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For some reason I made two children that have a foot fetish. Charlotte’s is gone now but there was a time period, specifically during the early lockdown days of the pandemic, where she was obsessed with taking pictures of feet. Her feet, cartoon character feet, my feet. I still get memory alerts on my Alexa photos or Timehop of a random foot picture she took. Mackenzie has started earlier. The kid loves feet. She likes to put her feet on someone else’s feet. She likes to listen to a song called Stinky Feet over and over again. She pronounces it “GEET” and holds her feet in the air and wiggles her toes. There are certain feet videos on YouTube kids that she can’t get enough of, but she hits the microphone button to search for it and screams GEET at the iPad over and over and gets mad because the iPad doesn’t understand that geet means feet. When she wakes up in the morning the first thing she makes me do is take off her sleep sack, say geet and show me her toes. Yesterday afternoon I took out a coloring book for her and she went through every page to yell geet and color in ONLY the feet. I don’t know what it is with this kid. Kids are so weird.

She also has taken to copying everything Charlotte does, specifically gymnastics moves. The two of them put on a show last night after dinner.

Our home is a circus of flipping and feet.

10 Reasons Why Mackenzie is Crying

  1. Her Peppa Pig figure wouldn’t sit on top of any of her other animal figures the way she wanted it to sit. So she threw them across the room, threw herself on the floor and cried for 5 minutes straight.
  2. Her sister is eating. Doesn’t matter what she is eating, the second she sees Charlotte with food she throws a fit and wants to eat it. She takes her toast for breakfast every morning. She took her spaghetti and her watermelon last night. She doesn’t even want her own she just wants Charlotte’s. Last night Mackenzie AND Charlotte were crying over spaghetti. It is madness.
  3. She no longer wants the faucet on when she takes a bath, or any bath toys, or any water poured on her. She also does not want me to wash her, she wants to wash herself. This would be good if she knew how to wash herself, but considering her washing routine only includes her shouting “bup” (soap) and “geet” (feet) and then slapping the wash cloth around, I still have to wash her as she screams at me.
  4. I won’t let her stand on top of her table or her chairs, or the dining room table or the dining room chairs. I won’t let her walk up or down the steps by herself. I also won’t allow her to stay upstairs alone (how cruel of me, am I right?). The kid throws a fit every time.
  5. I gave her an apple when she asked for an apple. And then I wouldn’t let her eat the apple skin out of the garbage.
  6. I try to brush her hair at any time.
  7. I don’t allow her to run up to every dog she sees and assault them.
  8. Her iPad doesn’t understand what she wants when she hits the microphone to search for a video. She screams NEIGH NEIGH for horse and the iPad thinks she means “nae nae” which just shows videos of children dancing and not horse races which she has become obsessed with. She will also shout mama or dada thinking she will see videos of me and Eric, which also doesn’t work. Meltdown city.
  9. Alexa also doesn’t understand what she wants. When she wants ring a round the rosie she just screams DOWN at the Echo which obviously does nothing. Then she ends up screaming and hitting her head on the floor, which is the natural toddler reaction to not getting what you want.
  10. Any time Charlotte shows me any affection. Charlotte can only touch me during nap hours or bedtime hours. We’re on a strict schedule of hugging at those times only.

Seven.

Dear Charlotte,

Your 7th birthday is finally here! You’ve been counting down for weeks and when you woke up today you said “well now I can’t wait to be 8!” Which is very indicative of your personality. I can’t believe you are 7 years old. In the blink of an eye you went from a tiny screaming baby to a little girl who is getting closer and closer to my height (and still screaming.)

You are so funny and ask so many thoughtful questions. As much as you tell people “don’t buy me books!” You love to read stories with me every night. You know exactly what you like and will never bend to anyone’s will. I imagine that will serve you well in the future even though it drives us all crazy right now. You are still shy but have been coming out of your shell more and more. You love your friends and I love watching you talk and play with them. You went from the little girl who refused to wear dresses or anything pink to the girliest girl on the block. You’re always trying to put on makeup and lipstick and do your hair in fancy ways. You never met a lip gloss you didn’t like.

You help me when I ask you, especially with your sister. When you two have dance parties together we all laugh until we’re on the floor. You still love a good cuddle even though you tell me every day you’re not a baby anymore.

You are so loved, our 7 year old. You’re one of the best things to happen to us. Even though we fight every day and I’m afraid for the teenage years, you never fail to tell me you love me every day. I can’t wait to see what 7 has in store for you!

Happy birthday Charlotte Shea!

The New Prohibition

While we are all very happy that Charlotte’s school is finally “normal” – as in they attend five days a week instead of 1-2 day a week like last year – there are still a lot of COVID rules in place that make things a bit difficult for the kids. Sure, they’re masked up all day long – even outside – and sure, they get tests sent home every other week or so, but that’s not what I’m going to discuss today. Today I’m going to talk about the lunch rules, specifically the one where the kids aren’t allowed to share food at all because COVID lives on snacks from home and if they share food they will all get it and cause a massive outbreak over a pack of Oreos.

Think back to when you were in school. Sharing snacks at lunch was the BEST. I’d be trading half my gushers for half a pack of dunkaroos. It’s just one of those lunch time memories that stick with me in my adult years. I love seeing what my friends had in their lunch boxes and they loved seeing what I had in mine. It was the best hour of the school day!

Fast forward to 2022 school times. Charlotte and her friends have gotten in trouble over and over again for sharing snacks – or, heaven forbid! – turning to face a friend while talking to them. Well, as they’ve been saying over and over since COVID began, kids are resilient. And these kids have figured out a way to share their snacks. Charlotte told us this morning that they bring their jackets to lunch, put their jackets over their laps and then pass snacks back and forth that way so the lunch teachers won’t see. It’s the new era of prohibition! Instead of speakeasies for alcohol, it’s a first grade hidden freedom train for some Doritos! These kids are genius! She said nobody has caught on yet and while some parents may frown upon the rule breaking, I think it’s pretty genius and will go so far as to encourage this behavior in the lunch room. Snack trains for all!

And wouldn’t you know it, nobody has tested positive since they started their snack speakeasy program. So maybe COVID doesn’t spread via our children’s Fruit by the Foot. But what do I know?

I feel like, most of the time, Charlotte and Mackenzie’s age difference really works in my favor. The 5 year difference was a huge help when Mackenzie was first born, because Charlotte was old enough to understand that I couldn’t always be the one to help her with things and she also understood that she could help ME with things. She has always been a pro at getting clothes or diapers or whatever I asked of her. Now that both of them are older I can ask her to sit and play with her sister while I run downstairs to get the laundry or take two seconds to go to the bathroom. Sometimes these quick jaunts end in “MOMMMM SHE’S STANDING ON A CHAIR” and I have to race back like Mario Andretti, but for the most part she is very good with her sister. She helps me give her a bath, she helps me change her diaper and even tries to get her ready for bed all on her own. It’s like having a little mini built in babysitter that I can trust with small tasks. It’s been great!

But then there is Mackenzie. And Mackenzie is a BRAT. And lately, whenever Charlotte comes over to me for a hug or a squeeze or ANYTHING, Mackenzie loses her freaking mind and attacks her sister. Charlotte will usually laugh it off but lately Mackenzie has been getting nastier with her. Charlotte will come over to hug me when Mackenzie isn’t paying attention to avoid her wrath, but she always knows. She will throw her toys across the room and race over to us screaming NO NO NO and then physically push Charlotte away and pull her hair and slap her. Yesterday Charlotte was in her feelings and Mackenzie did this to her and she lost. it. Ran from the room hysterical crying saying “Mackenzie gets you all the time! I never get you ever! She always hits me when I hug you! I wish she wasn’t here!” I honestly felt so bad for her. So I put Mackenzie on the floor and let her lose her mind while I hugged Charlotte. Sometimes I forget that even though she is a big kid now (10 days until she is 7, WHAT?!) she still needs to be loved on just as much as her sister does. Mackenzie just needs to find a better way to deal with her jealousy. I guess good luck to me on that front.

Miss Independent

The other night I decided it was time to show Charlotte how to make her own dinner to foster independence and help her gain skills to manage her life in the future. Just kidding. I was just tired of her constantly asking me for food so in an exhausted moment I screamed “get your own food if you’re so hungry you can’t wait five minutes!” And this was how Miss Independent was born.

It’s not difficult for her to make her own dinner because 9 times out of 10 she just wants macaroni with butter. So nutritious. I always make a pound of macaroni to keep in the fridge because I refuse to continue making macaroni every single night, so I showed her how to take everything out of the fridge and how to use the microwave. It’s really not that difficult and she picked up on it quickly. Last night she took it upon herself to make dinner for herself and her sister. She brought the chair over to the fridge, got out everything she needed and made two bowls of macaroni. Then she sat at Mackenzie’s table with her and helped feed her.

It was honestly one of the finer moments of mothering for me. To watch her take care of herself and Mackenzie without any prompting warmed my heart so much. And to have one less task that I need to complete on any given day was a bonus too. Maybe in a few weeks she can take over some other duties too, like diaper changes, bath time and bed time. Then my life can really change!

Toddler Life

It has been so long since Charlotte was a toddler that I forgot just how absolutely savage a toddler can act. The tantrums, the pure insanity, the lack of logical communication. Here are a few examples of toddler life with Mackenzie:

  1. She cut her finger a few days ago. She didn’t cry when she cut her finger. She literally did not make a peep when it was bleeding. But now that there is a scab on her finger she does not like it and keeps holding her hand up, pointing at the scab and screams at me to get rid of it. She tries to wipe it off, shake it off, anything she can do to remove the spot from her hand. She’ll forget about it for a few hours, look down at her hand and notice it again and shout “oh no!” and then try to take it off and gets herself all worked up that the scab will not come off her finger.
  2. She has decided she doesn’t want to eat normal meals anymore. This morning as I was getting ready for work I made her a plate of blueberries and crepes. She ate the blueberries, pushed the plate of crepes away and walked over to the freezer. She took out the bag of frozen french fries, literally threw them at me, pointed to the microwave and then sat in her chair to wait for the french fries. You can’t say the girl doesn’t know what she wants.
  3. After a few weeks of bath time struggles she has finally acclimated herself to the tub again. But now out of nowhere she doesn’t like the soap going into the bathwater. Last night she kept kicking at the water every time it got cloudy from the soap. It was just a chorus of “no no no no” until her bath was over.
  4. Whenever we pick Charlotte up from school she insists on walking, which is fine. Exercise is good for the soul and Lord knows she’s been cooped up in the house. But she WILL. NOT. WALK in the direction she needs to walk. She insists on going the opposite way no matter how much I try and direct her. So now I have to pretend to walk to the wrong way to get her to go the right way. And she doesn’t just walk in a normal straight line, she has to strut like a duck on a catwalk. She acts like some sort of high fashion animal model and she doesn’t pay attention to where she is going and gets distracted by all of the dogs around her and ends up sprawled out on the floor more often than not.
  5. She has a Little People farm which is her current favorite toy but she insists the chicken is a duck and if you say chicken she screams NO DUCK and so I’ve just decided the chicken is a duck and she can get corrected by teachers at school whenever she attends because I’m no longer interested in fighting with her.
  6. Her most used word is no, or oh no, or no no no no no no no no and that’s pretty much all she says until the end of time.

I forgot how fun and exhausting and enraging this age is.

Hello Again!

It has been so long since I last sat down to write. Life has really gotten in the way of documenting, well, life!

Since I last wrote we’ve celebrated Christmas (if you can call it celebrating since we had to cancel our plans), and then we all got COVID! We ushered in 2022 with the Rona. What a time. I feel like everyone had COVID between Christmas and New Years and hopefully we are all on to better days but 2022 is pronounced 2020-too so I doubt it. Nothing has changed! Hooray!

I wish I could have videotaped Charlotte’s reaction to a COVID positive test. She didn’t want to take the test, then when it came up positive she started screaming and crying and then she called all of her friends to say “I’ve got the COVID!!!” She was perfectly fine except for a low fever for a day. She spent a lot of time on the couch for her winter break, but then again what else would we have done? It’s not like we can go anywhere. Eric and I got hit next and Mackenzie last, but in less than a week we were all better. I’m honestly glad to have gotten it over with.

Charlotte is doing amazing in school. Her reading continues to impress me and I love reading stories with her. She got a lot of my favorite book series for Christmas even though she “did not ask for these.” I can’t wait to read The Babysitter’s Club with her!

Mackenzie Mae is a true Gemini. She is either the sweetest girl in the land, giving out hugs that are the tightest squeezes ever and giving open mouth kisses. And then a flip will switch and she turns into an absolute menace, taking a plate of food and throwing it across the room like a frisbee. She climbs onto everything she can. Charlotte got gymnastics mats for Christmas and the runs up the wedge mat and tries to throw herself off of it like she is on a slide. I cannot turn my back on her for a second. She climbs the freezer to get inside the fridge or climbs the dining room chair to get onto the table. It never ends!

She is constantly babbling, with more and more words being intelligible. Her favorites are NO NO MAMA and COOKIE. She opens the snack cabinet and takes out the entire container of Chips Ahoy and helps herself while shouting COOKIE! She loves to play with puzzles and make animal sounds. Her favorite song is We Don’t Talk About Bruno, which is also America’s favorite song. We have watched Encanto about 45 times. We regret nothing.

Charlotte and Mackenzie will actually sit and play together for a bit now. It’s nice to get a second and watch them, but someone always ends up hitting someone else and I’m sure that will get worse as the years go on. There is daily screaming in this house about how “I wish Mackenzie was with another family! I wish I was with another family!” Honestly sometimes I wish I was alone on an island so I get it. I GET IT.

The world may continue to be a raging dumpster fire but the kids are good. They’re happy (for the most part) and there are always good parts to these loooong days. They keep me laughing and smiling. At the end of the day, life is good.

Hello! Is anyone out there? It’s been so long since I’ve written anything and so much has happened but I just haven’t had the time to sit down properly and write. I can’t believe Christmas is in 5 days and the year is almost over. Even though right now feels almost exactly like March of 2020 with City MD lines longer than TSA lines and Omicron the Great surging through the city. What a TIME. I don’t want to talk about COVID though, mostly because everyone I know has it or will probably have it in the near future. Fingers crossed 2022 is better? 2020 two? HERE WE GO AGAIN.

Anyway, let’s dive in to my children and our lives since this what this little blog is all about. Since I’ve lost written we took our first vacation to Disney. Honestly, if we made it out of Florida without COVID I am kind of hoping our bodies are armors against this thing. As different as everything was it was so nice to get away for a week and enjoy some warmer weather and fun. The plane rides were tolerable – Mackenzie slept for take off and then stayed awake for basically the entire flight – but she didn’t scream or cry or throw a fit. It was pretty good! She was NOT a fan of her sleeping arrangements in Disney. I can’t blame her though. She went from a crib in her bedroom to a pack and play in a bathroom. But there was no other option for her and since she absolutely refuses to sleep with me like Charlotte used to we pretty much didn’t get a lot of rest for the entire trip. But her attitude most of the time was fantastic. For someone who missed her usual naps and her routine she really was a pleasure. She wasn’t the biggest fan of the rides she could go on, but she sure liked all of the Disney ice cream. She loved the kiddie pool at the hotel and running around the room with her Mickey balloon and bubbles. The trip really wasn’t for her though. Charlotte went into this vacation with all of the excitement a six year old could have. She was sooooo ready. She had the BEST time. To this day she still says, “I wish we were still in Disney.” She has absolutely no fear when it comes to rides. Our first day in the Magic Kingdom she wanted to go straight the Space Mountain. She was ready to ride the roller coasters! When I was her age I was petrified of Space Mountain. I couldn’t even go inside the building without freaking out. Charlotte just walked in, went on and told me she didn’t like it because it was dark and bumpy. Not a tear! She continued to go on other roller coasters all week and also went on Tower of Terror without blinking an eye, which is another ride that always scared the crap out of me. She also said she didn’t like that one but really did not make a fuss. “It made my belly shake.” And that was that. She amazes me.

We also have visited Santa, and Mackenzie lost her mind. She is now petrified of any Santa, anywhere, whether real or decoration. I have a Santa hanging on my back door and she made me put the curtain over it. She won’t watch Santa on TV or in a book. It’s crazy. But I guess it makes sense since she is so absolutely attached to me that you would think we shared a body most days and I just went ahead and threw her on the guy’s lap. I scarred her for sure, but I got the best picture out of it!

I hope you all have a wonderful, healthy holiday. I am hopeful Christmas will be a distraction from everything going on in the world. Let’s all turn off the news, turn on The Santa Clause and have some cookies! Merry, merry!

Now that Charlotte is really getting the hang of reading, she tries to sound out every word she sees. It is a constant flow of “mommy, what does this spell? mommy, what does this say?” I love it, I really do. It makes me so happy to see her grasp the concepts and put it into action. It also makes for some really funny stories.

The other night we went shoe shopping and then out to dinner. On the way to the restaurant we passed a Staples. Charlotte tried to read the word and asked us what it spelled so we told her. She paused for a minute and says, “Oh right. That must be where my friend at school got the staples in his head when he fell.” When I tell you Eric and I could not contain ourselves, I mean it. I love the way her brain works and how she connects things even though that was so, so wrong.

Also, I’ve learned that when doing homework with her I had to change my tactics. Homework is always a struggle because she is a pain in the ass. She’ll whine and moan and say she is tired and bored and it takes her ten times longer to do the homework than if she just sat her butt down and did it. She’ll tell Eric she wants to do it with me and then give us both a hard time. It’s so, so annoying. So the other day I decided I would liven stuff up. I told her that mommy was gone and Miss Mullabaloo was in her place, and mommy wouldn’t come back until she did her homework. I did an over the top cockney accent and acted like a governess. She laughed the entire time and did her homework without any issues. So if any of you parents out there are having a hard time with your kids and their homework, just put on a show.

Now if only I could get a real Miss Mullabaloo to come to my house and rescue me.