Dear Benevolent Dictator:
Yesterday you turned 13 months old, which was marked by spending the past couple days with Grandma and Grandpa (whoare your paternal grandparents). During that time, you continued to charm the heck out of them, played happily, giggled merrily and showed off how well you can walk and go up the stairs.
They were amazed by the changes that have occurred. Grandma noticed that you have more hair in the past month-and-a-half since we visited Florida. They were also impressed by how far you can walk -- which is about 10 steps now without assistance and how well you go up the stairs. You actually took your first happy steps on your parents' anniversary -- July 3. That was one hell of a present for me and your daddy.
The funny thing is that sometimes, when I sit down at the computer, I can't remember these changes, so I'm left sitting at staring at the screen, drooling, as I try and remember what happened the past month. I'm living them day to day, so sometimes it takes looking at old pictures of having someone say something to remind me that every month, changes occur. They might not be huge, but they're there.
You've become one determined little puppy who explores things without fear. I've had to move the laptop to the top of the counter because you're now crawling around on the fireplace to get closer to where the laptop originally was (on top of a few boxes, which were fashioned into a makeshift table next to my chair). You insist on doing crazy stunts like attempting to go down the stairs face-first (literally) or launching yourself off the bed.
One day, I was in the middle of cleaning and I looked up. You were standing on the seat of your little rocking bike, reaching for something on top of a box, like some circus performer. I now understand where parental cliches like "You'll crack your skull open" come from. They come from INSANE. STUNT. BABIES.
This afternoon, when Grandma came to get you up from your afternoon nap, you hiked your leg up like a sumo wrestler stomp. But she recognized it for what it was -- you were going to attempt to climb out of your crib. Methinks I might need to build a roof for your crib to keep you in it now.
You're also talking a lot more now. It sounds like you're trying to say words like "kitty," "doggie," "bird," "mama," and "daddy". But you've also got your own babbling going, mixed with low grunts and yells. Someday I'm going to record you in the middle of a serious oration -- which is filled with yells, low-pitched babbles and occasional grunts -- and put it to a death metal soundtrack. It'll probably be a hell of a lot better than a lot of the crap out there.
You're one hell of a gourmet too. You love Peking Duck, dumplings, Grandpa's ribs (which are seriously the best ribs ever) and pad Thai. The last one is a big surprise for me (and I'm sure Enich was surprised to have the noodles all over his carpeting as you stuffed fistful after fistful of the food in your mouth, but I hope he didn't mind too much), but I'm glad you've got such adventurous tastes.
Other parents bitch about how their children will only eat French fries, baked beans and other items, while I watch you eat a variety of food with some hesitation, which is replaced by gusto. I can imagine my complaints about you being a fussy eater: "My girl's a fussy eater too. She only wants sushi from Sushi Muramoto, mussels with fries from Sardine and Cajun food right now. It's a weird phase."
I feel like this month, I'm starting to see the transition from baby to toddler. You've got definite opinions on where you want to go, what you want to eat and how I should treat you. You're starting to pitch tantrums now -- crying and then falling flat on your face on the carpet. It's hard sometimes to keep a straight face when you do that. You shove me out of the way when you want to get something. And I know you know the meaning of the word "no," but you choose to ignore me.
But yet, you continue to have a fabulous public face. It's like you're a politician or something. I'll admit, I like it because really, it allows both of us to go out a lot and explore and see new things. You're always game for something new and different. I'll never forget taking you to the Capitol to get pictures for an article I'm working on and we decided to stop for lunch at Paisan's.
There we were, seated on the patio, with a fantastic view of Lake Monona, surrounded by state employees and other people noshing on lunch. We both drank in the view, ate a good lunch and enjoyed a nice summer breeze. You behaved beautifully the entire time.
I hope that in the future, maybe in 20 or so years, we'll be at that patio again, drinking wine, taking in the view and having a good time in the summer sun. In which case, I can behave badly for once?