My Sally Grace is 18 months old. She is so super cute right now. I said to Ryan the other day that I think she's at her cutest age yet. She's just this tiny little lady (she still only weighs 20 lbs) yet she wears hip clothes and shoes that I wish came in my size, and she has big sea-blue eyes, a few craggy teeth, the sweetest dimple, and little curls fanning out by her ears. Scrumptious.
This is also a needy age for her because she can't communicate her needs yet, and it frustrates her. She whines to be held and entertained whenever we are home, and she is starting to throw tantrums when she doesn't get her way. There is no way I can get any computer work done when she is awake, so I try to keep us busy with errands, outings, and play. But despite the typical 18-month-old neediness, I know she is an easy toddler and I am grateful. She takes a good nap every day, goes to bed without a fuss, eats anything and everything, and happily goes to babysitters. Compared to my strong-willed firstborn, this girl is a piece of cake. ;)
She's not a big talker, but you can tell that she understands a lot of what we are saying to her these days. She will run and grab her coat if I tell her that we are going outside or start stripping off her clothes if I mention "shower." She is so pleased with herself when she folds her arms for the mealtime prayer with the rest of the family. Sweetest.
She says "Shoesh! Shoesh!" constantly as she carries everyone's shoes and boots around the house. ;) She also says "Cheese!" anytime I point my phone at her to take a photo. Little diva.
A worrisome habit that she has picked up recently is biting. BITING!!! So far she has only ever bit Noah (thank goodness), but it cannot continue. When they are fighting over a toy or something, she will open her jaws wide and try to take a chomp at him. Terrible. Other times she is not angry when she tries to bite him, and I honestly think it's intended to be a love nibble, which is sort of hilarious considering that her mother and her aunts have a serious problem with "cute aggression." She and Noah will be cuddled up watching a show, and I will see her start nibbling on his back, arm, or foot. Oh man. I guess I need to stop gnawing on her belly when I change her diaper and eating up her cheeks when I am overcome by her cuteness.
It's honestly funny to see her pick on her big brother. She really knows how to get under his skin and annoy him, like every little sister should! Yet she adores him, and I swear half the time she hits him just so she can give him a hug afterward to say she's sorry.
She's following in her brother's footsteps by learning to love Legos! She started playing with Duplos recently, and I am amazed by how well she can put them together. She will sit and stack Legos for fifteen minutes without losing interest! She'd rather do that than watch TV.
She is still super friendly and walks up to people and puts her arms up to be held. It is charming. Who doesn't like a darling little toddler asking to sit on their lap? She also hugs other babies and toddlers, whether they like it or not. She is a hugger.
When she's in the mood to hug, she drapes her whole body against your shoulder and nestles her head into the crook of your neck. It is a full body snuggle. If you rub her back or sing to her a little, she will stay there for a few long moments.
She's a goofball with tons of personality who loves to be chased. It's her favorite game, and she giggles like crazy.
I honestly can't keep up when she takes off. This is made even cuter by the fact that she has a leg problem called "tibial torsion" so her right foot turns in quite significantly; she has to hoist her leg up high so she doesn't trip herself as she runs. She really gets her arms moving and her legs pumping! She is probably going to have to wear a leg brace under her clothes for to correct her turned-in foot, and who knows how fast she will be after that is fixed. Heaven help me!
She's gotten tall enough to open doors in the past few months, and she loves to let herself into the bathroom to splash in the toilet or turn on the tub. Sometimes I swear I have to change her clothes five times a day because she keeps getting wet!
When she dances, she look so uncoordinated, and it makes me laugh because it reminds me of how I look when I dance. She mostly just waves her arms up and down like a Jazzercise instructor and occasionally falls over. Ha. Kinda funny that her middle name is Grace!
We took away her binky this month. Ryan was insistent. She has a super strong suck, so her binky was really affecting the formation of her teeth, and it drove Ryan crazy. We'd talked about taking it away for a while, but I always refused because I didn't want my easy sleeper to go away! But one evening when I was gone for youth group, Ryan put her to bed without it. When I got home and he told me, I was kind of mad, but I could also tell how important it was to him, so I decided we could try it. She had a couple of hard nights, but we stuck it out, and honestly, I'm shocked by how well she has done without it. After those first few days, she seems to have forgotten about it, and she still goes to bed willingly and usually sleeps 12 hours at night.
The most amazing part? Her teeth have totally corrected themselves. I thought Ryan was being paranoid about how much the pacifier was affecting them, but it is so obvious how much her teeth have changed since we took it away. I guess six years of schooling actually did teach him something about children's teeth. Ha! (And I should add that some kids' teeth are fine with a pacifier until age three, but with Sally's strong suck, it was moving them fast.)
Speaking of teeth, she still only has six--four on top and two on bottom. She's a slow teether. A few molars are popping up right now, which might be why she's been especially cranky this past week. She had her first dental appointment with Dr. Dad a few days ago, and she did great.
She pretends to blow her nose. She will grab a wipe and put it up to her nose and blow a raspberry with her lips.
Her very favorite toy to play with at church is a dried-up Glue Stick. She loves to take the cap on and off. It keeps her occupied for at least five minutes. Yes, only five, but I'll take it. Church has been a little more bearable since we started going early so we can sit in a pew instead of the cultural hall. She still gets restless, but she's not nearly as wild because we can corral her better.
She says "Ow!" when she doesn't want me to do something, like wash her hands or put on a shirt. She doesn't understand that "Ow" indicates pain--she just knows that it makes adults stop what they are doing, and she uses that to her advantage.
She likes books now and will choose one out of her basket every day when we head into her room for naptime. I love reading to her. Her favorites are "Peek-a-Boo Polar Bear," "Shake a Leg," and "Good Dog, Carl."
She hides under her linen blankies while she is sitting in her crib after naptime. She puts them right over her head and keeps them there. When I look on the monitor, I can see a little ghost girl sitting up and awake in her crib.
She loves all vegetables and food. She will down raw mushrooms, kale, peppers, cucumbers, whatever.
She also loves her sweets, such as the massive chocolate muffin that I let her eat at Costco recently, just to keep her in the cart. It is impossible to shop with this little girl! She wiggles her way out of the seatbelt in the front (I called her Houdini), and when I put her in the back, she climbs all over the food and smashes it. I can't win. I now only go grocery shopping on Saturdays when Ryan is home so I don't have to take the kids!
She is an impish rascal, and she will grab things that she knows she's not supposed to have and make a run for it. She gets this sneaky little grin on her face and then snatches the contraband and dashes away before you can stop her.
My favorite thing is our tradition when I put her to bed at night. I lay her in her crib and then I walk to the door and say, "Goodnight, Sally! Sleep tight! I love you so much!" I wave and blow kisses, and she gets so excited that she can't help but stand up and wave joyously back. We play peekaboo and giggle for a few minutes and she blows kisses, and then I slowly shut the door while telling her how much I love her. She never cries or protests but just lets me leave on that happy note. Pretty amazing, right?
I just adore my little big girl, and I'm so grateful to be her mama!