Saturday, September 14, 2013

Charlie's brotherly kindness

Charlie-with-Gwen lives the phrase, 'brotherly kindness.'  Sometimes I feel like he makes a better parent than I do. Quite seriously, 90% of the time he plays with Gwen, he is the picture of patience, the epitome of cooperation and the definition of service:
  • She drops her spoon and starts crying, he automatically picks it up and with a single breath produces sounds or words that make her laugh or smile. 
  • She can't reach a puzzle she wants to play with, he'll stop playing with cars to grab a stool, and use it to get the puzzle for her. 
  • She is half asleep in the bottom bunk, crying out to me because she has to go to the bathroom and from the top bunk he (half asleep) yells even louder for her - "mom! Gwen has to go potty!" and by the time I make it in there, he's saying things like, "Its ok, Gwen. Gwen, just calm down. Take a deep breath..." with his eyes still closed.
  • She's in bed about to go to sleep when she notices she doesn't have her blanket, he (also in bed) says he knows where it is "under the pillows in the corner of the cardboard castle", climbs down the ladder, runs downstairs, and gets it for her.
  • She complains about wanting her cup, bowl and plate to be the same color so they can match. He'll go over to the cupboard, dig around in the bucket until he finds the right ones...or if he can't find the right ones, he'll try to make the ones she already has seem cooler..."but those ones match mommy's."
  • She's "too tired to go potty by myself" and screams to me, "you get the stool!" "you, unzip my jammies!" "I'm too tired." I am trying to train her to do these things for herself and our deal is, I will come in to help her wipe because the toilet paper is actually too far for her to reach anyway. Despite the whines I try to stay strong, I REALLY want her to get in the habit of doing these things for herself. BUT.... across the house, Charlie hears her and comes to her rescue. He gets the stool for her, and unzips her jammies even though she's still mad and pouting that I won't help. 
  • She's eating breakfast and wants another kind of cereal in her bowl. I'm gone dropping off Alec at school and Chris is getting ready for work in the bathroom. Charlie takes her bowl to the sink, washes it out so there aren't any floaties left, pours her a new kind and some milk.  She starts crying because she didn't want any milk in her bowl, she wanted to eat the cereal dry. In a patient and kind voice Charlie figures out what she wants and somehow fixes the problem (Chris guesses he pours her some dry cereal on the table). 
  • She whines and cries because the puzzle she's decided to tackle is way too hard for her and she's trying to finish it fast so she can carry it into the other room where I've migrated. He walks by and with his sweet 'I'm talking to Gwen voice' helps her know where to put the remaining pieces without actually touching them, so she can still "do it by myself."

I could go on and on, really. He's amazing and HE'S ONLY 4 YEARS OLD, and Gwen is 3. I know this post makes Gwen seem super spoiled and whiney...and while I'd like to say that isn't true... there sure is LOTS of evidence to support the statement. However, its also true that she's not like that all the time, not even 90%, I'd say more like 45%. She's very content and sweet the other 55% of the time.  And while we're talking about numbers, I'll point out for Reality's sake that Charlie is not perfect. 10% of his interactions with Gwen aren't so patient... he'll still scream at her and take cars away from her because he thinks they're 'his' cars, or he'll insist on sitting on the stool and refuse to switch with her even though she can't reach the table in the other chairs.  Also his interactions with Alec are a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY, like almost the opposite. But all this is not why I'm writing this post. I want the world to know (including his old sunbeam teacher in Canada who is apparently praying specifically for Charlie throughout our crazy life right now) that Charlie is an extraordinary boy.  We're so blessed to have him.

 One afternoon he offered to carry both my purse and Alec's backpack into the house.

I just found this picture on my phone -- looks like a self portrait at church.


dixie said...

You are all so lucky to have that boy Charlie. He has grown up so much in the last while. Love to you all. What a beautiful post.

Amy said...

Yay for Charlie!