I’ve never totally gotten it when friends with newborns say things like, “I just wish they’d stay this little forever.” While I loved many things about the newborn and infant phase, especially in hindsight, Ali at 15 months is so much more fun than Ali at any other age to date. She giggles uproariously, she jabbers, she walks, she learns, she plays, and best of all, she clearly understands.
All that said, parenting is more challenging now than it used to be. It’s a constant dance between two clearly interrelated extremes– when do we encourage independence and when do we hold her close? When do we push and when do we let her be? We do a lot of both, of course. And sometimes we make the wrong choice… or the right choice that nonetheless results in an epic tantrum. And more often than not we have no idea if we’re making the wrong choice or the right choice and just hope we raise a happy, well-adjusted kid despite our educated guesses and general having no idea what we’re doing.
For now, it all seems to be working–ish– because even with the tantrums and the chaotic dinners and the post-tornado disaster zone Ali leaves in her wake everywhere she goes, it’s becoming clear to us that Ali is growing into a human we genuinely like being around. And that makes all the other nonsense worth it.
A List of 15-Month-Old Ali-isms
- Waving to buses, trams, and trains (when people inside wave back, my heart melts into goo)
- New and old words, especially… oh wowww, mama, papa (not sure how she learned that one, but it slays us and we kinda hope it sticks), no, hi, bye, yesh (yes), uh oh, oooOOOooo (when she sees something especially exciting)
- Speaking Ali-ese as though we should definitely be able to understand it
- Buckling things
- Doing flips and hanging upside down
- Digging in the sand, carrying the sand to show it off, accidentally dumping said sand down her shirt
- Putting things away (but mostly taking everything out again, especially in the kitchen)
- Sitting quietly with a napkin on her lap during a four-hour dinner at a tasting menu-only Michelin-star restaurant in Eindhoven, Netherlands (jk NOT)
- Smearing her face with blueberries on blueberry pancake mornings
- Feeding her “baby” with a bottle (On a whim, I told Ali her baby looked hungry yesterday and she went and got the baby and the bottle from the other side of the room, and fed her. Turns out she understands a lot.)
- Being a stage 5 clinger (but the new teeth sort of give her a pass)
- Aggressive hugging, especially on our flight from SF to Amsterdam, when we were seated next to 17-month-old Zoe. Ali hug attacked Zoe as if she were a long lost friend. Zoe graciously accepted the love.
- Walking around with her little pull-along dog toy
- Eating toilet paper / all paper whenever she can get her hands on it (ugh)
- Resisting diaper changes with all her tiny being
- Wearing her bonnet like a Storm Trooper
- Srunching up her nose and flashing scrunched nose grins with the power to launch a thousand ships