stella at 16 months (a few days late)

Stella is all about testing boundaries these days. She knows what she isn't supposed to do (stand on the couch, eat computer cords, bite Mommy's phone) but does it (again and again) to get a reaction. For things I really don't want her to do I try not to overreact so that the thing, whatever it is she's doing, doesn't seem so alluring. She has a tendency to laugh and scrunch up her face when I put on the I'm not kidding face and I am very serious voice. It makes being stern hard when I just want to respond with tickles and a million kisses.

Stella is very opinionated. She does NOT want to be held or strolled. She wants to walk. And by walk I mean dawdle and examine every crack in the sidewalk. And, no, she does not want to hold hands unless holding hands means getting swung between us while walking. Getting places and running errands can be a monumental task.

I love seeing Stella form opinions and test boundaries. I love her strong little self. It can be exasperating, but I love her for those opinions and those tests. It's interesting how it changes our dynamic. I am no longer just the adoring Mom. I am the keeper of time, the setter or limits, the bed-time negotiator. She looks to us to structure her world, and sometimes it's hard to know where to draw those lines. We are making it up as we go and trusting instincts.

Right now Stella loves citrus, especially oranges, taking her sweet time, Anthony Browne's Gorilla and Piggybook, grilled fish, playing hide and seek and being surprised, her stuffed animal friends (Guinea, Tiger, Elephant, Owl, and Hedgehog), Jordan's morning bowl of Joe's O's, saying "ball!" when she sees one, and Sandra Boynton's The Going to Bed Book.

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