|my friend Joellen took this picture at a bookstore, and I can't stop staring at it|
[taking a quick break to dance and finish my ice cream and also to cry because I'M GETTING EMOTIONAL]
I think the hardest part of those early months was grieving my previous life of freedom and relative ease. I feel so far removed from my pre-baby life that I don't even remember what it was like. At all. I have nothing profound to say, other than I've been a mother for 15 months and I'm feeling exceedingly grateful for it at the moment. There's nothing else I'd rather do with my life than raise this girl.
We read books all day long. It's at the point where I've started hiding her favorites because I cannot read about the happy kittens one more time. At least not without a coffee refill. The binding of Goodnight Moon has completely fallen apart. Lucky for her, we have a second copy, but she doesn't need to know such information just yet. It doesn't matter anyway, because I realized the other day that I HAVE IT MEMORIZED. The entire book. And a handful of others. She is always grabbing a book, crawling over to me, and thrusting it at me to read to her. It's so precious that I can never say no. But sometimes when she's not looking, I hide some behind a pillow. JUDGE ME.
Every night before bed she insists on standing at the window in my room and waving at the neighbors. It kills me. She gets wildly excited about brushing her teeth and puts her finger up to her mouth to make a brushing motion. She's not walking and not trying and I'm 100% cool with it, unless it's a place where I can't take the stroller and then we have a serious chat about her need to walk. My arms are looking pretty good these days though, if you're wondering. You weren't. If it takes awhile for her to fall asleep at night and she gets frustrated, she'll take her pajamas off and throw them on the floor. Even the zip-up sleepers. I have no idea how she's figured out how to get them off. I'm just waiting for the day she figures out how to remove her diaper. Lord help us all.
She's still mostly an amazing sleeper, and that's my saving grace on our bad days. Every night she's usually in some state of undress and in a different position in her crib than the night before. I've started taking pictures every night because there is rarely a night that she repeats herself. Two nights ago, she was sleeping at the foot of her crib with a blanket on her head and her pants off. Before that, she was sideways in her crib with an arm out of her sleeper. Last night, she was curled up in the corner with her shirt around her waist. Usually she's thrown half the things in her crib on the floor.
She talks and chats all day long. She's rarely quiet unless she's eating or sleeping. She says plenty of words, but her jabbering is so adorable and silly that I don't think I'm ready for her to be full-fledged talking yet. Her favorite word is "dada" and she says it and points to the door every afternoon, waiting for her dada to come home. She calls for him first whenever she wakes up in the morning. She refuses to leave her crib without Mr. Bunny and Pooh Bear, her two favorite stuffed animals. James put his earbuds in her ears once several weeks ago, and now every single day she pilfers them from his nightstand and shoves them in her ears and then in mine. The other day I pulled out my childhood 1980s Fisher Price barn for her to play with, and she has so much fun putting the farmer in the tractor and pushing it around the floor. If she's not doing that or reading, she's raiding her shoe stash and trying to put her shoes on or shoving them at me to put on her feet. Then she takes them off and hands them back to me to put back on. There are a lot of vicious cycles with toddlers.
Her favorite thing on this planet is a laundry basket full of laundry. It's Toddlers Gone Wild. She squeals with joy, throwing and flinging shirts and socks and pants with wild abandon. She waves and flaps every article of clothing, pets them, and talks to them. She'll hand me a shirt to fold, take it back and crumple it, then hand it back to me to fold again. If I didn't distract her, this cycle would continue for 6 years per article of clothing. She loves to grab her pajama pants and put them on over her clothes. The other day, I was trying to clean renegade baby powder out of my wedding band when I looked up to see that Gracie had put a pair of my underwear on over her clothes and was chasing the cat toward the stairs. This is my life these days, and I wouldn't change it for anything. Truly, I wouldn't.