Magnificently Seven

Dear Eddie,

Lately I have been looking at you in amazement. At some point in this school year you grew so tall, your feet so big, and your intellect so expansive.

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I’m having a hard time with your letter this year. It’s not that I don’t know what I want to say, it’s just…I’m a little overwhelmed. Since school has been out, I have been noticing that you are on the verge of not being such a naive little kiddo anymore.

Have I mentioned that you have gotten SO tall? You are 4’3′ and you wear a size 2.5 shoe. That seems like such a big kid. Your baby face has thinned out, although you still have those totally kissable cheeks. Judging from the Koops lineage where they come from, I don’t have to worry about your cheeks going away any time soon, and that makes me glad. You have a smattering of freckles on your nose which you claim to hate, but I love.

Daddy pointed out that your size 6 jammy shirts look like belly shirts on you, so I ordered size 7/8 the other day. Youth size “medium”.

This year brought a ton of “not a little kid anymore” things.

You finished the first grade! The school year started out a bit rough; you had a hard time adjusting to two recesses instead of three, no rest time during the day, and no free choice play. We exchanged quite a few emails and phone calls with your teacher about how to best help you learn about self-control. Aunt MacKenzie–who teaches first grade in another school–assured us over and over that your behavior was completely normal for a young first grade boy. She also promised we would see a change after Christmas break and she was right! It was like a switch flipped and you figured out how to “do” school.

We never worried about your academics, though. In Kindergarten you were one of the top readers, and Mrs. D placed you in the “advanced readers” group for WIN (What I Need) time. You fell in love with researching and reading nonfiction–especially about weather and animals. You also excel at math. Your swiftness with flying through your math problems and adding and subtracting in your head make me so proud…and glad. Math was so very hard for me–it still is–so to see it come easy to you is a relief to me.

One of the things I am most proud of is that you are sch a good, helpful friend at school. It’s true that often you have to “clip down” on the behavior chart for acting silly and being off-task, but it’s because you are trying to make people smile. You let other kids answer so they will “clip up” even when you know the answer. You play with everyone whether they are “popular” or not, and you told me once that you and your friend, L, were in a “squad” to help a girl in your class stay safe from some mean upper-el kids.

You did a lot of stuff out of school this year too.

You played soccer in the fall, but declared that was it. You weren’t into it and didn’t want to continue, but you did ask to be in cub scouts so we signed you up as a Tiger scout.

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You learned so much this year as a scout! Your favorite things were marching in parades and making your pinewood derby car with grandpa. You took first place in the Tiger scout division! So awesome! Last week you crossed over to a Wolf scout and are looking forward to another fun year with your den and your pack.

You participated in coach-pitch baseball and basketball camp this spring as well as another session of swimming lessons. You grew SO much as a baseball player this year! Your coach was fantastic. You were awesome. It was a really fun season to watch.

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Over and over this year I have just found myself so darn proud of you. I mean, it’s not been without some struggle. Like I said we had MANY talks about self-control and behavior at the beginning of the school year, but you really did try.

I love our conversations. You ask just about anything, and you think very deeply about things. You have never been a “why why why” kid, but more of a “What is Heaven? How do tornadoes start? Where does wind come from?” kid. I love your inquisitive nature and how you really think about things before and after you ask about them.

You are such a good big brother. Charlie has entered a phase where he wants to be just like you and do everything you do and it’s super annoying to you, but when you guys get playing something, you play so well together. You fight and wrestle and yell and play hard. Your personalities are vastly different, yet you have one thing in common: you laugh uncontrollably at anything that has to do with butts, farts, or poop. Even though you guys are a ball of trouble together, you are both always thinking of the other when you are not together. Recently I brought Charlie to get a treat after he had shots and he wanted to also choose something for you. When you got to pick a Gatorade at the grocery store with me, you also wanted to choose one for Charlie. It is my most sincere prayer that you boys always keep each other in mind. You are each other’s best friend and ally in this world. Never forget that. Brothers are for life.

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Where you have frustration for Charlie, you have unending patience for Alice. I don’t know if it’s the age difference or the fact that you have always always ALWAYS wanted a little sister, but you would do absolutely anything for her. You taught her to hug! You comfort her when she is sad. You bring her all her lovies and you play so nicely with her, letting her choose what to play. Please always be there for her. She will need a shoulder to cry on and a strong brother to lean on throughout her life. You are so quick to put your arm around her; I hope that is always the case.

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You still love your stuffed animals and you still sleep with Lamby and your tiny monkey pillow, yet you enjoy Star Wars and American Ninja Warrior. You are the perfect mix of sweet and growing up. You are so empathetic and loving, yet capable of thinking about big things.

This morning you said you were a little sad because six was such a great year. You were sad on the last day of school because you said first grade was so awesome and you would miss Mrs. D. That’s the kind of guy you are, bud. I hope seven (and 2nd grade) surpass your best imagination of what it could be.

Happy birthday, my buddy. I love you more than everything.

Mom

Hooray For FOUR!

Dear Charlie,

You are FOUR! We have been talking about this birthday for about a month now. You have been SO excited to be FOUR! It means all sorts of new things for you: swimming lessons, preschool, and a big kid bike! Unlike Eddie who worried about all of those things, you are SO EXCITED!

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You are the quintessential middle child, my dear boy. It is extremely fitting that your nickname is “Bird” because as the middle child, you certainly do give the entire world “the bird” with your take-no-shit attitude toward life. While it drives us completely batty at times, this personality trait has potential to serve you very, very well as an adult.

As a four-year old it looks like huge rage fits, throwing things in frustration, and telling us constantly that you do not like us. However as soon as you start crying, you reach for your dad dad or your mom mom, needing the comforting arms of those who will love you unconditionally–no matter what you say or do out of anger. We are trying to guide you, sweet boy, to use your words and to choose safe, un-hurtful ways deal with your big feelings.

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Your new fish that you named Charlie Bird Fish.

The wonderful part of those big feelings is that you LOVE big too. You are quick to hug and kiss and cuddle up next to us. You love to hold hands or play with my hair. Touch soothes you, my little buddy, and I do my best to offer my lap, my arms, or the spot next to me on the couch whenever you want it.

the requested "train cake" for the birthday boy

the requested “train cake” for the birthday boy

People love you, Charlie. You are cute, charming and are such a helper. In fact you often refer to yourself as a “helper boy,” and you are not wrong. You want to help clean, cook, and pick up. We gave you a new big boy bike for your birthday and you do NOT want daddy to put it together without you.

A STAR WARS BIKE

A STAR WARS BIKE

So who else is Charlie at age four? You love to play alone. With just a few random toys, you will sit by yourself and make up little stories and scenarios forever. But you also like to play with Eddie. You two have huge imaginations and when you are getting along–which, let’s face is not all the time these days–you guys create forts and obstacle courses and booby traps and whole worlds. Eddie is bossy, but he’s creative and if what he has imagined sounds like fun? You are in!

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You are also quietly smart. At four, you know all your letters and most of their sounds. You can count to 20, and you’re getting pretty good at telling time. You like to build things with blocks, Legos, and Mega blocks. Trucks and tractors are your jam, and a couple of your prized possessions are your new pair of binoculars (which you call ‘noculars) and your net (which you tell us is for catching butterflies).  You love dirt and being outside. You also love animals.

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You want things to be perfect. You enjoy crafts and coloring and building–but if it doesn’t look just right then you get very VERY angry and throw one of your famous fits. You also do not enjoy being watched while you do something. You get agitated and you quit. Being the center of attention is not your thing. I do not relate, but I can understand. And don’t worry…daddy can relate. Some day you won’t cope with it be throwing a fit and finding a corner to cry in. You will grow out of that. I hope.

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Another fun fact about you: you are not a fan of clothing. You sleep without a shirt most nights and when you are super mad? Off come your pants.

If given the choice, the only food you would eat is cheese sandwiches and candy and chocolate milk. And since we can’t make you eat, you generally survive solely on dairy products. It’s not ideal, but at least you’re not starving.

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Last month you had your first experience with the stomach flu. You barfed on your {top} bunk twice. It was gross. So then I moved you to the couch and I slept (ok, I laid there) with you and every time you woke up, I was there to hold you and your bowl and rub your back.  You never cried or complained. You only told me you were so very thirsty…and that you wanted your firefighter hat.

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My dear little Bird…four is going to be a series of wonderful adventures for you! And while I know change is something that is hard to navigate feelings for, we will work together to make it great! I promise I will always be here for you–whether you need to snuggle up or just giggle about toots–I can make that happen.

You are such an important part of our family. I hope you always know that. No one can fill in the spot of Charlie Bird Thomas Sluiter…not even a fish with the same name.

I love you, Bird Bird. Always and forever.

Love,
Mom Mom

The Magic of Three

Dear Charlie,

Today you are THREE!

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I know things have been a little crazy and your birthday has been sort of part of a whole whirlwind of “events” around these parts, but I wanted to make sure you know how special your day is to me. We maybe be focusing a lot on Alice right now and on mommy resting and getting better, but you have been on my heart a lot.

In fact, while recovering in the hospital, my thoughts turned to you often.

I thought of our hospital stay three years ago. Your soft little head that fit so perfectly in the neck space under my chin. Our late evening chats after daddy had gone home to Eddie. The way you were immediately my little Charlie Bird.

You are now “The Middle Child,” but you are still my littlest boy. And your role in this family is very important. Not only did you make Eddie a brother, but you made daddy and I parents of kids, plural.  You taught us that our hearts don’t just make room for more love, but they actually GROW with love.

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As a baby, you were our quiet, serious observant boy. You especially watched Eddie’s crazy shenanigans closely and skeptically.  Eventually, he would be the first to make you do the belly laugh you are now famous for.  You gave Eddie the brother he didn’t know he needed and you even out his bossy, follow-the-rules, cautious personality with a dose of risk, stubbornness, and goof.

You taught us that all babies, toddlers, kids are different–that just because you have had one, does not mean you know what you’re doing with all kids. For instance, Eddie didn’t say strings of words until he was almost three, but you have been talking for a good year now. There have been times when I had to remind myself you were only two because you would say such complete sentences.

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While Alice and I were in the hospital this past weekend, you crawled up on my bed and proceeded to hold up cards and papers you found and tell me about traffic lights and how red means stop and then green is go. Not everything made a ton of sense, but you just lectured on it for about ten minutes–telling me I was in my class. You are so very animated with your big blue eyes and your hand gestures and your facial expressions. YOU know what you’re talking about, and that is what matters.

All of your emotions are big, Charlie. I remember that about Eddie being three, but you’ve had the Big Feelings for a long time now. When you are mad, LOOK OUT. Your immediate reaction is to pick something up and throw it or knock it over. You want to spit and hit and scream NOOOOO!!!! It’s very exhausting.

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But your joy and love are big too, and I’m always trying to remember during your times of anger bombs, that you are also a very happy boy. You are quick to say “thank you!” and “I love you!” without being prompted. You like to sit CLOSE to me or daddy (mostly daddy). You even like to snuggle up to Eddie, who doesn’t always tolerate your cuddles like Dad Dad and I do.

Touch is definitely your love language. Whether you are smooshing your sleepy body next to daddy on the couch before bed, or flopping yourself on Eddie to wrestle, you love to touch and be touched. It’s how you show that you like someone.

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You are no longer the baby in the family, Charlie. But you don’t seem to care as much as I thought you would. You love your sister and want to share with her and kiss her and hug her. You love to hold her. The look on your face when you hold Alice is a new one to me. I’ve not seen that pride in your face before.

You surprise us and make us laugh every single day. Yes, you are probably also the child who is turning my hair gray so rapidly, but you also make me laugh the hardest.  From the time you put your hand on your hip and said, “I not argue with you, Mom Mom,” to just earlier this week when you were dancing around, planted your booty on Eddie and said, “here’s my butt, my big butt,” and then laughed your head off, you keep us guessing what you’ll do and say next.

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Three years ago, you came into this world and helped me heal from a lot of bad stuff I had gone through after Eddie was born. You taught me that having a baby didn’t have to suck. You softly slept on my chest assuring me it didn’t have to be so hard.

You continue to heal me, son. You are important to this family. You make daddy laugh until he cries, you challenge Eddie and give him a built-in buddy, you give your little sister love, and you are the patches and stitches that healed my broken heart.

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I am so proud to be your mom.

I know Three can be a tough age, but it is also a magical age. You will do a lot of growing up this year, Bird. With that will come growing pains for both of us. You will go from toddler to kid this year. You will probably (hopefully) potty train and give up your pacifier. The last of “baby” will fade away.

I will cry. You will fight it. But we will make it.

There will be loads of joy and celebration in it too, my son.

Here is to Three. Let the magic begin.

Love,

Mom Mom

from colic to frolic: the first days of preschool

Dear Eddie,

You started school this week.

This seems a mundane fact to most of the world; children all over started school during the past month. But to me and your dad this is a HUGE milestone.

We’ve been talking about it for a long time, you and me. You have been so excited to start school! To learn! To be a big kid! You have told me repeatedly, “me and Brookie and Evan get to go to school because we are four. Not anyone else. Just us.”  Clearly, going to school separates the three of you from the “babies” who will stay behind at daycare.

I was Ok with it all…excited even…until meet the teacher night. We signed in at the office, found your room, and looked around. We sort of met your teacher. She talked to you, and you hid behind my leg.

Then we found your locker.

Starting PreschoolMy heart skipped a beat.

My baby was going to school.

Four days later, it was time for your first day. Sunday night I carefully followed the directions your teacher outlined in the papers that were sent home: I put a change of clothes in a large ziplock all with your name on them; I labeled your backpack; and I set out your first day clothes.

Then I put you to bed. We talked and giggled and guessed what school would be like until we both fell asleep in your bed.

In the morning, as I was getting ready, you showed up in the doorway of the bathroom.  All ready to go, with a big smile on your face.

“It’s your FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!” I exclaimed as I swooped down to hug you.  A lump caught in my throat knowing I would not be one of the moms there at drop off giving your little hand one last squeeze.

But your daddy was there.

His work is just a block from your school, so he walked over on his lunch hour to meet your carpool for the first day. He knew it was important for you to have one of us there for such a big occasion–the start of your formal education.

first day of preschool

In case you haven’t noticed, your dad’s range of emotions aren’t always visible in his reactions to things, but this milestone has been a big deal even to him. After drop-off, he emailed me to let me know how proud of you he is.

He told me you were so brave at drop-off. No tears, only smiles. Before he left, he whispered in your ear to be kind to the other students and to listen to your teacher…and that he is so very proud of you. Because he is, you know.

Both of us brought up the fact that it simultaneously feels like just yesterday and a life-time ago that you were our tiny colicky mess of an infant.  Just yesterday that Daddy would plop you in the Bjorn and walk up and down and up and down the dead end with you to try to help calm you.

off to school with his best friend, Brooke.

off to school with his best friend, Brooke.

And now seemingly out of nowhere, you are a regular little guy. You are a person who can tell us why you are sad or happy or angry.

You can call us mean or tell us you love us.

You can make friends.

You can make crafts.

You can make choices–good and not-so-good.

When I asked you what you did on your first day you reported, “I played on the playground and I listened to my teacher.”

When I asked you what you listened to her say you told me, “I don’t know mom. That was a long time ago.”

And so it begins.

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You are in school.

As a teacher this makes me proud, but as your mommy this makes my heart fly with joy.

Today I looked at the seniors in my classroom and imagined them all as four-year olds starting out in preschool and I actually teared up a bit.

It happens so fast.

You were just a baby.

And now you are a kid.

I love you, Eddie.  No matter where you go from here, it will be wonderful.

Love, Mommy

The Way You Are Now {Charlie age 16 months}

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You are 16 months old.

Today Daddy was holding you and your legs hung down past his arm almost to his belly button. Last week the doctor said you are now 25 pounds and almost 34 inches tall.

You are no longer my baby.

You run at top speed through the house swinging just the one arm with your one little fist all balled up like you are cranking yourself along.  And you do this running with a little prance that makes the floppy curls on your head bounce all over the place.

Unless they are shellacked down with syrup from that morning’s breakfast.

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You are 16 months.

It’s hard to get a non-blurry picture of you these days.  You are in constant movement.

Except when you’re not.  But in those moments, you are usually glued to my side or my lap or in a hiding place all your own.

Or you’re thoughtfully in your own world figuring out a toy or something you’re not supposed to be touching.

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You are 16 months.

I try not to compare you to your brother, and really, there is no comparison.  You two are just so different. I’d heard it said that just because you have one child, you learn to be a mom all over again with the second.

That is true.

All the things that comforted Eddie are not the things that comfort you (except that dang pacifier.  Both of you had/have a mad love affair with the Pipey).

And all the things that did nothing to comfort Eddie are like home to you.

Where Eddie has never had an ounce of sit in him, you can chill in a chair or on a lap or in a baby carrier forever without complaint.  Your older brother has to do ALL THE THINGS. You like to watch all the things and decide to maybe do the most ridiculous things that you will probably get hurt doing, yet you don’t care because LOOK AT YOU DOING ALL THE THINGS!

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You are 16 months old.

We chose your middle name wisely, Charles Thomas.  You are like your Grandpa Tom (my dad) in ways that make me giggle all the time.

The biggest similarity though is the way you putz around outside.

Most kids find toys and play with them. You walk around like you have a never-ending To Do List out there.  You are a gatherer and an organizer.  You find things (plastic golf clubs, pinwheels, sidewalk chalk, bubble wands, sticks) and you try to carry all the things around.  You even have a little net and wagon that you will put things in to transport them around the yard.

I could sit and watch your little process all day.

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You are 16 months old.

You like to do your own thing. Run wild to the beat of your own drum.  Hide when you want to be alone…or silly.

Your dancing brings joy to anyone who gets to see you do it. Twirls and fist pumping and clapping and giggles and knee bends and head shaking. You love music. Your brother loves music. Yet it seems to be a different kind of love.  I can’t really explain it other than it’s a different type of joy I see come out of you. Both of you are joyful when music is played, but it’s different. Wonderful.

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You are my serious one.

It’s not that you are unhappy…far from that. You are one of the most joy-filled children ever, but you can be quiet…serious…thoughtful…contemplative.

You “take it all in” as your Granny has said.  She sees a lot of your daddy in you.  I do too.

You are the observer.  The watcher.  You pay close attention to things that Eddie never did. I think it’s why your fine motor skills developed so quickly (you were stacking blocks with just one hand before you were a year old) and why you started climbing so early.  It’s why you learn to shake your head and stomp your feet just like your brother.

And it’s why you know what “no” means but choose to ignore that meaning.

In fact, just this weekend you brought me the remote control and my phone all the while repeating “no, no, no, no,” quite matter-of-factly.

You know what you’re not supposed to do. You just don’t care much.

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You are 16 months old.

You have found your voice.  You know what you want (milk, snack, my phone) and you know what you do not want (to hear the word “no”).

You have learned by watching Eddie that the fridge is where the milk comes from and you walk up to it, throw your Pipey out of your mouth, and grunt “uhhhh!  UHHHH!!!” while standing there.

You have developed what Emily calls a BossyFinger. We are not sure if you are bossing, requesting, or just pointing things our for our entertainment/general knowledge, but you do it a LOT lately.

You hate when we say “no” or when we redirect you. You are our tantrum thrower, but it’s sort of funny. You stamp your feet and cry a little bit.  Sometimes you’ll even through yourself on the ground onto your back. But it’s always over in a matter of minutes. And then you’re onto the next thing.

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You are 16 months old.

At this age Eddie had no words.  He signed to us, but did not speak. And he did not say “Momma” until he was nearly 2.5 years old.

You are already spilling with words.  Your first word was “Hi”, but a close second was “Momma”.  Granted it was more like, “muh muh muh…” and it usually involved you clinging to my legs, but I’ll take it.

You say “no” a LOT lately and you are trying so hard to duplicate animal  noises when we go through them (although you already knew what the dinosaur says for about six months now…RAWRRRR!!!”

You have also started to say “buh bye” and doing the cutest little wave.

This weekend I got you to say “nose” (nuhz) and “toes” (tuhz”) when we pointed them out.  You know where your tummy and button and eyes are too, but you haven’t started saying those yet.

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You are 16 months old.

You are my sweetie boy.  You want cuddles and to be held even though you are incredibly independent. After watching things, you can totally toddle in and feel confident, but when you are tired or just need a moment with mommy, you have no qualms about snuggling up next to me or backing up into my lap for a quick sit.

You are a mommy’s boy through and through and I will take it.

Even when it means you wake up in the night and need me as a buddy for a few hours.

Oh how I wish to be your buddy for always.

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You are 16 months.

You have the best laugh I have ever heard in my entire life.

I am not sure where it comes from but it’s a very deep chuckle…it borders on crazy dude laughing and your dad and I love it.  Eddie loves to make you do it.

When the giggling gets too much for even the chuckle it turns into squeals.

And then as you gasp for breath, you are known to put your face against my face and make a kissy noise.  Or take out your Pipey and plant a big one right on my mouth.

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You are 16 months old.

And you want to be big.

But I want you to stay small.

Because even though you are getting tall and Big Boy-ish, you are still mostly baby.

My baby.

magnificent 7

Dear Charlie,

This weekend you passed the 7-month mark.

Daddy, Eddie, and I were supposed to be in Chicago on the day you turned 7 months, but instead we all were exhausted and fighting colds (you too), so we stayed home.  All of a sudden I looked at you and said, “hey! you’re 7 months old today, Bird!”

And you flashed me one of your brief, mega-smiles.

You are at the most unbelievably awesome age.

Around most people you are a quiet observer, but around family and those you know and love, you are full of smiles and coos and belly laughs.

Every day it amazes me how similar yet vastly different you as a baby are than what having Eddie as a baby was like.

I know I compare you guys all the time, but I was not prepared for what Eddie was as a baby (a tiny version of all my attitude and moodiness), so with you, I was prepared for fickle, crying, high emotion (no matter what the emotion, with Eddie it was turned up to 11…still is), and the excitement that is EVERYTHING.

While you resemble your brother, you have your own way.

I recognize the baby stages of teething, putting everything in your mouth, grasping, and so on.  But the way you go through them is just different.

You are quieter.  More observant.

But you want to grab EVERYTHING.

Eddie was content with whatever 2 or 3 toys we put in front of him.  Not you.  You want the whole basket of toys and you want to empty it yourself.

They you grunt until we fill it back up so you can do it all over again.

While you love to put all the things in your mouth, you definitely prefer soft things…like the leather ears on the wooden dog stacker thing or the tag on your puppy.

See those keys?  Eddie jammed them down his throat and choked himself repeatedly so we had to take them away.

You are obsessed with “figuring them out”. Oh you gum them, but it’s not a “see if you can fit all of them in your mouth at once” game. It’s a “huh. these are not all the same. why is that? eh, I’ll taste them” type of experience.

You are sitting completely unassisted.  Although you will get yourself back on your tummy or back because your mode of transportation involves rolling and flailing.

I know if you decided to you could get yourself from your tummy to sitting.  But you just don’t seem to care about that right now.  You are perfectly content to have us set you on your booty–criss cross applesauce–where you can watch your brother’s antics and smile at all of us and clap your hands in approval.

While getting you to look up from what you are doing to smile for the camera is impossible, I wish I could show you the cute smiles you give.  You have a million faces that you pull.

You have a flirty half-smile I see you give Renae and daycare.

You have the toothy grin you give me when you haven’t seen me all day…or for five minutes.

You have the giant smile paired with the happy “growl” you do when you see daddy because he tends to bury his face in your next and make growly noises.  It’s hilarious that you identify him by this sound.

You have your giggle smile when we tickle you…because you are SO ticklish!

You have concentration face where your face gets all squishy and your cheeks get droopy and you won’t look away from what you are “figuring out”.

You have the “bird lip” face where it seems that you are looking at us like we are all fools and you know better.

You have the eye twinkle with just a hint of a smirk that makes us believe that you may just become the “naughty” one.  Or the “smart” one.  Or both.

You really don’t cry much.  You yell at us in anger, frustration, hunger, and sleepiness, but you don’t cry much

Although if we take too long to respond to your anger?  You might cry.

But really, even your mad face is so adorable.

And while you can totally sit on your own, you are VERY into grabbing ALL THE THINGS.  And sometimes that means you reach just a tad too far.

But you know what?  We let you reach just beyond your grasp.  Even if it means you fall.

Oh we scoop you right up, but then we encourage you to go for that thing again.

And you do.

You are definitely strong-willed and determined.

I like that.

I know I will NOT like it a LOT while you are growing up, but those are incredible things to have as an adult.

You and Eddie share a fierce independent streak, but again, they manifest themselves so differently.

While Eddie is not a risk-taker and needs us to fall asleep (still!) and never wanted to hold his own bottle, you fall asleep when you’re tired and grab the bottle and get the job done on your own.

Eddie wants so badly to be a big boy.  He always has.  He wants to play with the big kids, go to school, and move it move it!  By seven months he was pulling up to his knees and getting ready to crawl.

You have zero interest in these things.  You seem to be enjoying babyhood.  Your now.

You let us snuggle you and play toys with you.  You’re not determined to do the next milestone, but instead laugh and play and enjoy the one you’re in.

Eddie needs us for 3 seconds to warm up to a situation and then any hint of shy leaves his body.  You are more reserved.  You are quiet longer.  You don’t just jump into smiling and babbling at just anyone.

I don’t keep track of your stats like I did with Eddie.

That was a new mom thing, I think.

It’s not that I am neglecting remembering you though.

With Eddie I had to cling to the stats because I was sick.  I wasn’t the mom I could have been.

With you, I don’t need the stats to remember you.  I soak up your baby-ness every day.  I breathe in your smell and smooch your baby fat.

I did these things with Eddie too…but because of being sick, it was hard to sort the good from the not as good. And I can’t remember them so well anymore because even the happy happened in a fog of ick.

With you, I am doing so much better.

I don’t know how much you weigh or how long you are.

But I do know that your fingers are short and stubby compared to Eddie’s long, delicate fingers he had.

I don’t really keep track of what solids I give you or if I am on “track” or whatever.

But I do know you enjoy food as much as your brother did, even if it took you longer to understand the weird new texture in your mouth.

I don’t know what percentile you’re in.

But I do know that your once delicate features have grown plump and round and so very nommable.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that your existing could make me a better mother all around.

I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough love.

I was afraid you would take away from Eddie in an irreparable way.

Oh it hasn’t all been rainbows and easy days around here since your arrival, but there have definitely been more sunny days than rainy days.

More smiles than tears.

My sickness is still there lurking, but I am doing much better at managing it.

You and your brother and your daddy pull me through and make me whole.

I can’t believe seven months have gone by so fast.

And at the same time, I can’t imagine you not being here.

Did that time really exist?

Somehow I think no.

You were always here with us.

In some way.

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

The monthly comparison….

at the same age…

current day comparison

you two are brothers indeed.

And I love you fiercely with ever fiber of my heart and soul and mind.

xxoo <3 Mommy

chillin’ at three months

I was holding you today and I realized something.

You are getting so big.

I used to be able to place you on my lap and you were a perfect fit, knee to thigh, and you didn’t move.  As a floppy newborn, you just melted into the space.

You are three months old now.

As of Wednesday.  Three months.

That’s a clothing size at your age.

You are no longer a floppy newborn.

In fact, you are quite aware that you can kick your legs as if you were running from rabid dogs.  You can plank your body which is maddening when I am trying to sit you down to burp you.

You are this close to being able to hold your head perfectly still when I sit you up.

And just recently?  You found your hands.

I remember watching Eddie find his hands, and you do the exact same thing.

One minute you are flailing all of your limbs and then suddenly, you focus straight in front of you and bring your hands together.  This is when you plunge toward them to get them in your mouth as quickly as humanly possible.

Up until this past week, you didn’t have much interest in the play mat; you would much rather look at me or your daddy or Eddie.  Now that you know you have hands and that you can grab things, you enjoy more time there.  Except that once this week you grabbed onto Jim, the octopus on the Gym, and you couldn’t figure out how to let go.  I almost let you be to see if you would fall asleep that way, but you got angry and so I helped you out.

The other day daddy found you on your side, and today you planted your feet and thrust your hips at me repeatedly.  You are getting ready to go places, kid.

But you’re so chill about it.

You love to watch life, smile your adorable smirk, and then take a nap.

The only thing that can get you mad is a hungry tummy.  And to be honest, you go from happy to screaming like a woman who was just mugged by Satan in .0000008 seconds.

Like how you decided yesterday after we went to the Farmer’s Market that you were hungry NOW, but Eddie and I wanted Starbucks and you screamed through the drive thru, all the way home, and into the house while I made your bottle.  Pausing only occasionally to listen to Eddie singing you the ABC’s at the top of his lungs to drown you out.

But once you are fed (one of your six 5oz bottles a day), you are back to your happy, chill self.

Your “small” self.  Well, compared to your brother who was more than 2 pounds heavier, and inch longer, and had a head that was a good 3 cm larger.  He was busting into 6 month clothes, while you are filling out 3 and 3-6 month just fine.

My little Bird.

Just wondering what we are all doing and when you will be able to join in the fun.

Sometimes I even think you are plotting something.

No.  that can’t be it.

Right?

Oh.  Here is your monthly comparison to your brother.

Yup. You’re brothers.

But one of you has my personality, and the other has dad’s.

I’ll let you guess who is more like who.

ahem.

Happy three months, Bird.

I love you.

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