People often tell comment on how cute Grant and Maria are. I agree, they are very cute, but do you know why? It’s because they have to be. God designed babies, puppies, kittens, etc. to be cute to ensure their survival. After all, without some level of cuteness, would we really put up with the screaming, pooping, sleep interruptions, and general life upheaval that comes with children? Some might be mildly offended by my assessment, but I think that most people, if truly honest, would agree with me.

We love Grant and Maria and wouldn’t change a thing in our quest to have them. As they get older and strive for more independence, though, things do get a little more trying and we both have to dig deep to find the patience and endurance to get through some days. The good news is that in addition to their cute appearances, they also have some entertaining behaviors that can disarm us at just the right time.

• Maria knows when she’s on Jeremy’s “list” so she comes after him and says “HI!” (pronounced hi-ee) and scrunches her face. Jeremy tries to maintain his stern face, but I can see a softening around his eyes.

• Grant has a mischievous and shy grin where he lowers his chin, looks at you out of the top of his eyes and purses his lips showing off a dimple. It’s impossible not to smile at him when he does this.

• Maria talks to EVERYONE when we are out on our walks. She assaults them with her “HI!” until they respond. One night a man had his back to the street while he was getting something from his trunk. Maria said “HI!” and he looked straight to the sky with a perplexed look; it was like he was thinking, “God, is that you? I didn’t expect you to sound like a little girl.” Then he saw us and appeared relieved.

• Grant has been very cautious of the step off our porch after a nasty fall about a month ago. He holds onto the rail and won’t step off unless you give him a hand. I was at the end of the driveway with Maria and he wanted help. I encouraged him to step down and after a few minutes, he finally gently let his foot down. When it touched the ground and he realized he was okay, he let out the most satisfied smile. He was so proud!

• After hearing us say “awwww” when they would hug the pets or us, Maria now lets out her own “awwww” as she leans in for a hug.

• Grant gets extra ticklish when he’s sleepy. When we’re going to put him down for bedtime, he will look straight in your face, place his hands on your cheeks then lean back with an open mouthed smile just begging you to nuzzle and tickle his neck. He laughs hysterically as we drain the last little bit of energy from him.

• They have an old remote control with no batteries in their toy box. They also know they aren’t supposed to have the “good” TV remote. When left in their reach one of them grabs it and says “Daddy” as they bring the remote to you. I guess Jeremy has trained them that the remote is his. My dad will be proud.

• Ask Maria what a dog says and she growls … I’m assuming she’s imitating Charlie’s snoring.

• When it’s Maria’s turn to nurse before bed, she smacks her lips together, smiles and says “num num.” Mama’s milk is the perfect end to a busy day.

Yes, they are cute and do cute things to make us laugh. For that, I am grateful.

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