18 Months.

How did we get here? She is not 18 months. There is no way. How did she go from this:

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To this:

leah7

To this:

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To THIS:

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So quickly?!?!

This is when being a mom is so hard and so wonderful at the same time. I love watching her grow and change, but sometimes I just want to shrink her up and start all over again with her. But I suppose I can’t – and even if I could – she wouldn’t let me. She is loving being a big girl. It’s what she’s wanted since she came out, and she’s finally, finally getting there.

Let’s see – this time 18 months ago I was just beginning the four hour process of getting an epidural. That was fun. I was in immense pain, and already worn out and I still had nine and a half hours to go. Gosh, it really does seem like last week and 20 years ago at the same time. But let’s talk about the present, shall we.

This little (big) 18 month old I’ve got is something else I tell you. These days climbing is the name of the game. Just in the last week she has climbed her way on top of both our dining room and kitchen tables via the chairs. She is learning to scoot things next to the counter to climb on them to get what she wants. For example, today it was a box of diapers she climbed on and then got herself a pen from the counter. Life is a whole new level of dangerous around here. I used to be able to put things that would kill her “up” – now what do I do with them? We have some locks on cabinets, but we need to get better with that. Not only for safety, but do you know that the other day she opened the pantry and fed her brother almost an entire package of hamburger buns! And we wonder why he doesn’t eat his dog food…

She is also loving practicing her ability to say “no.” I both love and hate it. She has to be involved in every decision now – food, clothes, shoes, bathtime, bedtime, playing with this toy or that one. And most of the time she says no… I think just because she can. So everything takes just that much longer now, but I am also trying not to squash her ability to say no. I want to respect it when I can, because I am going to need her to learn how to say no and mean it when the boys come-a-knockin!

She doesn’t always get to tell me no, though, and man she gets mad when she can’t. Or when I tell her no. This kid has a temper on her. Just like her mom… and her dad. So that’s good. We’re a hot-headed bunch over here. It’s a battle of wills, daily. Her “fits” are my favorite. She knows that she will hurt herself if she just flings herself on the ground… so first she sits, then she gently rolls back til she’s laying down, THEN she starts with the kicking and crying. I can’t help but laugh. Smart little thing. This stage of her life and her time with us is reminding me a lot of when she was 6 weeks old. It was about that time that we realized that she didn’t and couldn’t run our lives – and we started to be okay with her crying. We didn’t jump as quickly to solve every problem. We learned to eat – and go places – and rest. And I find us in that position again. She’s 18 months old; she wants to do a lot of things she can’t, have a lot of things she can’t, and go a lot of places she shouldn’t – and it has to be okay to hear her cry. To tell her no. I’m having a much easier time with it than her dad. I’m home with her all day, so appeasing her every wish is an exhausting task I just can’t keep up with, so I’m used to telling her no. And I’m used to the crying that follows. And I’m used to her funny, funny fits. But the second she makes a peep when daddy gets home he gives in – which is how it should be – but I also have to remind him lots and lots that it’s okay to tell her no.

Most of the time though, she doesn’t cry. She is the happiest little thing for the better part of every day. She is an easy baby toddler to be around all day. She loves to help me cook and clean and sweeping is her favorite. She loves to throw toys for Duncan and to find things to feed him. She loves her books, and loves to be read to. She loves to be outside, and freezing cold temperatures don’t seem to have the same affect on her as they do her poor mom. She is really trying to jump, and she’s almost got it. She loves going to church, but she is not a fan of the nursery these days. Kyle and I place bets on how many songs we’ll get through before we see her number light up for us to go get her. She loves to throw things. Anything. She has impeccable balance and coordination. Seriously, the things she can do on one leg are amazing. She definitely did not get that from me. She is in 3T shirts and 18-24m pants. She loves to dance and clap. She loves to go shopping as long as she can walk around at least part of the time by herself. She started swimming lessons again last week, and she was the only one not afraid to be on her back in the water. She also learned how to blow bubbles! She talks non-stop around here and her list of words include: cracker, baby, puppy, mama, dad, papa, water, shoes, diaper, book, hi, done, Duncan, and pooh. And sounds: mmmm – when eating, oooooh – when she sees something pretty, and uh-oh. She can also bark, baa, be a gorilla or a snake. She knows all of her body parts, and all items of clothing (sock, coat, pants, etc). She can do tasks like: put this in the trash, feed Duncan, bring me your shoes, and to give kisses and/or hugs.  She can count to three with proper “ready, set, go” inflection… uhhh, oooooh, E!

Obviously, there’s nothing she can’t do 🙂 And I’m one proud mama.

I’m so not ready for her SECOND birthday. But I know it will be here next week. Sigh.

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