Caroline and Tyler,
You are an entire year and a half old. That has always seemed like such a "big kid" age to me, and funny enough, you two are big kids now. I'm struggling to think of things you cannot do. You went from needing my help up and down the stairs to allowing me to hold your hand if I'm lucky, and from cackles & giggles to trying to mimic my every word. You can't quite get all those syllables out yet, but you try so desperately in hopes that I will give you affirmation that you've done something well. I've learned that positive reinforcement will change your attitude in a snap these days, and just one clap of the hands and "good job baby!" will make you happier than a pig in sunshine. Today at lunch, I had the (apparently not smart) idea of letting you use a toothpick to spear your food. Every single time you picked up piece of cherry tomato, you'd say "luuuuuuuh" to get my attention, and every single time I looked, I'd make the biggest deal in the world about it. An even bigger deal was made when you chewed it up and ate it, and needless to say, you inhaled every single spec of food on those plates. When I sent a picture to daddy of Caroline smiling and posing with a speared piece of chicken quesadilla, he got all nervous that I'd let you accidentally swallow the toothpick. I laughed, but appeased him and agreed to never let you use them again... we'll just have to get creative with our weapons against food destruction from now on. :)
As I'm trying to think of all the interesting things you both are doing at this stage, the one thing that keeps popping up in my mind is how curious you are. You are into everything, but not necessarily in a bad way. If I open the dishwasher, you sprint to the kitchen to help me load or unload it. Caroline is especially fond of handing me all the clean plates and bowls, and Tyler loves to open the drawers so that I can put the utensils away. You just love to see how things work, and once you see them, you certainly don't forget them. Flash lights, toothbrushes, computers, phones, remotes, cameras, alarm clocks (Tyler runs to the dresser every time he's in our room and immediately turns the radio on)... pretty much anything operable is like a gravitational pull. You still love to clean (just like your mommy!), and if I leave a dish towel within reach it will disappear within seconds so you can wipe down the floors. But as clean as you like to make the inside, outside is a different story. The more dirt the better, and shoveling is your most favorite outdoor activity. Both of you were fighting over the shovel so much we had to buy a second one, and now you'll stand there shoveling and throwing dirt on each other's heads over and over again. Needless to say, going outside is always our last activity of the day.
As much as you two are similar in actions, though, there are noticeable differences in your personalities!
Miss Caroline, you are our drama-filled princess all the way. When you get mad or irritated, you let us all know about it by screaming. Although I try to talk to you calmly and help figure out what's wrong, generally, all you want for me to do is pick you up and cuddle you. I'm pretty sure you'd never walk if I'd allow it some days. :) You love to hear that you look "pretty" after I fix your hair, and if I forget to tell you, you'll say "peeeeeh?" until I remind you. In the realm of appearances, you're not much for clothes or diapers presently, and you'll do just about anything to get yours off. I always ask if you'd like to use the potty when this happens, and you run to it every time. Most times you'll produce at least something for me, just to hear me praise you. I think we're going to be getting rid of the diapers sooner than later, if we're lucky! You are growing more and more obsessed with books by the day, and you are so inquisitive about each illustration. If I try to actually read the book, though, you get bored with it and have to move onto another. As far as you're concerned, the most important part of reading is pointing to each thing on the page to figure out what it's called, and ducks ("duuuuh") are your favorite. You also love to "roar" at the lions/tigers and "meow" at the cats. You're still completely attached to your yaya, and it goes almost everywhere that you do. I often hide it behind the couch pillows before we're leaving the house so that you'll forget it, and luckily, out of sight is out of mind. The minute it crosses your path again, though, it's as if the world is ending until you have it within your grasp. One of your favorite activities is to put yaya in your baby stroller and push it around the house, and if your baby doll is lucky, sometimes she gets to stay in the stroller with yaya. Priorities! Oh, and we also think you're going to grow up to be a sprinter... you're faster than the speed of light when you run and it's pretty amazing.
And Tyler... I just stare at you on a daily basis and wonder how you grew into this little man. You try to talk to me all the time now, and everything that comes out of my mouth is fair game for you to repeat. When daddy comes home at night, I often tell him the things you've learned to say that day and we try our hardest to get you to say them on command. You must've gotten the stubborn gene from someone (ahem, surely not me), though, because you will only say what you want, when you want to. Your favorites right now are "moo" when I ask what a cow says, "buuuuuuh" when you see or hear a bird outside, "heh yaya" (here's yaya) when Caroline needs her blanket, "mama," "daaaa," "baby," "shoooos" (shoes), "shishi" (sissy), "meme" (Mickey), and "chaaa" (jaxx). As far as agility goes, you're probably one of the most athletic little people I've seen at this age. You set the stage for your sister and friends on how to scare your parents to death... whether it's climbing on the ottoman and jumping back and forth from the couch to the chair, or scaling the dining room table, nursery recliner, or patio furniture. You're also quite coordinated, and you insist on helping me buckle your straps on the stroller and carseat each time. If I don't let you do it by yourself you are not happy at all! You seem to have a level of concentration in everything you do, and it's obvious that you think your actions through. With that said, you throw one heck of a fit if you're in a bad mood, and just last week I had to eat lunch with you in my lap because you absolutely refused to sit in your chair at the restaurant. If you don't get your nap out, you can be quite a pistol! Much like Caroline, you've also become attached to your Buzz blanket. You call it yaya as well :)
To both of you, here are a few things that you're loving right now:
* Pointing to your eyes, nose, mouth, hair and toes and calling them by name.
* Dancing! If the music plays, you're down to shake it.
* Going "round and round," which is spinning around continuously until you fall over in a dizzy fog. Your love it after baths when daddy puts the velcro-handed-Buzz-Lightyear around your necks and sings for you.
* Chasing Connor & Jaxx and pulling their tails (poor, sweet animals, they are saints for putting up with you both).
* Sitting in the wagon by the front window and looking for trucks and birds.
* Pretend cooking in your play kitchen. Caroline, you especially love when I taste your food and tell you how wonderful it is!
* Going shopping with your grocery cart around the house and in the back yard.
* Exploring outside and finding treasures to bring back to me.
* Playing in the sprinkler, the water mat, or the hose. You have no fear of being cold & wet, ever.
* Picking out the toy farm animals when I ask you to hand me each one by name.
* Taking Connor for walks every day.
* Using utensils at every meal, and feeding yourself yogurt and applesauce out of their containers without help.
* Dipping! If it's a food, it must be dipped in something in order to be edible. I've gotten creative with this one, and you used broccoli cheddar soup as your dip today :)
* Pulling up anyone's shirt you can get your hands on and pointing to their "beeeeh" (belly). You love to blow on my belly and make noises, so if either of you are having a particularly rough meltdown, I'll often lay down in the floor and let you have at it. Works every time.
I'm sure there are a million more things that I'll think of later, but the one that I'd like to make special mention of is how loving and comforting you are to each other. In almost every post I've written directly to you, I have talked about the fact that I love how close you two are and how I hope you stay best friends forever. Although you have your brother/sister moments of irritation, in general, you really love each other. You are partners in crime, and you are quick to run to the other if they're upset. First things first, whoever is not crying will promptly go get the other's yaya and hand it to them. If that doesn't completely do the trick, they'll often rub their back or stroke their hair... which absolutely melts my heart. When we're in the jogging stroller and you're side by side, you can't keep from touching each other. Whether you're leaning your heads together or holding hands, you seem to just need to feel the other there. Often when I'm in the kitchen and you're allowed free reign of the deck, you'll each pick a side of the sliding glass door to stand on and talk to each other. You'll kiss through the glass and touch hands, and it's honestly precious to watch. I keep thinking about how I need a video of it, but I can't seem to pull away long enough to get the camera in fear that I'll miss it. When we're getting in the car to go somewhere, you will both lean over your seats just to make sure the other is there, and when you see your sippy or snack cups, whoever sees them first will grab both and make sure they give the appropriate cups to the other.
You look out for each other, even at 18 months old, and I can only hope that it will last a lifetime. The bond you share is amazing, and although I'm a broken record, I'm so utterly blessed to be your mother. If I ever have a moment where I can run errands by myself, I miss you the whole time (as crazy as that sounds). It makes it worth the time away, though, when I walk through the front door and hear "mommmmmy!" and see the two of you running to greet me. Even if I've only been gone for thirty minutes, your little faces light up when you see me and it's just another reminder of how precious this time is. You're growing up so fast, sweet babies... but I'm lucky enough to be here for every minute of it.
Happy 18 Months!