About a month ago or so, we examined what a 17-month-old should look like, act like, and sound like and determined that I didn't really have one around my house, despite evidence to the contrary like a birth certificate and piles of my toothbrushes facedown in the corner of the playroom gathering hair between the bristles. Actually it turns out I did have a 17-month stumbling around here. It's now almost time for him to become a mature 18-month-old, old enough to vote on things like what he'll eat for dinner and to smash his brother over the head with Emily. So since I do indeed have one, what should I expect from this one-and-a-half-year-old now?
Before we try to answer that, let's make one thing abundantly clear. There will be no half birthday parties. I guess that's, as they say, "a thing" now. Though probably not for one-year-olds who can't understand the logic behind actually opening the juice box before you can drink the juice, much less fractions. But also not for the regular party-goer in our house, Little Miss Six, who would jump at the opportunity to celebrate something, anything, and dress like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz to do it. (I'm going to go get the mail by myself, Mommy, can I wear my red shoes?) Instead we just sort of mark the half birthdays, in a gee-whiz-you're-getting-big sort of way, and let the kids realize their next real birthday is now officially on the radar. Six months is still eons for kids, which means kids will for eons add "and-a-half" to their ages.
The other reason we won't make a big deal about the baby's half-birthday is that we now sit just days away from a fourth birthday for the middle child. Ever since his sister turned six in March, he's been dialed in on his own birthday and all the attention it affords. We'll certainly bowl a few games, we'll eat a Caillou cake (tastes like whine), and we'll open some presents. We've heard about this day for months now, and if we preempt it with anything more than a cursory celebration for his baby brother six days earlier, the middle kid might pick up and leave the house. Though he'd miss tugging on his mother's hair in bed too much, so I'm calling his bluff.
Back to 18 months. People who know about this stuff say that this boy should suddenly be able to put away all his toys, I think. At least he should be clearing out all the cabinets, which he's been doing most of his life, then trying to put the contents back, perhaps in a different order, which he hasn't tried once yet. Mostly he leaves them there for us to trip over. Same with the entire box of Q-Tips, though at least he's not doing this to himself yet.
They also say he will want to know what is behind, under and inside of everything he sees, but I think they left out a few prepositions. Regardless, he fit that description at the beach the other day, when he nearly ended up under the ocean. We know now, after having two other kids we could trust to not get lost between here and anywhere, why parents buy those leashes, and use them.
Every part of his body is his nose, which explains why he's not sure what to do with all those Q-tips. Occasionally he'll point to his ears and his hair, but mostly he just dupes us by calling everything his nose. Or he really thinks he has ten noses on his hands.
But the big event that we should begin to prepare for is, yes, Potty Training! (Don't say it unless you mean it, parenting Web sites offering up monthly milestone updates. You can't just drop that one in there with "can hold a cup" and "starts to act more independently." Potty training is the prize milestone, because we will immediately save the equivalent of a mid-compact car on diapers annually. I'm really excited about this.) I think I'll make a potty chart right now, and I'm going to pick out some sports-related underpants and of course some cartoonish pull-ups and get this thing started. No pressure, of course. But let's do this. I'll buy you a gold toilet if you can get this process started.
One site also mentioned something about "gross motor skills," so everyone step up and take a free shot at your best farting joke. Do it fast, because this kid is going to be potty trained before I'm able to put his used diaper genie on eBay.