This little lady is 18 months old.
Multiple people told me in the early stages of motherhood (the sleep deprivation stage, to be precise) that it gets better and better. I'm only 18 months into this parenting thing, but I whole-heartedly agree - it just keeps getting better and better. There are still hard days - anyone who disagrees is lying - but as this little person and her accompanying personality continues to grow, explore, and discover her world, we realize again and again that we're the lucky ones to be her parents.
She's a handful, but anyone less bubbly, friendly, energetic, wiggly, noisy, independent, or curious simply wouldn't entertain us and teach us in the ways Bug does.
So here are some things to remember about AJ at 18 months:
1) She has two speeds: sleeping or running. This is only problematic when we're playing chase and she's having too much fun looking back to see who's coming after her and she runs into things. Sad, yet hilarious. We try and keep her from smacking into hard surfaces, but sometimes it's impossible - this kid is fast!
2) She refuses to eat anything unless she feeds it to herself. She's not very picky, but she's adamant that she be the one in charge of the utensils.
3) She loves to twirl in the front room, especially if she is twirling to any and all songs from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.
4) She loves looking at pictures of herself, or seeing herself in the mirror.
5) She speaks in sentences.
6) Kidding! Just seeing how closely you are reading. She doesn't speak in intelligible sentences yet, however, in her world she makes perfect sense and always has something to say.
7) She CAN say the following words: cracker, bottle, car, ball, mama, daddy, book, shoes, cheese, Jesus, bye-bye, happy, please, no, bubbles, baby (that's all we can remember at the moment).
8) If she could spend every possible second outside, she would.
9) She prefers trains and dirt hills to dolls - any day.
10) She's pretty good at drinking from a regular cup, i.e. she doesn't dump liquid down her front. Not sure why I'm still surprised by this, but I am.
11) Steve is her personal jungle gym, and she gets in a good workout everyday.
12) She's got a really good arm - she throws balls around our back porch and you have to duck if you don't want to get smacked. We're pretty sure she's a lefty, but she throws with her right arm (just like her dad).
13) She doesn't sit with us at church. The only way she'll be quiet is if someone besides her parents will entertain her. Bug's old nanny and her husband like to sit with her (and about five other couples in the Bug rotation), but whenever Malcolm is playing the organ in church, it takes many pairs of hands to restrain Bug from running up onto the pulpit area to climb into his lap. They're best buds.
14) She rocks an adorable pair of pigtails almost daily. The blonde color came from Steve, but the curls came from moi.
15) It's pointless putting on her shoes and socks (though we still do) before a car trip anywhere because by the time we reach our destination she will have undoubtedly pulled off both shoes and both socks and chucked them somewhere in the back seat of the car.
16) She folds her arms when we tell her it's time to say a prayer, but her reverence only lasts for about three seconds. Baby steps.
17) She still has her killer smile.
18) Her kisses are...well...something special. We'll say, "Ainsley, can I have a kiss?" to which she'll respond in the following way - a wide open mouth, and she sticks her tongue out at the last second to lay a big wet one on you. HA! I laugh, cringe, and love it all at the same time. Her hugs are the best though. She snuggles into our shoulders with her head and pats us on the back multiple times.
Here's to a fabulous 18 months! Can't wait to see what's in store for this munchkin...