Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On the 15th Month

A little after Lucy turned one, she started walking. I feel like she put a good deal of time figuring out how her body works and having fun with getting around and processing all the new information she was getting from her new point of view. She has gotten quite good at getting around and climbing and jumping and running. You know, the basics of mischief making.

And then? All of a sudden? Language explosion. In our estimation, Lucy has a command of 27 meaningful words (including "Mais non!" and 12 sounds (like "weee-ooooo-weeeee-oooo" for emergency vehicles and animal sounds). The girl talks!

It's not like I didn't expect it, and in fact, I was looking forward to hearing what she thought of things. Like dreaming about what she would look like when I was pregnant, I always wondered what my little girl would say if she could. And even though we're missing a couple of complex concepts, I know what she likes and what she doesn't like. That's already huge.

Maybe it's the fact that she can voice needs and concerns and wants, or maybe I am accepting the fact that I have a toddler, but I'm amazed at the evolution of my relationship with Lucy. She's not me anymore. She never REALLY was, but she was inside of me. And then she lived off my breast milk. And then she needed me to cuddle her to sleep. She's been part of me for so long.

Now, all of a sudden I have an independent person on my hands. Someone I happen to share a house with. I'm blown away. I'm getting to know her, not just through our bodies or through watching her, but through language. She is not even a tiny bit part of my own self anymore. Which is awesome, but it's also a little sad. She's not my wittle bay-bay anymore!

Lu ditches her baby dolls for books every time. Nerdlet.

I was trying to talk about this with the Bubba, but he couldn't get it. He gave me an Are You Okay? sort of look when I lamented that Lucy isn't just ME anymore! That's when I realized that this must be how he felt from the very beginning. He has always recognized that Lucy is an individual with or without me.

But for me, it's like I turn into a different mom every time Lucy hits a different stage in her development, and I have to redefine my job requirements and my role. Host to parasite? Physical demands 100%. Check. Milking cow? Physical demands 70%. Check. Playmate? Physical demands 20%. Check. Rule Inforcer? Physical demands 2%. I have to reassess the strengths and weaknesses of my approach and revise as needed to stay one step ahead of the Wave of Destruction. And every step actually involves me less and less.

But really, it just keeps getting more and more fun. I like my kid. She's funny and creative and sincere and surprisingly musical. She plays the piano and hums along with songs that I didn't realize she was picking up. When I was humming "Old McDonald" the other day, I stopped and she hummed the next three or four notes for me.

There's the other stuff, too. The not fun part of 15 months. The teeth are still coming. One of the bottom incisors finally cut and the bottom left molar is bulging. So we've been dealing with another bout of sleeplessness and drool and not eating and a bad case of the Naughties. The upside of not eating very well has been the discovery of smoothies! I make a Purple House Ape with blueberries and leafy greens and a Green Meanie with kale and yogurt and peaches and my girl sucks it down and belches like a linebacker.

Smoothie Fu-Manchu!

Then there's the exploration of "NO!" that's tuning quickly into a hostile takeover of the capital NO!ville, exploitation of the "NO!" residents and pillaging of the "NO!" resources. She has become well acquainted with the "NO!" laws and regulations and has thrown them out in favor of a natural state of "NO!"

But let's not dwell, shall we? Back to the fun! Lucy buries herself in the couch pillows and then pops out screaming "SURPRISE!" at least once a day. She can build block towers that are three or four high before the emergency vehicles (weeeooooo-weeeeoooo) come to crash them down.

She says "DONE!" and gives me a triumphant look
when she's accomplished something. Like I should have been timing her.

But the clincher? The very best part of 15 months? She says "I love you." and gives kisses. On purpose. SWOON!

THIS is how the species survives.


Two Sick Peas In A Pod said...

Oh my Goodness!!!
Love this!

I am rediscovering babies too through you and through Payton. Talk about swoon....when she smiles at me.....it is like an injection of heaven!!!

annie said...

It happened so fast, didn't it? You expressed that feeling perfectly - it really is a big transition to go through as a mommy, to see how completely needed you are and how quickly that diminishes. And yet, you'll always be mommy and you'll always be needed. Just in different ways.