The summer is winding down and you’ve managed to get through it despite more hundred degree days than ones in the nineties. And we dare not say “outside” unless there is a near immediate expectation that that is where we are heading because OH MY GOD! Sure, it means we’re out early in the morning, after breakfast, and you are usually in your pajamas. Or it might mean early evening dips in the tiny plastic pool while we water dehydrated plants outside. Or we spray the hose water onto the slide while you chase the streams down it into a puddle of mud. That’s some days. Other days are lots of reading and rearranging plasticware and Beyonce.

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Suddenly, here you are sixteen months old, more interest in doing things yourself, more steady on your feet, more frustration because we don’t understand you, and, gasp!, less morning naps.

You share more. More than before, which was a little more than Never. You will hand each other toys and books and pass out hugs like they are cheddar bunnies. You laugh at each other and play together and we only have to say “soft touches” about nine hundred times in a day instead of one thousand. Progress! And for every time that you do something in sync, there are a hundred ways that you express your uniqueness.

Mateo, you now know that you should never ever ever ever never grab Harper’s pink puppy unless it is for the express purpose of taking it to her directly and immediately. Because she will Hunt. You. Down. You are go go go and as soon as we say “let’s go to the car”, we can see your thinker tinking, and you’ll head off and grab some keys or a cell phone and head for the garage and then wait by the car door. You are constantly a mess of sweat and rosy cheeks. Even indoors.

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You play alone very well, sitting in your chair and working on whatever it is you are working on, sometimes a puzzle, sometimes stacking toys, sometimes blocks. Sometimes moving the chair itself. You’re such a big boy you want to sit in our regular dining chairs and will climb up one one all by yourself. But when you are hungry LORD HELP US because you want something and you want it now, usually approaching us, your head to between our knees, hands wrapped around the back of them, in Dire. Need. Of. Food. saying “mama, mama, MOOOOOORE!” You’ll sign “more” and “eat” or say “milk”, and recently sign “Plane”. And that’s when we stopped to listen…sure enough, they do fly over our house every once in a while.

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When you are tired, you grab a cloth diaper (how lucky/cheaply did we get on that one?!), Raffy, and a book and go to your room, waiting for one of us to follow. “You’ve been shaking your head “no” for a while now, and now sometimes you’ll nod your head “yes”. With intention. But it’s a bit like rubbing your belly and patting your head because sometimes your no means yes and your yes means no. And if you can figure out the difference, you’ll go a long way towards living with women.

Harper, you are a tempestuous princess, all needing every ounce of your sleep and then dancing away Hop, Hop, Hop, Little Harper! If we say “night night” you will grab your pink puppy and a penguin and lay them down on the floor and lay your head on them. And if we wait too long, you will say “nah nah” and do it anyway. At bedtime, we lay you down with two fleece woobies, one across your shoulder and one crowning your head and you’ll fall asleep stroking them. And when we check on you a few hours later, they’ve disappeared from sight, a mound of fleece and blankets beneath you, tush all up in the air. You are the cutest rolly polly sleeper ever. You love to look at flash cards, the sign language ones we bought for ourselves that fell on the floor one day. Because of them, you now say “happy” and “sun” and “star” and could sit in our laps going through cards and practicing signs just as much as you like reading I Love You This Much or The Big Red Barn.

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You are a keen observer and a hater of toothbrushes. And you like to eat your meals with one knee up. One of your favorite activities is putting rocks into a plastic container, moving and sorting things. If we bounce a ball to you just right, you can catch it and will throw it back. You love to leap off the soft blocks into our arms and everything is “whoooooooaaaaaaaaa!”

At night, we love how you both will crawl up or back yourself into our laps with a book, especially after bath time, all leaned up against our chest, warm and fuzzy headed. And before bed, goodnight kisses for everyone. EVEN EACH OTHER. And we’re just so excited that you’re doing something together that doesn’t result in a meltdown. You enjoy watching bigger kids do bigger kid things. With each passing day, you make us into kids again, soaking in the simplest bits of God’s creation.

We love you,

Mommy and Matou

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