(The password-protected post below is the same as this one, but with pictures.)
Firefly is one-and-a-half years old now, nineteen months to be exact.
She started the summer as a baby and ended it as a toddler,stretching out into the body of a little girl and hurtling around with a bow-legged walk. Now that she spends most of her time on two feet, she's interacting with her world in new ways, exploring shelves and rounding corners. At the library the other day she darted down a row of books while my head was turned and set my heart racing when I couldn't see her for several seconds. (This, from the girl who cries when we so much as leave her to go upstairs at home!) She loves the flat, wide aisles of stores, where she can trot along without tripping. She stops, smiling, to jog in tight circles, her little arms flapping.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this stage with Puppy. The stretch from right about eighteen months to right around the second birthday. The new ways they start to express themselves and interact are a hoot. Just one nap to plan the day around, finally. And, good heavens, are they ever cute at this age, all bobbling giggling miniatures.
She pats my arm when we hug, her arms not long enough to pat my back the way I do hers. Sometimes at bedtime we hear her singing wordlessly to herself in her crib as she falls asleep. In the mornings she stands up and holds her blanket out to us, asking to be wrapped up for a snuggle to start her day. She loves meat, fruits, tomatoes, and all sorts of carbohydrates, but acts offended if you serve her beans of any kind.
I think what I like the most about this age is the way different parts of children's personalities start to reveal themselves. Firefly is showing a certain carefulness of spirit more and more. Not so much a cautiousness born of fear (although she certainly wants us near at all times). More about wanting to take in as much as she can of a new person or situation before she decides what she thinks. It's something that's always been a part of her, but we're seeing it being expressed in new ways. We went to the park the other night, a gorgeous September evening that had drawn several families out to the playground. She spent a long time in the middle of the playground just watching, standing impassively while the other children swirled around her in play. Finally she was ready to put herself in motion and play in her own way. I think this will always be a part of who she is in life, someone who takes the time to study and think until she is ready to engage on her own terms.
The speech therapist was here the other afternoon, over enunciating and trying to convince Firefly to work on her basic sounds. She handed her a baby doll (B-B-B-baby) and a tiny toy bottle (M-M-M-milk). Firefly pulled the baby into her lap and worked very carefully to get the bottle into its plastic mouth. She fed the baby for quite awhile, concerned when the doll would slip a little from her lap, staying focused on it long after the therapist had moved on to other things. I had never seen her play that way before, practicing what it is to think about someone other than yourself and try to meet their needs. It was nothing exceptional, just a toddler playing in an ordinary way with a cheap doll, but I felt like I was watching her decide to take another small step forward into the world.