How big is Livvy?
These are the days that I know I'll look back on with deep nostalgia and fondness. It seems so strange to think that the first time we went through the 18 month phase, it was four and a half years ago and there was only one.
It is absolutely incredible that we've been through a second round
and are currently enjoying our third delightful child at a year and a half. How is that possible?
From easiest baby in our family to most difficult toddler, Olivia is by far the most high-maintenance at this age. She is needy, clingy, absolutely insistent on getting her own way and never stops yelling pretty much all day long. The child wears me out more than any one else, past and current.
She is also funny. And snuggley. And enthusiastic. Joyful. Strong-minded. Silly. And so, so, so loving. She makes me laugh, and has me absolutely wrapped around her little fingers. I have the best, most exhausting time being her mother.
It struck me as I struggled to find any photos of Livvy to put in this post, that she is actually the primary one responsible for their lack. Because it's really difficult to carry around an 18 month old, maintain a home, school children and take photos. It's the kind of thing that can be done in one's imagination when planning any number of overly-ambitious activities that sound good in theory: history of baroque-era music, pottery making and astrophysics for my five year and three year old? SURE! The beef bourguingnon is in the oven and the house is flawlessly clean, so why not?
Yeah. Like all those other comically mythological things up there - most laughable? The idea of a clean house. Snort. - photos of my youngest daughter have gone the way of bigfoot and loch ness: they're rare, hastily captured, over or under exposed and too grainy to really make out for proper documentation purposes.
Oh well. We'll keep trying for the money shot.
At 18 months, Livvy is doing rather spectacularly with her motor skills. She is awesome at using a fork and spoon at meal times. She walks, runs and climbs with dexterity. One of her absolute favorite things to do is pick up small items like beans or puff balls and transfer them into some sort of container. She can sit forever and do that.
She loves to dance. She grooves and sings every time the music comes on. And every time she sees Elsa, Anna, or hears anything remotely connected to Frozen, she sing/yells "LET IT GO!!!" at the top of her lungs. The words don't come out precisely, but it's very clear what she's singing just the same.
She still hates to have her diaper changed. That has been true since she was a baby. The other two got over it by the time they were about 6 months old. This one? She's going to hate it every step of the way and will probably be my youngest out of diapers. That's my prediction, anyway. She already tells me, in her crying, whining voice, when she's gone poop and needs to be changed.
She adores wearing her hat, mittens, and shoes, and will bring them to me at random intervals throughout the day to have me put them on.
It doesn't really matter if we're going outside or not.
She loves to play with playdough, and of her own accord will get it from its place in the dining room buffet and bring it to me, insisting that I take the lid off so she can play with it. If I won't, she will often content herself just to stack and re-stack the playdough containers.
One of my favorite parts of the day is when we start school. I always use a song to call the kids and start the day, Uptown Funk being one of our current favorites. They inevitably dance and run around the kitchen island as fast as they can, and Livvy is absolutely adorable with her little body and chunky legs, grinning and trying to keep up with the big ones.
She gets so excited when she sees me after any time away - the rare occasion when Casey is home and I get to go to the store by myself, even sometimes after nap or in the morning. She shouts, "MOMMA!!!" and runs to hug me with the most wonderful, joyful enthusiasm. Then she'll lay her little head on my shoulder, pat my back and sigh contentedly. It's really the best. And quite a shame I don't have more opportunities to get away and enjoy the homecoming!
She gives the greatest kisses, complete with a loud proclamation: "MM-WAAAH!!"
Olivia loves her brother. She will follow him and does such a great job playing. He's a little bit on the rough side - though I know he tries hard, he's limited by his three year old boy capacity - but she tends to hold her own. Quite often, she bosses him around when they play. Plus, she has a scream that could break glass, so it's good self-defense.
She is a wonderful sleeper, thank goodness. She's really high-input during the day, so it is a huge blessing that she doesn't need much from me at night.
Little Livvy can be quite a tough nut to crack. She's picky, she's strong willed, she doesn't compromise. She is the first of my kids to have any jealousy related to how much time Mommy spends with another. Or to scream when someone won't share a toy.
But, in spite of it all, she is just the most delightful, fun little girl. We are so very lucky that we get to call her ours!