That’s how old you are today.
When our friends mention your name, they call you “Baby Bear,” and then smile sheepishly, because you’re not really a baby anymore. Or you are, but only to me. (And you’ll never get big enough to outgrow that!)
Because suddenly, in the last few months, our little baby became a kid! It’s the craziest thing — it feels like a moment ago that you couldn’t even hold your head up by yourself, and now you’re running, dancing, throwing a basketball (I kid you not. A full size basketball!) and asking for bubbles and Rambo by name.
What! How did that happen so fast?
Parenting a toddler is totally different than parenting a baby, and I have to say — I think it’s a lot more fun. Sure, newborn snuggles were wonderful (I miss them sometimes when you won’t sit still in my lap anymore!) but it’s so much more exciting to watch your personality grow and take form. To actually communicate with you, even if your vocabulary is still limited. (‘Yes’ and ‘No’ were life-changing developments!) To make faces and watch you laugh, or see you bop your head to the songs that we sing.
There are a million little things I’d like to remember about the last month, but my favorites, by far, were these…
… how you call both me and Chad “Mama.” Sure, this breaks my heart a little bit (I’m your one and only Mama, kid!) but it’s also so darling. We’ve started explaining to you that I’m the Mama-Mama and Chad is the Dad-Mama. And we also regularly explain to our families and babysitters that Bear thinks he has two mamas. Funny kiddo!
… dancing with you to Let It Go! Ok, ok, sometimes you get cranky at the end of the day. But one day, after dinner, when we were playing in the kitchen, Let It Go came on my phone and I decided to teach you some goofy ballerina moves. For the next three minutes, we twirled and leaped around the kitchen together, and you thought it was hilarious to mimic every move I showed you. If only I’d caught it on video — this would be excellent blackmail material for your teenage years!
… Hi Mama! Every morning these days, you greet me standing up in your crib with an excited “Hi!” I love it! I’m not a morning person and your 7 a.m. wake-ups are pretty tough for me, but opening the door and hearing a big “Hi!” and a smile makes it all worth it. (Sort of. It would also be worth it at 8 a.m., just in case you were wondering…)
… Banana. Ok, so, this one was my bad. Again, at the end of the day last week, we were done with dinner and playing in the kitchen. And I took out a banana and told you what it was, and you repeated back to me “ba-nweh” or whatever toddler approximation sounded a tiny bit like the word I’d just said.
And I freaked out. I was so excited (a three-syllable word! you’re heading straight to Harvard!) that I kept repeating it to you, over and over: “Banana! Banana! Banana!”
And then I realized that you had a banana graphic on your shirt. Yes — on your little tee shirt was a picture of a banana. So I picked you up and we ran over to a mirror, and I pointed at your shirt and tried to show you the banana picture, which was basically me just pointing at your chest and saying “Banana!” again and again.
And then we went back to the original banana and I decided it would be funny to pretend the banana was a phone, so I picked it up and held it to my ear and said, “hello?”
And then you took the banana and did the same thing, held it up to your ear like it was a telephone… and then looked at me with a very perplexed expression.
And suddenly I realized that I had just confused you beyond any possible understanding of what the word “banana” actually meant.
First, it was pretty clear. This is a banana.
And then I grabbed you and pointed at your chest in the mirror and basically said “You’re a banana.”
And then we got back down on the ground and I told you that we use them as telephones.
This is a banana. You’re a banana. And we have conversations, using bananas.
Yes, our son calls his dad ‘Mama.’
And he will probably call just about everything else he lays eyes on: ‘Banana.’
Happy Sixteen Months, Baby Bear. I love you so.