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A Letter To My 18-Month Old

I make a big deal of every 21st that passes, but this one felt particularly momentous. Eighteen months – a year and a half. Well on his way to being a two-year-old, and I couldn’t possibly have one of those.

It’s been a fun month. It’s been a fun year and a half. It’s been a wild ride that I hope never runs out.

We celebrated 18 months with a low-grade fever, french toast for breakfast, and a lot of Curious George. But we made up for it the next day when the sun came out, and we spent our afternoon on the playground. Cullen is so fast these days that I don’t get as many pictures of him anymore – he’s always just a blur! But each month I make a point to do one “official” photoshoot so that I can make sure to capture each one as it passes.

I somehow managed to snap 500 pictures over the course of a few hours (you can tell it was long overdue!), but I narrowed it down to my favorites to share with you.  Here is my letter to Cullen – my toddler who is a year and a half!

  • Dear Cullen, 1 of 20
    babble1

    Every time I think about how big you've gotten and how long ago it was that you were a little baby, I picture us sitting in your glider back in the Fremont nursery. We'd rock and nap for hours sometimes. It's hard to believe you are that same tiny person!

  • A year and a half? 2 of 20
    babble2

    This eighteen month milestone has felt like a big one a year and a half already? We've been so busy having fun that I never found time to sit down and write your seventeen month update. I figure that's a few extra hours you got on a playground somewhere, so hopefully you'll forgive me. 

  • Big boy 3 of 20
    babble3

    At eighteen months you are a rambunctious and mischievous little guy.You have recently become very clingy to your mama, and your favorite place to be is in my arms all 26+ pounds of you. You are keeping me young (and tired).

  • It just keeps getting better… 4 of 20
    babble4

    When you were still a little lump that laid in one place, people tried to warn me that it would get so much harder once you started moving. And while it has certainly presented new challenges, it has also gotten infinitely more fun. 

  • High five! 5 of 20
    babble5

    You still love the swings and, unless it is raining, we go to the playground every day. Your favorite part is to swing near and get a high five, or to lean in and see if we can kiss you.

  • Giggles 6 of 20
    babble6

    It sends you into fits of laughter every.single.time. You have this new amazing laugh that sounds like a bear growling. It's deep and throaty and totally ridiculous. It makes me and dad laugh, which just makes you growl louder.

  • Mine all mine 7 of 20
    babble7

    You also have this bizarre obsession with possessions. You have certain things you have deemed as yours, that you like to carry around with you. At our weekly Gymboree classes, you always find a ball or small shape at the beginning, and carry it around to every single slide, climbing wall, and game for the entire hour. Yesterday, you fell in love with this purple shovel and insisted on carrying it at all times. 

  • Beach bum 8 of 20
    babble8

    This month brought your first trip to the beach, which sparked a new love affair with the sand. Lucky for us, we have beaches very close to our house, so we meet dad there after work on warm, sunny evenings. We learned the hard way that we need to always be armed with our own shovel and pail, otherwise you go looking to be adopted into other families.

  • This way, mom! 9 of 20
    babble9

    You have a very strong sense of what you want and when you want it, and you are not always happy when we don't agree. You think you are much bigger than you are, and you scare mom often by doing things like insisting on going down the big kid's slide. 

  • Enough said. 10 of 20
    babble10

    Your favorite word is NO.

  • Sweet kisses 11 of 20
    babble11

    And while you can be incredibly strong-willed and determined (already!), you are also very sweet and loving. You give hugs to Huey and Indy all day long, and you are actually willing to put your head on my chest for a few minutes before bedtime again. You absolutely love to share kisses.

  • Kisses are funny. 12 of 20
    babble12

    In fact, you think they are kind of hilarious.

  • Mr. Independent 13 of 20
    babble13

    Every day you need my help less and less. I watch you scale the climbing mats at play class like a little monkey, and I wonder where on earth you learned to do it. You put puzzles together faster than I do, work an iPad better than your grandparents, and you have this sense of confidence and fearlessness that is equal parts amazing and terrifying for me as a mother.

  • Well-rested 14 of 20
    babble14

    While you were once the world's most predictable sleeper, we hit a few bumps this month. The week with no naps almost broke both of us. Thankfully, this week you are back to "normal" napping, which means our afternoons are a lot more fun.

  • Crazy climber 15 of 20
    babble15

    When you don't take a nap, you are happy to hang out in your crib and just roll around, toss stuffed animals out, or read books. But it's hard for mom to relax or work because you also like to put your foot up on the top rail of the crib and practice your climbing skills. We fear that your days in the crib are numbered, and it's only a matter of time before you climb completely out!

  • Airborn 16 of 20
    babble16

    When you are awake, your feet barely touch the ground. You are FAST, and you love to chase and be chased. The dogs who were once so wary of you have become your best friends.

  • Woof 17 of 20
    babble17

    Speaking of dogs, you are really into animal noises. You point and shout a very loud "OOF OOF" at every dog that passes by, including your own. This means that mom hears your OOFS no less than 200 times a day, yet somehow it never seems to get old. Other favorite animal noises include monkey, sheep, dinosaur, cow, owl (this is mom's favorite), chicken, elephant, and alligator. We go to the zoo at least once a week, and the gorillas are always the highlight. 

  • Ahhhhhhhh! 18 of 20
    babble18

    You are incredibly social and love to watch the people around you. You pick up on little things that mom and dad do, and mimic them in your own funny way. Every time you take a big drink of water or milk, you swallow and then open your mouth to release a big "aahhhhhh" afterward. You sound so refreshed!

  • Picky eater 19 of 20
    babble19

    You also point to your food and say "mmmmm" if it's something you're actually willing to eat. I have a hard time predicting what that will be these days, since your preferences seem to change on an hourly basis. Who would have ever guessed you'd eat your green beans last night?

  • Big brother 20 of 20
    babble20

    It's still a good ways away, but I'm starting to think about you more and more as a big brother. It feels simultaneously heart-melting and heart-wrenching to think about how our lives will change. I tear up with excitement thinking about you holding your new little sib, and how I hope the two of you become fast friends. And then I tear up with sadness knowing that these last few months of just you and us are going to inevitably fly by. In the meantime, I am making sure I don't miss a single moment. 

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