Hi Harr Bear!
If I had any problem calling you a "toddler" up until this point, I better get over it because we're now closer to your second birthday than your first and that. is. crazy.
You're over 33" tall and 24 1/2 pounds. You're a full-blown toddler for sure. You've moved very quickly from walking to full-on running, flashing your signature happy face all the while. You infuse a light into my life that I never knew existed, even when I thought I'd seen it at full capacity. The light grows daily. Hourly. By the minute. My heart is constantly swollen with equal parts pride, love and fascination.
You can say (mostly) every family member's name and you can recognize Mama and Daddy's cars as well as the cars that Nana, Grampa, Mimi and Cook (Uncle Nick) drive. You also say "Tarsi" but instead of Harrison, you call yourself "Harr Bear" which comes out sounding like "Hubbah."
You're napping once a day. On the shorter side, the naps are 40 minutes and a good napping day is 90 minutes. Mama has friends with babies that nap waaaaayyy longer than that but I'll take what I can get. You still give us 12-13 hours at night so 40 minutes is fine. Don't get me wrong though, 90 minutes is better.
I flipped your car seat around and your legs and feet seem to love the newly afforded freedom. You especially love being able to see exactly what I do while we're driving around. Excavator! Point. Dump truck! Point. School bus! Point.
Over the last few months, we did so many things that were quintessentially "summer" and you loved all of them. We spent hours exploring the yard each day. We beached, we pooled, we boated, we laked.
You kicked your legs and blew bubbles like a champ. Without fear, you routinely plunged your face into any body of water (including your little bathtub!) and chuckled afterwards. You touched hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs. Mama gave you your first "buzz cut" and coincidentally, (or not) your first professional haircut followed two months later.
We went to the playground a few times each week and you grew more able and brave with each visit. The slide is definitely your favorite part...
You had your first ice pop (you didn't love it) and we had more ice cream than we should admit. We ran barefoot in the grass.
We played with dirt. We experimented with sand. We color coordinated for July 4th and waved American flags at the town parade.
We splashed in your pool and water table. We swayed in hammocks and you took your first baseball bat swing.
You're now completely obsessed with baseball bats and in mere days, your swing has already progressed from the video below. Daddy is over the moon.
We hunted frogs and played with friends. We splashed in puddles (before the drought) and you got your first splinter. We did lots and lots and lots of grocery shopping.
We watched Daddy play ball and listened to live music in a park. You even stayed up past your bedtime. A couple of times, at least. If last Summer was characterized by eliciting smiles from your 4-month old mouth, this Summer would be characterized by eliciting belly laughs. Hearty, knock-you-over-in-the-process belly laughs. The easiest way for me to get them is slapstick humor (e.g. smacking myself in the head) or jumping out at you from a covert hiding spot. Whatever it takes, I'm going to keep getting 'em, because it's the purest, happiest sound in the whole world.
You can identify a few letters and we're working on others. Your willingness to learn new things is astonishing. You're still obsessed with books and will routinely flip through them for the better part of a half hour with no prompting from yours truly.
Your favorite books are lift-the-flap truck books but you'll peruse just about anything, including the giant stack of magazines Mommy neglects. You especially love flipping through children's clothing catalogs, pointing out the animals on t-shirts and smiling and waving at the children wearing them.
Speaking of waving, you wave at everything and everyone. You're as friendly as they come. Pick-up truck? Wave. Heron in the back yard? Wave. A mailman on a route across town from our own? Wave. It's quite endearing.
You love music but have yet to do any singing. When that happens? Watch out. I'll be burning through memory card after memory card. Your favorite song by far is Omi's "Cheerleader." You request it by asking, "Yeah Yeah?" like the lyric and you bop your head when the first chords start, pairing the head bopping with a sly smile out of the corner of your mouth. If you're crying, this song settles you and if you're trying to fall asleep outside of your crib, it serves as a lullaby. It's weird, yes, but it works.
We did a Cape Cod Summer road trip and you had a ball playing in the sand and exploring new surroundings while spending quality time with family. Shortly thereafter, you took your first plane ride and undeniably rocked it.
You see, we visited Auntie Lissa and Cor Cor in Texas and were saddled with a two-and-a-half hour runway wait to kick off the trip. You were on the plane for a total of six hours and didn't cry at all. In fact, you entertained us, entertained yourself, entertained those around us and even took a nap on Mama. We read lots of lift-the-flap books, sang lots of songs, watched lots of home videos, ate lots of snacks and listened to lots of "Cheerleader." Daddy and I say that we're never going to doubt you again. Not that we doubted you, per se, but every toddler has his limit and we thought you'd hit yours eventually. Nope. You transitioned to a new house and a new time zone with ease and went with the flow each and every day. We are so grateful for and marvel at what an easy baby you've been the last 18 months. I'm biting my tongue, of course.
Your bedtime routine hasn't changed much in the last few months with the exception of a little more "chair time." We now spend 10-30 minutes in the rocker before bed reading and singing and at any point during that time, you gaze up at me (as if to make sure I'm still there) and smile that gorgeous, happy smile of yours before laying your head back down on my chest. I can't do anything but silently smile back. I'm paralyzed in that moment. It's so completely involuntary that it catches me off guard in the best way possible. Your happiness is so directly correlated with my own.
You're growing into a smart, compassionate, caring, funny boy and it's the ride of a lifetime to watch. Your stock disposition is cheerful, playful, inquisitive and kind and it's a pleasure to be around you. You make my job so easy and for that, I'm so grateful. You have your moments, sure, but they're so few and far in between that, especially when writing you this letter, they're so easy to overlook.
I can't wait to experience Fall and Winter with you. There's so much fun to come.
Happy 1 1/2 Birthday, my sweet Harrison.
Mama (Daddy, too!)