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Catching Up

Hey there!  It’s been a while.  Since I last wrote I’ve been to Texas, gone to Charlotte’s moving up ceremony,  had her first venture into Manhattan on public transport, AND discovered the joy that is Freddie Mercury and Queen!  WHAT A TIME!

First up – Texas! I had such a great work trip that even managed to feel a little bit like a vacation since the River Walk in San Antonio is so fun. I learned a lot, had great food and thoroughly enjoyed the hotel bedding.  I was up at 3:45 AM the day I left to make it to the moving up ceremony and make it I DID.  Everything was perfect.  Quick boarding, smooth flight that arrived 27 minutes early, cabs immediately and no traffic.  When I saw Charlotte and she ran to me I immediately started crying and then continued to cry as they sang their songs and I realized we weren’t going to be back at the same school next year.  I truly cannot believe how quickly her first year of school went.  I was pretty emotional the entire day because there’s nothing like a few days away from your kid to make you appreciate them and I was so happy to be back with her.  That feeling went away the next morning though, I assure you.

Charlotte also came to work with me when I returned and was an absolute champ at public transportation.  She really enjoyed her express bus ride and was very quiet and well behaved, except for the one moment on the bridge when she shouted “ARE THERE SHARKS IN THAT WATER?”  Nobody seemed to mind though.  We had to wait a little while for the bus to come on our way home and she wasn’t too thrilled about that and started to yell “I JUST CAN’T TAKE THIS!” and I wanted to be like welcome to the world of commuting!!!  Find a job close to home or marry rich, kiddo!

Really though, the best thing to come out of this weekend was discovering Charlotte’s love of Queen and Bohemian Rhapsody.  I watched the movie with Rami Malek on the way home from Texas and have been listening to the music ever since (see it if you haven’t, it was GREAT) and Char actually became interested in Bohemian Rhapsody, which is amazing because who DOESN’T love that song?  The best part of this all though?  She really only likes one part of it – the section of “Bismillah, no we will not let you go!” over and over.  She thinks they’re saying Miss Milla and continues to ask me “put on the Miss Milla part!”  Then she asked me who Miss Milla was, why Miss Milla won’t let them go and which member of Queen was Miss Milla.  She also wanted me to find a picture of them holding hands, which I have yet to be able to do.  So if anyone has any photos of the members of Queen holding hands, send them my way!  She watched live performances of Bohemian Rhapsody in the car yesterday for about a half an hour, which is a hell of a lot better than the usual songs she listens to.  I love how kids process things.  I’ll forever call this song Miss Milla from now on.

Tough Choices

By this time next week Charlotte will have completed an entire year of school.  It will be her first day of summer vacation.  Sure, she only attended two days a week for a few hours, but it was new for her (and for us) and the amount she has learned in one year is remarkable.  I have an entire box filled with every piece of art work she brought home, one better than the next.  Her preschool was fantastic and I will miss sending her there so much, but it’s time for full day pre-k which I think will do wonders for her.

She has a stepping up ceremony next Wednesday where I’m sure they are going to be singing adorable songs about going into pre-k and how they will miss the friends they made.  I’m sure I would be crying, that is, if I knew I could be there.  But what kind of mother misses their first child’s 3-k stepping up ceremony, you ask?  What kind of monster does that?  That monster, my friends, is me.

You see, for the first time in my working mom life, I had to make a difficult choice.  My job is amazing  and though I work full time, I do have the option of flexibility and the ability to be able to take off in an emergency if I need to.  But a few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to travel for work, an opportunity I did not want to turn down.  And that’s not just because it’s in San Antonio where the food is good and the drinks are better and I’ll have a hotel room all to myself, but because it’s a great opportunity.

So on Sunday I will be traveling to San Antonio, and on Wednesday morning I will be on a 6 AM flight desperately trying to make Charlotte’s ceremony.  I have about 45 minutes from the minute the plane lands to the minute it starts and if all goes to plan I might be able to make it.  I’ve moved my seat as close to the front of the plane as possible without upgrading to first class (although I’m totally going to try to talk my way into that) so I can run off and sprint to a cab.  As long as there are no delays or an accident on the highway of epic proportions, I may be able to pull this off.  So I’m doing everything in my power possible to be there and I have to let myself realize I am doing the best I can and that’s all I can do.

But honestly —  if I miss it, I miss it.  I’ll have video taken by her dad and I’ll be home early enough to celebrate her accomplishment.  I don’t think she’ll remember I wasn’t there in the long term even though I had a tough time making this choice.  But what I do know is that if she ends up being a working mom either by choice or necessity, and she gets an opportunity to travel, learn and grow in her career and she has to miss one of her kids events, she’ll know her own mom did it and everything was fine.  She’ll see that her mom made the tough choice and she can make the tough choice too.

And to be perfectly honest with you I don’t think any dads out there traveling for work ever bat an eye at missing events and I don’t think people look at them and say “but how could you miss this?”  Because traveling dads are expected, of course.  Traveling moms are shit moms in some people’s eyes, though.

Really, the only thing I’m worried about is if she’ll wear the dresses I pick out for Eric to put on her and if she lets him brush her hair.  I should probably just admit defeat in that department early.

We’re Ready for Summer!

Now that we’re heading into June it seems like the warm weather and sunshine is here to stay and our gorgeous deck has been completed, we spent a lot of our weekend getting our yard ready for what I think will be one of the best summers yet.

Charlotte and I started by planting my herbs and flowers and Eric has been sprucing up around the pool.  The planting portion of the weekend quickly went from organized potting to complete chaos.  Have you ever seen a four year old shovel dirt into a pot? Because none of the dirt makes it into the pot, I’ll tell you that much.  She’d take the shovel out and the dirt flew everywhere and then that turned into her getting the hose to wash away the dirt, and that turned into spraying me in the face with the super soaker setting on.  She quickly gave up gardening and moved onto taking off all of her clothes, wetting her sidewalk chalk and painting her body with it.  And she then has the nerve to ask me why she has to have a bath every night?

Our pool is being opened on Friday and while Eric and I have no idea how to care for it I think we’ll be able to figure it out eventually.  I’m sure the water will be absolutely freezing and I am equally sure that Charlotte is going to go in anyway.  I’ve got so much stuff ready for summer parties and I’m just really excited to spend all of our time swimming and grilling and having friends and family over and enjoying this space we’ve created.  And hopefully all of the swimming leads to Charlotte exhausting herself and going to bed without me having to threaten her.  Hey, a girl can dream.

It’s Almost Mother’s Day…

Well, it’s almost that time again.  I’m sure your email inbox has been overflowing with Mother’s Day sale emails from various stores (that can’t just be me?) with gift ideas for mom.  Perhaps you’re at a loss on the gift idea front.  Should you get a piece of jewelry that says MOM on it?  Do you get up early and make her breakfast in bed?  Perhaps you go the easy and safe route and just order some flowers.  I’m here to tell you what you should get with my very own Top 20 Gift Ideas – it’s the Mommy Minutes Mother’s Day Gift Guide.  Buckle up, here we go!

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The Top 20 Mommy Minutes Mother’s Day Gift Guide

  1. Let
  2. Her
  3. Sleep
  4. And
  5. Take
  6. The
  7. Children
  8. And
  9. Get
  10. Out
  11. Of
  12. The
  13. House
  14. For
  15. 12
  16. Hours
  17. So
  18. She
  19. Is
  20. Alone

 

Vocabulary Issues and Teacher Appreciation

Last night while I was reading to Charlotte before bed (we’re almost done with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and she has requested The Witches next!) I got to a part that said “35,000 feet in the air.”  She stopped me to talk (which she does pretty much every 2 sentences or so) and asked me what that means.  And I realized I didn’t really have the best explanation for her.  As an educated, 31-year old woman, I realized I just know what 35,000 feet in the air means.  I don’t even remember how I was taught this, so I just told her it’s a type of measurement and it meant that Willy Wonka was high in the sky.  She then asked me whose feet I was walking about, so I had to find a way to explain that this type of feet isn’t the feet she is thinking of, and she got very confused and went back to asking me if Charlie likes Violet “Bubaguard” and I realized maybe I’m not so educated after all.

Explaining things to kids is hard.  I feel like I have a pretty good vocabulary and I am trying to impart that on Charlotte by reading her longer books now, but I can’t find an adequate way to explain what certain words mean.  For example, she asked me what strange meant the other day and I told her it meant weird or unusual.  She said she knew what weird was but then asked me what unusual meant.  And all I could think of was to say “it means not usual” and she looked at me like I had 45 heads.  She has been using strange in the correct context though, so I guess I got the point across?  I’m just finding it difficult to teach her things in a way she can understand and I’m realizing perhaps it’s a good thing I’m not an elementary school teacher because teaching kids who don’t know anything is HARD.  Teachers don’t get enough credit, man.  Her questions make me realize how easy it is to forget just how you’ve learned everything in school.  And then it got me thinking about my favorite and most memorable teachers I ever had, specifically in elementary school, and how I’m not remembering the things they taught me to try and teach Charlotte.  My two big ones that I will always, always remember are Mrs. Potter, my third grade teacher, and Mrs. Colbeck, my fifth grade teacher.  Mrs. Potter is the sole reason I love Roald Dahl and bringing his books into Charlotte’s life takes me back to her classroom where instead of individual desks we were seated at tables named after Mr. Dahl’s most famous books.  Mrs. Colbeck continued to help me discover my love of reading and then my love of writing.  I remember her writing to me at the end of the year saying she hoped to read my book someday.  No book yet, but never say never.

Anyway, I guess all I can do is keep trying my best.  Keep reading, keep explaining, keep giving her literature we can share and love together.  It’s bringing us closer and teaching us both so many new things.  I love this part of motherhood.

The Magic of Charlie Bucket

So you know how I bought the entire box set of Roald Dahl books from Costco a few weeks ago and how we started reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory every night?  Well let me just tell you what an absolute DELIGHT this has been.  Getting Charlotte to go to bed has been an absolute dream, all because of Charlie.  When it’s time for bed I tell her that it’s Charlie time and she runs upstairs.  She asks me to hold her while I read and she asks if she can turn the pages and I swear to you she’ll be talking and asking me questions and two seconds later she’s out cold.  We make it through about two chapters before she passes out and it’s been about 10-15 minutes of reading (reading peppered with questions, which I welcome).  And then the next morning she asks me if I kept reading after she fell asleep, talks about the parts we did read and asks me what part is coming tonight. Charlie Bucket is MAGICAL.  This morning she reminded me that she isn’t really digging the fact that Grandpa Joe took Charlie to the factory because she thinks Charlie’s mom should have gone.  She also calls the grandmas “grandma joyina” (Georgina) and “grandma jusphine” (Josephine).  She thinks Augustus Gloop is the funniest name ever and she can already tell Veruca Salt is a spoiled B.  I seriously look forward to this every night.  And it isn’t just because she is going to bed easier than ever, it’s because for the first time we actually have a shared interest.  I LOVE to read.  I have loved to read since I was a little girl, and to be able to share this with her and actually have her enjoy it is the BEST.  When I was leaving for work before to told me “don’t forget to come home, we have to go to the chocolate room later!” because I told her tonight we are at the part with the chocolate room.  THIS IS THE BEST.

And all the while I can only think of one thing.

I. CANNOT. WAIT. FOR. HARRY. POTTER.

Weekend Roundup

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend.  We were jam packed with festivities every day.  On Friday we had Eric’s family over for Passover, on Saturday we had Frittatamania (a treasured family tradition, one of my favorite days of the year), and on Sunday we had Easter at my house.  Since my leg is still messed up it was definitely a lot but it was all great times.  I’m still in a lot of pain but I wasn’t about to cancel all holidays and lay on the couch, that’s for sure.

Charlotte really got the idea of the Easter Bunny this year so that was great.  The night before Easter she went to bed talking about how he was going to come and leave her chocolate and presents.  And let me just cop to this now.  If you go back a few years you’ll find a post I wrote about how people are insane with Easter baskets and making the holiday out to be a second Christmas and that was never going to be me.  I still stand behind that, but this year I did get her a tricycle.  It’s the first spring and summer in our new house and it was on sale at Amazon and why the hell not.  But her basket only contained a coloring book, chocolate and some cheap nail polish. So there.  Eric set the bike up and we put eggs making a trail down the steps leading up to her basket and she was SO excited and to be honest she was THE most excited about the Muppet Babies coloring book, so this is why I stand behind my post about why Easter baskets don’t need to be crazy.  She likes the bike, but the coloring book is more her jam.  Anyway, it was a good time.

I came back to work yesterday after the Great Stairway Fall of 2019 and Charlotte was REALLY concerned about the fact that I can’t wear a shoe on my right foot because of my boot.  She kept asking me if my boss was going to be mad at me and I kept explaining she wasn’t mad but Charlotte still kept asking over and over and I asked her why she thought my boss would be mad and she said “because your sock is out!” and I thought that was the cutest thing.  Last night she said “your boss was OK with your sock? she’s not mad?”  It’s so funny how she gets so fixated on certain things that would never cross my mind.  She’s also really concerned that I can’t hold her right now and keeps asking me if I’ll hold her when I get better.  “Can you just try to hold me? You don’t have to walk just pick me up!”  My heart melts.

She’s off from school this week, but at least the weather will be nice.  We’ve had enough rain I think!

Stairway to Pain

So yesterday morning when Charlotte woke up I went to get her as usual. I was one minute away from leaving for work and I had my socks on. I usually don’t wear my socks when I go up and down the steps because it’s slippery and socks and steps don’t mix. And then the unthinkable happened. My worst nightmare since moving into a house with three flights of stairs. I fell down almost the entire flight of stairs holding my child.

I never really thought this would happen because I’m so very careful on steps, but they’re called accidents for a reason and I think this can really happen to anybody. I shouldn’t have had my socks on for sure, and maybe I shouldn’t be carrying my 4 year old down steps, but of course it’s easy to say that now. If you asked me to recreate the fall I really couldn’t because it happened so quickly, but I can tell you that it’s true what they say about your motherly instincts. Charlotte walked away unscathed. Not a bump, scratch or thump. I basically enveloped her into my body and when we landed at the bottom she kept saying “I got you mommy you’re okay I protect you!” So I am basically a hero and you can start a go fund me for me at any time you’d like.

I, however, am not unscathed. I am a disaster. I am someone who really doesn’t get hurt. I’m not prone to accidents and I have never broken a bone. Well, apparently I have broken a bone because my X-rays showed a fracture in my ankle that’s apparently years old so there’s that. Right now I’m wrapped up from my knee down, with a boot on my foot with my unpedicured toenails sticking out and driving me insane. Everything on my body hurts today but nothing more than my knee, which feels like it’s crooked and on the wrong way. I can’t really walk and all I can do is lay with my leg up but that’s kind of hard to do with a four year old. I think the last time I was in this much pain was recovering from childbirth and we all know how fun that is.

Anyway, I’m writing about this so I remember not to wear socks on the steps and maybe if you’re someone who has stairs and children to be extra careful. This laying down business would be a dream except for the child I have to care for, but if I didn’t have the child then I most likely wouldn’t have fallen and then I wouldn’t have a go fund me in my honor.

(I’m just kidding about the go fund me. Maybe.)

Hello Again

I’ve been a little MIA lately but not because Charlotte gives me a lack of writing material but because we have been busy, busy, busy.  Since I’ve last written we’ve had birthday parties and baseball parades, trips to Legoland and cousin sleepovers, and now heading into Easter shows and a vacation from school.  It’s been a lot of go, go, go every weekend, but it’s been all good things.  We got our patio set last week which has been a highlight of April for me.  Eric picked it out and we had dinner out there Saturday night with Charlotte and it just got me really excited to spend all summer outside in the yard.  We thoroughly cleaned the fence we have in the front of the house too, and while it sucked while we were doing it, every time we look at the shining white fence we’re pretty proud of it.

I went to Costco on Friday to finish getting things we need for Easter and I picked up a box set of Roald Dahl’s books and started reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Charlotte on Saturday night.  I wasn’t sure how this would go since the book has less illustrations that she is used to, but I read three chapters and she promptly fell asleep.  She would interrupt me here and there to shout, “BUT WHERE IS THE CHOCOLATE??” but for the most part she really enjoyed it.  Yesterday morning I asked her some questions about it to see if she absorbed any of it, and she got all of them right, so I’m excited to keep reading it to her.  I am happy to be done with Brown Bear, Brown Bear and onto actual literature.  I cannot wait until it’s time for Harry Potter.

Tomorrow is Charlotte’s Easter show at school.  It is 10 minutes long and she said she is never going to sing anything except for Neon Pegasus.  If you haven’t heard Neon Pegasus, please look up the lyrics and envision that at an Easter show.  It should be fun for me and definitely a good use of a vacation day from work.  I’ll probably cry and take 45 pictures and videos anyway though.

No More Distractions

So lately when I get home from work I have been trying to put my phone on the dining room table and leave it there for at least an hour without touching it so I can hang out with Char and not be distracted.  It’s not enough to worry about her screen time so I might as well worry about my screen time too.  But a couple of weeks ago she was trying to tell me something and said “mommy! look up from your phone!” and that was basically the kick in the ass that I needed.  I don’t need to be mindlessly scrolling Instagram or Facebook or looking up recipes for food I do not have time to make during the week.  And honestly leaving the phone in a place I’m not going to touch it has really helped!  Sometimes I will quickly respond to a text from my watch but for the most part I really find the late afternoon goes faster when I’m doing things with her instead of looking at food videos while pretending to play.  And isn’t that what we want as parents?  To make it to bedtime faster?

Last night we went into the basement (and after the hot water heater disaster of Tuesday, Charlotte helped me mop the floors, AGAIN) and we played with her vanity set and dolls she hasn’t played with for at least a year.  She even set up a dinner table for the dolls and herself and she ate her entire dinner while I cooked mine.  I had to talk to the dolls and pretend to be the daddy (she was the mommy, of course) but it was actually really nice.  I did break the phone rule and bring it up during her bath though, because she insists on 40 minute baths and I can’t sit there and watch her try to blow bubbles and then cry when the water goes up her nose for that entire time.  I have my limits.  But the important thing is that I am trying and so far it’s going well.  My goal is to not use my phone at all until she goes to bed and I think I can get there.  Once the weather gets warmer and summer comes I think it will be even easier because I just picture us in our yard playing and swimming every day.  I can’t wait to come home from work and be able to jump into the pool!  And grill outside while she swims!  SWIMMING MAKES GOING TO BED SO EASY!!  I see good times ahead.