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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.

I was reading a book in the car a couple of weeks ago and Charlotte asked me what I was doing.  When I told her I was reading, she asked me why I wasn’t saying anything.  I was confused for a minute, because it never occurred to me that she associates reading only with reading out loud, because that is how everything is read to her.  I explained what I was doing and she seemed satisfied and didn’t bring it up again.

Last night I was reading The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me to her when she interrupted me to bring up the car reading.  “How do you read to yourself?  How do you know the words if you don’t say the words?”  Sometimes her questions truly baffle me.  I’ve never actually thought to myself how to explain reading alone!  I told her to think of her name, but only in her head, and say the name in her head.  She proceeded to say Charlotte out loud, so the exercise didn’t work.  I repeated that reading to yourself is just saying everything inside your head, and then she said “OK, I’m just confused now so can you keep reading to me but say the words outside your head not inside your head?” and so I did.  I guess I don’t have all the answers or explanations at the ready.

I like to write down moments like this for me to look back on later.  It wasn’t anything momentous or exciting, but I think in 15 years I’ll have a laugh about how one night I couldn’t figure out how to explain reading.

No More Presents?

In case anyone is wondering, Charlotte is NOT happy that Christmas is over and her birthday isn’t until the end of February because that means the presents are officially over.  She asked me what holiday was next and I said MLK day on January 15 and she asked what presents she gets then.  I think she’s a little too hung up on presents if you ask me.

I will say that she is actively using every single gift she got, which is a welcome sight.  She paints and colors every single day at her new art desk, she plays with her Barbies and the Barbie dream house on the daily, she zooms around the house on her scooter (she doesn’t like the way it sounds on the concrete outside so she won’t use it there, WTF?)  and we play all of the board games and read all of the books she got.  It’s nice to see her enjoying everything she received, to be happy with it, and to leave me the hell alone.

I’m finally at a point in this pregnancy where I don’t feel like I’m going to fall over every second of the day from pain and exhaustion.  I’ve been exercising consistently, which is hilarious because I basically stopped exercising the entire summer and now that I can’t lose any weight I’ve started up again?  Oh well.  At least it makes me feel better as I watch the scale creep up and watch my body change.  And it makes me feel stronger and has really helped my pelvic pain.  But I’ve decided I’m not going to worry about it because I’m growing a human, which is the coolest thing my body can do, and I’ll lose the weight when it’s over.  I have been trying very hard since the end of the holiday season to make sure I’m eating tons and fruits and vegetables but the damage from Christmas is done.  Baby girl and I enjoyed our cake and cookies and cheese and more cheese.  Charlotte enjoyed her presents, I enjoyed my cheese, and neither one of us are getting anymore.

It’s that lovely time of year where nobody knows what day it is and Christmas feels like a lifetime ago even though it hasn’t even been a week.  I am in a fog of gifts and leftovers and cleaning and trying to organize the house so the mountains of gifts don’t take over everything and let me just say that doing this all sober is NOT FUN.  I did not think I would miss alcohol this much.  Sure, I missed alcohol when I was pregnant with Charlotte, but this time around I would suck a sponge filled with Listerine to get some of this holiday edge off.  Cleaning up Barbie shoes 600 times a day would be easier with a glass or three of champagne.  This is going to be the longest six months of my life.

Charlotte really did love Christmas though, even though she immediately pointed out that she did not receive a new bike.  I told her Santa said he was going to leave the bike for her birthday because it is winter time and she can’t ride it anyway, so she’s taken to riding her new scooter in the house as consolation.  Her favorite gift is the Barbie dream house and she will honestly go into her room and play with it alone for an hour, which is a DREAM for me.  I love when she play alone because it gives me time to clean the kitchen/bathrooms, vacuum and mop the floors and wipe down the cabinets.  You know, quality me time.

I am honestly ready for the holiday hullabaloo to be over though.  I want to be back to a routine and settled down for the misery of winter that is to come.

If anyone is participating in Dry January, I’m your girl!  Happy new year.  New year, new me, blah blah blah.

Yule Log Kids

We’re at the point in the holiday season (is it even a season right now?  It just feels like a race with a deadline at the end of it.  Yeesh.) where threats to Santa just aren’t working.  The attitude of my child is astounding.  The talking back really makes me wonder if she has a death wish.  And every time I yell “Alexa! Call Santa!” she stares at me with a daring look in her eyes.  She’s mocking me.

Last night I was really done so I told her how every Christmas morning when we open presents we watch the Yule Log on TV.  The Yule Log is the backdrop to all of my Christmas mornings.  I told her about the Christmas songs and the fireplace.  And then I told her the purpose of the Yule Log is because it is where Santa puts all of the presents of the bad children on Christmas Eve night, and the good children watch them burn as they open up their gifts the next morning.  And that if she didn’t get her act together she was going to be a Yule Log kid.  When she went to sleep she apologized for talking back to me and that she didn’t want to be a Yule Log kid.  So it worked, and that’s that.

Please feel free to spread this threat.  I’m actually pretty proud of myself for thinking of it so quickly.  Sometimes the ideas just come to me, you know?  Like I always say, fear is Christmas magic.

News News News

Well where do I begin?  As most of you know by now, I’m knocked up.  Girl numero dos is on the way, arriving June 2020.  We have a name and a story to go with the name but I’m not ready to share yet.  I will share that I already feel enormous, am suffering from posterior pelvic pain and Charlotte makes up songs about “mommy fat” daily.  It’s been fun!  So fun!  In all seriousness, I’m thrilled to be pregnant again and even though I am nervous and afraid and already filled with anxiety about life with two, I’m ready for baby snuggles and baby stretches and seeing Charlotte as a big sister.  It’ll be fine.  Totally fine.  Easy breezy.  If this kid doesn’t sleep I’ll jump off the roof.

In other news, we took Charlotte to her first movie on Saturday and we didn’t have to leave!  Eric and I checked out how many people bought tickets to a 4:40 showing of Frozen 2, and when we saw only 4 tickets were purchased we bought seats way in the back so we were away from everyone.  Charlotte did not appreciate previews and wasn’t a fan of the seat because it moved.  She made sure to say this 500 times, and eventually just made her way into my lap for most of the movie.  Aside from the 10 minute performance of Jingle Bells she just had to give, telling us she doesn’t like movies because they are too long and asking to go home a few times, for most of it she was good!  And we made it through to the end.  She told me her favorite part was “Kristoff relaxing where you saw his feet” which is a part I certainly don’t remember but I’m glad it stuck out in her mind.  The only issue now is she is harping on dead parents because Anna and Elsa have dead parents and she keeps asking me who is going to be her mom and dad when Eric and I die and is continually bringing up my death, so maybe the movie wasn’t the best idea after all?  Ah well, Eric and I thoroughly enjoyed it and now we know we can take her to a movie.

COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS IS ON! I called Santa this morning because Charlotte screamed at me that I was the worst mother ever because I wouldn’t let her have a chocolate coin for breakfast.  And then I ate a chocolate coin for breakfast.