I have an 18 month old.
When you have a baby... every month is a big deal. You take pictures to compare head size, watch chunky rolls come in, document the hard earned new teeth, and start to see a personality coming through. And then your baby turns ONE... but if you're lucky like I was... your ONE year old hasn't quite figured out how to walk, talk, and is still fitting into all her 3-6 month shoes and pants. I say lucky only because I think I had an extended amount of "baby time". Meaning, my new toddler was in a baby-like state for a littleeeee bit longer based on her shoe size and inability to find her balance quickly. Bravery started walking at "thirteen months" and soon after she gave up formula and opted for one nap a day! After this the milestones started to fly by. She can dance and sing and understand and communicate and has all her teeth. She is not a baby anymore. This month Bravery turned "eighteen months old" and now more than ever I am seeing the toddler-isms make their way into our home.
A lot of moms can't give up the "say your toddler's age in months" thing... which is so odd to me! If you catch me saying "Hi, I have a 33 month old"... PLEASE stop me! Bravery is now 18 months old, and I guess here is where I start saying her age in years... and no longer months. A few weeks ago we packed up some baby toys and swapped out all her clothes that didn't fit for big toddler sized shirts and shoes.... and I'm not going to lie, I grieved a little when I found all her winter hats from last Christmas! She was so tiny and she was in fact, a baby back then. In that same week I picked her up one afternoon and she passed out in the car. She didn't wake up as I trekked up our 3 flights of stairs and laid her down on our bed, this NEVER happens. So I did what any other crazy mom would do and grabbed my camera and snapped what I call Bravery's "Ballerina pics." She looked so cute that day, I just couldn't help myself!
One thing I've treasured in the last 18 months is the fact that I've gotten to know my daughter. When I held her tiny winter hats and felt a little sad... I looked at Tyler and said, "Last Christmas we didn't even know her! I feel like I know her now." And that is something I've been meditating on the last month. I've had 18 months to get to know Bravery Dylan Bates, my daughter. She has shown me new parts of her personality everyday over the last year and half and I love who she is so much! Our parenting style has definitely been based on equipping Bravery to be independent while still feeling loved, comforted, and safe with us. She has slept through the night for as long as I can remember, and now she even asks to go "night night" when she is feeling sleepy. She was an accidental vegetarian until a few months ago, and she currently thrives off of the Paleo Baby diet. Can you say #DreamGirl?? I take a lot of my parenting tips from a book I read while pregnant, Bringing Up Bebe. It's about an American woman going through pregnancy and eventually raising her child while living in Paris, France. She discusses the differences of parenting and shares revelations of the French techniques that I have found beneficial and complimentary to our life. I choose to parent Bravery by honoring who she is and encouraging her to create her own opinions, within reason of course. Back to "getting to know" my child... I know it can seem odd to acknowledge this... I mean she is my own flesh and blood! BUT she is her own tiny person and I want to yield to that. She is a funny, loving, kind, and bubbly girl and I can't wait to watch who she becomes in the next year.... while helping her grow into who God designed Bravery to be.
THERE ARE SO FEW YEARS TO BE JUST A CHILD - PAMELA DRUCKERMAN
AUTHOR OF Bringing Up Bebe
(She looked just a like a tiny little ballerina once I took her shoes off... I couldn't help myself!)
Cheers to all the mama's out there going through the realization that your baby is now a toddler.