Letters to Charlie: On Turning Three


My sweet boy,

We’re squarely into June, which means you’re now a 3-year-old. Congratulations! We all made it.

I first want to thank you for your patience over the past several weeks. It’s been a time of change, as I simultaneously transitioned to a new job and finished school. Things are now settling down, but there were some weeks of uncertainty and stress. I’ll never forget how sweet you were one day that I felt overwhelmed and was crying. You put your head on me, snuggled close, and sweetly said, “I make you feel better, Mommy.”


There were a few other heart-melting moments recently. In the car you said, “I love you, Mommy,” for the first time unprompted. Ah man – I can still feel how good that felt. I radiated joy, love, and thankfulness.

Another night after reading “The Giving Tree” (which your dad jokes should be renamed “Call Your Mother”), you asked me to crawl in bed with you. I had just cried my eyes out over that book and was feeling uber emo, so agreed.

“Mommy, will you stay forever?” you asked. Happy sigh.


You’re showing some delicate emotions, too. At the pool, you panicked when our friends did cannonballs. At Savannah’s birthday party, you burst into tears when a lady bug balloon accidentally flew over the fence—not because you wanted it, you said, but because you were afraid for it. You sweet little guy.

Your 3rd birthday party was a much smaller affair than last year, when I had just discovered Pinterest. This year, amid a new job and school, I was more realistic. We gathered our closest family and friends and celebrated in Grandma Z’s backyard. It was the sweetest, smallest, fire-truck-themed affair ever (save for Jersey eating the birthday cake).

You became super self-conscious when we sang “Happy Birthday” and spazzed out, flapping your hands like a bird and making funny faces. It was kinda hilarious.


As I type this letter, you’re sitting next to me on the couch watching “Dinosaur Train.” You earned it for sitting on your new potty chair for 60 seconds without your diaper. Sigh. That’s about as far as we’ve gotten with potty training. In a few weeks, we’re going to transition to pull-ups during the day, just so you experience SOME kind of toilet-related change. We hope this transition will lend itself to the real potty transition faster.


Because, truthfully, we’re out of ideas. We think we pushed it too hard, too soon. Coupled with your incredible stubbornness, peeing in the potty is just out of the question for you. You refuse, you cry, you won’t stand being diaper-less for a second. It’s your safety blanket.

In order to attend your new school this winter, you must be potty trained. I want to be supportive and help you make the decision to use the potty for yourself, but I can’t help wanting to throw out all the diapers and just scream, DEAL WITH IT!

Your father says I’m obsessing over this. He’s probably right.


Perhaps this will be the year you pee in the potty. Perhaps you’ll be in college. The future is uncertain. The great news is that we get to experience it together.

Happy 3rd birthday, Charlie.


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2 Responses to Letters to Charlie: On Turning Three

  1. Connie says:

    Hello to overseas! Happy Birthday Charlie!
    Do you remember me? I left a comment on Charlies first birthday. Well, I still read and love this blog. Thank you Jessica for sharing all those wonderful moments in your lives! By now I am a mom of two sweet boys, Johannes is 2 years 2 months and Philipp is 8 months. Got my hands full of work but what am I telling you, you are a working mom. Respect!
    Well, all I wanted to say was hello and thank you, and of course, happy birthday, but I will add an invite. If you ever think about travelling to Europe and are interested to see Austria, maybe even Salzburg, the place of sound of music, you can stay in our guestroom. Because this is where we live. And you seem to be such a wonderful family, who wouldn’t want to meet you!
    All the best,

  2. justaddsun says:

    Man, I feel like I know you and your family since I listened to Pregtastic. (My little girl will be three in September.) Thank you for sharing your life and your family. Happy Birthday Charlie!

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