More, more, more

This is her favorite thing right now. As Devin put it, “ranking slightly above eating and breathing.” We swing her, or toss her, or twirl her, or flop her down on the bed, until she is panting from laughing so hard. She’ll often fall over, dizzy with the motion, and then sign, “More, more, more.”

It is exhausting. She weighs about 23 pounds now, and we are tired from late nights and early mornings. But it’s hard to deny her this pleasure, when she laughs and squeals and grins and asks for more.

I know every parent of a toddler says this, but Laurel is non-stop. When she wakes up in the morning, she sits upright and begins talking to us. We put her on the floor and she runs to the door, opens it, and heads out into the rest of the house. If she senses we’re going out, she will bring us the Ergo or sling and her shoes. When we’re out, she wants to do a lot of her own walking (whether it’s a good idea or not), which is remarkably tiring considering it’s slow and includes frequent pauses to check out flowers, dirt, cigarette butts and other detritus. We’re out of the house a lot these days, and when we are, I rarely get the chance to sit down anymore.

And that’s before she asks to be spun and bounced around.

Now that she’s on the go, she’s so much more independent. She rarely cries when we walk away, because she can keep up with us. (In fact, she’s almost running already.) It can be difficult to keep up with her. She will walk quite a ways away from us if we let her, trusting that everything will be all right. Sure, we read all the books that said if we kept her close in the early months, if we met her needs and loved her as much as we could, she would be more independent when she was ready. Is this the proof? Maybe. In any case, she’s a brave girl, and that’s such a pleasure to see.

She’s also becoming more of a social creature, at least with us. She sits in our laps, talks with us, leads us around by the hand, looks to see how we’re reacting to things, does things to make us laugh. She says “Dada” and “Mommy” a lot.

She knows more about what things do; she understands that phones are for holding to the ear and talking into, and that cameras and phones and computers often show pictures of babies, so she says “baby” at them a lot. She understands when we ask her to put something in her dresser or laundry hamper, or into a drawer, and will usually do it; she also knows the names of all our rooms and how to go to them if we ask her to. She understands the concept of “hot,” both when food is hot and when the ground is hot, and will blow sharply at anything too warm for her.

Everything else is continuing apace. She’s learning new words. She wants to read lots of books. And she is suddenly obsessed with the alphabet, asking us to recite letters from a toy with spinning block letters and read to her from a book full of kids showing items from each letter of the alphabet. She seems to get that these letters are a big deal, and she studies and considers them carefully — over and over again.

She’s a really fun person to be with. Her smiles are wonderful, and she likes to give hugs and kisses and to make people laugh. There are times, of course, when her emotions take over and she doesn’t like being told “no” or prevented from doing something she wants to do. We’re not even into full-blown tantrum territory, but this intermediate stage is teaching us some strategies for defusing her more explosive states.

At least, we hope so.

— Beth