My lovely Bird,
There's something about my travel schedule that has these weeks passing faster than I'd like. I've been on a trip a week for the last three months, and I feel like every time I come home, you look different.
"Oh Mama! Hi!" You greet me as though we're meeting for the first time, always with a big smile and a wave of your chubby little wrist.
Actually, the chubby-little-baby phase is past. I realize that every time I look at your picture or give you a big hug. You are fast-becoming a little girl, one that reaches up to hold my hand when we go up the stairs towards the front door, but pulls back when you're sure of your footing. Fiercely-independent, you are, and it's evidenced in everything you do. "Socks!" And you want to put on your own socks. (Usually a long and painstaking process, involving you trying to ball up the sock to fit onto your big toe. Then, "Ta-da!")
You want to get your own book, pick out your own pajamas ("Do you want the monkey jammies?" "Eeeee!! Eeeeee!" as you pretend to scratch your armpits.), and buckle yourself into your car seat. You want to do. it. yourself, and I'm amazed at how much of myself I see in you as you furrow your brow stubbornly and try.
Oh, and those poor kitties. You love them. You LOVE them, and you want to smush your face into their bellies while they sleep. Their feet? Their tails? Their eyes? Noses? You want to pet it all, asking "What's that?" and then repeating the answer softly to yourself.
"That's Siah's tail."
"Size tay-el," you mutter, reaching for the gray mass.
They remain remarkably patient with you. You're like the cat whisperer, only you don't whisper. Usually, you chase after them with your pink, plastic shopping cart, sealing my theory that you're en route to becoming the crazy cat lady ... already.
And you are crazy. Crazy in all the ways that make me laugh. You are silly. You make weird faces and you give big hugs and you are not afraid to ask for faffles in the middle of the night. (And we aren't afraid to make them, either.) You read books out loud, in your special, Birdy Language which includes insane hand gestures and a full two-octave vocal range, and sometimes a tutu. Your favorite songs this month are Coldplay's "Paradise" and anything by Jay-Z. And your tantrums are this strange, braided dance of spastic kicking feet and a sideways glance to make sure I'm watching.
"Birdy, you are going in time out." And I put you in the time out chair, turning my back to you so I can count to ten. "One ... two ... three ... four ..." and as I count, I hear your chiming in and counting with me, giggling excitedly when we get to ten. And sometimes it takes me until "twelve" or "thirteen" to stop smiling enough to turn back around.
When I'm away from you, I miss you. And when I'm with you, and you snuggle up beside me and pat my face and say, "Hi, Mommy," and I fall in love with you all over again.
You're only twenty months old today, my love, and I have no recollection of life before you. In my heart, I've always been your mama. And that feels right.
Love you so much,