20 months / by Christina Rosalie

Dear Bean, You were perfectly behaved. You sat in a little yellow race car chair, and only winced when the hairstylist sprayed water on your hair. Afterwards we celebrated with a vanilla milk and an oatmeal-raisin cookie as big as your face. And just like that you left your baby self behind.

Now we're in a whole new era of things: aiming for the potty, three word sentences, chasing games, and copying everything anyone says or does.

This month you’ve gained weight and grown taller. You reach for things on the kitchen counter now, and you say “thank you” (ta-woo) and ask for “more.” You also seem bigger because with the change of season, you’re wearing snug Thinsulate boots, fleecy hats, and wooly sweaters. The extra layers have not stopped you however, from your new found love of running fast down hill, your arms akimbo, the wind blowing in your hair.

Everywhere on our hillside cinnamon and yellow and vermillion leaves lie in heaps along the edges of the road, and in piles against the old stone walls that zig-zag through our woods. You fall into them, and laugh. You ask to be lifted up to pick apples with both hands, and then you eat them all the way down to the core.

Inside, you play with your new ride-on-top fire truck, and want to be like our cat. When she eats, you throw yourself on your belly next to her dish, and pretend to eat like she does. She isn’t so fond of this, but tolerates it until your adoration for her forces you to throw your body upon her.

In four months you’ll be two. This seems less miraculous to me than a year ago at this time, when I was first contemplating having a 1 year old, and you were on the brink of walking. Somewhere along the way we’ve gotten the hang of being your parents, and we’ve finally learned that your every wail or flushed cheek doesn’t always signify the worst case scenario. People tell me that two is Terrible, and that you’ll become the master of Button Pushing. But I’m not convinced. You are a pretty cool kid, most of the time.

Yes, you do throw perfect jelly-bodied temper tantrums. You melt to the floor, and wail when you don’t want to do something. You know how to shed gigantic crocodile tears. But you also know when we mean business, and you listen. You are sunny natured and easy going. You love to laugh. And somehow, remarkably, you are NEATER THAN YOUR PARENTS.

(Please remember that Daddy and I really will never mind your obsession with putting shoes away, throwing scraps of paper or dust bunnies in the trash, or closing left-open closet doors.)

Love, Mama.