18 months of learning

Today my little Sam is 18 months old, a full year and a half! He’s grown so much from the tiny baby we brought home, into a sometimes mischievous toddler, who less often toddles than he runs. And as much as he’s learned in the past 550 days, I think I may have discovered even more; about myself, and being a parent. Here are the highlights, as they’ve occurred to me today.

5. Loud restaurants are best. We used to have normal, adult criteria for our favorite places to eat out; reasonably priced yummy margaritas, good queso/salsa and free chip refills, and enough variety for my husband to frequently try “something new”.  Now though, our basis is a lot simpler.  A normally loud (but not scary loud) atmosphere, and a kids menu with chicken on it.  The adult menu and amenities are barely considered in lieu of us not being embarrassed by my son’s tendency to loudly announce (scream) when he sees a familiar object- “BALL!”  (anything round or circular in appearance) or “CAR!” (anything with wheels).

4. Friendly to strangers does not translate to friendly to family. Sam will grin, say “hi” and “bye”, wave, and sometimes even “converse” with perfect strangers in stores.  However, when our family comes to our house, whom he hasn’t seen in at least several weeks, he will not even look at them.  Only several days of seeing them will loosen him up enough to not cry when spoken to, or allow himself to be held.

3. I will do anything to make my toddler laugh. As an introvert, I’m not the type to do a silly dance, or sing loudly, or generally call attention to myself at all.  In order to get my son to giggle though, I will do all of the aforementioned and more.  I am not above odd noises, weird faces, or general slapstick. I dare say my rendition of a forgetful “Old McDonald had a Farm” would bring many audiences to their knees.  So long as they’re not much taller than mine.

2. There are worse things than being thrown up on. In my pre-parent days, I couldn’t be within hearing distance of a retching sound without feeling ill myself.  Nothing was more disgusting to me.  After my son’s bout with a stomach bug though, I’ve found I am now immune, not only to the sound, but even to being covered shoulder to waist with “tossed cookies”.  Not only being able to keep myself from flinging the spewing child to a safe distance, but cleaning him up before gingerly handing him to my husband and going to scald my skin with hot water in the shower.  As it turns out, my immunity from the “ick” factor lessens as soon as the offending child is no longer in the same room.

1. My child is the best kid ever. He didn’t walk sooner than other kids, he doesn’t have a huge, understandable vocabulary, and he doesn’t eat everything we put on his plate.  He knows things he’s not supposed to do, and runs to do them whenever he sees a 10 second opportunity.  But when I’m on my knees, playing mommy-monster, chasing after him, he turns back towards me, and gives me a big hug around my expanding belly.  He brings me books and sits himself in my lap to read them.  He loves to hide around corners and be found.  And he’ll dance around in circles for ages, as long as you’re clapping him a song.

I can’t even imagine what the next 18 months of Sam’s life will teach me, or what additions to my knowledge his little brother will bring.  I do know that I’m looking forward to it though, with all my heart.

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