Dear Mateo & Harper,

Today you turn 17 months old. It’s been a good August and September, what with more trips to the Houston Children’s Museum, swimming and ribs at PawPaw Jimmy’s, swimming at Aunt Alli and Aunt Karin’s, the shortest cold ever (seven days!), lots of walks and playing at the park, and plenty of tussling.


If we were to sum up your sixteenth month in one word, it would be “hell-LOOOOOOOW!” To everything. Books, people, stuffed animals, lizards, parks, and each other. It is quite adorable. Not so adorable? When you ask for a toy and we give it to you and then you promptly walk to the top of the stairs and toss said object over the gate and commence the whining because now you want it again. Adorable? When we say “use your words” to which you respond with the sign and word “hep” (help). Not adorable? You didn’t identify the object and you begin whining again. Or the taking things from each other.


You cannot get enough reading time. The Public Library used book sale cannot come soon enough. Not that we read whole books. You will flip quickly through pages, skipping whole sections of ten page board book content, which makes for interesting story lines like “By the big red barn, in the great green field…there was a great big horse and a…”


Or, lately, what with all the “hell-LOOOOOOOOW!” -ing, you will greet each page, and then “buh-BAHYEEE” it as you flip to the next page of your choosing. So that instead of the cute little story about Noah and the Ark with the melodic writing that goes “He worked on it for years, a hundred twenty in all. He finished the ark before the rain began to fall” we’re “hell-LOOOOOOW Noah!” and “buh-BYE Noah!” and “Hell-LOOOOO elephants!” and “buh-BYEE rain”, all staccato-like while you are turning the pages so fast we can’t even act out the awesomeness of forty days and forty nights and the dove and the olive branch because before we know it, you’ve flipped to the back of the book and you’re all “buh-BAHYEEE”! So we’re all…


And you are all, Next Book.

You are both full of kisses and hugs and we are loving it. More than ever, your interactions with us make us feel less like kitchen bitches and bath-and-bedtime nannies, and more like your moms. You run to us when we get home, cling to us like starfish when you need consoling, sit in our laps for books, grab our hands to show us you want up on the swing. Even so, with all this in common, it’s amazing how you express your individuality.


Harper, you love looking for lizards in the grass and under bushes and rocks, and always want Mommy’s necklaces. You love pulling and dragging toys around. So much so that I had to hide the plastic xylophone scratching our wood floors and attaching ribbon to a wooden train instead. You love walking backwards. You demand flash cards at meal times, prefer swinging in the big kid swing, and you’ve added twirling to your dance moves.


Tormenting your brother is a favorite activity of yours, stripping away his toys and watching him melt into a puddle of tears. You are militant about deterring his table-climbing with “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, Down Tayo!” And he listens. With increasing frequency, you tell us when you pee in your diaper. And on more than one occasion, you’ll take the diaper off after you go. Secure pants, noted. You love “Emmoe” (Elmo) and we’re not sure where this came from, but we indulged in an Elmo flip out sofa and nearly every night you kiss it.

The Bedtime Chase

Mateo, you are such a helper. We can’t sweep the kitchen without you wanting the broom. So we got you your own kid-size one. Now we all clean the kitchen together. You’ve begun, when asked, to put books away in the bookshelf or the basket. You love working and doing. And listening selectively. Like when we ask you to get off the table with “feet on the floor” and “chairs are for sitting” about a hundred times a day.


Everything is YAAAAAYYYY, too. From Breakfast! To turning off the sound machine! To walking to the car! To opening cabinets and drawers. THE ONES WITH THE CHILDPROOF LOCKS ON THEM.

When you are hungry, you will grab your bib off the oven handle and walk over to your chair at the table, hold it with one hand, and then say “hep!” One time, in the two minutes it took Matou to change Harper’s diaper around the corner, you managed to climb onto the dining table, crawl across it, and plop yourself into your hook-on chair. It was snack time somewhere!

The nanny has taught you to “skip”, and for you this looks a bit like marching in place. You love turning in circles and making yourself dizzy and falling. You love running down the hall and into Matou’s arms after a bath. You hate diaper changes and you are strong.

Every day you both amaze us with the things you will do or say. You are full of words and hearing you use them reminds us that you are more toddler than baby. You are everyday miracles.

Slides, Bubbles, Chalk

With love,

Mommy and Matou