Month thirteen has been chock-full of milestones.The biggest milestone, the one at the top of the pile, above all the waving and talking and starting to walk, is our very first road trip without Daddy.
It was only a three-hour drive, and we brought 18 pounds of animal-shaped carbohydrates to make the trip possible, but Mary Virginia is not the best traveler. She’s generally unhappy in the car, whether we’re driving five minutes to the post office or three hours to Grammy and Gramps’s house. One of the only things that keeps her happy is singing. We taught David this little fact, so every time she started fussing he shouted, “LMNOP! QRS. T.U.V. NO MARY! NO! STOP CRYING!!”
One of the only songs both Mary Virginia and David likes is “An Austrian went Yodeling” I usually let David pick the thing that “interrupted his cry” and then let him do the noise. When he picks Mary Virginia, the noise he makes is “WAH! WAH!”
Mary Virginia is bursting with dramatics. When she hurts herself, she starts full-on wailing, regardless of how bad the “hurt” actually was. When something doesn’t go her way, she throws her body on the floor, face-down, and starts wailing. Today she was trying to grab my purse, and when she finally realized she couldn’t reach it, she fell face-down and started to wail. When David takes a toy out of her hand, she throws her body down, and wails. It took me a while to realize what was happening, I was sure he was pushing her. But now Mama has wised up. All I can say is, watch out, David. Brothers might punch, but the psychologicalmanipulation of a sister is far, far worse.
Maybe it’s a gender thing, maybe it’s a personality thing, but she’s doing lots of things that David never did, things I thought parents lied about and staged photos of to post on Instagram.
For example, Mary Virginia loves books. She loves books. She laughs at some of the pages, and kisses some of the pictures. She’s destroyed several of our board books, books that were previously pristine because, when he was her age, David screamed if we tried to read a book to him.
Mary Virginia has a whopping eight teeth now, and I’m actually a bit thankful for the teething process because it gives me something to blame her moodiness on. She has had a hard time sleeping, and it’s much more heartening to think, “Oh! This is teething! It will pass,” than the much more likely reason she’s up 1-2 times every.single.night: this is just her temperament and I’ll never sleep again.
Mary Virginia loves playing peek-a-boo, and she invented her own version that she initiates by quickly averting her eyes and looking at her left shoulder. It’s simultaneously adorable, hilarious and weird. She mostly does it during meals, and when she’s 15 and rolling her eyes at my outfit and taste in music, I’m going to avert my eyes and look at my left shoulder.
Mary Virginia has added lots of words to her vocabulary [hi, mama, dada] but the only one that really sticks out is “ball”. She says ball all the time. The fact that my daughter, who drags a doll wherever she goes, started to say ball boggles my mind. David only just stopped saying ball incessantly, so I suppose it’s time for Mary Virginia to pick up where he left off. Don’t try to convince me these two aren’t conspiring. I won’t believe it.
She’s also started to mimic us. When I wash my hands or use hand sanitizer, she rubs her hands together, too. She holds things up to her ears and pretends to talk on the phone — remote controls, toy cars, Tom’s marathon medal — and says “Da?” It’s actually confusing, because I know she sees me holding my phone and using the touch screen way more than she sees me hold it to my ear.
(Ignore this dirty, post-lunch outfit. Instead, admire the gesticulation! Look at the blue eyes and the curl above her ear instead.)
One thing Mary Virginia is taking her sweet time with is walking. I call her an “occasional walker”. She crawled so much earlier than David, I was sure she’d walk way before he did, but she seems to be on the same track. She can make it all the way across the room, but defers to crawling. She doesn’t need to crawl, she just does. Because it’s comfortable. And also because she’s still a baby. Mama’s sweet, sweet baby girl.
In the spirit of honesty, I have to admit that I haven’t been the best Mommy this month. I’ve been distracted, tired, barely holding my head above water. I’m blaming it on all the travel we’ve been doing, the busy-ness of summer, and the way we picked up our schedule, balled it up and threw it out the window. Or. Let’s blame it on the humidity.
When we were away for a week, Daddy was in Richmond. He called me and you know what he told me? He said it was boring without us. And so I reminded him where we keep the vacuum.
Daddy held the fort down, all alone by himself for an entire week. He slept through the night, didn’t change a diaper and he didn’t watch even one show with animated characters and a catchy theme song. I was jealous of him. Especially the sleeping part. But, honestly, he’s right, it would be boring. Every day you grow and learn, and I want to be alongside you, watching the world grow through your eyes.
And at night? When everyone else is sleeping and you and I are awake? I’m holding you and singing “Sanctuary” over and over. While I’m singing and rocking, you put both arms around my neck, and you hold on tight.