Charlotte's Journey Home

Just a Regular Kid, Sort Of


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We Are Grateful For…

Another photo from our October staycation. We got too busy to blog daily as we had guests in from France. We took them to the John Hancock Tower for the best views of Chicago. More on that soon!

We are grateful for books that inspire excursions, imagination, and everlasting fascination. Thanks, Andrea! And, thanks David Roberts for drawing one of my favorite Chicago skyline images. Iggy Peck, Architect rules!
(We are also grateful for independent bookstores. The link goes to Women & Children First, a perennial favorite bookstore in Andersonville. If you need to order books for holiday gifts, please shop here!)


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Three? Is she really three?

Photo by Susan who was paparazzi to the toddlers last week!

I’ve been trying to write a poem to Charlotte. It’s a cute rhymey thing that would have made my Aunt Frannie proud. Well, not so much proud as inspired to finish it for me because she was good at this sort of poem.

So, I took a break and looked at my two previous birthday posts. In 2006, I ended my post like this:

You see, I started this blog as the tale of Charlotte’s journey to being a
regular kid. Well, guess what? She is a regular kid. She’s just a regular kid
with a tube in her belly. But that tube helps her be regular, helps her grow,
helps her be on the growth chart (finally), and helps her get the nutrition she
needs to develop normally. She’s pulling up, starting to cruise, babbling silly
sounds. She likes to drink water from an open cup and eat salty, crunchy food
(no doubt that she’s my kid!).She has this impish little grin that tells you
she’s up to no good.

And so, I will begin there as well. At three, Charlotte is a regular kid with a tube in her belly. But the thing is, we haven’t used the tube since December and we’re really, really hopeful that the tube will be gone by her fourth birthday. She’s currently in the 90th or 95th percentile for height/weight (about 33 lbs. and at least 40 inches). She still likes crunchy foods, but she has a true love of chocolate. She runs–all the time–and can finnally jump, too. She’s still impish, but now she tests her limits. All the time.

Most of all, she makes me smile so much my cheeks hurt. And she makes my heart swell when she crawls into my lap and rest her head on my shoulder. For a kid who was born with a broken heart, she’s sure been able to teach me a lot about what a heart is really for.

So here’s the silly, unfinished poem:

So many things you’ve learned to do,
in the year since you turned two.
Talk in sentences, run and jump,
Eat without your feeding pump.

So many games you like to play,
You keep me giggling throughout the day.
Flap like a butterfly, hop like a bunny
Every day you’re a little more funny.

What a year since you’ve turned two
Daycare, music class, so much to do.
One thing missing, and it’s just great
A year with no surgery. Celebrate!

I simply cannot wait to see
what you’ll learn now that you’re three.

It’s not the eloquent birthday letter I wrote last year, but certainly it is age appropriate, especially for a kid who still can’t get enough of Iggy Peck, Architect or Bouncing Galloping Dancing ABCs. Not that I will ever be able to rhyme like my heroes Andrea Beaty or Charlotte Doyle.

And you know what? She ate her birthday cake!


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Charlotte Reads: Iggy Peck, Architect

(Click on the title of this entry to hear Charlotte reading Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty with illustrations by David Roberts.)

Of course Charlotte reads Iggy Peck, Architect. She’s been reading Iggy obsessively since he first took her attention away from Elmo in October. If you know Charlotte, you know that distracting her from an Elmo book is pretty big.

Mom loves Iggy. I’ve given at least 4 gift copies. I am one of the reasons that our local Barnes & Noble can’t keep it in the store; I hand it to every person I see when I’m shopping!

Charlotte must love Iggy, too. She can repeat the entire book from memory, with no prompting, and often does so randomly (like in the grocery store). She has carried it in the stroller and had me read it to her while we walk (as Mo Willem’s Pigeon would say, “True story.”). It’s a good thing that I, too, know the book by heart or we might have walked into a brick wall.

Why do we love Iggy? Well, to start with, he is bright, creative, and fun without being mischievous. Andrea Beaty’s rhymes sing and inspire; her word choices encourage language play and vocabulary building; and her story begs the reader to pick up an encyclopedia and look up some nifty buildings. David Robert’s illustrations are urban and hip. He gives just enough detail (check out the “things that one should not mention” on the page where Iggy becomes a hero) or none at all. When Iggy is crushed by his second grade teacher’s edict against building, the double-page spread shows nothing but a dejected Iggy at his desk, his pencil on the floor. A whole lot of white space = Sheer Brilliance.

We first met Iggy in mid-October and it was love at first read, so we were not surprised to read that Time Magazine had named Iggy Peck, Architect one of its Top 10 Children’s Books for 2007. Charlotte and I are proud to say, “Yeah, we knew that.”