The world is a wacky place, and at 15 months old, Peeper is really starting to grapple with it.
First off, it’s confusing. I’m always feeding Peeper mushrooms and berries at home, but when she tries to eat them when we’re on walks outside, I freak out. What gives? And she throws dirty diapers in the pail, but I take out the toys, magazines and my hairbrush that she oh so helpfully tosses in, too. All these arbitrary rules are hard to follow.
Secondly, it’s scary. Nana got Peeper a book that makes animal noises when you open the flaps, and my bug started crying at the first electronic “moo.” She ran away—and came right back. She seemed to be torn between fear of and fascination with it. I had to cut her off when she started whimpering when we looked at animals in other books.
She’s also pretty intimidated by other kids. When we recently got together with the One Weekers—a group of baby friends born within a seven days of each other—Peeper was a bit out of sorts. The other toddlers just had to look at her sideways to set her off. She required a lot of cuddling when the other kids ran around and fought over blocks.
Yet Peeper is also overcoming her fears—at least, in one case, with the help of noise-muffling headphones. We went to a Timbers game knowing we might have to bail early, considering Peeper is terrified of loud noises. But once she got used to the cushy headphones covering her ears, she didn’t mind the soccer match. I spent most of it chasing her around the restaurant, but I counted it as a huge win.
The world is also ripe for exploration. There are sticks to be carried, rocks to taste, trees to touch, mole hills to poke and hills to run down. And that’s just the outside! Inside, just as many opportunities for adventure entice her. Peeper climbs the furniture, throws herself onto piles of pillows, climbs into bins, scales the dishwasher and rocks herself standing up on the glider.
Testing her limits also entails figuring out what she can get away with. We’ve reached the wonderful toddler stage of doing precisely what you’re not supposed to do—then laughing. Throwing food off the high chair? Hilarious. Touching the heater or air conditioner? Too funny. Hitting the dog? Hold on a sec, Peeper is busting a gut laughing.
Throughout everything, though, Peeper knows her parents are here for her. Whenever she’s uncertain, afraid, nervous or confused, we’re a constant touchstone. We’ll be a place of refuge no matter if she’s 15 months or 15 years old.