Letters to Charlie: On Your Second Birthday


My sweet boy,

Wow. It’s been two years since we first looked into each other’s eyes; two years since I first held you in my arms and nuzzled your tiny, newborn nose. How much we’ve both grown since then!

Today you are 30 lbs (on the nose), just under 36 inches tall, and 100% toddler. You began this year babbling and crawling, and now you can run, jump, climb, and have full conversations.

I tried to list all of the words you say, but stopped counting at 100. You know numbers up to 10 (although don’t count in order consistently – “2, 5, 6, 8 … 5!”) and can name nearly all of your letters. With some help, you can put together a 12-piece puzzle.

Here are a few of your favorite sayings these days:

• “No, I do it!”
• “Open sunroof, please?”
• “MY Mommy!” (Grandma B. says these are your “fighting words” at school)
• “Where garbage truck go?”
• “Hi, people” (with a wave)
• “Waa you doin’, Daddy?”
• “Mommy, NO SINGING!”

These days, you’re exhibiting quite the independent streak. In fact, Grandma Z. and I had to leave our first restaurant because you were behaving so badly. I wistfully gazed at the immobile 11-month-old cooing at the table next to us as you threw chips on the floor, struggled out of your booster seat, and howled when we took away the knife you were trying to chew.

For about three weeks, you decided you hated the bath. And I mean really hated. Like we were waterboarding you. I tried everything, Dad tried everything, both Grandmas tried everything…the only thing that worked was taking a bath with Savannah or Charlotte. You big pimp.

Although you peed in the potty once, you’ve shown nothing but distain for the idea since. You continue to shun fruits and vegetables in favor of meat, cheese, and bread (thank goodness you still drink “goop” and the fresh vegetable juice your Daddy makes). You’ve finally begun eating rice and noodles – and love them; your dad calls you “Carb-anzo Bean.”

You’re a spirited kid, and you’re also incredibly loving. If I’m lying down, you climb on me and rest your head against my chest. Sometimes you’ll stop what you’re doing and reach out to touch me, almost as if you’re saying, “Are you there, Mom? OK, just checking.” You give the best BIGGGG hugs. The other day you asked your inflatable Rody horse if it was OK when you accidentally knocked it over.

Two weeks ago you saw me walk into school, dropped what you were doing, screeched “Mommmmmmmmy!!” and ran straight into my arms.

Best. Hug. Ever.

The best day ever came when you and I went to Idyllwild with Savannah and her family. During a walk around town, we stumbled upon the Fire Department and you were mesmerized by all of the fire trucks. A fire captain (who should win an award for how wonderful he was to us) invited us into the garage and plopped you into the driver’s seat of a big fire truck.

You also got to wear a fire hat and jacket and hold up the heavy fire nosel.

OH.MY.GOD

I told the captain it was the best day of your life, but I’m pretty sure it was the best day of mine.

As you can tell, vehicles are still a pretty big deal around here. Your birthday party this weekend is construction-themed. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site remains our go-to bedtime book. And “Mighty Machines, now?” is another of your favorite sayings (a huge fist bump to our Canadian friends for producing that series and streaming it on Netflix). I tried to show you a video of the Wiggles and you yelled, “NO SINGING….Dump Truck!”

I can’t believe how big you’re getting. In fact, it’s your Dad who makes me notice it most often. He’s really good about letting you try things on your own – from putting on your own clothes to scaling the made-for-big-kids park equipment to drinking from a cup with no lid.

I don’t remember where I heard this great analogy about parenting, but I feel it describes you and me: As a parent, I’m like the center of a flower. You are a petal, moving away from me as you gain your independence. But when you need to, you double back to make sure I’m there. As you continue to grow, the petals of the flower grow longer, but the center never strays.

My dear sweet boy, I will always be there for you. Thank you for another amazing year of adventures, challenges, laughter, love, and hugs.

We love you endlessly.

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