Thora is fourteen months old (tomorrow).
She has a lot of likes and a growing list of dislikes. She likes: Big Bird; the Sesame Street theme song; taking baths; almost all food; putting her hands in the cats' food and water bowls when I forget to take them up in the mornings; opening all the cabinets we haven't childproofed yet; coming to the bathroom with me so that I have absolutely zero personal space at all times; flushing the toilet, waving and saying "bye-bye pee;" hiding important things like cell phones, hairbrushes, keys and puzzle pieces at the bottoms of drawers full of crib bedding that I never check or laundry baskets full of dirty bibs and wet burp cloths; and nearly everything I like. She doesn't like: the hair clips I make her wear to keep her bangs out of her eyes; cold oatmeal; and when she can't have something I am using, like my phone, my hairbrush, my laptop, my glass of orange juice, a kitchen knife, or the dishwasher (yes, she has climbed into the dishwasher!!).She also likes soy ice cream, possibly more than Big Bird!
She likes to take her vitamins, including the fruit flavored but somewhat oily tasting DHA supplement! She likes to wave goodbye to me as I pack my bag and put on my coat every morning and follow me out the door and down the hall, holding her shoes like she wants to come, but when she realizes I'm really leaving, she bursts into tears and wails so that I have to just back out quietly and quickly and pretend I can't hear her crying as I wait for the elevators at the end of the hall. She likes to sit in my lap so I can put on her shoes but she gets bored halfway through me tying her laces so I have to chase her around to finish the job. She prefers my shoes or Johnny's to her own.
She loves playing in the bathroom, holding and sucking on her toothbrush, dropping Big Bird and my Time magazine and lots of other completely un-waterproof items into a full bathtub, unrolling toilet paper, sitting on the potty fully clothed, and waving bye-bye to everyone's pee or poop except her own. She refuses to sit on the very same potty when she's naked or mid-poop. She likes to put things in the washing machine, and I mean things like books, puzzle pieces, her stuffed cow. When a load of laundry is on the spin cycle she likes to put her hands on it and feel it vibrate and shake her whole body. She likes to chase dogs in Central Park but when we come across the occasional dog whose owner invites her to pet it, she freezes and can't quite do it. She likes to call "Mama! Mama!" which melts my heart and makes me the happiest Mama alive, and if you say to her "Who's Thora?" most of the time she will smile and point at herself proudly. If you say "Hello?" like you are answering a phone, she holds a hand up to her ear and starts talking. We have a joke that we call Thora but get someone named Pablo instead so if you say "Hello? Pablo?" to her she will reply into her hand saying "Pab-oh!"
She can tell you what a cat says, what a dog says, what sheep and cows say. She can tell you what Big Bird says and what Concord (her UglyDoll monster that has a falsetto voice courtesy of Thora's silly daddy) says. She sings the Sesame Street theme and dances enthusiastically to - of all things - the 80s song "I Eat Cannibals." She says "hi" with a smile and a wave when she wants your attention and she starts every day by looking out the "doh!" (window) to check the weather and look for buses and dogs on the street. She will shake her head, scrunch up her nose and say no when you ask her if she wants to get out of the bathtub. But she still can't say "more" or "again" or "mine" so we are still dealing with the all-purpose demand "THIS!!!" We have come to hate "THIS!" so much it makes us laugh until we cry and end up imitating her when there's something we want that's just out of reach like a dream vacation or a good night's sleep.
She runs. She climbs. She can go up steps and is trying her darndest to learn how to go down them, which has caused its share of bumps and bruises. She loves the playground, especially the inclines or the little bridges that she just walks back and forth on for a half hour at a stretch like it's the most exciting game in the world.
When we're using Skype or I-Chat with Grandma, she waves and smiles to the computer screen.
She brings me her blanket when it's bedtime. That's how I know she's tired and ready. The process is much quicker now: we put on her noise machine and she lies in my lap to nurse wrapped in her blanket for maybe 5 or 10 minutes. She nurses, she fidgets, she kisses me and pulls my hair. Then I lay her down, fully awake, and she rolls over onto her belly and goes to sleep, often clinging to Big Bird and murmuring his name. Just like that. Amazing.
Most annoyingly, she clings to my knees when I am trying to do a lot of things quickly, reminding me that she is my priority, not cooking dinner, paying bills, cleaning the house, or anything else.
And she's right. These are fleeting moments, both the cute and the annoying, too precious not to record here. I might get frustrated in the moment, but it never lasts. When she is asleep at night I miss her and can't wait to see her again in the morning and have her cling to my knees all over again.