In Defense of the iPad

I know screen time is a tricky subject with parents.  The pediatric association or whatever it is called recommends one hour a day or something like that and I know there are people who adhere to these guidelines and more power to you if you do.  I am not one of those people.  I believe technology is a blessing and a curse, but as long as we monitor what our kids can access online (for example, cutting out the Kermit Commits Suicide videos, see prior blog post about that) that it can be truly beneficial to parents and kids.  Now, Charlotte does love her stupid YouTube videos of Ryan’s Toy Review and Ryden & Andy and all that dumb junk, but what she is really getting more into now are the EDUCATIONAL games I have downloaded for her.  And I truly see how they help her, honest to God!  We have the PBS kids app and there is a game where you make your own cookie recipes and then you follow the recipes to serve cookies to customers.  It sounds silly, but it keeps her entertained and it is actually educational.  Charlotte has loved this game for a while but I used to have to sit there with her and help her do it.  NOW she does it on her own because she knows all of her numbers.  She used to have a hard time with the oven time portion of the game, but the more she has played the more she is comfortable with that too.  She’s almost four and she can recognize larger numbers, which I think is good!  In this app there is also a game in which you learn about the properties of things, i.e. what material soaks up water, what material is waterproof, etc.  When I’m washing dishes in the kitchen now she’ll say, “sponges soak up water!”

She also really loves the Daniel Tiger apps and the lessons in that show are really good for kids.  When she gets mad or upset she sings “when you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four!”  The app lets her interact with the different characters and play games that help with life skills like not being an ass.  Daniel Tiger is the best if you ask me.

I mean, have there been times where I let her sit on the iPad for hours so I could watch the entire series of Russian Doll on Netflix in one day?  Yes, yes there have been.  But for the most part I think we have a good balance of technology use and actual play time.  And I’ve also stopped making myself feel guilty for letting her use the iPad because I don’t care what anyone thinks.  You do you and all that.  But Charlotte can count to the number 55 because of a cookie game on the iPad at four years old, so I think we’re fine.


February Spring

It’s honestly amazing what some sunshine and warmer weather can do for a person. Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous and Charlotte and I got out of the house and went to the park.  When we arrived there really wasn’t anyone else there except for a girl younger than Charlotte.  Char looked up at me and said “I wish I had a friend to play with” and I almost wept on the spot.  It was honestly the saddest thing to hear!  She asked me to introduce her to the younger girl but she wasn’t even 2 yet so their playtime was short-lived.  Charlotte spotted an older girl coming out of a car and started shouting that she could play with her, and that’s exactly what she did for the next hour.  We can really learn a LOT from kids.  Complete strangers and they just went up to each other and started to play without a care in the world.  It was nice to sit on a bench and watch her run around and make up games with her “best friend” (she thinks everyone she meets is her best friend) and she’s been talking about her ever since.  “What’s my best friend’s name?  Am I going to see her again?”  It’s going to be a sad slap of reality when winter returns and slaps us with 30 degree temps again.  I’m so ready for spring!

We also celebrated my brother’s birthday the other day and Charlotte gave him candy as his present.  She tasted this candy at home and then said “this is disgusting! Give it to Uncle Nicky for his birthday.”  She’s so nice.  She knows her birthday is coming up so it’s all she’s talking about now.  “What day is it today?  Whose birthday is next?  Is it my birthday?”  It’s nonstop.  BUT it will be fun to celebrate her with some small family parties.  We’re not doing a big party this year like we did last year, mostly because we just bought the house and children’s birthday places are like one million dollars.  Why does a party for kids have to COST SO MUCH?  There’s no reason a party with 8 children should cost $800.  Not to mention we’d need more than 8 kids so the price would skyrocket.  It will be nice to host something in the house though, even if I can’t invite everyone I’d like to invite.  Char won’t know the difference and will have a blast either way.  And I get to continue making cheeseboards, which is my new favorite hobby and the reason I won’t ever be able to follow a diet.  CHEESEBOARDS FOR LIFE.

Our First Parent Teacher Conference

Yesterday I went to Charlotte’s first “parent/teacher conference.”  This is one of those moments where I am look at myself and can’t believe I’m actually going to something like this.  I still remember MY parents going to MY parent teacher conference, so how is it possible that I’m doing this for my daughter?  I feel like an impostor.  It’s weird.  Anyway, I wasn’t really nervous going into it because if Charlotte was having issues we would have been called by now, but I was eager to see what the teacher said.  I had to bring her with me and she sat on my lap and was very quiet which was a good sign.  The teacher told me everything I needed to hear.  She is kind, helpful, and she is eager to learn.  She loves to color and glue things.  She is starting to come out of her shell and is having conversations with her teachers and the kids around her.  She is still quiet and shy sometimes, but she got an excellent report.  The teacher wants us to continue practicing the correct way to hold pencils and crayons (sometimes she just grips them in her fist) and she told me that she did have to separate her from her best friend in the class because when they sat together they talked too much, which I find amusing because it’s something Eric and I would do with our friends when we were in school.  But I left there feeling very happy.  At home she can be fresh and demanding and sometimes straight up annoying, but in school she is respectful and helpful and most important for me, she is nice.  That’s really all you could hope for from a parent teacher conference of a 3 year old, right?  That your kid isn’t a jerk to the teachers or the other kids and she’s doing what she’s supposed to do.  I’m really proud of her.  And to be honest I’m proud of me and Eric too.  Maybe we’re nailing this parenting thing after all.

Clothing Wars: Part 750

The Clothing Wars with Charlotte have continued into the year 2019.  We used to not be able to get pajamas on this kid.  She would sleep in her underwear and nothing else for months and months, no matter the temperature.  Now?  Now we can’t get pajamas off of her.  She only wants to wear two pairs of pajamas, over and over again.  At night, all day, never changing.  They are completely stretched out because she insists on dressing herself, so in order to do that she has to pull them and twist them and throw them against the wall in frustration until she manages to get them on.  When it’s time to get dressed for the day she will sometimes acquiesce to a shirt but she wants to keep her pajama pants on.  This wouldn’t be the biggest deal except one pair of pants consists of Halloween decorations and the other is Disney princesses, so neither pattern really goes with any of the shirts she owns.  She also only wants to wear short sleeve t shirts even though the pajama shirts are long sleeves.  She tells us she “can’t stretch” in any of the pants she owns.  Every. Day. Is. A. Struggle.

She also still hates coats but will wear one outside without buttoning it up.  A woman at Trader Joe’s asked me the other day when we were leaving the store if I wanted her to button Charlotte up for me.  Sure lady, and while you’re at it why don’t you get her dressed every day and put her to bed at night too?

Everyone thinks it should be so easy to get her to do what I want, “show her who is the boss” and all, but I don’t think any of these people ever had to deal with a strong-willed, stubborn child.  I honestly think if you don’t have a “difficult” kid you can’t possibly comprehend what every day is like.  It’s not as easy as you would think it would be and it’s honestly insulting to just assume Eric and I aren’t good parents who don’t set rules and boundaries.  Yesterday it took an hour to get her in a pair of regular pants with two time-outs, taking toys away and general threats.  There was screaming and crying the entire time.  Sure, she wore the pants eventually, but we were all exhausted and frustrated by the time she got them on that  I don’t understand why I even bothered in the first place since we were staying home and not even going anywhere.

I mean, most of the time I’d rather not wear pants either, so I guess I understand where she’s coming from.

Hello Again!


I can’t even begin to describe how happy and content I am.  I’m sure it’s just the honeymoon phase, and eventually something house related will go wrong and I will wish I never bought a house, but right now I wake up every morning SO happy.  I honestly love my house with every fiber of my being, so even if/when something does go wrong, I love it so much.  It has so much character and I get such a warm and fuzzy feeling whenever I come home.   I love that I can do laundry whenever I want.  Not having a washer/dryer for 8 years really makes you appreciate doing laundry.  It’s lovely waking up every morning this happy.  I love the way the house is coming together and that it’s really OUR HOME.

But want to know what I love the most?  That for the last two nights Charlotte has gone to bed in her own room without any issues.  We’ve said goodnight and she has left us alone and gone to sleep.  Yesterday she went into her room and into bed, UNPROMPTED, and TOOK A NAP.  Last night I put her to bed and Eric and I watched television together while she hung out in her room and eventually went to sleep.  You don’t know how much of a big step this is.  WE NEVER GET TO DO THIS.  I usually have to lay with her for 27 hours until she falls asleep and then I end up falling asleep and Eric just shuts the light off and we go another day without hanging out and it’s all very sad.  But TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING.  She wakes up so proud of herself for doing it and we keep encouraging it every second of the day.

We are also bribing her to stay in there and sleep because what is parenting without bribes?  Every night she stays in there she gets a treat.  Like a dog.  But I really DON’T CARE.  After almost 4 years of sleep issues and pretty much co-sleeping constantly for the better part of a year, I will dole out as many treats as I possibly can to turn this corner.  I’ll buy her every Hershey Bar in existence if it means she sleeps in her own room every night of her life from here on out.  WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!

Reasons Why Charlotte is Crying

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these!  2019 is off to a great start in toddler temper tantrums!

  • Because I told her to clean up her toys and she said she can’t because she only has two hands so she cried because she didn’t want to clean up and also because she wanted more hands.
  • Because she isn’t old enough to have her teeth fall out yet and she wants the tooth fairy to come visit her now.
  • Because I told her I had to get a needle in my mouth when I went to the dentist.  (These tears were actually very sweet and showed genuine concern for me so she gets a pass.)
  • Because it isn’t her birthday yet and therefore she isn’t getting a new kitchen set yet.  She decided she needs a new kitchen because we’re getting a new house and the kitchen she currently has only has one “twister” and she needs three “twisters.”  By twister she means the fake oven burner knob.
  • Because the sun went away and she doesn’t want to go to bed.  We’ll never get over this one.
  • Because I moved her Muppet babies at 2 AM so I could have more room in the bed (I seriously sleep in an inch of space because her SIX stuffed animals take up all of the bed) and I messed up THEIR sleep.
  • Because it’s not Halloween anymore and won’t be for some time.
  • Because there isn’t a new episode of Muppet Babies on every single day.
  • Because I told her you have to eat food to survive.  I honestly wish I could give up food as easily as she does.


Happy New Year!

Hi all!  I’m not even sure when the last time I posted was, so I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a great start to 2019!  I’ve been MIA because I was busy, busy, busy!  We got the keys to our new home on December 19 and ever since then it has been painting, painting, holiday prep, painting, painting, Home Depot runs, furniture purchases, painting, painting.  See the theme?  We originally were only going to paint a few rooms but then decided to paint every room in the house, which caused me to have an almost nervous breakdown because we had planned on moving in on December 30 but have now pushed that back to January 14 to give us more time to get things ready, which was the best decision all around.  The last big room to paint is our basement and my best friend is coming to assist with that on Saturday and after that I think I’ll feel much better!  We have the carpet guys coming on Saturday too (I decided last minute to carpet our bedroom and get new runners on the staircases, because why not?) and everything is really starting to look just how I imagined it.  We ordered our couch and our bed and I’m just getting really excited now and no longer feel the dread of having so much to do and so little time to do it.  Now I can just feel dread over the ongoing Government shutdown and the potential of not getting paid in the coming weeks.  New house and no paycheck.  YAY AMERICA!!!!!

Charlotte’s room is the only one that is 100% all done at the house and she really loves it.  The only thing left is the rug I ordered but she has green walls (the color is not what we would have chosen but she picked it out herself and she adores them), and white glittery curtains.  She talks every day about how she’s going to sleep in her new room all by herself with all of her Muppet Babies stuffed animals and Tom.  Eric and I are really starting to think she’s serious, so here’s hoping!

Once things are more settled I’ll share pictures of the house.  Right now every photo I have has paint cans or drop clothes or ladders in them so it doesn’t look that great.  I’m really excited though, and it’s a great feeling to be in love with your home.  Every time I walk in there I get such a cozy feeling and can imagine all of the dinners and parties and fun we’ll have.  January doesn’t feel so bleak with all of this on the horizon!


The other morning when I was getting ready for work, Charlotte was lamenting about the fact that she only has Kermit and Fozzie figures when she needs ALL the Muppet Babies.  This came on the heels of the epic meltdown she had the day before over the fact that I gave my cousin’s son a paw patrol toy and SHE didn’t have a paw patrol toy and why was I the meanest mother on the planet?  Do any of your kids just think they can have anything and everything or am I the only one?  I try to explain wants and needs to her, but in her mind she NEEDS everything.  Anyway, when she asked me for more Muppet Babies I said, very calmly, “why do you think you’re entitled to every toy in the land?”  And without missing a beat she replied, “because I’m the greatest.”  Which on the one hand is funny coming out her mouth, but on the other hand I certainly don’t want her to truly believe she is the greatest, because she is SO FAR from that.  I mean, I write blog posts about how far from greatness she is.  One day she’ll understand.

So, I took this time to explain that toys don’t just appear out of thin air like magic.  And this is when she said to me, in a very condescending tone, “you can just use AMAZON.”  I was stunned into silence because I didn’t realize she even knew what Amazon was, that using it is, in fact, like magic, and that she assumed I would use Amazon for all of her toy wanting needs.  This is also when I realized I use Amazon WAY TOO MUCH.  I realize that this entire story is making her seem like a spoiled brat (which sometimes she is) but the ending of this tale proves she’s not all bad.  I told her that anything she gets, from us or from others, costs money.  And people work hard for their money, so she can’t just get whatever she wants, whenever she wants it.  She walked away from me, so I thought she was just ignoring my explanation – but then she came back with 4 quarters in her hand from her green piggy bank and said, “now you buy it for me?”



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.


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:


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.


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!