Peeper is now closer to her second birthday than her first. As much as this gives me whiplash and makes me think, Wha?!, it makes complete sense: She is hurtling forward, both figuratively and literally, every second of every day.
1. Peeper has outgrown my favorite baby-talk word—stairs are no longer “ah-moo”s, regrettably. But she does have a few other Peeper-isms amidst her clear phrases. We eat cererererear or wee-mo (cereal and oatmeal, natch) for breakfast, and she goes for a walk in the carrierierierier when I can’t be bothered with the stroller.
2. She likes to fall asleep with a finger in a belly button—hers or mine will do.
3. Most days, “book” is her first word in the morning, and one of the only reasons she throws a fit is if I won’t read her a book RIGHT THIS MINUTE BOOOOOOOOK!
4. Peeper is still a very light eater, but on the days she thinks pomegranate seeds with a side of air makes for a balanced meal, I have a few ways to
trick coax her into eating another bite or two. I may poke a bit of food with a fork, which she usually wants to feed herself. I may ask her to feed the leftovers to Finn, which she instead pops in her mouth. Or I may cave in and read her a book as she sits on my lap, which means she’ll eat almost anything as if she’s a moviegoer shoving popcorn in her maw.
5. Peeper loves her dog. When it’s time to go home from wherever we are, her first thought is of our mutt waiting for us. “Finn!” she’ll say. Then, “Pet. Hug. Walk. Treat.”
6. This child may be destined to be a music critic with how much she asks me to sing to her. (“Song” is the second-most-often requested thing in the morning, after “book.”) Except now she has strong opinions about what ditty she wants to hear at a given moment—I’ll launch enthusiastically into “Baby Beluga” only to be interrupted by her forceful “No!”
7. Girlfriend loves her arts and crafts time. Peeper colors and paints, draws in the bath with water crayons, scribbles on a magnadoodle in her car seat and will find any wayward pen forgotten under the couch or behind the fridge. She now gets her own paper out of the printer tray, snags mail from the table or simply doodles on boxes.
8. Peeper’s imagination is taking off. She still calls her Nana on just about any object, but she also feeds her stuffed animals and puts her doll to bed (“Sleep tight. Dreams,” she’ll say). Growing up, my siblings and I entertained ourselves for hours on end—pretending to be wizards, orphans, world explorers and homesteaders on the Bayou—so I can’t wait to watch this trait grow. (Wondering just how much of an impact imaginative play can have? Just sing “Alligator stew, alligator stew, if you don’t eat it, it will eat you,” near my sisters or brother and watch the reaction.)
9. Despite having an abundance of toys, you’re just as likely to find Peeper playing with a box full of straws than anything else.
10. She spontaneously gives kisses. One night she zipped from one couch to the other, planting smacks on me and Eric, until giggles immobilized all of us. I’ll soak up all the kisses I can get. With how fast she’s growing up, next time I turn around she’ll be 15 and embarrassed by any show of affection.
Until then, kiss kiss, my Peeper. Mama loves you.