A few days ago, I posted this picture to my Instagram stream.
Yes. That’s exactly what you think it is. I heard lapping sounds coming from the laundry room, realized the dog was outside, entered to find the scene above.
The dish was half empty. (Or half full?) And the boy was so happy.
It’s a fitting story to mark Kieran hitting 18 months. He is so male. All exploratory and delight and belly and giggles. I truly love this age. It’s when toddlers teeter on the brink of babyhood. They are old enough to develop some consistency of routine but not too old to need cuddles every 15 minutes. They can laugh at their own discoveries and at your reaction to them.
A few notables about Kieran at 18 months:
He loves to be outside. “Out? Out? Out?” he says whenever he remembers the garage door is just beyond the kitchen. He will grab his size 7 tennis shoes (which is GIGANTIC for our kids at this age; he’s wearing shoes Connor wore when he was 3), and sit down on the mudroom floor and try to cram his pudgy little feet into a few inches of Velcro. And once he’s out, please don’t micromanage. He just wants to explore. He will find sticks and bang stumps and poke rocks and wander around the forest (under Daddy’s watchful eye, usually), content to be allowed to roam at will.
He is verbose. When Kieran hit 15 months, I happened upon one of those monthly milestone emails that said most babies have a vocabulary of about five words at 15 months. I almost fell off my chair. At that point, Kieran had command of about 30 words. And his range has only grown since then. In fact, he just called from the other room, “Mother, would you please change my nappy?”
OK. That might be an exaggeration. But he is prone to saying, “Mah-mee? Pooh-pooh?” Which is his gentle way of saying, you might want to grab the smelling salts, woman, because I don’t do anything half way.
Other words (not an exhaustive list, obviously): Ball. Up. Down. All done. Eat. Banana. Water. Milk. Juice. Cookie. No. Connor (which sounds a lot like Cahr). Natalie (Nanee). Uh-oh. Apple (app-oh). Wow. Papa. Gigi. Cow. Woo-woo (dog). Hi. Bye. Car (which sounds a lot like Connor). More. Bubbles. Ah-pane (airplane). Choo-choo (train). Ding-ding-ding (train crossing gates). Hee ‘tis! (Here it is!) Dank do (thank you).
And our new favorite: PUN-kin. (Pumpkin.) Oh the cute. I die.
He also does great animal noises. But I’ll save those for a future day. (Read: As soon as I get all of them on video.)
He is tough.
Exhibit A: A few weeks ago, when I was hanging out with college students so Shaun Groves wouldn’t feel so old, I was walking with Teyla and Kieran across a campus courtyard. Kieran, as usual, was bounding ahead, running and talking to himself. A cute young couple was walking toward us, smiling as they watched his obvious joie de vivre. Right about then, he stumbled and skidded and fell – splat. The young couple gasped and winced. I didn’t even break stride. “Just watch,” I said. Kieran promptly gathered his wits, pushed himself up and ran away. They laughed out loud.
Exhibit B: Chair climbing while wearing a cast.
He has tenacity. Last week, I found Kieran sitting on the floor next to the games cabinet. He had spilled out the contents of Battleship, and was quietly stacking little red and white pieces into towers.
He had some stacks that were 15-20 high. And he just kept building. His pudgy little fingers would reach down, find a new piece, he would diligently try to push the pegs together the right way and keep going.
I was completely entranced by his calm determination.
He is a snuggle puppy. Despite his boyishness, his outward rough-and-tumble, he will drop just about anything to snuggle. When I get him out of his bed in the mornings right now, he wraps his whole body around me and lays his head on my shoulder and we sit together on the couch and burrow under my blanket until the rest of the family gets up. (Sometimes, we watch Little Bear or Oswald at the same time. Great gentle little kid TV, in my opinion. Perfect for 7:00 AM.) He’s also learned that reading books (or to “googee-googee-googee” which, inexplicably, has come to mean “Let’s read some books together” in his brain) is a great time to snuggle. For months now, he has approached me with a book and then turned around and backed into me – as if to say, “I’m here with a book. You will hold me in your lap now.” And with Corey? Goodness gracious. There have been a few times when I couldn’t find Kieran and I eventually discovered him snuggled in Corey’s arms while Corey paces his home office on a conference call.
And there's so much more. He's sleeping through the night now. He's getting better at taking at least one nap a day that is longer than an hour. He's fully into 18-24 month clothes. He inexplicably started to suck his fingers and thumbs recently.
And ... he just climbed into my lap. (See snuggle puppy above.) Time to go inhale some sweet smelling baby hair and read some books and savor every minute. Eighteen months goes fast.