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Dear Moe (16 Months)

Oh, my sweet love, you are 16 months old today. And you are so much fun, it’s incredible. You are a sweet, playful little boy who loves to be busy, laugh and explore.

We’ve kept very busy over the past month - we’ve tried to take you on a special outing every weekend. This has included Touch a Truck, where we spent a very rainy morning with Granny and Bambi in the parking lot at Lincoln Fields exploring different vehicles. You got to sit in an enormous tractor! But you were most interested in the Red Cross van, which wasn’t part of the exhibit, but the Red Cross workers were nice enough to let you explore the outside of the van. You liked the Red Cross symbol especially.

For the first time in 12 years, Daddy managed to get the Saturday of the Great Glebe Garage Sale off! We had a nice family outing with some of our friends, and you were super patient while we wheeled you through the crowded streets of the Glebe. We came home with a finger puppet for you (a giraffe), one for Daddy (Yoda), and a lovely Pooh Bear picture book.

Granny and I took you to OC Transpo for Doors Open Ottawa. You were very excited when we let you walk around on your own, but not impressed when you weren’t allowed to go everywhere you wanted. You got to walk around a Double Decker bus and an old vintage bus. You liked sitting in the OC Transpo mini-bus (you were very interested in the candy canes that had been in there since the Santa Claud Parade - no, we didn’t let you eat them). But it was the mulch in the landscaped areas around the parking lot that made you happiest.

Yesterday was Father’s Day - Daddy’s second. It was a lovely day by all accounts. We went to the Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne Park for the first time - what a fantastic place! I think we’ll be going there again on Sunday mornings. But wow, we’re going to have to set a budget. It was so easy to spend a lot of money - but it was a special day, so we went a little wild and got some nice treats. Everybody wanted to give you a a sample. You tried a few types of sweet bread (we bought the apple one for you), some chicken lime curry (you liked it, so we bought some), a small piece of shortbread (you looked confused) and Mommy shared an egg-free donut with you (you were all over that). Wow. No wonder you were kind of hyped up from the sugar.

Right now, it’s all about finding things you’ll eat. Some meals go better than others. You won’t touch stew anymore, which is a shame, since it was such a staple for us for a long time. You’re also not a fan of green things. Right now, we rely a lot on sandwiches, pizza, and hummus. You’ve tried a smoothie (we’ll have to do that again soon - we just need to pick up more yogurt), you like hearts of palm, you’re a fan of mushrooms, you like strawberries if they are sweet, and you enjoy oranges. If you don’t want something, you make it very clear. A lot of mealtime involves you testing our reflexes to see if we can catch the food before it gets flung on the floor. (You are especially fond of chucking your sippy cup onto the floor with such force that if it hits my foot, I howl in pain. Thanks, baby doll. I love you, too.) You are getting quite adept at feeding yourself with a spoon, but you still need a guiding hand or else things get a little crazy. You like to paint your tray with the spoon, burrow into the food dish with such exuberance that it goes everywhere, and push the food off the spoon with your fingers.

I know you need to explore to learn, so my challenge right now is finding that middle ground. I want you to be free to explore and learn and experience new things, but I also want to keep my sanity. We’re walking this new ground together. I suspect this will be a lifelong thing. I’ll keep working at it if you do, sweetie.

Playtime with you is a lot of fun. You’re now playing with Hot Wheels and you love them. They work so well on your car ramp! We try and spend time every day out in the backyard, whether you are playing with the water table, with your cars or in the kiddie pool. When you hit the park now, you’re no longer interested in the swings. It’s all about the sand. You also like the slides. And I caught you feeding your puffs to your giraffe finger puppet the other day, which was adorable and showed that you like pretend play. I’m going to try and nurture that a bit more if I can. I’d like to get you a set of play dishes – we’ve borrowed a few from the toy lending library and you’ve really enjoyed them. Perhaps it’s time to find one for you to keep at home.

You still love your books, which makes us very happy. You have a great vocabulary – you know a lot of words and can point to things when we ask you. You can identify some shapes and colours, lots of animals and vehicles, as well as everyday items. But you aren’t talking yet. I’m trying not to worry about it – you make lots of noises and like to babble away. You are good at communicating your desires. You’ll get there in time.

You are great at walking – even on grass and on sand – and you can run, too! You also like walking backwards and turning in circles, which always makes me smile. (So much of what you do makes me smile.)

You have been very Mommy-centered for the last little while. You like me to stay nearby and protest if I walk away (even if it’s just to get myself a drink of water or use the bathroom). I’m flattered, don’t get me wrong, but getting things done can be a bit challenging when you’re like this.

One Sunday a few weeks ago, you just weren’t yourself. You cried a lot, very suddenly, and just seemed very insecure all of a sudden. It turned into a very cuddly day. We took it easy and spent a good chunk of the afternoon together on the floor looking at books, watching TV, and generally being gentle with ourselves. I was sorry you weren’t feeling your best, but was wonderful to have you sit in my lap, stroke my arm with your hand, and have you rest your head on my shoulder.

We often take the porch swing cushion and put it on the living room floor with your brown blanket when it’s time to chill out a bit. That’s where we sit when we watch The Backyardigans together. Sometimes you sit quite still with me, giving the TV your full attention. Other times you like to flop around on the cushion and roll and laugh. Either way, we have a good time.

We try really hard to treat you with respect. And lately that means giving you warnings before we change activities. We’ve started telling you that you have two more minutes of something, then one more minute. It doesn’t mean you don’t cry when we move on to something else (getting out of the bath, coming in from outside, getting back into the stroller or the car), but I think you cry for a shorter period of time.

Overall, you’re buckets of fun. You love being chased, you love to be picked up and thrown around, you love to dance. You have the best chuckle in the world (although you’re losing your fantastic baby cackle, which makes me sad – we’re going to have to try and get video of that), you’re developing a great sense of humour, and you have the sweetest smile. Everybody wants to coax a smile out of you, and they feel very rewarded when they do. Your aunts and uncles are madly in love with you. When Uncle Ted and Uncle Mark heard there was a wasps’ nest under your play table, they were at our door in 15 minutes with a can of wasp poison. Aunt Janine wants to cuddle you to bits. Our friends generally seem to enjoy your company, which is wonderful because it means people come to our house to play with you! (We’re going to try and get you over to other people’s houses more – it’s been so rainy on weekends that we haven’t been able to get to Uncle Ted’s pool, but I’m going to try and make that happen for you next weekend if it works out.)

We love you so much. You make our days sunny and bright, you make us laugh and smile, and we just adore you to bits. Your grandmothers can’t get enough of you, and you charm strangers with your beautiful eyes and expressive eyebrows. Keep being such a fantastic little guy. You’re not a baby anymore – you are definitely a toddler. And it’s wonderful. We loved meeting Moe the Baby and we are really enjoying getting to know Moe the Toddler.