I love 6-9 month olds. 

I love the way they smile.  I love their sticky-up hair.  I love that they think I’m hilarious just because I can raise my eyebrows.  I love the way they smell (with a few exceptions).  I love the way they watch EVERYTHING around them.  I love the way they reach for things that interest them with bright eyes and their inchworm “crawl”.  I like their pudgy fingers and chubby cheeks.  I love the way they wake up at midnight… not to eat, but to dribble milk all over the bed in an attempt to get a peek at their daddy who just got home.  Blockade pillows do nothing to return him to eating… No… we just stretch our neck until we glimpse daddy’s face.  Those crinkly, sleepy smiles are the best (both from dad AND Asa).  {Should I also admit that I love the fact that you can still put them in a playpen or swing and go about your business?}

I love their desire for sameness and security.  This is evidenced in how out of whack my baby gets when we depart from our home or our routine for any significant length of time.

I love 2 year olds. 

I love how utterly goofy they are.  How they actually have enough hair for you to distinguish gender (that’s not true for everybody, but so far it’s true of us).  I love how chatty they can be… how they will talk for hours about nothing.  I love their quest for learning and adventure.  I admire their ceaseless energy.  {Should I also admit that I love the fact that baby gates are still somewhat effective for creating boundaries?)

I love their desire for independence.  This is evidenced when my daughter tries to climb large jungle gyms which possess enormous maiming potential. (in the eyes of the woman who has watched this child’s adventures end in damage to herself too often – the child in question recently had a bruise/bump on her forehead that you couldn’t see because she face planted on the sidewalk and put a new scrape/bruise over the top, her nose looks sunburned, as does her cheek from the same fall all this from doing {drum roll} sidewalk chalk.)

I love 3 year olds.

I love that they try to make sense of the knowledge they’ve learned.  I love that they enjoy life, but are beginning to independently evidence their concern for others.  I love and feel concern about their hero-worship of older children and adults of the same gender.    I love that they start seeing what needs done and do it, or at least draw attention to it.  {Should I also add, that I love that they are dependable enough to say “play in your room until I call”?}

I love their confused waffling between “I’m a big boy” and “Can you help me?”.  This contrast appears when I wake and descend to the kitchen only to find my first baby for the first time and completely of his own idea has poured his own cereal and milk (from a nearly full gallon) in a bowl he riffled from the clean dishes in the dishwasher and finds a spoon from the drawer and is eating proudly.  No significant spillage from that milk that he SOMEHOW got down off the TOP SHELF of the refrigerator, a feat apparently due to his “BIG MUSCLES!”… but this is the same child who CAN’T POSSIBLY figure out how to put his coat on by himself. 

I think I might love 4 year olds too, but only time will tell me why.