Camilla was eighteen months old yesterday. Time flies, I can't believe how fast she's growing up, and all that, blah blah blah. But seriously, people. I can quite distinctly remember reading that infant fussiness generally peaks around two months and thinking that's nice, but it is irrelevant since we will never make it to two months. And yet we did, and we kept making it through another two months, and another, and now one whole year and another half year are gone. We'll never have those eighteen months again, and meanwhile our baby has grown into a full-fledged toddler.
The challenges of parenting a toddler make me think of that song the nuns sing about Maria in The Sound of Music: how do you catch a cloud and pin it down? how do you keep a wave upon the sand? Parenting a toddler is like what I would imagine it would be like to have full-time care of a tornado. A demanding, whiny tornado with zero sense of other people's personal space.
Fortunately said tornado is also an adorable chatterbox, has an endless capacity for mimicry and fun, and is the freaking light of our lives.
Sure, my the number of wearable, non-stained items in my closet has shrunk considerably:
But, as is often the way with such things, my heart has grown in proportion.
I don't think it's really necessary to mention that I would do ANYTHING for this girl.
Despite the fact that I often meet Bryan at the door at 6:00 with a request to please, get this child out of my hair so I can get something done around here, I am having more fun parenting Billa at this age than ever before.
Some things I know I'll want to remember years from now:
- Many months ago Bryan started a game where he'd sing the Jaws theme, "do-DOO, do-DOO," while moving his hands toward Camilla to tickle her. She loves it, and recently she's learned that she can "tickle" us. She runs up, makes the do-DOO sound, and then wiggles her fingers on our stomachs while we laugh obligingly.
- The talking. Oh, I LOVE the talking. Last week she learned to say her own name ("Bih-ba") and I thought I might die from the cuteness. And it's very convenient to have her actually able to communicate with us. If you're a child-development geek like I am, here's a list (published from the Google document I keep ongoing, as much as it kills me to admit it) of most of the words she knows right now.
- She's started demanding certain articles of clothing. I was expecting this at some point, but was surprised that it starts this early. I'll get Billa dressed in a perfectly good shirt and pants, and she's all, "Dess! Dess!" and "Shoes! Shoes!" and wants to pick them herself, and sometimes she ends up wearing truly bizarre combinations. I should take a picture sometime.
- Camilla likes to act like a baby. Like, literally. She'll climb into my lap and say "Baby, baby?" and squirm until I'm holding her cradled in my arms, and I say, "Oh, the sweet baby," and squeeze her and she's absolutely delighted. Sometimes she gets a blanket and a pillow and I tuck her in and rub her back and call her my baby and she's so excited, she squirms and writhes and every few seconds her head pops up and we do the whole thing over again. I find it adorable that she wants to pretend to be a baby; she still IS a baby to me!
- Watching the relationship between Milla and Daniel grow is so much fun. They will never remember not knowing each other, but I remember when they were too young to notice each other, and now they are growing into friends. Milla starts agitating for "Nan-yo" the minute we pull into my sister's subdivision, and the squeals when the two toddlers see each other are not to be believed.
There are also some things I WON'T want to remember years from now:
- Cutting ten teeth over the course of the last few months. The final canines have almost popped through, and when they do... I'm thinking the Australians will be able to hear my sigh of relief.
- Never, ever sleeping a full night. Not ever, not even once, and no sign of it on the horizon. That is all.
Oh, but she is so incredibly worth it.