It’s a human after all.

About a six weeks ago, Suzianne and I were leaving for daycare and I said, “Now, let’s have a seat and we’ll put your shoes on.”

And then, she sat down, ya’ll.

On her own. Like a real person. 

I stood there wide-eyed and motionless, so she grabbed her feet and looked at me like, “why’d you ask me to sit down if you’re just going to stand there?”

It was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. For more than a year you say things over and over and over, but your child doesn’t respond. It’s not like you even expect them to; you’re just narrating like a good parent.

In fact, you’ll do it so often you will find yourself narrating stuff when no baby is there.

You: Okay! Momma’s gonna take off her make up, pour herself a glass of pinot grigio, and watch Season Two of Mad Men!

Your spouse: Who are you talking to?

You: I have no idea.

Then, one day, you’re “talking to your baby” about something “we are going to do” and before you can pick her up to make her do that thing, she’s already doing it.

It is going to blow your mind. 

Like a few weeks back, Dave and Suzianne were outside swinging. I was in the kitchen and Suzianne comes toddler stomping in. I turn around, she walks up to me with brows furrowed, looking like a tiny woman on mission who also has eaten a lemon:

Me: what’s wrong, baby?

Dave: did she do it?!

Me: do what? what’s wrong with her face?

Dave: I was trying to get to come inside, so I told her it was time to go inside and give her momma a kiss. I think she’s doing it!

Us: {hearts exploding; high fives; shoulder dusting} oh, yeah. We made that!

SO! When the day comes and you say, “Alright! Let’s go back to your room and change that diaper” for the 897th time, only to find your child IS WALKING BACK TO HER ROOM, your mouth will drop and your heart will burst and then it will hit you:

If she knows what you just said, then…SHE KNOWS WHAT YOU ARE SAYING.

This “I understand your words, I just can’t repeat them yet” is God’s way of easing us into the reality that our every word and action is about to be mimicked ad nauseum. Usually at inopportune moments in front of judgmental people.

As Dave says, we’re going to have to tone the sarcasm down a bit now that she is hyper-tuned into our words AND their meaning.

Easier said than done, my friends.

So, yeah. Stuff’s about to get real. And we can’t hardly wait.


By “no” she means, “the only other word I know is daddy.”

When I was preggers, I loved this Capital One “no” baby commercial because:

A) I was certain I was having a red-headed girl; and,

B) I was amazed that one could train a small child to say “no” on command.

Now that I have a toddler of my own, it is clear to me that the “no” baby is not acting. This “no-while-smiling” business is just how babies roll. For most of her 15th month, “no” was the only word Suzianne could say with conviction.

When 15 month old babies say “no,” they actually mean: “you’ve asked me something and I know I’m supposed to respond to it, but the only word I know besides ‘daddy’ is ‘no.’ So, no.”

Once your baby hits the “no” phase, your conversations will go like this:

Momma: “did you poop?”

Suzianne: “no.”

Momma: “then why are flies following you around the house?”

Suzianne walking backwards & giggling: “no.”

This is super cute and really funny, but not very practical.

Now that she’s at the 16.5 month mark, she’s developed a suite of “no” tones.

  • The “Serious & Furrowed Brow No,” for when you’re trying to get her to eat something other than watermelon.
  • The “Playful No,” which is used when she initiates a conversation with you or wants you to read to her, but doesn’t have the words to express herself.
  • The “Boneless No,” on reserve for swing set removals and when momma attempts to change her diaper on the changing table.
  • The “Yes No,” the most popular version of the word that she uses to answer just about any question you ask her. For example:

Granny Sue Sue: “do you want a million dollars?”

Suzianne: “no”


Momma: “did you like that ice-cream?”

Suzianne: “no”

Momma: “I see”

no ice cream


This week, her lips are starting to move as she watches you talk, so I know she’ll be repeating our words any day now. I’m a little sad, because this only-knowing-a-handful-of-words phase is really cute. But I’m excited to get to the point where she can actually talk back to us. I’m positive I’ll look back in a few months and find that last sentence ridiculous. 

What you missed: tantrums

At the 15 month mark, Suzianne bestowed upon us the blessed gift of toddler drama:

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 3.36.46 PM

Fortunately, Suzianne and I were flying cross-country during her first real inconsolable tantrum. That’s right, just a momma, her demon spawn and 130 strangers. And a Bloody Mary in a kids cup with a bendy straw.

For 4.5 hours, we wrestled on and off the seats, up and down the aisle. At one point I Momma Mean Whispered, “you are the reason adults cry when they see babies on a plane.” The woman beside me said, “So true, but I do love her hair.”

Then, as the freakin landing gear lowered, so did her eyelids. I was left with this in my lap for the last 15 minutes of the flight:


As the evidence actual sleep became clear, a chorus of “You’ve got to be kidding me”‘s echoed throughout the cabin. Yeah, people, tell me about it.

Then, of course, nothing could wake her:



Woe unto you, parents of 12 – 14 month olds. One day, you’ll wake up to find your 15 month old, formerly happy-go-lucky baby looking at you like a Walking Dead cast member:  IMG_7466

This is the toddler warning shot.

I have no advice for you.

Just be sure you’ve got a fully stocked bar. You’ll also need a flask because most of the tantrums happen in public.

Suzianne is especially prone to playground scream fests. The hallmark these is a Boneless Meltdown, followed by Flailing About In Momma’s Arms, and topped off by the Unbendable Toddler Plank, which prohibits stroller insertion. I don’t have any of that on video because I need every available appendage to keep her from falling and busting her head open.

The good news: this phase only lasted about four weeks. She’s about 16.5 months old now and only really goes boneless when I retrieve her in the mornings. She wants her Daddy, not me. But that’s another post…