Mother’s Day Gift Guides

It’s almost Mother’s Day and you know what that means!! All the Mother’s Day gift guides have been rolled out across the internets. Oh what a time. Here are a few of the very real gift ideas that I found during my google search:

An online cooking class with Gordon Ramsey for $180 dollars. You know what’s not a great idea? Gifting the mother in your life a cooking class after she has most likely just spent the entirety of the pandemic cooking 3 meals a day for her family. If anyone in my family gifted me a cooking class after watching me prepare food constantly for over a year I would rip my stove out of the wall in a fit of Hulk rage. Get her a gift card to seamless and call it a day.

A grow your own mushroom kit. I just can’t see the majority of mothers out there being thankful for this kind of thing unless it’s a different kind of mushroom, you know what I mean? Why would we want something ELSE we have to keep alive? Who likes mushrooms enough to grow them yourself? They’re usually 2 for 5 at the grocery store.

Retinol anti-aging cream. OK OK OK. So I am fairly certain the majority of moms need this, but do we want it from our children for MOTHER’S DAY? Hey mom, you look like garbage, here’s some cream, Happy Mother’s day! Actually, the reason we have so many wrinkles is because of our children so maybe they should be the ones doling out the bucks for the cream. At least just get us a facial so we can enjoy the experience.

A box of mejdool dates, for the “mom with a sweet tooth.” I have a sweet tooth. I don’t want a box of mejdool dates. Get me some real candy, you cowards.

Sooooo many teapots. What is with the teapots? Do moms really drink that much tea? Most of the moms I know are drinking room temperature coffee, right? I’m always drinking room temperature coffee.

Any type of jewelry that has a heart with MOM in it. I don’t want to sound rude but I am fairly certain nobody wants this. Nobody needs a fake gold chain that says BEST MOM EVER in big letters the size of Flava Flav’s clock necklace. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend isn’t a saying for no reason!!

The old faithful gift idea for those that forget to get gifts, a “coupon” book of things to do for mom. This is cute if it is coming from young kids with an ACTUAL gift from the husband on the side. But if you’re only giving your mom a piece of construction paper that says “good for one massage” I can promise you you’re going to have a mom who is madder than a pissed on chicken. NO THANKS.

I say it every year and it still holds true. GIVE YOUR MOTHER A DAY OF SILENCE. Take those children AWAYYYYYY. Get RID OF THEM FOR AN AFTERNOON. Let her sleep in and eat what she wants when she wants and let her watch TV on the couch without worrying about who needs a snack or a diaper change. LET HER TAKE A NAP. And for the love of God, DO NOT MAKE HER BREAKFAST IN BED. NOBODY WANTS THAT. NOBODY.

My family gifted me with AirPods which is a necessary, welcomed, and appreciated gift. I have already begun using them to drown out the sounds of my children, which is really what they were intended for. Happy Mother’s Day indeed.

I know you’re not supposed to have a favorite child, but am I correct in saying that on certain days (or weeks, or months…) you’ll like one of your children more than the other? Perhaps it is because of the age difference, but Mackenzie is my favorite right now. Maybe it is because when I get up and get dressed in the morning, all Mackenzie does is smile at me and Charlotte looks me dead in the eyes and says “you’re wearing that? That dress is pretty but the tie on it is horrible and the sleeves are terrible and I’m sorry I said that out loud but I would never wear that.” Or maybe it’s because all Mackenzie wants me to do is hold her and love her and Charlotte tells me “when I get older I am moving away and you can’t visit me and I will do whatever I want” when I tell her she can’t eat an Oreo for breakfast. It could also be because when it’s time for Mackenzie to go to sleep I put her in her crib with no issues and when it is time for Charlotte to go to sleep she tells me “this is the worst time of my life” and holds her eyelids open until I tell her I’m going to leave the room. It could be all of these things so I can’t really pinpoint the exact reason, but Mackenzie is a much, much easier child to be around.

Obviously we have spent way too much time together since March of 2020 and Lord knows we could both use a break. The days she goes to school we get along much better. She still criticizes my clothes like she is Joan Rivers on the E! red carpet, but at least she is happier and not fighting with me about everything under the sun. Being at work a couple of days a week helps too, even though on Saturday she told me, in front of my mother, that she wishes I would go to work for 100 years. Does it hurt my feelings sometimes? Sure it does. But then I just look at Mackenzie and pray she never turns into the 6 going on 16 year old that Charlotte is.

It’s not all bad. The other night she was very kind and loving to me when my knee was acting up. She helped me put ice on it and asked if we could have a sleepover so I could cuddle her. It just feels like those days are so few and far between. At least Mackenzie loves me and I’ve got a few years before she turns on me too.

On the Move

There was a time not too long ago where I was worried about Mackenzie not crawling or standing or showing any interest in moving. Eric and I found videos of Charlotte crawling and standing and doing everything Mackenzie wasn’t way earlier. They say not to compare your kids, but of course that’s easier said than done. I kept saying Mackenzie was just lazy and would do everything in her own time even as I worried.

I was a fool.

In one day Mackenzie figured out how to move and move fast. She won’t crawl and she’s still not trying to stand on her own but she’s managed to scoot herself around at a very rapid pace. She looks like she is in a kayak pushing herself all over the place. I put her down on the rug and walk to the fridge and by the time I turn around she’s behind me. She got over to the tv stand and immediately knocked down a shelf of picture frames. She scoots to the stove and rips the dish towels down. She found the outlets which now need outlet covers. She tried to eat a phone charger and ripped all of the artwork and magnets off the fridge. She gets herself stuck under the kitchen stools and races over to wherever Charlotte is and destroys whatever she is playing with. There is so much shouting of “get her away from me!!!” I’m constantly vacuuming and making sure there is nothing on the floor because she thinks everything is edible. Barbie shoes are my nemesis.

What a fool I was. I should have enjoyed the stationary baby instead of worrying because I obviously had nothing to worry about and now I can’t leave the room without containing her. The party is over!!!

The destroyer of decor.

Nighttime Musings

Every night before bed I lay with Charlotte until she falls asleep. It’s annoying but it works and after 5+ years of her never sleeping she finally, FINALLY, stays in her bed all night and sleeps until the morning. Even her sister’s screaming doesn’t wake her up and it is a miracle so if I have to lay with her until she is a teenager so be it.

We have the same routine every night. I turn off the lights and climb in and play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Lisa Loeb (only this version) on repeat. I have no idea why this is her chosen song but here we are. She yells at me to move my knees and hold her and rub her back and I tell her 100 times to go to sleep. And every night she pops her head up and says “mommy can I ask you one more thing?” and so we began the round of Charlotte’s 20 Questions. She saves every single question and thought she has for before she goes to bed. Here are some of my favorites:

“Did Mary have parents? You know, Mary with the lamb and the God? Did her parents die and come back to normal life too? Oh so every Easter Jesus dies and then comes back? How does this work?”

“Can I have a car when I’m 12? Why can’t I have a car when I am 12 if I have my pink jeep now? Why is it the law that I have to wait to drive a car? Why can’t I drive my pink jeep in the street? Who makes these rules?”

“Why do I have to sleep? Why can’t I just keep my eyes open and stay up all night? I hate this time of day.”

“When is Mackenzie going to be old enough to play with me? She doesn’t do anything I want her to do and I’m tired of waiting.”

“How come you don’t have to go to bed when I go to bed? Why do I have to do everything and you don’t have to do anything?!”

“When are you going to get my hundred dollars out of the bank? Why can’t I just keep all of my money in my room? Why do you take all of my money away from me?”

“When are you going to let me hold knives and cut things by myself?”

We’re Six!

I was listening to the cast recording of Six the Musical (the British one, since the Broadway version was supposed to open the night the pandemic shut the entire world down so we have yet to get a cast recording) many months ago when Charlotte asked me what the song was because she liked it. Fast forward to now when Six is the ONLY thing we listen to. And not even the entire album, just three select songs, with the finale being her favorite one. The show is nowhere near appropriate for her, but 1) I miss Broadway more than anything and 2) she doesn’t even understand the inappropriate parts. She knows every single word to the finale now considering we listen to it on loop for every car ride and she jams out in her room to it on the daily. She knows all about Henry the 8th (“he was fat and mean!”), Anne Boleyn (“she got her head chopped off, but there’s no video of it”) and learned what divorce is. Like I said, not appropriate, but whatever. She calls the songs “episodes” because she thinks everything is a TV show. It’s very cute.

So, as my Broadway loving heart began to swell with her interest in the music, I told her that when Broadway opens up again I would buy us tickets and we would go to the show just the 2 of us. (I recently learned that children under 10 are not admitted, but that is no longer an issue. You’ll see why if you keep reading.).

She was very excited and asked me if she had to be quiet, if she could get popcorn and if she’d see the head getting cut off. Yes, no, no. On our way home the other day after listening to the finale for the 950th time, I told her I’d show her a video of one of the performances so she could see the costumes and the girls who sing. I thought this would solidify her desire to see the show with me. It’s like I don’t even know my own daughter. Because none of that happened.

She didn’t give a single F about the costumes. Did not care about finally seeing the face behind the voices. Oh no, all Charlotte cared about was that they sounded different. “This doesn’t sound anything like the songs we listen to!!” Never did it occur to me she would have an issue with a live performance. I explained that live singing will never sound like a recording, that recordings are done in a professional studio and will always sound perfect. That live music and theater is special because it always sounds different! She was NOT having it. “I hate this live and I want it to sound like my songs. Turn it off.”

And so this is the tale of how I 1) saved myself a few hundred bucks on a Broadway show with an ungrateful child and 2) got away from any disappointment over the fact that she can’t see it live until she is 10 anyway.

As my cousin said, Charlotte’s gonna Char.

The Day the World Stood Still

365 days ago was the last normal day most of us had. March 12, 2020. Everything felt so uncertain and scary. In the weeks prior we knew about the coronavirus but would often jest about it. But then the NBA shut down abruptly the same night Tom Hanks announced he contracted the disease. I vividly remember laying in my bed frantically texting my friends and family that night. After that the anxiety seemed to heighten. And on March 12 I went to work and after that day nothing has been the same. At first I wondered if I’d be back before the baby was born. I realized I wouldn’t, so my dad took me to the office one Saturday in our still new masks to collect the things I needed. Surely we’d be back by the time my maternity leave ended. Mackenzie is 9 months old and I’ve been to the office 4 times. Interestingly enough I am on my way there now, in a mask on an empty bus going into a still empty city. 365 days later and it feels like nothing has changed.

I remember when Mayor dBag announced the public schools would close until April and I panicked. What would I do until April?! 365 days later and Charlotte still barely goes to school. Who would have ever predicted that? Certainly not me. I don’t let myself sit and think about how much she has lost out on because it will drive me insane. There are so many articles out there now calling these kids Generation C, or Generation Covid. I started to read one yesterday and had to stop myself because it was so doom and gloom. Their lives are being shaped by this whether we like it or not. There is a Before and an After.

But perhaps there is a light at the end of this tunnel? I keep trying to see it and I don’t know if it’s the light or just a train coming out of a tunnel to hit us head on. When you get one piece of good news about vaccines you get another piece of news about how the variants are here to destroy us again. I just want all of this to end. I got my first vaccine dose on Monday (as a federal employee I am eligible so don’t @ me) and I get my second dose April 7 so at least I can say I’m vaccinated and stop worrying as much. But until our kids are in school and we’re all back at work and things feel normal I don’t think my jaw will unclench. I long for the days of just going and doing and seeing. I miss Broadway and parties. I miss doing things without rules. I want to dance and sing and sweat in a mosh pit of people. And yet I feel like this past year has now conditioned me to be afraid of these things. I’m constantly counting how many people are around me. A crowded grocery store makes my head hurt. I feel like I’ll be that way for a long time.

We lost a lot these past 365 days but we also gained a lot too. We learned what’s really important. We spent more time with our kids (even if we think it’s been too much time, because it has been!). If our kids are Generation C we are the Pandemic Parents. We’ve managed the impossible. And we’re still doing it. So if it takes another few months or another year, eventually this will end. And I hope I’m next to you in a crowd, singing and dancing probably weeping from joy to be near people once again. The first round is on me.

Six

Dear Charlotte,

Every year I say the same thing. I can’t believe how quickly time is going. How is it possible I’m writing you your sixth birthday letter? It seems like just yesterday you came into our lives, and here you are now, officially a big kid. When you turned five I felt like you still had some of that baby in you, but that’s gone now. You’re a big girl, like you like to tell me all the time.

I’m writing this after I just dropped you off at school and you were so excited to give out treats to your class to celebrate your birthday even though you repeatedly reminded me that it’s tomorrow, as if I’d forget. This past year has shown me how incredibly resilient you are in so many ways. Right after you turned five the pandemic flipped our lives upside down. Your pre-k days ended in the blink of an eye and we spent every moment together for months and months (and months). Sometimes we got sick of each other and we let each other know. I’ll never forget you standing on the couch shouting at me “I have had enough of being with you!” It has been a really hard year for so many people, but you have adapted. You started Kindergarten, you wear your mask and you don’t complain. You ask me every day if you can go to the building instead of “computer school” and I wish for anything to make that happen. But you are learning SO much. I never get tired of watching you write out words. You are so smart and always asking such great questions. I am so incredibly proud of you. I think you have handled this year better than most adults I know, me included.

You are a wonderful big sister to Mackenzie. Her eyes light up when she sees you in a way they don’t light up for anyone else. Seeing the both of you together brings me so much joy. You may refuse to feed her (“Mackenzie eats disgusting!”) but you help me out all the time, even when you say that I ask you to do everything.

You are a light in this world. You make my days better. You make all of our lives better. You are funny, even if you make the worst jokes known to man. Your “youtube” videos never fail to make me laugh. You are probably the most willful and unique child I know. In six years I have never gotten you to wear a single thing I’d like you to wear. In six years I’ve never been able to keep your hair up for longer than a half an hour. When I ask you why you always respond, “you know me!” You are creative and stubborn and independent. You are shy but when you open up, man what a force you are. I cannot wait to see where this life takes you. Being your mother is the greatest adventure and the greatest gift.

I love you my six year old. To the moon and back.

Spelling Bee

Now that Charlotte is really grasping the concept of reading, our daily lives have turned into a spelling bee. She is always asking someone to give her words to spell and she either recites them back or writes them down. Since she is getting half an education with remote learning, I’ve taken it upon myself to teach her a little more than she is learning on a computer. We’ve gone over words with -ck, -ch, -oo, -sh, -oy. You don’t realize how difficult it is to teach these things until you’re doing it, and I’m no teacher. But we are trying our best and 9 times out of 10 Charlotte knows when to add an -sh or a -ck to a word. She knows when to add Y to the end of a word, like play or say, and knows that boy and toy end in -oy. It’s really lovely to see how she is grasping all of this and I’m really proud of her!

And then you realize when reading and spelling can get you into trouble. Like when Charlotte came up to me the other day and said “S-H-I-T spells shit, right? It spells the bad word! It has the SH SH sound and then the I-T so it’s S-H-I-T?” And then when she asked me what f-o-o-c-k spells and I said it doesn’t spell anything and she responds with “if book has two O’s even though it has the U sound, then why isn’t the really bad word f-o-o-c-k?” S-H-I-T indeed.

I truly do not even know when the last time I wrote was. It’s crazy how every single day feels like the same endless abyss but then before you know it weeks have gone by and yet you’ve still accomplished nothing. BUT I accomplished getting Mackenzie to sleep in her crib all night AND for naps, so at least that’s something. I mean she still hasn’t slept through the night and she’s 8 months old but WHATEVER. I just make children that don’t sleep. We’re all fine.

So how is 2021 working out for everyone? Are we all loving the constant weekly snow storms that keep on hitting us? The frozen tundra we now find ourselves in? Eric and I have the absolute pleasure of watching our pool cover sink deeper and deeper into the middle of the pool with every storm we get and we do not believe it will survive one more. It would survive normally, but when we got the liner changed to a BRAND NEW LINER and then filled the entire pool for 3 days and then had the pool professionally closed, only to find out on CHRISTMAS DAY that ALL OF THE WATER IS GONE (but where? where did it go?) the cover has nothing underneath to hold it up against the onslaught of snow and ice. 2021 is just 2020’s sister with a wig on, ready to rumble and ruin us some more.

In other news, Mackenzie Mae is 8 months old! I truly can’t believe it. Charlotte’s first year felt like it went by quickly, but Mackenzie’s first year is basically light speed. She finally has two bottom teeth and is cutting two top teeth. She rolls more often than she did but she is still the laziest baby I have ever met. If she is sitting up and wants a toy she tries to reach for it, but if she can’t get it she just forgets about it. She doesn’t scream for you to help her, she just decides “if I can’t reach it, I don’t need it.” She is perfectly content laying and not moving and I highly doubt she will crawl at all and probably won’t walk before her first birthday, which I am perfectly fine with. A lazy baby is an easier baby to care for if you ask me. She is finally eating more food, which is great since every baby food company out there puts poisonous chemicals into their purees. Now I either have to make my own or buy the bougie kind for 9 dollars a pouch. Ugh. I’ve given her some table food but she hasn’t figured out the pincer grasp yet so she just shoves food in her fist, licks her hand and screams. She is the sweetest bundle of joy ever and I absolutely adore her.

Charlotte still hates remote school and cries every single day that it is computer day. Yesterday she had a stroke because the teacher would not call on her at all, and it is probably because she can’t see her with 32 kids on the stupid zoom. I don’t care how many people get vaccinated, I will not say anything is normal until our kids are back in school and off these stupid laptops. We have ALL had enough.

Other than that we are gearing up for her 6th birthday, which will be vastly different from her 5th. She knows she can’t have a party and she is totally OK with it because she asked for a Nintendo switch which is what she is getting, because Eric and I want a Nintendo switch. Win-win. We also told her she has to start wearing clothes around the house permanently once she turns 6, which she is less excited about. She asked if she could just start with a shirt because “pants are unbelievable.” Can’t say that I blame her. We’re all going to have such a hard time going back to wearing regular pants once this is all over.

The Sleep Chronicles: Part 312

Sometimes it’s hard to believe I’ve been writing in this space for almost 6 years. It’s even harder to believe many of my musings have to do with sleep and the fact that my children are allergic to it. Everyone who frequents this blog knows the issues I had with Charlotte. She was a terrible sleeper from birth and continued to be a terrible sleeper into toddlerhood and beyond, but she is actually wonderful now? It’s kind of insane to write that because I thought for SURE she would never sleep. But she does! Do I have to lay with her for 10-15 minutes until she goes to bed? You betcha. Does she still prefer to sleep with me if I let her? She sure does. But will she sleep all night in either bed, not bothering me? SHE DOES! It’s a miracle almost 6 years in the making. It’s wonderful.

ENTER MACKENZIE. Everyone told me lightning doesn’t strike twice. Ya’ll gassed me up to believe I got my bad sleeper out of the way with the horrors I went through with Charlotte. YOU ALL LIED. I rented that damn SNOO thinking it would solve all of my problems, and at first, it did! Mackenzie was sleeping 6+ hour stretches! I got her into her crib with no issues! IT WAS A GLORIOUS TIME FOR ALL. And then she turned 4 months old and ever since then we’ve slowly been descending into the drains of hell. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING??????? She was “bad” before she got a UTI. I would give anything to go back to that form of bad. She’d wake up 2 or 3 times a night but she’d go back to sleep. She’d nap 3 times a day in her crib. Now? Now she screams for over an hour in the crib to go nap for 32 minutes. Now she “cries it out” for close to 4 hours with no end in sight. Now she wakes up at 3:30 AM ready to take on the day. She is a CARBON COPY of her sister. It is literally ALL THE SAME. I’ve been awake for 2 and a half hours already and she shows no signs of even being tired. She’s currently in my lap screaming at me trying to hit the keyboard.

Now I have googled all of the things. I know she is waking up early because she isn’t getting enough daytime sleep, but how is she going to get daytime sleep when she screams for hours at a time and then only sleeps a little bit? The google tells me to leave her and let her scream. I do this, and she doesn’t give in, even days later. Google has no answers after that. Everyone says they will learn. SHE AIN’T LEARNING.

I’ve ignored her cries at night. She gets louder. She doesn’t soothe herself. She sure as shit knows how to go to sleep on her own because I TAUGHT HER HOW TO DO IT and she DOES IT AT BEDTIME. So I did what the google told me to do. AND STILLLLLLLL nothing works. So maybe it isn’t me. Maybe my kids are just defective when it comes to sleeping and I have to wait until they are older to get rest? Like at least I know 5 years down the road things may get easier? My only solace is that this time around, for right now at least, I’m not commuting because of the global pandemic that is still raging around us. I still have to mother two children, do remote learning, cook, clean, do laundry, etc., etc., etc., but at least I don’t have to put on real clothes? An express bus commute actually sounds like heaven right now.

The more things change, the more they stay the same!