Dear Mateo and Harper,

There you go sneaking out on us already, you turning 13 months over the weekend, us catching you as you crawl back in the window before dawn. So much has gone on since you turned a year old. To celebrate the milestone, we had a spectacular crawfish boil birthday party for you. It was so spectacular even the skies clapped and the clouds wept in joy. And after the storms passed through, all the birds sang songs of welcomed you as you began your second year of life.

Two days after the party we had your one-year checkup and Mateo, you were 31 3/4 inches (95th percentile) and 24 lbs 12 oz (75th percentile), though it sure feels like it’s closer to forty pounds. Or eighty. Harper, you were 29 3/4 inches (75th percentile) and 21 lbs 7 oz (55th percentile), a two-inches-in-three-months stretch that didn’t go unnoticed since it doesn’t seem too long ago that you could barely pull up on the window sill and now you can peak over the top, albeit on your tip toes. One day you can tell us the jokes you share with the fence and windows next door because wow, you find them hilarious.

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A couple of weeks ago we went to your cousin Batton’s 5th birthday party. When we arrived, no less than 10 grownups met us at the door to greet you, and you showed your appreciation by dropping your bottom lips, going red-faced, crying, and holding on to us for your dear life. I’m just glad I had clipped your nails the day before. Judging from your response, being approached by people you don’t know or haven’t seen in a while , all wanting to touch you or hold you, hands outstretched, probably feels a lot like this. Undoubtedly, this is a reaction based on both a developmental milestone and the fact that you stay at home during the week with a nanny. But newsflash kids: THIS ISN’T HOW WE TREAT FAMILY. Plus, they give us money for diapers and such so unless you’re up for early potty training, get happy around grandma and grandpa.

Speaking of training, we’ve been at it with using forks and spoons and open-top cups for a while. Long gone are the days of pureed foods. You are both eating all solids all the time, almost all of it homemade, things like mini-pizzas on English muffins, sandwiches, Bolognese, pasta salad with chicken, pretty much anything.

Lunch

Your favorites include calabacitas (chicken with squash), ground turkey, muesli, pancakes, egg beaters, raisin bread, peas, and pears. I’ll go ahead and admit right here, though, that there are certainly days when we seriously consider raising you on Cheerios and water because fostering independence is a lot of work and MY GOD, YOU GUYS ARE MESSY!

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We’ve moved you back to the table, out of the high chairs which seem to encourage food sweeping and dumping. Plus, we can watch an entire DVR episode of The Office in the time it takes to clean all the nooks and crannies in the chairs. The ick-factor of self-feeding is up there with the Projectile Vomiting Months and no sooner does the floor get cleaned up that BAM! it’s time for the next meal. The wood floors will be cursing us for years to come. Nevertheless, when you can walk, we’ll get some of those step up chairs that scoot up to the table so we can teach you how to get on and off by yourself.

Ah, yes, the walking. Mateo, you are gaining tons of confidence in your walking. One day soon you’ll figure out that each step doesn’t have to be faster than the one before, which leads to imbalance, which leads to falling.

Monkey Toes

And then once you get the hang of it, you’ll take off running. Harper, as usual, you do things when you are gosh darn ready to do them: less than two weeks ago you started standing unassisted, now you are taking two and three steps, arms outstretched.

Let’s see, what else?

Mateo, you love making books disappear almost as much as you enjoy reading the books. You like to push the cart around, turning it, and pushing it again. You want to climb everything and this makes me uneasy. When you are happy, your eyes melt glaciers and your smile makes time stand still.

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Teeth

You are holding steady with eight teeth and THANK GOODNESS because drama follows your teething like a Denny’s is to LaQuinta. When you get mad, you fall slow motion to the ground and bang your forehead to the ground. Which invariable makes you cry because it hurt worse than the offense of having put you down on the ground when you weren’t ready. You love to clap, pulling your sister’s hair, and you enjoy waving hi and bye to people.

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Your words include “mamamamama”, “look”, and “go go go”. This Saturday, on the way to the doctor to rule out an ear infection, I sang you the Itsy Bitsy Spider. AND YOU SIGNED PARTS OF IT (“twinkle”, “wonder”, “world”, and “sky”. I cried. You also sign “finished” (like when we’ve barely taken off your diaper to change it) and “more” (usually for water or food).

Harper, like your brother, you sign “finished”. Your spoken words consist mainly of “mamama”, “LOOK!” and “this”. One time, though, your Matou and I looked at each other with wide eyes because we swear we both heard you say “Mateo” all three syllables clear as day as you were trying to get his attention.

You also have a litany of inaudible words because you speak them through closed teeth. The pressure probably feels good what with the SIXTEEN teeth filling up your mouth. That’s only four less than the total primary teeth you’ll have, and eight more than the average 13 month old. You are very vocal and squealy, particularly if suddenly, out of nowhere, you decide you MUST HAVE what your brother has at that exact moment in time and space.

Tussle

When you get mad, you scream at a volume and pitch that makes me very happy for Pella double paned windows. You are into pointing, clapping, hitting your brother’s head, giving high fives, and waving bye and hi. You are diva and mischief wrapped into one.

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As for the both of you, you love playing in the water. So much so that we paid retail for a water table because even the purgiest of purgers are holding on to theirs in preparation for the Texas summer. We went to a park downtown and I have never seen you both so happy getting soaking wet and chasing jets of jumping water.

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We’ve been to the zoo several times, and you especially like riding in your wagon at the zoo. We go through nearly a gallon of milk a week. Already. Which makes us very glad we didn’t sell the extra refrigerator currently in the garage housing your Matou’s Sprite Zero, garden burgers, and a multitude of frozen veggies. Your new play kitchen (a fabulous mom-to-mom purchase!) provides much entertainment. That is until you both feel you have to be standing in front of the same square millimeter tabletop space.

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You both love grabbing, tossing, and chasing a little blue ball around that we took from your grandma gave you. You enjoy discovering reflections and yourself in the newly installed plexi mirror in the play area.

Reflections

Saturday morning during naptime, I sneaked a peak of you on the monitor and it got me all nostalgic. Nostalgic for the times that a morning nap consisted of ACTUAL SLEEPING on your part. These days, though, the morning nap is less and less sleep and more in the range of an hour’s rest. And that works fine except when one of you wants to sleep and the other doesn’t. Which is why about the time this gets published, your Matou will have moved your cribs into separate rooms. Though we love the ten or so minutes you keep one another entertained as you wake up in the mornings or after naps, one of you is more often than not keeping the other from sleeping. So we’re taking a deep breath and seeing how a separation goes first.

We’re slowly acknowledging that the morning nap is going away. Another thing going away? The bottle. We’ve been down to one bottle for about six weeks – the morning pre-nap bottle. We’re on the last can of formula and then that’s it. Yep, you’re growing into toddlers. But you’ll always, always, always be our babies.

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Love,

Mommy and Matou

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