Here you are eating lunch.
Well, it finally happened, shopping with you the other day at Costco.
Walking around the store, your head is up as you try to see everything at once. Turning from side to side and then back again in the seat, you look at other people, at the shelves, the lights of the ceiling, the items I put in the basket, Everything is interesting and fascinating.
I carry on a continuous conversation with you while we shop. We talk about everything that’s going on. The shopping list. The things I put in the cart. Your reaction to things. The free samples. We interact with each other as you interact with the environment. It’s usual.
There were little girls and boys around your age at the store. But they don’t behave the way you do. They cower in the carts like trapped, wide-eyed animals that look like this:
You’re clearly different from many babies your age. When we take you out people complement you. They can see your excitement.
Other shoppers return your smile and comment on how happy you are.
They say things like, “oh, she’s so pretty.”
”Look at that smile. “
She’s so precious.”
”How old is she?” the Costco employee asked.
”14 months this past Monday.”
And then it happened –
”Is she your granddaughter?”
”She’s my daughter.”
Someone was going to ask that, I just thought I’d be older when they did.
Plenty of people are grandparents when they reach the age Mommy and Daddy are now.
Mommy and Daddy have friends from high school who are grandparents.
The reality is we’re old enough to be your grandparents, but we’re just Mommy and Daddy, and you’re our little girl.
It’s up to us to decipher what you’re trying to say.
Some things you say are pretty simple.
Other utterings are a little more complex.
They are different words, but mean the same thing. When we’re trying to put a shoe on you or give you something and you would rather do it – “Idoitdoidoit.”
Deciphering often has a lot to do with context.
“Idon.” I have no idea what it means. I thought I did when I wrote it down but as I try to explain it here, the meaning eludes me. It’s not what you say when you’re done eating. When you’re done, you just drop surplus food or a bottle onto the floor without a sound.
“Aye.” Accompanied by the point of your little finger, it means you want something, we just have to figure out what it is.
Mommy tries to get you to “use your words,” while daddy is trying to just use words himself.
“What do you want?”
“Do you want the apple?”
Your tone never changes. Seemingly, you could go on for hours saying the same word and pointing.
“The kiwi?” It’s on the counter next to the apple.
“Kiwi or apple?” I ask, holding them both to you.
“Aye.” You point at the kiwi.
And then you eat it all.
You eat a lot.
You move a lot and you eat a lot. You’re walking nearly everywhere. You only crawl to get up or down a step, but you’re really great at turning around and lowering yourself down. Down the back stairs or over the side of the bed, you turn around and down you go.
Saturday we went to celebrate Easter with Mommy’s side of the family.
At dinner with the family – there were 25 of us – you consumed an entire pear. For dessert. After already eating a lot of dinner. Daddy cut a piece of the pear and you ate it. And you kept eating until it was gone.
You can drink as much as 12 ounces from the liquid solids bottle during a meal. You’re not eating with a fork or spoon yet, but you can eat a lot with your hands. If we try to make you eat with a spoon, you squeal and say, “idoitdoidoit.” But you don’t. You smile happily while you play with the spoon and eat with your other hand.
There can be a lot of squealing and sometimes you just scream. At 14 months-old, it’s like you’ve entered the terrible twos. I can’t imagine what you’ll be like in 10 months.
On our way to daycare last week, you were in the back seat, making your talking sounds.
And I was thinking.
One of your cousins will graduate from high school in a few months.
She has a good friend that she’s known almost her entire life. They first met in daycare when they were less than three years-old. They’ve attended different high schools, but they are still close friends.
There is one other little girl at your daycare. She’s a few months older than you are.
Will you still be friends with her when you’re reading this?
You’ll learn as you get older that as you get older it becomes more difficult to make good, close friends.
People with lifelong friends that they see regularly are the unusual exception, not the rule.
Today, you’re a little baby, working hard at learning to walk.
The day will come when you’ll work just as hard at having friends. I suspect friendships will come easy for you. You’re already outgoing and engaging and likeable. But you’ll learn one day that the reasons some people like you may be the same reasons other people won’t like you.
We can’t change how people think about us. The only thing we can change is ourselves. But don’t change who you are for the sake of a friendship, friends won’t want you to do that. Be who you are, accept others for who they are, and you’ll be just fine.
“Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade.” — Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
As you turn 13 months-old today, here’s an update of your daily life.
You wake up in the morning and for around a half an hour you talk to your bunny, the carved wooden birds on your wall, your special pink blanket and yourself. Daddy gets you up and changes you, because weekdays Mommy is already at work.
Then, you and daddy have breakfast. You drink baby food from the feeder and eat fruit, cheese or waffle with your hands.
Your third tooth is slowly, slowwwwly,
sloooooooowly growing out of your gum.
It’s been that way for several days, which appears to make it difficult for you to eat.
In fact, you were eating with the spoon pretty regularly when Mommy fed you, until your two bottom teeth came in a few months ago, and that was it for the spoon. Now, you shove your whole little fist into your mouth, past your two front bottom teeth, when you’re eating a slice of banana or pear, or as you did tonight for the first time, a slice of cooked carrot.
Within this past week, you’ve walked from a few steps to as many as 20, nearly across the room. As you walk, you laugh and laugh until you and sound like you might hyperventilate. You also laugh with pure joy when you’re pushing your little baby stroller around and around.
Each day of your life is like joyfully watching a seedling sprout and grow, the changes are so pronounced.
Yesterday, after work, as I got out of the car, Mommy had just gotten you up from your nap. From outside, I waved to you in your room, and you and Mommy beamed huge smiles.
This was one of the happiest moments in my life, second only to the day I married Mommy.
Mommy and Daddy are happy you’re in our lives. We’re so pleased you turn 13 months today.
Your birth certificate arrived yesterday.
It has my name on it. And your mommy’s name. And your name. You’re our little girl.
And I still shake my head in wonder.
So many years of my life were spent thinking I’d never have a child, and now here you are, sitting next to me in your highchair making talking noises and eating spinach and peppers pizza for lunch.
Mommy had nearly given up on marriage before I came along, and we both agreed that even at our age, we’d be happy if we were to have a child. (One of us believed that God’s will would determine if we had a baby. The other of us believed God was walking alongside us while uncountable and uncontrollable factors determined the outcome.)
Both of us believe you are a miracle, bathed in the Grace of God. And here you sit next to me. Our daughter. With our last name. Our miracle. Eating pizza.
You were napping when I started writing this. Now you’re eating dinner with mommy.
When you’re not at daycare (we’re still working out your schedule at daycare) you nap a lot. You also eat a lot.
You turn a year old in two weeks, and you spend most of your day sleeping and eating.
After you wake up
you start eating
you eat for about an hour
and then you play for two and half to three hours.
And then you nap.
And then it starts all over again.