8 years

dear august,

you are 8 years old now. ohmygoodness. i know i say this every year. i will continue to say this every year. but 8 sounds so big. you are in second grade now. that is no joke, my friend. it’s not kidding around anymore, you are in school. i know where the time went, i just can’t believe it went so quickly.

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march

but 8 suits you. you like school and you like second grade. you have a great teacher – ms kelley – and good para a good helper. you mostly behave well at school, although it is getting easier to lead you astray into goofing off or into just plain giggles. honestly, i have been waiting for this to happen for 2 whole school years, so i’m not very surprised. we talk about how it’s important to try to stay focused and not to get too distracted and not to be part of the problem. sometimes you try, sometimes you don’t. it’s okay. you are still only 8.

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april

7 was an up and down year for you. a lot of this year, developmentally, is about drawing inward and spending a lot of time thinking about how you have been wronged about the world. which is a pretty amazing thing, actually. but not particularly amusing to live through as parent. oh the injustices you suffered! still i think you came out ahead overall, and we none of us are particularly worse for the wear.

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may

you’ve become much more skilled at soccer this year. you focus more at practice and your coordination – always solid – is improving even more. you enjoyed watching the world cup this past summer very much and even play a FIFA world cup game on the iPad. you get into arguments about who is the best goalie now and who was the best goalie ever. you know stats and names and other things i have no interest or reference to at all. it’s fascinating to see what you absorb.

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june

you still love your friends. you are still close to lucas and you like to see ezra (and his wii, but also ezra himself, i was relieved to see) and you often report back about your somewhat fluid of best friends at school. they always have an acronym (usually everyone’s first initials) and there is always a theme of some sort, but it tends to be toby and himmer and angelo and jethro. other boys come and go as well. it’s interesting that only toby is in your classroom – i like seeing that you are able to maintain some friendships at school who are not in your room. you like have sleepovers and sleeping over.

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july

like most kids your age, you like eating pizza the most. you like ice cream and cake and think chocolate is ok. you like “classic chips” because i won’t buy you doritos and you will trade the snacks i send you in for the contraband you prefer at school. you will eat most things i feed you these days at dinner and breakfast and with minimal, though, so i don’t mind.

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august

you like the beach but only with friends, although you’ve really started to venture into the water more and have finally discovered the fun of sand castles. you enjoyed the very big snows that we had this year, helping with shoveling and scaling snow mounds and jumping off of porches. next year we may get you a snowboard as you’ve been attempting to use the sled in the same way. you are happiest when you are mobile, although you believe you are happiest holding the iPad.

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september

you love to play clash of clans, lego star wars, plants vs zombies 2, and many other games with fighting and blasting. you still love star wars and clone wars and you delighted in showing the star wars movies to calum. you like watching the clone wars cartoons and you learned about slugterra from kids at school. calum likes it too.

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october

you are more into legos this year than you were last year, although you still like board and card games best if you can get someone to play them with you. you like reading a lot as well, and you have been devouring books (how to train your dragon, henry huggins, geronimo stilton) and graphic novels (owlsy, princeless, lunch lady books, the saga of rex, amulet, clone wars adventures and more) alike. you will even graciously read to both of your brothers from time to time and they love that too. sometimes you and i read the same books or graphic novels (sometimes i read things first to make sure they are okay for you) and it’s so fun to talk about the plots and characters with you.

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november

you choose and make your own lunch in the morning 4 days a week (on fridays you get school pizza) and you and your brother have started choosing a meal about once a week for dinner. sometimes i have you help me make it too, something you find interesting and scary. but you are using a knife regular now and doing more brave things. maybe this summer i will finally get you a chance to start chopping things.

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december

your teachers remark about how thoughtful and kind you are to others at school and that is so good to hear. you are great with your brothers, but of course they make you crazy too (and you them).

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january

we are very proud of you, august, and we love you so much too. happy 8th birthday!

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february

love,

mama

21 months

dear hugo,

what a crazy month your 21st was! the record breaking snow fall of the winter of 2015 occurred mostly this month and it was wild. we spent a lot of time inside going slowly crazy this month, but a lot of good happened too. you really enjoyed going out into the snow and you really enjoyed having everyone around so much (no work and no school for so many days!)

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you like to steal papa’s spinach pizza

the toughest part of the big snows that we spent the first storm with you and calum down for the count. first you and then calum got sick – a fever with a little bit of throwing up. it was over pretty quick, but i originally felt sad that the two of you would miss out on all of the fun snow. silly me, of course, as we’ve now all had our fill and then some. but you were a trooper and only down for a bit and then up and ready to go again.

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sit! here! mama!

your communication is amazing. you say so many sentences. it’s still things like “PAPA! ‘MERE! NOW!” but you are good at getting your point across. and it always a surprise and a delight to hear you tell us what you are thinking.

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new paintbrushes from nana

you don’t like to be fed anymore, also, thank you very much. if i try to hold a cup or spoon for you, move your head away and jam your finger repeatedly onto the table. “here! HERE!” until i let you do it yourself.

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salem chocolate and ice festival

you pick up so many things from your siblings. they spent a lot of the snow days singing the most obnoxious song that they created, “butts in the USA”. now you sing it too: “BUTT. SAY.” just great. you also fake burp now too followed with a “SKEE ME!” it’s very charming.

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snow tunnel!

you love love love apples and no one eats one in front of you unless they are planning to share. papa has lost many a lunch apple to you during breakfast, so now he has to quickly sneak them into his bag. it’s fascinating for me to watch, as your other 2 siblings only started to eat apples when i started slicing them. the fact that you will just bite right into a whole one is such an interesting change. and you’ll eat most of it too.

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chocolate covered pretzels!

you spent a good portion of the month learning how to jump and it has been AMAZING. you are so, so proud of yourself now and still spend quite a lot of time perfecting the technique. now that you can jump with 2 feet from the ground, you are working on jumping across the room. it’s definitely up there with the most cutest thing ever that you can do.

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reading with gus

you discovered the hexbugs this month and they are your newest obsessions. the problem is that you also like to put them into your month, so now we have no working ones left. they were fun while it lasted, though.

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plaid pajamas

you very much like music and songs and right now your two favorite are “happy girls happy boys” and “uh’down“. happy girls and boys you will sing “‘appy gurls” and uptown you regularly demand. that one is the most amazing to watch, as you stop everything you are doing to stare. occasionally you will shout “ooh!” with the song, but mostly you are just entranced.

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311th uptown viewing

we had some fun visits this month as well – aunt nita came and we went to salem for their chocolate and ice festival and later nana and grandpa visited too. it was also gus’ birthday, so you got to have some cupcakes at his birthday party too (we got lucky, the storm started after his birthday party that time).

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snow! eye!

it was a strange and wintery month but a good one too. happy 21 months, sweet baby.

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21 months

love,

mama

20 months

dear baby bird,

as i sit here waiting for the snowpocalypse, your bigger brother is at school, your papa is at a meeting, your big brother is upstairs sleeping off the flu, and you are on my lap for your nap. it’s literally the calm before the storm, and i’m appreciating every moment of it.

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yikes, stripes!

you are a whirlwind, take-no-prisoners kind of toddler pup. when you are up, everyone else better be at ’em. your papa and brothers have mostly learned not to put anything down anywhere even close to your reach if they ever want to see it again, but something definitely still gets poured, eaten, torn, destroyed or all of the above on a daily basis. it’s not that you are necessarily destructive per se, but that you can’t help yourself – you need to do and see and touch and eat all of the things. it can wear a mama out, let me tell you.

it’s been a mighty rainy or cold winter so far, which means that we don’t get out as much as any of us would like. but on those rare occasions that we do, oh how you LOVE to be anywhere but home (tell me about it, buddy). the outside is still your favorite place of all, and it is always completely heartbreak when someone goes “mmm-yyy” without you. you know all about putting on boots and hats and coats, and you will bring more of them to me if asked. and even put them on if you are able. just please PLEASE take you mmm-yyy RIGHT NOW.

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happy birthday, papa!

it’s hard to get far these days, though, as you had been sick and we had been traveling and exciting things had been happening, so you were often falling asleep in the car way too early and then not napping and not napping CANNOT HAPPEN I’M SORRY. for one, it makes you a complete mess in the afternoon and for two, it means mama can’t work and that is never any good for anyone. although now we’ve shifted into a phase where fine, you’ll just skip your nap all together thank you, and frankly that is not good for anyone either. you still nap most days, but already i can see signs of nap dropping in your future. i am hopping you’ll hang on through most of the upcoming school year at least but i’ll guess we’ll just see, won’t we, stinker?

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suckers

ah you are getting so big! here are some of the fun new things that you do:

*since you love babies so much, nana let you take a baby doll home from her house and you love to carry it around. you like photos of babies and babies in movies and babies at the store. you can say “baby” and for awhile we even had a baby doll stroller upstairs for you to push around. but then you kept getting stuck inside of it and now it’s back in the basement.

*you are talking talking talking so much! you have learned your bigger brother’s name and so you are always so pleased to talk to him about things “gus!” you will say, followed by who knows what else. but you are always so pleased to get his attention. one afternoon you were both sitting together and gus got up to do something and you hollered “gus! SIT DOWN!”. gus was so surprised that he did it. and we all laughed and laughed.

*you like to help with things so much – unloading the dishwasher (and turning it on and off at nana’s house. grandpa did not find this so helpful), putting away the groceries, putting coats away, unfolding clothes (well, that is not so helpful). if i let you, you would plunge all of the things too. we have to keep the bathroom door closed or you will carry the toilet plunger around. actually, that is not so helpful either, frankly. you do keep us on our toes!

*you love to give kisses, and most nights you need to give smooches before bedtime. everyone is always happy to oblige, and it’s my favorite part of your routine. you like to give hugs too, and you will shout “hug-oo!” before you throw your arms around the object of your affection. this is adorable but also tends to happen in the middle of my trying to do something else, like put your coat or shoes on or brush your hair. i can’t tell if you are deliberately trying to derail me or if it just makes you think of it since we’re already so close.

*you’re learning to stick your bum up in the air for wiping. it’s useful, but the hard part is getting you to put it back down again. one of these days you are going to faint.

*you love trying to say new words. you will immediately parrot song sounds after hearing us sing something, and one night you were quite pleased to be able to shout “wha-wha-wha krass” in an attempt to get permission to watch wild kraits with your brothers. you want to watch movies so badly! this next 16 months is going to be a long hard wait for you.

*you learned how to say “circle” just last week and today, “honey.” you are absorbing everything like a ginger sponge. i told you the other day that the new tripp trapp we bought from a friend was going to be for you as i put it in the car and then when i want to get it out you patted it and looked at me and said, “mine shair”. my goodness.

*calum’s SLP taught you how to say “pease” when you want something and now when you want something so very badly (so all of the time, basically) you will desperately make the more sign and beg “pease! pease!”. indeed, just yesterday you wanted more veggie booties but i wanted you to have some fruit instead and you looked at me with those big hazel green eyes and chirped “mo! dis! pease! pease!” and well how was i supposed to say no to THAT?

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papa snuggles

you like to curl up in bed with your brothers during their bedtime stories. you are awful and distracting and you are never allowed to stay for more than one book unless for some reason we WANT them all wound up read to be awake all night, but it’s pretty adorable to see you all curled up in there. you’ve decided that we don’t nurse in my lap for bedtime anymore either – you want to “seep!” and you pat the bed and i have to pull the covers over you and we nurse lying down. it’s very sweet and also obnoxious when you want to switch sides.

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bedtime book reader

you want to do all of the eating things by yourself too, please. if someone tries to feed you or hold a glass you shout “NO!” and then you tap the table over and over “dis, dis, dis” until papa or i put the object in question down and you can feed of drink it yourself. it’s very very adorable and very very messy.

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snow helper

you will tell me know if you peed and i need to get the towel. you will sometimes tell me you need to use the potty and we’ll have time even to take off your diaper. as this is not actually something i am pushing you to do, it’s fascinating to watch you learn about this process. you are always very delighted to wave everything away down the toilet and of course always want to carry your potty yourself. there ARE some things mama still insists on doing around here.

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20 months

happy 20 months, my sleepy love, i can’t wait to see what you think of all the snow tomorrow (so far you think snow and sledding are rather grand).

love,

mama

19 months

dear little chicken,

what a wonderful winter holiday season you had! we had a fantastic solstice here and then a wonderful christmas in virginia and then a fun new year’s back home. you were delighted by everything of course. even though it’s your second time around, everything is still new, and seeing the wonder in your eyes is just about the most magical thing. for example one night i was putting the lights up outside and one of the bulbs had burnt out, so i brought it inside to fix. i was sitting with the whole string plugged in, taking bulbs in and out to see which one didn’t work, so the everything kept lighting up and turning off over and over. you came over, sat down next to me and put your hand on me knee and whispered, “wow.” yep, that’s why we do this, baby.

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tree hunting

of course we couldn’t put any decorations on the bottom 2 feet of the tree. you mostly left the lights alone, so that was something. you almost knocked everything over trying to get calum’s basketball ornament when you dragged a chair over, climbed up, and then just leaned. but you only broke a few (more than either of your brothers ever did) ornaments and no lights and the tree did stay up the whole time here AND at nana’s. although you spent a lot of time plugging and unplugging the lights on nana’s tree and filling the tree stand up with marbles. because you have to get into all of the things.

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puddle jumper

you especially liked our yule log and solstice poem readings. after about a week or so, whenever the lights would go out in the kitchen you would chant “yule yule yule.” you don’t miss a thing, baby! i’m sure next year you will be saying the poem or at least insisting that it’s your turn to blow out the candles. or light them. so help me.

2014 12 07 brothers

decorators

it wasn’t all fun and games this month – you got your first big stomach bug. i had just emailed a friend that evening to say that we hadn’t gotten a bug from their party. but then when i got up to pee at 3 that morning i heard papa having a ruckus. ah poor bear! throwing up is so confusing! you were quite a champion, but it took you a few days to get over it. one of the times you threw up and it splashed all over the kitchen, much to calum’s horror/delight. although when you weren’t throwing up, you’d hardly know you were sick, my little hearty cauliflower.

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winning?

we got your rain boots this month and you LOVE them. you can put them on and off yourself, so that is quite pleasing. in fact, you will wear anyone’s rain boots that you can find. “boot-eh!” you say, as you show off your footwear. it even rained a few times and you got to wear them out. you were quite proud of yourself stomping around in the wet.

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popcorn!

you learned how to say “beer” this month as well. it is simultaneously incredibly adorable and incredibly mortifying. it’s not that i never thought you would say it, it’s just sort of amazing that it’s one of your top 50 words. plus the fact that you can say “beer” and “gun” really implies a different kind of household!

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daredevil

you are THE. WORST. at meal times, even though you love food and eating. you love having a a piece of toast and smoothie for breakfast and woe to the mama who is slow in serving you. after eating some and making a huge mess, you will get down, get wiped off, and then climb in my chair and hang onto my neck until i feed you my breakfast. it is not pleasant. no wonder mama is always so cranky in the morning. lunch is not really a thing for you but at dinner time we have the same routine. you like to eat some of the things, to make a mess, and then to try to climb on me. i will not miss this stage.

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great nana

you still love taking baths, and if i ask you if you are ready for one, you will drop everything and head upstairs. and then screech if i don’t get you naked fast enough. and when i take you back out again. because you love the water SO MUCH. one night at nana’s they let you play with the kitchen sink for probably a half an hour and you were STILL angry when i got you down to put you in dry clothes. warm weather can’t come fast enough for this water baby.

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tears until chocolate

you’re becoming both more and less interested in the potty. it’s sort of fascinating. if your diaper is off you will sometimes just go straight to the potty, but you are still so small that you can’t be bothered to be interrupted if you are playing. if i take you over mid business, it usually makes you mad. even so, you are always quite pleased if you are successful. since you still have some interest we keep the potties around, but there’s no rush. you had a bit of a rash this month so we let you bum out a lot. i imagine in a few months you’ll be done with diapers all together, which is crazy to think about. although if you get too much bigger our diapers won’t fit you anymore anyway, so i suppose it’s a good thing you’re so interested. i just can’t believe how quickly you are getting into all of the big kid things.

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19 months

oh my little bear, please don’t grow up so fast.

love,

mama

18 months

oh my love,

18 months! a year and a half! remember how this used to be mama’s favorite age? and then you came along? and are the busiest stinker this side of 3? i can’t sit and think for a minute these days without you wreaking the most havoc available to your tiny hands.

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burrito eater

you had your first snow this month – or first that you can remember. you were quite awed. you loved sledding with your brothers and you refused your mittens. which repeatedly resulted in tears from the cold, cold snow. but oh how you wanted to touch it! but it was so cold! although i never look forward to new england winters, i do hope we get some more snow for you.

you had fun at thanksgiving too, with your great aunt nita and uncle adam here to visit. you tried many delicious foods and played and played.

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artiste

speaking of foods, you have decided that you love apples, and you frequently ask for them (appum! appum!). unlike your brothers, you prefer them whole, and slices don’t really interest you. you like most fruits, though, and even some vegetables. everything besides apples are “crackers”. and everything you drink is “wawa” and you love smoothie wawa the most.

now that you have proven that you can walk on your own, you feel like it’s okay to hold a finger sometimes. usually when going over slightly rough terrain or up and down curbs. i love holding your little hand, but you only want it for as long as you need it and share no sentimental feelings about it at all. indeed, when i make you hold my hand as we cross the street, you have been known to bend my pinky backwards. little charmer.

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autmun leaving

you learned how to say “no” this month. or rather, “NO!”. even better is when you yell “NO! MINE!”. i’m sorry but it’s cute every time you shout that angrily. i don’t mean laugh, and i really do try not to laugh where you can see me, but angry toddlers really are just about the cutest thing.

you’re a kid who knows what he wants. “moohies?” i ask. “yeah!” you say. “bedtime?” “yeah!”. and then you give all of the smooches and we walk up to bed.

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more cheeze please

you learned how to say “gun” this month too. at first i thought that maybe i was mishearing. but then you picked up the blaster (you each have a star wars blaster) and said “gun. gun, gun, GUN.” okay, then.

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you are such a kid! although you still like the baby swing, you demand to sit on the big kid swings now too. and you can do it! we don’t push you so so high, but you are proud to sit up and hold on all by yourself. and then you just slide off when you’re finished, giving me a heart attack every time. you like to help with the dishwasher – putting dirty dishes in or taking clean dishes out. you’re not particular, you just like to give a hand. groceries too. goodness forbid a mama from letting you help put the groceries away.

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appum

it’s getting cooler but you don’t mind and you want to go outside every chance you get. “mmm yyy?” you ask “mmm yyy!!”. you will get your shoes “shoos!” or boots “boo-tee” and “coht” so we can go. and then heaven help me if i still have to get my own things on once you are ready. still, i love that you love to go for walks and play outside. i hope this winter cooperates with us!

you are growing growing growing, big kid: 33 1/2 inches long and 24 lbs 9 oz. No wonder you feel so heavy!

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18 months

happy 18 months, lovely you!

love,

mama

17 months

dear hugo,

happy halloween! okay, you actually don’t turn 17 months until after halloween, but since it’s one of our best holidays, we celebrate it all month. you really enjoy getting into the holiday spirit about things, and you have fun with all of the silly halloween and autumn things we did together. it’s such a delight watching you experience all of our holiday traditions for the first (second) time.

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plastic bag ghosts

so many changes have been happening for you this month, too. your eyes continue to turn – they are looking more steadily green than blue-green, with perhaps some little shoots of brown. i can’t tell if they are turning brown or hazel or brown-green. whatever they are, they are still quite lovely – and distinct from your brothers’.

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waterfront music festival

you are saying more words. just the other day you brought me a bubble wand and said very cleary, “mama! buh-bul!” i didn’t know you knew what a bubble wand was, let alone how to talk about it! you continue to surprise me with all your observations and thoughts about them. you will complain “ATCH!” when something bothers you. my favorite are the under-your-breath ones – i hate to see you get even a small pain, but it’s adorable to hear you talk about it. you like to tell me “tik-el tik-el tik-el” while your tap me with your fingers. sometimes it’s my belly of face, although lately it’s while we are breastfeeding. that’s no time for playing! you will make anything a game, though, if you can.

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look out, gus!

you are working on the stairs. “m-wock” you say, asking for a hand to help you take them by foot. you will grunt in concentration as you take a few, and then crawl the rest of the way. you want to do everything like the big kids do.

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rainy day corn a-maze

you have been working so hard on your TEETH. almost all of them are in. it’s been a restless couple of months, but i think maybe now we can all finally rest.

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you actually like riding the bike

that helps especially at night, when you will now nurse a little bit and then just snuggle into me. you fit just right under my chin and above my knees. and i just have to sleep that way, even if it’s not quite comfortable. there is almost nothing better than your warm baby snuggles at night.

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what is happening to this pumpkin?

you often demand “mm wawa! mm wawa!” and no glass of water is safe around you. you will climb right into your high chair and demand food. and sometimes you will even sit there and eat it. you like so many things that it’s a delight to feed you. and a mess. still, it’s a pleasure to share with you, and you are pleased to sit even for a little bit with the rest of us at the table.

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rainy day good times

you like to make lots of jokes and to play. your favorite joke right now is climbing into the kitchen cabinet next to the sink, waving “bye!” and then shutting the door while you hide inside. if i put my potatoes in there, i will find them all about the floor later. it’s become your  favorite hideaway, and nothing brings you greater delight than when your big bothers try to squish in there with you. you can almost all three fit in there too!

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your papa’s new job has him frequently busy in the evenings, and you are a pest at dinner time, but we are figuring it out. sometimes if i let you crawl up in the learning tower it helps. mostly you are a pest, though. i had to take all of the knobs off of the stove so we don’t die of carbon monoxide poisoning. it’s good thing you are so cute, little busy body.

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17 months

happy 17 months, my love!

love,

mama

16 months

dear peanut,

more teeth! more walking! more words! that’s pretty much what you do right now, more more more things. more climbing. more playing. more growing.

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quietly reading your book

this was a rough couple of weeks for sleep as your top molars pushed their way through. for several nights in a row you would FINALLY roll over to go to sleep and i was sigh and look at the clock and realize OH. TIME TO GET UP. but now at the end of the month all of your molars are through the gums and only your last 4 incisors are left. those don’t seem to be as terrible, which is nice for us both.

you’ve started having tantrums this month. honestly, at 16 months, that’s a pretty sweet deal for mama and papa. they are amazing and loud and you have OPINIONS. and you are not easily DISTRACTED. i was combing out some knots after a bath last night and you yelled “MAMA! STOP IT! GUYS!” you also know how to “count down” when the big kids are trouble. you are something else, little bird.

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baby’s first apple cider donut

since you are such an expert walker (you don’t lurch anymore! mostly!), you have decided that it is time to learn how to jump. you count for yourself (da, da, DA!) and then you push up onto your toes and laugh. it’s so fantastic that i sort of hope you don’t learn how to jump for awhile.

you are a big fan of your brothers but you have begun to notice that august disappears for awhile every day. you finally realized it has something to do with a big yellow bus and you give them a big furrowed look when you gus get on them now. where is that thing taking my brother? you are always so happy to see him when he gets home, and you have taken to frequently throwing your arms around his legs and demanding smooches. august loves this at least as much as i do.

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swings are your favorite

you drive calum crazy – following him around knocking over his things and pushing him down to the ground and pulling his hair. your middle brother adores you, but it’s a bit more trying for him than it is for august. and sometimes he asks if we could “just not have a baby anymore.” i reassure him you won’t always be this awful, but he is skeptical.

you learned how to say “puppy” this month when a neighbor brought their little dog over to show. you think almost all animals are great, and you are not shy about petting them, so i have to be careful with strangers’ animals. but so far you are very gentle, so we have had good experiences. you always sort of bark/roar whenever you see an animal of any kind, so that is fun too. and your favorite book (that you’ve loved almost to death) is “what do you say?”. you love the animal pictures and sounds.

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apple picker

now that most of your teeth are in you are really enjoying eating all of the foods again and if are good at stealing other people’s snack as well. you can’t leave a plate – or a vitamin! – unattended with you on the prowl. you will sit in your own seat sometimes, but mostly you prefer to sit in a “big kid” chair with your butt as close to the edge as possible to give mama a heart attack waiting for you to fall off. but it means that you really aren’t restaurant friendly in the least these days, which is fine. maybe in a few more months when you don’t have so many things to do.

we also went for our first bike ride this month – mama FINALLY got a bike seat on her bike and you love to ride (once we figured out how to keep the helmet out of your eyes). we rode august to school one day, which was lots of fun, and we hope to do it again soon, and we’ve ridden to soccer practice too. it’s pretty fun to have around.

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16 months

well happy 16 months, big kid! i love so you very much!

love,

mama