With every passing month, you grow and change in ways we could not have imagined. We are constantly delighted by you. You are constantly engaged in the world around you, and learn something new every day.
You eat a wide array of foods. You've been feeding yourself finger food for a while. Cheese is still one of your favorites--the stronger the flavor the better. You like Cheerios, too. Slices of apples are good, and you like omelets with cheese, but not plain fried eggs. You really like chicken, as well. You don't like bananas (too slimy) if we cut them up, but you'll eat them pureed. You go mad for bread, and like more complex flavors like garlic bread and olive bread (fresh bread with garlic or olives baked in). You really like all fruits and vegetables, and we feed you copious amounts of them. Dairy is really your favorite thing--your beloved cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, milk. It's all tops in your book, except for ice cream, which is just too cold for you! You are also a big fan of these freeze-dried fruit and yogurt puffs that grammy sends us from the U.S., and you scream if we stop giving them to you before you are ready to be done with them. We went for pizza the other day, and we ordered you a pizza of your very own off the children's menu. At first, I cut off little pieces for you, but you really wanted a whole slice, so I let you have one. It was the perfect size for you, and you delighted in chomping bites off with your front teeth, eating the cheese off the top, then licking the sauce off. You were a mess by the end of the meal, but you enjoyed it.
You have six teeth now--four on top and two on the bottom. You have a cute little Lauren Hutton gap between your front teeth. Occasionally, you chomp on us, and we have to reprimand you. I don't think you yet understand that teeth hurt.
You have a handful of words now--mama, dada, yes, no, up, book, hi (or even better, "hiya!"), and go. The "go" is one of my favorites. You slide out of bed in the morning and run to the (shut) bedroom door, and pound on it while saying "go, go, go!" Our morning ritual is that we get mommy a cup of coffee and you a yogurt and some milk, and then you eat your yogurt while we watch cartoons together.
You are very, very busy. From the time you wake up in the morning until the time you fall asleep, you are literally running around and into everything. You don't stop for one second. Your grandfather and nana were just here to visit, and the weather has warmed up enough to play outside, and you spent a lot of time in our little backyard while they were here. Nana was afraid you were going to fall on the stairs, which are cement and an odd height. Of course, you are like a moth to a flame with them, and anything else that is dangerous or undesirable from our point of view. You so love to be out there that you will now take us by the hand when we are upstairs, and lead us downstairs and over to the door so that we take you outside. It is very cute. You also try to go out there even when it is dark. You have NO fear of the dark! And speaking of nana, she spoiled you rotten when she was here, and we had to do a bit of deprogramming after she left. You no longer wanted to walk up and down the stairs, for example, because she carried you everywhere. After she left, when we declined to carry you, you would stand at the top of the stairs and cry. After a few days of this, though, you finally gave up and started going up and down again on your own.
Now that it is warm, we also spend a lot of time at the many playgrounds that are dotted around the city. You love to run around at the playground. You are absolutely smitten with other children. You approach them with absolute glee and wonder, waving and telling them hello. You sometimes try to touch them, which freaks some of them out. You love to play in the sandboxes, ride the swings, and climb on things. We have to be careful, though, because you are also fearless, and will jump off things that are much too high for you to be jumping off. You also keep trying to climb UP the slide after you go down it. You seem to be having a tough time grasping that it goes in one direction only!
You love to be out and around in our city. Because strollers are a bit tough to use here (European cities are not handicapped accessible, and therefore not stroller accessible, either!), we've been taking you out and about in a hard frame backpack that we have for you. You love it. You have a great view of the world from back there, and we frequently turn around to discover that you are waving hello and grinning for every passing person. You are just such a glowing, happy child. People constantly comment on how full of joy you are. It is so wonderful.
At your 15 month checkup last week, the nurse practictioner was impressed with how strong you are, how busy, how developed. She said, as we are so accustomed to hearing at these visits, that you are at the top of the charts developmentally. It was difficult to contain you long enough to have a conversation with her about you! You settled right down for her to examine you, though, politely considering her stethoscope as though you knew it was the right thing to do. She was surprised to see you sit still! You are a peanut on their growth charts, though. You've barely grown in the last 3 months, although you've gained maybe a pound. The nurse said that she thinks you are about to shoot up again. We hope so. I worry constantly about whether you are getting the right nutrition, about whether you are growing okay. I suspect that you are simply going to be petite, but we do work hard to make sure you are eating well.
The nurse practictioner was not concerned about your size, though. She was far more interested in chastising us for allowing you to sleep in our bed, and for using a bottle still. You slept in your crib for a seven hour stretch this month, and we've tried the sippy cup. . .it's just that you prefer the bottle, and I'm more concerned about actually getting the milk into you than I am with what you are drinking it out of. On the sleep. . .we have had a string of bad nights lately, where you wake up sobbing inconsolably, and it's difficult to wake you. You also had one night where you were inexplicably just wide awake and wanting to play in the middle of the night. So, you are in our bed still, because it mostly works. We are going to work on having you sleep in your crib more, though. We'll get there. And we are working on the cup, as you are finally more interested in drinking out of a real cup. You still have little interest in the sippy, though.
We have a little rocking chair that was mine when I was a little girl, and we have brought it out for you to use. You love sitting in it, and it is so adorable to see my little girl in my chair. Sometimes you try to stand in it, and we have to tell you not to do that! Your grandpa got a kick out of seeing you do that, and pointed out that I used to do just that same thing. You also like to upend the chair and try to stand on it.
Speaking of standing on things, this week you emptied your toy box, pushed it over to the couch, and used it as a step to climb up onto the couch. You then tried to go over the back of the couch (which is kind of high!) to the bookshelves behind it. Daddy says "no more toybox" now!
This week at your doctor's visit, the nurse practictioner wanted to know if we had you using crayons, and she seemed horrified when we said we did not. I said that I thought you'd try to eat them. She said I needed to watch you (really?!). So, I bought you some washable giant Crayola crayons yesterday. You were not interested in coloring in the least. But, you wanted to eat them. How well I know you! I think we are going to get you some sidewalk chalk, though. I think you'll find that more interesting, because it takes less pressure to color. You just don't have the hang of crayon coloring yet.
You help us dress you now, by holding up your feet when we put your socks on, or by putting your arms up over your head when we put on or take off your shirt. We have loads of wonderful clothes for you right now. Dressing you has become quite fun, given all of the cute little choices we have. Grammy loves to shop, and sends you loads of terrific things. Hopefully, you will not look back at the pictures in 20 years and make fun of how old-fashioned the clothes are, as I do with my baby pictures from the '70's! She also just sent you some wonderful Easter presents--movies of Minnie and Mickey, stuffed Minnie and Mickey dolls that are almost as big as you, a Minnie towel, and Minnie cup and plate. You ADORE Minnie and Mickey, and squealed with delight when you got the stuffed dolls. If anyone had told me that such a young child would be so attracted to a particular figure, I would have never believed it. But it's true: you developed at thing for the Mouse on your first birthday, and it has been that way ever since.
We are looking forward to seeing you grow and change over the next month. We have big plans to do some European travel this month, and it will be fun to see how it all works out. I have no doubt, though, that you will experience it all with great joy and enthusiasm, as you approach everything else in life.