The other day, Kiwi sat at her high chair with a washable marker clutched in one fist. Using wide, sweeping motions, she moved her entire body to cover the paper in bright stripes. Her coloring was like an energetic dance—and that is how she approaches everything.
If she’s awake, my 13-month-old is moving.
While she breastfeeds, she stands up, turns from side to side and even jiggles to music—all while staying latched.
And in the off-chance she lingers long enough for me to read a few pages of a book to her, she’s standing up. But if there are no flaps to lift or knobs to turn, she’ll abandon story time in search of something more physical, like running circles around the kitchen island.
At 13 months old, her constant need to be on the move exhausts me. She’s a confident walker, but she still prefers to hold onto my finger when moseying around the house. (She can go a lot faster that way—great, my toddler already has a need for speed!) After the millionth lap around the living room, all I want to do is lie down on the floor.
The second I’m on my back, of course, she climbs onto my stomach and bounces. When I jiggle her as if she’s on horseback, she squeals with laughter, showing me all seven of her teeth.
Rarely, though, both Kiwi and Peeper settle down simultaneously.
Take, for example, a recent morning when my toddler was breastfeeding. Peeper climbed up alongside us. She snuggled into me, draped her arm over me and stroked Kiwi’s hair. She began to sing a lullaby: “La la lu, la la lu, oh my little star sweeper”—her version of the Lady and the Tramp song.
Most of the time, our lives run at a frenetic pace. Kiwi’s activity is equally fast. And some days, like when the girls literally throw the dinner I just cooked at me, or when their tantrums at the park send us straight back to the car, I wish would pass faster.
But that morning could last forever and I would be happy. My girls lay on either side of me: I was at the center of a love sandwich. They looked at each other and I wanted to hold my breath for fear of my exhalations breaking the spell.
At 13 months old, Kiwi’s life is most marked by action: walking, bouncing, pointing. But this uncharacteristic few minutes of stillness I will never forget.