Sensitive Souls

Dear Alex,

My how time flies! I can’t believe you’re 4 1/2 now. This fall you will be starting at a more formal “school” for Pre-K, and this time next year we’ll be gearing you up for kindergarten. Where did my baby go? Heck, where did my toddler go? You’ve grown into the most amazing little boy. You are sweet, smart, funny, creative and quite wise/mature for your age… what I like to call an “old soul.” Talking to you is almost like talking to another adult.

One exception to this– you’re not only an old soul, but also a sensitive soul. πŸ™‚ Β It’s part of what makes you YOU, this amazing insightful kid, but your overactive sense of caution/anxiety makes you scared of LOTS of things. It is hard to get you to try something new, even just to watch a new movie. You’re afraid of getting hurt mostly, but also afraid of failure. I already see that same drive for perfection in all aspects of your life that Dad has…. and your tendency to be very self-critical when things aren’t 100% perfect (your attention to detail is impeccable, also like Dad). Social anxiety is still sometimes an issue for you too, but not as much as it used to be. I have a hard time relating to this side of your personality, and as your mom I wish there was more I could do to help you deal with it. We’re doing the best we can.

Obviously the biggest change in your life since I last wrote was the addition of your little sister, Emma, to the family. You adore her! This wasn’t surprising to me as I already knew how much you love babies. You love to help take care of her, and really to help with just about anything. I often put you in charge of Charlie when I have my hands full with Emma, and consider myself extremely lucky that you are the sort of kid that I can rely on for things like that. For example, Charlie is learning that he must always hold your hand when we’re walking in public places because usually I am carrying Emma (and can trust you to steer him away from the street πŸ˜‰ ). Charlie and Emma both adore you, too. Charlie wants to be with you all the time, doing everything you do (which annoys the heck out of you sometimes), and Emma just lights up when you talk to her. They are both really lucky to have such an awesome big brother. πŸ˜€

Our transition to a family of 5 hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, however. There’s an old saying that goes “When mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” which very much applies to our life these last few months. I have been struggling with getting my PPD under control, and the whole family has paid the price. This combination of events has led to you acting out more, and it can become a vicious cycle. So I haven’t been the best mom I could be… and I’m terribly sorry for that. The other kids won’t remember this phase of our life, but you might. Whenever you do read these letters, there is one message I want you to understand above all else– although things are never perfect and life can be very messy, DAD & I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH. I don’t think you’ll ever really understand the way we feel about you unless you become a parent yourself someday. We really are trying our best to give you three a fantastic life and raise you well. The trouble is that we don’t really know what the heck we’re doing…. and we’re human. I hope you’ll forgive us that. πŸ˜‰

Things you love– legos (or any building toys, really), art (still a very talented artist!), super heroes (especially ninja turtles and batman), video games (to Dad’s delight and my dismay), and spending time with your family & friends. Things you hate– animals (if they get too close to you), water in your face/eyes (which has made the pool & such a challenge this summer), kale chips (your reaction when I had you try one recently was PRICELESS, haha!), and disapproval (you’re very much a people-pleaser). You don’t dislike sports, and even tried t-ball this spring, but it doesn’t come naturally to you & therefore you get bored with them quickly. Dad was your t-ball coach and I thought you both did a fabulous job… but as much as I love baseball, it’s kind of a boring sport for a 4 year old to play. Truthfully, your ideal day is spent at home with legos, markers, and something superhero-related on TV.

It’s funny how you & Charlie are so different, yet come from the same gene pool. And thank goodness, you’re both turning out to be amazing human beings. πŸ™‚ It will be interesting to see how Emma’s personality develops. I seriously am the luckiest mom on the planet… you three are the coolest kids and even though handling all three of you can be very challenging and exhausting, I wouldn’t trade a second of it. And to think it all started with you, my sweet Alex. I thank my lucky stars everyday for that!

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All my love,
Mom

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Hurricane Charlie

Dear Charlie,

It’s been a crazy spring & summer… now as we approach hurricane season I have finally made some time to write about my favorite little hurricane. πŸ˜‰

You’ve finally become a big brother and are doing better in the role than I thought you would, honestly. At first you were indifferent or only interested in Emma if Alex was playing with her (because you always want to do whatever Alex is doing!), but now you’ve started to take a bit of ownership in Emma’s well-being. You let me know if Emma is crying or needs her binkie, etc. You also love touching her tiny fingers and toes, and you even ask to hold her for *very* brief periods of time.

But overall I’d say you don’t have the nurturing instinct that Alex has & therefore your interests lie elsewhere. Nothing wrong with that of course; I love that you are very much your own person & you’re certainly always keeping us on our toes. You have a very BIG personality– I’d say in general everything with you is go BIG or go home…. the smiles that light up the room, the tantrums that can be heard in China, the amount of force you put behind throwing a baseball, your amazing dance moves (including one that we’ve coined “The Charlie Shuffle” that unfortunately I haven’t gotten on video yet), your spectacular messes, the way you grab my face between your two little hands and pull me in for big sloppy kisses (complete with “MMMMUAH!!!”), and of course the many confounding ways you manage to get into mischief. πŸ˜‰

Your brain is also BIG– you are seriously blowing me away more & more every day with how smart you are! It’s hard to believe now that I ever worried about you developmentally. You are already jumping and climbing way more than Alex did at this age (much to my dismay), building things with “big boy” legos already (another one of those “I want to do whatever Alex is doing” things), and talking a TON with drastically increasing clarity… which has helped us to discover just how much you really know and already understand at barely 2.5 years old! You already know all your colors & shapes, can count to 10 and recognize several numbers + letters on sight. Your vocabulary is huge, especially when it comes to your two favorite things– sports and animals.

I still think you’re going to be quite the little athlete when the time comes. You love love love baseball and were dying to play t-ball with Alex’s team this season. Unfortunately you can’t officially play until you’re 4, but one of the perks of Dad being a coach is that you got to go out on the field and warm up with the team at every game you attended. The rest of the time I spent most of my energy dragging you out of the dugout. πŸ˜‰ You also love basketball, and I think I’m going to sign you up for soccer next year because I think you’d like that too. This summer you’ve been quite the little fish, so swim lessons are also on your to-do list.

Animals are your other jam. You & Annie are continue to enjoy a symbiotic relationship, but really you get a huge kick out of interacting with just about any animal. Farms, zoos, and the living museum have been some of your favorite outings this year, where you were not afraid to get up close & personal with all the critters.

Another big love of yours at the moment is vehicles of any sort. Everywhere you go, car-watching is your go-to way to occupy yourself. This means that I get to listen to “Mommy, a car! Mommy, a truck! Mommy, a bus!” pretty much constantly throughout every. single. car ride. Lucky me! πŸ˜‰ We really hit the jackpot when we spot something like a firetruck or school bus. LOL. You thought all buses were school buses until we recently taught you to identify “silly” (city) buses.

Although you do love playing with me/Dad/Alex and in particular want to do EVERYTHING Alex is doing (much to his dismay… particularly at bedtime when he wants you to leave him alone so he can sleep), you’re also very independent and are more content to play by yourself than Alex ever has been. It also means you don’t feel the need to stick by my side when we go places the way Alex does, and you treat those backpack kid leashes like they are hot lava on your skin (much to MY dismay). You’re my first (and hopefully last) “runner” which, on top of being stubborn, fearless and VERY adventurous/inquisitive, is beyond exhausting.

Truly, these are all excellent qualities to have & I think you’ll probably run the world when you grow up… but it does make it challenging to parent you. You’re a good kid and I don’t think you have a malicious bone in your body, but nevertheless I really do have to watch you like a hawk (or we all pay the price!). πŸ˜‰ I think part of this relates to the fact that you’re so smart– like when the smart kid is not being challenged enough at school so he starts making trouble in the classroom. At home I can’t focus on engaging you constantly as I’m splitting my time/attention between 3 kids + 1 husband + 1 dog + LIFE, so you take matters into your own hands. And at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change any of it. You keep things interesting for sure, and bring a lot of joy and laughter to our family. I can’t wait to see what you choose to do with your firecracker spirit as time goes on. πŸ™‚

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All my love,
Mom

Emma Jean, Baby Queen

Dear Emma,

YOU ARE HERE! In fact, I fail so much at finding time to write these days that you are now just shy of 4 months old. Lots to catch up on…. let’s start at the beginning. πŸ™‚

The final two weeks of the pregnancy were uneventful and dragged on incredibly slowly. But the morning of your arrival came around at last, and as you can see I was VERY MUCH ready to be done with the pregnancy!

That picture was taken right before Dad & I left for the hospital. The birth itself went as smoothly as it possibly could have, other than a large goose almost flying into our windshield as we drove through a busy intersection on the way to the hospital. LOL… I wish I were witty enough to make that up, but it really happened! Thankfully it did not hit our windshield and we made it to the hospital in plenty of time. All the preparations were made, and I very happily signed away my ovarian tubes. πŸ˜‰ No more pregnancies for me!

And not very long after that, you made your big debut. Another one of the happiest moments in my & Dad’s lives. πŸ™‚ I’ll let your birth announcement provide the details:

We were in the hospital for just a couple of days, no health issues for either of us, and you were home by Sunday afternoon. Alex got to visit you in the hospital and was THRILLED to meet you. πŸ™‚

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Charlie met you when we got home and was not as impressed. He’s just not as into babies as Alex is… but he’s coming around, slowly but surely. The boys even argue from time to time over who gets to hold you.

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We call you Emma Jean, Baby Queen because it’s your world & we’re just living in it. πŸ˜‰ Being the “prodigal daughter” of sorts, you are VERY spoiled. Thankfully you don’t act like it (so far). In fact, you’re the easiest baby we’ve ever had! I say that, but I also wonder if I would’ve considered you an “easy baby” if you had been my first…. you have a touch of acid reflux, common for newborns but requires some extra TLC and, in your case, meds twice per day. Prior to starting the medicine, you couldn’t stand to be laid down flat. There was also a bit of day/night confusion around the 1 week mark, but you got the hint pretty quickly after that and have been sleeping through the night since about 4-5 weeks old. Now at almost 4 months, I put you to bed around 6:30-7pm and you sleep for a solid 12 hours straight (I wish I could say the same about your brothers!). You also have a minor case of torticollis, meaning that you prefer to only lay on one side of your head. We’ve been doing some neck exercises and laying your head on a special pillow which seems to have helped a great deal… but your tender skull still has a pretty wicked flat spot. I think you’re probably going to have to sport a very stylish helmet for a few months to round it out again.

These days, you only cry when you’re hungry, tired, or want a change of scenery. You’re full of smiles– I don’t think I’ve ever had such a happy smiley baby! All we have to do is look at you & you break into a huge grin.

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You love snuggles, being worn in the baby carrier, and “playing” in your little baby floor gym/kick piano. Whenever the music stops playing and you can’t get it to start again, you protest a bit until we rectify the situation. You like to reach for things, “baby talk” & giggle with us, and to roll from tummy to back. You HATE tummy time, riding in stop & go traffic, and when your headband falls down into your eyes. We all LOVE you so very much!

Truly, even at less than 4 months it’s hard to imagine life without you. Having three kids under 5 in our house if pretty crazy/chaotic/exhausting/etc etc… and I am definitely very ready to for your brothers to start preschool in the fall/me to go back to work full time, but I’m also very thankful to have been able to take all this time off to be with you guys this spring & summer. You are such a joy and I’m blown away at how quickly you’re growing. At your 2 month checkup, your stats came in at the higher percentiles just like your brothers… but particularly in regards to height. You are apparently quite tall for your age! Many women in our family are quite tall, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

That said, the person you remind me most of so far is actually Alex. You look EXACTLY like he did as a baby, right down to the little strawberry birth mark in the same spot on your torso! The only differences are that you have a little less hair, and I don’t think your eyes are going to be blue. Right now I’d guess green, hazel or brown, but the jury is still out on that. Time will tell!

You were supposed to have your 4 month checkup this week but I took advantage of a last-minute vacation opportunity (woot woot!) so we’ll take care of that when I get back. As I speak you are being loved and spoiled by your grandparents. This is your first time away from me for such a long period of time and while I miss you (and your brothers) terribly…. I really needed this. I’ve written in my letters before about my struggles with PPD, and unfortunately things with that have gotten worse since you were born. My doctor thinks that the combo of being newly post-partum again + having my tubes tied has thrown my hormones out of whack. Your brothers and dad would probably say that I’ve been a hard person to live with. My medicine has been adjusted, and thankfully that is starting to help.

I’m starting to get ramble-y so I’d better wrap this up. So sorry it’s taken me this long to get a letter to you since you were born, but frankly we’ve been too busy enjoying you in person (and making the adjustment to a family of 5) for me to sit down and write!

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All my love,
Mom

The (bumpy) end of the road

Dear Emma,

Here we are at 38 weeks… if all goes according to plan, your birthday is in less than 2 weeks! I am still very much glad that this is my last pregnancy– the struggle is REAL and I’m more or less a beached whale these days. LOL. Obviously this is not my usual bump photo– I had Dad take it specifically to send to a friend who wanted to see how big I was. :-X And mind you, this was a couple weeks ago. The next bump photo I purposefully take will be right before we go to the hospital for your birth.

Truth be told though, lately I’m feeling more impatient not because of being uncomfortably huge… but because I am getting SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED to meet you face to face. πŸ™‚ It’s so close I can taste it! I think Dad feels the same way too. He’s starting to talk more about what he thinks it will be like to parent a daughter– obviously it’s going to be a whole new ball game for us both, but I think he feels moreΒ anxiety over it than I do. But I also sense excitement from him. He’s not type to be super exuberant about it, but I know him well enough to see the signs. πŸ˜‰ Tonight he was talking about dealing with boyfriends and being a “Papa Bear.” LOL. I, for one, can’t wait to see your & Dad’s relationship develop. The father-daughter bond is such a special, indescribable thing. I’ve been trying to explain this to Dad, but don’t think I’ve been doing it justice.

Dad & I are not the only ones who are excited to meet you! Our family recently threw a baby “sprinkle” (mini-shower) in your honor and there was a lot of cuteness to be had…

We made bows! It’s hard not to go overboard with all the girly-ness after having two boys. πŸ˜‰ Here’s a nice photo of you & I from the sprinkle as well:

And an awesome ultrasound photo of your sweet face! I went to the specialist at the hospital right around 35 weeks for one last check to be on the safe side (given my history of pre-eclampsia), and you looked perfect. πŸ™‚

Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling so perfect… and in a shocking development of events, I ended up right back in the hospital a few days later with the flu and pneumonia. Seriously, no one was more surprised by this than me. That Saturday morning I ran over to the Minute Clinic because I’d been feeling crappy all week and had come down with a fever the night before… I expected to get some antibiotics and be back home within the hour. I didn’t even put socks on! Just slipped on my shoes and ran out the door.

When the doctor at the Minute Clinic saw me, she confirmed that I had the flu and asked whether I was having trouble breathing. To this I responded “Well I’m 35 weeks pregnant, of course I’m having trouble breathing!” She laughed and told me I should go to the nearest ER and get my lungs looked at, just to be safe. While I was sitting there waiting for her to finish typing her notes/wrap up the paperwork, I started feeling light-headed and had to lay down for the last few minutes I was there. Before I went to the hospital I called the OB to see whether they wanted me to go straight to them at the main hospital or if I could just go to the local ER. I’m glad I did, because they suggested going straight to them since the outpatient ERs would likely send me there anyway. Off I went….

When I got there they were expecting me and took me right back. I went in for a chest x-ray, which revealed the pneumonia. I was admitted to the hospital shortly after that. Thankfully Grandma and Papa were able to come up and help take care of your brothers so that Dad could come be with me. They kept a close eye on you at the hospital, and at first your heart rate wasn’t quite what they were hoping to see. The OB came in and basically said “We’re going to do an ultrasound to see what’s going on, and if I don’t like what I see we’re going to do the c-section today.” This was on Sunday morning… and going from running out the door to the Minute Clinic without socks on the day before to possibly having my baby over a month early had me feeling a bit floored, to say the least. Thankfully the ultrasound looked good and your heart rate was doing much better by the second night. Dad and I watched the Super Bowl at the hospital, and I was discharged/ officially on the mend Monday morning. Phew!

Since then we’ve been laying low, trying to avoid germs and failing miserably. This time of year is the pits. Thankfully I have not gotten sick anymore since the hospital stay, and as it stands you & I appear to be as healthy and normal for this point as we possibly can be. πŸ™‚ I should know better than to worry about you… with brothers like these climbing all over you all the time, you’re already one tough cookie!

They are both very much aware of your presence (how could they not be with a belly this big?!?!) and Alex is SUPER excited to meet you face to face as well. I doubt Charlie will really “get it” until we bring you home. He has been extra clingy lately though, so I suspect he senses/understands more than I’m giving him credit for. Alex is also more interested in babies, with more of a nurturing soul, than Charlie is… nothing wrong with that, but I don’t expect Charlie to take much interest in you until you can play with him. On the other hand, he LOVES to “help,” and actually a key toΒ the successful big brother transition with Alex was involving him with all things baby from Day 1 (diapers, bottles, you name it). So I plan to do the same with Charlie and hope he gets a kick out of helping take care of you. Time will tell!

Speaking of time, it’s 10:30pm on the start of my & Dad’s last kid-free weekend before you’re born. The bed is calling my name! πŸ˜‰ This will most likely be my last letter to you before you’re born… see you on the outside, Miss Emma! :-* We really can’t wait to meet you and adore you SO MUCH already!

All my love,
Mom

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. πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ™‚

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 Β 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. πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ (And yes, I think your nickname will probably be Bean/Beanie for life. Sorry dear.)

All my love,
Mom

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. πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ˜‰

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 I’m rapidly approaching the point where I’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.” πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ˜‰ 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? πŸ˜‰ 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? πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ˜‰

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?!” πŸ˜€ 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