Magnolia has her serious face on now. She furrows her brow in concentration and spreads her feet into a wide stance. Her baby doll is across her chest and she is bouncing gently side to side hushing, "sh sh sh." And while she hasn't mastered the skill completely--the baby's face is smothered in her armpit--she's a natural big sister for sure.
Kissing Kaleia, or, better yet, holding Kaleia on her lap, is the highlight of her day. And sometimes when she's mad that she has to go to bed she'll deny Mama and Papa their nigh-nigh kisses, but never baby sister.
She loves the dogs too. Granted sometimes we have to usher them into another room, not for Maggie's sake, but to spare them any more torment from our little Elmyra. Mostly she likes to snuggle them, often carefully lining her body up and then plopping her diapered booty between the front legs of a sleepy pooch. She also thinks it's funny when Otis chases his tail. I'm not sure if Otis thinks it's funny when she chases his tail but it's usually pretty hilarious to us. Usually Magnolia catches the tail first and becomes an extension of the tail, getting flung around the room giggling histerically.
Mags loves to move her body. She can conquer just about any playground apparatus and constantly mistakes most of the furniture in our home for just that. It's a blessing and a curse. While her head and face sometimes look like a telegram to Child Protection Services, on the bright side we don't have to lift her into her high chair any more. She even does the buckles with her increasingly dexterous hands.
She also loves to dance, and mimicks almost everything we do. After one soccer game, during which her little garbled toddler voice could be heard on the sidelines shouting "Go Go Go!," she saw me stretching my legs. You know the kind where you spread your legs and lean to one side? She does this several times a day now. There will be no groin pulls for this toddler! Her penchant for mimicry is also making potty training pretty easy. She's definitely not trained yet but she loves sitting on the potty, clothed or unclothed, and is VERY interested in poo-poos and pee-pees.
In fact, her zest for all things excrement is a little unnerving at times. I'm as private about my potty as the next person, but since I'm trying to model best-practice for Mags, whenever I go she gets an invite. It's not my idea of an ideal father-daughter date, but she seems to love it. For me, it's taking a little getting used to--having her face full of wonder peering through my legs to the shadowy water below like it's Christmas morning. And you know, I've been doing the whole pooping thing for years but I can't help but feel a little proud of myself when she exclaims "Poo Poo!" everytime there's a splash. Mostly though it's just weird. They don't tell you about this kind of thing when you sign up for parenting.
There's so much to tell about Magnolia at 18 months. Her words and signs are too many to list, though some of the highlights are our names. While Mama is still "Mama", Brian has become "Popeye", Kaleia "Baby-Shh" and Trudy "Tru-tru." Magnolia herself is "Yyyou!" with finger pointing at her chest. We will always remember her roll call, recited every few hours: "Mama, Papa, Baby-sh, Mama, Mama, Papa, Baby, MaPa, Baby. Yyyou. Mama, Mama, Pama..."
She regularly strings several words and/or signs together and expects you to understand. Recently, after a couple attempts to get Shannon to understand her request for water, Magnolia rolled her eyes and said louder, and slower, "WAAAHHHRRR." Is this a sneak peak of her teen years? She loves the phone too, often shouldering it to her ear and saying "Um om om om, om." We must still have a little bit of childhood left though because as soon as there's a real voice on the other end she goes mute.
Some other facts and stats about our growing girl:
Height: 34-3/8" (Off the chart. Size 2T)
Weight: 25 lb., 3 oz. (65th percentile)
Favorite books: Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?; Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb; and The Hungry Caterpillar
Favorite activities: Drawing; Running; Jumping; Reading; Talking; Fastening buckles; Looking at animals, babies and fireworks on the internet; Noticing ridiculously subtle things, like barely audible planes flying overhead; and being tickled.
Magnolia Grace, we can't imagine life without you and we look forward to all the growing and learning to come!