It's probably because of that protective hormone that makes mothers forget all about the horrors of labour and the newborn months 1 - 3 so that they will continue to reproduce and the world will not fall into barren ruins, but I am almost willing to say that your 22nd month has been one of our most challenging months yet.
It's difficult to explain exactly why this is, accept to say that you are developing quickly into exactly the kind of person I want you to be: independent, intelligent, hilarious... and it's killing me!
You've become tremendously independent this month preferring to feed yourself or dress yourself without help and choosing to walk places rather than have me carry you or push you in the stroller. If anything, you are adopting these habits quite late compared to most babies, and given that up 'til now you've preferred to be waited on and lugged about, you'd think I'd be thrilled at this new found ambition.
The thing is though? Not always that helpful.
For instance when you feed yourself yogurt and blueberries in the morning, it takes me twice as long to clean you and your high chair up before we can leave for daycare. Sometimes it requires a complete outfit change by the time you are done.
And now that you like to walk yourself into daycare, you'd think I'd be thrilled! No more dirty shoes brushing up on my dress coat. No more juggling gym bag and daycare stuff, plus a 30 lbs child and trying to open doors and get you inside.
The problem here? You are SLOW. You are as slow as a one-legged turtle. With a brick tied to his leg. You take these ity bitty shuffle steps and I swear you are practically going backwards and you look at me and laugh because you know you're being a brat but you also know that it's funny as hell and that I can't help but laugh with you! Do I dare try to pick you up to get you in before I miss my bus? OH NO. Because I am afraid of you and your explosive tantrums. They come on like a tsunami in the mornings - not a moment of notice and BAM! you've wiped out an entire village with your wrath.
There are other things that have made this a challenging month. You were sick with Roseola just after Halloween. There was the H1N1 madness to contend with (you got both your shots this month and while you weren't too happy about it, you weren't to awful about it either). It's getting colder, despite being blessed with an amazingly warm November, but you refuse to wear mittens or boots. You won't even let us put your blanket on you in the stroller anymore.
I could continue this list, it goes on and on, each little thing more bizarre and unexplainable that the next. Like why don't you like towels? Why to you insist on drying off after a bath like a little puppy dog, running naked and wet around the room? But you know what? I don't want to talk about all the things that made month 22 a challenge. I can't possibly complain about these little idiosyncrasies that make you so innately you. Because the fact remains (and I suspect it always will) that to me you are just amazingly, ridiculously, immaculately perfect.
And also, if I complain about your behaviour now, what will I have left when you turn fifteen? Just look at you... tell me this look isn't coming back to haunt me in your early teens:
Or this one:
Therefore, rather than whine for things I have no right to whine about, I give you 10 Reasons I Absolutely Loved Month 22:
1. "I love you Mommy." While you've been repeating this for a few months now, this month you started saying it without being prompted? Hello! Pinnacle of motherhood. Check.
2. Speaking in the first person. For some time now it's been all about, "Bella's bottle." "Bella's Nana." "Bella's toys." All of a sudden, and completely out of nowhere, this month you started to say, "I." One of the cutest examples is "I can DO it." But you also gave me a doozy the other day when you woke up early and started calling me from your bed. You started out like normal with the basic, "Mommy? MOMMY? Mommmeeeee?" but you quickly realized that I was going to ignore you and try to steal a few more minutes of sleep so you went silent for a moment (I can only assume you were plotting) and then in the sweetest voice ever you called out to me with, "I need you Mommy." Um? I'm SCREWED. At 22 months old you have already learned the one phrase that I will never, ever be able to ignore.
3. The letter L. Suddenly you can insert into words where you never could before. You used to say "Pease!" and now you say, "PuhLease." You used to say, "Bankie" and now you say, "BahLanket." It's freakin' adorable because you over-pronounce the "L" sound now, as if you're making up for lost time.
4. You're funny and you know it. You've always been funny in your own way. A quiet, smart kind of funny that probably most people wouldn't notice. But I'm your mom and so I know. Remember that. I'll always know. Suddenly you're turning into a little ham. You'll do something really funny and say to me, "I silly, Mommy. I SILLY."
5. "Some mo'Wah." For months now you've been saying, "mo'" when you want more. "Mo'" was actually one of your very first words, you signed it for a long time, along with simple works like milk and help. But as soon as you started to speak, you gave up the sign and started saying "Mo'." "Mo' milk." "Mo' tickles." "Mo' bubbles." Suddenly this month you've changed it to, "Some mo'Wah." Essentially you have adopted a strong southern accent.
6. Little Miss Bossy. You know what you want and you're not afraid to make other people do it for you. You boss around Moet like crazy. "Moet, in your bed!" And me like crazy, "Mommy DO IT." I love it because I want you to grow up knowing that if you don't ask for what you want, you'll never get it.
7. Your teeth. You finally have a full set, minus your 2 year molars (not looking forward to those). They are beautiful. You are so beautiful.
8. That Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago that you came to my bed at 7a.m. and after you finished a bottle of milk the two of us fell back to sleep, snuggled together, until 9:30a.m. Need I say more?
9. Your brain and how it totally works. Sometimes even more than I give it credit for. One morning this month I was dressing you in a track suit and so I pulled out a t-shirt that you haven't worn in a couple of months so that you could use it as an undershirt. You looked at the shirt, which you hadn't seen since early fall, and said to me, "Uncle Philip's shirt." And you were right. It was a gift from your Uncle Philip, who you also haven't seen for a couple of month. Memory. Recognition. Comprehension. HOLY CRAP.
10. Kisses and snuggles and hugs. Oh my. While you've always been decent at giving up smooches and hugs on demand, albeit often begrudgingly, this month you started doling them out on your own terms. Like when I come home from work, usually at least half an hour after you and Daddy get home, and you'll run to the top of the stairs and call to me. "Hi Mommy!" Then, when I get up the stairs there you are, smiling, arms outstretched, waiting for me to scoop you up and you'll pull back just a little to you can look into my eyes, and then smiling, you'll lean in and kiss me gently on my mouth. I don't think that anything in my life has ever made me more joyful.
I love you,