Letters to Charlie: 3.75 years

IMG_8537Dear Charlie,

It’s midday on a Saturday. You just walked into the living room — abandoning your prized fire truck that squirts water out of the hose (thanks, Grandma Z!) — and asked, “Mom, can you put me to bed?” and now I think it must be snowing outside even though it’s in the mid-70s.

With you all snuggled in bed, we went back and forth making up a story about a little boy who had a dream about an adventurous penguin. Then I sang “Hakuna Makisses” and covered you with sweet smooches before I left.

Life = win.


First day of school.

In the past few months, you successfully transitioned to preschool. Dad dropped you off the first day because I was afraid I’d be a watery mess, and he said you walked in like a champ. Since then, you’ve been rocking it.

Getting you out in the mornings wasn’t so easy at first. When you attended Grandma B’s school, we could drop you off late, unfed and in PJs, and she’d take care of things. That’s not the case now, so you were suddenly faced with more responsibilities and expectations. That resulted into mornings of uncontrollable tears, tantrums, time-outs and punching/kicking.

Near the end of my rope, I begged for advice. Grandma B suggested we make a chart and reward you with stickers for every morning you kept your shit together and got stuff done in time (my words, not hers). Once you achieved a certain number of stickers, we could take you on a special adventure — something we wouldn’t otherwise do.


I’m happy to report this idea was brilliant. Mornings are so much smoother now, and we’ve had some really great adventures: a trip on the Coronado Ferry, a ride on the downtown historic trolley route, and a city-wide trolley romp. Next up, you’d like to ride on the train.


Speaking of trains, I was a chaperone for your first field trip, to the Train Museum. It was surreal because I remember Grandma Z joining my class trips and that doesn’t seem too long ago. You talked about the upcoming trip for weeks, and were pretty much jumping off the rails  the morning of.

My biggest takeaway from chaperoning was immense respect for your teachers. These two women — who face two dozen kids, on their own, every day — are goddesses. Even with a total of 10 adults on this field trip, it was HARD. Remind me to buy them Starbucks cards.


It was interesting to observe you among all the other kids. You are one of the youngest, but also one of the loudest most expressive. I’m not sure how much of that can be attributed to my presence, but you were incredibly talkative, animated, and social compared with the others.  You were also not very interested in following the rules: you skirted the lines and refused to wait for the teachers before exploring more of the museum. At one point, you were reprimanded for purposely and loudly singing the wrong words to “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” I have a feeling your future teachers will have their hands full with you, and shhhhhhhhhhh but that makes me feel a bit proud.

While you’ve adjusted to preschool very well, some parts are not so easy for me. Though you’re exposed to wonderful new knowledge, there are still things from which I desperately want to shelter you. A few weeks after you started school, you announced that when you grow up you want a “gun job” so you can “shoot old people.” After we explained the heavy responsibility that comes with gun possesion and the seriousness of shooting people, I asked where you learned of the concept.

“Martin Luther King,” you said. (Well, actually you said, “Martin Luther Cake,” which was awesome and hilarious, but let’s focus on the gun thing right now).

I am incredibly sensitive about guns and gun play, and I feel a rush of despair when you tell me that you play “shooting guns” with other kids on the playground.  And you’ve been asking questions about what it means to be killed and to die. This is probably not realistic, and “boys will be boys” whatever, but I don’t want you knowing about these things yet. You are only three years old! This all just feels so soon. 

You’ve also been bullied by a child who hits you, grabs your face, tells you that you’re “bad,” and threatens to kill you. How is it possible that we’re dealing with this in preschool?! 


Let’s stop talking about my neuroses and focus on some of the fun times we’ve had lately.

I’m not sure where you learned this, but out of the blue in the busy parking lot outside Corvette Diner, you grabbed my breasts (I was carrying you) and yelled “BOOOOOOOOOOOBS” at the top of your lungs. I tried to hold it together, but a giggle escaped, and then I was laughing so hard I almost peed. This made you laugh and then I laughed harder and then you realized that yelling “BOOOOOOOOOOBS” in public can get you attention. So that has been fun to deal with.


You had your first ear infection this month and your first encounter with bubble-gum flavored amoxycillian. I LOVED this stuff as a kid. You hated it, so much that you refused to swallow the medicine and threw desperation tantrums to avoid it. At one point, we had to force it down your throat. Then you threw up on my face. After that, I came up with a brilliant idea to let you use the turkey baster to take the medicine. You loved that. Problem solved. Point for me.


My favorite moment was discovering Dad’s umbrella in his car, opening it up, then dancing together underneath it in the rain, in the alley behind our house (of course, we sang “Singing in the Rain” while doing so). It was just one of those moments when time stood still, when the joy I feel at being your mother, and the joy we felt being together filled the entire universe.

You seem to inspire this joy in most everyone you meet — from your family, to your new teachers, to your classmates, to the grocery store check out lady. It’s quite incredible to witness and to know that you and I belong to one another.

Well, at least until you grow up and find someone else with, well, you know.


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

2 Responses to Letters to Charlie: 3.75 years

  1. Jodie says:

    hahaha. BOOOOBS! Love it.

  2. Love love love to read your “Letters to Charlie.” You’re such a great writer and thinker. Keep ’em coming (but don’t let Charlie grow up TOO fast). Smiles, Lydia

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