13 months and running / by Christina Rosalie

Dear Bean,

Today was one of those days I’d prefer, mostly, to forget. You started screaming practically the minute you woke up this morning—after sitting bolt upright and immediately pointing to, and fiercely wanting, every off-limit item on my night stand (a glass of water, a pen, nail clippers). You wailed your way through getting dressed, howled shrilly when I put you down, and proceeded all day to become a wet mess of tears any time something did not go your way.

It didn’t help that today of all days our landlord decided to have the insulation in the apartment re-done---without telling us. For hours (all morning and most of the afternoon) we listened to the sound of insulation being blown into the walls, pumped through feet of wide corrugated tubing by a very loud air compressor. Hours of drilling, of metal ladders being put up and then taken down. You ran from window to window, pointing and yelling, interested in all the commotion until it was well past your regular nap time---but the noise kept you from sleep.

When they left in the afternoon, the two of us were quite grumpy at each other but grateful for a soft bed, and so we curled up together like a set of measuring spoons and slept until 5p.m.

Not every day is like this. Though you HAVE begun throwing what appear to be tantrums: your legs turn to jello. You wail. You fall to the floor. It is really very dramatic. And you’d think that perhaps I’m torturing you, or maybe, at the very least, that I’m cruel and unkind and am preventing you from a happy childhood because I won’t let you try and figure out how the outlet covers come off, or how to turn the knobs on my easel (it WILL FALL! I Promise.)

Most days however, you are a delight. You love spaghetti, the baby sitter, swings, and taking the tops off of chapstick and pens. You bring us books to read—and use our fingers to point to stuff that you like on the page. You point at everything. And you hug and nuzzle us when you’ve missed us (even if we’ve only been gone five minutes.)

Your sudden explosion in receptive language has left me floored. You understand so much now. You can follow simple directions and know the names for many things you love: book, shoes, swing, breakfast, milk, nap.

Yet I can see how the gap between receptive language and expressive language has you frustrated—and I’m sorry when I can’t figure out or anticipate from your wild “uh-uhing” and pointing what it is EXACTLY that you want. It is also wildly frustrating to you every time you come up against a boundary. Trust me kiddo, it’s wildly frustrating for me to0---especially after you do it again, and again, to see JUST EXACTLY WHERE THAT LINE IS THAT YOU CAN’T CROSS.

You are already so different this month, than last month. Last month you were a brand new one year old. Now you’re a pro at this whole toddler bit. You run—everywhere. You run away from Bella, your little girlfriend, with HER sippy cup in your hand. You play chasing games with us, and with the cats. You want to run with the big kids at the park. You want to be just like them, and I’m not sure if my heart can grow fast enough to take this. Yet I know I’ll adjust—and you’ll help me. Now when we go for walks you reach up to take my hand, as if to say, “this is the way mama!”

How I love you!