She grabs a tissue, blows nothing into it but a force of air, folds it over and blows again. Then, she finds a brush, lifts it to her head, eyes batting as she runs the wrong end down the back of her head and she tucks it into the diaper bag where I like to keep it. She wanders into the kitchen, grabbing hold of the dishtowel with an idea. She tucks it under her chin, displaying all of the willful imprecision one does when trying patiently to figure out the world, and folds it over her belly like a shirt from the dryer.
It’s not hearing her say real words or watching her learn to climb and jump and count. What I love the most about this age, every burly bit of 19 months, is watching her pretend to be me; casually accustomed to life.
So much of her time on Earth so far has been just mastering the basics. Eating with a spoon. Drinking from a cup. Cooperating so that I can get a shirt over her head. It’s all been so primitive that watching her do new things like pull a pot from it’s cabinet and a wooden ladle from it’s drawer so that she can pretend to stir soup, handing out to me sips that she gives a thoughtful blow to first… it kind of reminds me that she’s human.
It’s easy to forget when she’s romping through the house, screeching like an irked animal because she can’t run as fast as she wants to holding onto a box of mashed potatoes, that she’ll grow out of this phase. She won’t always be so much like a happily wayward pet I can only keep from running amuck with body language and tone of voice.
Someday the world will make at least as much sense to her as it needs to and she’ll do things like blow her nose and brush her hair without a second thought to how it’s done, while her mind focuses on other, more important things. All motive to break a sweat putting her brother’s sneakers on over the footies of her own pajamas, or to stomp off crying because I won’t let her dig through the garbage will dissipate with age as she becomes more versed in the rhyme and reason of everyday things.
She may not be scaling fences or doing jujitsu just yet, but these little everyday grips she gets on the world remind me that this incredible month with her is just the beginning. Today, the Velcro on her patent leather shoes. Tomorrow, the world. Or at least the backyard.