Giovanna, my sweet baby girl, is 16 months old now. She is a full-blown toddler. She walks. She talks. She runs, usually away from me, unless she’s glued herself to my legs, in which case I have to pick her up if I want to move an inch.
The girl loves dancing and singing, digging through purses, and blanket rides. When we go out to dinner, she prefers to peruse the restaurant in search of new friends. It’s as if mom and dad don’t exist. When we go to story time at the library, she’s often more interested in the other kids than the story. A social butterfly in the making.
She’s into accessories and playing dress up. My make up drawer happens to be within her reach (mommy fail) and she tries to put on make up just about every day. She even knows how to use the brushes. It’s amazing what babies can learn by watching. When I take her shoe shopping, her face lights up every time she tries on a new pair. And not only does she help get herself dressed, she helps with her car seat and stroller straps, too.
She is a finicky yet healthy eater. Her favorites include broccoli, avocado, cheese, strawberries, baby carrots, lentils and pasta. Sometimes she finishes her oatmeal, sometimes she won’t touch it, and sometimes, she simply throws it on the floor. She likes to drink water, but what she really loves is mama milk and she nurses pretty much around the clock. When I sit down to give her milk, she looks up at me with an appreciative smile. She has my smile. In certain moments, it’s like looking in a mirror.
She has a sense of humor, my girl. When she wants to play peek-a-boo, she throws a hand towel on her head and walks around until someone pulls it off. If she’s in a silly mood, she’ll take whatever looks good (a utensil, a stuffed animal, a wash cloth) and carry it around in her mouth, waiting for us to notice before she’ll take it out so she can giggle.
She detests her crib. As soon as her feet hit the mattress, she starts to scream. We’ve tried coaxing her to sleep in the crib without much luck, not that I’m complaining because I love the family bed. Except for when she’s teething and wants to nurse all night long and I don’t get much sleep. (Hence the attempts at using the crib.) It’s next to impossible for me to listen to her cry without doing anything about it. Can you see why?
She chooses the books she wants to read, all by herself. Some of her favorites include “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” “Baby Beluga,” and “Pajama Time,” although she’s also been known to examine any book with a baby on the cover.
She talks now. When I tell her to say hi or bye bye, she says it. (See video below, but please don’t be alarmed by my messy hair and lack of make up, this is real life.) When she wants me, she calls “mama” or “mammy.” When she wants to nurse, she says “na-na,” and she’s been known to wake up in the middle of the night, calling not for mama, but for na-na. Some of her other words include dada, daddy, wa-wa, doggy, baby, uh-oh, ball, nigh-nigh, wee, owie, up, and of course, NO. She really, really likes to say NO. Particularly while running away.
At the playground, she likes to swing, ride on the carousel, and go down the slide (by herself), all the while shouting, “weee!”
She’s fiercely independent. When I get her outside, she’s off. Exploring, gathering flowers and picking up sticks.
She has wild, beautiful curls with a mind of their own.
She loves visits with her Grammy.
She simply lights up for her big brother. They send one another into endless fits of giggles, especially during a game of chase.
She is a snuggler, and when her little body melts onto my chest, her head on my shoulder, my heart also melts. No matter how long the night was or how short the nap was, she gives me one hug, and I’m in heaven.
Just when a new mom thinks she’s getting the hang of it, her baby changes. Toddlerhood presents a whole new host of challenges, but mostly, it brings joy.
Happy 16 months, Gigi.