Snips, Snails, and Potty Training Fails

Dear Charlie,

The “terrible two’s” are upon us! But who are we kidding really, I think that phase started a bit early with you. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nevertheless, 2 years old is a big milestone and you’ve made lots of developmental leaps in the last couple months!

For one thing, you are talking SO much more, although it can be hard for people who don’t know you well to understand you. Here are just some of your more common words/phrases (and translations, where necessary):

  • Ball (and several variations for football, basketball, etc.)
  • Mum = Mom
  • Dat/Dah-dee = Dad/Daddy
  • Bubba (Alex)
  • Uh-nee = Annie
  • Up
  • Esssssssssss = Yes (we like to joke that you sound like you’re speaking parseltongue when you say this)
  • Uh uh = No (you only actually say/scream “NO!!!” when you’re really pissed off)
  • Mine (easily your most frequently used word right now. LOL)
  • Peez = Please
  • Want
  • Uh oh
  • Foo-t = Food
  • Poo = Spoon
  • Boon = Balloon
  • Buh-lalalala = Banana
  • Mo = More (which you also always sign as well)
  • Keys = Kiss
  • Go
  • Ah-eh-see = Medicine

I could go on, there are lots more…. that’s just off the top of my head. You are putting together 2-3 and sometimes even 4 word sentences, as well as singing/humming various tunes and making lots of different animal sounds (your favorites are dinosaur/lion/tiger = ROAR! and monkey = ah ah ee ee). You love trying to sing along to music and you also love watching/listening to me sing to you. After I finish a song you always sign/ask for more. Same goes for reading books– I was starting to wonder if you’d ever have the patience/interest in sitting down to read a whole book, but now you love it and ask us to read you books all the time. ๐Ÿ™‚

You of course still love to do anything your big brother is doing, which has led to a lot of development in your gross and fine motor skills. I’m particularly impressed with your ability to use “big boy” legos already (although you still like to put things in your mouth from time to time, so we only let you do that under close supervision).

But you’re also fearless and an amazing problem-solver, which has led to a lot of development I wasn’t expecting quite yet (like being able to climb the bunk beds, as I mentioned in my last letter)… and getting into LOTS ย of trouble. Just a few nights ago you managed to sneak into the downstairs bathroom, flood the sink and get water ALLLLL over the floor. Lord help me! You make up for it with lots of sweetness. You’re very affectionate, full of smiles and giggles, and are never one to turn down a high five from just about anybody. Thanks to molars coming in, you’ve been a little extra clingy lately. You’re also more into Daddy than Alex was at this age, but you adore everyone in the immediate family really… especially Annie.

I do wonder what you’ll think of your baby sister after she arrives. You don’t seem to get super jealous when other kids/babies are around, but you don’t seem particularly fond of babies either. You’re also not very gentle or sensitive like Alex. Right now I’m pretty sure you just think I’m hiding a ball under my shirt. Boy are you in for a surprise! LOL.

Speaking of babies, you’ve been starting to abandon some of the staples of “babyhood” — namely pacifiers, as you started biting/chewing on them so we had to cut you off cold turkey. It was not pretty, but is getting better. You can use utensils pretty well for your age and have even started using real/non-sippy cups at most meals. You’ve also started to show interest in using the potty and having an idea of when you need to go… but when we decided to try putting you in undies and actually potty training you, it was a spectacular fail. I think giving up the paci and diapers that close together was a bit too much. I don’t think we’ll worry about it anymore until well after Emma arrives, unless you specifically request otherwise.

But like I said before, this really has been a huge year of growth and development for you! I was especially blown away to see it in black & white (so to speak) when I put together your birthday slideshow:

I feel like the switch from baby to toddler has somehow been less gradual with you. It’s like a switch flipped and all of a sudden babyhood was over. Although I do miss your baby phase– you were the sweetest, cutest baby– and your toddlerhood has certainly been more challenging… there’s a lot about it I’m really enjoying. Watching you (and all my kids, really) discover new things is the best feeling. As is watching your relationship with your brother grow. You guys still fight over toys and such quite a bit, but are getting along more & more everyday and are starting to really enjoy playing WITH each other rather than just being in one another’s presence (if that makes sense). Most recently the space under Alex’s bed has been dubbed “The Batcave,” with him being Batman and you being Robin. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Super cute.

This last picture is from the moment Alex gave you the Christmas present he picked out for you– a Paw Patrol ball. It is the first time I’ve ever heard you clearly say “Thank you,” unprompted no less! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m starting to ramble, so I’d better wrap this up. All in all it’s been an amazing year, despite the ups & downs, and I feel so blessed to be your mom. I can’t wait to see what the coming year brings! We love you so much, little Charlie Bean. ๐Ÿ™‚ (And yes, I think your nickname will probably be Bean/Beanie for life. Sorry dear.)

All my love,
Mom

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One Smart Cookie

Dear Alex,

Oh my goodness, you are FOUR! I’ve said this out loud a million times already, but I still can’t believe it. Gone are the days of babyhood and even toddlerhood– you are a smart, sweet, precocious little boy now.

As indicated by the title of this letter, you are incredibly intelligent and inquisitive. We’ve finally entered not just the “Why?” phase, but also the “How?” phase. For example, you have asked me a few times over the course of my pregnancy with Emma about how she was going to make her debut… but only recently did you question the logistics of it. A recent conversation we had went something like this:

You: Mom, how is Baby Emma coming out of your tummy?
Me: Well, the doctors are going to help me get her out.
You: But HOW are the doctors going to help you get her out?
Me: …
Me: Well, there are a few different ways it can be done. But for me, I’m going to go to the hospital and the doctors are going to cut her out of my tummy.
Alex: *GASP* But Mom! I don’t want you to be cut! That will hurt you!
Me: Don’t worry, the doctors are very careful and they will make sure to put me back together safely after Emma is out. You and Charlie came out of my tummy the same way, and the doctors at the hospital always take very good care of me.

You still looked unsure at that point, and I immediately regretted my philosophy of being as open & honest with you as possible about things like this. :-X I showed you my c-section scar as well as the video of my coming home from the hospital after Charlie was born so that you’d understand that I will heal and be just fine, which helped you feel more comfortable with the idea. You absolutely LOVE babies and are incredibly excited to meet your little sister in a couple months. This is a friend’s baby that came to visit us for a couple days recently– you were my excellent little helper while he was here.

Another moment where I thought “Oh shit, he’s getting so smart!” was when you got to see Santa this year. We had Santa visit our house during our annual playgroup Christmas party, played by Uncle Eddie. You had a great time telling Santa what you wanted for Christmas (“a ninja turtle robot”), opening up your early Santa gift, playing with your friends and eating cookies….

But that night, as we were getting ready for bed, this conversation happened:

Me: Did you have a good time with Santa today?
You: Yeah, but I think that was Uncle Eddie under there!
Me: *gulp* No, no way! That was Santa! Uncle Eddie had left to take a nap, remember?
You: Yeah, but why did Santa come down from the stairs?
Me: Well, he landed on the roof with the reindeer and climbed in through a window upstairs.
You: Oh, okay…. (still clearly unsure)

OY. I hope you will get to enjoy the magic of Santa/Christmas for at least another couple years, but it’s not looking good! And in other “smart cookie” news, you’ve also been ahead of your peers in the preschool 3’s class for some time now, and the teachers have been working on transitioning you to the pre-kindergarten/4’s class for the last couple months. You made the official full-time switch right after the holidays, and seem to be enjoying it so far.

All your teachers in both classes adore you, and never have anything but glowing remarks to make about you. I do think you’ve matured a lot over the past year, but especially in the last few months… and we could not be more proud of you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Most of all, I love your imagination and silly sense of humor. I love seeing the world through your eyes, and you keep me smiling and laughing all day long.

Although you’re still very much a mama’s boy, you & Dad have gotten a lot closer in the last 6 months or so. You are starting to also became Dad’s little shadow and wanting to do everything he does.

With me being pregnant and tired all the time, plus Charlie being such a clingy handful, I’ve honestly been thankful for this change. But I’m just as thankful for the occasional moments when you crawl into bed and snuggle with me in the wee hours of the morning. You are growing up so fast, and I know I won’t have those opportunities much longer.

I’m reminded of this all too well whenever the time comes to do your annual birthday slideshow. It never ceases to amaze me what an awesome person you are turning out to be, despite Dad & I bumbling our way through parenthood.

We really do feel so incredibly proud & lucky to be your parents, and can’t wait to see all the fantastic things you choose to do with your life as you grow…. although it’s a bittersweet feeling, to be sure. At least for now I still have the snuggles. But when you’re all grown up and reading this, don’t forget how much your dear old mom LOVES Alex hugs. Even when they are at 4am! ๐Ÿ˜‰

All my love,
Mom

TGIMLP (Thank Goodness It’s My Last Pregnancy)

Dear Emma,

You are just over 33 weeks along now– the size of a pineapple! And boy, are you making sure I know it. In my last letter I said that Iโ€™m rapidly approaching the point where Iโ€™m going to be uncomfortable and exhausted regardless…. yeah. We’re definitely there now. LOL. I keep telling Dad “I swear I don’t remember being this uncomfortable with with the other pregnancies,” to which he responds “Well you said that last time too.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m not sleeping well as it’s hard to be comfortable in any position, everywhere hurts, you move a lot and no area is safe from your jabs/kicks (which are getting MUCH stronger), and I am having a LOT more practice contractions than I remember having with either of your brothers. I suppose being pregnant while chasing around 2 toddlers has something to do with it!

That was taken right at 27 weeks, when 3rd trimester officially began. As I mentioned in your last letter, Alex is still incredibly excited to meet you. Charlie still doesn’t get it, but I’m getting so big now that he’s starting to sense something is going on. He keeps pointing to my stomach and saying “Ball!” (balls are his favorite toys, heaven forbid I might be hiding one under my shirt… hahaha). I’ve been correcting him, but I doubt he’ll understand until you’re here. Anywho, we had a lovely Christmas and everyone was spoiled rotten… including you!

Yes, your closet is already FULL OF CLOTHES and I think you’re pretty much set through size 12 months, at least. Having a girl is definitely bad for my (and Grandma + Nana’s) wallet, as there is just soooooo much cute girly stuff out there. You also have accumulated a few girly baby toys (plus of course we have lots of baby toys already to be passed down from your brothers), various other girly baby accessories (the bows! the shoes! the pink pacifiers & bottles!), and naturally we’re stocking up on diapers as well. I know better than to stock up on much formula since we won’t know what kind you tolerate best until you’re here drinking it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nana & Grump got your car seat for Christmas as well. So, at this point we’re as ready for you as we’ll ever be. But it’s still a bit early, so even though I’m incredibly uncomfortable, I hope you stay put for awhile longer! We have your c-section officially scheduled for the morning of March 9, so if all goes well that will be your birthday. Woohoo!

Speaking of being ready for you…. as promised, here are some pictures of your finished nursery:

SO. MUCH. PINK. I might be a little excited about having a girl, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know, I know… it’s 2017 and all, but pink is my favorite color so I just couldn’t resist. The room is kind of ballet-themed as you can see, and most of the quotes on the collage wall are dance-related.

Now it’s just a matter of trying to relax as much as possible these next 7 weeks. And trying not to fall, which unfortunately I did manage to do not long after my last letter. :-\ Tripped over an umbrella on the front porch and although I felt fine (landed on my side), the OB sent me to the hospital to be monitored as a precaution. All looked fine, but you were measuring a bit small so I followed up with the maternal fetal specialist a couple weeks later to confirm that you are growing properly. Which you are, of course:

I mean, how the heck could I be getting SO EFFING BIG if you were not growing like a weed in there? ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it’s better to be safe than sorry, and I’m glad we got to go to the specialist because they have much nicer ultrasound machines there. I got to see you in much more detail, and they basically did another full anatomy scan. It’s still hard to say who you look like, as those definitely look like my chipmunk cheeks! Because of my history of preeclampsia, the specialist wants me to come back for one more look in early February. I’m glad I’ll get to see you one more time before we meet face to face.

It’s hard to believe we’ll officially be a family of 5 in just a few weeks! Although I occasionally feel a little nervous about the logistics and finances of handling three young children, overall I’m just so incredibly excited. And VERY ready to be done with pregnancies for good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Although of course I’m very thankful to have been blessed with three healthy pregnancies/babies. I say to Dad all the time– “How did we get so lucky?!” ๐Ÿ˜€ Well, I suppose that’s all for now… I may write once more before your birth, but you can see by now how that goes. Until next time, sweet Emma Jean!

All my love,
Mom