Eleanor at 18 Months

What a difference a few months can make. You truly are no longer “Baby Eleanor.” Toddlerhood has grabbed hold tightly. I know this by your frequent use of the word “No!” and your new-found skills as a graffiti/tattoo artist.

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You know a TON of words – and use them well – although you haven’t yet started combining them to make sentences. Any day now. Your blanket (“Day”) and your little black and white stuffed dog are your constant companions, but you also have plenty of room in your heart (and arms) for the stuffed tiger you got for Christmas.

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You are not really a morning person, often waking up hangry, but once you get some breakfast you are sweet as pie. Except when you get told that you can’t have or do something you want. Or when you pull your sisters hair. Or when you bite. But the rest of the time, really, you are quite adorable. Waving and saying hi and smiling to everyone. Playing dress-up with Zoey. Pointing to the exact spot on your cheek you want me to kiss (a favorite game of yours). Saying “Nigh-nigh” and pretending to go to sleep in your big sister’s bed. Toting around a plastic cup and spoon and “feeding” everyone and everything with a mouth.

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You have fallen off the kitchen chairs and bonked your head on the hardwood floors more times than I can count. Even just in the past week. Yet, you never give up. Some magic lures you back to the table again and again. I admire your determination, but I’m seriously considering sizing you for a helmet. You mostly refuse to draw with crayons – apparently they resemble food more than a writing implement to you – but give you a pen and everything in the vicinity will be decorated. And yes, you know the word pen, you know where we keep them and your frequently demand (loudly) to be given a pen and/or utilize your incredible problem solving and climbing abilities to help yourself to one.

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Every day, when we drop sister in her classroom at school and start to walk away, you immediately start to ask, “Zoey? Zoey?” over and over again. Then, when I buckle you in the car, you point to her empty seat and demand, “Zoey!” I don’t know if you think I’ve forgotten her or are just demanding we go get your playmate at once because being without her is unacceptable to you. In either case, it is clear that you miss her because you say her name frequently while she is at school. When I tell you, “It’s time to go get Zoey!” you clap your hands and shout “YAAAAAYYY!” with a big smile. The sister love between you two is one of the most beautiful things in this world (just stop pulling her hair!!!). You want so badly to be like her. You try to do everything she does and have learned to mimic certain behaviors. You cover your ears and state “loud!” when the vacuum or hair dryer is turned on. You shield your eyes and exclaim, “bright!” when I turn on a light. I don’t think it actually bothers you, the way it does your sister, because you usually are smiling. You seem to think it is a game and want to play too.

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I love the way you frequently climb into my lap during the day. I love the way you’ll rest your head against my chest and snuggle into me, allowing me to caress your hair and kiss your soft head. Your hair is growing quickly and getting little curls at the back of your neck. It is still blonde as can be and your blue eyes are so exactly like your grandma’s that it makes my heart go all squishy every time I look into them. Or maybe it’s the mischievous imp look on your face that reminds me so much of her. Troublemakers, both of you.

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Oh Eleanor. I love your beautiful mix of sweetness and impishness, the ornery smile you get when you are testing the limits, the way you sign and say “sorry” and plant a kiss on me, knowing that I’ll instantly forgive you. You are wonderful just exactly the way you are.

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