The days are getting shorter. We're starting to get cooler weather and rain in the forecast, which is a good thing for all the forest fires happening in the mountains. Despite playing it close to home due to your brother's age, I'd like to think we made the most out of summer.
We didn't go on any official camping trips, but we had a tent pitched in the backyard for several weeks. You used it as a default playhouse, and we spent a total of four nights outside! We had a couple false starts because it was too light too late, but these last weeks have worked out better with your sleep schedule. I learned the trick was to remove everything from the tent that would distract you, which is pretty much everything you don't sleep on. I hung some "special lights" (strand of twinkle lights), that you became quite obsessed with and focused your busy little mind so you could get to sleep easier.
You fell asleep once I could get you to stop talking.
You talk all the time. All the time. Motormouth. I have a reputation of being rather extroverted, always saying what's on my mind. You are my child in this respect. You have a complete language now, though I can only understand 70 percent of it without your Mom translating for me. She gets twice the exposure to your language so is totally fluent. You're stringing together multiword sentences with subjects and verbs, though missing most other parts of speech. That's OK. Your soft, mumbled, cavegirl language gets the point across most of the time.
Of course, the summer was also filled with a lot of time at the parks, beaches and zoo. You have strong opinions about where you go and what you do. This includes what you wear to those places. Yesterday, we went to the Puyallup Fair and you were sporting some Wayfarer shades and a demin jacket, a dress and leggings. You looked hip as shit and definitely outdressed the rest of us. I expect this will continue. On the subject of the fair, you went on your first ride -- a slow boat -- and ate your first fair scone! You are such a Northwest kid and I love it!
The end of summer also means school is starting. UPS students have been back in class for a couple weeks, and Tacoma schools started. We are putting you into pre-pre-school at Narrows Co-op starting next week. You'll go twice a week for a few hours. We took you to the sign-up day and I thought, "Holy shit my kid is starting school." You're still so little to me but your life is really starting as you get more exposure to the world and its systems, like education. We're excited for you to get a little more social time with other kids and start to get challenged by other adults, like Teacher Judy (not to be confused with Judge Judy, who you can also learn from). We know you've got the chops to start school. You can count to 15 and cut corners counting to 20. You know your alphabet and several songs. You're also starting to "read" books back to us, reciting select book pages from memory and showing the book away from you like you see at library story time. Let's start some college applications.
Factors like schools and our small house have caused your Mom and I to think hard about the next few years. We went on a real estate hunt in the last month, which isn't so unusual with your Mom's passion for open houses and the Redfin app. We put an offer on a great house in Maple Valley but lost it in this crazy competitive real estate market. The house was great -- bigger, big property, newer construction, mother-in-law downstairs -- and Maple Valley is a great place to live -- great schools, good community vibe, lake access, etc. Losing the house was a good thing. I wasn't ready to leave Tacoma. I wasn't sure we should buy in such a high market when we can be comfortable at our current cost of living. Instead of trying to make another house work, we've decided to make this old house work. We've got contractors coming in to bid us on adding a bathroom upstairs so we can put you and eventually Matteo up there. We're also going to raise the drop ceilings downstairs, which has been your Mom's #1 aesthetic request. Happy wife, happy life.
So, you'll continue to be a Tacoma resident. Looking back at summer, that's totally awesome.
Considering that we're spending a bunch of money to add a bathroom, could please embrace potty training? The photo in this letter is evidence that we're trying. We'd love to get down to one kid in diapers, which means you need to get on the program, sister. Fewer diapers, happy life.