Sage: Eighteen Months

Dear Sage,

You’re a year and a half old.

A year and a half.

I’ve had eighteen months to hold you, to try to teach you things, to play with you, and to marvel at your growth.

You’re so much fun to be around! You like playing in your tiny little kiddie pool. Yesterday you wore an old Cool Whip bowl as a hat for maybe ten minutes while playing in the pool. You like playing with your set of gears that our friends Chris and Hilary gave you for your birthday. You like playing with your ball, and putting your stuffed animals and dolls into chairs.

You like playing “boof” — a game where we lightly bop each other in the face with pillows… except half the time you “boof” yourself.

You like going down your slide. A few weeks ago, you pulled it away from the wall and climbed it for the first time, and you’ve been unstoppable ever since. A few days later, you climbed the stairs to the big slide at the park behind our house. I followed right behind you the whole way, only to discover that I could barely squeeze between the safety bars at the top before you started trying to hurl yourself down the slide. I skinned my knee through my jeans snagging the back of your shirt to stop you from tumbling down. You were pretty upset that I didn’t let you do it.

You have started throwing tantrums at times. If you don’t get what you want, sometimes you toss yourself down on the floor and squeal at a really, really annoying pitch. It never lasts long, because we don’t let it. This is not our favorite thing about parenting, but honestly, compared to a lot of other kids your age that we’ve seen, you’re still pretty much a happy friendly helpful kid most of the time.

And you really are helpful. We’ll ask you to take things from one room to someone in another room, and you smile and rush off, your little elbows swinging like mad, until you get there. Sometimes you forget to hand over the item.

You love fruit, yogurt, hot dogs, and cheese. (We cut the hot dogs into really small pieces, don’t worry. We’re aware that hot dogs can be dangerous. Also, this parenthetical section is for other people reading this. I’m assuming that by the time you’re old enough to understand this, you’ll know that people reading things on the internet tend to go ridiculously crazy if they think you’re doing something wrong.) You love popsicles and ice cream. You love goldfish crackers, graham crackers, oatmeal cookies, and ketchup — with or without something dipped in it. I found out tonight that you really like tomatoes. You tried chocolate milk for the first time a couple days ago, and your eyes widened and your eyebrows shot up high.

You’ve started going to daycare two days a week. This was hard for us, but I’m very glad that you’re getting the opportunity to socialize with other kids semi-regularly.

I’ve been thinking for a long time about advice to give you this month.

As always, be who you are. I know that this can be tough. Sometimes it will hurt. Sometimes you will find out that people you think are your friends are not really your friends, and that will hurt. Sometimes, you will wonder if you can really be yourself without losing someone’s friendship or respect. Sometimes, you will even be afraid to be who you are around your mother and me.

Be who you are.

But the additional advice I want to give you this month is something that I hope is more exciting than scary.

Push yourself.

Push yourself to be better. Whether it’s learning to be better at a musical instrument or a class in school, better at your job or at your hobby, better at being a friend or a family member… push yourself. Don’t be complacent with your life. Take risks. If you never fail, you’re not risking hard enough.

You’ll be amazed what you can do.

Sage… your mother and I love you so very much. There aren’t enough words, there aren’t enough hugs, there aren’t enough kisses, there aren’t enough days to tell you. You make bad days better and good days great.

I wish I could take the whole sky and turn it into an embrace, and hold you and your mother forever.

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