18 months old. 18 months old. 18 months old.
I have to say it a few times for it to sink in.
I still have pictures in my office of the chubby cherub baby with the twinkle in her eye and dimple in her smile. But outside of the images captured on film, she is gone. She has been replaced – transformed, really – into a stunning little girl whose intelligence is as striking as her beauty. Sometimes I slip and still call you my baby, but you quickly correct shaking your head and demanding: big! big!
Oh my Rosebud, you are living zest. You are spunk and zeal and sass with a dress and a bow (you demand dresses every day. the twirlier the better thank you very much). Every moment is used to the max. When you are loving, you are loving with all your heart. And when you’re mad, well, you do that with all your heart too.
You wear mommy out with your tantrums and demands, floppy arms and spaghetti legs, picky palate and wild independence. But then you throw your arms around my neck, squeeze your eyes shut and plant a sloppy kiss on my cheek and I’m back. Fuller than I ever imagined I could be. You are my match, my karma, and my pride. You are the daughter I never imagined I could dream of.
I joked with your daycare teachers this morning and said that 18 months old was not my favorite age. It was 8am and I was already exhausted from the 5 different battles we had forged over everything from outfit selection to brushing teeth to walking into the building. Please tell me, I said to them, how do I raise a daughter who is strong, determined, independent, comfortable with her feelings and voices her opinions, but who also listens and always does what I ask her to?!
They laughed and gave me the answer I knew I would get: you don’t.
Of course they are right. Everything that’s driving me crazy right now is everything I want to raise you to be. So keep at it baby (I mean big) girl. Keep striving and voicing and running against the wind. One day those “no, no, no”‘s, “dat! dat!”‘s and “me do!”‘s will serve you well.