We usually reserve liquids for a cup, open top in small amounts, or if in large amounts, in a cup with a lid and straw. But we figured we had to show them how to eat cereal from a bowl at some point, so why not Sunday afternoon after-the-nap snack?

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Cooler weather means more time outside. And by “cooler”, I mean 89 degrees. First time painting, and then water hose and slides for cleanup.

Painting

O'Keefe Inspired

Cleanup After Painting

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.

Ribs

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.

Fights

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…”

THE END!

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…

THE END. And God’s all YOU MISSED THE POINT.

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.

Wings.

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.

Militant

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.

Sweet

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

Swim Party

Children’s Museum, parking ticket, snacks, walks to the park, swings, looking for lizards, feeling the rain fall, splashing in mud puddles, reading, slides, Mother’s of Multiples club swim party, watermelon, pushing and shoving, soft touches, kisses, bed time, good weekend.

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.

RaJen Review: ASL Flash Cards

We knew we wanted to experiment with sign language even before the twins were born. There were plenty of resources available, some where you just make up your own signs with your kids, and others based specifically on the more universally known American Sign Language (ASL).

We purchased two different resources. The first was the Sign With Your Baby DVD by Joseph Garcia and while that was all good and well, you were a bit stuck to a television. So then we purchased these ASL Flash Cards by Sign2Me when the kids were four months old, which, looking back, is an incredible feat because we were dealing with ear infection after ear infection after stomach virus around the same time and I’m surprised I was able think beyond how it looked to the guys at Home Depot after I purchased a large tarp, plastic gloves, and a bucket, not sure they’d believe me if I told them it was for letting our son go diaperless to deal with the worst diaper rash ever from seven days of diarrhea and not because I was planning to dispose of a body.

Wait, where was I? Oh, sign language.

So the plan was to teach ourselves some basic signs, do them around the kids and see if they’d pick up on them. Sure enough, they did back here and here. And they’ve continued to pick up on signs.

Things we like about these cards: the sign description is easy to figure out; the Spanish word is there, too; nifty boxes for storage. Things we don’t like: the creepy bot signers; the cards, though a sturdy weight, are no match for the mouths and hands of babies – then again, neither is wood. I suppose we could have laminated them, but really.

We initially purchased three boxes (Quick Start Pack, Actions and Opposites Pack, Objects and Emotions Pack) on Amazon for a little under $11.00 each. And I just recently ordered the last two boxes (Family/Clothing and Toileting Pack, Animals and Colors Pack).

Sure they can use words now, but another method of communication during the toddler years is never a bad thing. Plus, with them requesting “More!”, how can we resist?

Prolific Pooper

Dude poops upwards of four to five times a day. A DAY, people! And we’re not talking the second one is leftover from the first one kind of poop. We’re talking full on, wholly independent, fifteen wipes, under the balls, centimeters from the top of the back of the diaper kind of poops.

Battling this kind of pooping requires strategy, such as in the form of meal planning. I seriously plan their meals around their bowel movements. Overnight pooping (which leads to massive diaper rash for Mateo)? Make sure his fruits are in before 1:00 p.m. Poops too watery? Add starches, reduce dairy. Good day for watermelon? Better have some bananas handy. After dinner poops? Move the proteins up in the day.

These kids are as much science as they are art.

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?

Double Trouble

More Photos!

The Aforementioned

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