We didn't know how much our family needed every inch of your incredibly assertive personality. You are robust in every sense of the word: sturdy and solid in statue... resilient and hardwearing in character.
And yet, in the most beautiful way, you can yield your will to be tender towards others... especially your mama who still gets the best cheek-to-cheek hugs from you. You say "Hey, Mama!" when you come into a room and "Thank you, Mama" when I pour a glass of milk. And in all of these ways, I am reveling in the grace of a little boy who is showing love.
If I thought Brother's will was strong (and I did), boy could I not even fathom what was coming for us in you. You want to do everything on your own these days: walking in parking lots, buckling your carseat, climbing stairs, putting on your pants, calling someone on the phone. "No mama. Stop. I do it." is a favorite phrase of yours. You like to climb on tables and counters and bookcases and it's really the mercy of God that we have only just experienced our first ER visit (When you were trying to climb the back of a kitchen chair and said chair fell back right on top of you. Your bottom lip busted in half and you got one stitch without any numbing, brave boy. The stitch came out an hour later because you are a busy guy, and you will probably have a scar that will bear testament of your bravery.)
One of the few ways that you are like your brother is that you want to be a part of every experience happening in the house. So if something is going on on the kitchen counter, you are pulling up a stool saying, "I see, Mama." If I'm cooking this is usually followed by, "I want some, Mama" which actually sounds like "Awesome, Mama" and makes us all laugh and reply back, "Awesome, Charlie!"
You love playing with Brother, and right now you two are great friends. You follow him around as he catches bugs outside and you help him classify them in the clubhouse. You two have come up with the silliest game that you call "Pop Up," and I still haven't quite figured out the rules. (It goes something like- Brother throws a book to you in your room and has to make it back to the kitchen before you can throw it through the kitchen door... and then reverse?) However it goes, it's always incredible to me that you both devised it on your own. And your giggles running up and down the hall are making this mother's heart swollen with joy.
You could probably use your first haircut, but those little wings in the back are starting to have the hints of a curl and I feel like it's too much of a risk to not see where they're going with that. So... I'm apologizing to your future teenage-self about all the mullets you'll see in pictures of yourself at two!
You have a great sleeping pattern right now- usually a two hour nap in the afternoon and sleeping from 7:00 - 7:00 at night... sometimes you want to get up before the sun and sometimes (blessed sometimes!) you sleep until 8:00. After I found out I was pregnant with Baby Sister, I got really sentimental about bedtime. I started to rock you again before naps and at night and now you won't let me skip it: "Rock, Mama." We have a medley of "Itsy Bitsy Spider," "Jesus Loves Me," "The Lord's Prayer," and "There's Just Something about that Name"... then I lay you in the bed and you want to make sure that Rabbit and Woof-Woof both have blankets before you do. I say "I...love...YOU" with a tickle-fest starting on the YOU and it's the highlight of your whole day- you always laugh so hard that you get the hiccups, which I'm sure makes falling to sleep hard for you... but you don't seem to mind. You ask for a high five for you and a high five for "Babbit and Woof-Woof" and out the door I go. Can it go on forever?
I know that it can't...
You're a terrible eater. Just terribly picky and stubborn. Mealtimes are equal parts frustrating and hysterical and maybe they are just hysterically frustrating. I'm not sure how you weigh more than 96% of your peers, because you refuse to eat anything. You dump your plate and laugh, rub applesauce in your hair, throw pork chop in Brother's face... And just when we are all cheering because the green beans made it to your mouth, they turn into spitballs aimed at Mommy. Maybe laughter is our coping mechanism, but we are all usually in stitches by the end.
I don't think I've recorded this on here, but at 18 months you were diagnosed with a tree-nut allergy. The allergist asked us to keep you away from all nuts for a year (WHAT?! NO MORE PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES??) and I about fell over in my chair because trying to figure out something else for lunch sounded like the biggest obstacle of my life at that point. I've definitely made some slip-ups and have not been as careful as I should be at avoiding them. (Last week I caught you digging a peanut butter cracker out of the trash can and eating it. Do you miss them that much?) You haven't had any crazy reactions in a year, so I'm hoping you have grown out of your allergy (because I have learned that I am a total fail at being a food-allergy mom!) But praise the Lord for the allergist, because she gave me tips on how to deal with your eczema which led to you sleeping THROUGH the night for the VERY first time at 18 months and I could have kissed. her. feet.
At this age, your Brother's love for animals was starting to bloom and so I've been watching for where your love is settling. You definitely mimic your brother, so you get excited over fish and bugs and animals too... but can one use the word athlete at this age? You seem very comfortable with kicking soccer balls and running and bouncing a basketball. "He is never still" seems like a cliche thing to say about a little boy, but we really mean it. Never. While you run, you shout "We-oh, we-oh, we-oh" and none of us know where you got that from. You can catch a ball from across a room without batting an eye, and frankly you can throw one with greater force than either of your parents! It's just another sweet reminder that you are your own person... and that there are all of these little pieces of yourself (that we, as your parents, really have nothing to do with) that are starting to surface. It's my favorite part of being a parent... watching beautifully designed personalities blossom and give glory to their Creator. You are glorious, Chachi.
Chachi is another thing. Is it your name now? I feel like we use "Charlie" and "Chachi" about 50/50 but when you talk about yourself you say "Chachi do it" and "Chachi's balloon" so I'm afraid we've tipped the scale. In any case, I don't think there's a more appropriate name for such a firey ball of energy.
Charlie, you honestly take me to the very end of myself these days. You are high-demand, and high-energy, and highly disobedient... but thankfully, because of Jesus, at the end of myself I still have the capacity for love. You scream at me because you do NOT want to change out of your monster pajamas that you've been in for 24 hours and I lay on the floor with my hands over my face.... and then I breathe, and pull you close to me. And in response to every "No, Mama," you get ten kisses on your cheek and suddenly we are both laughing so hard that we forget, for just a minute, that we are in an argument at all. I don't do a lot of things right, in fact I'm fairly certain I do most things wrong, but I am praying that these are the moments that are finding ways to grip onto your heart. That you will remember that lavish love and grace are the foundations of our relationship... and that God would take my poor, weak, failing attempts at this to give you a picture of His relationship with you.
You are so very loved in our family. Your Daddy's face lights up in ways I've never seen when he walks in the door and sees you. Your brother misses you so much more than he misses us when he's staying the night away. And your scrunched-nose smile does things to my heart that nothing else in this world can; You are adored. You are a delight to your King Jesus and He is smiling back over you... Hide that truth deep away in your heart: You. are. loved.
Happy Two, Chachi!!!