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Parenting Hacks

So about two weeks ago Charlotte got a canker sore.  She had a stroke over it, because canker sores hurt and she told me she couldn’t eat or drink or sleep or do anything because of this canker sore, which honestly isn’t different than any other day so I’m not sure what the sore was hindering in her ability to live life.

Anyway, because she is a wacko toddler she does weird things like lick her feet to get a rise out of me, so I told her that’s probably how she got a canker sore.  She hasn’t licked her feet since.  And THIS is the moment I realize what power I now held.

Charlotte doesn’t want to get out of the bath? I tell her she will get a canker sore.  OUT SHE COMES.

Charlotte doesn’t want to get dressed? CANKER SORES ARE A’COMIN.  Clothes are magically on.

Honestly, every little thing she has been fighting me on, I just use a canker sore as my weapon.  It’s incredible.  Now, no matter what she does, she asks me if she’s going to get a canker sore.  And I tell her if she listens to mommy and does what mommy says, no canker sores will happen.  These have been the best two weeks of life.  I mean I am obviously the best mom, am I not?

I’m just here to share my parenting hacks with the world.  You’re welcome.

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Oh man are we birthday partied out or what?  Char had three celebrations and Eric basically had three celebrations.  We’ve been lighting so many candles and eating so many treats my pants seriously dislike me.  I need to abstain from sugar for a WHILE.  But it was all good things and everyone was happy!

Charlotte has asked every single day since her birthday if she’s still 4.  She then asks me when she’s going to be 6, because she wants her teeth to fall out.  She’s pretty thrilled with all of her presents, especially the new kitchen Eric and I got for her, and whenever she plays with it she thanks me for building it for her, which is delightful since it took me 2 hours and 150 curses to do so.  She got lots of new food for her kitchen and every day is making new concoctions and she thoroughly enjoys shoving the fake food in her mouth.  Because why eat real food when you can stick fake wooden hamburgers in your mouth, am I right?

Now that her birthday and Eric’s birthday are over she wants to know who is next, and so the cycle goes.  This kid isn’t satisfied until she knows who is having a birthday when and when we can have more cake.  She always wants a celebration.  But who can blame her?  Birthdays are fun and she knows it.

Man, I STILL can’t believe I had a four year old.

Four.

Dear Charlotte,

Today you are four!  I can’t comprehend how this has happened because it feels like just yesterday I held you for the first time and now here we are, four years later.  How you’ve grown in these four years.  You love so fiercely, and man oh man, when you don’t like something you dislike it with the same amount of intensity.  You wake up every morning and you always think to ask me how I slept.  Since you’re still in my bed (we’re really going to need to fix this one little mama) I usually haven’t slept that well, but waking up to your sweet face and your hugs and kisses never gets old.  I love how you snuggle up to me and yell, “mommy love me harder! love me more!” and even in your sleep will roll over and ask me to hold you.

You’re thriving in school and making friends.  You’re shy, but you are starting to come out of your shell little by little, which makes me so proud.  You love your cousins and friends so much and ask about them almost every day.  You always want someone to come over and love to have a packed social calendar.  “Who is coming over today? What are we doing today?”  You like plans, which is funny for a four year old.

I think your favorite thing to do is paint and color and you think every single picture deserves a spot on the fridge or displayed somewhere else around the house because you are so pleased with yourself.  I hope you never lose that pride in your work, no matter what you’re doing.  It gives me so much joy to see how happy you are with one of your creations.

You love to sing, with Shallow being your current favorite, and I will never get tired of hearing you belt out the wrong words to the song.  Our dance parties in the living room are some of my favorite times.  You’re always down to dance with me.

I love that you think licking a piece of broccoli should have won you a lifetime achievement award and how absolutely dramatic you were when this event occurred.  Every time your clothes come out of the dryer you think you have to do jumping jacks and spin around to stretch them out.  When you’re done you dramatically sigh and say, “I think they’re loose enough now!”  I think you get the drama gene from me.

You are wildly independent and make sure everyone knows it.  You insist on dressing yourself and putting your shoes on yourself, even if it takes 500 times longer than it would if someone helped you.  But I’ll never get tired of seeing your beaming face walk down the steps when you’ve successfully put your pajamas on and shout that you did it.  I hope you take this attitude with you for the rest of your life.  #IndependentWoman.

I wouldn’t change a minute of our four years together.  You make me a better me, and even when I am at my wit’s end and ready to throw in the towel, when you look up at me and say “mommy, will you forgive me?” my heart melts.  I love you more than I knew it was possible to love anyone.  You are my whole heart.

Happy birthday, my baby girl.  I’ll let you pop all the balloons today in celebration of being fantastic four.

 

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Oh, Kids.

Charlotte woke up this morning, looked over at me (yes, she was in my bed – yes, I know I need to figure out how to end this once and for all) and said “mommy, can we get up? I think I had a wet dream.”  And if that’s not one of the most ridiculous ways to wake up at 6:15 AM, I don’t know what is.

She thinks when she has to pee when she’s in bed it means she’s having a wet dream.  I honestly don’t know where this idea came from, but here we are.

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!

WE DID IT GUYS! WE MOVED INTO OUR HOME!! NO MORE MOVING!! NO MOREEEEEE!!

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.

YAY KIDS!