It’s hard to believe you’re 16 months now, and that you’ve spent a whole year of your life in Indiana. A year ago I skipped writing your 4 month journal amidst all the chaos of moving into our new house. How time flies!
You’re sleeping well again and usually taking good naps. They’ve shifted to be a bit later in the day and now you help me with some chores and we play a bit after lunch and you go down about 1:30 and sometimes even sleep till 5:00. We always give you books to read in bed and you just play a bit and then settle in for your beauty sleep, which you seem to enjoy as much as anything.
You’re getting good at putting your toys away, and for now anyway it’s just as much fun putting them all in the box as playing with them. Let’s keep this going, shall we? I got you a bunch of new toys this month and you have grown into them eagerly, especially the set of beginner blocks. At first you couldn’t fit them together on your own and now you can sit and play contentedly, building your little creations. You love to hold them up as you go, one by one, and wait for me to tell you what color it is before you stack it on top of your tower.
You love cars and anything that “goes,” and you love to push things around the house: mop, broom, laundry basket, empty box – anything will do. Yesterday you were delighting in letting your matchbox car roll down the side of the exercise ball. Wednesday we went to Walmart and you were sick of the cart so I let you get down and you chose to spend the rest of the shopping trip standing between me and the cart, pushing it along with all your little baby strength. It was adorable. You also love books as much as anything in the world, and I spend a large chunk of my morning reading to you. You play awhile, then come upon a book, snatch it up, and hurry over. I ask if you want me to read it to you and you give a little squeal of glee, and then I pick you up, set you on my lap, and we go at it. I rarely read the words, and sometimes I just let you “read it,” as you point to one thing after another and wait for me to tell you what it is. You’ve gotten very good at finding the monkey on the Curious George pages. Speaking of Curious George, I’ve been letting you watch it on TV every now and then for a special treat, and the shrieks of delight when you first see that monkey bounce onto the screen are the sounds that a mommy lives for.
You still choose never to say anything, and I say choose because I am sitting here outside your room where you have just woken up and you are talking up a mighty storm. Mostly it’s babbling, but there are a few definite “No”s and “Mama”s in the mix. But when you aren’t alone you maintain a stony silence interrupted only by the occasional grunt or squeal. It’s clearly working for you, and it’s clearly just how you like it. You’ll probably end up like your daddy, who wouldn’t talk until his mom laid down the ultimatum and he responded by saying, “Fine. Cookie!” Meanwhile your sign language vocabulary is exploding and you have mastered “please,” are getting “thank you” pretty nicely and have added “help,” “milk,” sometimes even “hungry.” You’re very proud of yourself when you can say “More milk, please,” with three separate signs in a row. You know they have actual words for that stuff too, right?
You sit up to the table with us sometimes instead of using your high chair try and I’m really enjoying your company, watching you transform from baby to our little boy. I’m sure the transformation will seem so rapid when we have your sister to compare you to! It’s been nice this month to have daddy home for lunch all the time, and we enjoy sitting down all together.
We’re working on understanding babies lately, and your face lights up whenever I suggest that we can go see Baby Julian, our 3-month old neighbor. You are in awe of him. You have your own baby, too, and when I ask you where Mommy’s baby is sometimes you’ll get it right and pat my belly, but usually you just eagerly pat your own. But, hey, your belly is proportionally as big as mine so it’s all the same I guess. Pretty soon it will all be alarmingly obvious to you and let me just take this opportunity to say that “No, she is not going to be leaving any time soon and yes, I still love you, and yes, she is going to mess with your life in a big, big way.”
We’re also working on summersaults lately, which is adorable. You can put your head and hands down by your feet and then I finish the job for you. Sometimes I let you try to do it yourself and you end up proudly flopping onto your belly. Another favorite you have is High Fives, and it is the cure for any shyness or pouty lip around unfamiliar people, which is definitely a growing issue. I just suggest you give them “five” and you throw your whole soul into it. You’re such a stinkin’ charmer.
The delight of your life these days is the remote controls, which you associate with music, and you love to pick them up and point them at the TV. You toddle over to me or Daddy with one of them and squeal a bit and we know that is your request for putting music on, and then you get your groove on. Yesterday I walked in from my doctor’s appointment to find you positively high on the jazz station Daddy had chosen. You couldn’t stop dancing.
One of your favorite games is in the bathtub, where you race for the back of the tub and then sit down facing forward and wait expectantly. Then Daddy sends you sliding to the front and says “Scoot!” and you laugh and thrash right back to where you were to do it again. You also love to dump water out of the tub and we’ve given up on turning the faucet off, ever, since you just stand up and turn it back on. So now we just open the drain when it gets full enough, and it works. After bath is still your nightly wrestling match on Mommy & Daddy’s bed, and you are a true wild man at that moment.
Then you calm down and settle in for a cup of milk while we read the Bible together. You’ve gotten used to that quiet moment in our day and you’re doing well both then and in church on Sundays. You love to participate in your own sweet way, and your official job is book-closer, and sometimes we have to keep reminding you that it’s not time to shut the Bible yet. When we sing you love to clap and sometimes you get involved enough to do it without our suggestion. It’s fun to see you learning to get involved in worship.
This next month is going to be full of change and chaos and I am deeply aware of how much we are depending on you to handle, as we leave you with friends for several days while we’re in the hospital. I can’t wait to see you that first time when you come to meet your sister in only 13 more days. I can’t even begin to imagine how much I am going to miss you while the time we have together is only a few short hospital visits each day. I am so grateful for your sweet, trusting personality and how you tend to go with the flow, and I want to do everything I can to keep treating you like the tiny person you are an not rely on your strength and good humor more than I should. Adding a sister is a huge privilege for you and for your Daddy & me, and it’s going to consume our lives in every way – that’s just the way these things work and we’d be crazy to want anything less. But I spend a lot of time imagining the special ways we’ll keep being buddies, just the two of us, too, and I hope you will feel that and find security in it.
I have to tell you one quick story and then I’ll stop rambling. I have been holding you close this week as I grieve the loss of a precious baby girl with some friends, sneaking a few more kisses than usual and treasuring every chance to snuggle you on my lap when you bring me a book to read. My friends never even got to hold their little girl before she went to be with Jesus this week. It’s reminded me of those days before you were born when I knew so deeply that you don’t belong to me. Lately it’s all I can do to remember that, from day to day. Early this week I dropped you at a friend’s house so I could get some work done at home and as I drove away I imagined you running out into the street. I trusted those friends completely with you, but I knew they didn’t have the same strength of love for you that I do, and what was I thinking, not being present with you to protect you at all times? It worried me, thinking of all the time we’ll spend apart this month, and I realized I have no choice in the matter. That’s when I remembered it’s irrelevant anyway. You belong to God and not to me and no amount of my protecting you will keep you any safer than Jesus can keep you by His own mighty compassion. I am praying you will feel that in your own little baby way amidst all the upheaval you are about to encounter.