Peeper’s jump from 19 to 20 months hit me hard.
I was in my hotel room while on a business trip when my mom emailed me a video of Peeper. Whereas Austin was foggy, rainy and cold, Portland had the kind of weather that just begged to be enjoyed outside. So Nana and Peeper had spent most of the day at the park near our house.
I clicked the video and watched as Peeper climbed a set of stairs, sat down at the top of the slide and zoomed down—all. by. herself. She looked so grown-up navigating the playground that the realization hit me like a two-ton steer: Peeper is big.
Maybe it took a little distance to gain the perspective that she has become such an independent toddler. Now, if you don’t have kids, the feat of sliding solo might not seem so impressive. But it wasn’t that long ago that Peeper was unsteady on her feet; a short time before that, I celebrated when she could sit up by herself. I can still feel that warm, floppy newborn weight in my arms from even before that.
What a contrast to today.
This 20-month-old Peeper doesn’t often let me forget that she’s leaving babyhood far in the dust. She runs down hills and climbs over big rocks, flashing me a triumphant smile when she gets to the top.
She works to get what she wants, too. When, for example, she asks for a song at dinner, I explain that I can’t exactly sing with my mouth full and that “Old MacDonald” will have to wait. “Sing a song,” she repeats. Then, “Mama sing a song. How about Dada sing a song? Sing a song right now. Sing a song meantime? How about sing a song!” She’s as focused as a border collie with a tennis ball.
She’s not all single-minded independence, though—at least not yet. She still snuggles on my lap and wants to be held. Even if her requests of “Up, Mama!” are exasperating while I’m trying to cobble together dinner, I’m grateful that she still craves closeness.