(Editorial note: Shockingly, I actually wrote this post on Nat's actual 15-month birthday. I kept meaning to upload pictures - which I still haven't done - but decided to go ahead and post this anyway. Maybe pictures will come soon.)
Dearest Meine Tiny,
Happy 1.25 years!
This month was your first Christmas in which you could actually participate. And boy, let me tell you, it was such a joy for all of us. I had no idea how much fun it would be to wake up with you on Christmas morning and watch you open presents. Your dad and I thought you'd be fascinated by all the bags and wrapping paper. And don't get me wrong, you liked them. But it wasn't until you realized there was STUFF INSIDE that you really got excited. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever to watch you stick your little arm all the way to the bottom of your stocking and pull out a little bowtie and suspenders.
This month has also been filled with travel. We went up to New York to spend time with family in between Christmas and New Year's, and then traveled out to Utah for a wedding. It was so fun watching you bond with your dad's side of the family, who you don't get to see quite as often. I love watching you light up when you see them on Skype now, and it was adorable seeing how attached you got to all of them.
It's been fun teaching you more about yourself and your world this month. You now point to your nose and occasionally your mouth when asked, and have learned a few animal/vehicle sounds. Your first and my very favorite is "hoo" for what the owl says. You make this adorable little "O" with your mouth and pause for a second and then blow out a little "hoo." It is pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen.
You've also started distinguishing between different animals (previously, everything was "dog"). The main one you've started liking to name is "duck," which has the unfortunate characteristic of sounding quite similar to "dog," but we're learning to tell them apart along with you. Speaking of dogs, you still adore them. You met your cousins' dog in Utah, and you could not stop saying "DA!!" and pointing frantically for about 15 minutes straight.
You also finally decided to join the world of the walking this month. You had been practicing with a couple of steps here and there. Finally, one day, you just decided to start walking. You hadn't taken more than 4-5 steps in a row before that, but in a matter of about 24 hours, you were exclusively walking. You've clearly been ready for a while, so I'm glad you finally decided to go for it.
Something else magical has happened in the last month or so. You've started to cuddle. Trust me, no one was more surprised than I was the first time it happened. I was holding you and you put your head down on my shoulder for a minute and gave me a little snuggle. I almost died, it was so wonderful. You see, from day one, you've been busy and independent and not at all into cuddling. From the time you could hold your head up until about a month ago, I don't think you had once put your head down on me - you were always too busy looking around. So you can imagine my shock and delight when you continued to do this. You now frequently crawl up to me and give me a hug and rest your head down on me. Let's just say that it is the best. thing. ever.
Along with the hugs, you've learned to pat our backs. I think you like when we pat your back when we hold you, so you started doing it back. Your dad commented on how you run a lot deeper than we usually realize - you have this very sweet and understanding empathy about you, and you realized that it feels good and wanted to share it back.
You finally got a (real) haircut this month. The situation was starting to get dire, so when we were in Salt Lake, we went to the barber shop where your dad started going when he was tiny, and you got a nice trim. You HATED the experience until you got a lollipop and I held you and then all was well with the world.
Your personality just keeps getting sweeter and funnier. You love to sneak behind furniture and play peek-a-boo with anyone who sees you, and you love pulling up our shirts when we're sitting down and giggling like mad.
In all of it, you continue to be so cheerful and happy - it really does amaze us. You are a constant sweetheart, rarely getting upset, never throwing tantrums, and always lifting those around you. You are a joy and a light, my Nat, and I'm ever grateful for you.