Today you are twenty months old. Twenty! Months! Old! Already! It's been a blink since your 19 month day... And yet here we are.
This last month, like many of the others, has been awesome. You have gone through another bout of teething (and the related grumpiness/fragility) and now have the nubs of teeth 13 and 14 making their way through. But the ugly has passed and you are your normal self again. Everyday we're moving closer and closer to having a true conversation. You are still mostly naming things, but you are also really learning how to express yourself and your wants. And right now? You are ALL about The Wiggles and playing with the stereo and books. Even In the Night Garden is being changed to "WIGG-OS"! And so much dancing... so much adorable, sumo-wrestler-like jumping and squatting dancing! As soon as you get to daycare the staff know to turn on the stereo and provide the music you crave and let your body go. I have tried a few times to get your dancing on video, but as soon as the camera is on you, you stop and come over. "CAM-RA!" and it's time to press the button.
Daycare continues to be awesome. You have 2 best friends (2 little boys) Aeric and Alexis. Every morning you ask for them, your face lights up when you get to see them. But both of their mom's are pregnant right now, and that scares me. Soon both moms will be on maternity leave, and likely your friends will be staying home... and there will be no more best friends there to play with. Other friends, yes, but not these two. Will you still call for them? Will they come back after their siblings are older? But while both boys are older than you (one a few weeks, one a few months) you still tower over them both. Already your shirts are a 3T, and while we still have you in 2T pants, they are starting to be a tad snug. Mostly it's just the rise of the pants, the length is still good. In fact, the pants are a little long. I think your torso is out-growing your legs and arms... But you are perfectly Madeline. Perfectly you.
Tomorrow we will get to forever capture this moment, professionally. You, my dear, are getting your first CLASS PICTURE! And there will even be one with your daycare friends! I hope Alexis and Aeric are in the picture - I want you to one day see your first friends. But we will get some of you alone. I think I have planned your outfit, for the pictures. A dress you have never worn, until tomorrow, but one that I did once. Baba didn't keep a lot of my old clothes but she kept (and loves) this little blue dress. And tomorrow you will wear it! But don't tell baba, it's a surprise for her.
I notice when I type out what you say, it's almost always in all caps. My girl, you express yourself with such joy and exuberance that only all caps will do. You live life with happiness. You are so friendly and social. You will say hi to people, any kind of people, when you meet them. Often, though, they don't say hi back. They pretend that they can't see you. And I don't think it's about you, Maddy, I think it's about society. That smiling and saying hello to a stranger, even a 20 month old one, is frowned on. And one day we'll likely, for safety, need to teach you the same. That people you don't know can't be trusted and that people you see should always stay strangers. And I feel sad for that future you, the one that maybe will pretend they can't see the happy 20 month old that says hi to them. Can we let you keep your friendliness to the safe-stranger and still protect you from the evil-stranger? Can we ever really tell the difference between the two? How hard it is to protect you from the immediate dangers and also from those scary what-ifs and unknowns...
I love you so much, my girl. I will always try to keep you safe and protected but not caged in. And I hope I can succeed. Happy 20-month day.
*written the 26th, posted the 27th because I really fail at hitting publish