The New Normal

Hellloooooo there!

How are we all doing?  We’re on day 13 of social distancing, quarantine, self isolation, what have you, right?  I don’t even know what day it is!  I can’t remember when my last day at work was, to be honest.  Everything feels like such a blur, yet also feels like it has been years since anything felt normal.

I will say that this week has felt more normal.  This week has also gone faster than last week.  Last week I was a MESS.  I was filled with crippling anxiety and cried on an hourly basis.  But this week?  I think I’ve only cried twice!  I’d say that’s an improvement, no?

Even Charlotte seems to have accepted this new reality.  She still asks me why she can’t see her friends or go to Target, but she’s kind of put herself into her own routine, which is nice.  I’m not being a nazi home school teacher, because 1) I don’t think pre-k aged kids need it and 2) I am not a teacher, but the resources her teachers gave us have been super helpful and enjoyable.  She’s still coloring and drawing and doing little projects I give her.  She practices her writing and uses ABC Mouse and all that jazz.  It is what it is, right?  On my very good days I am happy for all of this extra time we have together before her sister arrives.  On my very bad days I want to set up a Corona Camp and send her there.  It is really a LOT.  Eric is still working because he is ESSENTIAL, so it’s me and Char, all day, every day.  And because she comes into my room every damn night,  it’s all night every night too.  So there’s only about 3-4 hours out of a 24 hour span that she isn’t near me.  Or speaking to me, because she talks in her sleep too.  UGH.

I think the worst part of all of this is not knowing when it will end.  Will it be weeks, will it be months?  Will I be able to go back to work before my maternity leave begins, or will I be house bound until I have an infant?  Will my husband even be allowed in the delivery room with me?  Am I going to have to labor with a mask on my face?  There are just so many questions that can’t be answered and for someone like me, who likes answers and likes them now, it isn’t a great combination.

But I am learning to let go of things I can’t control, which is pretty much everything going on right now.  I am trying to exercise every day, whether it be on my TV or a walk outside on a nice day.  I’m trying not to eat mindlessly because there is nothing else to do (some days are easier than others) and, most importantly, I am rationing out my viewing of Tiger King on Netflix.  Because it is the only thing that matters.

Check in with your neighbors and your loved ones.  Check in with the moms in your life.  We’re all going a bit crazy.  FaceTime dates with family and friends save us daily.  I pray this ends soon!

I have started writing and stopped countless times.  We are self isolating, like so much of the world, and today is only day 2 of no school.  I have been working from home since Friday and will be home until further notice.  I think the scariest part of all of this right now is the unknown.   We are all going into the unknown.  Literally and figuratively, since I’m sure we have all watched Frozen 2 with our kids 750 times since Disney+ surprise released it for desperate parents.  NYC schools are closed until *at least* April 20, with the possibility that they won’t go back at all.  Thinking about this makes me cry immediately.  To think of Charlotte just not finishing Pre-K breaks my heart.  To not see her friends again, or her teachers, or have graduation.  I know it’s worse for so many others, like special needs kids and seniors in high school and college who are ending such important chapters on such shitty notes.  But I’m still sad.  I didn’t lie to Charlotte and I told her we are home to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus.  She already knew about it before shit really hit the fan.  But she’s 5, and she doesn’t fully grasp it.  The past two days she’s asked me when she can go back to school and when we can go to Target.  She wants to know why we can’t go out of the house to go to Egger’s for ice cream or to call her friends for play dates.  She doesn’t want to do the lessons that have been given online because it isn’t the center time she is used to.  I’m so afraid her socialization is going to suffer with only me to talk to.  And I am not acing this crap either., so I’m not very fun to talk to.

I’ve seen the meme 100 times saying “Our grandparents were called to war, you’re being asked to sit on your couch.”  And I get it, but I don’t 100% agree with it.  I can’t just sit on my couch and catch up on every show on Netflix.  I have to work and I have to parent and I have to do it mostly on my own because my husband still has to go to work, which infuriates me because then my isolation feels pointless because I am being exposed anyway.  I have to worry if I’m going to be able to go to a grocery store if I need to, if anything is going to be available or if I’m going to be spending all of my money on take out.  I’m also 6 months pregnant, so my hormones are screwed up to begin with, so it is very easy for me to cry over the smallest thing.

BUT.  With all of this, I am trying to be calm.  Trying being the operative word.  I’m safe at home, I’m healthy, my family is with me.  I’m trying to focus on all of the positives even though I don’t know when all of this will end.  I never thought I’d live through anything like this.  It sounds dramatic, but I think this entire situation is warranted for dramatics.

At least we’ve got the memes.  The memes are some of the best and they are all that we have.

Corona, Corona

I received an email yesterday about how to talk to your kids about coronavirus but the good news is I’ve already done this. I told Charlotte coronavirus looks like the itchy balls that fall from the trees (it kinda does if you look at the internet photos) so now she just screams CORONAVIRUS every time she sees one outside and it’s been quite fun.  This wasn’t listed in the email as one of the ways you should talk to your kids about it but I think it should be included.

Also she told her friend yesterday if he walks outside barefoot he is going to get coronavirus so I think she gets it.  I’m killing this mom thing.

Student of the Week

This week at school Charlotte  is the student of the week.  She has been waiting for this moment since it was first announced back in October.  Every day she has to bring in a different “favorite” item of hers and we had to make an All About Me poster to hang up for the week.  It has been interesting.

Tuesday was favorite book day and Charlotte brought in Kylie Jean: Fashion Queen and told me that her teacher didn’t do it right because she didn’t read the whole thing.  The book is 92 pages.

Today is favorite toy day, so she is bringing her mermaid Barbie she just got for her birthday and I’m sure the teachers will love the strobe light effects it has.

Tomorrow is her favorite snack that begins with the letter of her first name which would be cookies or cupcakes but because the DOE refuses to let children ever have any joy when it comes to food we are going to send in Goldfish Crackers because she certainly won’t enjoy carrots.

But Charlotte’s favorite day was yesterday, which was Favorite Song.  She told us that some kids brought in music from Frozen or Paw Patrol.  No theme songs for Char though.  Oh no.  Charlotte brought in Stop by the Spice Girls.  She said that her teacher then let them listen to Spice Up Your Life right after.  She said none of the kids knew the songs so she had to “sing it medium” to them.  So in a class of 4 and 5 year olds, all I can picture is my daughter standing in front of the group quietly singing “stop right now, thank you very much, I need somebody with a human touch” and “chicas to the front, spice up your life!”

I guess I should just be glad her Lizzo phase is over?

I just want everyone to know that now that Charlotte has been 5 for 6 days she has decided she wants to be 6 because she is ready for her teeth to fall out and when she is 6 she thinks she can touch knives.  Real knives, not the kid safety knives my BFF got her.  She also said she doesn’t want to celebrate her dad’s birthday (which is today) because it’s not her birthday anymore and she wants the baby to be a boy now so do I think I can make that happen?

We also got into a colossal fight over underwear this morning because I bought her new underwear since all of her old underwear are ripping from the violence she puts them through by putting them on and taking them off where she told me I was a “pain in the” multiple times.  FIVE IS SO SO SO FUN.

She did have a great birthday though and really enjoyed her party with her class friends and with her cousins.  She got so many lovely presents, lots of which are arts and crafts type things, and has been happily occupied with them since the weekend.  Thank you to everyone who showed her love – we are so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends in our lives!

Five

Dear Charlotte,

I find it so hard to believe I am writing you your fifth birthday letter.  How did we get here this quickly?  You’re officially a big kid now.  The baby days are far behind us with this big girl birthday and it seems like it has happened in the blink of an eye.

So much has changed this year.  For starters, you found out you were going to be a big sister.  You are so excited (especially because you’re going to have a baby sister) and I just know how wonderful and helpful you are going to be.  You never miss a chance to tell your daddy “sorry dad. it’s still a girl!”

You started a new school and made new friends.  It took you a little longer than most to adjust and open up, but that just goes to show you that you’re still teaching me, even when I’m not with you all the time.  You never let anyone push you to do something and I know I need to have patience that you will open up on your own terms and in your own way.  Your favorite thing to do is arts and crafts and you still proudly want to hang every creation you ever made.  Our home is filled with your drawings and your paintings and I love every one of them.

Also, in other big news for this year – it only took us 5 years but you go to sleep in your room, EVERY NIGHT!  And you love it! You love your bed and your sheets and how you organize your stuffed animals and blankets every night.  Maybe by your 6th birthday we will stay in bed all night, every night?  Ah well, beggars can’t be choosers.

You are truly coming into your own style and are becoming the girly girl I didn’t think you were.  On your own terms, of course.  You adore the color pink and have quickly become obsessed with Disney princesses (mostly Ariel) and, in one of my greatest parenting wins, you have a love for the Spice Girls.

You still love to cuddle and want me to hold you, and I will hold onto this for as long as I can.  I know that one day you’ll ask me to hold you for the last time and neither one of us will know it.  I’ll let you wrap your long legs around me every time you ask, never knowing if that’s the last time you’ll do it.  You make me laugh and smile and love harder than I ever thought I could.  I love our time together – whether we are shopping or painting or eating pickles at the diner.  My life changed for the better when you came into it, and it will keep changing for the better every day, for the rest of my life, because you are mine.  You are everything I never knew I needed.  Happy 5th birthday my Char.  I can’t wait to see how high you soar this year.

Things Not To Say

I’ve compiled a list of a few things not to say to a pregnant woman (all of which have been said to me this go around).

  • Oh you’re just as round in the back as you are in the front!
  • Are you having twins? Are you sure?
  • You’re not due until June???
  • How are you still eating?
  • You still have a long way to go.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure nobody is more aware of their changing body than a pregnant woman.  And I don’t think they need to be reminded of it from anyone at any time.  Unless, of course, it’s harming the baby somehow.  But at the end of the day, is it so hard to tell someone who is literally growing a damn human that she looks good?  And just leave it at that?  I don’t think there’s ever a better time to lie to someone than when you are talking to a pregnant woman.  The smallest compliment can send her spirits soaring.

For women going through pregnancy, some days are good and some days are bad.  When I was pregnant with Charlotte I had 95% good days.  I really could not complain at all and enjoyed being pregnant almost all of the time.  This time I am getting my ass handed to me on a platter.  I have pelvic pain that will not go away until after I give birth that I feel every. single. day.  There are some days I literally cannot get myself off the couch or out of bed without a production because it feels like I have been shot by a sniper rifle.  If I step wrong or move the wrong way it feels like somebody is kicking me repeatedly on my hip bones and I can’t even walk for long periods of time anymore which is really annoying because walking is one pregnancy exercise you’re supposed to be able to do the entire time!  I do exercise pretty much every day in small increments to try and relieve the pain and also help me not gain an ungodly amount of weight (neither of which seem to be working), but I AM TRYING.  I also have pregnancy acne that is only now getting better, so that’s been fun.  I’m not saying any of this to garner sympathy or be woe is me.  I’m just saying it because I’m tired of people, especially strangers, saying whatever the F they want to me and thinking its okay.

There is a reason the advice of if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all has stuck around for so long.  It’s especially important to be nice to pregnant ladies.  You never know when we are going to snap and attack you.  My attack time is fast approaching.

Organization Queen

I have touched before on this space how I tend to be on the anxious side when it comes to clutter and things being out of place in my house.  For example, I will think of something I haven’t seen in a while and then go on a massive reorganizing spree to find it and make sure it is where I left it.  I did this over the weekend and dragged Eric into it and it was a production (but I did manage to reorganize all of the storage in my bedroom and my basement so it was worth it).  Anyway, Charlotte is beginning to pick up on these habits of mine and developing habits of her own.  Every morning she must remake her bed.  It doesn’t matter if we are running late, she is going to take the time to fix her bed the way she likes it.  If (and really, I mean when) she comes into my room on the weekend and Eric goes to sleep in her room, she yells at him the next morning for messing up her bed and then mutters to herself that she has to fix everything.  I wonder where she got that from?

She has also started to take out all of the clothes from her dresser and refold them at least twice a week.  I’ll find her upstairs with piles of clothes around her refolding every shirt and pair of pants she has and putting them in new places.  Whenever she finishes she needs to show me what she did and is honestly SO proud of herself.

There are times I wish I was a little less stressed out about dishes left in the sink or toys where they don’t belong, but I have to say I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world that Charlotte is showing organizational tendencies.  I am also really happy that I can give her clothes to fold and put away and she doesn’t yet understand that it is a chore.  She’s at the right age now to start giving her real responsibility and I think it will be a big help when her sister comes.  Maybe I can give her nighttime duty then?  A mom can dream.

Grown Up

Charlotte has recently decided she wants to be a grown up.  Every day she tells me she wants to be a grown up and lists the reasons why.  The number one reason is that she wants to touch knives.  She says she wants to hold them and touch them and cut things.  Not concerning at all.  She also wants to be a grown up because she wants to be bigger than me, she wants to drive a car and she wants to take a shower by herself.  I told her she could take a shower by herself now and she said “well I wouldn’t wash anything.”  And I said that is why you aren’t ready to be a grown up and she called me a “pain in the” which is what she always calls me when she is aggravated with my answers and she thinks it’s OK because she stops short of the word ass.

This morning when I was laying with her before we got up for the day I felt the baby moving and she was upset she couldn’t feel it, so she said she wants to be a grown up so she can have her own baby in her belly.  I told her she should do A LOT OF THINGS before she gets a baby in her belly and she looked up at me and said “oh I know.  I gotta touch knives first.”

Baby Things

It is crazy to me how much things have changed since Charlotte was a newborn — and it was only five years ago!  For instance, the contraption she used to sleep in has been recalled indefinitely and no longer produced because of infant deaths.  I’m glad they figured that one out?  Because things change so quickly, this time around I’ll be renting a SNOO which is supposed to make the baby sleep, which is all I require of a bed.  And I’m renting it since it’s insanely expensive and the baby shop is closed after this.  Also, the breast pump I’ll be getting this time around is finally covered by insurance and has Bluetooth and syncs up to an app on my phone.  Technology is crazy, man.

In terms of new things, I feel like I don’t need that much because I do have so much stuff left over from Charlotte, specifically clothes (many items still with tags) and tons of baby toys.  I saved almost everything!  I have also gotten some things from my family and friends who have had babies more recently than I, so that has been nice and helpful!

I made a baby registry on Amazon for a few things, but I’m asking all of you out there if there is something I should be getting for the second that I may not have had for the first?  Like this time around I registered for a legit pack and play (which I didn’t need for Char) because now we are in a house and I’m 100% going to need it for the main floor.  I also registered for a diaper backpack because the diaper bag used to just hurt my arm.  We’re going to need a new crib, but I’m not getting that until baby is like 6 months old, and I’ll be getting it from Ikea because I know how LITTLE I CARE ABOUT CRIBS NOW.  So, if anyone has baby #2 item suggestions, please send them my way!

It’s crazy to think I’m halfway to having two children.  This SNOO better work.