This month you are eighteen months old! We have had you in our arms for a year and a half now enjoying every slobbery kiss and each tight squeeze you give. What a milestone month to reach! I expected the eighteen month point to be a benchmark — you know, most parenting books have a chapter dedicated to 18 month olds, for good reason – but you change so much every day, week-to-week, that I’m finding this month to be less of a “stop” on the continuum of growth, but rather a part of the path for the runaway train into the chaos of toddlerhood.
You’ve had a very interesting month. The right word is escaping me – busy, energetic, observant, hardworking, exhausting, but positive. You go every day until you crash hard. I guess the word I am looking for is “run”. You are a going concern, Olive! A busy little bee! You hit the ground running in the morning, and you don’t stop until we tuck you in at night! So much running. So much climbing. So much falling. So much persistence. So much focus. You are determined, and most of the time you succeed.
When we visit Granny at work before we head out for our nightly walk, you stomp into her office like a 300lb man, arms flailing in excitement. You barely acknowledge Granny because you are on a mission to find the treat she left you on her bookcase. You grab it, and then run over and give her a hug. Priorities! Most often you can open the package yourself… If that’s the case, the treat is gone before we even head on our walk! In the span of about 10 minutes, you probably walk into all the rooms about 20 times! You are so curious, and never want to miss a thing!
Last weekend was the annual Blair Family fishing tournament. All your aunts, great aunts and uncles and cousins all went down to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a weekend of fun. We all head out on the lake to try our hand at catching the biggest fish, and then we have fish fry on Sunday. You and I both didn’t make it out on the lake this year, but you had fun feeding the fishies in town! We’ve been getting the broken cones from the ice cream shop and going down to the harbour to give the fishies breakfast. Some days they are jumping out of the water trying to get the food, and others they just watch as you throw everything into the water. Either way, you love seeing the fishies and giving them food! At the fish fry on Sunday you tried your fish batch of fish out of our lake. Up until now you’ve been more of an ocean seafood foodie (salmon, muscles, lobster), but you can add Rideau Canal fish to your repertoire now! You loved it! You had a blast playing with Rodney the cat after dinner. I’m not sure if he loved being chased by a stick, but he played along. I’m pretty sure you were even saying “Rodney” by the end of the weekend! Grandma gave you a nice long bath on Sundays. I think she likes that time with you! She always offers when we are down there late into the evening. She makes sure to wash your hair and brush your teeth. She always gets out her measuring cups – your favourite type of bath toy!
My favourite part about watching you grow up is seeing your personality bloom – getting to know the little person I made and learning about how unique and special you are in every way. Watching how you act, learning about what you like, or what you (still) don’t like (tomatoes), seeing you make decisions for yourself leave me wondering “How did you come from me?!” Sometimes you are very dry. A little sarcastic even, but more often you are a happy-go-lucky babe always dishing out smiles and hugs.
You love to make us laugh on purpose and you’re very creative with your jokes. You love to do funny faces and pull the corners of my mouth into squawking monster lips. When you have my lips pushed together as far as they will go, you give me a little kiss, and then another, and then another! Just the other day you did this weird walk into the room… Half on your tippy toes, half not, with giant ear protectors half-cocked on your head. You walked past me once as I tried not the laugh, but the second time I couldn’t hold it in. You were trying to be so serious, but as soon as I giggled you ran over to me, throwing your arms and head on my lap with a big smile on your face. The affection you show me is something I cherish every day. I hope you will still have this affection for me well into your teens and adulthood.
You have a case of the Mommies lately. You have been very clingy in the kitchen. You grab on to my shirt and do a little jig – your way of telling me you want in on the action. I think you’ve realized that things are going on up on the counter and you cannot see. You want to be right up there with Momma, just like you were when you were younger, when I am baking and cooking. I made a ‘ring-sling’ so now you can sit on my hip and I still have two hands to work away. That is all you wanted. To help Momma. You cuddle right in to me and rest your head. Baking with you is all I need!
Other notable things from this month:
Every night I take a shower after you go to bed. You have been going down to bed so easily lately. We used to have to fight it. You weren’t ready for bed, but we were! But now we can lie you down in your crib after Daddy reads you a story (you will only let Daddy and Popa read to you!), and you will hug your racoon until you fall asleep. It is such a peaceful way to end my day now. I am now starting to enjoy my shower time again. For the last 18 months, the majority of my showers have been rushed because you were there roaming around our bedrooms and taking quick peeks to make sure I was still there! I find that I am using this time to think about our life and the important people in it. Just the other day I found myself thinking about your Granny – my Mom – wondering what she was thinking 29 years ago when she was in the same place as me. Standing in a shower at night, with a sleeping baby in the other room, maybe thinking about the long day that had just come to an end. Maybe feeling grateful for the time alone. Maybe already planning the next day. She was a new mom, and a new wife. She is an incredibly smart woman who is the hardest working person you will ever meet. The role of “mother” is so complex. We are someone to our husbands, we are someone to our children, we are someone to our friends, and we are someone to ourselves–we all have an identity that is personal and private. Lessons we have learned and not shared. Problems, questions, and victories we have kept to ourselves. Wishes and goals that we are saving.
When I became a mother, I learned something that my mom has known for 29 years–though I have “selves” that are personal between your dad and me, and between us, as a mother I have the privilege of guiding your own identity and knowing you and your true character on such an intimate level that you might not even be aware of it. You might not even understand the depth of love and pride I have for you, and that is the honour of motherhood. The honour is standing behind you as you change and learn and have private experiences and thoughts that will be only your own, but that I will know you the longest, and that we have a connection and a relationship that will never be lost. From you, to me, to my mom, and all of our mothers, the cycle of love passed down from generation to generation goes on and never ends.
Learning with you is the best gift I could have been given. Every day is a new and exciting adventure as we walk around the streets of Westport saying “Hi” to everyone we pass. You and Daddy are the brightest lights in my life, showing me more love than I ever thought I would feel. I love you to the moon and back!