Because He is Two

I love birthdays.  LOVE THEM. I feel like the entire world is supposed to make sure everything is just a little more awesome for you on your birthday.

So when Charlie woke up on Thursday as a two-year-old, I burst into his room with a “HAPPY BIRTH–”

He stood smiling in his crib with his balled up jammy pants in one hand, and a very wet diaper in the other.

“I poot,” he announced, and yes, I could smell it.

My heart raced, but there was no “poot” in his crib…just a crumb of one in his diaper.

“Where? where did you poot, Charlie?”

“I POOT!”

Thankfully Cortney had the wherewithal to take the nekkid booty baby and put a clean diaper on him while I searched. I left the room, came back, could still smell it, and searched some more.

It was under the rocking chair.

Across the room from his bed.

Thus started The Bird’s Second birthday.  We should have all agreed that was the highlight of the day and quit trying. But birthdays are AWESOME! It can only go up from here!  Onward and upward!

I forgot about a birthday treat for daycare.

It’s ok! Tomorrow!  Tomorrow he can bring one!

Off he went to daycare, in his new “2″ shirt.

The plan was that I would pick up a small birthday cake and meet Cort with the boys home by 5pm to head to Red Robin (YUM!) for birthday dinner. We always do birthday dinner at a restaurant, and long ago Eddie decided ALL birthday dinners take place at Red Robin (YUM!).

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The downfall of the evening was chocolate milk coupled with Charlie’s deep disdain of getting out of routine. By going out to eat rather than home, and then by not allowing him to get more chocolate milk (because he was wearing half of the first glass), created an evil vortex of toddler rage that began at the table and forced me into the ladies room with him so the rest of the patrons could eat their Red Robin (YUM!) tantrum-free.

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When he calmed down and I asked him if he wanted to go back to the table he declared, “no! I walk here.”

Dude wanted to stay in the bathroom and play.

Um. no.

I talked him into going back to the table only to arrive and have Eddie tell me with concern that he had to use the restroom. For the third time.

So I took him back to the ladies room, got him in a stall to do his business, and held his door shut.

In a small voice he explained he was having a hard time going with his boots and pants on because it was hard to balance, so I helped the little guy remove the constricting clothing and carry on with his business.

This is when I took the opportunity to peek out of the bathroom at our table. Charlie had become an anger ball again, and I could see Cortney didn’t know what to do since he couldn’t leave the table.  I leaned out of the bathroom and gestured to let Charlie just come to the bathroom since I know that is what he wanted.  I told Cort to just pay the bill, box up the food, and grab our stuff.

So there I was, in the ladies room (thank all the goodness that no one came into the restroom during all this), with a half nekkid boy on the can and a toddler running around slamming stall doors. It felt like it took our waitress and Cortney an eternity to get the bill squared away, but eventually he came walking to the restroom with our coats.

Eddie was sad because he had really been very good and he was looking forward to the staff singing to Charlie, and Charlie was raging because he is two.  He tried to plank himself when we got in the car for no other reason than he could, which prompted him to cry LOUDLY the entire way home.

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Cake seemed to cheer him up.

And eating the cake. Although we went through the “do you want cake?”
“NO!”
“No cake?”
“NO!”
“Ok…”
cue all the tears because we aren’t serving him cake.
“Do you want cake?”
“yesh peeese.”
Sigh.

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Then there was some more drama about getting cleaned up to open the gift.

And more madness when big brother wanted to help “too much”.

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Once the gift was open and put together and everyone had jammies on…there was fighting over the new toy.

So we put it away, turned on Curious George, calmed down, and went to bed.

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The day was…trying.

Charlie is now two and very two.

We had a party for him with just family on Saturday which went a bit better, but Charlie’s strong-will and headstrong ways increase each day.

Because he is two.

Charlies Second Birthday

 

Happy Second Birthday, Charlie.

We love you!

 

 

 

 

 

and then you were two

Charlie

Planned and prepped
smooth
peaceful
arrival.

Jokes and laughter
Given to Fly
calm
birth.

Silent and feathery
tranquil sleep
soft
snuggles.

Cries for food
quiet
sighs
days.

Rolling and crawling
observing
so
serious.

Watching and waiting
learning
processing
growing.

Suddenly and surprisingly
awkward
tumbling
skill-building.

Quiet and reserved
to
brave
boisterous.

Testing and side-eyeing
nooooooo
scowls
boundaries.

Jumping and running
loud
naughty
sweet.

Silly and giggly
expressions
words
personality.

Slowly and rapidly
changing
developing
Two.

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Happy second birthday to my Charlie Bird.

Words seem small compared to your big personality and giant spot in my heart.

I love you, Birdie.

*************

When Eddie turned two, I wrote him a poem as well. So it’s a thing now.

A Hairy Timeline

Cortney has been telling me for about a year that Charlie needed a haircut. I brushed it off until he made me a deal that he wouldn’t insist on a haircut if I agree that one will need to happen around Charlie’s second birthday (Eddie’s haircut was when he was two. Granted he was bald until he was almost one, but still).

Yesterday (Monday) was haircut day.

I have been thinking about it way WAY more than I should.

It’s just hair after all, right?

Before I was a mom I just didn’t get what the fuss was about baby’s first haircut. It’s JUST HAIR.

I regretfully take back all my know-it-all-ness.

And give you Charlie’s Hairy Timeline….

Charlie was born with what appeared to be pre-styled senator hair. Dapper little Bird.

Charlie was born with what appeared to be pre-styled senator hair. Dapper little Bird. My nephew said it was as soft as feathers.

By a month, the brown feathers have started to thin.

By a month, the brown feathers have started to thin.

 

Around six months he was back the style. My mom swore I was cutting it to the perfect style on the sly. I was not.

Around six months he was back the style. My mom swore I was cutting it to the perfect style on the sly. I was not.

By age one we were saying the first hints of "shaggy hair"

By age one we were saying the first hints of “shaggy hair”

 

Around 15 months we started realizing he also had the curl gene just like Eddie and Cortney.

Around 15 months we started realizing he also had the curl gene just like Eddie and Cortney.

Only six months ago I had to start trimming his bangs to keep them out of his eyes.

Only six months ago I had to start trimming his bangs to keep them out of his eyes.

 

Just before Christmas people started to comment that it was getting a bit long. So naturally I fell in love with it.

Just before Christmas people started to comment that it was getting a bit long. So naturally I fell in love with it.

Just a month ago.

Just a month ago.

 

Last week Thursday.

Last week Thursday.

waiting for cousin Rachel to finish cutting Eddie's hair so he can go next.

waiting for cousin Rachel to finish cutting Eddie’s hair so he can go next.

 

The last shot of the curls before they are cut off.

The last shot of the curls before they are cut off.

He did so well, though he seemed concerned the entire time.

He did so well, though he seemed concerned the entire time.

 

Haircuts = no smiles. It's serious  business.

Haircuts = no smiles. It’s serious business.

Hey ladies, I've got my first haircut. How you like me now?

Hey ladies, I’ve got my first haircut. How you like me now?

 

The curls are gone.

The curls are gone.

I am…not Ok yet.

But I will be.

For whatever reason the first haircut is the hardest.

I already told Cortney if there is a hint of curl after we wash it, you know I won’t be getting it cut for another six months…at least. Because I already miss burying my nose in those soft curls.

Especially because his hair smelled like cheese tonight after dinner.

Goodnight, Bird

“Charlie, are you ready for bed? Go night night?”

“noooo!” he tells me in his tiny voice, shaking his head so that his too-long hair flops around his face. “NO nigh nigh!” He furrows his brow at me.

“Charlie…do you want to rock-a-bye?  With Momma and Woof Woof and Blankie? Come rock with Momma?”

“Ah nigh nigh. Ah rock bye.” And he gathers up his puppy and blankie, tucking them snugly under each arm, and trots off to his room.

“Nigh nigh, Dad-do! Nigh nigh Ah-dee!” He calls as he waves.  Sometimes he stops for hugs and kisses. When he does decide to give kisses and hugs, he is very aggressive about it. If Eddie tries to get away without meeting Charlie’s demands for goodnight kisses and hugs, feet begin to stamp and a very small voice gets very, very big. “AH DEE! AH DEE NIGH NIGH!”

As I begin walking down the hallway towards his room, I can hear his little feet trucking after me.

He closes the door himself and finds me waiting for him in the glider. I pick him up and tuck him into the empty spaces against me. If I am not quick enough, he will look up at me and demand, “boat, ma ma. boat.”

And so I start singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat while he pushes his little fingers through the crochet of his blankie.

In the breath after I sing, he quickly mutters, “song,” from behind his Pipey.

This is my cue to begin singing You Are My Sunshine.

Sometimes he gazes up at me while I sing, but mostly he just rests his head in the spot on my chest that has pillowed his head since his first day.

Sometimes he pulls Woof Woof to his face, but mostly he lets his fingers weave in and out of his blankie.

After two songs we rock silently until he sits up and looks at me.

“Do you want to lay in your bed with Glowie?” I ask him.

He nods and mutters, “Yup”.

I scoop him up and hold him close, sniffing his hair and smootching that squishy cheek. I wish I fit in the crib with him so I could soak in his warm smell all night.  It’s so soothing.

But he leans toward his bed and I carefully lay him down on his pillow. He rolls to one side as I turn Glowie on, tuck blankie around him, and find his kitty and baby to lay next to him.

Goodnight, Bird

His face is so close to Glowie’s lit up face that his nose is almost touching the soft light of the glow worm. I stroke his cheek.

“Nigh night, Charlie Bird. I love you so much. Sleep tight and sweet dreams.”

He never utters a word as I leave, and it always appears that he will drift right off to sleep.  Yet less than five minutes later, I can hear him happily chattering with his Woof Woof and kitty and baby and Glowie.  Sometimes I hear him jumping in his bed.  Sometimes I hear him kicking the wall.

He almost never cries out or calls for us.

Eventually he finds a spot and falls asleep.

He is our “good” sleeper. Rarely does he need a buddy or help. Seldom does the throw a fit in protest of bedtime–any bed time be it nap or night time.

There are times I wish he “needed” me more, times I wish he wanted to cuddle and fall asleep on me. There are times I wish he just wanted to sleep in my arms.

Most of the time, though, I am Ok with his easy bedtime routine.

Besides Eddie still needs me to lie next to him at night until he falls asleep, and if I am lucky, he will curl up against me and breathe softly near my face.

Goodnight, Bird

two two

Dear Charlie,

You are twenty-two months today; two months from turning two.

It’s hit me sort of funny in a way I wasn’t expecting.  We were going along with life, being busy with the holidays and New Year and then suddenly…it was only two months until your birthday.  Two months to two years.

Charlie 22 months

You have changed and grown so much.

I search for that sleepy baby with the hair like feathers that once curled up under my chin in a swaddle to nap. I don’t know where he went.

I search for that quiet, stoic baby who took everything in and refused to smile on demand for anyone. I don’t know where he went either.

You spent your whole first year somehow connected to me. Ok, at least your first six months. The next six months I had to go back to work, but when I was with you, you were on my hip or in a carrier or on my lap.  If we went anywhere, you clung to me.

You’ve always loved your daddy (Dad-do, as you call him), but in the past few months you’ve acquired quite an affinity for doing whatever he is doing. As soon as you hear the garage door open you pop your head up and say, “OH! DAD-DO!” Then when you hear the door open you jump off my lap or spring from the floor and haul buns to the gate at the top of the stairs yelling, “DAD-DO! HI!” You want him to hold you, read to you, tickle you.

I love watching that.

Charlie 22 months

You’ve starting clearly saying Eddie’s name to: AH-DEE.

When you see his picture you say his name. When he walks in the room, you point and announce him. He is very independent, but you are more cautious about new places. When Eddie sees that you are are upset in a new place (like nursery at church), he so kindly calls you over to play so your dad and I can slip out. He takes care of you and wants to make sure you are Ok.

Because he has started playing with you, you have become slightly obsessed with being able to do every single thing AH-DEE does. If he gets juice, you want juice. If he gets a twizzler, you need one too.  If he is coloring, you climb up on a kitchen chair to do it too.  Usually Eddie is very patient with you, but sometimes–like when you try to actually sit ON him by the kitchen table–he loses his cool and calls me in for reinforcements.

Those are the times you get mad, Bird.

Charlie 22 months

Recently we were up north with the majority of the Sluiter Family and everyone commented on how you were SO GOOD. How you NEVER fussed.  Your dad and I just laughed because you totally “fuss”. In fact, you throw balls to the wall tantrums.

When we have to tell you “no”, that is unacceptable to you. You scream. You cry. Your legs stop working and you refuse to be anything but toddler dead weight on the floor.

If we try to pick you up, you arch backward or hit or scratch or pull hair.

You are a bit more of a beast than a Bird as of late.

But only when you don’t get your way.  The rest of the time you are happy and chipper and so SO funny.

Charlie 22 months

You are quite the chatterbox, but only when you are comfortable with your surroundings. At home you talk non-stop. My favorite thing is after we put you down to nap or to bed for the night because you will chatter on in there with your stuffies for up to thirty minutes! I can hear you doing the “woof woof” sound for your puppy and “meow” sound for your kitty and tons of other “talking” sounds. Eventually you talk yourself out and fall asleep.

Your vocabulary expands by the day. Just today you asked me to read you the “Elmo” book. You said “Ah-MOE, MAMA”, so we read it. You pointed out Abbie and looked at me while I said it. Then you went through the book again and you kept pointing her out for me to say. Finally at the end, you pointed out “AH-MOE” and then you pointed and said, “AH-BAY BEE”.

Then you pursed your lips in that little smirk that tells me you are pretty darn proud of yourself.

Your hand-eye coordination/fine motor skills are almost ridiculous for a kid your age. Today daddy watched as you put each shape into your shape-sorter correctly with no help. You don’t jam and cram, you carefully twist each piece in the hole you know it goes in. You do this with puzzle pieces and Duplos too.   I watched you pick up a crayon the other day at the doctor’s office to color while we waited for our turn. You picked it up and held it correctly. I just watched.

Charlie 22 months

Books are your newest and favorite thing. I think we have read Hippos Go Berzerk over a thousand times…just today. I love this new love of yours, but seriously, let’s expand to some other stories. We have a whole PILE of board books.

I do that a lot with you, Charlie. I just watch you play. I watch you go about what seems to be your “work”. You can be so serious about it all, but you love to play. You love to explore. You love to figure out how things work.

Your favorite things are Duplos, BIG trucks, stuffies and blankies, and anything Eddie is doing. You love to run and laugh, and one of my favorite things is your deep, belly laugh. I also love how much you love to run around the house without a stitch of clothing on. I can tell you feel free and I know I have to throw a diaper on you because you WILL pee on the carpet, but you just love to RUN! Your blond curls fly behind you as you book it through the entire upstairs just laughing until tears stream down your face.

I hope you always have a love for Eddie and your Dad-do and your MAMA.  I hope you always have a belly full of chuckles.

Charlie 22 months

It’s hard to watch you go from baby to little boy. My arms ache for that tiny birdie you once were. My nose remembers your baby smell.  My heart hurts when I think about cutting your hair in a couple months (because that is the deal I have with daddy. I get baby hair for two years. Then snip snip).

Charlie 22 months

Two more months of “baby”.

I will take that two months and I will snuggle it up.

bye, bye baby

001

I remember this time…around 20 months…when suddenly baby legs are long and their walk not so much a toddle of a drunken sailor anymore.

009

I remember looking at Eddie one day wondering where the baby went–the tiny wailing mush-pile in my arms.

015

 

Tiny babies are suddenly everywhere and I look around our house and realize that none of them live here anymore.

033

 

Oh the busyness is still there.  It is not stop running and jabbering and crying and quarreling and eating and playing in our house, but these are the sounds of little boys, not babies.

035

 

Gone are the days of complete helplessness. There is a helper around every corner now–sometimes willing, other times not. Voices can now tell me “yes” and “no”.

037

Everyone in this house can take direction…even if he acts like he can’t sometimes.

048

There are no more baby sounds or smells. No bottles lining the counter or baby food piled in the pantry. Instead there are sippy cups of sour milk hiding behind chairs and messes that Nobody made.

049

 

There are tantrums and fits and “NO!” and “MINE!” yelled through the house so loudly I wonder if the windows will break.

050

 

But if I am quiet and still, I can still sometimes smell that infant scent lingering on your skin and in your hair. And I can still hear little gurgles and coos coming from your crib where you still find comfort and sleep.

052

 

Your skin is still soft and squishy even if it’s stretched out over a little boy and not all wrinkled up on a baby.

066

 

And when it’s silent and dark in the house, you would still rather lie close to me, matching your breathing to mine, while I hold your hand and run my fingers through your soft hair.

069

 

I know though that the baby is on his way out, and the little boy is on his way in. I’m not a stranger to this stage. But I won’t let the baby go without giving it a bit of a fight.

I’ll hold on to those curls and that softness as long as you will let me, Charlie Bird.

Happy Twenty Months, my lovie.

~Momma

 

 

 

 

My Halloweenies

Halloween is not my favorite holiday.

Cortney and I never got into dressing up or going to any parties (not that we were invited).

When I was a kid, we weren’t deprived of Halloween or anything, but it wasn’t a big deal.

We had homemade costumes and we went trick or treating in our cousin’s neighborhood since we didn’t really have a neighborhood.

No one came trick or treating to our house either.

When they can’t see the house from the road because of woods, most kids won’t walk up that driveway.

So when Cort and I moved to a subdivision, I was all excited about the trick or treaters…until we had the million kids come the first year and we had to get a loan for the payments on all that candy.

Any excitement I have ever had for Halloween died after that first year in our house.

But we have kids now.  And while Charlie probably wouldn’t care one way or another, Eddie certainly does. We were not going to bee scrooge mcscrooge pants just because we  don’t like the “holiday,” so we sucked it up and brought the fun.

Hunting for the perfect pumpkins

Cort explains size and shape for perfect carve-ability.

Cort explains size and shape for perfect carve-ability.

 

No, this is not his costume. That is his legit stocking hat.

No, this is not his costume. That is his legit stocking hat.

Time to carve. Cort explains the process to Eddie.

Time to carve. Cort explains the process to Eddie.

 

While he was interested, he was still too grossed out to touch the guts. He told me "maybe when I'm five." Yeah. Maybe.

While he was interested, he was still too grossed out to touch the guts. He told me “maybe when I’m five.” Yeah. Maybe.

The finished products. Cort carved Eddies (left), and I carved Charlie's (right).

The finished products. Cort carved Eddies (left), and I carved Charlie’s (right).

 

Eddie chose to be the Flash this year while Charlie was a dinosaur by default (it's what we had already)

Eddie chose to be the Flash this year while Charlie was a dinosaur by default (it’s what we had already)

Neither trusted the other when it came to candy.

Neither trusted the other when it came to candy.

 

Regardless of the candy, Halloween is not really Charlie's favorite either. But Eddie LOVED it.

Regardless of the candy, Halloween is not really Charlie’s favorite either. But Eddie LOVED it.

Eddie had the biggest blast ever.

He got to go to the Pumpkin Patch with school and then with us. He got to choose his own costume (because $20 for a Flash costume is less than I would spend to try to make a Flash costume). He got a boat-load of candy. And he got to have a party at school.  Although this conversation happened:

Me: Eddie! How was your Pumpkin Party at school today??

Eddie: Fine.

Me: That’s it? Wasn’t it so fun?

Eddie: Yeah, but it wasn’t a REAL party.

Me: Wait. What? Why not?

Eddie: There was no dancing. Parties have dancing, mom.

Well. Ok then. Kid knows what he likes in a party.

And he will probably be eating Halloween candy until…Christmas–when I through it out just to replace it with all the new candy he will get.

Halloween is still not my favorite, but I do like seeing my boys have a good time.

throwing tantrums

Eddie has never been a tantrum-thrower.

When he was a toddler, if we told him “no”, he would listen, but he would cry.  If he was sent to timeout, he would stay there and mournfully cry.  He didn’t thrash about or throw himself to the ground.

We went through a phase where he would grunt out of frustration because he didn’t have any words. And even when he did, we had to work to break that habit.

We thought these defiant grunts and the loud crying from his room were what people meant when they referred to kids having tantrums.

And then we had Charlie.

2012-10-24 17.09.22

Oh he tricked us with his calm, laid back demeanor for the first year or so of his life–always so laid back, just taking things in. Always being all happy and content unless he was tired or hungry.

He was always so easy to please: give him lunch or put him to bed.

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He is one of the happiest kids…until he is not.  He has one weakness: The word “no”.

Oh you guys. This child has a FIERCE temper of which I have not seen before.

I don’t remember when Eddie started saying “no”, but I can tell you it was one of Charlie’s very first real words. He furrows his brown and wags his finger at us when he is displeased and firmly says, “no NO!”

He will also tell things he is not supposed to touch (lamps, the TV, lamps) “no, NO!” as if it’s their fault he gets in trouble for touching them.

If we tell him to do something he doesn’t want to do ( “come here,” for example), he will firmly say, “NO!”  If we try to take away the remote, the ice cream scooper, or a pair of scissors (home sluice is a stealthy drawer-raiding ninja) he throws himself to the ground and screams at the top of his lungs and writhes about.

If we won’t let him run amok in the bathroom simply because his brother forgot to close the door behind him, we have to drag him from the premises while he flails and wails. It’s good that we don’t have close neighbors on most sides because I’m sure it sounds like we are stabbing baby seals every time Charlie is displeased with the rules being enforced.

Tonight Cortney had to remove a mischievous Charlie from the bathroom so Eddie could take a bath. When Cort picked him up, Charlie arched his back and screamed. Cort had to set him down in the hall way on his back where he continued to scream cry for another couple minutes while we all ignored him.

Then he spotted a toy and was fine.

In fact, I think he stood up and sort of pranced to the toy and then did this little football huddle-like dance while giggling like a fool.

That is how The Bird rolls.

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I’ll be honest, the first time Charlie threw a tantrum I just stood there staring.  And then started to laugh because WHAT WAS HAPPENING?  My sweet, chill boy turned into something that seemed demon-possessed. It was ridiculous.

That is when it hit me: this is what a tantrum looks like.

So I did what I could, I walked away from him.

There is no reasoning with a 19-month old anyway, especially one mid-temper-tantrum.

Plus watching him only exacerbates things because he tantrums harder because he wants you to stop looking at him.  No one said toddlers were super bright.

Honestly the tantrums are not a problem. Yet.  They are how Charlie is starting to show frustration and that is healthy, but it’s just another reminder to me how different children are.

But they have one thing in common: they know how to push each other’s buttons. Charlie knows exactly what will make Eddie yell, and Eddie knows how to launch Charlie into an epic tantrum (hint: tell him “no” or take something away from him. Then take cover.).

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Charlie working REALLY hard to get Eddie to freak out. It worked. About 30 seconds after I took this, Eddie had a meltdown about Bird being in his space.

As much as the yelling and screaming and seeing who can make my ears bleed faster can drive me batty some most days, it’s so fun to watch these two grow up together.  It’s REALLY fun to see Charlie’s personality take off now that he is learning to express himself.

Even if that expressing happens to be in a tantrum of epic proportions.

 

free falling

18 months and Climbing

I was sitting in the chair with my phone while Eddie watched Curious George before bed.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Charlie sneaking behind the coffee table on my left. Of course I don’t think anything of it…other than perhaps in about two minutes I would be changing a dirty diaper…and I keep concentrating on Words With Friends (I mean, what do you do with 3 A’s, 2 I’s, a T and a J?).

Suddenly, there was a curly-haired stage diver dead-weight free-falling onto my lap.

Charlie had climbed up next to me on the table, stood up, and let himself “trust fall” (face forward) at me faster than I could say, “Hey, we don’t climb on tables.”  In fact, I think I only got out the, “hey we d–” part before he was plummeting toward my lap.

“BIRD! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I gasped, sure that he was milliseconds away from crying since I was pretty sure his head hit the chair arm and his gut landed squarely on my elbow.

He rolled off me onto the floor in a fit of giggles.

His too-long hair (“He looks like a dirty hippy,” Cort is always saying), was flopped into his eyes and his right foot was not in the footsie part of his jammies. He was sprawled out on his back at my feet, and he was laughing his crazy little head off.

I just stared at him.  O_O

“Eddie. Did you just see that?”

“Yup. Bird is crazy, mom.”

“Cort, did YOU see that?”

“I caught the tail end of it,” he said shaking his head.

“Charles Thomas,” I sternly said as I stood him up to look at me, “we do NOT climb on the furniture like that! It’s dangerous! You could’ve gotten seriously hurt!”

He furrowed his brow and pouted his lips and shook his little finger at me.

“NO NO NO!”

I shook my head. “That’s right. No, no.”

“NOOOO. No. NO!” He said sternly to me.  And with that he bent down, collected his Pipey and his Puppy, and rubbed his eye with the back of his chubby little fist.

Then he turned and flung his face to my lap and made some tired sounds, “mmmm ma ma ma mmmm”.

I scooped him up into my lap where he pressed his face into mine and shook his head.  That is his way of cuddling. Of showing you he wants to hunker down and be your cuddle buddy for a while.

He is my fearless child.

He will climb anything, heights be damned.

He may fall a time or two, but he doesn’t dwell on it by crying, and he the fall doesn’t keep him from doing it again.

He trusts completely that we will catch him, and if we don’t, no big deal.

But if we do, he smiles with his whole face…his whole body even.

And his laugh fills the room.

18 months

Second Child

Dear Charlie,

I want to apologize.

I swore I wouldn’t fall into “second child-itis” with you and I have fallen. Hard. There are so many ways I feel like I am “failing” you.

With Eddie, I scrap booked the day lights out of his first year. I kept track and wrote down everything. I recorded first words and monthly milestones and growth patterns.  I printed pictures each month and clipped them together to make sure I would include them in his book.  I wrote letters to him on the 23rd of each month with all my notes on hand to reference and put into words.

I have not been this vigilant with your milestones.

Daddy tells me that I have been keeping it here on the blog…but when I do a search of all my posts for you, they are mostly letters–heavy on sentiment and feelings and light on the facts of your growth.

Part of me is sad about this.

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I mean, I had been so good about it with Eddie. But with Eddie I was sick. I had trouble being close to him without getting upset. He much preferred to be with Daddy than with me.  I clung to those stats.  They proved I was doing my job as his mom. He was growing and thriving and he was happy.

I think about writing things down about you a million times a day.

Just yesterday you said, “Ma Ma Ma! Juuuuuuu!!!” as you stood by the refrigerator. I told you to say please and you smiled that HUGE smile of yours with all your teeth and your squinty little eyes and cooed, “eeeeeeessss!”

I melted all over the floor.  You’re not even 18 months old yet.

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By comparison your brother didn’t say any real words until well after he turned two. And even then he wasn’t stringing 2-3 words together for a thought or request. He didn’t say “ma ma” until he was a full year older than you are.

It’s not a bad thing. You know Eddie, he says all the things now and he is so smart and articulate. It’s hard to really imagine him not having words.  I wrote down little notes each time he said a new word.

I have not written down any of your words, Birdie.  They just come too fast!  I think maybe the first word was “no”, but I could be wrong. Off the top of my head the words you have are:

  • ma ma
  • da
  • di di (Eddie) –which you don’t say very often. You just know who “Eddie” or “brother” is.
  • woe
  • yo (and also yo, yo! when Daddy comes home.  So silly!)
  • NO!
  • Juuuuu!  (juice, water)
  • mik (milk)
  • num num (for food)
  • ni ni (for goodnight)
  • bye bye
  • aw gu (all gone)
  • hi!
  • shoooooos (shoes)
  • bop (pipe, your pacifier)
  • boom (you repeat this after us, but you also use this for the word “poop”)
  • Ow
  • Di (diaper)
  • eeeeeeeesss! (please)
  • nus (nose)
  • tus (toes)

And I am sure there are more. You study what we say and try to repeat it. It’s so fun that even Eddie tries to teach you words.

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You are quite good at knowing all the parts of the face including some body parts like fingers, toes, feet, buns, tummy, and of course penis. Because boys are weird.

You are over 25 pounds and wearing size 5 diapers.

Size 18 months is a hit or miss fit for you. Most shirts don’t quite cover your big buddah belly, but the shorts are the right length.

You want to do everything Eddie does. EVERYTHING. If he is playing on a tablet or a computer or a video game, you think you can do it too.

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You are a climber. I’m positive some of my new gray hairs are because you can climb on anything you decide to climb. It’s also freaking Renae out at daycare this fall. She tells us with panic what the newest thing you have climbed is. Daddy and I just nod knowingly.  Yup. That’s Bird.

This summer you crawled up three concrete steps at the cottage and proceeded to fall down them and land on the concrete slab…on your head. You didn’t cry. You just stood up, rubbed your head (where there was a big scratch and a goose egg) and say, “woe.”  Then you walked away.

Your uncles are still talking about how you are indestructible.

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I knew you would be fine and I didn’t rush to you.  With Eddie, I would have cried and rocked you and fretted over a concussion.

With you, I gave you a pat on the buns and told you, “good hustle, Bird.”

Am I failing you?

I don’t think we are, but sometimes I question whether we are being fair.

You put yourself to sleep every nap and every night. Sometimes you cry. We let you.

We never let Eddie cry. Never. We spent HOURS rocking him and sleeping on the couch with him. Never did he cry himself to sleepy.

You normally just fall asleep, but when you don’t, we let you cry. It only lasts 15 minutes at the most. Then you are out.

Is this wrong?

Is it because you are the second child?

I think so. In part.

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But I also think it’s because you’re not Eddie.

You’re Charlie.

You are a different child.

Yes, you are our second boy. Yes, you are another Sluiter. Yes, you both have blue eyes, blond hair with curls, and a wicked cute smile and dimple.

But you are not the same child, so we are not parenting you as the same child.

You are fiercely naughty in a way Eddie never was. You ignore the word “no” unless you are using it against us. You laugh as you do something you know you’re not supposed to. Did I mention you climb all the things? Even our high top dinner table? You are rarely unhappy unless you are hungry or tired. Then your tantrums are fierce…FIERCE, I say. But quick. As soon as you have a snack or a nap you are back to silly Bird.

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And your cuddles. Oh you’re my cuddly momma’s boy. So different than the first time around with Eddie who was incredibly attached to Daddy.

I’ve been a bum about writing things down, yes. I’ll try to get better. I want you to have as rich of a pile of my memories as Eddie does. I want you to know about yourself in a time that you will not remember. I want you to have that.

You are my second child, but you are not second place.  You are not less than First.

You are different.

You are my Charlie T Bird.

And I love you with all of my heart and soul.

Love, Ma Ma

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