Mommy No More

I have to be honest – I wasn’t prepared for the transition from “mommy” to “mom.”  It happened to quickly that I don’t think I even realized it was happening.  She hasn’t given up calling me mommy entirely.  I still get it when she is scared or crying or wants to cuddle, but for the most part, I’m mom.  Every once in a blue moon I’ll get a mama, but that also ended before I was ready.  It is things like this that make me realize how quickly the time goes.  The little girl I come home to every night that greets me with a “hi mom!” isn’t a baby anymore.   Is she even a toddler?  Are you still a toddler at almost 4 and a half years old or has she entered kids territory?  Have I lost the mommy title because of this?

There’s always going to be a last time for something, whether in motherhood or just life in general.  And most of the the time you won’t know it’s the last time, which makes it all the more upsetting.  With every “mom” I know that “mommy” time is running out.  Every time she tells me she can’t walk because she wants me to hold her could be the very last time she asks me to hold her.  One day I won’t bathe her anymore, I won’t help her brush her hair or help her brush her teeth, I won’t get her clothes out and help her put them on.  She won’t be standing in front of me, telling me that her shorts are “a little twisted.”  Some things I think I’ll be happy when it’s the last time – like toilet supervision since she still doesn’t understand that an entire roll of toilet paper is not needed for a single pee.

But I want to mommy for a little longer.  I’m not ready for it to be that last time.

 

Hello Again!

Hi Hi Hiiiiii.  I have been soooo MIA lately but that is mostly because we have been lounging by the pool every second we can manage.  Having a pool has been a GAME CHANGER.  I no longer loathe the heat of summer knowing that I can dive in whenever I’m home.  Charlotte is obsessed with it and having something that always keeps her entertained that isn’t Peppa Pig or Matilda is the best.  She can reach the shallow end of our pool so she likes to go in without her puddle jumper and the improvements she has made swimming is actually amazing.  She’s able to actually swim halfway across the pool without any help!  Eric and I have been teaching her and although she’s still afraid to go under water, if she does happen to dip below the surface she knows what to do.  I think by the end of this summer she’ll really start to get the hang of it and be a pro in no time.

If we aren’t swimming we are watching or reading Matilda.  The first time we watched the movie she sat through the entire thing, which was a miracle in and of itself.  The next 75,000 times she decided that she only likes to watch three parts.  When Matilda glues her father’s hat to his head, when Matilda gets thrown into the chokey, and when Miss Trunchbull throws Amanda Thripp across the schoolyard by her hair.  Those are the only three parts she will watch now, over and over and over again.  She likes that Matilda has powers but has decided she doesn’t like those parts because SHE doesn’t have powers.  The first few times she watched it she kept trying to make things move with her eyes and then started to cry when she realized she couldn’t.  I told her I wished I had powers too, so I could clean the house without getting up.

It’s been a really good summer so far.  The rest of July will be fun with pool days and a trip to Lancaster with our cousins.  Char is excited for Dutch Wonderland and I am excited for Kitchen Kettle Village and Miller’s Smorgasbord.  I basically planned this trip around food.  I can’t wait to have butter cheese and brown buttered noodles again.  Eric and I took the same week of vacation too, so the few days before our trip we want to go to the new aquarium in Brooklyn.  I’m so looking forward to it all!

The F Word

There comes a point in your parenting journey where you realize your kid actually listens to and absorbs everything you say.  I’d say this started with Charlotte around 3 and a half, where things I told her would pop up in conversation months later.  Now, she remembers everything and will bring up stuff I said and use it against me.  This is a blessing and a curse.  For example, she remembers our security code.  This is a blessing because she was able to tell the babysitter the code when the alarm went off a few weeks ago and shut it off before the cops came (the cops still came), but it is a curse because she thinks she should be telling everyone this code.  Ah, kids.

Anyway, the point I want to get to today is something that happened last night.  I was putting my pajamas on when Charlotte looked up at me and said, “mom, do you think your stomach is fat?”  And this is when I realized she is really listening to every word I say, because lately I have been constantly saying my stomach is fat.  And now I need to STOP IT.  I’ve talked about it before, how I want to watch my words about appearance around Charlotte, to frame things in a way where I’m not putting myself down.  I clearly haven’t done any of that.  It’s ridiculous and I’m ashamed of myself.  I looked down at her and told her it’s not nice to say the word fat and mommy should probably be exercising a little more so she gets stronger.  I told her we don’t call other people fat and that we shouldn’t call ourselves fat because everyone is beautiful, yada yada yada.  And then when I thought she really got it, she looked up at me and said… “well when is the baby in there going to start kicking?”  There is no baby.  There is no kicking.  The only kicking I wanted to do was to kick her little behind for constantly equating the extra pounds in my midsection to being pregnant.  The last thing I need is for her to start telling people there’s a baby in mommy’s belly- WHICH THERE ISN’T.  But I will stop saying I’m fat, that’s for sure.

Ah, kids.

Catching Up

Hey there!  It’s been a while.  Since I last wrote I’ve been to Texas, gone to Charlotte’s moving up ceremony,  had her first venture into Manhattan on public transport, AND discovered the joy that is Freddie Mercury and Queen!  WHAT A TIME!

First up – Texas! I had such a great work trip that even managed to feel a little bit like a vacation since the River Walk in San Antonio is so fun. I learned a lot, had great food and thoroughly enjoyed the hotel bedding.  I was up at 3:45 AM the day I left to make it to the moving up ceremony and make it I DID.  Everything was perfect.  Quick boarding, smooth flight that arrived 27 minutes early, cabs immediately and no traffic.  When I saw Charlotte and she ran to me I immediately started crying and then continued to cry as they sang their songs and I realized we weren’t going to be back at the same school next year.  I truly cannot believe how quickly her first year of school went.  I was pretty emotional the entire day because there’s nothing like a few days away from your kid to make you appreciate them and I was so happy to be back with her.  That feeling went away the next morning though, I assure you.

Charlotte also came to work with me when I returned and was an absolute champ at public transportation.  She really enjoyed her express bus ride and was very quiet and well behaved, except for the one moment on the bridge when she shouted “ARE THERE SHARKS IN THAT WATER?”  Nobody seemed to mind though.  We had to wait a little while for the bus to come on our way home and she wasn’t too thrilled about that and started to yell “I JUST CAN’T TAKE THIS!” and I wanted to be like welcome to the world of commuting!!!  Find a job close to home or marry rich, kiddo!

Really though, the best thing to come out of this weekend was discovering Charlotte’s love of Queen and Bohemian Rhapsody.  I watched the movie with Rami Malek on the way home from Texas and have been listening to the music ever since (see it if you haven’t, it was GREAT) and Char actually became interested in Bohemian Rhapsody, which is amazing because who DOESN’T love that song?  The best part of this all though?  She really only likes one part of it – the section of “Bismillah, no we will not let you go!” over and over.  She thinks they’re saying Miss Milla and continues to ask me “put on the Miss Milla part!”  Then she asked me who Miss Milla was, why Miss Milla won’t let them go and which member of Queen was Miss Milla.  She also wanted me to find a picture of them holding hands, which I have yet to be able to do.  So if anyone has any photos of the members of Queen holding hands, send them my way!  She watched live performances of Bohemian Rhapsody in the car yesterday for about a half an hour, which is a hell of a lot better than the usual songs she listens to.  I love how kids process things.  I’ll forever call this song Miss Milla from now on.

Tough Choices

By this time next week Charlotte will have completed an entire year of school.  It will be her first day of summer vacation.  Sure, she only attended two days a week for a few hours, but it was new for her (and for us) and the amount she has learned in one year is remarkable.  I have an entire box filled with every piece of art work she brought home, one better than the next.  Her preschool was fantastic and I will miss sending her there so much, but it’s time for full day pre-k which I think will do wonders for her.

She has a stepping up ceremony next Wednesday where I’m sure they are going to be singing adorable songs about going into pre-k and how they will miss the friends they made.  I’m sure I would be crying, that is, if I knew I could be there.  But what kind of mother misses their first child’s 3-k stepping up ceremony, you ask?  What kind of monster does that?  That monster, my friends, is me.

You see, for the first time in my working mom life, I had to make a difficult choice.  My job is amazing  and though I work full time, I do have the option of flexibility and the ability to be able to take off in an emergency if I need to.  But a few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to travel for work, an opportunity I did not want to turn down.  And that’s not just because it’s in San Antonio where the food is good and the drinks are better and I’ll have a hotel room all to myself, but because it’s a great opportunity.

So on Sunday I will be traveling to San Antonio, and on Wednesday morning I will be on a 6 AM flight desperately trying to make Charlotte’s ceremony.  I have about 45 minutes from the minute the plane lands to the minute it starts and if all goes to plan I might be able to make it.  I’ve moved my seat as close to the front of the plane as possible without upgrading to first class (although I’m totally going to try to talk my way into that) so I can run off and sprint to a cab.  As long as there are no delays or an accident on the highway of epic proportions, I may be able to pull this off.  So I’m doing everything in my power possible to be there and I have to let myself realize I am doing the best I can and that’s all I can do.

But honestly —  if I miss it, I miss it.  I’ll have video taken by her dad and I’ll be home early enough to celebrate her accomplishment.  I don’t think she’ll remember I wasn’t there in the long term even though I had a tough time making this choice.  But what I do know is that if she ends up being a working mom either by choice or necessity, and she gets an opportunity to travel, learn and grow in her career and she has to miss one of her kids events, she’ll know her own mom did it and everything was fine.  She’ll see that her mom made the tough choice and she can make the tough choice too.

And to be perfectly honest with you I don’t think any dads out there traveling for work ever bat an eye at missing events and I don’t think people look at them and say “but how could you miss this?”  Because traveling dads are expected, of course.  Traveling moms are shit moms in some people’s eyes, though.

Really, the only thing I’m worried about is if she’ll wear the dresses I pick out for Eric to put on her and if she lets him brush her hair.  I should probably just admit defeat in that department early.

We’re Ready for Summer!

Now that we’re heading into June it seems like the warm weather and sunshine is here to stay and our gorgeous deck has been completed, we spent a lot of our weekend getting our yard ready for what I think will be one of the best summers yet.

Charlotte and I started by planting my herbs and flowers and Eric has been sprucing up around the pool.  The planting portion of the weekend quickly went from organized potting to complete chaos.  Have you ever seen a four year old shovel dirt into a pot? Because none of the dirt makes it into the pot, I’ll tell you that much.  She’d take the shovel out and the dirt flew everywhere and then that turned into her getting the hose to wash away the dirt, and that turned into spraying me in the face with the super soaker setting on.  She quickly gave up gardening and moved onto taking off all of her clothes, wetting her sidewalk chalk and painting her body with it.  And she then has the nerve to ask me why she has to have a bath every night?

Our pool is being opened on Friday and while Eric and I have no idea how to care for it I think we’ll be able to figure it out eventually.  I’m sure the water will be absolutely freezing and I am equally sure that Charlotte is going to go in anyway.  I’ve got so much stuff ready for summer parties and I’m just really excited to spend all of our time swimming and grilling and having friends and family over and enjoying this space we’ve created.  And hopefully all of the swimming leads to Charlotte exhausting herself and going to bed without me having to threaten her.  Hey, a girl can dream.

It’s Almost Mother’s Day…

Well, it’s almost that time again.  I’m sure your email inbox has been overflowing with Mother’s Day sale emails from various stores (that can’t just be me?) with gift ideas for mom.  Perhaps you’re at a loss on the gift idea front.  Should you get a piece of jewelry that says MOM on it?  Do you get up early and make her breakfast in bed?  Perhaps you go the easy and safe route and just order some flowers.  I’m here to tell you what you should get with my very own Top 20 Gift Ideas – it’s the Mommy Minutes Mother’s Day Gift Guide.  Buckle up, here we go!

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The Top 20 Mommy Minutes Mother’s Day Gift Guide

  1. Let
  2. Her
  3. Sleep
  4. And
  5. Take
  6. The
  7. Children
  8. And
  9. Get
  10. Out
  11. Of
  12. The
  13. House
  14. For
  15. 12
  16. Hours
  17. So
  18. She
  19. Is
  20. Alone

 

Vocabulary Issues and Teacher Appreciation

Last night while I was reading to Charlotte before bed (we’re almost done with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and she has requested The Witches next!) I got to a part that said “35,000 feet in the air.”  She stopped me to talk (which she does pretty much every 2 sentences or so) and asked me what that means.  And I realized I didn’t really have the best explanation for her.  As an educated, 31-year old woman, I realized I just know what 35,000 feet in the air means.  I don’t even remember how I was taught this, so I just told her it’s a type of measurement and it meant that Willy Wonka was high in the sky.  She then asked me whose feet I was walking about, so I had to find a way to explain that this type of feet isn’t the feet she is thinking of, and she got very confused and went back to asking me if Charlie likes Violet “Bubaguard” and I realized maybe I’m not so educated after all.

Explaining things to kids is hard.  I feel like I have a pretty good vocabulary and I am trying to impart that on Charlotte by reading her longer books now, but I can’t find an adequate way to explain what certain words mean.  For example, she asked me what strange meant the other day and I told her it meant weird or unusual.  She said she knew what weird was but then asked me what unusual meant.  And all I could think of was to say “it means not usual” and she looked at me like I had 45 heads.  She has been using strange in the correct context though, so I guess I got the point across?  I’m just finding it difficult to teach her things in a way she can understand and I’m realizing perhaps it’s a good thing I’m not an elementary school teacher because teaching kids who don’t know anything is HARD.  Teachers don’t get enough credit, man.  Her questions make me realize how easy it is to forget just how you’ve learned everything in school.  And then it got me thinking about my favorite and most memorable teachers I ever had, specifically in elementary school, and how I’m not remembering the things they taught me to try and teach Charlotte.  My two big ones that I will always, always remember are Mrs. Potter, my third grade teacher, and Mrs. Colbeck, my fifth grade teacher.  Mrs. Potter is the sole reason I love Roald Dahl and bringing his books into Charlotte’s life takes me back to her classroom where instead of individual desks we were seated at tables named after Mr. Dahl’s most famous books.  Mrs. Colbeck continued to help me discover my love of reading and then my love of writing.  I remember her writing to me at the end of the year saying she hoped to read my book someday.  No book yet, but never say never.

Anyway, I guess all I can do is keep trying my best.  Keep reading, keep explaining, keep giving her literature we can share and love together.  It’s bringing us closer and teaching us both so many new things.  I love this part of motherhood.

The Magic of Charlie Bucket

So you know how I bought the entire box set of Roald Dahl books from Costco a few weeks ago and how we started reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory every night?  Well let me just tell you what an absolute DELIGHT this has been.  Getting Charlotte to go to bed has been an absolute dream, all because of Charlie.  When it’s time for bed I tell her that it’s Charlie time and she runs upstairs.  She asks me to hold her while I read and she asks if she can turn the pages and I swear to you she’ll be talking and asking me questions and two seconds later she’s out cold.  We make it through about two chapters before she passes out and it’s been about 10-15 minutes of reading (reading peppered with questions, which I welcome).  And then the next morning she asks me if I kept reading after she fell asleep, talks about the parts we did read and asks me what part is coming tonight. Charlie Bucket is MAGICAL.  This morning she reminded me that she isn’t really digging the fact that Grandpa Joe took Charlie to the factory because she thinks Charlie’s mom should have gone.  She also calls the grandmas “grandma joyina” (Georgina) and “grandma jusphine” (Josephine).  She thinks Augustus Gloop is the funniest name ever and she can already tell Veruca Salt is a spoiled B.  I seriously look forward to this every night.  And it isn’t just because she is going to bed easier than ever, it’s because for the first time we actually have a shared interest.  I LOVE to read.  I have loved to read since I was a little girl, and to be able to share this with her and actually have her enjoy it is the BEST.  When I was leaving for work before to told me “don’t forget to come home, we have to go to the chocolate room later!” because I told her tonight we are at the part with the chocolate room.  THIS IS THE BEST.

And all the while I can only think of one thing.

I. CANNOT. WAIT. FOR. HARRY. POTTER.

Weekend Roundup

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend.  We were jam packed with festivities every day.  On Friday we had Eric’s family over for Passover, on Saturday we had Frittatamania (a treasured family tradition, one of my favorite days of the year), and on Sunday we had Easter at my house.  Since my leg is still messed up it was definitely a lot but it was all great times.  I’m still in a lot of pain but I wasn’t about to cancel all holidays and lay on the couch, that’s for sure.

Charlotte really got the idea of the Easter Bunny this year so that was great.  The night before Easter she went to bed talking about how he was going to come and leave her chocolate and presents.  And let me just cop to this now.  If you go back a few years you’ll find a post I wrote about how people are insane with Easter baskets and making the holiday out to be a second Christmas and that was never going to be me.  I still stand behind that, but this year I did get her a tricycle.  It’s the first spring and summer in our new house and it was on sale at Amazon and why the hell not.  But her basket only contained a coloring book, chocolate and some cheap nail polish. So there.  Eric set the bike up and we put eggs making a trail down the steps leading up to her basket and she was SO excited and to be honest she was THE most excited about the Muppet Babies coloring book, so this is why I stand behind my post about why Easter baskets don’t need to be crazy.  She likes the bike, but the coloring book is more her jam.  Anyway, it was a good time.

I came back to work yesterday after the Great Stairway Fall of 2019 and Charlotte was REALLY concerned about the fact that I can’t wear a shoe on my right foot because of my boot.  She kept asking me if my boss was going to be mad at me and I kept explaining she wasn’t mad but Charlotte still kept asking over and over and I asked her why she thought my boss would be mad and she said “because your sock is out!” and I thought that was the cutest thing.  Last night she said “your boss was OK with your sock? she’s not mad?”  It’s so funny how she gets so fixated on certain things that would never cross my mind.  She’s also really concerned that I can’t hold her right now and keeps asking me if I’ll hold her when I get better.  “Can you just try to hold me? You don’t have to walk just pick me up!”  My heart melts.

She’s off from school this week, but at least the weather will be nice.  We’ve had enough rain I think!