouncing your torso up and down while bending your knees with lifting one foot off the ground at a time.
You still love pushing your little red car around the neighbourhood, but you’ve also discovered the joys of pushing your stroller yourself. You can’t see where you’re going, and it takes all your effort to get it moving, but as long as I’m there to make sure you don’t steer off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic you will trundle along for quite a while. One memorable Saturday you pushed your stroller almost the entire way back from the farmers’ market. The weather turned right at the end of this month, which meant you weren’t quite as pleased with the prospect of afternoon walks. Until it got cold they had been your favourite activity, but the first day we went out when it was close to zero with a cold wind up you got out your car, pushed it two houses down the street, and then wanted to park it back in the shed and go inside again. I think snow is going to come as a bit of a shock!
You added a few new words and sounds to your repertoire this month. You now have a sound for a monkey (hee hee), a train (doo doo), and all vehicles (brrm brrm). You’ve got some new nouns (apple and moon), and a very important verb (g0), which you like to chant as you find Richard Scarry and cart it over to anyone whom you think likely to read it to you. You once, we’re fairly certain, said, “Dere’s Mummy”, but we haven’t heard anything like it since. You still sound rather a lot like an Ewok, as you chatter away in sentences that remain utterly incomprehensible. You love having everything identified, and you delight in finding matches, whether that’s showing me your bunny along with the picture of a bunny in your book, or by pointing to every wall in the living room. At the dinner table you love pointing to each person in turn, waiting for me to say, “I’m Mummy, that’s Daddy, and you’re E.” each time. I’ve been rotating your toys and you ended up terribly confused one day when I’d put away your stacking bugs and you couldn’t find the ladybug to match the picture of a ladybug in a book of animals. If asked you can point to your eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, ears, head, hair, hands, fingers, tummy, feet, and toes, as well as your shirt, pants, shoes and socks, and you love to then come over and point to (or touch) the corresponding item on your Mummy or Daddy. You know where to find your hat and mittens when we’re about to go outside, and you love the slippers I bought for you so much that if I forget to put them on after we get back in the house you’ll go and find them and bring them over to me.
At the start of this month we removed the tray from your high chair and pulled you up to the table to sit with us. This has had mixed success. I think you love being right in the middle of things, but you’re much less careful to keep your food on your plate, or on the table. If you decide you’re ‘all done’, we only have a moment to remove your plate before you toss it and its contents on to the ground. Perhaps you would have hit this phase no matter where you were sitting. In any case, we hope it’s a short one. You continue to be deeply suspicious of many foods you once loved, although you almost never turn down pasta, pancakes, cheese, bananas, goose sausage, yoghurt and puffs. On days when you eat almost no dinner we give you a big bowl of plain yoghurt, mostly so that we won’t worry about you getting hungry in the night. Otherwise you tend to just eat what we do.
You still love imitating what we do and helping us around the house. I’ve occasionally had to evict you from your chair next to me in the kitchen when you start scattering the ingredients for dinner with merry abandon, but most nights we cook together without incident, with you snagging pieces of red pepper and mushroom as I chop. You continue to adore sweeping. Your Daddy was away for a week this month, and while he was gone I decided to try to give the house a more thorough clean. The largest tantrum you’ve ever produced was sparked by this sentence: “No, E., we’re not going to wash any more baseboards right now. We’re going to go and make lunch.” After your nap we continued the spree of baseboard washing on the upper floor, and you had a wonderful time carrying the scrub brush around. You put your toys away each night and will often start to do so without being asked. You even park your little ride-on car between the couch and the bookshelf. We replaced your toy box with a set of storage cubes, which has proved to be a great success. You love being able to find everything easily and move toys from one shelf to the next; I love that I’m now able to rotate your toys to make sure you don’t get bored (although some toys, like your Megabloks tractor, never get put away because you’re so busy playing with them!).
You really love your Megabloks right now. You can create enormous towers if you have a parent to hold the base steady, and you love helping your Daddy build great edifices that use up every blok in the set. One of our houseguests brought you a set of castle blocks from Austria and they’ve quickly become another favourite. You still love books. We’ve started going to the library more frequently for music time and a drop in play group, and you love the books we borrow each week. You know that we keep them in a special place, and I’ll often find you trailing through the main floor holding Llama Llama Red Pajama. You’re becoming better and better at turning the pages in these picture books, although I’ve had to make repairs to a couple of your own that are subjected to extra enthusiasm (particularly Things that Go).
Our routine has been quite disrupted this month as we’ve had so many visitors- your Grandpa, your auntie, two friends- and there are even more visitors to come in the next couple of weeks: more grandparents, another auntie and an uncle, and another friend. You’ve definitely been a bit confused as to who all these people are and why they keep leaving and being replaced by someone different, but for the most part you’ve been content to just roll with the changes. You quickly figured out which visitors were most likely to play with you. You had a lovely time wrestling with Grandpa and reading with Auntie C.
It was very appropriate that Auntie C. came to stay with us, as she was staying with us at this time last year and came with us to your first Hallowe’en party. I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to do anything at Hallowe’en this year, as for weeks every time I showed you your costume you would just burst into tears, but on the day itself I was able to convince you to wear it. Auntie C. and I agreed that you were the world’s cutest shark. That afternoon we were all in the living room and I said to your auntie, “Oh I forgot to pick up a bucket for E. I should have looked for one of the pumpkin ones. He’ll need a bucket to go trick-or-treating.” You immediately dropped the book you had been perusing, went over to your toy shelf, emptied out your shape sorter and held up the bucket for my inspection. It was the perfect solution! The only problem was you then wanted to take the bucket and go outside right that moment, and we had to convince you to wait until it got dark. You seemed very confused about the whole thing when we first stuffed you in to your costume, but after I got you outside and we went to one of our neighbour’s houses, you got quite excited and started pointing at all the houses with lots of decorations and asking to go and see them. You ended up visiting about six houses, and once we got home you had a lovely time taking your loot out of your bucket and putting it back in again. Your favourite was the chocolate chip cookie baked by our neighbour- that didn’t last the night! Over the next couple of days you got to eat the Smarties, but your parents disposed of the rest.
I still marvel every day at how much I love spending my days with you, how interactive you’ve become, how much fun it is to watch you explore your world. The half-years often mark a time of disequilibrium, and we can see elements of that in you, but your naturally sunny disposition almost always wins out over the frustrations you experience. You bring such joy to our lives, and we love you very much.