Two.

Dear Mackenzie,

Today you are two! We have been asking you every day, how old is Mackenzie going to be? And you would happily respond with “DOOOO” and the day is here! These two years have gone by in an instant. It feels like yesterday you were a tiny baby and now you’re running and jumping and swimming and saying new words every day. It is so fun to watch you grow and see your personality shine through. You are so very funny and always manage to get a laugh out of everyone around you. You love to march around the house, dance to Lizzo or stand by the back door and scream “aaahh pooolllll” over and over until someone takes you into the water. You have a temper and you’re stubborn, but you’re my daughter so I guess that’s to be expected. You are incredibly sweet and loving and your big squeezes and kisses are the best part of my day. You could be nicer to your sister so we will work on that this year. Just a little less screaming in her face and a little more loving, ok?

You are the perfect person to complete our family. We love you so much our Kenzie girl. Happy birthday baby! Today we will go for ice cream and pizza and Starbucks, all your favorite things! We love you forever and ever and ever our sweet, silly, curly haired baby girl.

The Clothes Wars, Part 760 million

If you’ve followed along in this blog before you’ll be quite familiar with the issues Charlotte has with clothes. They have yet to resolve themselves but I’ve gotten better with letting her wear what she wants (within reason). The child doesn’t make any sense with her fashion choices. In the winter she wanted to wear summer dresses and now that it is summer she won’t wear them. Yesterday she came downstairs in a pair of black biker shorts and a heavy fuzzy sweatshirt that she refused to wear when it was cold. I understand nothing. I’ve honestly spent a small fortune on clothes she doesn’t wear, and I have saved ALL OF THEM because I insisted they would go on her sister. Surely the second one would be easier, right? Right?!

Wrong.

While Mackenzie is no where near as difficult as Charlotte is or was at the age of 2 (remember when Charlotte refused to wear anything but a diaper and a boy’s green spring rain jacket? I sure do.) she is starting to assert her dominance when it comes to outfits. She isn’t a fan of khaki shorts (who is though?) and she doesn’t like halter top or two piece bathing suits. But the real kicker is if anything has ANY tulle on it whatsoever she won’t even let me attempt to get it on her. Example: for her birthday party I bought her the cutest little Cat and Jack dress from Target. It isn’t frilly at all so I thought it was a go. The top was a plain tank top and there was some tulle on the bottom but it was only one layer so I thought we’d be fine. We weren’t fine. I couldn’t even get it near her to put it on her head. NO NO NO came the shouts. And then when everyone was over my house and I tried again, thinking she’d be distracted, she took the dress out of my hands and THREW IT IN THE GARBAGE. Just casually walked over and TOSSED IT. I really don’t know why I waste my money. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, right? I’m insane.

Maybe it’s time I bring out the green jacket again.

Charlotte and I fight a lot. We fight over clothes, over going to bed, over cleaning up our room. But lately, our number one fight has been about freaking TikTok. I never thought I’d be fighting with my 7-year old over TikTok. I didn’t even think she would know what it is, but this is parenting in 2022 and of course these kids are well aware of social media apps even if they wouldn’t know how to use them. Eric and I will not let Charlotte have TikTok. I have TikTok but I really don’t know how to use it so I rarely open the app and when I do it’s to watch an account of two Australian brothers who fight with each other in funny ways or to watch people make cheese. If you told me my life depended on making a TikTok I would probably die. Charlotte thinks TikTok is an app where you make up dances and while this may be true, it’s not going to happen. We have allowed her to have Messenger Kids because we can monitor it (and one of my favorite things is to go through all of her conversations) and there is no monitoring TikTok. Yesterday while I was on my way home from work she used Messenger Kids to text me to fight about TikTok. “All of my friends have it! I have the meanest parents ever!” My response was “cry about it” so I’m clearly the mature one. I just didn’t anticipate these kinds of arguments would be occurring at this time in my life.

It also makes me wonder what app will come into play as she’s older that’s worse than TikTok. That’s not to say that TikTok is bad but also I just DO NOT GET IT and feel like a serious old person who can’t grasp technology. Our parents definitely had it easier raising us because they didn’t have to worry about the internet like we have to worry about the internet. I really don’t want to have this fight every day but we’re not going to cave to a 7 year old who think she’s going to make dances, put them on the internet and become famous. She’s not even a good dancer to be honest. It’s not freaking happening. So if we have to fight every day, we fight every day. Mean moms unite.

The Actresses

Mackenzie is at that stage of toddlerhood where if you ask her to do something or tell her she has to do something that she doesn’t want to do, she throws herself to the floor and screams as if she’s been shot. The reaction is a 0 to 100 nightmare that I’m fairly certain every parent is familiar with. Sometimes it’s funny, but most of the time we have very little patience for it. You know who has even less patience for these dramatic escapades than I do? Charlotte. Charlotte cannot stand when Mackenzie starts in with floor dropping, body flipping screams from hell. She LOSES it. Which in turn makes me start laughing because I’m a mature adult and then that sets both of them off even more because they’re pissed that I am laughing.

An example. Last night I told Mackenzie it was time to get ready for bed and she dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes and started screaming from her very soul. Without missing a beat Charlotte starts to scream: “Mackenzie! I have had enough! You are a being a terrible two! You’re not even two and you’re a terrible two! I am DONE with you!!!!” I mean it was QUITE the performance. She has a future in Shakespearean theater if she keeps this up. So then obviously Mackenzie screamed louder and locked her body up so I couldn’t get her clothes off as Charlotte thundered up the stairs muttering how she wishes Mackenzie was back in my stomach. There is always one part of every day in which Charlotte is wishing Mackenzie was back inside my stomach. This was a very dramatic final act of our Monday night play, I’ll tell you that much. I finally got Mackenzie dressed and Charlotte came back downstairs and then they both started kissing each other and laughing out of nowhere so I guess the mood swings of girls start early? Or they just have very good dramatic range. Make it make sense.

For some reason I made two children that have a foot fetish. Charlotte’s is gone now but there was a time period, specifically during the early lockdown days of the pandemic, where she was obsessed with taking pictures of feet. Her feet, cartoon character feet, my feet. I still get memory alerts on my Alexa photos or Timehop of a random foot picture she took. Mackenzie has started earlier. The kid loves feet. She likes to put her feet on someone else’s feet. She likes to listen to a song called Stinky Feet over and over again. She pronounces it “GEET” and holds her feet in the air and wiggles her toes. There are certain feet videos on YouTube kids that she can’t get enough of, but she hits the microphone button to search for it and screams GEET at the iPad over and over and gets mad because the iPad doesn’t understand that geet means feet. When she wakes up in the morning the first thing she makes me do is take off her sleep sack, say geet and show me her toes. Yesterday afternoon I took out a coloring book for her and she went through every page to yell geet and color in ONLY the feet. I don’t know what it is with this kid. Kids are so weird.

She also has taken to copying everything Charlotte does, specifically gymnastics moves. The two of them put on a show last night after dinner.

Our home is a circus of flipping and feet.

10 Reasons Why Mackenzie is Crying

  1. Her Peppa Pig figure wouldn’t sit on top of any of her other animal figures the way she wanted it to sit. So she threw them across the room, threw herself on the floor and cried for 5 minutes straight.
  2. Her sister is eating. Doesn’t matter what she is eating, the second she sees Charlotte with food she throws a fit and wants to eat it. She takes her toast for breakfast every morning. She took her spaghetti and her watermelon last night. She doesn’t even want her own she just wants Charlotte’s. Last night Mackenzie AND Charlotte were crying over spaghetti. It is madness.
  3. She no longer wants the faucet on when she takes a bath, or any bath toys, or any water poured on her. She also does not want me to wash her, she wants to wash herself. This would be good if she knew how to wash herself, but considering her washing routine only includes her shouting “bup” (soap) and “geet” (feet) and then slapping the wash cloth around, I still have to wash her as she screams at me.
  4. I won’t let her stand on top of her table or her chairs, or the dining room table or the dining room chairs. I won’t let her walk up or down the steps by herself. I also won’t allow her to stay upstairs alone (how cruel of me, am I right?). The kid throws a fit every time.
  5. I gave her an apple when she asked for an apple. And then I wouldn’t let her eat the apple skin out of the garbage.
  6. I try to brush her hair at any time.
  7. I don’t allow her to run up to every dog she sees and assault them.
  8. Her iPad doesn’t understand what she wants when she hits the microphone to search for a video. She screams NEIGH NEIGH for horse and the iPad thinks she means “nae nae” which just shows videos of children dancing and not horse races which she has become obsessed with. She will also shout mama or dada thinking she will see videos of me and Eric, which also doesn’t work. Meltdown city.
  9. Alexa also doesn’t understand what she wants. When she wants ring a round the rosie she just screams DOWN at the Echo which obviously does nothing. Then she ends up screaming and hitting her head on the floor, which is the natural toddler reaction to not getting what you want.
  10. Any time Charlotte shows me any affection. Charlotte can only touch me during nap hours or bedtime hours. We’re on a strict schedule of hugging at those times only.

Seven.

Dear Charlotte,

Your 7th birthday is finally here! You’ve been counting down for weeks and when you woke up today you said “well now I can’t wait to be 8!” Which is very indicative of your personality. I can’t believe you are 7 years old. In the blink of an eye you went from a tiny screaming baby to a little girl who is getting closer and closer to my height (and still screaming.)

You are so funny and ask so many thoughtful questions. As much as you tell people “don’t buy me books!” You love to read stories with me every night. You know exactly what you like and will never bend to anyone’s will. I imagine that will serve you well in the future even though it drives us all crazy right now. You are still shy but have been coming out of your shell more and more. You love your friends and I love watching you talk and play with them. You went from the little girl who refused to wear dresses or anything pink to the girliest girl on the block. You’re always trying to put on makeup and lipstick and do your hair in fancy ways. You never met a lip gloss you didn’t like.

You help me when I ask you, especially with your sister. When you two have dance parties together we all laugh until we’re on the floor. You still love a good cuddle even though you tell me every day you’re not a baby anymore.

You are so loved, our 7 year old. You’re one of the best things to happen to us. Even though we fight every day and I’m afraid for the teenage years, you never fail to tell me you love me every day. I can’t wait to see what 7 has in store for you!

Happy birthday Charlotte Shea!

The New Prohibition

While we are all very happy that Charlotte’s school is finally “normal” – as in they attend five days a week instead of 1-2 day a week like last year – there are still a lot of COVID rules in place that make things a bit difficult for the kids. Sure, they’re masked up all day long – even outside – and sure, they get tests sent home every other week or so, but that’s not what I’m going to discuss today. Today I’m going to talk about the lunch rules, specifically the one where the kids aren’t allowed to share food at all because COVID lives on snacks from home and if they share food they will all get it and cause a massive outbreak over a pack of Oreos.

Think back to when you were in school. Sharing snacks at lunch was the BEST. I’d be trading half my gushers for half a pack of dunkaroos. It’s just one of those lunch time memories that stick with me in my adult years. I love seeing what my friends had in their lunch boxes and they loved seeing what I had in mine. It was the best hour of the school day!

Fast forward to 2022 school times. Charlotte and her friends have gotten in trouble over and over again for sharing snacks – or, heaven forbid! – turning to face a friend while talking to them. Well, as they’ve been saying over and over since COVID began, kids are resilient. And these kids have figured out a way to share their snacks. Charlotte told us this morning that they bring their jackets to lunch, put their jackets over their laps and then pass snacks back and forth that way so the lunch teachers won’t see. It’s the new era of prohibition! Instead of speakeasies for alcohol, it’s a first grade hidden freedom train for some Doritos! These kids are genius! She said nobody has caught on yet and while some parents may frown upon the rule breaking, I think it’s pretty genius and will go so far as to encourage this behavior in the lunch room. Snack trains for all!

And wouldn’t you know it, nobody has tested positive since they started their snack speakeasy program. So maybe COVID doesn’t spread via our children’s Fruit by the Foot. But what do I know?

I feel like, most of the time, Charlotte and Mackenzie’s age difference really works in my favor. The 5 year difference was a huge help when Mackenzie was first born, because Charlotte was old enough to understand that I couldn’t always be the one to help her with things and she also understood that she could help ME with things. She has always been a pro at getting clothes or diapers or whatever I asked of her. Now that both of them are older I can ask her to sit and play with her sister while I run downstairs to get the laundry or take two seconds to go to the bathroom. Sometimes these quick jaunts end in “MOMMMM SHE’S STANDING ON A CHAIR” and I have to race back like Mario Andretti, but for the most part she is very good with her sister. She helps me give her a bath, she helps me change her diaper and even tries to get her ready for bed all on her own. It’s like having a little mini built in babysitter that I can trust with small tasks. It’s been great!

But then there is Mackenzie. And Mackenzie is a BRAT. And lately, whenever Charlotte comes over to me for a hug or a squeeze or ANYTHING, Mackenzie loses her freaking mind and attacks her sister. Charlotte will usually laugh it off but lately Mackenzie has been getting nastier with her. Charlotte will come over to hug me when Mackenzie isn’t paying attention to avoid her wrath, but she always knows. She will throw her toys across the room and race over to us screaming NO NO NO and then physically push Charlotte away and pull her hair and slap her. Yesterday Charlotte was in her feelings and Mackenzie did this to her and she lost. it. Ran from the room hysterical crying saying “Mackenzie gets you all the time! I never get you ever! She always hits me when I hug you! I wish she wasn’t here!” I honestly felt so bad for her. So I put Mackenzie on the floor and let her lose her mind while I hugged Charlotte. Sometimes I forget that even though she is a big kid now (10 days until she is 7, WHAT?!) she still needs to be loved on just as much as her sister does. Mackenzie just needs to find a better way to deal with her jealousy. I guess good luck to me on that front.

Miss Independent

The other night I decided it was time to show Charlotte how to make her own dinner to foster independence and help her gain skills to manage her life in the future. Just kidding. I was just tired of her constantly asking me for food so in an exhausted moment I screamed “get your own food if you’re so hungry you can’t wait five minutes!” And this was how Miss Independent was born.

It’s not difficult for her to make her own dinner because 9 times out of 10 she just wants macaroni with butter. So nutritious. I always make a pound of macaroni to keep in the fridge because I refuse to continue making macaroni every single night, so I showed her how to take everything out of the fridge and how to use the microwave. It’s really not that difficult and she picked up on it quickly. Last night she took it upon herself to make dinner for herself and her sister. She brought the chair over to the fridge, got out everything she needed and made two bowls of macaroni. Then she sat at Mackenzie’s table with her and helped feed her.

It was honestly one of the finer moments of mothering for me. To watch her take care of herself and Mackenzie without any prompting warmed my heart so much. And to have one less task that I need to complete on any given day was a bonus too. Maybe in a few weeks she can take over some other duties too, like diaper changes, bath time and bed time. Then my life can really change!