One point five
Nico turned 18 months old last Friday, and though I had hoped to mark the occasion with a masterful and sweet milestone letter, I failed utterly. Friday I was tired and figured I'd do it over the weekend. Saturday was one of the most challenging days we've ever had, and I figured I probably wasn't in the right mental space to write a sappy letter right after having exceeded my Cranky Shrieking Tolerance and fled the house in search of silence and an ice cream cone. Monday I moved 3800 pounds of bricks with my dad in the afternoon while it was 108 degrees outside. And so it went, until I got to today, a week after the blessed occurrence, with still nothing to post.
While Nico and I ate a dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches this evening, I thought about the letter I was going to write, how I wanted to brag about him eating real people food and how well he's doing, about his cute new words, about how sometimes he's challenging but he's also awesome. And then, about halfway through his sandwich, apparently the cough / frog in the throat caused by previously trying to hork down a giant piece of crust and gagging on it caught up with him and Nico proceeded to barf up everything he'd eaten since we got home (to wit: half a grilled cheese sandwich, half an orange, copious amounts of Goldfish crackers).
And so after changing him into a new outfit and trying to comfort him, I spent the evening rinsing chunks of pre-masticated grilled cheese off his clothes and the towels we used to clean up the mess (though I did think seriously about throwing away his pants and bib and never speaking of it again) while poor MB -- after working a 12-hour day -- disassembled Nico's entire high chair so it could be cleaned. Because, you see, Nico has a charming vintage high chair, lovingly sanded and refinished by a friend who upcycles furniture, carefully re-upholstered by his grandma and myself, a chair with umpteen nooks and crannies, a chair that utterly lacks a convenient removable washable cover. Meanwhile poor Nico was sequestered behind his baby fence, wailing because he just wanted to cuddle and both his parents were busy with barf detail. Oh, and at one point I dropped one of the high chair bolts down the garbage disposal. At least it wasn't running at the time. Needless to say it was a spectacular disaster of an evening.
You know what, though? Even after a night like we had, even after having to mop up barf (which has always, always been my Achilles heel when it comes to caring for kids), even after a week of whining and varying degrees of toddler assholery, after all that, I still couldn't be more grateful or more pleased to be this dude's mother.
And maybe that's the lesson I'm supposed to learn this month, that even when things get dicey, I'm still incredibly, stupidly lucky and I still love each day with my crazy, sometimes incredibly gross little family.
Nico, you're a true toddler now, constantly coming up with new words and new ideas, tearing around on your own two feet, exploring and testing and pushing and learning and sometimes falling. You're absolutely car-crazy, you still love books, you often ask to wear shoes and throw a fit when it comes time to change your diaper. You eat fruit and sometimes vegetables and chicken fingers and cheese and cheese sandwiches and Cheez Its and Kix and goldfish crackers and lasagna and yogurt. You sometimes say "More, peese" when you want something and sometimes just unleash an unholy volley of whining. You recently started saying "library" and "pirate ship" and "airplane" and "hippo" and it's all so cute that I died and then came back to life just to hear you say them again. You give hugs and kisses and high fives, you can count to two and identify a dozen different shapes, but you also hit us quite a lot and always guess blue when asked "what color is that?" even when it's definitely not blue.
You're sassy but also sweet, smart but impossibly stubborn, sometimes a little too clever for your own good (like the other night, when you climbed out of your crib, oh my God, I'm so not ready for that). Occasionally you act like a very small mad dictator and I wonder how we're ever going to make it through your toddler years. You're getting to be such a big boy and as much as I revel in it, I also sneak into your room sometimes after you're in bed just to see you in your most baby-like moments, sleeping with your butt up in the air and your curls all wild in the dark. You're by turns impossible and funny and fantastic and I love you, I love you, I love you.
Thank you for being awesome, thank you for being mine, and above all thank you for being you. I love you best of all the babies that ever were, even when you laugh at my misfortune.