You’re starting to teach other children bad habits. Sunday, I took you to church for our annual Hanging of the Greens and dropped you off in the nursery to play with fabric food while I stacked Christmas trees and stringed (strung?) ornaments and sipped cocoa. It was a magically delightful night of community and labor, and a few hours later all of the parents picked up their children to witness the most intense squealing baby band we have ever heard. Your father and I like to joke that you don’t laugh, you squeal, because that is the only word to properly capture the sound that spills forth from your lips. It is treacherously delightful, very swine-like and mildly annoying, especially for other parents that don’t love noise, or other people’s children, or other people’s childrens’ noises.
Still, in just two hours, you had singlehandedly convinced each and every tiny soul that squealing was the new laughing, of which I had to apologize on your behalf to each and every tiny soul’s parent. Bee, you are turning us into social outcasts, even among the church-folk who have to like us because Jesus said so.
It’s only fair, I suppose, that you’re making your own foray into the proactive side of vocal training. A few weeks ago, a California friend taught you to say “Mine” and “Gimme,” and last week you learned the most assertive “No” imaginable from my nephew. It is the kind of “No” that lasts eight syllables long and furrows brows with sheer force. And I now realize that swapping germs isn’t what parents should fear: it’s the swapping of vocabularies.
Still, you are a boisterous delight. You’ve learned a million words and animal sounds all of the sudden, and our list of fan favorites are “Gobble Gobble” and “Cock-a-Doodle Doo,” namely because they sound a lot like you’re an old man with four gumballs in your throat. Update: We finally figured out what “Bips” means (“Sippy Cup” which stems from “Sippa Sippa” and then “Spspsp” and then “Bips“), a completely coherent derivation, naturally.
Speaking of nourishment, your new favorite food is The Graham Cracker, which you call “Cook,” which I call the only sane way to coax you into a car seat. It’s a miraculous invention, this graham cracker of sorts. Semi-healthy, it has a shelf life of forever and a baby entertainment score of 9 minutes, which is exactly how long it takes to get to the grocery store in complete and total silence. Graham crackers are magic.
You’re very interested in ketchup (this is where I thank your Grandmother in a totally not at all sarcastic way for introducing you to condiments) and dinnertime is a fiasco if you’re not offered something to dip things in. Hummus is the norm, but every so often we go for broke and succumb to your ketchup demands and cringe for the remainder of the day as you breathe ketchup breath on everyone in the house. Bee, even the dogs have taken to their cages on Ketchup Day. It’s an odor that is indescribable.
Other things of note: Favorite songs are “If You’re Happy And You Know It,” “Wheels on the Bus,” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” which is the frenemy song that you ask for often, but wind up hating halfway through. You love to hate that bastard spider, Bee.
On any given minute of any given day, you can be found (a) with toilet paper in your ears, (b) jumping from ottoman to sofa and back again, (c) asking to watch ‘Cailou,’ which is completely my fault but gracious if I didn’t cave to a half hour show so I could get some dinner on the table, or (d) stealing crayons from the office credenza to hide in secret places. Yesterday, I found the purple one in the diaper Genie, which made me laugh because you hate the color purple but you hate green more, so I’m looking forward to finding where you’ve stashed that one.
I read once that, after the year mark, parenting gets better and better and better and better. (I mean, it’s got to be the graham crackers, right?) And Bee, it’s the truth. You are spreading your wings and spreading toilet paper throughout the house and spreading hummus all over our dining room table, but most of all, you are spreading so, so, so much joy.
Babies are rad. You’re the raddest.