Feels Like the First Time

When we found out that Charlie was a boy, my very first thought was, Oh thank you, God! 

My very next thought was, Aw jeah. A boy. Not my first rodeo. I can DO this I can be a boy mom!

Side note: I’ve heard wonderful things about raising daughters. I am not knocking daughters. Shoot, I AM a daughter. But, as someone who thrives on predictability and knowing what to expect, hearing the word “boy” was like God saying, “See? No more surprises.”

No more surprises.

I had my fair share of surprises before Charlie, didn’t I? My first pregnancy was a surprise. Two miscarriages were a surprise. Everything about my labor and delivery with Eddie was a surprise. Shoot, that was such a surprise it left me with a lovely case of PTSD.

Eddie is a dang surprise every day–both in all the good ways and some of the side-eye ways.

So another boy. I can do this. No surprises.

And then God fell off his chair laughing at me.  For the millionth time in my life, probably.

Yes, Charlie is a boy. Other than that, almost nothing has been the same as his older brother. From his birth, I kept waiting for Charlie to become colicky, have digestive issues, not sleep, but that never happened. He was–dare I say it–easy as a baby. He ate and slept and pooped. If he cried it was because he was hungry, tired, or poopy.  Ok, he didn’t even cry when he was poopy. He was even content to sit in his own dump.

Charlie was a laid back baby and trouble-maker toddler.

I haz it dat bowl peez?

I haz it dat bowl peez?

He is a charmer and knows that his big blue eyes and tiny polite voice can twist many a person around his little finger.

“peez I have it dat juice?”

“peez I have it dat cookie?

“peez I have it dessert?”

The last one he said through big crocodile tears just the other night after we told him no, because he didn’t even try his pork. Cortney was sitting next time him and set the ONE bite he needed to take in front of him and said, “If you want dessert, you need to take this one bite.” Charlie proceeded to yell, “NO!” in his tantrumy two-year old voice, cry and then look at me with two tears strategically placed under each eye, just about to drop. He turned his little mouth into a sad pouty frown, made his eyes huge, put his little hand out to me and whimpered, “I haz it peez, dessert?”

I so badly wanted to give him the damn dessert.

But Cortney held firm.

Eddie is my rule follower. You bet he ate the required dinner for the elusive, not-every-day dessert treat (not without massive whining, but he’s almost five, so you know). Charlie threw that tantrum just as far as it would go until he realized his daddy was NOT going to budge.

In fact, Charlie can be so stubborn, the very next night he ate zero dinner other than a couple raspberries and when asked if he wanted dessert he said, “NO!”

While his fits are loud and tearful, they are quick. If you just avoid saying, “no” to him, you can avoid the major meltdowns.

Yeah, about that.

“No” tends to be a dare for Charlie.

“Charlie, no no. Don’t stand on the couch.”

He will look at me as if I am making the world’s silliest request and say, “yes, mommy.”  As in, “duh, you stupid lady.”

He will fling himself off furniture. He will tumble down cement steps. He will fall backward off toys. He will jump…on and off anything. And then he will laugh his deep chuckly belly laugh.

He will see Eddie sitting nicely watching TV and tackle him. He will spy Eddie watching something on the tablet and stick his face in front of him. He will see Eddie playing with something and snatch it.

He is the button pusher, and Eddie is the button.

But he is a ball of love. He likes to sit on laps and hold hands and rub my arm and snuggle into my neck. He likes me to sing to him and rock him at bedtime. He likes to hold my face and push his to mine: nose to nose. He likes to whisper, “I yuv you, momma.”

His fine motor skills are ridiculous for a kid of his age.

I watch a lot of kids play with toys however they want, but Charlie likes to figure out how to play with them the way they are made to be played with, if that makes sense. He can manipulate twisting small parts and fitting puzzles together.

And he wants to be helpful. If I need him to come in the house, just saying “it’s time to come in,” will result in a meltdown. If I say, “Charlie, I need your help!” He will come RUNNING.

always fixing things for mommy.

always fixing things for mommy.


He says all the words and just 2 years and 3 month.

“I yuv you, mommy, daddy, Eddie,” unprompted, is probably my favorite. He listens and repeats absolutely everything and Cortney and I find ourselves cracking up and not at all keeping up with all his new words and phrases each day.

I want to find a way to bottle his tiny voice and keep it forever. I want to hear “bye bye mommy. I yuv you. have gate day!” every day for as long as I live.

I love the way he sees Cortney’s car in the garage as we pull in after daycare and announces, “YAY! Daddy home! Yay!”

I even love the way he laughs at me when I ask him if he is my boy, “nooo! Nae’s boy!” (Renae, his daycare mom. He might have her wrapped tightly around his finger. He truly is her boy.)

Every day he pulls another stunt, defies us in a new way, and laughs with abandon at something I didn’t know he was paying attention to, I think, “Man. This is NOTHING like the first time around. In many ways, THIS feels like the first time too!”

Because of course it does.

This is the first time I am Charlie’s mom.

always mommy's boy.

always mommy’s boy.

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. Dude, like I’ve said before a thousand times – Scrumps is just like Charlie. I was just thinking the other day, how much I love his voice, how I laugh at him saying, “Papa is a muppet!”, and how he flashed me a thumbs up when he was hanging off his father’s leg like a monkey, while my husband walked. Also, this morning, he tried some daredevil thing with his bike, specifically AFTER I told him not to, and of course he fell.

    I love everything about this post!!

  2. I just had to laugh out loud at the way you get him to come in. Why did I never think of that? You are brilliant! William loves to help too. 🙂

  3. This is so sweet and so true. I have found it so different and special parenting each of my children. I love the way you said the word no is a dare to him. I have one that is like that. It is challenging, but never dull. 🙂

  4. I so relate to this post. Gavin is completely different from Cameron – though Cameron is my crazy daredevil while Gavin is my hilarious snuggle-monster. I think that was one of the coolest things about becoming a mom-of-two, when I began to realize that I had birthed two completely individual babies who would grow into two completely individual people. I love watching it happen.

  5. I love this! Truth in every word.

    Bill and I took a parenting course (back when we were desperate to BE BETTER AT IT, before realizing we’re all just limping along doing our best) and a lot of what we “learned” was common sense or completely ridiculous. But the one thing that I remember that has rung true for us and every family I’ve talked to since was the thing our teacher told us about having two children:

    In her opinion, the firstborn would come out with a set personality that, although parents have some input, is basically WHAT IT IS. Laid back, intense, loud, silent, whatever. Then, she said, baby number two would – from birth – see the gap in the family and be the opposite of whatever the firstborn provided.

    First baby easy? Second baby hard.
    First baby hard? Second baby easy.

    Of course, “easy/hard” are generic terms for complicated personalities – and this can’t be true 100% of the time. It’s not HARD SCIENCE, or anything.

    But damn if every set of siblings I know doesn’t kind of sort of a little bit fit this general guideline.

    Luckily, there’s something delightful to be found in all our kids – it’s just rarely what we expect it to be!

  6. Aw, I love this Katie! I thought the same thing when I found out I was having another boy. But it is so true – it really is a whole different ballgame. They like different things and have their own way of doing things.

  7. It’s amazing how so very different your children can be. Isn’t it?! I love this tribute to your handsome little Charlie. LOVE.

  8. all 3 of mine have been different too. we got sleepers, non-sleepers, and a in between sleeper. one struggled with breast feeding at first, one wouldn’t at all, one took to it immediately like a pro. It was exactly like the first time all over again. I find even different discipline strategies have to be used because time outs didn’t work with all of them and for one the absolute worst thing you can do is send them to their room — away from everyone else. they hate that. absolutely suffers from FOMO!
    And yet, I see so much of all of them in each other too.
    I really wish they’d make up their minds. ha

  9. I LOVE being a boy mom. Being a mom is a surprise in so many ways, and I’m sure if I had a second, it would be all new. 🙂 For me, it’s learning how to deal with a child who is so UNlike me – he is very different. And I don’t always know what to do… but I’m learning.
    And for the record, my son loves dessert, too. He’ll do almost anything for it, unless he’s feeling stubborn too.