Today marks 15 months since we welcomed you into the world. It's difficult for me to remember a time before you joined our lives and yet, the day of your birth seems like it was just yesterday.
You are officially a toddler now, evident by the level of engagement in all things you do - more creative play, conversations with Daddy and I, learning new things ... and tantrums. Yes, you are definitely capable of whining and carrying on to make a statement.
This month, I noticed a few new actions which prove your growing independence. Out on a walk during one of the last gorgeous fall days in November, you insisted on walking to the playground instead of riding in your stroller. You walked alongside me for a few blocks on the way to the school by our house and half way there, you reached up for my hand. It melted my heart when I realized how much my baby girl is growing up before my very eyes. You also grab my hand as you lead me from room to room in our house, anxious to show me something new.
I had to laugh at your independence the other day when you opened up the refrigerator door, slid open the drawer and helped yourself to a Babybel cheese. You bit right into the waxy coating before I could stop you! You are a cheese maniac and you'll sit like a perfect angel at the promise of cheese coming your way. Lately, it's my only kryptonite to get you to sit still in the grocery store shopping cart.
Some of your favorite places to play in the house are in Mom and Dad's bedroom and in the main bathroom. You've discovered how to flush the toilets and you love to sit in the shower with no water on. I'm not sure what's so exiting about that activity, but you seem to love it. If you're missing in action for a minute or two, chances are you're digging through my underwear drawer. Again, I have no idea why you like to play in there, but one of your favorite things to do is wear my (clean) underwear around your neck like a scarf. The other day after playing this game, a few of Daddy's employees came over and I was a little embarrassed you'd strung my undergarments all over the living room!
Chloe the Dog has become your best buddy this month. Until a few weeks ago, the two of you basically co-existed in this household. There was an unspoken rule between the two of you; leave me alone and I'll do the same. Suddenly, you're all about petting her and Chloe's not so sure she's ready to reciprocate the friendship. Honestly, you've done pretty well at "being gentle" with Chloe and we try to encourage you to let Chloe approach you by holding out your hand to signal you'd like to play. You have such a loving heart, Tory Girl, and you're always anxious to give Chloe a hug or any little kids you meet on a play date, at library story time or swimming class. I love that about you.
I quit my job this month, Beanie, so now we get to spend every single day together. I'm really excited to not only spend so much time with you, but also to further your learning and development. You and I are inseparable these days, and you've even started calling me "ma ma." I never grow tired of hearing you say those syllables to me, even when you're tugging at my pant leg for attention. We've been doing a lot of cooking together this month, and you love to help me in the kitchen. I give you special tasks like stirring the mixing bowl or dumping an ingredient into the pan I even taught you to sniff the yummy smells coming from our kitchen creations and it cracks me up every time you do it.
Speaking of food, some first-year molar teething this month caused your appetite to nose-dive. Thankfully it's come back now but for a while there, all I could do to get you to eat anything was give you some ranch dressing to dip it in. Since then, you've developed quite the love for dips and you'll dip practically anything in syrup, ranch dressing or ketchup. I even saw you dipping your sandwich in yogurt the other day!.
You've really shown a love for music and dancing. The other day at library story time, you stood in the center of the group, right in front of the teacher and her instrument, and danced away while we sang together. It's comical the way you shimmy your shoulders fiercely in stores when you hear a song playing that moves you. You'll even say "ye" (ye haw) when I sing "She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain" to you. One of your favorite tunes is the "Hokey Pokey" and you can almost do all the actions. It's impressive!
One of these days, you'll be jabbering a mile a minute. I can see the gears turning in your head. You're so smart, thoughtful and strong-willed. I love seeing the girl you're growing into every day.
I love you, Tory Bean.