Anytime you see the word "destructive" (or any variation thereof) in a blog post by me, you know I'm going to write about Alice. Alice is working hard to get that down payment so she can buy bigdestructiveal.com and pepper you daily with insights on how to best destroy a small rural home on a budget. And if you think I'm joking, well, you haven't met her.
I had originally planned to wait to write an Alice centered post around her 18mo. old mark, but I'm writing it now, at 17 mo. Maybe I'll write another one at 18. For some reason, I have this affinity for the number 18. It is nothing weird--I don't tap my fingers 18 times whenever it is 12:18 or anything like that. I just like it. Maybe because I was born on the 18th. Who knows. ANYWAY, that was my original plan, but I was just overcome last night but good ole Alice love, so here I am. And it sure don't hurt that I'm sitting in an empty office while my department interviews for a new position (a process that I successfully begged my way out of. Someone has to help the students! Someone has to write nonsensical blog posts and unabashedly cry their eyes out at their computer screen while looking at photos of a woman they never met!)
Alice is at that ripe old age where she stops acting like a baby and really gets down to business. However, the funny thing is this: she still looks very much like a baby. She has a thin layer of dark brown hair, but has none of the trademark curls you see on other toddlers. My grandmother commented the other night that "in a couple of weeks, it might be ready for a ribbon." That is very debatable. She is also delightfully chubby. No, not as chubby as she once was, but there is a certain softness still there, a gentle give in her body that screams "milk" and "love" and "sloppy kisses." It is funny that when she was a baby and covered in tell-tale chub, people would say, "Oh, she'll outgrow that when she walks." Now, they look at her, and say, "She's lost....some of it???" I'm not concerned--we're not signing up for Maury just yet. Sam was the same way, and now the only remnant is his impossibly soft cheeks which I purposefully nuzzle every morning until he wakes up and begs me to stop.
So you get this baby exterior, this charming package of awesome that looks very much look that stereotypical baby, but now, it has started talking. And.it.will.not.stop. Seemingly overnight, Alice has gone from randomly saying "bye" (usually when someone had been gone anywhere from 1-3 minutes), to saying that yes, she believes that the culture of girly-girlhood is all together unsettling. Ok, close. She can tell you when she wants to go "nigh-nigh," that she wants some yogurt (opening up the refrigerator and yelling "get!"). She loves her soccer ball (favorite current toy) and loves to kick it and scream "BALL!!!!" (I told Matt that she is the next Mia Hamm, but he is quite certain she'll be announcer yelling "GOAAAAALLLL" at the 2039 World Cup). She repeats things that the kids say and gets excited and giggles over new words. Last night, she even hugged me and said "Ma-ma, wuv." If she was actually saying "love", I don't know. If she was, though, when I actually write a will, that kid is going to the top. Someone just "wuvved" her way into the unbroken Mark Ellis bobblehead, my favorite plastic walrus, and my stand mixer! The other two can totally duke it out for my 10 year old car and closet full of size 9 heels.
I must say, there is something totally charming about her. And I know all parents say this, but I look at her, and I'm just washed away with adoration. But it goes further than a "she's my kid, so she rocks" kind of thing. I imagine her as a person my age and think that we would be friends. She is very funny, in a silly, yet self-aware, way. And as I see bits of her personality emerge every day, I marvel at her level of sweetness, her ability (and desire) to do things on her own and her laidback attitude. I pick up on these things, of course, but it was so refreshing to be around my mom last weekend. She hasn't seen Allie since Christmas, and upon being around her for an hour remarked upon her independant, laidback kindness. And I was totally like, MY MOMMY POWERZ. THEY IZ WORKING.
I absolutely feel the same way about the other two, although I recognize and adore different facets of them. However, because Alice is the youngest (and probably last) of the brood, she receives all of our attention as the baby. Watching Gabby and Sam interact with her is amazing and I feel like she has brought our family so much closer. Gabby calls her our "tiny minion" and while that may be partly true for the moment, I think she knows that it is indeed her who is in charge of the unit. We unite around her to watch her do some crazy shit, and mostly we laugh (until someone has to clean it up). There is a shared family love of seeing what kind of crap Alice will do next.
Because yes, this kid is into it. She likes to climb. She likes to take things apart. She likes to worm her way into bathrooms and play in toilets and bathtubs. By far her favorite thing to do though, is to dance. And by "dance", I mean, "frenetically shake her large diapered posterior in time to music." And if that is her favorite thing, her favoritest favorite thing is to do all of this from on top of our dining room table. Or our computer desk. Or a wayward chair. What this says about her future career options, I am a bit afraid to say. Let's just say that Chris Rock's advice to "keep them off the pole" has new meaning in our house.
Someday she will be grown and she will have a house of her own, I think sometimes. And when she does, I'm going to show up one day carrying a roll of toilet paper. I am going to take that roll of toilet paper and run about the house leaving a scrap here and there. When I am done, I'm going to fill a watering can with water and drip water all over the bits of paper. Then I am going to pour an entire box of jasmine rice in the floor and do snow angels in it. And then I am going to fall asleep on the bed, my limbs akimbo and my caution thrown to the wind. We will be even on the clean up, I think. And I sincerely hope that by that point, I've given her a fraction of the joy that she's given me in these first 17 months.