Due to my negligence, we will never know what transpired between your 16th and 20th months of life.
You love, love, love being outside. Bop brought you a sandbox and a cousin gave you a slide. We now go out to the backyard at least twice a day, and to the park almost every day. Some days you are halfway to the park in the time it takes me to grab the mail from the mailbox. These are usually also the days when you climb to the top of the biiiiig slide and go down with no hesitation. The wussy three-year-olds watch you with admiration. Other days, you are all but glued to my leg and it takes a lot of coaxing to even get you to walk up the steps TO the slide.
You are learning new things at a rate that astounds us. I can identify an unfamiliar object for you and chances are, you'll remember it with just a little reinforcement. You are, however, stubbornly refusing to learn how to count. You know one number: TWO. As we're walking down the steps, I will count, "one, two, THREE!" And you will say, "two, two, TWO!" The other night, you got into something you know is off-limits and your daddy said, "ANNA! How many times has your mother told you not to touch that?" You promptly replied, "TWO!"
Let me talk about what you are like now, though.
You named your pacifier Sylvia. Several months ago, when Jim and Pam were about to have their baby, I decided that I wanted to name my future daughter Sylvia and was fervently hoping that Jim and Pam would break Michael's promise to name their kid after the grandmother. (Yes, I really am talking about people from TV.) We were asking you to say other names we considered for you and will probably consider for a future sibling, and you were failing terribly at even the easiest names (your version of Lucy? Shushu.) When I asked you to say Sylvia, however, you said, clear as a bell: "SIL-bee-ah!" You loved that name so much that you repeated it over and over for the next couple of days. Before we knew it, you had named your pacifier Sylvia, or Sibi for short. Cute. Thanks for stealing my name, though.
You still see your friend Gloria several times a week. You love Gloria and Gloria's mom. Gloria's a bit older than you and you like to copy her. Whenever Gloria is over with her green blanket, you insist that you need a "bah," too. Gloria has at least ten pounds on you. One day, you two were playing a couple of feet behind me while I was checking my e-mail. You started whimpering and then Gloria yelled, "Horsey!" I turned around to find Gloria sitting on your back. You were pinned to the ground, face smashed against the carpet. A couple of weeks later you guys played horsey again, except Gloria was the horsey. I think that worked a little bit better.
You enjoyed Easter this year. Gloria's family came up with us to Bop and Grammy's house. Grammy hid some plastic eggs with an M&M inside each one. When you and Gloria discovered the M&M's, you started frantically picking up eggs, shaking them, and throwing down the ones that didn't rattle. You two got a little carried away and ate waaay too much chocolate.
We finally got a bike seat for you. We ended up having to buy a center-mounted seat because the rack attachment on my bike is not standard. You LOVE the bike and especially love the view from the front (it sure beats the view from the bike trailer). You love nothing more than to ring the bell as we ride through the neighborhood. This town is full of hills so it is definitely good exercise for me. We've taken to riding to the edge of campus at quitting time every day to meet your daddy. You get so excited when you see him crossing the street towards us.
A couple of weeks ago, your daddy and I went away for an overnight trip to Pittsburgh. We visited the Carnegie Museum and brought back a dinosaur tattoo for you. When we first put it on your arm, you acted very frightened and didn't want to look at it. I felt so bad because those temporary tattoos stay on for several days! We put a sweater on you to cover up the tattoo. After a while, you got used to it, and then the little dinosaur became your friend. You would "pet" the dinosaur and would offer him food and water. Someday we'll get you a real pet, I promise.
You've been obsessed with shoes for months now, much to the amusement of your great-Lola (also a shoe-lover). Sometimes I am tempted to call you Imelda. Your favourite shoes are your pink polka-dotted rain boots. You will wear these rain or shine and will often disappear, only to return with them on. (More than 50% of the time, they are on the wrong feet. Go figure.)
You are still a terrific eater. When we were visiting NJ, your great aunt and uncle took us to an all-you-can-eat sushi/seafood restaurant. You ate no less than a dozen clams and countless pieces of sushi and sashimi. (Someone later told me that kids under 2 shouldn't eat shellfish. Thankfully, you were fine.) You ate so much, we felt a little bit guilty that you got to eat for free. Not four hours later, we attended a party at a Chinese restaurant. You tried something from almost all ten courses. We were getting worried because you just kept eating and eating, and sure enough, you had a stomach ache later that night.
You are still a tiny little thing, though, relative to others your age. Aside from just liking food a lot, I think you eat a lot because you are so ridiculously active. At the restaurant, you climbed up and down your high chair dozens of times in a row. You constantly run at full speed around our house. As I mentioned earlier, you love nothing more than to be outside, running, sliding, swinging.
Even though you are still at the 25th percentile for weight, you are growing well. Our friend came over to visit with her one-month-old baby and it was apparent that you are no longer a baby. You're a little girl. You woke up this morning and immediately asked for me. As you snuggled beside me in bed, your daddy sighed and said, "She's not so little anymore."
You were never the most cuddly baby, always wanting to be moving, but now that you are older, you love to cuddle with me. When we bring you into bed with us to calm you down on those occasional nights when you wake up crying, it is not enough for you to be beside me. You want to be completely on top of me. As uncomfortable as this is, there will come a day when you will not automatically run to me when you are upset. So I will soak up these moments and hold you as much as I can.
I love you, my daugher.