Letters to Charlie: 35 1/3 months


My sweet boy,

I wrote to you last in mid-February, which simultaneously feels like a long time ago, and also yesterday. When you’re a parent, this happens with time.

I’ve been wanting to write this next letter for a while, but never seem to be in the right frame of mind. When you were first born, I’d type into my phone every thing I wanted to say in these letters, desperate not to forget anything. But running after an almost-3-year-old is much more work, and that list has remained static.

So for this letter, I’m  going to talk about stuff that’s bubbled to the surface. Mostly, the ever-present, ever-changing highs and lows that come with raising a toddler.


Right now, you’re taking your afternoon nap, thanks be. You didn’t take one yesterday, which meant that your behavior was a bit nightmarish by 7 p.m. You earned a royal time-out when you called me “stupid” at the dinner table;  you’d said the same to Grandma Z on Friday. You’ve learned that word has power, and you’re wielding it with fury.

The day leading up was picturesque. We spent the morning playing games, building towers, reading books, and drawing pictures. You read “cat” and “mama” when I wrote them on our white board. I felt so proud.

When Daddy woke up, we decided to spend the morning at the beach, where we built sandcastles, searched for crabs, and buried our feet. We ate deli sandwiches with pickles on the side, and I let you taste my root beer (you made a funny face). In the afternoon, you played on the floor of your room while Daddy listened to music and I read a book.


At one point, I looked up to see that you’d formed an entire city of car stuff. You were playing independently, talking to the toys, and completely engrossed in what you were doing. You looked so… grown up.

My little baby is now a boy, I said to myself. And I felt all the emotions. And I felt all the tears.

I ‘ll remember these times when you’re “having a ‘no’ day,” as we call it. Or when you say “I caaaaaan’t doooooo iiiit” before you’ve even tried something, in the longest drawn-out whine ever uttered in the history of toddlerdom. Or when you hit and scratch me. Sigh.


Some other happenings over the past few months:

• You not only have zero interest in the potty, you actively reject it. Your Dad and I tried to go cold turkey one weekend, allowing you to walk around in no diaper, encouraging you to pee anywhere but in the diaper, to see what would happen. This experiment will forever be known as Our Epic Fail for the pain, suffering, tears, stress, and crying it caused all of us.

You’re not ready, and we’ve decided to be more supportive. You are so counter-suggestive that we’ve come to realize  you’ll make the decision when you damn well want to. The more we push, the more you will most definitely push back. So, we speak in terms of “when you pee in the potty, it will be so great.”


• We lost you in a big hotel. Some miscommunication between your Dad and I, coupled with your ever-present desire to run, run, run, left us screaming your name in panic on the Mezzanine level of the downtown Hyatt. In milliseconds, you’d run past the looooong hallway of conference rooms and wedged yourself into the last doorway.

• We took you to Dana Point for an impromptu vacation over a long weekend. It was our first family trip, just the three of us, and was filled with great memories of playing in the pool, running on the grass at the park in front of our hotel, and exploring the harbor.  Then came the horrible dinner that concluded with you vomiting over everything. However, it led to Dad’s Yelp review of the restaurant, which will forever remain one of the BEST things he’s ever written.


• Daddy was wearing a tie one evening at Souplanation. “YOU ARE BARACK OBAMA!” you shouted.

• We’ve transitioned you to a toddler bed. One of the first nights, either Daddy or Grandma Z positioned you the wrong way and you fell out. Oops.


• Daddy and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and took you, as always, to the spot where we were married. The first year, you threw up, the second year you napped. This year, you rode your bike.

• We took you to the emergency room because you were breathing way too fast, like 80+ times per minute. You needed three breathing treatments of oxygen, steroids, and a take-home inhaler. Docs said a cold got into your lungs. I cried while holding you in that funny mask.


• Your favorite song on the radio is “Girl on Fire.” The other day in the car you said (very matter-of-factly), “Mommy, I want to scream and shout and let it all out.”

• Your favorite lullabies: “New Day,” “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” and the “Fire Truck Song.” 

• You can sorta write your name.


• Daddy invented a game called “Hug, Squeeze, Tickle,” which is really just a creative way to get cuddles from you.

• We’ve begun to play “I Spy” during the car ride home from school. You tend to “spy” the same crane, water tower, and bridges, but that’s OK.

• You like to play a game at Grandma B’s school called “Where’s Charlie?” It goes like this: you run behind the side of the house, then we say loudly, “Oh, WHERE’S Charlie? He was right here. Has anyone seen Charlie?” You spring out from behind the corner, and run into our arms, giggling.

• “Excuse me, birds. I want to say hi to you,” you said as we drove in traffic past some trees. Heart. Melting.

My dear boy, I can’t believe my next post will be for your third birthday.

You’ve grown exponentially, along with my heart.


This entry was posted in Charlie, development, Letters to Charlie, parenthood, sleep and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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