17 Month Freedom

Today my baby is 17 months old. He announces he is awake every morning after a little morning wake up play in his crib by bouncing up and down in the corner of the crib. His moo cow(s) have been thrown to the floor and his passys are having a party scattered across the room. On the mornings I am at home when he wakes up, I peek through door. As it slowly opens, he settles down. He waits to see who will come peaking through the small crack the opening door has made. Mama! After announcing my entrance, we always laugh and giggle as I collect his treasured items before starting our day.

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Yesterday evening, Chet and I pulled into the driveway after working all day (and playing at Grandma’s house – or if you ask Chet, it’s probably amp-pa’s house because he adores everything about Grandpa). He kicks and pinches and scratches and hits (you get the picture) as I make him come inside. When I let the dog out to go the bathroom, he throws himself on the floor to protest being confined inside the walls of our house. After a quick change of my clothes, we are back outside. Ba-bulls. Ba-bulls. For thirty minutes, he plays with an empty bubble bottle. He is fascinated by removing the lid, removing the bubble wand, putting the bubble wand back, and putting the lid back. The only thing that diverts his attention is the sound of the ice cream truck. He is a little to young to know the treats he could find inside the musical truck, but he isn’t too young to love the sounds he is hearing. He drops everything to dance. Knees bent, booty shaking, and arms clapping are his go-to dance moves.

On Monday, Grandpa and I arrived at my parent’s house at the same time. I almost got a hello. Instead of greeting me with open arms, he ran to the stairs. He was telling grandpa to go upstairs like he does every day when he gets home from work. Chet was guiding him to the treadmill. After much demanding, Chet waddled his way onto the treadmill where he mimicked Grandpa walking as he announced with delight, amp-pa! amp-pa! amp-pa! He threw another fit as we tried to leave and another fit as I tried to buckle him in his car seat. Instead of following our normal path to Cole’s school, Chet and I took a pit stop at Trader Joes. Our kitchen cabinets were empty. As we made our way through the produce section, I recycled the old grocery shopping tricks that worked with Cole expecting to get little response from Chet. We started with bananas. Chet, can you find mama bananas? His little hand quickly pointed to the bananas. Next we need an avocado. I really didn’t expect a response from this one since he doesn’t like avocado, but he surprised me again. His little hand guided me straight to the avocados. Next we need apples. As I lifted a bag of apples into the cart, Ap-pull spilled from his lips. Where did this child come from? When I put him to bed on Sunday, the only words he liked to say were brother, ball, dog and woof.

On Sunday, we spent the day at Busch Gardens. Chet waved to everyone. He smiled from ear to ear on every ride. He protested every time he had to get off a ride. He splashed in water. He stood under water falls. He danced up and down the aisle during the lunch time musical performance.  Last Friday, he got his first hair cut. The baby hair on the back of his head was slowly becoming a big, frizzy mullet. That curl that used to be so cute is now gone.

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Today we took the long way home once again. It was unexpected that we would spend a few hours together. After a quick run from the north end of the beach to the boardwalk, we made our way to the ocean. For the first few minutes, he held on tight to my legs. He then realized he could hide his feet in the sand. He then realized the rush of cold water was more fun with a squeal. We ran up and down the beach. He chased me. I chased him. The waves chased us both.

It’s so easy to look back and see how he has changed and grown. It is happening every single day. With every wake up he is discovering something new. He is amazing me with how much he knows. The freedom that comes with being 17 months old is inspiring. He dances when he hears music. He isn’t afraid to protest when things aren’t going his way. If his actions result in a laugh, a smile or a squeal from someone, he will repeat it over and over again because smiles, laughs and squeals feel good. Dance along with the ice cream man, run along side the waves, and fight for what you want. The freedom that comes along with it is worth it.

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