16 months on the dot

It’s anything but wintry this Christmas–we had the windows open and the ceiling fans going this morning while we opened presents–but it hasn’t dampened our spirits. We’ve lived the holidays this year through your joy and wonder, your pure elation at lighting the Chanukah candles and ripping through wrapping paper on gifts for both holidays (you lucky little boy, you) to discover what’s inside. We’ve learned that we can’t make the unwrapping too complicated or you lose interest, and we can’t make it too easy (pulling tissue paper out of gift bags) or you don’t even bother. Small boxes with easy-to-open bows and ribbons are your jam. And as long as what’s inside A. is colorful B. is easy to hold or C. makes noise, you’re absolutely delighted.

For Chanukah, we offered up a small gift each night, and they were all art supplies of one form or another (except for a single book, about going to the potty, that took you some time to warm up to). You have no idea what most of them do (other than the markers), but you promptly found a musical use for all of them. You adore music, and you always let us know when you want to hear some by rubbing your hands together in your adaptation of the ASL sign for “music.” It’s one of the first things you do when I come into your room in the morning to get you out of your crib. You ask for music, point to your yellow submarine mural and say “that.” As soon as you hear the song’s first notes coming from your iPod speaker, you do a little happy dance. You love to dance! It usually involves you half-squatting rhythmically, but sometimes you get your arms into it, and you’ve reserved a particular flick of your wrist for the B-52’s “Rock Lobster.” Daddy even taught you to make the narwhal sound (“ee-ee-ee-ee”) from that song. Now, whenever you see a narwhal (more often than you’d think, when it comes to children’s literature), you make that sound.

This morning, Daddy brought you downstairs to find our coffee table full of presents for you from him and me and from Santa. It was a good number but nothing over the top. I’d bought some used toys in nearly mint condition–I’m big into recycling these days, as I’m learning how quickly you outgrow everything–and saved them for Christmas: a big ol’ pile of wooden train cars with tracks to use on the train table Nonna bought for you; a Little People zoo with an animal for each letter of the alphabet; an entire convoy of Cars cars the perfect size for your toddler hands. There were some other odds and ends as well. As anticipated, you dove right into the zoo set. You’re big on animals these days and love learning the sounds they make. In addition to narwhal, you’ve got duck, cow, pig, sheep, monkey and anything that roars (lion, tiger, dinosaur) down pat.

Your language has absolutely exploded over the past few weeks. We’ve counted more than 60 words in your vocabulary, and you’re starting to string pairs of words together. Perhaps my favorite of your recent acquisitions is “cool!” Evidently, Daddy and I say this a lot. But even more remarkable than this wealth of words you know how to use appropriately is your amazing comprehension.

You understand so much, and it continues to surprise Daddy and me. Recent favorite examples:

  • We were playing in your room, and I suggested you take George for a ride in your wagon. You picked up your monkey stuffed animal, stuck it in your little red wagon and carted it around the room.
  • Daddy and I were getting dressed to go out and you were entertaining yourself in our room, being goofy in the mirror. I said, “Can you give baby Ethan a kiss?” and you went over to the mirror and gave your reflection a wet, sloppy kiss. When you’re in the right mood, you’re very generous with your kisses for Daddy and me, too.
  • I strapped you into your car seat after a recent shopping trip and said, “I’ll see you at home. Love you!” And you said, “BYE!”

You’re so aware and observant, and you’re making such a concerted effort to learn. You watch us and mimic our actions, repeat words back to us, follow us everywhere. Your little-human skills are amazing: You eat beautifully with a fork, spearing small chunks of food and bringing them expertly to your mouth. You’ll retrieve your shoes, hold them up to your feet and say “bye-bye!” You’ve adopted Daddy’s old flip phone and you tuck it between your ear and your shoulder. You pretend you’re calling Beebee, which cracks us up because Beebee just graduated to a smartphone from a flip phone and you apparently associate flip phones with him.

I’m sure I’ll say this many, many times as you grow, but this is definitely my favorite age. You’re just so fun! And being your Mamma is pretty darn cool.