I used to wonder what you were thinking. Up until recently, I would've given anything to get a glimpse of what's going on in that little head of yours.
Now I know.
You want a cup of milk and an apple while watching "Yo Gabba Gabba" outside with Bear and Bunny. Then, when it's over, you want to brush your teeth.
You spend your entire day asking for these few things. Any time there is a lull, you scan your brain for an Allison-approved activity.
Then you ask for that thing repeatedly.
Milk? ... Milk? ... Milk? ... Milk? ... Milk? ... Milk?
And if I say no?
Milk? No? ... Milk? Milk? No? ... Milk?
And if I really drive home the point that you just had milk and you don't need more, your world crumbles. You toss yourself onto the floor in a screaming fit, hoping I'll give in to your tantrum.
When I walk away, you quickly perk up, follow closely behind and try again.
Apple? ... Apple? ... Apple? ... Apple? ... Apple?
It must be bliss to have such simple goals in life.
Our weekly trips to the library to attend your play group have done a lot of wonderful things. I've fostered some great relationships with a few women in town, and you've grown leaps and bounds interacting with the other children.
But it also taught you to be obsessed with ownership. When there are a limited number of dolls in a room full of toddler girls, the word "mine" gets used quite frequently and forcefully.
You're still the youngest in the group, but you're catching up in skill level, so now when someone tries to grab an item out of your hands, you understand that it's not just part of a pass-back-and-fourth game.
It has translated into you declaring everything "mine" at home. You point to things and scream "MY! ... MY! ... MY!" until we either acknowledge that it's yours or explain that it's not. Most of the time, you're right on. You know when something belongs to you. Other times you use it to educate us that you'd like to have something. Like my lunch. You'll point to my plate and yell, "MY!"
It's gotten so annoying that your Dad made this observation the other day: "I used to think it was obnoxious when she said 'Mommy' all the time, but this is so much worse."
He's right. Perhaps it's the shrill way you scream it, where "Mommy" used to be sweet, although constant.
But every once in awhile, while you're walking around the house staking claim to everything in sight, you'll come across something you deem fit to bestow upon someone else.
The floor? MY! The play mower? MY! The remote? MY! A throw pillow? MY! A chewtoy? Toby.
Thanks for throwing us a bone once in awhile.
I think I had said in previous months that your vocabulary exploded overnight. Sure, at the time, it probably seemed like that.
But now you use new words every day. You've used so many words for the first time this month that it's impossible to keep track of all of them. It's amazing to hear you vocalize things I've been repeating for months. I've read that kids at your age comprehend much more than you let on, but to have actual proof is incredible.
Simple things like how you said "keys" and "car" when we were heading out one afternoon. Or how you started communicating that you'd like to go outside. First, you made the request with "side," but just a few weeks later, you now use both syllables.
I still recognize when something's new, but I'm guessing it's all going to blend into a constant stream of utterances soon.
You're growing up so fast.
This month, your dad and I were set to go on an all-expenses-paid trip to Atlantic City complements of his radio station. He was asked to do a few broadcasts of his morning show from a sponsoring hotel and casino. It would've been our first overnight excursion without you, and I'm sorry to admit that we were really looking forward to it.
But you got sick at the last minute, and I had to stay home. I just couldn't in good conscious leave you to struggle through an illness with such a massive upheaval to your routine. Plus, I wouldn't do that to your grandma.
So you and I spent nearly three days just the two of us. You were feverish and miserable. You wouldn't eat, had trouble sleeping and cried often.
Fortunately, you found comfort in baths. I probably gave you 400 baths in two days. The water was just enough of a distraction to let you forget about your pain for awhile.
Eventually, I refused to allow the nurses at your doctor's office tell me that your symptoms were normal. I demanded an appointment, and your pediatrician used a small flashlight to show me the little white lesions that had formed on the back of your throat.
He said it would take a few more days, but in the meantime, to give you popsicles and ice cream.
On our way home, I stopped and bought two giant vanilla milkshakes -- one for you, and one for me.
I will always remember that as one of my sweetest moments. When you got your first sip, you looked at me with such delight, it was almost as if you were telling me it was going to be alright.
And, you know what? It was.
Atlantic City, Schmatlantic City.
I'll take time with you and two milkshakes over a blackjack table any day.
In the past 20 months, I have watched you develop and grow. I've gotten to know your quirks, I watch you make decisions, learn how to master new tasks and otherwise take in the world around you.
It is absolutely astounding, this parenting thing.
But I'm lucky because you really are a lovely little girl. You're bright and fun and outgoing and friendly. When we go anywhere, you say hello to people -- which gets sticky in quiet places like the bank and post office, but who cares? You wave when we pass people on walks. And you're absolutely enamored with other children.
Just last week, your dad and I took you to a new park. It was my last night off for awhile, so I suggested abandoning the dirty dinner dishes and enjoying the last few hours of sunlight.
Apparently we weren't the only ones with that idea, because the park on the other side of town was packed. You immediately jumped in, doing what you were capable of, and watching the older kids intently do the things you couldn't.
By the end of our visit, you had introduced yourself to another girl a few months older than you and a head shorter. As you played together, I couldn't help but notice your differences, and it amazed me how much more connected you were to everyone in the vicinity. It's very possible that she has other talents you don't, but you are a people person through-and-through. It's never more apparent than when you're with other children your age.
As if I needed any other proof, while we were waiting for it to get dark enough for our Fourth of July fireworks display to start, you got bored with us and started exploring. You walked the vicinity and said hello. At first I worried that you would annoy people, especially the man you woke up from a nap, but when I took my eyes off you to scan the crowd, everyone was watching your antics with a smile.
Your joyfulness is infectious. I'm so lucky to get a shot of it every single day.
In the spirit of saving the best for last, YOU POOPED IN THE TOILET!!!
I was so excited, I made that exact statement my status on Facebook (it's a social networking site that will probably be hilariously archaic by the time you're old enough to read these), and everyone weighed in to cheer you on. I can easily say that your bowel movement got more of a response than anything I've ever posted about myself, including starting a business.
I know you're very young to start potty training, but you've taken the initiative all on your own. You started announcing that you had pooped, then you took interest in the toilet, and pretty soon you were asking to sit on it.
It took me forever to decipher what "punny" meant, but when I realized it was "potty" after you pointed to the bathroom, everything sort of clicked. I've been placing you on the toilet when you ask, even though it's a complete pain in the ass to undress you, take off your diaper and re-diaper and re-dress.
But the look you get when I put you on the pot is priceless. You LOVE it. You must feel so big.
You don't want me to hold you, and choose instead to plant each hand on either side of your legs so you don't fall in. Dad had purchased a little pink potty just for you, but you want nothing to do with it. You want to be part of the real thing.
Most times you just sit there and smile, then, when you've had enough, you ask to get down. But when I prompt you to try to poop, you do. The fact that you understand the concept is encouraging enough. Then we practice wiping, close the lid, flush and wash our hands.
Your toilet success story had a million things stacked up against it. I had just turned on an episode of "Gabba," you had a fresh bowl of strawberries and I was about to walk out of the room to go clean the kitchen. But despite all of the distractions, you said said, "Pup. Pup."
Poop it is. I asked if you had already gone and you shook your head, so we hurried to the bathroom and I set you on the toilet. Sure enough, within seconds, you pooped and I heard a tiny little loaf hit the water.
I cheered like a drunk watching their favorite NFL team make a game-winning Super Bowl touchdown combined with a someone after they just realized they won a $278 million Powerball jackpot.
I never thought I'd be that excited about fecal matter in my entire life.
I'm not ready to buy you underwear just yet. In fact, I'm assuming we have an uphill battle to climb over the next several months. But I'm taking this as a major victory. One I will brag about to your friends when you graduate from high school.
I'll say something like, "I always knew she was smart. She pooped in the toilet at 19 months."
Way to go.