Two nights ago, I was standing at our kitchen counter chopping peppers. Sophie must have some part of her body touching me at all times right now (like having her feet on my knees when she’s sitting in her high chair for meals) so she was standing against my legs, bopping along to the music I had on in the background. At some point she started to make noises about being picked up, but chopping vegetables with a baby on your hip is both not easy and (I’m assuming) not safe. I went for the distraction tactic.
“Soph, do you want a cracker?”
This little pixie face smiled up at me — a mischievous look I’ve seen on her dad a million times — and said, “Cookie.”
Now, where she learned that word, I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter where she picked it up, I guess — it was really just that I nearly fell over from the shock of hearing her use a new word, a word that I hadn’t taught her, in context. (Much as I wanted to give in and hand over one of the little cinnamon snaps she loves, since she asked with such gusto, we stuck to a mini Ritz cracker instead.) It was at that moment that I realized she’s not a baby anymore.
Sophie is 14 months old today. She’s really, really close to taking her first steps. She’s a mimic of the first water, repeating what we say and imitating what we do. And apparently she really likes cookies. I’m amazed to notice all of this, because I’ve been so focused for the past year on how she’s growing in the physical sense — is she gaining enough weight, has she dropped on the percentage charts, is it okay that she is commando crawling first, etc. — without paying as much attention to the personality she’s developing.
But it’s there. She’s crazy for peekaboo and instigates the game herself now. She’s all about dismantling — she loves to take things out and put them back in (as I’ve mentioned before, this is a bit of an obstacle when it comes to folding laundry). She could climb stairs all day long. She hollers for her daddy just to hear him yell her name back. She loves to be tickled. When she was first born, I don’t think I thought far enough ahead to know that a little person would emerge from the baby in my arms. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to some people, but I was just so hyper-aware of her bodily well-being that I only thought ahead to the next milestone. I know better now. I know that having a baby means enjoying the ride, as much as it means conducting the train.
On Sunday morning, I was out for breakfast with my brother, sister-in-law and nieces. I asked my four-year-old niece, Lucy, what her swimming instructor’s name was. She said, “Black Widow or Thor. I can’t remember.” I almost died laughing.
I can’t wait until “Cookie” becomes “Thor.” But then again, I think that’s the day when my toddler becomes a kid, and I’m definitely not ready for that yet.