David is 20 months old. Twenty months. It’s a milestone I never thought we’d reach because, even though these months are flying, now that I’m pregnant I count my life in weeks. David will be about 21 and a half months when Baby Krieger gets here, which, now that he’s 20 months, sounds so soon. But saying I have seven weeks left until my due date sounds insufferable. It’s the same reason Snuggies cost $14.99 instead of $15.
This has been a month of extremes. We’ve had two snow storms, followed by a week when every day was over 80 degrees. David has experienced extremes as well. He spent this month cutting two teeth, dealing with his ever first stomach bug, and I got to call Poison Control for the first time when I discovered him playing in a puddle of ant poison. But also, somewhere along the way, David became the most delightful little guy ever.
Yesterday I went to pick him up from the church nursery, and the worker told me how wonderful he was. Normally I say, “Don’t be fooled. He’s on his company behavior. As soon as we leave this room he’s going to bite a chunk out of my leg.” But this time, before I had a chance to think about it, I said, “I know. He really is the sweetest little guy.”
And he is.
One of the biggest changes we’ve seen this month is in his language development, particularly in the last week. He’s identifying more objects than we can keep track of, repeats everything we say, and even sings along to the “Ooh” part of Locked out of Heaven.
He’s even starting to put words together. Now, if his ball falls behind the couch he says, “Oh no ball! Ohnoball!OHNOBALL!” Instead of his old standby: BALLBALLBALLBALL!
The other day Tom sneezed and David said, “Bless you, Daddy.” That qualifies as speaking in entire sentences, right? Subject? Check. Verb? Check. He’s never done that before, and when I said, “David! Are you the smartest boy in the whole world?” He immediately said, “No.”
His favorite time to practice his new words is still sometime between 2 and 3 a.m. Nearly every night we wake up to his vocabulary drills, “Ball? No, ball. Daddy ball. Bicycle! See bicycle? Daddy bicycle? Airplane! See Airplane! Bus! Butterfly! Elmo? No, Elmo. Bus! See bus? Big bus!”
Tom and I can’t think of any way to deal with this aside from banging our heads against the wall.
Out of nowhere, David has developed an obsession with buses. If he ever saw Elmo driving a bus full of balls, his brain might short circuit.
Even though he calls most vehicles buses, actual buses are his favorite. He plays with his buses all day, lining them up and rolling them on the couch and window sill. Anytime we leave the house he identifies all the bus-like objects nearby. When he sees one, he says “bus” with building anxiety until I acknowledge the bus. If I don’t acknowledge the bus, he continues saying “bus” until he’s screaming it with intensity that should only be used to warn someone that they are, in fact, about to be hit by a bus.
My favorite new development this month is that David is starting to occupy himself. I know some kids do this at six months, but David has never just sat and read books, or played with a rattle. Since David was born he’s only been happy alone if he got to spend that time sucking on Sharpies or putting our credit cards in Tom’s subwoofer. So the way I spent my time changed, too. I spent most of the day racing from task to task, deciding whether or not it was worth it to brush my teeth, knowing David would assume that this time, when I left the room, I was never coming back. It got worse when he became mobile, because then he would come with me. Wherever we went, we’d leave a trail of emptied cabinets, dumped drawers, and spilled Cheerios.
Sometimes I would close my eyes, take a deep breath, and wonder why my kid wouldn’t just watch television already. Sometimes, letting his brain rot and drain out of his ears seemed like a better alternative to picking my steam rollers off the bathroom floor one more time.
Then TV came through. My first glimpse of free time came with the heavy price of an Elmo addiction. But it’s been a while since we’ve watched Elmo, and instead of zoning out in front of YouTube, David is happy to spend 10 minutes in his room, alone, lining up his cars.
At first I worried that I was a bad mom for applauding this new development. Isn’t it selfish to want your kid to leave you alone already? But my own mother, whose standards are high, said it’s ok. In fact, she thinks it’s a sign of maturity. He’s becoming a little man, one bus-line at a time. When she said that, I felt the freedom to breathe a sigh of relief.
After 20 months at a non-stop pace, even Elmo was getting exhausted.
The first month of your life was probably the longest month of my life, and when I wrote your one-month update I did it mostly because I couldn’t believe we’d made it that far.
Now, I love writing these updates. I could write paragraphs every single day about the things you do, the ways you’re growing, and what you’re teaching me. I write the updates for me so that I won’t forget, but I also write them for you. I write them so that, by the time you’re old enough to read them, they’ll help you understand why I’m so tired and boring, why my hair is turning grey and I have all those wrinkles. And maybe you’ll cut me a little slack once you realize that the reason I dress like a mom and listen to old people music is because my brain space was used up on nap schedules and trying to figure out how to sneak a brownie without you noticing.
This will probably be one of my last monthly posts for you. Our family of three is about to become a family of four, and when that happens I’m going to switch to writing about the first year of your sibling’s life. I’m just being realistic; I can’t imagine I’ll have time or energy to write updates for two kids each month.
You probably have at least one more monthly update to go, and before my last post I want to tell you the third reason I write these. It’s to give me one more chance to tell you how much I love you. And, one day, you can read it over an over: I love you, Doodle Bug. Is it possible for you to hear that too much? I don’t think so.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
I love you.