Last week, on the day Mary Virginia turned 14 months old, we were at the park. Mary Virginia climbed up the steps to a slide, and by the time I noticed, she was on her way down the slide, all by herself.
And, ok, maybe I should have been watching her a little more closely, but how DARE SHE? NO MA’AM! That sort of behavior is not at all allowed for 14-month old baby girls. (In my defense, I was busy moderating two toddlers and one Lightning McQueen toy.)
That sort of thing happens all the time. It’s not always so death-defying, but she’s always getting into things she shouldn’t be getting into. And when she does, it’s always just because, well, doesn’t climbing to the top of the slide sound like fun?
Mary Virginia has entered “doing so much new stuff there’s no way I could include it all in one update” territory — she does new things every day. Just this afternoon she rolled a train back and forth on the floor with me; she’s never done that before. She says “shhhh” when we do, and she knows what a doggy says. She walks around the house holding phone-shaped objects to her ear saying, “Hi, Da. Hi, Da.” She hugs and blows kisses, and when I smack at a mosquito on my leg, she slaps hers, too. If I had to think of one word to describe her, her personality, and her place in our family, it would be delightful. She is completely adorable, sweet, and delightful.
Except when she’s eating. When she’s eating she’s not delightful. She’s messy and frustrating. And we don’t love that she seems to be one of those ear infection-prone kids. Oh, and her still-not-sleeping-through-the-night habit? Not delightful. But everything else? Delightful. Totally delightful.
Mary Virginia’s love for books has turned into a full-on obsession. Her favorite book is called Everywhere Babies. At least 46 times a day she picks it up, walks over to me, plops down into my lap, and holds the book over her head. And I’m like, “What? What do you want? You can’t possibly want me to read this to you?”
She usually turns the pages, squealing and pointing at the babies, pausing to look closer at cats and barking at the dogs. Reading with her is, well, a delight.
She loves looking at all pictures, even if they aren’t from books. If she’s fussy, all we have to do is walk over to our gallery wall and show her pictures of her cousins, me on a horse, or her daddy. She really, really likes pictures of babies and animals, but pictures of her daddy are her first love. There are several photos of Tom and me hanging over her crib, and when she wakes up from her naps she points at them and says “DADA! DADA! DADA!” I’m in most of the photos, but when I ask her if she sees Mama, she looks at me like I just asked her to translate this website into Cantonese. She wrinkles her eyebrows, looks at the photos, looks at me, scans the photos again, and then looks at me and says “Dada?”
It’s okay baby girl, he’s my favorite, too.
We take evening family walks, and Mary Virginia has a huge thing for lawn ornaments. Her favorites are the little dogs and cats. As long as they aren’t inside.
Mary Virginia loves to play almost any game, but peek-a-boo is her go-to. Her favorite way to play peek-a-boo is with what David calls his “white blanket.” It’s more like dirty-grey, but the important thing is that it’s David’s blanket. His special blanket. His security blanket, the one he sleeps with and drags around the house. Any time he puts it down, she grabs it and puts it on her head. She’s totally nailed the “little sister” gig.
We’ve been traveling a ton the past month, and Mary Virginia has been a trooper. She’s terrible in the car, but when we arrive at our destination, she’s handled the transitions well. And, one trip at a time, she’s doing better in the car. Or maybe I’ve just learned what makes her tick. We always schedule trips around her naps, and she’ll typically sleep for an hour. After that, I give her a nonstop supply of Pirate’s Booty. I hand it to her, one piece at a time, until we arrive at our destination. As soon as she finishes one piece, she holds her hand up for another. And all the while she’s showing me, one piece of Pirate’s Booty at a time, how it must feel to be held hostage on a pirate ship.
This month Mary Virginia cut two molars, and we wouldn’t have even known except that all the symptoms of teething are the same symptoms of an ear infection. And when you have a baby who has had 9 ear infections in 7 months and they get a runny nose and wake up screaming in the middle of the night, you take them to the doctor. Nope, just teeth.
I walked out of the doctor’s office feeling triumphant. When I took David to the doctor for what turned out to be teething, I felt silly. But not this time. I’ll take a false alarm over a prescription for Amoxicillin any day.
Dear Mary Virginia,
Before I start, isn’t it book-reading time again? See if you can find one.
Did you know that you spent most of the first six months of your life scowling? I know, sometimes I look at your sweet grin and I can’t believe it either. Now you’re just so, well, merry. And I think my favorite part of your personality is how much you want to share your happiness. When you pick up a book you hand it to me with a grin as if you’re doing me a favor, “Oh, I suppose we can read this one again, Mommy. It is your favorite, after all.”
You drag David’s blanket over to me with a coy smile as if it’s my favorite game. When you blow kisses or pretend to wash your hands, you do it and look up at me like, “Wasn’t that fun, Mommy?”
Baby girl, if you think all I want to do all day long is read the same books over and over, play peek-a-boo, tickle you, roll cars back and forth, kiss your toes, and blow raspberries on your belly…if you think that, then you’re absolutely right.