No Instagram needed here. This girl is full of the energy an almost-walking baby should have. She is eating and babbling and we are loving all the added craziness that comes with a toddler.

She kissed me tonight. On her own. She leaned in and intentionally smooched me. I still remember the first time D did it. He was about 10 months old and I melted. Same exact feeling this time and so very, very special.

That’s just part of a big, big day. First minor hair cut, on Mommy’s whim, didn’t go too badly for a kid who doesn’t like her head touched. Plus, I was thrilled to see her so active at Gymboree this morning. She gets in other kids’ faces, but she isn’t used to seeing little people much and I think she is very socially natured. She crawled to two different mothers and pulled up on them to give a big grin the way she does with us. You would have thought she recognized them based on her beeline across the mats. One more reason to celebrate. But wait, there’s more.

Today, she is 17 months old. We weren’t sure Reese would be able to communicate, ever. And I honestly think it’s been one of my greatest fears. If you know me, it’s kind of my thing and to not be able to understand her needs, well, I just couldn’t think about it. And just in the past week or so we have confirmed she definitely signs. We have our own versions of ‘All done’, water and milk pretty consistently figured out. She smiles when I get it right and we both show in our eyes we knew what the other meant. It feels amazing to connect with her like this. For so long the gaze was blank.

Many of her challenges right now are sensory, which all stems from the nervous system. She has texture issues eating. She apparently has a spatial issue when she is on hard surfaces compared to being on the carpet and is paralyzed with fear and dizziness on our hardwood floors. She doesn’t have full mastery of her fingers but she loves to touch everything. So every day we are unraveling this puzzle and learning ways to help her and protect her at the same time.

We head to Chicago for the second opinion and we shall see what new ideas he adds to our enigma of a case.

I sit and watch her on the video monitor at night and I want to scoop her up and bring her to bed just to feel her warm, squishy body beside me. Sometimes I just need to know she is ok. We still have lots of unknown ahead, but for now we are definitely reveling in every smile, clap, squeal, step and sign she makes.