you are 18 months old now. you really are. and the only echoes of babydom left are your half asleep whiny cries from your crib, when you wake up disoriented or dirty or sad. sometimes, i nearly experience a sensory memory of your smaller self when i nurse you to sleep. but like a sneeze that won’t quite come, you obliterate the baby thoughts by pointing to my nose, and then to yours. or you stop nursing, furrow your eyebrows, and say with perfect diction and no apparent reason, “oh no”.
you talk a lot now, words and words all day long, but when your pediatrician (who needs a nickname; i shall call her dr whirlwind, as she is one) asks how many words you have, i go positively blank. seriously. yesterday, at your 18 month appt, dr whirlwind asked us, in order to chart your development, how many words you speak. your mama and i looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and said, “um, i dunno. five?” the dr hesitated a moment, and replied in an exasperated tone, “we’re lookin’ for 5-10 here. think she’s got that many?” and i’m all, “yes, definitely. i’d even say 15.” (i hope you will interpret this last sentence as my confidence in your abilities, more than my need for you to be above average in all things…not just height.)
for posterity, let me try to catalogue your current vocabulary:
yeah! or.. yayayayay!
moe! [can mean our dog, moe. or mole. or more. or mama. or mommy. you play with the word intentionally that way.]
oh me. (oh man, a la swiper)
awwwww duh! (all done)
a-ta (thank you, or the generic response to our request for you to say the word x)
cha (charley the dog)
guh! (uncle g)
these are the words you still sign instead of speak:
and these are the words you sign and speak interchangeably:
see? way more than 10 words.
words are your drugs right now, jude. you can’t get enough. you point endlessly and in every direction, asking “da?!” (another word!) and the wordsmith in me couldn’t be more pleased. you’re not only cataloguing a vocabulary; you’re playing with words. when we read books to you, you point back and forth to the bowl full of mush and the quiet old lady whispering hush. and you smile. you are beginning to understand rhyme.
you are also very interested in mammalian anatomy. you inspect every inch of our faces, our appendages, our hair, our moles. (and you point to moe: moe! and then a mole on my belly: moe!) you inspect your own body. you inspect the poor dogs’ bodies. you especially love tails and teeth.
you hide now. when you are shy, you cover your face with your hands, and disappear, obviously. you pull this superhuman trick when you do something you’re not supposed to. eg today: you opened the pantry door (a no-no of epic proportions, and something you are usually unable to do) and then stood in front of it, hiding beneath your hands. your mama and i giggled, as we imagined your alibi. “seriously moms, i wasn’t even there at the time.”
you love to hide under your towel after a bath, too. you stand in the middle of the hall, a toddler-sized lump under terry cloth, stock still. i call out, “where are you, jude? are you in your room? in the laundry room?” etc. and after every question, you answer quietly from underneath the towel, “no”. you simply can’t resist not answering a question to which you know the answer.
wow, this letter is getting wordy. i could go on and on, because you are 34 pounds (and 35 inches) of fun, my girl.
tomorrow is christmas eve. you have NO idea what you’re in for. here’s a hint: a big toddler playground thing with a slide. i’m not even kidding. sssh. don’t tell.
i love you so.