I find it so hard to believe that you’re two and a half. In some ways I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown because weren’t you just my little infant? In other ways you seem so big and grown up now that it surprises me that you’re not older! You have grown so much, especially in these last two months after your brother’s arrival that sometimes it’s hard to remember the young toddler that you used to be compared to the grown up toddler you are now.
So to chronicle you at 2 and a half, my little girl, let’s start with the stats. We weighed you last week and you weighed 29.2 lbs. We measured you and you were 35.5 inches tall. (Just for comparison at her 2 year appointment she weighed 25.3 lbs and was 34.5 inches tall.) You must have hit another growth spurt and now look so tall compared to lots of other kids your age! You are wearing mostly 2/2T outfits but are wearing some 3/3T outfits. You are in a shoe size 8 but I bet that moves up to a 9 pretty soon.
You are quite the little helper. Some of the things that you like to help me with are putting away the plastic plates from the dishwasher. Getting out a diaper for James and handing it to me or putting it on the changing table. Picking out an outfit for James to wear. Putting your clothes in the dirty clothes hamper. Putting your toys away at the end of the night (not sure you like doing this but you’re good at it!). And checking on James if I am not within a few feet of him.
Speaking of James, let’s address the change in your little life. You have handled the adjustment to a family of four beautifully. I honestly was most worried about you at bedtime because I have been the last one to be with you in our bedtime routine since you were born. But after maybe three nights of a small amount of tears you adjusted to Daddy finishing the routine with you and now we’re at a point where I don’t think you would like it if I tried to take back that spot. Thankfully you go with the flow and let me handle everything during the day and Daddy handle it at night which works out perfectly.
The “taking turns” of Mommy and Daddy has been a little bit of an issue. If Daddy’s home for a long period of time (long weekend, etc) by the end of the time you only want Daddy to help you. But during a normal work week you get upset the first few times you need something after Daddy gets home and he comes to help you. But that’s not to say that you haven’t become a huge Daddy’s girl during this time. You always loved your Daddy but you now love, love, love to play with him and read with him and pretty much do anything with him and I know that he loves that too.
Part of you becoming so incredibly vocal is that you are expressing yourself so much. A common phrase for you is to come up to me out of the blue and hug me and say, “I love you sooo much!” The other night we read your Snuggle Puppy book and when you were putting it down you said, “That made me happy.” Your vocal skills are exceptional and we are constantly amazed by the things we say. One of the problems with your vocal skills and your memory is that it’s hard to get away with something. For instance, one day when Papa picked you up from school he pinched your leg in your car seat. I’m not sure there’s been a time since when Papa’s put you in your carseat that you’ve either asked, “You’re not going to pinch my leg are you?” or told him after he’s finished, “You didn’t pinch my leg like last time!”
It is really helpful that you are very expressive about how you’re feeling. We are definitely dealing with the two’s and the fact that sometimes you get upset and won’t vocalize your feelings but a lot of the time you will tell us what’s the matter and/or what we can do to help. Right along with that though are a lot of instances when you tell us “I’m so upset about Sandy (her stuffed animal)” or “I’m sad about Minnie.” When we ask you why you’re sad about them almost 100% of the time you’ll say, “She bumped her back.”
As evidence by that story, your imagination has taken off. You will sit and play with your nativity or your cookies for a while and just talk to them and make up stories about them or pretend that you’re cooking. You often tell us that you’re going to Memma’s or to the Rosa Bowl or somewhere else and say “Bye!” and go get in your Cozy Coupe and ride off somewhere. It is fun to see you advance in this area and become a little girl.
Another area of independence is school. Back in the spring we went through another phase when you would get upset when I dropped you off at school. I was afraid that we might get back in to that at the beginning of this year but all year you’ve been happy as a clam to go to school and be left. You are also able to tell me what you did at school each day and get so excited to show me your “craft” that you made that day.
You love being like Mommy or Daddy or whoever and one of your favorite games is “I got your spot!” where you run and leap into the person’s seat when they get up. You won’t let me cook while you’re awake without bringing your stool over to let you “help” and you always require your own spatula to cook with. You love it when we both wear our “cowboy boots” and you love wearing jewelry like Mommy.
Speaking of jewelry, you have quite an opinion on what you’re going to wear. Sometimes I can get away with telling you what you’re going to wear but most times you want to pick it out. I’ve decided that since we’re fighting some other obedience problems (obeying the first time asked, etc) that this isn’t a battle that I want to fight so I pretty much let you have your free reign. While sometimes that ends up with something that doesn’t match — I think once you had on a pink shirt and black and blue striped leggings — sometimes you end up with adorable outfits that I probably wouldn’t have thought to put together. You love your monkey bar buddies and wish you could wear those every day. And all pants are considered “yeggin’s” (leggings) by you and you get annoyed when anyone calls them pants. EXCEPT pj pants which you and Daddy have a running joke about that Daddy calls them “paaaa-nts” (no way really to spell it the way he says it) and you tell him, “Not paaa-nts! Pants!”
We ditched your diapers in July and never really looked back. You’re still in a pull-up during nap time and bedtime but I don’t really mind that. You have regressed a little in it when we’re at home since James was born. I’m not sure if it’s for the attention or you just know that there’s more clothes here or what but you have some accidents (never on the floor, just enough to get your clothes a tad damp) here but I can only remember once that you have ever had an accident outside of the house and that was at school and, honestly, wasn’t entirely your fault. We are so proud of you that you just went with the flow and did it and while it was daunting at the time looking back you did it so quickly!
And as far as your eating habits go you’ve evened out. You still won’t really touch a vegetable with a ten foot pole but these days you’ll eat, or at least try, most anything else. You eat all kinds of meats and will eat any fruit. You love snacks — specifically yogurt raisins, chex mix, pretzel goldfish, and fruit snacks — but will eat pretty much anything for a snack if your favorites aren’t available. You love juice but we rarely let you have it because you tend to have a lot more accidents when you’ve had it. And when you do get juice it is still diluted at least 50% with water. Your favorite breakfast foods are cheese grits, cinnamon raisin toast, and monkey muffins, but you also eat oatmeals, pancakes, and cereal bars on a regular basis.
Charlotte, you are definitely your own little person and we are loving watching you grown and develop such a wonderful personality. While we are struggling some in figuring out how to best teach you to be a respectful, caring little girl, we love you to pieces and wouldn’t trade any of those struggles for anything because it means that we get you. You are so sweet and kind and polite and imaginative and funny and crazy and smart and beautiful and wonderful and we love you with all of our hearts. Just like I told you today, you are my favoritist little girl in the whole wide world and I am so incredibly blessed and humbled that I get to be your Mommy.
I will tell you now that I’m going to mess up in this parenting job just like you’re going to make mistakes but I want you to know that every single thing that I do, I do with your best interests in heart. You can be anything little girl and I want you to grow and learn and explore and find exactly what your calling in life is and then live it to your fullest potential. You are extraordinary and your talents and blessings will take you so far in life if you let them. But if you chose, like I did, to be a stay at home Mommy and not make your place in this big world but just to make your place in your home we will still be just as proud of you. Nothing that you can do can make us love you any more than we already do.
And when you do mess up your Daddy and I will be here to help you pick up the pieces. We might be disappointed for a time but we will never, ever love you any less.
And even more than us, God loves you exponentially and He will always be there for you. We are praying for you daily that you will come to a lasting relationship with Jesus Christ and we hope that we can help lead you to Him. We will let you down at times, but Jesus never will. We love hearing you recite your Bible verses from school or singing “Jesus loves me” or playing with your nativity and we hope that we are helping you plant seeds that will later grow to help you yearn for a relationship with Christ.
You are our precious baby girl. Our firstborn. And you are amazingly special to us. You are your own person and the absolute best Charlotte there ever could be. We love you with our whole hearts and would do anything for you. We are so glad that we get to be your parents and we can’t wait to watch in amazement as you grow into the lovely girl that you will be.
I love you,