You are now 18 months old. Oh yes, you are. Your lovely Aunt Addie says the hardest part she’s found is 18 months to 3. I’m sorry, wha? If this month has been any indication, I kinda want to hurl myself off the cliff now, instead of waiting to see if it gets worse. Not that I think it CAN get any worse, but you get my point.
I’m not sure if it’s the stress of the move, or the stress of Thanksgiving, or the stress of ME, but you are quite a handful these days. You can’t believe I would have the audicity to make you wear pants, the HORROR, or that I would even consider asking you if you’d like a hotdog or turkey for lunch. WHY WOULD I DO THAT TO YOU?! So, until further notice, pants are optional in this house. For me too. Why should you have all the fun? If this makes for interesting encounters with the FedEX man, so be it. I’m picking my battles.
I’m staying home with you again, and in an attempt to keep busy so you don’t, you know, kill me in my sleep, we’ve been very busy. We go to an indoor playground a lot, which you love. What you don’t love is that there’s a smaller one for kids under two that I encourage you to play in. I’m not sure how to tell you this, honey, but you ARE under two. I like the smaller one because I don’t have to get up in there with you. And if I don’t have to get up in there, the chances of me getting my fat ass stuck in one of the tiny crawl spaces (who do they make those things for, anyway? KIDS?!) is reduced significantly. Not that that has happened to me. Or anything. But you just don’t understand why I don’t jump at your every beck and call in that thing. It’s because Mama is out of shape and can only take so many hours of crawling on her hands and knees through tunnels built for 8 year olds before she kinda snaps. But you love it. So we go. I’m here to please you, ya know? Plus, I think you’re kinda getting sick of the place, but we paid good money for a membership (after we had been there 4 days one week and realized that you might not be able to go to college if we keep this up), so you’re going to have to suck it up and have a good time, damnit.
These days you either make my heart fill with joy, or you make me want to rip out my overies with a dull knife to avoid having another kid. Sometimes you do both in 10 minutes. I’m trying here, but this is my first time parenting an 18 month old, so you’re going to have to work with me. You have a funny little habit of standing with your hands clasped in front of you, just waiting until I get my shit together enough to either discipline you or just give up and hug you. You’re getting enrolled in gymnastics and dance in January, and your lovely Aunt Addie said that the coaches teach you to stand with your hand behind your back, like little gymnasts. You’ve got that down.
Now, let’s talk about your hair. At this moment, it has mullet potential, but I refuse to cut it. Your Nana wants to just trim the front so you have bangs, but I can’t do that yet. I waited 18 months for your hair to grow, and I’m going to let it keep going. I just got some barretts that MIGHT keep it back; the problem is that, and I am SO SORRY for this, you got your dad’s fine hair. No clip or hair band is any match for it. Plus you HATE IT when I put things in your hair. I always wanted a kid who wore hats (you look so adorable in them) or liked pigtails (it’s like I’m ripping out your hair everytime I come near you with a rubber band), but you’re having none of it. If I put something in there and distract you with something shiny or funny, sometimes I can get it to stay until you show me where your head is, or what the sign for hat is, and then you pull it back out. And then you kill me with your eyes.
By the end of the day, I forget why I’m so frustrated with you. Your daddy gets home, and you run over to him and pretend to love me (for his benefit, no doubt. He thinks I overreact) and that’s nice. Why you can’t do that all day, I’ll never know. But I’ll never stop trying to find things that you like. I’ll never stop taking you to the park and Gymboree, and muesums. I’ll never stop trying to hug and kiss you in public, even though you’ve made it very clear that you can’t believe I would kiss you in public ZOMG. You’re 18 months going on 13, honey, but I love you. You’ve made me someone I never thought I could be, and I hope that I’m doing alright. Not that you keep it to yourself if you think I’m not. I love you, Claire. Happy 18 month birthday.