Eighteen months is a relatively short time in the course of one's life, unless of course, you consider your first eighteen. Aveline has grown from a scrawny, helpless tiny baby into a healthy, headstrong shining toddler in just that short time. As I look back I marvel at the amazing strides she has made physically, her growth in communication and her sharpening mind.
Having Scarlett has reminded me how physically needy newborns are. Our species, though superior as adults, creates the most helpless babies. For survival, our youngest members need to be held, fed, carried and protected. They are unable to escape from natural predators (toddlers), feed themselves or keep themselves at a temperature more than tepid. After a year and a half of life, Aveline has shown me that she can move away from danger, (though towards it seems to be more her style.) She can feed herself very well, though not everything she eats is necessarily edible. She also can kick her well intentioned blankets off before I leave the nursery and strip down beyond her diaper before I can return. As a newborn, she could only squirm and snuggle. Now she is able to walk, run, crawl, climb, flail, kick, scream and snuggle. She has come a long way.
Scarlett communicates her needs in one fashion: crying. No matter what the need is, she has only one channel. It is up to us as parents to decipher the cries and respond accordingly. Aveline is a regular chatterbox at a year and a half. She learns numerous new words each day. She can let us know when she needs milk using the word "Muk" and tells us very loudly that we have a "BaaaayBEEEEE" as soon as Scarlett falls asleep. Though only a trained parental ear can discern many of her words, she is clearly communicating. All of her communication is now loud. She can squeal with delight when Elvis enters the room, or scream and stomp her feet when we take something of importance away from her. She also, though sheerly at her discretion, can listen and follow instructions. We can have conversations now, (though every fifth word is a form of "no".)I marvel at how much information Aveline absorbs in a day. She is able to tell me what different animals say. When reading books, she will point and name numerous items on each page. She can recognize the opening songs for each of her favorite tv shows, squeal in delight and shout out the name of the show. She upends everything, closely examining each inch. She feeds her dolls, makes them dance and jump. She has learned how to manipulate her parents. As a newborn, she learned just as fast, but the results were not as evident.
During the last eighteen months Aveline has changed dramatically. This transformation is staggering when comparing her physical abilities, communicative skills and intelligence to our newborn Scarlett. Never again in her life will she endure a more life changing eighteen months again. That is, until she has a child of her own.