You are now 1 year, 8 months, 1 week, and 5 days old. I know this only because there is a ticker at the bottom of the page that keeps track for me, because like so very many things that seemed absolutely critical only 6 months ago to define who you were and where you were in your life, your age is now only an afterthought. It is no longer one of the key identifiers of you. "Katie May, 13 months, just learning to walk" has become "Katie, loves to dance, obsessed with circles and kitties, and sings along to the Beatles".
When asked for your age I find myself stumbling. Not just because I have to stop and calculate it but because you are now in those last few months of counting by months--and for good reason. It's getting harder to keep track of them, and non-toddler parents sigh when I answer with what amounts to a math problem. "She's 21 months, um, no, wait, 20. Just over 18 months. A little over a year and a half. She'll be in 2 in June," is what tends to come out. Not exactly smooth. But you aren't a year and a half. And you aren't two. You're 20 months. And you deserve credit for those extra 2 months as much as I deserve to hang onto every second of the next 4 before you officially transition from toddler to preschooler. The rest of the world can just do some math, I suppose.
All this talk of age is relevant because as much as I can't decide how to announce your age, you aren't sure how to live it. You walk the thin line between toddler and preschooler, drunkenly weaving back and forth at a moment's notice. But you handle it well, almost always letting us know that this time you want to be a toddler, even though last time you requested preschool treatment and next time you may again.
Take this morning for example. You woke up singing, as usual, tra-la-la-ing to your bear and incorporating lyrics that included, among other things the words mama, milk, binkie, baby, kitty, tickle, more, and uh-oh. An instant classic.
Upon entering your room I found you as a portrait of toddler-school wonder. Your 24 pounds of baby goodness snuggled into a blanket sleeper, hugging your teddy bear, and delighting in finding a way to successfully suck on 4 binkies at once while still holding one for security.
But you're a big girl mostly, and it shows in so many ways. In the last month you've started sleeping on a pillow. If I adjust you at night, usually to pull an arm or leg out of the slats before you roll over and break it, you snuffle around in your sleep until your head is draped over the pillow. It's nothing and yet it's everything that you are no longer content to flop down pillowless and just sleep where you land. Last night as I laid you down on the wrong side of the bed you sat up incredulous, crawled to your pillow, pulled a blanket over your body, and closed your eyes. A girl's gotta do everything herself if she wants it done right, it seems.
Today you asked to color, which seemed like a fine idea. You sat in your chair for a bit and I turned on some Beatles. Between colors you would raise both arms in the air, and wave them like you just didn't care. Finally you asked to get down, where you lounged out on the floor, coloring intently while your feet danced behind you in the air.
How many hundreds of times did I do this as a kid? I have memories of sprawling on my stomach, reaching for colors, lazily circling my feet in the air. Soon you'll reach the age of memories, sweet baby, and these will be happy ones.
Your interests are really changing, and every day you move more toward preschool play. A few weeks ago you were sick. Really miserably sick. Picking up your prescription, I found a box of lacing cards and remembered how much I loved those as a kid so I brought them home for you. We spent hours and hours feeding the string in and out of the lacing holes, talking about the animals we were working on, snuggling into the couch as we coughed and wheezed. As much as I hate that you were sick, and as happy as I am to have us all feeling a bit better, those afternoons were priceless. I feared your interest was only due to being exhausted, but you've requested sewing time almost every day since. This morning you learned how to sew the cards together: Kitty to Rabbit; Rabbit to Dog.
You work intensely, smiling to yourself, stopping to think about where to put the string next. The Beatles were still playing and you'd nod your head along in rhythm, and then you stopped and fully rocked out to "Two of Us." Your hands waving over head, eyes closed, and humming along to the guitars.
We put the cards away in time for tea. You love tea time. At dinner this week we ordered a small pot of tea and you went insane with the prospect of pouring actual fluids from a tea pot. You signed "please" and "more" so emphatically it looked as if you were performing CPR. Your tea set is in constant use and you're a gracious host. As always you poured me a cup first, then poured your own, and before I could take a sip you raced at me, cup brandished in front of you, and yelled "cheers!" as you smacked your cup into mine.
Cheers indeed, Miss Katie May. Here's to 1 year, 8 months, 1 week, and 5 days.