Love Bird


I was mistaken when I thought Eddie was a cuddly child.

He doesn’t really like to cuddle.  He likes closeness.  He doesn’t like to be alone.

As a baby he liked be rocked (every night), but what he wanted was someone there with him, even just sitting in the rocker while he fell asleep in his bed.  At almost four-years-old he is still this way.  After we read books, he just wants one of us to lay by him.  It’s how he feels safe.

I only realized the difference between needing closeness and being a cuddler because of Charlie.

Charlie has never been needy like Eddie.  I don’t mean needy in a bad way, but Eddie does need us–to lay by him, to sit by him, to go downstairs with him, to color with him–more than Charlie does.  Eddie will play by himself…as long as someone is in the room with him.

Charlie does his own thing.  He will play by himself, sit in a totally different room by himself, and when it’s bedtime all I have to say is “nigh nigh?” and he grabs his glow worm under his arm and trucks down to his nursery.  No fuss.  Hugs and kisses and down he goes.


I missed out on a lot of the first year of Eddie’s life.  I was emotionally distant and, after I went back to work when he was 3 months old, physically distant.  I was sick and don’t remember much of his first year.  Charlie’s first year made that even more painfully obvious to me because I just couldn’t remember what Eddie was like at that age.

One thing I know is that while I rocked Eddie to sleep almost every single night, he didn’t really spend all that much time in my arms.  He and I cried together often and fell asleep in a pile in the chair out of sheer exhaustion, but not because we just couldn’t stop cuddling.

Charlie and I were inseparable during his first 6 months. I had 3 months of maternity leave followed by 3 months of summer break.  He slept easily and I wasn’t fiending to put him down. I let myself heal and relax.  And because my anxiety was under control, I was Ok to take him out in public with me.

I wore Charlie wherever we went.  If we weren’t at home with him sleeping next to me or on me, we were out and about with him sleeping in the Moby.

And now?  Eddie needs us to be there and Charlie does not.


Charlie is our Love Bird.


He gives kisses.  Seriously, they are so sweet I die a little bit.  He leans in and says “mmmmmmmuah!” and lays an open-mouth wet one on your mouth, nose, chin, eye…wherever that sloppy mouth lands.

Eddie never did that.  He is just starting to give us kisses now. I think it’s because Charlie does it.  I’m not kidding.

Charlie gives random hugs.  He will barrel over and just fling his arms around us and then truck off like it ain’t no thang.

Charlie wants to sit on a lap. All the time.  If you are on the floor, your lap is his seat.  He just sort of comes over, turns around, and backs up until his behind is on you.  If you don’t make room for him, he will wiggle around on you until you do.

He will crawl up on the couch or chair and mountain goat his way all over me until he can get himself nuzzled in and then lean back like I’m his recliner.

He will find the one little cranny in Cort’s arms and wiggle his way in and just chill.

He will hold my hand just to hold it.


And he will press his face to my face or his head to my nose…like he knows I love to take in the sweet smell of lavender in his hair.

He will softly repeat “ma ma ma ma” while he lays his face on my shoulder.

Both of my boys are love bugs, but Charlie is our cuddle monster.

It never ceases to amaze me how they can be so similar and so different at the same time both in big and small ways.

Most people would say that both of my boys are cuddlers, but Cort and I know there is a difference ever so slight. While Eddie drifts to sleep to the slow breathing of a parent next to him, Charlie thrives on morning hugs and kisses.  While Eddie feels safe with a parent in the room, Charlie recharges on lap-sitting and Eskimo kisses.

It’s even hard to describe here.

Both of my boys have their hearts on their sleeves: they both love to give and get love from us and from each other.  Their love languages are just a bit different.

Each perfectly theirs.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I recognize so much of Eddie and Charlie in my two boys.
    Scrumplet is the same – he loves to sit on laps. He comes over, turns around and just flops back, totally expecting to be enveloped in whoever’s body he chooses to sit on (and that includes his brother, who’s always startled when he does that). He’s a kissy-kissy, huggy-huggy buddy. And I love it.
    Love language – I like that.

    • I learned that term “love language” somewhere. I like it. My love language is alone time and flowers and foot rubs 🙂

  2. My 2 girls are kinda like your boys. My oldest (4.5yo)needs someone nearby all the time. She needs to know where you are so that when it’s time to sit, she can fill the rest of your couch cushion. My “baby” (19.5mo) will play by herself for what feels like forever. And then you walk by and she beams and MUST have a hug and kiss before you move on. Similar, yet not the same.

    • I am constantly amazed at how they can be so much the same and so much different at the same time. Learning to parent Charlie is totally different than learning to parent Eddie. Even their little mannerisms. I’m just in awe.

  3. I’m nodding because my girls seem to be taking on the same pattern…Is it a second child thing?! My first little gal also loved being rocked, etc., but was never cuddly. Granted baby #2 doesn’t have a choice but to cuddle since she can’t walk, she loves being held and fawned over. I think it’s so wonderful and beautiful how God gives us kids that fill different parts of our hearts in different ways. 🙂

    • Yes! That is exactly it! Eddie and Charlie fill my heart parts in different ways. That God…he knows what he is doing 🙂

  4. J is exactly like Charlie. He wants to be sitting on me at all times. Sometimes he even asks if he can sleep on my stomach or on my back. It’s adorably weird.

  5. *swoon* What sweet little boys you have.

  6. I love how each child can be so similar and so dissimilar simultaneously.

    • Yes. It quite amazes me actually. I find myself just sitting and watching them be sometimes. Next to each other…just so the same, yet I can see those differences.

  7. I, too, recognize my wild beasties in this post. My girls are so alike in some ways and SO crazy-different in others. (Personally, I think both types are magical.) 😉

    • Yes, they are quite magical. And it’s magical how they balance each other out perfectly. And fit just right as brothers when they need to. I sit amazed so much.

  8. I always feel like my middle son got the short end of the stick – he was colicky and I had a toddler. My youngest son is a lot like your Charlie. The kisses are to die for and he is so laid back. I am careful to validate my middle son and really show him how much I love him – it’s not fair that his entry into the world was so difficult, and his younger brother’s so peaceful.

    • This is how I feel with Eddie. He was a colicky MESS and I had PPD and PPA something fierce for his first 9 months before I was diagnosed and wasn’t really feeling like myself again until well after he was a year old. I also know that Charlie will someday be the middle child…and I want him to know how special his place in our family is.

  9. I’m so sorry you were suffering from PPD while Eddie was a baby; it is such a thief of time! I love the photos of your boys and I love that they are loving, sweet men and they will surely grow up to be great men with you and Cort as role models.

    • Thank you, Kristin! That first year of motherhood…oof. It was tough. Heck, motherhood is just tough anyway! Whenever I wonder if we are modeling love and communication and compassion well enough, I just look at my boys and their love and how helpful they are and I know…I know we are doing an Okay job.

  10. Both of my kids are snugglers, but James just a titch more than Cady. He’ll come sit by me and say, “snuggle momma, snuggle momma, snuggle momma…” But the thing I’ve really noticed is that they get it from David. It is not in my nature to just cuddle up with someone. This is one (of the many) ways that they make me a better person.

    • aw. I love that…one of the ways they make you a better person. It’s so true, right? Our kids make us better people if we are doing the whole parenting thing “right”. They show us true love.

  11. Jake and Hayden are like this. They need to cuddle, be hugged. 🙂

  12. The way you KNOW your boys is breath taking. Truly.

    • What a lovely compliment, Galit. Sometimes I feel like I am such a weirdo in how I analyze their little mannerisms and facial expressions…but I am just amazed by my children. Simply amazed.

  13. He is just too cute for words. I hope my next one is a cuddle-er, because Lucas is most definitely NOT!

    • Your next one most definitely will be a cuddler! I know this because the children that heal us from hurts need to be cuddly 🙂 That is why Charlie is a cuddler. I”m sure of it!

  14. Oooh, I love this. I have a lover and a cuddler, too, and yes they are so beautifully different. They are so lucky to have a mama who knows their languages perfectly 🙂

  15. Oh my gosh, his little smirk in that first photo, LOVE!

    My boys are SO different when it comes to this. B NEVER wanted to cuddle or have anyone sleep with him when he was little. And my G is quite the opposite. He still comes to snuggle with me in the middle of the night sometimes. It IS amazing to me how different they can be but well, they ARE different people… 🙂

  16. Part of the amazing thing about having more than one child is getting to recognize the differences in their personalities and needs. It’s also one of the hardest things. The twins love to cuddle and hug and kiss, one more than the other, but they also have each other. The little one hangs with me a lot, and that’s fine with me.