Dear Mateo & Harper,

The year 2008 has come to a close and here you are eight and a half months this side of Heaven. So, yeah, I’ve been meaning to write you a monthly letter akin to the weekly one’s I did when you were in my belly. And now it has taken me eight months to write the very first one. But this one, THIS one, I wasn’t going to let past me because this particular one has lots of meaning.

All in all, it’s been an incredible year. Today is January 1, 2009. It marks a new year, a new beginning. Most significant, for me, is that…

you have now been
on the OUTSIDE of my belly
than you were on the INSIDE.

This should be so exciting, an incredible and miraculous milestone. And IT IS! You are thirty-seven weeks old! But there is a twinge of sadness knowing that you are growing so fast, developing so quickly, that this is only an inkling of how quickly time will continue to pass. So I promise you that I will be better about documenting the milestones. In the meantime, here’s a brief recap of 2008 post-RJBs.

For starters, this time last year, you were 20 weeks or so and all we could see of you was black and white images on an ultrasound screen. Oh sure, we were in love with you then. But now? Now, it’s grown just as much as you have.

April – You were born! (16th, 37 weeks gestation).

May – We sent out your birth announcements and the reflux began (around the 25th). We would watch you for hours on end, just sleeping and feeding you, and trying to learn your every tiny feature.

June – Matou legally adopted you! (6th) I started transitioning back to work (23rd) a few days a week and you stayed home with a nanny. Your cousin, Sara, was born (24th). You met your great-grandmother, Mama Betty (28th). You threw up. A lot.

July – You moved out of Size 1 diapers (23rd-ish). Your cousin, Xavier, was born (28th). And on that very same day, you started daycare. You threw up. A lot. You smiled with intention.

August – Matou turned 33 (17th). Harper sprouted two teeth (14th). You were with all your cousins on Matou’s side for the first time – Bailey, Sterling, Batton, Breanna (17th). You discovered your toes and loved to put them in your mouth. You started to notice each other. Your coo’s and your laughter melted our hearts. Almost overnight, the throws of reflux disappeared.

September – Almost five weeks after starting daycare, you both got your first ear infections (2nd). You experienced your first hurricane evacuation and stayed at Grandma Yoyi’s for ten days. There, you got to meet all your cousins on my side of the family (13th-ish). You tried your first solids, rice cereal 15th-ish). You were baptized (28th). Harper started blowing raspberries. Mateo loved his toes and enjoyed rocking back and forth on his back. Harper started sitting up unassisted, though certainly wobbly. You both loved the jumparoo.

October – Officially started solids (rice cereal 6th, sweet potatoes 16th). We had your 6 month appointment and also stopped by the IVF clinic to introduce you to the staff that helped us get you here (20th). Harper did her first sign: Milk/Eat (26th). We took pictures at a pumpkin patch! You dressed up as the Lion (Harper) and the Scarecrow (Mateo) from the Wizard of Oz for Halloween (31st). You got in the infant swings at the park for the first time. Mateo sucked his thumb, the tip of it, for all of a few days. We took a deep breath and stopped swaddling you at night.

November – Mateo got a really bad stomach bug that nearly landed us in a hospital. Mommy got sick, too. Mateo did his first sign: Milk/Eat (9th). Ear infections #4 & #5 for Mateo and #2 for Harper (17th). It was a really sick month, all around. The highlight was that Barack Obama was elected president.

December – We took you out of daycare to stay home with a nanny. We’ve had nearly a month illness-free, and you seem to like it at home. Of course, the challenge is providing fresh air and varied activity so you don’t get bored. We’re on our second, going into our third nanny. Each of them has taken incredible care for you. Harper, you now have SEVEN teeth. And Mateo, you have four with a fifth one peeking through. Harper, you still love to dance dance dance to any music you hear, even if it’s music that we don’t. You have no desire to roll over, but you you’ll sleep on your side every once in a while. You’re an expert sitter-upper and though you still dislike tummy time, you push up quite well and scooch backwards on the floor. This, unfortunately, irritates you to no end. Harper, when we put you to sleep, you tend to wake up each night at almost exactly 7:38 p.m. with a scream that can make anyone jump. Usually, you put yourself back to sleep, or maybe one of us will rock you gently from side to side but not picking you up. New Year’s Eve, though, you didn’t stop screaming until Matou came to get you at which time you promptly threw up in your crib, had to get changed, and then acted like it was party-time.


Mateo, you are scooting on your butt to get you to the thing you want to get. Usually, that thing is me or Matou sitting nearby on the floor. And as soon as you are within arms reach, you grab and start pulling. Pulling up. In fact, you are trying to pull up on everything these days. You’ve made it to your knees. And you’ve made it to one knee and one foot. You are very active on the floor on your tummy. We put you in one place sitting up, and the next thing we know, you are 6 feet away, facing the opposite direction, rocking on your belly. Which reminds me, we need to babyproof. And put your crib mattress down a level. Speaking of your crib, we watch you at night because you are like an alligator in your sleep. If we made a time-elapsed video, you’d look like an ant bed of a thousand ants. But it would only be you.

You both continue to amaze us in so many ways. We talk about you in the mornings. We talk about you in the going to bed. We love you so much and look forward to the months ahead.


Mommy & Matou