Month nineteen

Dear Eleanor,

Today you turned nineteen months old. And this last month has been awesome. You’ve really started to blossom into yourself. You’ve started playing more and demanding attention. You’ve decided it’s not always best to eat what we put in front of you, because maybe there’s some juice or cake if you hold out long enough. You’ve learned about gravity and how you can drop things from the second floor and watch as they crash to the first. You and Winston would have gotten along splendidly about now.

A couple weeks ago, we took another of the secret trips. Breaking tradition, I told you where we were going just to see if you’d repeat it. You did try to tell mom when she asked, but she didn’t understand, “Cocola.”

In Grand Lake, you really discovered what a playground is all about. With other kids rushing around, you found the thrill of the twisty slides and the lure of the draw bridges. It was all we could do to keep you away from there. When at dinner with your grandparents, aunt, and uncle, you ran out of the restaurant and headed down the block for the playground. Surely you thought everyone would follow. How could we not when such fun was right there?

The mornings this month have been just you and I getting up early and sitting on the couch with a glass of milk. After a few sips, we start talking. I have no concept of what we are talking about, but it feels good to hear you putting sounds, if not words, together. Then sometimes you grab your music player and we listen to Let’s Go by Susie Tallman. It’s your favorite song, and your call to arms when all that stands between you and a trip to the park next door is a locked door and a dad in pajamas.

I’ve always enjoyed having you around, but this month in particular has been awesome. When I imagined having kids oh so many years ago, this was what I imagined. You scream with joy when you see mom or I. You grab your over-sized ball, bounce it toward us and then laugh as we roll it back. You’re getting the hang of words now, even stopping us on walks to point out that we have shoes.  You are playing with us!

Though every month has been getting harder and harder, it’s also been getting better and better. When friends ask about having kids, we tend to talk about the late nights, the extra cost of babysitters, the things that make life challenging. I don’t often talk about how it feels to have you stretch out your little hand to grab hold of my pointer finger as we walk back up the driveway early in the morning with you carrying the newspaper and both of us having the biggest smiles on our faces. I should talk about that more, because there is nothing better.