Now that Charlotte is really getting the hang of reading, she tries to sound out every word she sees. It is a constant flow of “mommy, what does this spell? mommy, what does this say?” I love it, I really do. It makes me so happy to see her grasp the concepts and put it into action. It also makes for some really funny stories.

The other night we went shoe shopping and then out to dinner. On the way to the restaurant we passed a Staples. Charlotte tried to read the word and asked us what it spelled so we told her. She paused for a minute and says, “Oh right. That must be where my friend at school got the staples in his head when he fell.” When I tell you Eric and I could not contain ourselves, I mean it. I love the way her brain works and how she connects things even though that was so, so wrong.

Also, I’ve learned that when doing homework with her I had to change my tactics. Homework is always a struggle because she is a pain in the ass. She’ll whine and moan and say she is tired and bored and it takes her ten times longer to do the homework than if she just sat her butt down and did it. She’ll tell Eric she wants to do it with me and then give us both a hard time. It’s so, so annoying. So the other day I decided I would liven stuff up. I told her that mommy was gone and Miss Mullabaloo was in her place, and mommy wouldn’t come back until she did her homework. I did an over the top cockney accent and acted like a governess. She laughed the entire time and did her homework without any issues. So if any of you parents out there are having a hard time with your kids and their homework, just put on a show.

Now if only I could get a real Miss Mullabaloo to come to my house and rescue me.

The Long Night

It’s no secret I am a not a fan of the end of daylight savings time. I don’t understand why it’s still a thing or why we have to do it. It makes me absolutely insane. It was horrible with Charlotte because she used to wake up at 3 AM but Mackenzie isn’t much better. It’s like the clocks changed and she went absolutely haywire. She refused to take a nap yesterday and then woke up at 10:30 PM screaming like a lunatic, woke me and her sister up, and sent me into a rage spiral. Charlotte came up to bed with me and basically slept on top of my body, and I had to play music to drown out the sounds of the other one. As I lay there and the clock crept closer to midnight, all I could think about was how much I miss sleeping like I used to before kids. That extra hour back then was everything. Now it is just an anxiety inducing mess. I miss the days of getting in bed and watching TV or reading a book without having to worry about someone waking up and crying or creeping up the stairs to take away my covers, my blanket, and my will to live. I miss the days of laying there after waking up for the day without having to get up and get children ready. I miss the carefree days of sleep so, so much. The end of daylight savings always triggers those feelings for me. It’s bad enough that it has to be dark at 4 PM, I don’t need to start my day at 4:45 AM like I did today with a baby who is already demanding to do things and I have to get ready for a day of work. I HATE IT. I’m over it. IT’S UNFAIR. I wish we could start some sort of petition to abolish this nonsense. Just LEAVE US ALONEEEEEE. Nobody wants or needs an extra hour with their kids, I’ll tell ya that much!

If she wakes up again tonight I’m putting in ear plugs and refusing to get out of bed until my alarm goes off. I’m done, Mackenzie. You will not win. You are the second born and I learned the hard way with your older sister. Game. Over.

Punctuation

Part of Charlotte’s homework for school is to read for 15 minutes every day. She could read, I could read, it doesn’t matter who is doing the reading just as long as something is being read. Sometimes I will read to her from Pippi Longstocking and she’ll cut in to read some of the words she knows, sometimes we read books for her age level and she does most of the work, and sometimes we choose something off of that app Epic Kids and read whatever is on there. There are nights she gives me a hard time and pretends like she has never seen words before in her life. Those are the nights that she gets pissed off about how different books have different fonts and they don’t look like the letters she knows so she just yells at me for the better part of 15 minutes. You’d think this kid would stop complaining about fonts at some point. It’s been like a year of her yelling at me about fonts. Enough! But then there are the nights, like last night, when she does such an amazing job on her own that I KNOW she knows how to read more than she lets on. We read a book off of Epic Kids called Cinderella Rex and when I tell you she read almost the entire thing by herself, I mean it. It took a while, but not because she was having trouble with words. It took a while because she is now hung up on punctuation like she is hung up on fonts. She would look at quotation marks and ask what they were, so I told her those are there when someone in the book is speaking. Then she looked at me and said, “but why is it the same as the one that goes on the bottom and also on the top?” And I had no idea WTF she meant, so of course she got annoyed. So she flipped through the app to show me. She meant commas and apostrophes. “But why do they all look the same? It’s like they are the same thing just in different places. How am I supposed to know WHAT THEY DO?” I told her that eventually she will just know when to use them and it will be second nature to her and she was fine with that answer but still slightly annoyed by it. After she went to bed I thought about how her brain works. That sure, she sometimes still has trouble mixing up her b’s and d’s, but she is actively thinking about the difference in quotation marks, commas, and apostrophes. And that’s got to count for something, right?

Tantrum City

As much as I hate to admit it, the cuddly, sweet baby phase is officially over for Mackenzie. That’s not to say she doesn’t love cuddles. Sometimes there is nothing she wants more than to lay on me and squeeze me like I am the best thing in the world. It is the best and I eat it up when it happens, but we have entered those lovely toddler years where Mackenzie makes her feelings known. And she makes them feel known LOUDLY. When she doesn’t get what she wants — which, to be honest, is most of the time since the things that she wants are usually dangerous — she throws herself onto the floor and screams. Sometimes she hits her head on the ground too, because there’s nothing like a little head banging pain to get your frustration out. There are times I just stand there and laugh at her, and then there are other times, like when Charlotte joins in with the yelling, that I would like to walk out the front door and come back when everyone is asleep and quiet. Her biggest fits yet have to deal with handing me frozen pizza and then having to wait for it to heat up. I get it. Who wants to wait for pizza when YOU WANT PIZZA RIGHT NOW?! Nobody wants to wait. But there is no explaining that to a 16 month old. She just screams on the floor the entire time, dramatically points at the oven and just generally acts like she is being forced to endure the very worst crimes against humanity. Don’t believe me? Take a look below. All of this was over a slice of pizza.

Why mother, WHY?!
I JUST WANT MY PIZZA!!!

The pictures really don’t even do it justice. I’m now going to show you a video. If you’re at work, make sure you put headphones in. She is LOUD.

The absolute audacity of this family to not give me what I want when I want it.

And there is just a sneak peek into our daily lives. The terrible twos are not that far away either. Jesus take the wheel.

Star Student

Every day when I come home from work I ask Charlotte questions about her day at school. I usually get one word answers and then she’s back to making whatever godforsaken mess without any details of her day. But then it’s bedtime, and as we read Pippi Longstocking (I forgot how funny this series is) she will stop me midsentence to tell me things about her day. The other night she told me that she wants to be star student. I had no idea what it was so she was explaining to me that every day someone gets to be star student — if they raise their hand, pay attention, etc., etc. She said her friend was star student that day and she was very jealous and I told her that’s an OK emotion to have but she could be happy for her friend too. Then she started to cry and everything came pouring out of her. She told me that first grade is hard. That she is trying her best to pay attention and to raise her hand, but she doesn’t know all of the answers and is afraid to say the wrong thing. That they aren’t doing anything they did in kindergarten and she doesn’t like it. She said she’s going to try even harder to pay attention but she doesn’t know if she can do it. My heart seriously broke for her. She really went into this year thinking it would be like kindergarten and she just got slapped in the face with what school actually is. She’s never had a normal year of school so this is a double whammy of an adjustment. I told her that everyone in the whole world gets things wrongs every single day. That the important thing is to try your best and getting things wrong is just the way that everyone learns. Nobody is born knowing all of the answers to everything. In reality, the majority of the population of the United States is actually pretty stupid. I didn’t tell her that of course. She’ll figure that out on her own one day. But she prayed to be star student and I told her I’d be proud of her either way.

Yesterday, Miss Charlotte Shea was star student. She ran to me when I walked in the front door with the biggest smile on her face. I knew she got chosen as star student because my friend sent me the photo of her holding up her little award when she picked her up for me. I told her after I put Mackenzie to bed we’d go get ice cream to celebrate and when we were waiting for our sundaes she told me how proud she was of herself and honestly that is the only thing I want to hear from her. She sat in the car with me and gave me little nuggets from her day (a boy has a crush on her, here we go!) and she went to bed happier than she has in weeks.

And then this morning we got into an argument over what clothes she would wear to school because she refuses to wear pants again and she insisted on wearing her CHRISTMAS DRESS from last year and while she may be star student she is most certainly NOT star daughter today, I’ll tell you that much.

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Hello friends! It’s been a while. Since I’ve last written we’ve had many changes abound. Mackenzie is a full blown walker – her little gorilla scoot is practically non-existent and it makes me so sad. It’s true what they say, once they take those first few steps they’ll be running in no time. I’m still surprised to catch her running past me. I have also gotten her down to one nap, which I think was the problem with her waking up 500 times a night. Now she takes a 2 to 2 1/2 hour nap a day and sleeps sooooo nice all night! And by so nice I mean she still wakes up once but HEY I can manage that! I’ll enjoy this until something else screws up the schedule.

Charlotte started first grade last week and she was so, so, so excited to go to school. And then she realized first grade is nothing like kindergarten and she looks like she’s fought a battle when she gets home. She was expecting to go back to toys and center times and fun things, but alas, those days are gone. This is another reason why I’m upset COVID f’ed everything up, because her “play” years at school were basically non-existent. But she’s there every day and this is a big improvement from last year. There are some things that still suck – recess isn’t really recess. She told me they have to just sit outside with their masks on. And at gym they just walked around in circles to music? She has gym again today and threw an absolute fit over it because honestly, who wants to walk around in circles? I am hoping as the year progresses some things start to become a little more normal for them. Only time will tell.

In the biggest news – I’m back at work full time for the first time since all of this shit started. It’s only been three days and it is a huge adjustment to say the least. On Monday night I had a panic attack at 7 PM and had to sit in the shower and chill the F out. Yesterday was much better and I am hoping every day gets a little easier. I’ve gotten a pretty good schedule down for myself, and while I am now waking up at 5 AM to exercise and get breakfasts and lunches packed, it is becoming more manageable. What is not becoming more manageable is the absolute guilt I feel every day. When I get home both girls are clinging to me. Mackenzie obviously wants me immediately and then Charlotte starts in with “you have been gone all day and you love Mackenzie more.” I hate it. I keep telling myself how absolutely lucky I was to spend SO much time with them over these last 18 months and they will get used to this, but it’s easier said than done. I’ve gone from spending every waking minute with Mackenzie to only seeing her for two hours a day at most. It’s really, really hard. And when I am home I still have so many other things that have to get done when all I want to do is sit on the couch with them. Dinner, homework, cleaning. It’s just a lot. I know my working moms out there can understand. Oh well, we do the best we can with what we have, right?

Walk This Way!

Hello my friends! I’m writing this around 6 AM, having been awake for roughly an hour but refusing to get out of bed. Mackenzie has started to wake up for her day at 5 and I’ve decided she can sit in her crib and cry until there is some light outside because 5 is too early. Mackenzie has taken a page out of her sister’s sleep book lately, with constant wake ups and early risings. BUT! I think it is because this whole using two feet to walk and not scoot around on the floor like a gorilla has started to click for her. I think all of the baby people on the internet say their sleep gets disrupted when they’re learning to walk, right? I’ve actually given up looking up anything baby sleep related because my children do what they want when they want when it comes to sleeping and that’s just the way this cookie crumbles.

Anyway, Mackenzie has realized she can stand up and go, and what a time it is. She is still scooting 90% of the time, but that other 10% she is wobbling around like a drunken sorority girl on her way home from the bar. She likes to stare at her feet as she toddles around which obviously leads to her falling over even more. Every time she walks we have to stand close by to make sure she doesn’t go head first into the wall, or a chair, or the couch. And every time Mackenzie stands up on her own she lifts her arm to say hooray and when she falls after walking she claps her hands. Nothing like a kid who is proud of themselves, am I right?

was much easier with Charlotte because she didn’t have nearly as much space as Mackenzie does to roam around. Charlotte really gets a kick out of her walking and will hold her iPad across the room and coax her like a dog. “Here Mackenzie! Come here Mackenzie!” It’s very cute.

Speaking of Charlotte, she is SO excited to go back to school on Monday. Her backpack is already packed and her first day outfit has been chosen and set up since yesterday. She has a back to school countdown and every day tells me how many days are left. AS IF I HAVEN’T BEEN COUNTING SINCE JUNE 26. I swear this year better be “normal.” And by that I mean they better not be sent home for remote learning one damn time because I’m NOT DOING IT. Everything will be fine. If I keep saying it maybe it will come true.

To Be or Not to Be

As parents it’s important that we tell our children the world is their oyster. They can be whatever they want to be! You can do whatever you want to do! With enough hard work and dedication the world is yours! I tell Charlotte this. I say work hard and you can do whatever you want to do when you grow up. And then she tells me it is her dream to be a pop star and a dancer.

So let me be honest for a second. Charlotte is not going to be a pop star or a dancer. And I’m not saying this to be mean but I’ve heard her sing and I’ve seen her dance and as entertaining as she is she is not the next Britney Spears. I’m not enrolling her in music lessons anytime soon. The world of pop stardom is not her oyster. It’s not happening. Sure, I continue to tell her she can be whatever she wants but I’m 99% sure we’ll never be on E! doing an interview saying we knew Charlotte was destined for stardom at a young age.

So my question is, do other parents out there just know that there are some things your kids are NOT good at and lie to them? Or am I the only one? Am I mean? Is there something wrong with me? I want her to have confidence so I’m obviously never going to tell her she sounds like an alley cat when she belts out the lyrics to Cascada, but deep down I know it. I’ll continue to lift her up and boost her dreams even while knowing this particular childhood dream will not come to fruition. I know she’s still young and all of this will change, I mean she thinks unicorns and fairies are real and just hiding from her still, but I can’t be the only parent who knows their kid is bad at something, right?

I always wanted to be an actress and for a time I thought it was possible. My parents always told me to go for my dreams but I feel like deep down they knew I was always going to get a regular job and have a regular life. And I’m not mad about that! I wasn’t running off to Hollywood to really go for it. I’m very content with the life that I have and the pop star wannabe daughter I reside with. Who knows, maybe she and Mackenzie will become a dancing duo. I know I will always lift them up and cheer them on, but I know I can’t be the only mom out there who in her mind is saying “oh this is never going to happen.” Or maybe I am. At least I’m honest about it? And at least I know she’ll change her mind about what she wants to be when she grows up 650 times before noon.

It’s Leap Time!

Has anyone out there heard of The Wonder Weeks? I think it was originally a book that describes the 10 mental leaps that every baby goes through in the first 20 or so months of their life. It tells you what skills you can expect them to learn with new leaps and how they react to them. It’s different than milestones, which I think is important because I don’t believe in milestones since every baby is different. Case in point, Mackenzie is 14 months old and still doesn’t walk, a milestone she should have hit at 12 months if I followed the list. She’s perfectly fine, so I think following milestones just leads to anxiety and stress. The Wonder Weeks is totally different and something I didn’t even know about with Charlotte, and I believe it would have helped my mental state. When I had Mackenzie I downloaded the app and put the information in, and I swear to you every single leap period is spot on. Like, truly mind blowing in its accuracy.

For example, if there are weeks where she is clingy and crying and sleeping poorly or refusing to eat, I check the app and honestly 9 times out of 10 she is on a leap, especially the “fussy” period. She typically has all of the signs of the leap she’s currently experiencing, and whether or not this stuff is true I feel better knowing there is an explanation for why she’s acting like a Richard. She has been off the past few days, and wouldn’t you know we are right at the beginning of leap 9. The app shows you the skills they start to learn with each leap and how you can help them through it. It really sounds like some witch doctor shit but I am telling you it is legit. After every leap she typically displays the “skills” associated with it and then goes back to her normal self. I love it and I wish I knew about it when Charlotte was a baby. So if you are pregnant, have a new baby or even have an older baby who is not yet 2 years old, I highly recommend downloading this app. I don’t know about you but having an excuse, any excuse, for your baby’s ridiculous behavior is better than not having a clue as to what is going on. Blame it on the leap!!!

Family Times

We have just recently returned from a four family trip to the Poconos. The trip was anticipated for months since we were unable to do anything last year because of the pandemic and it was the first time our kids would be able to really hang out and be together in what felt like forever. We rented a house with 5 bedrooms and a trampoline so we basically had all of the essentials. Thank goodness for that trampoline, for it kept our kids occupied a LOT. It kept me occupied too, and my body still hurts because I didn’t realize going on a trampoline at my age was a workout and not the fun jumping experience I remember from my youth? Anyway, there were 8 adults and 9 children and nobody was ever tired except for the parents. WE WERE EXHAUSTED. The first night we got all of the kids (minus the 1 year old and 2 year old) into the room with the bunk beds, we put on the tv for them and told them to go to sleep. HA HA HA HA. I think each of us went back and forth into that room 150 times. I had to lay in the top bunk with Charlotte and play Lisa Loeb and they all finally gave in to sleep probably close to 11 PM. AND THEN WE WERE ALL UP AT 5:30 AM. Except most of us were up all night for various reasons. My reason being that Mackenzie has never been away from home and was NOT a fan of the pack and play shoved into a bathroom as her place of rest. She also doesn’t like sleeping with me, so she spent the entire night laying on top of me moving around until she gave up at 6. IT WAS A TIME. I ended up having a panic attack the second night wondering what time she was going to wake up the whole damn house, but she ended up doing a little better than she did the night before. When I tell you that child was THRILLED to be back in her own house on Sunday I mean it. She went back into her crib like it was a refuge. Charlotte was never like that.

Anyway, even with very, very little sleep we had such a wonderful time. The kids get along so well – literally no fighting ever – except for the random tantrums over being pulled out of the hot tub or losing a game of freeze dance. You can see how much they genuinely love each other and how much fun they have when they are running wild and free. It was totally worth the no sleep and the panic attack. Charlotte has not stopped talking about it. She wants to live in the Poconos house. She wants a bunk bed. She wants to go away with the family every week for the rest of her life. “How can you expect me to sleep in my bed now when I am used to a bunk bed?” I’ll never hear the end of it. She also said to me, “mommy, do you know why it took me so long to go to sleep?” I said yes because you were in a bunk bed in a room you were never in before, right?” “No mommy, it was because I was NOT used to the underwear and the pajamas. But I did it! Are you so proud of me?” She couldn’t sleep because she wasn’t naked. Of course.

We already decided the next house needs a pool in addition to the trampoline. Maybe that will tire them out faster so the moms can sit outside and have a drink for longer than 30 minutes before we crawl inside to pass out.