Dear Big Boy:
Yesterday you turned sixteen months old. This month has been so busy, such a whirlwind of milestones and discoveries, that I hardly know where to begin.
You’ve been walking for a couple months now, which means you’re practically a professional. You’ve not only mastered walking forward, but also walking backward, standing without pulling up on anything, bending and squatting waaaay down without falling, and – the most dangerous and worrisome of all – running. The problem with the running? Your brakes are still developing, it seems, because when you’re traveling at full speed, a fall is almost inevitable. Your bottom half seems to be traveling faster than your top half, or vice versa – we’re not sure, really, – but you almost always fall when you start going too fast. If I seem to be going on and on about this particular subject, it’s only to document your most important discovery this month: Table Corners and Other Hard Surfaces. A couple weekends ago you managed to whack your head four times on four different surfaces, all within about 20 minutes’ time. You ended up looking like you’d lost a round with a prizefighter. Your poor, poor little forehead. And brow bone. And, um, cheek. Oh, and also your eyelid. Geez, son, you’re gonna have to get a handle on this whole gravity thing. I’m enrolling you in a Physics course next week.
We’ve really seen your personality develop this month, especially your sense of humor. And no one is funnier – in your opinion – than YOU. Sometimes you just lay in the floor on your back, pushing yourself backwards with your heels, and giggling like that is just the absolute funniest thing you’ve ever done. (I’ll have to admit, it makes me giggle, too.) You’ve learned that we laugh when you do something funny, so you’ll do it over and over again, just to get the same reaction.
I’ve been impressed with your recent ability – and willingness – to follow simple instructions, such as “put the book in the basket” or “kick the ball.” However, you seem to have selective hearing (just like your Daddy and every other man in the universe), because you don’t seem to hear the word “No” at all. You LOVE to turn the TV on and off, push the buttons on the VCR, and pull and tug the string that opens and closes the curtains over the sliding glass door, even though you KNOW you’re not supposed be playing with any of those things. And when I tell you NO you suddenly and conveniently become hearing impaired. I’ve finally learned to say, “Big Boy, look at Mama,” and then tell you NO when you look at me. This way, I know that you hear me, and – more importantly – you know that I know. It seems to be working – for the moment, anyway, because, just this morning, as you, Daddy and I were playing in the floor, a videotape that had been playing in the VCR rewound and ejected. You heard it, then went to check it out; you almost reached to push it back in, then you stopped, shook your head no, and turned back to play with Daddy. The funniest part, though, was that you kept going back to the VCR over and over…walking up to it, looking at it longingly, then shaking your head no and turning away. It was one of the funniest things Daddy and I have seen you do. You were SO torn, bless your little heart; you wanted so badly to push that videotape back in; but you didn’t touch it. And, after a few minutes of watching you torture yourself, I took the tape out and put it away, so the temptation would be gone.
Besides playing with the TV, VCR, and curtains, the activities you’ve most enjoyed this month are carrying around and playing with anything and everything you can pull out of the kitchen utensil drawer, emptying the cabinet where we keep all the plastic bowls and pitchers, playing with and chasing your sisters, and touching Mama’s hair. You also discovered your stuffed animals this month, and have had lots of fun toting them around, hugging them, and then…shoving them in your laundry hamper.
You can say, “Mama”, “Dada”, “Boo” (Nanny and Poppy’s dog’s name), “Nnda” ([Miss Attitude’s name], but pronounced nn-DUH), and “Unno” (“I don’t know”). Last night, as we were reading “Big and Little,” your latest favorite book, I told you that bears say “growrrr”, and you responded with the cutest little bear growl I’ve ever heard. I got you to do it again a couple of times last night, then once this morning, but you refused to cooperate after that, so Daddy still hasn’t heard it. You will, however, answer the question, “What does the puppy dog say?” with a low, guttural, Labrador-retriever-sounding, “woof, woof.” Except it’s not pronounced “woof, woof”, so much as “uh, uh.” You’ll respond almost every time, except of course for last weekend, when I was trying to capture your cute little puppy dog bark on video, and you WOULD. NOT. do it, so basically, we now have a tape with 15 minutes of me saying, “Big Boy, what does the puppy dog say?”
You’ve really started expressing your opinions and trying to become more independent. You often refuse to eat unless you feed yourself (which can of course be VERY messy, and is especially fun when we’re eating out), and you even tried to put your tennis shoes on by yourself today, yet another reminder of how fast you’re growing up and becoming a big boy.
When I say you’ve started “expressing your opinions” what I really mean is Hello, Big Boy’s Temper. You’ve already begun throwing toddler tantrums, wherein your entire body becomes either (a) limp as a wet noodle or (b) completely stiff and rigid; and you collapse to the floor in a fit of rage. It’s really quite entertaining, in a holy-crap-what-will-he-be-like-when-he’s-two sort of way.
Occasional tantrums aside, you really have been an absolute joy. You are generally happy and charming, friendly and smiling, such a delight. If you’d just stop getting up at 6:00 every morning, life would be almost perfect.
I love you, Big Boy.