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Charlotte and I fight a lot. We fight over clothes, over going to bed, over cleaning up our room. But lately, our number one fight has been about freaking TikTok. I never thought I’d be fighting with my 7-year old over TikTok. I didn’t even think she would know what it is, but this is parenting in 2022 and of course these kids are well aware of social media apps even if they wouldn’t know how to use them. Eric and I will not let Charlotte have TikTok. I have TikTok but I really don’t know how to use it so I rarely open the app and when I do it’s to watch an account of two Australian brothers who fight with each other in funny ways or to watch people make cheese. If you told me my life depended on making a TikTok I would probably die. Charlotte thinks TikTok is an app where you make up dances and while this may be true, it’s not going to happen. We have allowed her to have Messenger Kids because we can monitor it (and one of my favorite things is to go through all of her conversations) and there is no monitoring TikTok. Yesterday while I was on my way home from work she used Messenger Kids to text me to fight about TikTok. “All of my friends have it! I have the meanest parents ever!” My response was “cry about it” so I’m clearly the mature one. I just didn’t anticipate these kinds of arguments would be occurring at this time in my life.

It also makes me wonder what app will come into play as she’s older that’s worse than TikTok. That’s not to say that TikTok is bad but also I just DO NOT GET IT and feel like a serious old person who can’t grasp technology. Our parents definitely had it easier raising us because they didn’t have to worry about the internet like we have to worry about the internet. I really don’t want to have this fight every day but we’re not going to cave to a 7 year old who think she’s going to make dances, put them on the internet and become famous. She’s not even a good dancer to be honest. It’s not freaking happening. So if we have to fight every day, we fight every day. Mean moms unite.

The Actresses

Mackenzie is at that stage of toddlerhood where if you ask her to do something or tell her she has to do something that she doesn’t want to do, she throws herself to the floor and screams as if she’s been shot. The reaction is a 0 to 100 nightmare that I’m fairly certain every parent is familiar with. Sometimes it’s funny, but most of the time we have very little patience for it. You know who has even less patience for these dramatic escapades than I do? Charlotte. Charlotte cannot stand when Mackenzie starts in with floor dropping, body flipping screams from hell. She LOSES it. Which in turn makes me start laughing because I’m a mature adult and then that sets both of them off even more because they’re pissed that I am laughing.

An example. Last night I told Mackenzie it was time to get ready for bed and she dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes and started screaming from her very soul. Without missing a beat Charlotte starts to scream: “Mackenzie! I have had enough! You are a being a terrible two! You’re not even two and you’re a terrible two! I am DONE with you!!!!” I mean it was QUITE the performance. She has a future in Shakespearean theater if she keeps this up. So then obviously Mackenzie screamed louder and locked her body up so I couldn’t get her clothes off as Charlotte thundered up the stairs muttering how she wishes Mackenzie was back in my stomach. There is always one part of every day in which Charlotte is wishing Mackenzie was back inside my stomach. This was a very dramatic final act of our Monday night play, I’ll tell you that much. I finally got Mackenzie dressed and Charlotte came back downstairs and then they both started kissing each other and laughing out of nowhere so I guess the mood swings of girls start early? Or they just have very good dramatic range. Make it make sense.

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.


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.