Well, it has finally hit. You are a little terror, but an adorable one, so we forgive you. You are mobile and excited about all of the cool stuff that you can grab and soak in your drool and then destroy before throwing it down on the ground and widening the path of desolation and litter that follows in your wake. Grab, growl at, bang together, throw to the side and then wrestle the next thing down, that's your current mode of operation. I once saw a show on Discovery channel about feral children. They told the story of children who had grown up with dogs or other animals and had survived in the pack somehow by acting like dogs. I remember wondering how a child, a tiny human child ,would be able to survive that kind of thing, and then I met you. You growl, you prowl, you feed yourself scraps and aggressively seek out food that mommy didn't give you. You like to grab leaves off of trees and berries and just chow down. I get the feeling that if anything ever happened to me, you'd be just fine. You would wander out the front door, grab some chow, wrestle the first dog you see into submission with your pincher grip on the jowls, and order it to bring you raw meat, NOW! (I've seen you do it to Beema's herd dogs. You aren't scared of anything, you chase them down giggling and grab hold of them and we have to fight with you to get you to let go.)
You have also discovered a new emotional state known to grown-ups as indignation, followed by anger. You used to only yell when you had a definite need. Now you yell whenever you feel yourself wronged. Like when we take away the glass jar you are trying to break into tiny little shards on the concrete and replace it with a baby toy. Or when the big kids go in and out of the baby gate and keep closing it before you can sneak through. The screams, the horror, the insult upon your tiny but supremely self assured person. We would be beheaded if you had the wherewithal to order it.
You've taken to attacking your siblings when their guard is down. You pull their hair and claw their faces, and sometimes they cry, because you are vicious, but mostly they think it is funny. I guess you learned to play from them, so it should come as no surprise. Today I took the stroller outside with the vague idea that you and I would walk around and keep an eye on the big kids while you fell asleep and I got some exercise. Instead, you looked around all bright eyed until I let you down. Then you tottered right over to the big kids, squatted down in their huddle and joined in the game. You grabbed a red car, walked around with it for a second and then very deliberately, in one very smooth motion, pushed, released, and sent it rolling across the side walk. Just like you've been doing it forever. As though you weren't a tiny little baby who is freakishly walking already and a little kid instead.
You really like to empty things; purses, cabinets, toy boxes. Why is it that you don't find putting things away nearly so exciting?
Oh, and you have a tooth. It snaggled it's way through sometime in the past few days. Just one little sharp spot of white breaking through your gums.
You have a little booster chair that sits on the floor in the kitchen. It's supposed to attach to a chair so you can sit at the table, but I have no idea where or how we would fit a whole other chair into our apartment. Besides, the only floor that isn't carpet is in the kitchen, so you sit in a little booster chair on the floor in front of the cabinet doors. You love it, because you can get into and out of it by yourself. You sit, and stand, and sit, and stand, it's a great game. Whenever you think I ought to be feeding you, you go and sit down in your little chair and look up at me expectantly. Unless of course I don't notice, or don't get you food fast enough, and then you resort to angry screaming.
You have figured out every sound you can make by blowing. You blow it through your lips, out your cheeks, and over your tongue. You look absolutely delighted if we copy your sounds back to you.
Have I mentioned your smile yet? It's still beautiful; so are your eyes, and your soft baby skin, and your adorable little giggle.
I've been thinking that with you I have finally gained that precious and elusive mothering tool; perspective. Now that I've been through this a couple of times I finally understand what all of those wise older women meant when they said, "Enjoy them while they're young, they grow up so fast." Why is wisdom always purchased so dearly, through time, experience, and countless mistakes? I used to want to snarl at all of them. Now I have a 6 year old who becomes more separate from me every day. His body is alien, his personality distinct, and not always pleasant, and I suddenly realize that those days when I understood every snarfle, and every whimper, when I could take care of all of his problems with a touch and a kiss and sweet milk, when we snuggled and gurgled and the sun rose and set on me are never coming back. They are gone forever and I regret every moment that I was in a hurry for him to grow up. I'm not in a hurry any more, but you are.
I love you, enjoy this last month as a baby before your first birthday. I know I will.
Love your mama.