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Letters to Charlie: Month 16.5

Dearest Charlie,

Right now, you are upstairs sleeping on our last night in Sweden. We’ve spent the last 2.5 weeks here visiting Jerri and Hans, who are dear, dear, dear friends of our family. We’ve had so many adventures, which I’ll detail in another post, but I wanted to start this letter here because I’m feeling so full of love and gratitude.

This is the most time we’ve spent together since maternity leave. The first few days were definitely stressful, as we both suffered from jet lag and lingering stress from the flight  (maybe that was just me). But as the days went on, we settled into a comfortable rhythm that included lots of hugs, cuddles and laughter.

I hope I look back on this time and remember how happy I was to be your mom. The vacation subdued a lot of the general stress I feel trying to juggle it all back home. Here, I’ve been able to concentrate on you, on your Dad, and on myself. I’m suddenly very jealous that parents in Sweden get 18 months of maternity leave and a minimum of six weeks annual vacation time.

I’m more aware of your development here, either because we’ve been together so much or because it’s just that time for you. You said your first sentence in Sweden – “Here you go” – and your verbal and comprehension skills have skyrocketed. In fact, your Dad and I  now spell some words in front of you (e.g. outside, car, moon, cracker, snack cup) so that you won’t react.

The other morning, you threw a fit when I took away a toy because we had to get ready to leave. Jerri suggested I explain to you what was going on. “Charlie,” I said. “We’ll be going outside, but first we need to put on clothes. First clothes, then outside.” You stopped crying immediately, walked over to the stairs, climbed up to your room and stood by your suitcase. ::stunned::

You shout “ba-boo” when we play peek-a-boo. And you’ve started saying “night, night” (more like “nah, nah”), blowing us kisses and waving goodbye as we put you to bed. The first time you did this, the joy and love I felt literally took my breath away.

You walk around the house shouting “Caca!” when you want a cracker. Other words you can say: goop (for the squeezy pouches of organic baby food you like), knee, up & down, hot, and yogurt.

You’re still signing fervently. Your arm practically falls off when we walk down the street and you see all the buses drive by. Your Dad and I sign “bus” to each other when we’re out & about alone and share a private joke. You sign “cry” when you hear a baby upset.

At your last doc appointment, you weighed 27 pounds and were 32 inches long.

You’re beginning to test your boundaries, mostly with hitting. I’m not sure how to address this problem, since you end up just laughing at me when I try to explain that hitting is NOT okay. Yesterday, you tried to hit me several times then shook your head “no.” Progress?

Right now you’re obsessed with the moon. It’s been clear and bright in Sweden because we’re out in the country, but during the day you beg to see the moon (“Mooo? MOOOO?!?!”) on my iPhone. So, we’ve spent a lot of time scrolling through Google images. I also found this hilarious rap about the lunar phases on YouTube. Who knows, maybe you’ll be an astronaut.

I do know that you’ve brought so much bliss to Jerri and Hans’ home, not to mention all of Sweden. The first day here, you climbed up to the top of the playground near their house, threw your arms into the air and bellowed “Hiiiiiiiii,” as if to say, “I’m here! You may now dote on me.”

And so they did.

The BEST holidays

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