The blessing and curse of toddlerhood is that it hurries right past you.
This is the only Christmas that Daniel will be doing the following every time I leave the tree unguarded:
At least I hope so.
In honor of him turning 15 months old on Christmas day, and in fear that he is changing every day and I’m already forgetting bits of his babyhood, here are 15 things I adore about this boy right now:
1) I love how he crosses his ankles when he eats in his high chair. It’s so neat and delicate, in contrast to the amazing mess he makes on his high chair tray.
2) I love how he swings his feet when he’s excited to eat. I will buckle him in and then turn back to the kitchen counter to start warming up or dishing out the food. If he spies something he likes, I hear “thump thump” behind me and I just know he’s there grinning and anxiously anticipating the meal.
3) He loves to be with me by riding on my hip wherever I go. When he senses I might be trying to put him down, he immediately clings to me. His arms, knees, fingers, toes… everything goes instantly into Hold Onto Mama mode. He knows he has me beat when he lays his head on my shoulder and his chubby cheek is pressed up against me. Around here, a snuggle is good for at least ten more minutes on my hip.
4) He loves his special blanket and because he loves me, he’s always trying to share his blanket with me. He’ll proudly introduce me to his blanket when I wake him up from a nap, and he’s just sure it’ll bring me the same joy it brings to him. Unlike Mackenzie (who liked hers in her mouth) or Caitlyn (who likes to sniff the corners), Daniel likes to feel his blanket on his hands and cheek.
5) His feet are the cutest of all my kids’ feet so far. I know parents aren’t supposed to play favorites but I’m calling it like it is.
6) He has amazing hair! I’ve already to cut it twice. It’s just gorgeous.
7) We have a little bedtime ritual wherein he gazes at me adoringly as I leave the room. It doesn’t matter how I lay him down, he maneuvers himself around so that his eyes meet mine when I’m closing the door.
8) He has learned to nod his head to communicate “yes” and his head bob is, you guessed it, adorable. When he wants to say YES, he bobs his head and says “UH-huh!” with a smile. He’ll do that if we ask if he wants more kisses, or if he’s a sweet boy. “UH-huh!”
9) He has two special smiles: One is when he’s clapping for himself. His cheek dimples a little and he shows all his teeth.
10) The other special smile is when someone he loves gets down on his level and opens his or her arms to him. He’ll throw his arms out and come toddling from the other side of the room, but partway there, if you’re lucky, he’ll be overcome with joy and he’ll shut his eyes tight and scrunch up his whole face into a crazy happy smile as he hurries over for the hug.
11) He still takes two naps almost every day. I like that about him because I still haven’t figured out how to run our house with a toddler on the loose all morning.
12) He takes after his daddy and is a great dancer. He giggles and says “muh” (translation: more) as we spin around the room together and nothing lights him up like a good gallop around the couch.
13) He is wonderful proof of how much more we see of Scott these days. Daniel adores his daddy and when I tell Daniel, “It’s night-night time,” he immediately brightens up and says, “Dada!” because he knows I’ll take him to Scott for snuggles and kisses before bed. The fact that Scott is almost always here for that ritual delights me every time.
14) He is a noise maker. He loves to whack and scrape and clang things. My girls liked to stack and unstack the tupperware drawer in the kitchen, but Daniel is all about the pots and pans. He thinks I’m a genius because I’m always finding something new he can shake or bang. From a practical standpoint, this is handy because I can easily keep track of him in the house. 🙂
15) Daniel is our gentle giant. His temperament is trusting and loving to a fault. He’s quick to forgive his sisters when they knock him down (always accidentally, thank goodness!) or take his toys (not always accidentally). In fact, he seems to be a glutton for punishment because he good-naturedly follows them everywhere while they play.
Toddlers are BUSY little people. They like to unload cupboards and drawers, bang things together to hear a new noise, pull their mama’s hair, put hazardous things in their mouths, yell for no discernible reason, and bonk their heads on anything remotely nearby. Caring for a toddler can wear me right out!
But oh, hearing them start to talk, watching their eyes as they experience new sensations, feeling their utterly calm breath on your neck when they snuggle… there’s nothing quite so magical.
As a mother, you are their whole world and they make sure that they are yours as well.