Sassafras is 18 months. I was shocked and amazed by the amount of development that happens in the first year, but each day I feel like she continues to change at warp speed, learning new words and mimicking me (for better or for worse). One day out of the blue, she started shaking her finger at me saying, “No no!” And just this past week she said, “Wait” long and drawn out with her hand palm out like me. Now when she says “bye” to her dolls, she gives them each a hug and kiss, just the way I do when I am saying bye to her in the mornings when I leave for work. I need to watch myself around this girl.
Sleeping: We are still attempting two naps a day, but some days when Aliya wakes up later around 7:30 AM, she skips her first nap altogether and just takes one long afternoon nap for about 3 – 3.5 hours. We usually take this day by day, but I think in the next few weeks we will transition her over to one nap. She seems to be gradually making this transition on her own. She still takes a paci for her naps, but we weaned her of her nighttime paci when she turned one. For the most part, she has always been a good sleeper except for when teething or sickness is involved – then all bets are off.
Teeth: Aliya has 6.5 teeth (the 7th tooth is not full grown yet) and is currently cutting 3 teeth (possibly more) from what I can see. She was 9 months old before she cut her very first tooth, and now it seems like they are all just coming in at once. These days, she is a drooly mess.
Language: I have lost track of Sassafras’ word count. She can say many dual-syllable words, and will try to repeat whatever you say, although much of the time it comes out as gibberish. For example, she pronounces “snowman” as “no-me” and “orange” as “oh-ray.” She still uses sign language to supplement frequently used words/phrases, such as milk, please, more, and all done. She still cannot put two words together; if you ask her to say, “Hi Mommy,” she will just say the first word.
Personality: She is a ham. She loves to be around people and warms up to new people fairly quickly. She makes friends wherever we go, smiling and saying hi. She laughs easily, at herself and with others. She is very expressive and will try to mimic just about any facial expression you throw her way. She has already learned how to sweet talk when she wants something. I sometimes wonder, “Where on earth did you come from?” She makes me laugh every day.
Motor Skills: Aliya started walking at 13 months, and has yet to start running – which is fine by me! Sometimes when we are walking on a decline she will pick up speed, but that is about it. She does not jump, but she will stomp her feet and shrug her shoulders like she’s caught air. She has a great throw, and I can already see KK’s wheels spinning about which sport to have her try first.
Eating: Ever since she’s been on solid foods, she has been an excellent eater. She now eats just about everything we eat, except for desserts which I will usually eat after she goes to sleep (otherwise I would resort to enjoying it in the pantry or garage); thankfully, she has no known food allergies. Sometimes we worry we are feeding her too much, but her weight has always been right around the 50th percentile. I am not sure where all her food goes; she seems to be a bottomless pit with an ever expanding belly in the center of her skinny arms and legs. She is a walking belly. I know friends who have have difficulty getting their kids to eat anything, so I suppose this is not a terrible problem to have. These days she will try to spoon-feed herself, but after a few failed attempts she will use her hands to shovel every last crumb or grain of rice into her mouth. Sometimes she will lick the plate. Then she will clamor for more.
My little family is the greatest gift to me this Christmas. Before I know it, Aliya will be turning two, and I will cry again, asking God to slow down time. But then I will remember what many mothers have told me before, which is there is much to look forward to, and the best is yet to come. I will try to give myself grace, as I remind myself with each stage, everything is new and I will inevitably stumble along the way. Happy 18 months, baby girl.