I love catching a photo of someone that when you look at it, you know you’ve captured who they are. I took this photo of my Charlie Bear last week, and while it probably wouldn’t be that interesting to anyone but me (and probably John), I simply love it. I get lost in his eyes and his expressive little half-smile. Makes me think about what a beautiful little spirit he has
In letter form.
Charlie, you are so so beautiful. You don’t look in the least bit Anglo-Korean, except for your exquisite dark brown eyes. You came into the world exactly 16 months ago today, exactly on your due date. We had your name, Charlie Xavier, picked out for months. Yes, we named you after Professor X, from X-Men. At first, when your Daddy suggested it facetiously, we laughed. Then realised we actually really liked it, and it stuck.
As soon as you were born, you were plonked on my chest, covered in all manner of bodily fluids, and you were so peaceful. I fed you so easily. When your Daddy held you for the first time, you looked straight into his eyes for the entire time.
You were the easiest baby. You slept in your bassinet at the end of our bed for four months. You were so incredibly placid. People would look at you and tell me that it was like you had been here before. Yet, very very active. You wanted to get places. You rolled over for the first time exactly on your three month birthday. You were up and crawling before six months, and cruising the furniture not long after that.
For the first four months, you were a dream baby. You fed easily, you slept like clockwork, even giving me full nights’ sleep for a few months. And then, for some reason, something changed. You started waking overnight. First it was once. Then twice. Eventually, you were waking hourly. I figured it was a phase, and you would grow out of it. By the time you were ten months, I hadn’t slept more than two hours at a time in six months. I was an absolute physical and emotional wreck, but so sleep deprived, I didn’t even realise how bad I was.
We took you to the doctor, and realised you were hungry. You were such a stubborn, determined little thing, you wouldn’t let me feed you, so I had allowed you to do baby-led weaning. Trusting you would feed yourself enough to get by. Whatever happened, it didn’t work. You had only put on 300g in four months. I had to battle with you at every meal to put food in your mouth, but we had some improvement. By eleven months, you were down to waking around four times a night
We went to the doctor again, and got a referral to sleep school, but I had a sense that it wouldn’t help, and that you would sleep when you were ready, and nothing anyone would do would change that. And surely enough, when you were thirteen months, you got the flu, and inexplicably starting sleeping through the night, and have ever since.
Throughout that time, I feel like it would have been very easy to become resentful of you. I was giving you everything, and nothing would make you sleep. We were a family in survival mode for far too long. But you had such a beautiful spirit, such an engaging smile, that there could be no resentment. For many months, you wouldn’t sleep in your cot, and would only sleep in our bed, with your face pressed up to mine, holding onto clumps of my hair. It was not the most comfortable sleeping position for me, but at the same time, I treasured having you so close.
You are so incredibly stubborn. And you have a temper. It’s actually still quite funny when you throw yourself on the ground when you’ve been told not to do something, and I’ll enjoy that amusement for now. I know the novelty will quickly disappear, and your “sads” will be somewhat more taxing.
Getting you dressed and changing your nappy is so hard. As soon as you started rolling, I had to start changing you on the floor. I had to buy pull-up nappies, because the normal kind involved me holding you down with a wrestling hold to get them done up. I can’t wait until you’re toilet trained.
You’re sixteen months old now, and yet to start talking. Just like your sleep, I sense you will talk when you are ready. You understand everything we tell you, and make us laugh with your own little sign language. There’s nothing cuter than you walking into the kitchen, rubbing your belly and trying to open the fridge. I wait with baited breath that each day will be the day you start talking. I sense a wisdom in you, and a wicked sense of humour.
You love your brother. No matter how many times he whacks you over the head with Buzz Lightyear, you still cuddle up to him. Last week, as we were tucking Alex into bed, he asked you, “Charlie, are you my best friend?”, and you gave him a big affirmative nod, and my heart smiled.
I just can’t wait to see who you are in the future, but for now, I treasure every second I get with you