As I was getting G dressed this morning, I reflected that yesterday he was 17 months old. One month shy of the 18th month milestone. As I was getting his giggly wiggly self into the outfit du jour, I thought about all the things make him...well, him. His personality that continues to blossom every day, the phases we're entering that are so different from those of a year ago. I was remembering that a year ago today was when he first rolled over while at a visit to my parent's house. (I remember this vividly because it is also the day we lost our beloved Inky cat). Anyway, it got me thinking of all the things I love about him at this age...how as challenging as it can be, I wish I could freeze those moments that stand out as the tiny treasures of toddlerhood. (even the ones that are thoroughly messy!)
Someday, G, when you read this, you'll know all about the little things that I noticed and loved about you at this time in your life. I write them so I'll never forget and so we can relive them together. Suffice to say, you are the best thing I've ever had a hand in creating. So, for now, here is my list.
1. I love the way you grasp Giraffe's tail at bedtime, and when I look in on you later, you're still holding on to him--twirling it in your sleep, comforting you. He is your favorite. You search within your crib for him desperately and then find peace when you know he's there. Sometimes you hold just the tail, sometimes you hug him entirely, all night.
2. I love that you know how to blow kisses, but you're selective in who and how often you give them away. Of course, I love when they are directed at me.
3. I love how when I'm holding you, you always grasp my necklace between your little fingers, playing with it, almost unaware, in the same way you do Giraffe's tail. The shamrock meant to stand for how lucky we are to have you and the joined family of three to symbolize our forever love for you.
4. I love listening to the pitter-patter of your bare feet as you charge through the house. That sound never gets old.
5. I love your never ending curiosity and your need to explore all that is around you and your sense of adventure. I hope your inquisitive nature never goes away.
6. I love the silly games we play--especially at dinner time, and how you look at me with that mischievous grin, the sparkle in those blue eyes...you are a total rascal.
7. I love listening to your chatter as you fall asleep or when you're waking up. Even better when we hear through the monitor, you laugh to yourself in these moments, wondering what it was that has you so silly.
8. I love how you enjoy checking yourself out in the full length mirror--impressed with your own dance moves. Yep, you've got rhythm.
9. I love when I pick you up from daycare, your head pops up from whatever you're doing, and you immediately toddle over to me, arms outstretched, waiting to give me a hug and tell me about your day. I've missed you too.
10. I love that deep guttural belly laugh.
11. I love how if Gabby gives you a playful growl, you give her one right back.
12. I love our early morning snuggles, when you're still a little bit sleepy and not quite ready to get dressed and start the day.
13. I love that you can contentedly play by yourself (tho not all the time!).
14. I love your bath time antics--your need for bubbles, splashing, and squirty toys.
15. I love that you have two special friends who sit on your dresser, that you give extra kisses to before going to bed. One is "Little Gabs", a stuffed rottie puppy that Grampie gave you on the day you were born; and a bear who wears overalls, a yellow scarf, and carries a suitcase, that you insist is Pooh but who I call McTavish. You light up when you see them, and give them the gentlest of kisses before bed each night.
16. I love when you wake up happy and are giggling and playful as we get ready for 'school'. It makes leaving you for the day just a tiny bit harder because I want to be the one that gets your good, playful mood.
17. I love how on weekends, you insist on touching my mug of hot coffee, and in doing so, we are learning the difference between hot and cold.
18. I love that the huge bear Daddy bought you, affectionately known as "Mrs. Bear", is your go-to when you're feeling out of sorts or in need of a snuggle. I love how you grasp her big paws and fold them around you like a hug, then give her a kiss on her shiny black nose.
19. I love that you steal Gabby's toys but then bring them back to her as a peace offering. While her bone is not meant to be a teething treat for you, she does appreciate when you give it back to her.
20. I love your fearless attitude. You took to the icy numbing waters of Maine like a true New England kid. Just like momma.
21. I love your growing love for books. Finally, you are showing interest and the attention span for being read to. I love that you finally know when a book is upside down, and turn it right side up. I love that even though you make us read the same books over and over, you do it with a giggle and a snuggle. I love our nightly reading routine.
22. I love your dare devilish self. You have mastered climbing the stairs, the coffee table, and your toy chest. You launch from the toy chest to the recliner, in a fit of giggles, yet adhere to my stern direction of 'feet first please!', only do it all over again. I love when we ask "again?" you nod and grin as you once again attempt those daring feats.
23. I love that you've never been a drooler, even during teething when it seemed like all your teeth were coming in at once.
24. I love that you're just a little bit sensitive. Your tender toddler heart expresses itself in sweet and endearing ways.
25. I love that you like to learn your letters after a bath.
26. I love being the recipient of your lovable hugs and kisses.
27. I love that somehow, at 17 months, you know how to whistle.
28. I love that you take Daddy's or my Iphone and hold it backwards to your ear, pretending to talk to your buds. You've also somehow figured out the touch screen and have come very close to erasing some of my apps. Rascal? Yep.
29. I love how angelic you are when you're sleeping. It makes how fast you're growing seem like you still have some baby left in you.
There will be many more as the years go by, I have no doubt. For now, these are just some of my favorites.