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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dear 18-Months Owen,

Dear Owen,
You turned 18 months old yesterday. I was so excited the night before and all day yesterday, as though it was your real birthday! I even took you out to play at the playground and for an ice cream cone to celebrate. For some reason it just felt like a big milestone, like something we'd accomplished together. I cried when you turned 12 months, but this time I had nothing but smiles. In these last 6 months we've seemed to figure it out, you and me and your dad. We've somehow gotten something right and working. They - all those mom friends I have - told me it would get much easier without the bottles and the pumping and just everything else that comes with an infant. I'd say they are right. This stage has been a lot more fun!

Here you are, all 18 months of you on this planet, and you are walking - running really - and you say words like "horse," "baby," "trucks," "tractor," "more," and of course "no no." You know the names of all of your 10 aunts and uncles, 3 cousins and 6 grandparents. You are so smart. Dad and I think it every single day and wonder how we ever got so lucky. We even feel slightly proud of ourselves when we see you be so happy and smiley and easygoing, saying words we had no clue you'd even picked up on yet. It's pretty much the coolest thing.

Toddler world is not all grand though. We have our moments, you and me. You throw a fit if you don't get what you want sometimes. Lately you have even started to scrunch up your nose and eyes, stand your ground literally with your feet stomped there, and shake your head profusely saying, "noo nooo." It's cute, albeit slightly annoying.

You don't always like what Mom puts on your tray for lunch either. Some days bananas are the best, others you toss them onto the ground near your shoes, while screaming, "ba na na, shoooes!" and giggle. Two days ago I tried feeding you sweet potatoes after you hadn't had them for a while and you spit it out like it was charcoal or something disgusting. They were your favorite food last summer. I could not give you enough of them.

To say you have a mind of your own these days is an understatement. It's what drives me crazy most days, but also what makes me tear up with excitement and joy that you are becoming a little individual person of your own. I see your personality come out every day and it's like I'm getting to know you for the first time. I adore this stage of development you are in. I love hearing you call me "ma ma" a thousand times a day, because you reserve a certain tone of voice for how you say my name and your dad's name that is very different from how you say others you know. It's like we've earned at least something cool for changing all of those diapers and waking up at 3 a.m. with you when you've been teething lately.

Mostly, I'm in awe. Complete shock, really, of how well you are turning out. You are a pretty good kid. Honest, you are. And we can't believe our luck somedays. We try really hard to be good parents, but everyone does. I'm in awe that you started as this little tiny baby screaming in the hospital because you weren't being fed enough, we had no clue what we were doing with you. And then fast forward a year and a half later and I see you chasing seagulls on the beach, giggling at pouring sand on yourself, telling me what you want for lunch instead of me just giving you something mushed up and then feeding yourself that food. I ask you the next morning, "Who did we see last night? What did you play with?" and you respond with the actual things we did, and I'm wondering "What?! How on earth do you have memory and the ability to repeat to me what happened - and it be right?!" It's cool, that's all I can say.

We are in such a fun place, O. I'm so happy to be your mom. It's hard and we get frustrated with each other - daily right?! Yet it's awesome. And at the end of the day, there is no place I'd rather be than rocking you in the chair in your room, reading stories, singing songs, listening to the lullaby music, and watching you doze off in your bed, all curled up with your blanket and seahorse. I love that moment. It reminds me, every single night, that no matter how many new words you said that day or how many frustrating moments we had of me saying "no" or you saying "no" or how fast you were running instead of crawling or just sitting there, it reminds me that you will always be my baby and that at night I can stop time and watch you sleep like I did for the first time 18 months ago.


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