Welp, we have a toddler on our hands – and let me tell you, there are no emotions like those of a 17-month old. The other night Lee took grumpy cat away from Molly so she wouldn’t get dinner on him and the look of combined rage and anguish on her face is not one I’ll soon forget. In what was not my proudest moment of parenting, I giggled at her for about ten minutes as she wailed, tears running down her face, even after Lee gave her back grumpy cat; even after he explained why he had taken him away in the first place; even after he picked her up, put her down, and picked her back up again; even as I held her and rocked her to calm us both down. Sometimes, when your 17-month old is screaming bloody murder and can’t communicate why exactly she’s so upset, you just have to laugh.
Even if she is getting slightly more, shall we say, expressive, Molly continues to be the funniest, sweetest, smartest and most interesting little girl I’ve ever met. She is super affectionate, giving big hugs and kisses and very fondly calling her Aunt Jodie “Cheese!” with a big smile on her face. She’s added about a dozen new words to her repertoire (hands, toes, knees, belly, whale, blue, bow, bowl, ball, bubble, Bibi, purple, shoes, I could go on) in the past few weeks alone, and now says “bye bye” in addition to “hello!” She’s so smart. She blows my mind every day with how smart she is. And so strong. She swings from the monkey bars, climbs up and down stairs, and has a leech-like grip when she’s giving you a hug. And so stubborn. Even now, Lee is in her room with her because she knows that if she says “Dada” in her most pitiful voice he’ll go snuggle her until she falls asleep (Aunt Jodie may have spoiled her there).
Speaking of Aunt Jodie, this month she and Molly got to spend some extra special time together! I had to go to LA for work during the same week that Jodie was planning a visit, so the two of us flew her down to LA while Lee drove (and drove, and drove) our car to meet us there. The two of them spent lots of time at the pool, went to the zoo, the children’s museum, and got lots (emphasis on LOTS) of new clothes (for Molly, that is. Jodie just bought about 13 pairs of sunglasses over the course of the trip).
After a few days, we left LA and drove up to SLO for more family time with Nana, Grandpa, and Grand-Nana. There was piano playing, park time, neighborhood walks, mahjong, tomatoes picked fresh from the garden, and family story time. Molly had such a fun vacation and is a very lucky girl to have so many people in her life who love her so (and may spoil her just a little)!
When it comes down to it, toddlerhood may be a little more challenging than infancy, but every day, we get hugs and kisses, we get belly laughs, we get so much love, and these moments make up for all of the thrown cups, the tears, the NO NO NO (“não não não”, in Portuguese) – they make up for anything, really. These moments are what makes Molly her brilliant, strong, beautiful self, and what make Lee and I the two luckiest people in the world to be her parents.