Sweet little Charlotte,
You are eighteen months old! Happy half birthday, baby girl!
You have made strides in the last few months. Literally -- you're walking! You're eating everything under the sun (although not gaining much weight; will you always be our tiny delicate baby?) and finally starting to feed yourself a bit more.
Your wide bright eyes still get lots of comments, and your head is full of wispy wild hair. A lady in St Croix last week told you that the gap in your mouthful of teeth is called a sweet tooth -- the space is for your sweetness -- and I have decided it must be true. You are seriously so beautiful.
You have been a bit scared of strangers recently. More than a bit scared actually. Like, a room full of people (even when you're safely in my arms and don't have to interact with anyone) sometimes makes you lose your sh!t. (People love you anyway. Don't worry. You're darling.)
You know a lot of words but don't have much to say, apparently. We have to content ourselves mostly with a lot of hi and what's that? and cheer in the moments you decide to say Dada or Eee-lee or Naynay, or ball, or blow us a kiss with your newest, night-night. Oh and when you do say my name, you call me Ommy which you should know makes me a little melty.
You continue to be the most flexible person in this house, rolling with everyone else's schedules and rarely making a fuss about it. You can never have enough attention, especially from Daddy. And the look on your face standing in your crib each morning to see whose turn it is to come "wake" you and play with you -- priceless.
You will occupy yourself for looooong stretches of time emptying and unloading your play groceries from your cart, or building with blocks, or your new favorite -- bringing us balls or small toys to throw so you can toddle after them and bring them back. It's fetch! And you're basically the cutest puppy we've ever had (don't tell Bowden and Simon).
You are frequently covered on your back in stickers, the product of having two older siblings. Likewise, showing up to the church nursery clinging to sippy cups labeled with a band that says "Anneliese" and sporting bibs with Nathan's name and monogram embroidered on them. You know, classic third kid stuff.
I can't believe how old you are already. My last baby, no longer a baby. A toddler, walking around the house in clothes that I remember Anneliese wearing when we were renovating this place, when you were but a series of kicks and stretch marks, gestating inside me. Traipsing around St Croix in a swimsuit your big sister learned to crawl on the beach in, like, oh I don't know, a few weeks ago. How is this possible already? Is this a last baby thing? Will you always seem younger and tinier in my mind than you really are?
You're spending this year's half-birthday a little sick. Or, a lot sick. We've been passing around some kind of cold virus (likely RSV, apparently) that moves straight to the chest. It eventually caused bronchitis in Anneliese, and I had pneumonia the week before we went to St Croix. And while we were there, it hit you too. So much coughing, so much wheezing, so little sleep, so many tears. We're all praying it stays out of your lungs and you feel better soon, sweet sicky girl.
In the meantime, keep smiling in between the sneezes, keep hiding behind your hands when someone says "where's Charlotte?" and know that you can put your little head on my shoulder for a hug any any any any time you want.
Love you so much. Happy half-birthday, little one.