It’s hard to believe, but as of today, you, my crazy little monkey, turned 16 months old. At your most recent checkup, your belated 15-month well baby visit (your doctor was on vacation last month), you weighed in at an impressive 22.6 pounds and measured 30 1/2 inches tall. Your hair is as thick as ever, you have a mouth full of teeth (I think you’re only waiting on the last two), and you have a personality so big it’s hard to believe your little body can contain it.
Month 16 started off with you noticing you can toss your head to flip your hair out of your eyes (very baby emo), followed by your second Christmas, a day during which you celebrated with your entire family at both Abuela and Abuelo’s house and then Grandma and Grandpa’s house. You not only had a blast seeing everyone and dancing mosh-pit style to Christmas music with your cousins Stephen and Elliott, but you received lots of neat clothes and enough toys to stock an orphanage, some of which we still have yet to open precisely because you received so many.
Your vocabulary has grown leaps and bounds these last few weeks. In addition to “momma,” “poppa,” and “dada,” you can now say: grandpa, banana (pronounced “nana”), shoes, socks, dog, cheese, good, cake, more, no, milk, uh-oh, book, ball, Elmo, apple, and dinosaur. You learned apple, milk, more, and cake this last Saturday alone; your abuela heard you say “dinosaur” today thanks to your fondness for the show Dinosaur Train. Your favorite word these days seems to be “Elmo.” You love watching Sesame Street, particularly the Elmo’s World segment, and you constantly try to steal my iPad because you know you can play Elmo Loves ABCs on it and watch Elmo videos on YouTube. You are very expressive and decisive, saying “no” to let us know when you don’t want a certain food, if you don’t want to wear that particular pair of shoes, or if you don’t want a certain book read at bedtime. You love saying “shoes” because, well, you love shoes. You’ve tried putting your cousin Stephen’s shoes on his feet for him and your poppa once saw you putting your tiny foot in one of his very large shoes. One day you even picked out a pair of shoes and asked your poppa to put those on you instead of the ones you were already wearing. On Saturday you not only picked out the Dr. Seuss T-shirt you wanted to wear, you also shot down both my shoe suggestions in favor of your shiny black patent-leather pair. And you were right — they really did add a little extra oomph to your outfit. (Ah, sweetie, some day you and I will have fun shoe shopping. On sale, of course. Remember what I tell you when we run errands: We shop sales in this family.)
Your love of reading continues to develop, with you enjoying a pre-bedtime ritual of scouring your bookshelves (and floor) in search of the perfect bedtime story. You’ll hunt high and low until you find the books you’re looking for, hand it to me, then turn around and back up to me so I can pick you up and put you in my lap. Your favorites these days are still Good Night, Dora, Lull-a-bye, Little One, Curious George Visits the Zoo, and Baa Baa Bedtime. I’m pretty sure if you had a full vocabulary, you’d be able to recite them by heart. You also have a nice cache of books downstairs in the den, which you sit and “read” to yourself or occasionally ask your poppa or I to read to you.
Your comprehension of things is something to behold now. You understand so much of what we say, and you are an incredibly fast learner. You are also quite the little ham, walking around with your arms behind your back, military-style (thanks to mimicking Stephen) and, as of a few days ago, walking around with your arms folded over your head. You know when you’re being funny and always check to see if we’re watching you, doing your patented slow-mo eye roll where you don’t move your head at all, only your eyes. You’ve also taken to smirking while doing your little eye roll, probably because you know it will make us laugh.
You’re growing and learning new things at the speed of light. Your energy knows no bounds, as demonstrated at your friend Danica’s fifth birthday party at Tataru’s gym this past weekend. (I spy gymnastics classes in your future.) The best part of each workday for me is coming home and watching you play and playing with you in our den before you wind down for bedtime. On the nights I put you to bed (Poppa and I alternate nights), I always make a point to tell you how much I love you and how proud I am of you for being such a smart, sweet, amazing little girl. Then I thank you, because I’m so honored to be your mommy. And I always will be.