Are you really a year and half old? I like these milestone dates because it makes you seem more like a kid than a baby and it is easier to tell someone you are a year and a half old rather than 16 and 3/4 months or 82 bazillion weeks old. And now that you are eighteen months old you are officially smarter than a chimpanzee. I read in some book that until kids are eighteen months old they are basically the intellectual equivalent of a chimpanzee. Let’s hope you go up from here.
I will admit though that you have learned so much in the last month. You are pointing out numbers and letters and delight in saying, “O,” “eight” and “six” especially. The other day you finally started saying your name, “uke.” You do not seem to know how to deal with the letter L as you leave it out of almost every word that requires it. You surprise me all the time by saying words I didn’t know you knew. Today it was “airplane.” You will now put your shoes away when asked and look delighted as you set the shoes just so in the basket. It is beyond adorable. You are learning how to feed Buddy dinner and absolutely love to take the cup of food and dump it into his bowl. You also immediately sit next to his food bowl when I ask Buddy to sit, which never fails to crack me up. I can honestly say the we did not set out to have a kid so we could have someone to do all the menial chores around the house but I can also tell you that as soon as you are tall enough to take out the trash and rinse the dishes, hot damn, we will be in business.
Your bedtime routine has become so much more fun since we moved you downstairs and you have a playroom outside of your bedroom. Your dad comes home and you immediately race to the bottom of the stairs, look up at him and say, “Dah! Dah!” Your dad and I sip our well deserved glasses of wine and you run around entertaining us. Some nights you and your dad throw the basketball into your little basketball hoop and with every shot you make you yell as if you are in some kind of slam dunk contest. Other nights you attempt to climb onto one of the chairs with accompanying grunts of, “ooo,” as you struggle with all your might to swing your legs onto the seat of the chair. Your smile when you make it is one of pure triumph along with a look of, “where can I go from here?” You also love to pretend to push us over. We sit on the floor and you come rushing up, stop short a few inches in front of us, pause dramatically and smile and then throw yourself into our arms. As soon as we fall over, you roll out of our arms and then immediately pull our shoulders up to sit up and start all over again. You are becoming very dictotorial about what you want us to do whether it is to sit in a chair, stop singing or dancing (I like to call you the Baptist preacher as you emphatically admonish me, “No! No! No!” when I try to sing to you) or to stand in a certain place.
The best thing that has happened this month is that spring is finally here. Even Easter wasn’t immune to this long dragged out winter as we woke up on Easter morning to a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Thankfully, it all melted before our egg hunt with your friends in the afternoon. All of you were bundled up – the little girls’ adorable dresses covered by equally adorable spring coats – and the grownups shivered and marveled at all of you running around collecting eggs. A year ago most of you were barely crawling and to see the change was nothing short of mind blowing. I don’t think I even mentioned Easter last year because I was so exhausted by the six month old you but this year I couldn’t imagine not getting a little basket for you. Watching your dad help you hunt for eggs made me tear up because I used to think Easter was a pretty fun holiday with adults but it was about a thousand times more fun with you.
Three days a week I drive you to day care so you can spend the day running around and playing and I can spend the day running around doing errands and enjoy leaving all the baby gates open so I can walk through the house freely. The street we take is lined with trees that for the past six months have been bare of leaves and the lawns have been covered in snow and slush and are generally quite brown and sad. Two weeks ago the forsythia started the show and made bright splashes of yellow against the brick houses and fences and then the other morning, seemingly overnight, the trees exploded into bloom. I was afraid last week’s snow storm would knock those fragile buds off the trees but these Utah trees know what they are doing. Watching spring come is one of my favorite activities and this year it is all the more joyous because you so love being outside. When I mention we are headed outside you immediately rush to the backdoor and yell, “side. side. side” Once I help you down the steps you squeal and head off to look at the birds in the snowball bush that now sing all day long and then you yell something that sounds like, “chalk” and grab the chalk and start very efficiently marking the garage door, the garbage cans, the chair and my car when my back is turned.
In the spring your dad and I spend a lot of time just walking around the garden assessing what to grow and what we have to do. We peer into the ground to see if the asparagus is coming up, watching for signs of life on the branches of the raspberries, greedily looking forward to the day that we can get all the tomato plants in. Last year was so much harder because you were six months old, not mobile and got really angry and irritated if we left you alone in your pack n’ play in the middle of the yard for too long. Now you toddle across the yard as fast as you can so you can get into the garden and play your favorite game of picking up rocks and tossing them through the fence. I also introduced you the other day to your sweatshirt pockets, which you had apparently never noticed and you discovered how much fun it is to put rocks in your pockets. When I brought you inside later I found approximately ten rocks stuffed into your pockets. All I ask is that I never find any living creatures.
The other evening we walked out to the garden and you stood in front of the chives – the only thing that is growing right now – and pulled the tips off and pretended to eat them. You spotted an airplane and pointed it out to me and then immediately started waving goodbye to the airplane. You like saying goodbye to things and people although if asked to wave goodbye you will think about it for about 30 seconds and look at your hand as if it is supposed to wave by itself independent of any action you might take. After tasting a few more chives you walked over to me where I was sitting on one of the raised vegetable beds and climbed into my lap and we sat like that for a little while in the warm spring evening in the sunshine. You chatted softly about this and that and I smelled the newly thawed dirt and your sweet little neck and birds sang somewhere and dogs barked and the neighborhood kids yelled a block away. I am so glad winter is over.