Dear Leaf Baby,

Last night you carefully took a wipe out of the package and washed my face with it, for about an hour.  Your technique was interesting. You balled it up in one hand, then used your knuckles to reinforce the pressure of the wipe, starting with my teeth and working your way up to my eyeballs. The result was effective, but painful.  It was so cute, however that I was helpless.  I've never had my face washed with so much love.

This seems to be the way you are at fourteen months.  Funny, forceful, and incredibly loving. When I ask you where your nose is, you put your finger in your nostril as far as it will go, as if to say, "Nose?  You want NOSE?" Okay, okay, I say. I see that you know where your nose is. When you are frustrated, or want something, or even if you see me all the way across the Land on a foggy day, your response is to yell.  My son, you are incredibly loud.  You got your lungs from your Dad, I think, although he might say differently, I don't know.  We've been working on the yelling thing, simply because it grates on my nerves to the point that I end up curled in a ball on the floor. So, we're working on reminding you to use your sign language, which you do very nicely, after you've already yelled.  But more and more you say please first, and this makes me very, very happy.

You can also talk now! My baby, talking. You say ABADU! Or ABADUBADUBADU! for apple juice, ricemilk, or water. This was also one of the first things that your brother and sister learned to say. Kid A said "Ajeju" and the YaYa Sister said "Bapadu" but what is similar about the three of you is the reverence in your eyes when you are drinking whatever beverage I have handed you. Your eyes glaze over, you look off into the distance. The three of you are like monks, sometimes, holding your sippy cups and sitting in a circle while time stops for you and your meditation of choice. You also say please, while you beat your chest with your hand to show that you know the sign language, and your please comes out sounding like PAZ! You say UP and AWDUH, which means all done, and you say MO for more and you like to chuckle to yourself and say NO NO while you touch the things that you know you aren't allowed to touch.

You say Dada, for your dad. And you also say Dada for me. No matter how hard we try to teach you to say Mama, you still yell DADA! when you want me, which is pretty much all the time. I'm choosing to see this as proof of our parental solidarity, rather than any kind of insult to my maternal nature. You've also begun to walk, although you mostly choose to crawl, the other day you took eight steps towards me. You have this little walker thing that was passed down by a friend, and you walk it around the house, parking it to look at interesting things like Daddy's tablas or food that has been dropped by a sibling, then grabbing it again when you want to drive off. It's pretty much unbearable in cuteness.

I don't know, Leaf, you are just larger than life. You make every day so much better for all of us. When I open the door in the morning, after you've woken up, your face over the top of your crib tells me that it's going to be alright. You love to cuddle, saying UGUGUG, for hug, when you want to hug me tightly, patting me on the back, well, forcefully. Then you love to push yourself away, immediately, not even five seconds later. You are a weeble wobble, a teeter totter, in between independance and need. We are on the cusp, dearest. You are quickly becoming not-a-baby. Please stop.

You light up our lives, Leaf of the silly faces and amazing sense of humor and big hugs and smiles in the morning. We all love you.