Girly, you have been coming into your new abilities and making so many decisions for yourself this month! You started walking all the time right around July 20. With you, it’s hard to pinpoint specific milestones because you take quite a long time to practice everything. But right around then you started to have fun walking instead of just doing it for the challenge. Now you like to walk everywhere, especially sidewalks and parking lots. Yesterday as we all walked into church together Daddy reached down to hold your hand (you’re still a bit wobbly) and you shook him away like he was a bothersome fly. Oh, you independent girl! You are so strong and determined. We knew that all along, of course, but the older you get the more tools you have to show us exactly how strong you are. You can pull the curtain down just to see my reaction. You can stick your hands in the toilet while you watch to see how fast I’ll pull you out. You can say “NO!” and walk away, you can pull my hair, you can grab at our glasses and fling them, and you can make a dramatic scene lying on the floor screaming and kicking. This morning you pulled that trick because you didn’t like me asking if you needed to go potty. After a few seconds of flailing you turned your head to see if I was looking at you. Silly, right? Neither of us thought it was silly in the moment but we held it together and soon you came back for another bite of blueberries & yogurt.
Speaking of the potty, you’re doing much better than I expected! When we started putting you on the potty at eight months I thought it might be a mistake and that it would just be more work. And it is more work some days, but most of the time it’s awesome. Sometimes you do so well that you have a dry diaper for a whole afternoon. You’ve even started walking yourself to the bathroom when you need to go. You’re definitely not consistent and you do this part of life in fits and spurts like you do everything else, but you’re really doing great altogether. It is so nice to cut down on the dirty diapers we have to change. I’m really proud of you. I don’t know if you’ll be fully potty trained before you’re two, but you’ll certainly be close if you keep up this pattern. I’ve started looking at little tiny underwear and it makes you seem so grown up. You can stay in your cute cloth diapers for a while. I still have some dream diapers on my wish list and I don’t want you to outgrow them before I get to buy them!
You’ve been extra passionate lately and quite grumpy. I think you’ve been working on a bunch of new teeth and you’re always dealing with a sore mouth. It’s been keeping you from sleeping through the night sometimes and it makes me anxious and edgy. I hate not knowing when you’ll feel better so we can have our happy, fun girl back again. Once in a while you seem to get a break from the teething and you have an easy day. Those are so nice. But mostly you have a sassy attitude right under the surface and I don’t have much patience for it. I don’t like being so impatient with you, and I don’t like it that you can make me so angry. Yesterday we were playing on the floor and I did something you didn’t like, so you reached up and pulled my hair really hard. I had to walk away because I was so mad! It’s crazy! You’re really making me think hard about the best way to thrive together; you need to learn how to direct all that passion and independence into good things, and I need to learn how to help you do that without losing my head. It’s easy to get discouraged when I picture the two of us being so frustrated with each other forever. But now that you’re into your second year, I’ve learned about your seasons and how you never stay the same for more than a few weeks. I have a hunch that we’ll be getting along a lot better when you’ve got these teeth in and you’re back to yourself.
When you’re having a good moment you can be 100% charming. Now that you can walk, you like to pick out the book that you want to read together and you bring it over to me. Yesterday you put the book down in my lap and I swear you said “read the book!” I was so surprised! So we read the book. Sometimes you sit on my lap for a whole book, but usually you climb out and crawl all over the couch after a few pages. I know you’re still listening because sometimes you come over to turn the page back to the one you really like. You definitely have favorite pages in every book. It’s cute to see you flipping through the book to find it. When you get there you stop and study it, or sometimes you make the noise that goes along with it.
You also come over to give hugs from behind when Daddy or I are on the floor with you. You spread your arms wide, sing a little crescendo “ahhhhhh”, and wobble-crash into our back, laying your head on our shoulders. Just for a split second though. You’re not much of a snuggle bug now except in the middle of the night when your teeth wake you up. We love those backward hugs! It’s so nice that you can initiate affection now that you’re older. You’ll even give an open-mouthed kiss if we catch you at the right moment and you’re in the mood for it. Those are super cute.
Dirt and wood chips always make you happy. Wherever we go outside you try to find something you can sift through your fingers. You love little stones, sand, bark and black dirt. It’s nice that you don’t try to eat them very often now, and you’re happy to just pick up a handful and let it slip out again, over and over. We love the way you enjoy the outdoors. If you could spend hours and hours of your playtime outside when you’re older, the way we did, we would be so happy.
In a few days you’ll be 15 months already. Since you started walking it feels like you’re not much of a baby anymore. Everyone said, “Don’t wish for her to walk, it just makes life harder!” But I love it that you can walk. I just miss the babyness of you. Your legs are getting stronger and slimmer, your tummy is losing some roundness, and your face is shifting more every day from chubby cheeks to girlish cheekbones. You’re so tall, it’s easy to mistake you for a much older toddler. I try to keep you in babyish clothes as often as I can, but it’s hard to fool you. You seem to have such grown up ideas about life; you’re like a preschooler minus the talking. Slow down and enjoy this moment, baby girl! It’s okay to be little.
Next month we take our first huge adventure as a family. You’re going to Europe, Bluebird! I still can’t believe that we get to visit my old home all together. You’re going to fly on a plane for a very long time and I’m trying not to worry too much about that. You don’t sit still for more than three minutes. Actually, a minute is probably pushing it. You don’t cuddle, you don’t like being quiet, and you love to wander. Traveling on planes is going to be interesting. But I’m so excited to be over there with you and Daddy! There are so many beautiful places to visit, so much delicious food to eat, so many wonderful people to know. I think you’ll have a good time with us. I just hope that you don’t have too much jet lag and that we can learn how to sleep well together in the same room. It hasn’t gone well on other vacations, but there’s always a first time for everything!
I love you through and through, Anastasia. I say the words from that book to you every time I put you to bed, for nap or for night. It’s true that I love everything about you even when I’m frustrated. I love making memories with you and watching you grow up. You’re our girl, Daddy’s honey-stasia, my little love. Thanks for taking a long nap this morning so I could write. And thanks for still being a two-nap girl. You can do that for a while if you want to. The quiet is good for both of us.