When we took Hadley in for her one-year-old doctor's appointment last month, the doctor (who has grown kids) said, "I loved the summer after my kids turned one. It's such a fun time." And I remember really liking him at that moment because our appointment wasn't just about tongue depressors and stethoscopes; it was about our family, having a good time together in the summer sun (slathered in sunscreen, of course).
And that's what these last few weeks have been: F-U-N. Hadley is walking all over the place, five steps here, 10 steps there. She teeters less, and the classic I'm-learning-to-walk gait has become far more stable in recent days. She understands more; I'm amazed by how often she responds to a random question or suggestion. (Just yesterday, we were reading a book that has an owl on one page, and I said to her, "Hm. Why don't you give that owl a kiss?" She did, and she does--every time we read the book.) And our little girl is so easy to entertain. She likes to go in the backyard, pick up tiny sticks and slide them through the open spaces in our woven wrought-iron furniture. Then she walks up and down the cobblestone path. She teases me by pretending she's going to pluck a leaf from the big potted plant outside--and then she laughs that great belly laugh that is more contagious than the winter flu at an indoor playground.
She's curious and generally up for anything (except the aforementioned car trip, perhaps). And here's the real kicker: She's great company. I love to spend time with her. I've always loved to spend time with her, but now, she's just so...fun. Interested. Excited. Earnest. (For all of her gumption--and heaven help us, she has plenty--Hadley is a serious observer. When we go to the Children's Museum, for example, she generally sits in the toddlers' play space for a good five minutes, watching the other kids, taking it all in. Then she takes off to play. I hope this habit of hers is a lifelong one. Taking a few minutes to evaluate a situation before jumping right in is generally a good approach, if you ask me.)
So all of this is just to say that we're having a blast. We're looking forward to lazy afternoons in the kiddie pool Mumsie and Granddaddy gave her for her birthday; mornings at the playground, library and museum; and maybe a few special trips to the zoo, aquarium, a petting zoo I discovered online and a restored old-fashioned carousel in Nederland that I can't wait to see.
It hardly seems like there's enough summer for all of our adventures.