We’re celebrating three special half birthdays today as Tobias, Eleanor and Callista hit 18 months old, crossing the threshold bringing them closer to 2 than they are to 1.
The only way to describe life with three 18-month-olds is “full.” It seems they learn new things by the minute, whether it’s new words (Mama, Daddy, hi, bye, snack, bed, dance, book, blanket, jump, Rocky, dog, cat, kitty, Grandpa (C only), car, banana, apple, play, rock, slide, crawl, sticker, duck, quack, bowl, cup, tickle, walk (E only), down, done, uh-oh, no, yes, ball, bubble, go, cracker, cheese, please (T only), water, bean, pool, bath, barn, chicken (E), sock (which means shoe, but we’re working on it!), Gabba, and I swear they have a word for Harry Potter) or signs (more, all done, water, eat/food, apple, banana, cracker, baby, thank you, please), skills like climbing, trying to jump, running while paying attention to small toys on the floor, new dance moves or fine-tuning methods of throwing a tantrum. They’re always coming up with new stuff, and it blows my mind.
Because we switched pediatricians the month they turned a year old, we’re now two months behind in well-child checkups. This means I don’t have official 18-month measurements, and I’m not really sure how they measure up developmentally. It kind of makes me antsy, but all I can do is accept that they know more today than yesterday, and they’re growing out of clothes and shoes. Old fashioned watchfulness, right?
I’ve become their Official Interpreter, a job that ranks nearly as high as their Safe Haven. They say a ton of words, and the list of words fully and correctly annunciated continuously grows, but only I can understand that bee-ah means bed. They all have their own personal dialect, and my fluency grows with each adaptation.
I’m definitely better built as a mom of toddlers than I was a mom of infants. The workload has probably increased, and recent bouts with teething and growth spurts have interrupted once-restful nights, but the payout is far greater in quantity and quality. There’s nothing like a decisive smooch on the lips, a giant bear hug from tiny arms or a loving pat on the arm or back.
Parental cliche says you don’t remember life before kids. I disagree. I remember it vividly. I remember the RE visits, the months of hope, the months of heartbreak, and I definitely remember the years Rob and I spent together before deciding to share each other with kids. I remember being able to say, “Let’s see a movie tonight,” and walk out the door with no more thought than to make sure we let the dog out before we left.
What I don’t remember is loving life as fully as I do now. Sure, I have more frustration and worry than ever before, but I can’t remember laughing so much or crying so many happy tears. I can’t remember feeling such pride. Bed never felt so good at the end of the day, and a shower was never quite so refreshing.
I try so hard to pay close attention each day. They make and change habits so quickly that it’s hard to commit one to memory before something new takes its place. I try to take photos and record videos, but documenting the lives of three toddlers can only go so far before documenting takes the place of sharing, and while I don’t want to forget these moments, I’d rather enjoy them now and only fleetingly remember certain details than see photos or video later and wish I had put down the camera and become a part of whatever activity.
Their favorite foods are graham crackers, cheese, strawberries and toast with sunflower-seed butter. They love to drink ice-cold water or warm bath water (gag!). Favorite activities include dancing (anything with a good beat works, but Lady Gaga and Beyonce top their list), singing, reading, being chased and hanging out with our dog and cat (they squat down to say hi then go in for kisses and “hugs,” which is really just laying their head on the cat/dog belly/back). Their new obsession is going for walks outside, and they’re getting better at holding our hands, which means I have less anxiety and backaches from lunging to re-grab a loose hand.
I could go on and on, but like I said about photos and video, I’ve found a line in documenting our lives. Time is short, and there are many things to do rather than talk about – like laundry. It’s naptime, so I’m off to be productive in other parts of the house, not just in the office. Pip pip!