The funny thing about these updates is that the tone is totally set by the week the update happens to fall on.
For example, this month has been amazing. Then last week, David started growing fangs. Some people call them incisors, but these are fangs. All these teeth? They aren’t worth it. Not one bit.
If I’d written the update last week (back when he actually turned 18 months…) I’d write about tantrums and not sleeping. Instead, I’m writing it now, so it’s about how David’s new favorite game is to hide behind a door, and then jump out. Then I have to simultaneously 1) shout BOO! 2) act like I just scared myself by shouting BOO! Sometimes he’s laughing so hard he can’t move to hide again…and so am I.
At the end of Incisor Week 2 we did a lot of travel, and David taught us that he prefers to sleep in his own bed, thank you. It’s funny, because before you have kids you make all these bold declarations about how you aren’t going to be like everyone else in the world; you’re going to travel and go out and be spontaneous just like you were before. But all it takes is one trip, resulting in skipped naps, lost sleep, and a Cheerio launched through your windshield to make you decide that your next road trip will be the one when you’re dropping your kid off at college.
David’s always been a tallish and heavy kid, always near the top percentile in height and weight. Just this month, though he reached “tall enough to reach our counters.” When they reach that height, percentiles don’t really matter anymore.
Watching David grow and mature is incredible. For months I’ve said, “David! Let’s go get your coat!” and he’d just look at me and blink. The next day I say the exact same thing and he runs to his room and reaches for his coat.
He plays differently, too. The way he plays with trucks and trains is more “little boy” than “baby” and he’s started building with blocks. He’s even started to read and play independently — something he’s never, ever, ever done, not even when he was teeny tiny. Not unless he was playing independently somewhere like the toilet, that is.
Last weekend he had been in his room for about 10 minutes and Tom and I checked on him. There he was, the sweetest little boy in the universe, playing with his trucks. We didn’t want to interrupt the golden moment, so we started whispering and tiptoed around like we were watching an endangered species in its natural habitat.
David is developing new language skills, he says lots of words I can understand but even more that I don’t. He still calls me Noni, or NaNa. “Wa” is water, “da do” is cracker. His favorite thing to say is, “Hey Mom, I want that unidentified object over there. Can you give it to me?” It sounds like this, “UH!UH!UH!UH!UH!AAAAAAHHH!!!”
I call this “wanting”. He doesn’t necessarily want a specific item, he just wants to want. When he starts I’m all strong and calm and by the end of it I’m frantically handing him things saying, “Stop crying! PLEASE STOP CRYING! WHAT DO YOU WANT!? Water? A snack? A cracker? Cheese? A spoon? Here’s a vase of flowers! Take a box of ice cream! I’LL GIVE YOU ANYTHING!!”
One surprising development this month is fighting naps. After months of going down easily, David chooses a few days a week and screams in his crib for over an hour. I think he’s trying to convince me he doesn’t need a nap anymore, but Mama’s no fool.
The way I get him to take a nap is by picking him up from his crib and putting him in the car and driving to the McDonald’s drive thru where (depending on my level of desperation) I get a Diet Coke, parfait, or ice cream cone. I know, no one admits going to McDonald’s anymore. It’d be more socially acceptable to say I took him to the drive thru at Starbucks, or Wendy’s, or to go club baby seals.
McDonald’s works, though. Every single time he falls asleep. And after I finish my ice cream cone, I carry him back to his crib where he takes a huge, mega nap that usually ruins my plans for the afternoon. It’s no fun, and I’m hoping it’s a phase but in the mean time, at least I get an ice cream cone out of the deal.
I tend to think of David as such a “macro” kid — he loves big movement and big activity and has big emotions. But he’s also incredibly conscientious, too. When he’s shoveling macaroni and cheese in his mouth, if he drops just one noodle he’ll look up at me and say, “Uh oh!” He won’t eat another bite until he finds it. I’m not proud to admit that I’ve taken a noodle off his plate and pretended it was the lost bite, just so we can get on with dinner already.
He’s also amazingly observative. David has learned how to unlock doors, just by watching someone do it once. He hasn’t caught on to other things quite as well. He’s watched me scrub the tub at least twice but for some reason when I ask him to do it he acts like he has no idea what I’m talking about.
It goes both ways, though. He’s been trying to teach me to find balls for 18 months now, and I’m no better than I was when I started. David is like a drug-sniffing dog…if balls were drugs. We were in the grocery store and, there was a minuscule picture of a soccer ball on a box of fruit snacks. Guess who saw it first.
All month I’ve been astonished by how tall you are. One day you pulled out your dresser drawer, threw everything out of it, and laid down in it. You know what shocked me most? You, head to toe, filled up the whole drawer. You’re turning into such a big boy.
A week ago you were so so upset and Daddy was pulling out all his tricks to make you laugh, but it just wasn’t working. Then Daddy had to leave, which meant I was all alone with you. If Daddy isn’t funny, then Mommy has no hope. But then I got this idea out of nowhere, and I went to the kitchen and blew up a balloon. You watched me do it, and seeing a ball somehow come out of Mommy’s mouth? It was almost more than you could handle. Your eyes lit up and you smiled as if I’d just spit out the Taj Mahal.
Then, for the rest of the morning, you bounced and chased the balloon around the living room and were the happiest little boy in the world.
I want to write about that morning, because it was so wonderful, and I don’t want to forget it. I don’t want moments like that to get lost in the jumble of incisors and tantrums and skipped naps.
18 months has such a reputation, Everyone knows 18 months is the best. Even before I had kids I knew. When David was just an infant I’d think, “Man. February 2013 is gonna be the best.”