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April in Glenwood: Stretching out the short days

Tomorrow my little guy will be 19 months old. Simple math shows he'll be 2 in only five months. I'm trying to remain calm.

But 2 seems impossible.

When parents speak of how quickly kids go from eating baby food in high chairs to driving cars in high school, I can now relate. Pope Paul VI once said, "In youth the days are short and the years are long. In old age the years are short and days long." These short days in Will's young development leading up to 2, as he learns to walk, talk and play, have gone ridiculously fast. It seems like he was just learning to sit up by himself. Then I blinked and he's saying "no way" when I say it's time for a diaper change. I also inadvertently taught him to say "gross" in reaction to diaper blow-outs. I laughed and thought it was cute.

Because I'm his mom, of course.

These are definitely the days when we have to watch what we say around the house. A growing brain means he's learning new words daily, and he seems to be on his way to being our funny little talker. He's already repeated one of my slip-ups, prompting me to pay more attention to what comes from my mouth in moments of pain or frustration. I've had to backtrack by reiterating that the word "shoot" is the proper response when one stubs a toe on the couch or drops a container of mashed potatoes on the floor. No one likes to hear a toddler with the mouth of a mafia boss, especially his mom.

Probably even a mafia boss mother.

With a 19-month-old talking — he also likes to count out his numbers, which I give some credit to PBS, with the Count on "Sesame Street" and characters from "Peg + Cat" — I'm becoming intimately familiar with kid's books and cartoons. Reading was one of my first loves, and I'm hoping to pass that on to Will. He enjoys books with textures that he can touch and feel, like the hairy monkey or shiny moon in his collection. He also likes his Paw Patrol books, before ever seeing the cartoon, and Bob the Builder, whose crew always seem to mess up projects so they can figure out a resolution and fix the mess. Bob is a particularly patient and nice boss, as no one ever seems to get fired, no matter how bad the situation, I guess that teaches second chances and forgiveness.

I know as a first-time mom I'm a work in progress, and patience, as I take on the new challenges of parenthood. Learning to walk has also been a fun adventure for Will, and me. Plenty of attempts and perseverance. For months, crawling was been his preferred method of transportation since he was fast. I would even go as far as to call him the Mario Andretti of crawlers. Lately, he's finding enjoyment in walking while putting his hands up in the air like he's on a roller coaster. I recommend it for anyone who's bored at home or work.

It's fun to see people's reactions.

Will has even learned to kick his little soccer ball in front of him this week, so I'm sure I have the next Pelé on my hands. Really though, I don't plan on putting unnecessary pressure on the boy as he comes up in the world, especially in sports. He'll have enough of that in his adult life. Especially if he follows in my footsteps. He definitely likes to count to three when he throws balls, and I think that's the cutest thing I've ever seen.

Because I'm his mom, of course.

Before I blink again, these short, fast days will turn into two years. Then four, then 16. With a toddler on the move and a vocabulary growing every day, he's definitely 19 months going on 16 years. I just need to make sure to take a moment out of every day to appreciate the cute baby — make that toddler — in the room who giggles each time he walks. Who loves beets and Brussels sprouts. And knows that a coffee cup is hot when he points at it and says so. I can't help myself, he just sounds so cute while doing it.

Because I'm his mom, of course.

April E. Allford is learning to potty train a 19-month-old. Send prayers. She can be reached at aprilallford@gmail.com.