Perception

My daughter is sometimes so perceptive that I forget she’s only 3.  Well, closer to 4, but I can’t think about that yet.  On Friday we went to visit Santa at the mall.  She was a little shy but pretty happy so that was good.

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Good old Santa Claus.  Please excuse her shoes – I had to hide these permanently because she insisted on wearing them everywhere even though it is 25 degrees outside.  I told her they went in the summer bin and she’s now wearing socks and sneakers.  So victory for me.

Anyway, yesterday was our 34th annual Montalto family Christmas party, and my cousin dressed up as Santa to give gifts out to the kids.  Here is Charlotte on his lap:

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Still happy, still smiling.

BUT.  When Santa walked in she came over to me immediately and said.  “But where are Santa’s glasses?  I like the Santa with the glasses on.”  It never occurred to me, not for a minute, that she would notice a detail such as glasses and realize that mall Santa and party Santa weren’t the same.  I was at a loss for words, but my mom helped me out and said this Santa was one of Santa’s helpers.  So then later on, when she asked me again about the glasses, I told her Santa sends out other Santas as his representatives to give gifts out to the kids at parties, but the Santa with glasses is the real one and he’s the man who will be delivering the presents on Christmas Eve.  She seemed fine with this answer, so I hope she just gets into the magic and I don’t have to explain anything further, because I never thought she’d be questioning the legitimacy of Santa Claus based on a pair of glasses.

 

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Baci is Working!

You guys!!! The Elf is working!!!! Charlotte has been on her best behavior since we introduced this creepy little fella into our lives! We’ve had minimal tantrums and every time she starts to act up I run over to the Elf and say BACI I HOPE YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL SANTA ABOUT THIS and she immediately stops and apologizes. Can we have an Elf all year round?! Fear really IS the magic of Christmas!!

It backfired a little bit this morning when her eyes opened at 6:20 AM and the first words out of her mouth were “we need to see if the Elf left and came back! LET’S GO SEE THE MAGIC!” But I’m not going to really count that as a backfire because it just shows she is believing and is excited about it. She’s playing with her play doh right now, which has seen better days, and I walked by her looking up at Baci (who is sitting on top of our Santa and Mrs. Claus decor) asking if she can have new play doh for Christmas. Also, last night she asked me if the Elf gets cold on his way back to the North Pole and told me to leave her jacket out for him, which was thoughtful and sweet and made me think I’m not raising a future tyrant.

I have to take back the negative things I said about the Elf, because this is actually very cute and fun. I’m not going crazy like throwing sugar everywhere or making him poop out marshmallows and she’s still into it. Here’s what I’ve done so far, minimum effort at its finest:

Yay for the Elf! What a time!

The Elf

Well guys, I’m about to become that mom.  You know, the mom who said she would never do something and then does it.  The one who insisted there would never be an Elf on the Shelf in our house, and yet our Elf is set to arrive on or about December 6.  I know it should have been here by December 1, as per the rules of the Elf on the Shelf club, but I am late to the party and can’t believe I actually am joining this party after all.

I explained to Charlotte last night that an Elf from the North Pole would be coming to our house to keep an eye on her.  I asked what she wanted to name him and she said his name is Baci.  I like that name because I like Baci chocolate, so at least we didn’t fight over that.  I told her she isn’t allowed to touch the Elf and that he is Santa’s representative to make sure she behaves.  I’m really only using this Elf as a disciplinarian, which is probably not the way it’s supposed to be used, but I’m not one to play by the rules.  I know I’m supposed to make the Elf move around and do fun stuff, like poop out marshmallows or get frozen by Elsa in a block of ice or something absolutely ridiculous and time consuming.  I am not going to do these things. (No judgments if you are an Elf on the Shelf fun master, I am just not built this way.)  Baci is basically just going to be the police.  Sure, I’ll move him from one section of the room to the other so she thinks he’s real (she is not going to think he is real) and perhaps I’ll make him sit with her toys or something.  But Baci is basically just going to be Santa’s Gestapo.  Every time this kid acts up I’m going to tell her Baci is watching her and telling Santa.

FEAR IS THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS.

In all seriousness, am I supposed to keep the Elf out during the day?  Does he have to hide after she sees him in the morning?  Why did I roll over for this madness? WHY AM I LIKE THIS?

Trimming the Tree

Hi there!  I hope you all had the a fantastic Thanksgiving and nice long weekend.  We had a great time, starting with a McDonald’s stop at 11:45 AM on Thanksgiving day because all Charlotte wanted was french fries.  She was thankful for them at least.

From there we spent many an hour in the car traveling to the restaurant my cousin works at for Thanksgiving dinner.  We have never gone out to eat for Thanksgiving before, but my cousin is an executive chef at this lovely restaurant in Long Island and they put on a Thanksgiving buffet, which is honestly the best thing ever.  Non stop trips to a buffet table for food you didn’t have to cook? SIGN ME UP.  I have to say though, since I’ve never gone out on Thanksgiving I really want to give a shout out to those that have to work in the service industry.  My cousin was up VERY late the night before preparing all the food for the day, and then had to man the carving station the entire time, from noon to 8 PM.  The waiters and waitresses worked their asses off.  There was a customer in the restaurant who was extremely rude, and seeing her treat the wait staff and the workers that way on Thanksgiving just made me realize that these people are sacrificing their own holiday to work and give your family the best experience.  So if your coffee takes a little longer to get to the table than you’d like, maybe cut them some damn slack?  So my hat is off to those that have to work on these days.  After that we went to my sister and brother in law’s house for more dessert, because there’s no such thing as too much food on a day of being thankful for everything we have, am I right?

Fast forward to yesterday when I decided it was time to decorate.  Eric and I thought we would be in our new house for Christmas this year, but because home buying is a process that usually doesn’t work out in your favor, we won’t be moving until after Christmas.  As in like, the days after Christmas.  Talk about stress, but whatever.  We are closing on Friday though, so at least that’s a plus!  Anyway, we couldn’t have all of our usual decorations out, and our tree this year is a very small tree which only holds about 10 ornaments without falling over.  Charlotte was really excited to decorate the tree, and when we were done (in 5 minutes) Eric and I remarked how ridiculous it looked.  But then Charlotte turned around and said “this is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen!”  And that, my friends, is when I gained some damn perspective.  So what if we aren’t in our new home yet with a big fancy tree?  So what if we can only have a few decorations out, with a tiny tree that barely holds our nicer ornaments?  Charlotte LOVES it.  She was feeling the Christmas spirit as we listened to holiday music and she danced.  It’s not about the tree, and I lose sight of that far too easily.  Our little tree IS the most beautiful tree.

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Christmas Cards

This Sunday, I’m going FULL 80’s mom and taking family photos AT THE MALL.  Eric isn’t thrilled, Charlotte is definitely not going to be thrilled, and I am READY.  I know the cool thing to do now is to get a photographer and go on a fun adventure outdoors to take pictures in the leaves and shit but I don’t like to be outside when it’s cold and I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars to have Charlotte tell me she hates pictures and for Eric to not smile.  I’m paying mall prices for mall photos for minimal stress.  Give me a cheesy backdrop of some Christmas scene that will match perfectly with my stress induced sweat, Eric’s pained look of misery and Charlotte’s complete lack of cooperation.  Tis the season, am I right?

I need the pictures for our Christmas cards and also because I realized we haven’t taken any family pictures, like, ever.  I do enjoy the holidays very much, especially with Charlotte, but I have to say sometimes I wish Christmas cards weren’t a thing.  I kind of want to just send out a mass e-mail saying Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, yada, yada.  We didn’t send Christmas cards last year because my grandpa had just passed away and nobody was in the holiday spirit but now I feel like I have to send them again and I am just not feeling it.  But everyone does it so I’m jumping on the bandwagon because that’s what you do.  You spend money on cards and postage and send out cards that everyone will throw away on January 1.  WITH MY MALL PHOTOGRAPHS.  You all better keep my MALL PHOTOGRAPHS.

I have no idea what the hell Charlotte is going to wear, because as you know she vetoes every outfit I choose.  She’s still wearing Halloween leggings on a daily basis and her favorite pants are MC Hammer pants with a Zebra design and I’m not sure that’s going to go with a holiday motif.  I looked on Amazon for Christmas outfits for girls, and every single one is fluffy dresses or skirts and that’s just not going to happen.  I saw a plain red dress in the store the other day and asked Charlotte if she wanted it for Christmas and she told me it was disgusting, and when I asked her what she wanted to wear for Christmas she told me “NOTHING” and the sad part is that is what she wants to wear.  She wants to wear nothing.  Maybe I’ll buy Christmas underwear and she can pose in that?  Are mall photos allowed to photograph kids in their underwear?  That’s probably illegal.

Sunday should be sooooo fun.  FA LA LA LA LA, everyone’s crying.

Kids and Discipline

Charlotte is in this phase where discipline is becoming tricky.  She can be a real PITA and on those occasions where she is throwing a tantrum I usually stick to time out where I just put her in another room and shut the door.  I did this the other day when she was acting up, and after the allotted time I went in to ask her if she was sorry and ready to come out.  She not only told me that she wasn’t sorry but that she still wanted to be punished.  This went on for at least another 10 minutes.  It wasn’t like she was in there playing with toys either.  She was just laying on the floor, not moving, insisting she wasn’t sorry and telling me to go away.  When she came out she was much better behaved and did apologize, so maybe it worked?  I don’t know!!!  Discipline is hard.  I’m probably going to start taking favorite toys away from her soon because that seems harsher than time out but not as harsh as a beating.  Although if you tell me you haven’t wanted to throttle your kids in the middle of an epic tantrum I don’t believe you but I can’t associate with liars.

She’s also too sassy for her own good.  I don’t even know if sassy is the appropriate word.  She’s a smart ass even though she’s too young to know what a smart ass is.  She wasn’t saying please the other day (I am literally forcing this child to say please and thank you 750 times a day, because I want it to be muscle memory in her to ALWAYS SAY IT because there are too many rude a*holes nowadays) when she SCREAMED it at me.  I was taken aback and said “I’m sorry, but you don’t speak to mommy that way.”  And her response?

“You told me to say please, you didn’t tell me to be nice.”

I was at a loss for words, because she wasn’t wrong.  It’s hard to discipline and know if you’re raising your kids right, especially because this age is so tough.  She’s much more independent but is still a baby in some ways.  She doesn’t always know how to express her emotions other than screaming like a banshee, so I don’t know if it’s always appropriate to punish a tantrum or try to deal with it in a different way, like just trying to calm her down and get her to explain what is wrong.  I am starting to use Santa as a threat though, so that is super fun!!

Vote Vote Vote!

It’s Election Day!  Take the time today and go out and VOTE!

I went early this morning and saw so many little kids with their parents and I just think it is such a good example to set for the young ones, especially because right now WE are the ones responsible for voting for candidates who will shape their future.

I got an extra “I Voted” sticker for Charlotte so I can explain to her what I did today and how one day she will be able to exercise her rights in the same way.  I can only hope when she is old enough to vote that the political climate is a little less ugly than it is now.  No matter who you vote for, use your rights and DO IT.

And completely unrelated, here is a photo from Charlotte’s Halloween Parade in school last week.  She kind of looks like a little politician making her rounds, so I guess it IS related.

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Trick or Treat!

I hope everyone had the best Halloween!  I have to say, year after year, my social media feeds are filled with more and more kids, and I absolutely adore looking at each and every post.  There’s just something about kids in costumes that make you smile.  Charlotte didn’t want to wear her princess dress and chose to be Doc McStuffins, which is fine because she’s worn the princess dress enough that I feel like I didn’t waste all of my money on it.  At first she didn’t want to go out and trick or treat because she was having a great time sitting on the stoop with Eric handing out candy.  When I was walking home from the bus stop I heard her shouting “TRICK OR TREAT MOMMY! Here is some candy for you!!”

I don’t think we could have gotten better weather this year.  What a gorgeous night to be outside! We ended up doing the most trick or treating on what will be our new block of our new house.  Eric and I got really excited about this because almost every house was decorated and all of our soon to be new neighbors were just hanging out outside, handing out candy, some drinking beers.  We even stopped by our new house and the sellers were outside and said to us, “aren’t you buying our house?!”  I thought it would be weird, but it wasn’t weird at all, and I am just getting more and more excited about living on that block and in that neighborhood.

I have to say I love Halloween for the kids, but I really love Halloween for my husband.  There’s nothing like watching him getting more excited than all the kids to get candy.  When Charlotte got tired he was going up to houses by himself with her candy bag.  One woman had to ask him if he was trick or treating for himself or for a kid, which was just the best.

All in all, it was a great night.  Eric and I said that every year Charlotte is getting better.  At least this year she wore a costume!!

And now I guess it’s Christmas time?  TIME TO BUY PRESENTSSSSSSSS.

Much Needed Getaway

HEELLLLOOOOO THERE.  Well, Eric and I are back from Vegas and Charlotte is back from Disney.  Post vacation depression is real, my friends.  When we were driving back to get Charlotte on Friday night, I was really afraid that I would just be upset about no longer being away and stuck with mom duties again.  But I will tell you that the best thing to make you appreciate your kid is to get the hell away from them for a while.  Reuniting with Charlotte was honestly the BEST.  She was up very late the night we got home but it was great.  She just kept hugging me and kissing me and playing with all of her toys like she had been away from them for the longest time.  She told me Disney stories, and when I told her to lay down and get ready for bed I heard her singing to Tom “my mommy is here, my mommy is here!” And I just melted into a puddle.  I hugged her soooo tightly that night and the joy continued on Saturday.  I was so, so happy to be home with her.

AND THEN LAST NIGHT ROLLED AROUND.  It takes barely any time to revert back into the perpetually exhausted person I always am.  She fell asleep around 6:30 in the car on the way home from my grandma’s, which is usually safe but last night was the kiss of damn death.  She woke up the second I parked the car and stayed awake until like 1 AM.  Screaming, crying, fighting.  I wanted to run away and never return.  The joy of our reunion was gone.  She was back to being a pain.  I AM TIRED ALL OVER AGAIN.  IT’S LIKE I NEVER EVEN WENT AWAY!!!

I’m over it though.  Because that’s just the way it is.  We have our good times filled with kisses and hugs and happiness and we have our bad times where we wish we were back in Vegas and not tending to the needs of a small child who refuses to go the F to sleep.  I should be thankful for my time away from her, and I am, but home girl better get it together tonight.

Questions Constantly

I’ve come to realize life with a 3 and a half year old is just an endless stream of questions.  From the minute she wakes up to the minute she goes to bed, Charlotte is asking me questions constantly.  When she hobbles out of bed, her first question is “who is coming today?” followed by “am I going to school?”  That segways into “what day is it?” followed by “can we sing the days of the week song?”  Then she will ask me if she has to wear pants, because that is always an important topic on her mind.  This morning I was running late and she was giving me a hard time about pants so I let her wear shorts because I’ve had it up to here with early morning fights.  The second she got outside she told me she was cold and I laughed in her face.  A note about the pants – I’d like to point out she puts pants on for everyone else but me, so that’s fun.

When I get home from work she asks me how I got home.  She asks me what color the bus was and how many people were on it.  Then she asks me to play with her and asks me when we are going to Sesame Place again, even though we went twice in less than a month.  The answer is never, Charlotte. If I had it my way, we’d never go back to Sesame Place.

When it’s time for bed that’s when the fun questions come out to play.  “Why is it night time? Where is the sun? Why do I have to sleep?”  And, my personal favorite…

“Who made me?”

I really thought we’d have more time before that particular question came into play, but she asks it constantly.  I tell her that mommy, daddy and God made her.  Then she asks who made daddy, who made mommy, who made her grandparents, until finally we get to “who made spiders?” And then she tells me “I KNOW. MOMMY SPIDER DADDY SPIDER AND GOD SPIDER.”

So we end our nights with God spider.  Which is really not how I imagined bedtime stories with my kid, but nothing about parenting is how I imagined it to be if I’m honest.