Just when I think you can't possibly squeeze more growth into a month, just when I think you can't amaze me any more than now, just when I think you can't possibly get any cuter... You do. What a month! Let me just tell you about you, because even though this will be no big deal by the time you read this, your developments this past month make me so proud I want to shout it from our rooftop. And if I were telling other people, this might be taken as bragging, but I can tell you about you and not worry about that. So just humor me and let me boast a bit about how awesomely wonderful you are.
First of all, you now know the sign for "potty" and use it to ask me to go potty. Um, that's pretty amazing, deary, for 15 months. Recently we've been having pants-free parties around the house (you're the only one pants-less, but still, it's a party), and you'll walk right up to the potty chair and sit down to pee or poop whenever you need to go. When I ask if you're all done, you'll either sign all done and say "aaaah duh," or shake your head "no" insistently. Your little head shake is super cute, too. You want to make sure we understand that you're saying no, so you maintain eye contact as you drop your chin to your chest and sway your head side to side until we acknowledge your denial.
Knowing how to answer yes/no questions opens a whole new world of communication for us. Even if you can't express what you want, now I can ask what it is, 20-questions style, until I finally earn that excited head nod and smile from you that means I've hit the jackpot. Best of all, we've yet to reach the stage in which you tell us "no" for everything (I'm hoping we don't have to endure that, but it may be inescapable). For now, you tell yourself "no" more often than we do- as you walk up to something you know you shouldn't touch, you shake your head "no" as you look at it before walking away. Being able to watch your thought pattern so clearly is pretty amazing. You're good at listening to yourself, too, even if your impulses do sometimes get the better of you- like when someone leaves a glass of water on the table and you just really want a sip.
You look older now, too. Your hair is coming in with wisps curling over your ears and around the nape of your neck. When you laugh, we can see your 9 1/2 teeth, including three molars way back there. All those winter clothes we bought you last fall are barely fitting you now, though that makes it easier for you to lift up your shirt and show off your belly in hopes that someone will tickle it.
Do you know what else has been so much fun recently? Taking walks- because you now walk right along with us. If we drop the pace a bit, you love nothing more than walking down the street by our side and saying your excited high-pitched "Hi!" to each passerby. You have such a drive for independence that you'll walk by yourself seemingly forever. We've yet to find your tiring point. Watching you bravely explore new places is at once both thrilling and saddening- you're so grown up. When did that happen? When did you grow so tall that when I hold you, you are now half my own body length? When did you realize you're such a big girl that you can explore the world without holding my hand? As you continue to grow and venture out on your own, remember that there will always be a hug here for you, ready and waiting. Baby Girl, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.