Today you are 18 months old. When you woke up this morning, I went to pick you up and you hugged me and patted my back like you always do and said, "HIII MAMA!". You had somehow wriggled out of your diaper and were standing there bottomless under your nightgown. You were so warm and cuddly, and for a minute I was both amazed at how big you've gotten and how much you are still my baby. You still smell much the same as you did the day that I first held you and kissed your cheeks.
You have learned so much in 18 months. You now talk A LOT. You call Gabby "Gaggy" (which, in turn, I have used to call her Lady Gaga), and when she is not around, you say "Ere Gaggy?" and hold your hands out to the side in a kind of questioning shrug. You also say "Ere da dog?" a lot. You can't say "Sam" yet, but you really want to. He is one of your favorite people in the world right now, and as I see it, will probably remain that way forever. He is very gentle and sweet to you, and you respond in kind....most of the time. The other day I walked into the living room, and you were sitting on his stomach, pulling his hair. He was just letting you. I told him to make you stop, and he said, "She's just having fun."
You are a very good eater. Your favorite foods are things that are covered in some sort of tomato sauce. You love pasta and chicken enchiladas probably best, but you also really enjoy chips and salsa. We have taken lots of pictures of you dipping chips because we think it is so cute. You also have really developed a taste for peas and black beans and corn on the cob. You will pretty much try anything once. The only thing that we have found that you hate is eggplants. You will even eat mushrooms, much to the chagrin of your brother and sister who hate them and have tried to teach you to do the same.
Your favorite shows right now are Dora, Fresh Beat Band and Yo Gabba Gabba. You love to dance, and like these shows because they have music that you can dance to. Your dancing is probably the best thing ever. You shake a lot and you smile really big and turn in circles. We joke that you could dance before you could walk, and that is true. You just keep getting better at it. The other night, you danced for a good 30 minutes straight to David Bowie. You seemed to really like "Fame."
Your favorite toys are all balls right now. You are obsessed with them. Wherever we go, you have to get a ball. The other day we were in Old Navy, and you found a volleyball and carried it around for the rest of our day (I had to buy it of course). You like to kick the balls and yell "BALLLLL" at the top of your lungs. I have to say, you are a pretty good little kicker. You can run and kick at the same time, which takes a lot more coordination than I have ever had. You can also kick it at someone, and you like that a lot. Gabby and Sam like to sit in the floor with you and roll the balls back and forth while I fix dinner. We are all excited for spring to get here so that you guys can start doing this outside. I have even purchased a trunk organizer for my car so that you can take your balls to Sam's baseball games and play with them outside.
Alice, the best thing about you, by far, however, is your joy. You attack the world with more joy than any person I've ever seen. Your father and I were talking the other night about how all of our kids have been happy babies, but you are by far the happiest. You always have a smile on your face, and you are always looking for fun. I adore this about you, and I hope that it never changes. I want to see you explore life the way you do now--even if it means dumping baking soda in the floor and doing snow angels in it (which is what you did a few nights ago). I hope that never changes. You have made our family stronger and happier, just by being here and being yourself. You are, in short, amazing, and we all adore you.
Despite the fact that I am going to have to buy a truckload of Magic Erasers to clean the walls of the house if we ever move. Lord, child. Someday, you will owe me something nice. I like shoes.