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Most days, the kids begin stirring between 6:15 and 7:00. I love those days because I get to see them before I leave for work. While Jennifer prepares their breakfast, I go downstairs to get their diapers changed, get them dressed, and upstairs to eat.

Which means I’m usually sweating before I even leave for the office.

Here in the days of this sixteenth month, with favorite words abounding, I am witness to some cute and tender moments in our morning routine and finally took the camera down to record them.

Were it not for our six year refusal to patronage Wal-Mart, and were it not for those pesky child-labor laws, what with Mateo’s new favorite word of “Helll-OOOOOO!!!” we might have put him to work as a greeter.

Our dining table is a sore subject, primarily because things get stacked on it that shouldn’t be. Like the camera, mail, kid swimsuits. And ASL flashcards that we purchased for ourselves so we could learn and then teach the kids. One day, one of the kids saw the boxes and asked for “more”. And now, we can’t serve them a meal without doing sign language flashcards at the table. BUT HOW CUTE ARE THEY SIGNING?

Part I: Cowboy Mateo relaxed in the saddle, loose shoulders and elbows.

Transition: about 9 seconds in, you know something is coming when he alerts “uh oh”.

Part II: Harper pulling an Obi-Wan Kenobi Force on him, removing a melting-down Mateo from the horse without ever saying a word or barely even touching.

Mateo’s head-butt moves reminds me of that guy at dances who would start breakdancing or doing some crazy move so as to deflect attention from the fact that he had no rhythm making him the cool and funny guy instead.

I wrote a little about our first trip to the Children’s Museum a few days ago, but here’s a 2:12 minute lookie.

In addition to being told we’re related to almost every Hispanic person in North America, my mom has also told us in the past that we have some Indian in us. I think she said it comes from my late grandfather’s side. And I think it was the kind that scalped people. Or maybe she was just trying to get us to stop touching things in the store.

Nevertheless, it seems Harper has inherited seedlings for traditional dancing, and if they need proof, I’ll just show them this video.

I was just discussing with a friend the other day how people are prone to (over)-exaggerating the developmental milestones of their children. Like seriously, is there any baby that isn’t a genius? How about the ten month old who has fifteen words and can speak in three- or four- word sentences. Or the walker at seven months. Or the one whose parents insist they’ve seen early indications that there child will be a neurosurgeon based on the well-intentioned use of the pincer grasp. Or the future concert pianist because my god the kid did SCALES on the fisher-price xylaphone. Or the thirteen month old who knows all the shapes, colors, and numbers. Maybe even the 4 year old who would have made the final of the National Spelling Bee but for the fact of that pesky age requirement. Country of origin, please? Can you use that in a sentence? Part of speech?

Anyway.

Always keeping it real-time without any fluff, Harper has begun walking. Thirteen months and a week or so. She began taking a step or two and then two- to three- steps a couple weeks ago. But that’s about all we’d see. We thought she’d go from cruising, to bear crawling, to standing/take a couple steps, to stand/bear-crawl/stand/step/fall/bear-crawl/stand sequence similar to the progression her brother took. Nope.

If she falls, she stands back up and does it again. Period. As my sister said, “it looks like she really studied it before she started doing it” and for the life of me, neither of us can figure out where she’d get that kind of behavior from. (By the way, excuse the mess in the play area. It was a hurried evening and I was in the process of gathering a bag of the shoes that no longer fit them).

This was the first weekend in almost two months that I wasn’t out of town, that we weren’t throwing or preparing for a party, that Jen wasn’t working on Sunday, and that we didn’t have an overbooked schedule. And when I say “weekend”, I mean Sunday. Jen works every Saturday so Sunday is the only day of the week that Jen and I and the kids have together.

But, you know, even when we don’t schedule anything, there is always much to do – sweeping the kids’ eating area, cooking, laundry, taking out the trash, etc. And Mateo has obviously taken note of our activity, as evidenced by this video clip.

Unfortunately, not only do we have to empty the diaper champs, but we now also have to DIG THROUGH THE TRASH BAG for various little people animals, choo choo train balls, shoes, cell phones, sorting shapes, and Harper’s favorite fuzzy fish named Moby.

Harper is not so easy going as she used to be. She’ll on occasion shriek and oftentimes whine when she doesn’t get her way. And based on the last two or so weeks, she hasn’t gotten her way HER ENTIRE LIFE. Like when you don’t pick her up and carry her all her waking hours plus some of yours.

As an staunch promoter of independence, this period is a challenge for me. But it is offset by the fact that she is so highly curious and intent, two tenents which foster independence in the long run.

Everything right now is “looK!”, something you’ll hear about 18 seconds into this video. After my response, you can almost see her cataloguing the word into her files as she peers out of the garage at the cars that were driving by, and the butterfly iris swaying in the wind. Every time I start to feel impatient, I remind myself that one day they won’t seek our counsel on what’s what, and that they won’t want to be carried at all.

Because I had no words, just gratitude and tears and joy.

More Photos!

The Aforementioned

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