I have been struggling lately.  Not in the regular parenting ways in which I am tired or overwhelmed with all of my responsibilities or the fact that we’re moving in a few weeks and I’m dealing with the logistical and emotional aspects of that.  But I’m struggling with the idea of shaping Charlotte as a person and how important it is for the parents to set examples.  She’s starting school in September and I’m petrified that she’s going to be a disaster.  I already know she’s going to cry and scream and lose her mind when Eric and I leave, but what if she doesn’t stop?  Then there’s the unfortunate aspect of her telling people they are “disgusting” and that she doesn’t like them.  I have no idea where this came from and I have no idea how to stop it.  I don’t want to have the bratty kid.  I’m trying so hard not to have the bratty kid, and yet she’s still acting like a brat.  What else can I do other than explain to her that she can’t call people disgusting and that it isn’t nice and can make them feel sad?  Can a 3 year old even comprehend that or is she just going to continue to be a little jerk?  And I feel awful that perhaps I’m the reason this is happening.  That I’ve fundamentally failed somewhere along the line.  I try so hard, every day, to set a good example.  But is it enough?

There are times thought when I feel like I’ve accomplished something.  For example, Charlotte has been obsessed with makeup.  She asked me one day while we were giving each other makeovers if boys wear makeup and I told her anyone can wear makeup.  Makeup can make you happy and if boys want to wear it they can.  And now, every time she takes out that makeup, she looks at me and says “makeup makes you happy, even some boys!”  So I feel like I’m setting the ground work for teaching her that gender doesn’t define what you like or what you want.  It’s baby steps, right?

Now if only I could get her to stop calling everyone disgusting.

Sleep Talker

I’ve been keeping a list of all of the things Charlotte says while she is asleep.  They take place anywhere between the hours of 10 PM and 4 AM.  I am very well rested.  Not.

  • *High pitched scream* followed by “NOOOO I NEED THE GREEN TRIANGLE!”
  • “Minnie needs to sit over there. OVER THERE!”
  • “I’m not ready.  Don’t take me out! I said I’m not ready!”
  • “Shut up Spanky.”
  • “You said a bad word.”
  • “I don’t need to eat.”
  • “Oh that is DISGUSTING.”

And my personal favorite: “oh my mommy, I love you so much.”

She says all of this crap when she’s awake too, so sleeping with her is basically just an extension of our day.  Our very long days.  She says them while she is completely out cold but very loud and with much gusto.  When I tell her she talks in her sleep she laughs at me and says I’m funny.  She doesn’t believe what an unbelievable pain in the ass she is.  I should really start recording it at some point because I’m afraid one day I’ll forget she did this stuff, but then again, she’ll probably never leave my bed so I’ll keep getting her sleep chats for the rest of my life.

 

 

Perspective

We spent the day yesterday at my friend’s house – she has a beautiful new home with the added bonus of a swimming pool.  We spent the 4th of July there and had a great day swimming, and since Charlotte is a fish in the summer I thought yesterday would be the perfect day to swim there because of how absolutely gorgeous it was.

Except Charlotte started acting like a real Richard.  She was whining SO much and I was losing my patience quickly.  When she was in the pool she wanted to get out.  She wanted her bathing suit off and wanted to go inside the house.  “I be naked in the house!” was uttered many times.  I was getting beyond frustrated because it was SO nice out and after the horrible heatwave we experienced last week I just wanted to enjoy some time outside.  Things got so bad that I even called Eric to come pick her up because I was this close to chucking her over the fence to wait for the Q23 bus.  But then she asked for some mac & cheese and I figured I’d give her one last chance.  She ended up eating a huge bowl of macaroni, drank some lemonade and had some chips and she was a completely new person.  My kid was hangry.  You would think I would know the signs of being hangry because I experience them on a daily basis, but as we all know my child doesn’t eat so I never thought that would be the issue.  But once she ate and I had a glass of wine and changed my attitude, the rest of the day was so much better.  I realized that I have to change how I respond to her in situations too because I can lose my patience too quickly, and if I just go with the flow everything seems to be a little easier.  So while I wasn’t entirely thrilled about having to throw her in the air 500 times in the water, or swim around while she held onto my feet, I have to realize my days of lounging on a float for 5 hours are over and the whole point is for her to have fun.  And when I realized that, I had fun too.

And it’s also a pretty good arm workout to throw a child that many times.

Magic Moments

Last night I went out after work.  I got home before 9 and Char was already asleep because Eric had her outside in the pool all day long so she was pretty beat.  However, the second I walked into my bedroom her eyes popped open.  I’m not exaggerating either, it happened the second I was at my bedside.  She looked at me and said “oh my mommy, I’ve been waiting for you!”  I climbed into bed and she snuggled up next to me and started to fall back asleep.  Her eyes were closed and she whispered “I love you so much mommy” and kissed my cheeks before promptly passing out again.

I want to write this moment down so that when I’m at the end of my rope and all out of patience with her I can look back and remind myself how good being a mother is.  How the love is always waiting for me at home.  How someone is always happy to see me, no matter what.  This is what they mean by unconditional love.  How beautiful is that?

When YouTube Goes Rogue

If you are one of those parents that limits screen time and only allows certain apps and has everything electronic on some sort of schedule then I’m sorry to say this post isn’t for you.  Just stop reading and go away.  We can’t be friends.

SO, welcome to my fellow screen time loving parents!  iPads are where it’s at, am I right?!  Let me preface this story by saying that I do play and interact with my child, but when I come home from work and have to cook dinner, the iPad is her mother.  The iPad raises my child until I’m done cooking and we’re all fine with that.  Everything is good.

So the other night I needed to bread some chicken cutlets.  Sometimes I let Char help me with cooking but I am not going to let her help me bread chicken cutlets because eggs, literal crumbs and raw chicken do not mix well with a toddler.  With my luck she’d try to eat raw chicken when she doesn’t eat anything else and then I’d be telling you the salmonella story and not how YouTube failed me.  But I digress.

I was breading the cutlets in the kitchen and Charlotte was laughing at a YouTube video when all of a sudden I hear, “what the f*ck Elmo? what the f*ck Kermit?”  (PS: Also, I know my dad and grandma read my blog occasionally.  I know you don’t always appreciate my language.  Just want to let you know I am RECAPPING A STORY.  I need to show that curses were used.  I didn’t use them, the video did.  But I didn’t write out the curse word so please don’t @ me.  I bet you won’t know what that is.  It’s OK.  Love you guys!) (PPS: Yes, I am an almost 31 year old apologizing to her father and grandmother in her blog.  This is what is happening right now.)  OK, so where was I?  Yes, yes, Elmo and Kermit are being cursed at.  I, of course, immediately ran over and ripped the iPad away from her to see what the heck she was watching.  And it was Muppet pornography.  Elmo was servicing Kermit in a way that is not only inappropriate for 3 year old girls but it really wasn’t even appropriate for me.  Needless to say, I was horrified.  I put extra restrictions on the YouTube app (I know I should have done this earlier, but this HAS NEVER HAPPENED!).  Then I blocked and reported this user.  She went back to watching something appropriate and annoying and I thought we were cool.

Until the next day when the first video that popped up on her suggestions was “Kermit Kommits Suicide!” alongside a photo of Kermit with a bottle of bleach next to him.  And this is when I deleted YouTube entirely and downloaded YouTube kids, which led her to a meltdown of all meltdowns but something she has come to accept, so technically I’m an excellent responsible mother and everything is A-OKAY.  Right?

Little Letters

Dear no nap days: Thank you for the absolute joy that bed time is on a day without a nap.  Last night Charlotte spent the entire day swimming and playing outside and when it was time to go to sleep she wasn’t even able to keep her eyes open for one whole song and I was able to watch TV in peace! HUZZAH!

Dear “Mommy’s Time Out” Wine: Thanks for being so cheap and delicious.  You’re probably not featured on any wine lists anywhere but you make me pretty happy on a nightly basis.

Dear last day of school: Thank you for easing the traffic conditions of NYC.  I got a seat on the subway today which is a RARE occurrence.   It’s the little things, right?

Dear Char: Thank you for the incredible cuddles this morning.  The constant chant of “I love you so much, mommy!” and the kisses all over my cheeks.  I may be tired, but you made my morning today with your sweetness.  But maybe we could skip the 1 AM music session you wanted yesterday?  Pretty please?

 

Charlotte is really into family relationship terms lately.  She always wants to discuss who Eric is to me, who my brother is to me, who my mother is to me, etc.  “Nonna is my grandma and your mommy.”  “Uncle Nicky is your brother and my uncle.”  Things like that.  She’s pretty good at it and is remembering almost all of them, with the occasional “Daddy is your daddy” which really doesn’t sound right coming out of the mouth of a 3 year old.

The one thing she can’t get out correctly though is that she is my daughter.  Every. single. time.  “You’re my mommy and you’re my daughter.”  I always correct her and tell her how to say it properly.  And she will then start slowly repeating “you’re my mommy and I’m your daughter.”  Lately though, every time she gets it wrong she gets very upset with herself and moans, “I DON’T HAVE THE WORDS!”  And then we go over it slowly until she gets it.  Last night she was on the toilet and we started this routine, and she looked up at me and said “you’re my mommy and you’re my daughter” once again.  I corrected her and she says, “okay.  But I’m the boss.”  And then ran away laughing as urine dripped down her leg because she thinks she knows how to wipe herself.  Oh, kids.

Our Little Gymnast

Charlotte “graduated” gymnastics yesterday.  I use the term graduate loosely, because it was basically just a cute ceremony for the kids to show the parents what they’ve learned over the year, or in our case, to watch our kid cry for 20 minutes.

Charlotte didn’t want to do anything at first.  She kept crying because she wanted Eric inside the class, which is something she never does anymore so that was fun.  Then when she saw they were giving out medals we finally got her to sit with the kids and she actually did her little routine with a smile.  After every little routine she would look up at us and give us the biggest smile.  It was so heart warming to see.  She isn’t great at everything, but she is definitely better than she was a year ago and she can rock her tumble like no one’s business.  She got her medal and it was honestly the cutest thing ever.

And then it was time to take a group picture and she was NOT about that.  She refused, she cried, she screamed.  And then, even though there was still 20 minutes left of class, she didn’t stop.  FULL. BLOWN. MELTDOWN.  It was terrible.  It was one of those moments where you immediately start sweating and thing everyone is judging you.  Someone had the green hula hoop and that set her off even more.  She refused to go back inside the classroom and Eric and I were so embarrassed and disgusted by the whole thing we left.  I wanted to cry myself.  It kind of ruined the entire experience.

But after some time went by I realized she did the part she was there to do.  She smiled, she was happy and we were proud of her, and that was the point, right?  So even though her fit made me crazy and mad and upset, she still made me proud.

And anyway, she is nothing if not consistent with her class pictures.  Can’t wait to see how school goes in September…

5efe6a65-bef9-4f88-a1b8-77fc2a108440

Nighttime Musings

As all of you know by now from my constant discussions of it, Charlotte still sleeps with me and I still have to lay with her until she goes to bed.  This is not what I imagined with a 3 year old, but alas, here we are.  At this point I’m just hoping as she gets older she’ll eventually grow out of it but my plan B is to buy a king sized bed soon.  Anyway, we’ve got this little routine down where she likes to watch a little TV or her iPad, tell me “my stomach is growdaling! I’m so hungry! Why do you want me to be hungry?” and I have to get her a bowl of pretzels, and then we lay in the dark listening to music and chatting.  I’m starting to really love this last part of the day before she drifts off to sleep.  The conversations we have are actual conversations and not just babble.  She talks about what she did that day and what she’d like to do tomorrow.  She asks questions and she sings along with the songs.  Last night she asked if I could go to the store after work and buy her more macaroni and cheese and then made an entire shopping list for me.  She requested macaroni and cheese, apple juice, pretzels and loops loops (fruit loops).  Then she took a minute and said “oh wait, daddy already bought me loop loops! I don’t need those, but maybe some candy.”  Then she asked me “when can we go to the fun place again? The fun place with you and daddy?” And I didn’t know what she meant and she said “you know, the one we went with dominim and anca!” Which is what she calls my friend’s children, Donovan and Bianca, and I remembered the fun place was Adventureland.  “Let’s go there again so I can ride the horses on the carabell (carousel).”  And then she asked me to buy her a real horse and said we could keep it in her room.  I let her watch the Belmont race and I think she’s got horses on the mind a little too much.

I don’t always love having to give up my night time free time to wait for her to go to bed, but these little moments of unwinding and chatting will definitely be something I miss when she gets older.  When she’s done talking she always curls into me and her breathing slows and I just think how lucky I am to have someone to love like I love her.

 

Silence is Never Good

I was cleaning the bathroom this morning when Charlotte told me she was going to play in her room. She shut the door, which isn’t unusual because her stuffed animals hang behind the door. I heard her talking to herself so I thought she was just playing. I figured I’d take advantage of this quiet and prepare some vegetables to roast.

And then I opened the door.

The first thing that hit me was the scent of baby powder. It was overwhelming. It was like someone sprayed a baby powder scented spray right into my face. The second thing I noticed was white, everywhere.

She found a small bottle of powder. I have no idea where she got it, but got it she did. She opened it and poured it all into the sink of her play kitchen and then took turns giving them all a bath. I don’t even know how to clean this up. So you know what I did? I took the bottle of baby powder away and hid it with the others ones and I’m letting her continue to do this. Because she’s quiet and I’m going to have to clean up the mess eventually so why not get some more peace out of this mess, am I right? The only downside is how the bedroom door is open and it reeks of powder everywhere. I mean there’s also the downside of how to clean this up, but I guess I should be happy it was only a travel sized bottle and not regular. Since it’s in the rug I’m just going to act like it’s a deodorizer.

Happy Sunday!