Next week marks a year and a half of Chou outside the womb. 18 months of my life has never gone so quickly.
My monthly Chou updates usually list her "firsts", her new skills, teeth and words, but this month it's all about who Chou IS, not just what she can do.
Because Chou is becoming, well, Chou. My BabyCentre newsletter confirmed what I already knew - 18 months marks a sort of end to babyhood and the real beginning of childhood. Yes, they all have personality from day one, but the kind of person Chou is is now cementing itself. I love what I see (biased or not).
Chou is social, friendly, affectionate and funny. She doesn't have an ounce of shyness or respect for personal space, come to think of it. She's also willful, determined, a bit of a bruiser and a pleasure seeker. I dare say she's confident, given that she rarely seems to need any sort of encouragement from me to jump into a melee of kids or a new situation.
She's a greeter - Hi! - she says to everyone, upon their entry into the post office, the grocery store or her general vicinity. Kids she met two minutes before at the park deserve a hug and kiss goodbye, along with a wave. Anyone under five feet tall, and even those taller, are already friends because they are there. No other details required.
It warms my heart to see Chou so eager to get to daycare. This morning, after I dressed her and turned off the morning news, she promptly walked to the door and then to the bike trailer, ready to go (nevermind that it was 10 minutes early and I had to do loops around town to kill time). When we arrive, she hops out, climbs the steps, knocks, opens the door and claps and squeals with delight at the sight of the others. I quick kiss for me and a wave and she's gone before I can say hello to her caregiver.
And I know I'm blessed when S, her caregiver, hugs and smoochers her and tells me how much entertainment and joy Chou brings to their day. I know she means it too, because I've watched the kids play. Not all kids add to the fun of the day. It never gets old to be told your child is well-adjusted, outgoing, fun, bright and a character.
She's not without her challenges, of course. Chou hits and can get rather stubborn (I wonder where she gets that from?). The hitting isn't out of malice, but she's strong and can hurt even the bigger kids, mummy included. We're working on this, though saying she's sorry and timeouts seem to do nothing to curb the behavior. Any ideas? A part of me wants some other kid to smack her back, but you can't really tell them that, now can you?
This month, this 1.5 years, this 18 month milestone, feels like a sort of graduation for me. My daughter and I are friends. We go for long walks in the evening, picking up treasures (pine cones, sticks and rocks). Seriously, that kid can motor, for a loooong time. We were out for 45 minutes last night, walking. We seek out animals of every kind, chat with the neighbors we meet. She and I have tickle fights, dance parties and snuggle fests at 6:30 in the morning (when she greets me with a kiss and a bear hug). Chou is learning which plants to eat (mint, chokecherries, crapapples) and which to not (chokecherries, random berries, flowers), and the names of insects, plants and grasses. Whether she understands or not, I talk to her like she can, like my parents did with me, because one day she will understand and maybe sooner than I think.