Charlie is a ball of energy – full of life and adventure. He can most-often be foundphoto-3 behind the couch, digging in my flower beds, climbing on the table, exploring one of the fields that surround our house, or splashing in the toilet. When he takes a tumble and hits his head, his most common response is to look at me with a grin and say “dee?” (which is “Charlie language” for “again?”) If I smile back or nod my head, he will do his best reenactment of the incident.

When he hears an airplane fly overhead, play stops for a moment – – he stands up, lifts his face to the sky, finds the airplane with his finger and shouts “see? see?” (He thinks that’s what they’re called… because apparently I point and say “see it?” instead of “airplane”. Someday we’ll iron that one out)

IMG_6127A man after his father’s heart, his favorite toy to take in his diaper bag to church is his “pa” (that’s how he says “hammer”.)  He smuggles rocks into his bed, bread crusts into his dad’s work boots, and his blankie into as many places as possible without being caught.  It is rare that his knees are not skinned or his face has not been bitten by bugs. He has a farmers tan to rival most and his hair has bleached out to almost blonde.

He is a country boy through and through.

He loves to be outdoors – exploring, splashing, digging, discovering. As soon as he sees his dad driving home from work, he stops all play and runs hilter-skilter to Gary’s van, arms outstretched. The door swings open, Charlie struggles to climb in the driver-side door and Gary lifts him into his lap. The door closes, and Charlie’s left hand shoots out the window to wave “goodbye” to me. It’s his responsibility to drive the van back to the garage – a task he does not take lightly.

Charles stops playing for few things:photo-4

  1. Grapes
  2. Lawn Mowers
  3. Puddles
  4. Reading stories

It’s the stories that surprise me. He will plop a pile of 10 books on the couch, scramble up from the floor, snuggle up to my side, and nestle his head under my arm. He sits patiently as we read (mostly recite) the entire stack – leaning in for kisses or hugs when the books call for them, and stopping to point out all of the dogs “da”, cats “keeee”, cows “moo”, birds “bu”, deer “deee”, and tractors “mow! mow!”

When the stories are done, I ask him for a hug. He spreads his arms out wide and buries his face in my neck.

For one second, the world is still.





“Charlie, what’s your sister’s name?”

“Ellll-See!” he replies proudly, patting my ever-growing belly.

My 18-month-old son, who is too busy climbing and adventuring to learn many other words, knows one name quite well. Hearing him say it makes my face hurt from grinning and my heart fit to burst.

He may not realize how much his world is about to change.  He may not be aware how often she will take my attention from him, or how little and fragile she will be at the beginning. I’m sure he doesn’t realize how quickly she’s going to capture his heart and become his best friend… But he knows her name, and he loves her already.

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That’s right – in case you haven’t heard, Stauffer Baby #2 is on her way! By the end of this month, we should be holding our precious little girl and protecting her from her affectionate big brother.