Happy 21 months! Between traveling, Christmas, and New Years, this one kind of snuck up on me. It wasn't until about 9am on New Years Day, as your dad and I were lounging on the beach in Cabo San Lucas, that I realized you had officially turned one month older. You spent the day making your grandparents swoon and giggle, while your dad and I basked in the sunshine and drank margaritas--a wonderful way to kick off a new month and a new year.
So much of this month has been consumed by making and (as little as I could possibly get away with) buying presents that I'm having a hard time thinking of all the wonderful kernels of how you've changed. One reason I was able to accomplish so much (three stuffed animals and 32 placemats sewn!) is that you have learned how to entertain yourself for longer and longer periods of time. Now, we're talking five minutes here, ten minutes there, but compared to the constant attention you demanded just a few months ago, this has felt like an eternity to me. Five whole minutes without reading any books, pushing any trucks, or doing any silly dances?! That's an insane bounty of time!
When you have those happy independent moments it's hard to actually use that time wisely and not to just watch you dreaming up your own world. You make little games of tearing up paper and throwing it away, coloring abstract expressionist art, talking to your critters and "guys," and I am dying to know what's happening in the amazing labyrinth of your mind.
As your language keeps growing and growing, it's easier to figure out what you're thinking and what you want. You've just had an explosion of words this month, putting little sentences together like "make playdough" (the cutest word in the world, which sounds like "pay-oohh") and "mommy tickle." The words you are learning faster than any other are names for people and pets. Our kitty Edgar has gone from "Ger" to "Egger" and in addition to Dadu and Nanu (my parents) you've started saying "Ama and Apa" (for daddy's parents, Oma and Opa). Cousin Sydney ("Neyce"), Uncle Nelse ("Unc"), auntie Jenn ("Jar"), Auntie Crystal ("Tanta"), Uncle Kevin ("Unc Kev") have all enjoyed hearing their new River names.
This month we went to Las Vegas to celebrate Christmas, and you had an extraordinary time. You slept well, ate well (as well as a toddler can be expected to), played with everyone, and seemed to have no trouble spending time with any of the million people paraded in front of you. Your dad and I took this opportunity to go away from you for the first time, leaving you with the grandparents while we had a little Mexican holiday over New Years. It was four days of bliss for all of us. You were on your best behavior for the grandparents, and dad and I were able to relax, read books, and only occasionally pine for you. By the last day, I was really ready to see my little guy, and as soon as I broke through the airport customs door, I ran over and swooped you up. And, true to form, you said, "Dadda."
Apparently, all that good behavior was very draining on you because the next day you were a pile of whine and fuss. The flight to Boston was the roughest we've had yet - 40 minutes of straight screaming - but once we got back in our own house with our happy cats, you found your way back to sane.
I was going to start this next paragraph with something like: "The theme of this month has been Get Away From Me Mommy! You have decided that your dad is just the bees knees and you want to be near him constantly. Meanwhile, I'm as appealing to you as a week-old slab of spam. Any effort to show affection or love is met with a firm, "No!" No hugs, no kisses, don't hold me, don't touch me, you silly mommy, you. I know this is a common phase for toddlers. Suddenly that life-giving, all-powerful, pure source of love - the mommy - turns into a not-so-fun robot set on the verbal repeat of "No." Daddy is exotic - he's away for most of the day, so he's not around to tell you not to eat food off the bathroom floor or to shove you into uncomfortable snow boots and coats 15 times a day. I get it. I do. Dad is rad, and mom is the stuff you want to scrape off the bottom of your shoe."
However, since we came back from Vegas, this severe distaste for all things mommy seems to have faded, and you've gone back to being my cuddly, funny, mommy-loving boy. It's amazing what a few extra hugs can do for my mood. After a little session of snuggling and peek-a-boo in bed yesterday, I felt like I'd been mainlining opium. Whoo hoo! Look at all the colors! I'm sure we'll go back to the grumpy-gus at some point, but I'm drinking these moments in right now.
This has been a hard and wonderful year. More than ever I feel like being a mommy is the most difficult, most rewarding, most life-fulfilling job ever, and I cannot wait to see what 2009 brings for all of us.
I love you love you love you,
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