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A Dog Named Tom

Charlotte was never one of those babies that had a special stuffed animal or a blanket or even a pacifier.  We have had an abundance of stuffed animals since she was born but she never really took to any of them and although she sometimes played with her stuffed animals or baby dolls, she could pretty much take them or leave them.  That is until she met Tom.

Tom is a pink and white stuffed dog that we have had since she was born.  Tom was always in the stuffed animal holder we kept over her bedroom door.  I don’t think Charlotte every picked this animal up in her entire life, until one day, I guess about 6 or so months ago, she decided his name was Tom.  And Tom and Charlotte have been inseparable ever since.

Tom goes EVERYWHERE with her.  Even if we are going out for a quick milk run for 30 seconds, the first thing out of her mouth is “WHERE’S TOM?”  Tom goes to bed with her and the first thing she asks when she wakes up in the morning is “WHERE’S TOM?”  Tom had to go to school with her on her first day of orientation.  Tom has continued to go to school with her and he stays in her backpack because technically toys aren’t allowed at school.  She tells me that Tom is sad in her backpack but she knows he is waiting for her.  Tom comes to restaurants and she has to repeatedly make sure he is in my bag when she isn’t holding him.  I went out to eat with my mom a week ago and forgot Tom in the house and we had to go back, because Charlotte started to cry that Tom would miss her.  Tom went to Sesame Place, Tom will go to Disney World.  A dog named Tom (I wish I knew where she came up with that name) has stolen my daughter’s heart and it is actually the sweetest thing in the world.

Because Tom goes everywhere, Tom was getting a little bit ripe.  He was more of a grey and pink shade at this point, so last Friday I had to put Tom in the washing machine and Charlotte had an absolute stroke the entire time.  If she could have sat in front of the washing machine and waited for him to come out, she would have.  When we told her he had to go in the dryer she cried so hard and said he would be too scared and instructed my mom to “dry him with the hand dryer!!!”  So my mom stood there and used a blow dryer to dry Tom while Charlotte waited impatiently for him.  Tom is proof that our kids can change on a whim.  I never thought she would ever have a connection to a stuffed animal like this, but she and Tom are stronger than ever.

Char ❤ Tom ForeverIMG-3565 (1)

 

A Bug’s Life

I’ve talked a lot about how I wanted a girl when I got pregnant, and how God gave me a little girl but not the one I had in mind.  I’ve gotten over the fact that Charlotte, for the most part, isn’t a girly girl because it makes the times when she does things like wear a ballerina dress all the more exciting for me.  The fact that she is pretty much the opposite of what I envisioned has really made me embrace the fact that I can’t push my ideas of what I think a little girl should be onto her.  With that being said, there is one aspect of her personality that I can’t really wrap my head around or embrace.  And that is her love of bugs.

If anyone knows me, you know I am petrified of all bugs.  Even flies freak me out.  But for some reason this child is obsessed with bugs.  Especially fake bugs.  The house next to my parents decorated with these giant fake spiders for Halloween and she was standing outside of it last night begging me to go touch them.  We went in to feed the dog and she was waiting by the door to go BACK outside to see the spiders.  She wanted to know why the house didn’t have roaches.  I cannot.

She also watches these videos on YouTube where this guy picks up fake bugs and says what they are and then transitions into showing the real bug in its natural habitat.  She loves these videos.  One day she came up to me and says, “mommy, do you like scarabs?” And I honestly thought she was making up words.  WTF is a scarab?  And then she showed me what a scarab was and I almost fainted.  No Charlotte, I most certainly do NOT like scarabs.  (If you are afraid of bugs do NOT look up a scarab).

Last night she was watching one of these videos while I was watching The Voice (great parenting, I know – don’t @ me) and she was holding the phone very close to her chest.  I leaned over to ask what she was doing and she said “the bugs you don’t like are coming! I hide it so you don’t see.  Look at the TV mommy!” and she pushed my face away from the phone.  So even though she is looking at scarabs and dragon flies and God knows what else, she was protecting me from seeing the bugs.  So while I may not love that I have a kid who likes bugs, I must be doing something right if she is empathetic enough to shield me from them.

The Pinch

I have to say, as difficult as it is to be raising a “threenager” I really do think this age is the most fun I’ve ever had with Charlotte.  Sure, she makes me crazy with her wardrobe demands and her affinity for not eating any nutritious food, but she is honestly so funny and loving that I find myself laughing with her every day as opposed to wanting to crawl into the corner and weep.

An example.  The other day I had to take her for blood work for school, and while I was a nervous wreck the entire day waiting for the inevitable, she was actually pretty chill about the whole thing, and has now turned the events of the “pinch” (as she calls it) into a game.  Last night she got out her little Doc McStuffins doctor bag and told me that I would be the patient and she would be the doctor.  She had me lay down and put a blanket over me and took out the toy needle and said “OK I’m just going to give you a little pinch! It’s gonna hurt but you be OK!” and then proceeded to violently jab me with the needle, so my reaction of pain was not feigned.  She looked at me with pure glee in her eyes (I guess hurting me was her payback for me taking her for the blood work) but then she came over and said “it’s okay mommy! I’m not the doctor anymore, I’m Char now, and I kiss it and make it better.”  She did this about 25 times and for some reason I didn’t get sick of it because it was just SO sweet.  I like how she took an experience she had that was less than fun for her and turned it into a game and a way to express her kind side.  She does this with a lot of things, and these moments are when I forget about the tough aspects of this age and really embrace the good ones.

Also, as an aside, today is “red day” at her school and we, of course, did not have one single item of red clothing.  So I was totally that mom rushing around stores at 6:45 last night looking for something red and could only find one polo shirt in her size that she definitely isn’t going to wear and now I really understand why parents hate “theme days” because it’s so easy to forget about it until the last minute.  Because you’ll spend your night time hours looking for stuff for theme day and then your kid will probably just throw a fit and wear the same shirt she’s worn for the past 3 days anyway.  Fun times.

Sunny Days, Keeping The Clouds Away…

…Or not.

We had the wettest, nastiest day at Sesame Place.  We checked the forecast multiple times and it never predicted what we experienced! Cold with a constant downpour.  I have never felt such disappointment for my Char than I did yesterday.  She has been SO excited to go there – watching videos of the park, telling me what rides she wants to go on and what characters she wanted to meet – for WEEKS.  So to get there in the worst weather and have to wear ponchos yet still be soaking wet was just terrible.  We went on three rides and she didn’t really have fun on any of them, mostly because we were soaked and cold.  She kept yelling to stop the ride as she choked on water.  It was terrible.  We did get to meet a few characters, and the progression of her hair getting wetter and wetter throughout is kind of comical.  Eric and I decided we would stay just long enough to get the Sunny Day Guarantee, so we can at least visit the park again, free of charge.  As we were driving home it, of course, wasn’t raining.  And all you heard from the back seat was Char’s little voice saying, “it’s not raining now! we go back to Sesame?”  My heart!!!  I was honestly so upset the entire time and the whole ride home, but kids are never as disappointed as we think they are.  The rest of the afternoon (and it was a loooong afternoon) she kept saying, “tell me the story about Sesame Place in the rain!” and would ask if we could go back and I was so glad to be able to tell her yes.

But this time we’re not going to tell her ahead of time and instead just surprise her.  And hopefully we’ll be able to have the sunny day that she’s been dreaming of.

Rain didn’t stop her fun though!!

It might not have been the day we hoped for, but we had a nice time as a family.  Before we left Eric told Char “today is the day to make family memories!”  And we did!  In vinyl ponchos.

I ended up passing out in bed with her at 8:30 so I guess we had a full day and needed the rest.

Who am I kidding though – I always need the rest.

Baby Shark Forever

There are some kids songs out there that really grate on my nerves.  Kids will listen to the same song over and over and over again, until you think your ears are actually going to bleed.  We have listened to Let It Go so many times that I am certain I could perform it on a moment’s notice.  When I hear the intro to that song, my stomach clenches.  I am sure my fellow parents understand this phenomenon.

But for some reason, the children’s song that is sweeping the nation doesn’t bother me.  I can listen to it as many times as Charlotte does.  The second the beat drops, I start to dance.  I know the moves by heart and I think it is an excellent song, a club banger even.

I am, of course, talking about Baby Shark.  For those of you that haven’t experienced the joy that is Pink Fog’s (the OG, don’t even come at me with the poser versions of this masterpiece) here is the link in all of its sharky glory.

BABY SHARK FOREVER

I don’t know why I love this song so much.  Perhaps because my body involuntarily bops along to the music?  Perhaps because it comes with easy hand moves that anyone can master?  I mean, when the RUN AWAY portion comes on, I RUN THE HELL AWAY.  Char and I run like our lives depend on it.  As I’m writing this, the song is playing in the background.  I have restarted it at least 3 times.  I will never tire of the glory that is Baby Shark.

I am probably in the less popular opinion camp on this one, but I do not care.  Baby Shark will continue to get YouTube views, and that will mainly be because of me.

SAFE AT LASSSSSSSST!

Crafting

I recently read something online talking about how important it is to craft with your kids.  Whether that be playing with play-doh, coloring, painting, or – heaven forbid – glitter, it’s important to spend that time together helping them develop skills and what not.

So I did what any good mother would do and go to Michael’s to buy extra crayons and paint and green glitter glue that Charlotte begged me for, and I instantly regretted it.
I’m sure there are some of you out there who adore crafting with your kids, and good for you! Sincerely, good for you.  But I must be missing that gene, because any time she asks to bust out the paint or the play-doh I die a little inside.  I can’t turn off the part of my brain that focuses on the mess, or the water EVERYWHERE, or the fact that she is trying to finger paint with water colors and is then rubbing her hands all over the damn place.  The play-doh always, ALWAYS gets ground up into the rug no matter how diligent I try to be.  Usually, halfway through painting, Charlotte decides she wants to just take her shopkins or her PJ masks figures and stick them inside the water glass and give them a bath, so now there’s water and paint everywhere.  And the glue is an entirely different ordeal. I have hidden it and she hasn’t asked for it because the last time I took it out it somehow ended up in my hair and on my back.
I just figure this is the way I was made.  I am not someone who likes to craft on my own, so I’m certainly not someone who is going to like crafting with a 3 year old.  I’ll color with her until she tells me that I’m doing it wrong, but that’s about as far as I’m going to go.  Isn’t this what school is for?  So they can play with play-doh and paint and make things that are already dry and ready to come home, no mess included?  She’ll still get all of the benefits of crafting, just not with her mother, who will bond with her in other ways.
And I’ll never take out the green glitter glue, EVER again.

Remember when I said I wasn’t getting emotional as school was approaching for Charlotte?  Well, the joke was most certainly on me.  As soon as the director of her pre-k opened the doors and shouted “welcome to school!” and Charlotte ran in, the tears started.  When we went inside her classroom and I knew it was time to say goodbye I was physically choking back my tears to not upset her.  I did exactly what they told us to do – I hugged her, said I love you and I’ll be back.  Then I ran out of the room while Eric did the same thing, and then SHE ran out of the room looking for me and begging me to stay while her teacher had to drag her back in and I walked down the halls openly sobbing.  The director saw me and said “it’s going to be OK, she’s in great hands!” And yes, I know that of course, but leaving your screaming child in an unfamiliar place was a real gut punch I wasn’t expecting.  For all the times she drives me crazy and I beg to get away from her, in that moment I wanted nothing more than to run into the classroom and hold her and tell her it was going to be fine.

But I didn’t.  And after I cried into a Wendy’s bacon cheeseburger and went back to pick her up, Eric and I saw her in the playground, holding her precious dog Tom and the teacher’s hand, lining up for dismissal.  And when she came out of class she had a big smile on her face and no more tears.  It also helped to know that each and every child in her class cried and they needed extra teachers to help with the transition of 14 sobbing 3 year olds.  So at least she wasn’t the only one, right?

And now I’m grateful that I never have to drop her off again because I’d rather avoid that scene and I think she’ll do better with the babysitter than she’d ever do with me.  But I’m so excited to see where this year takes her. She’s going to be great, I just know it.

Also, I filled out one of those adorable back to school signs with all of the questions she answered.  It’s in the back seat of my car because when I asked her to hold it she told me I was “so rude” and then screamed hysterically.  So just add that to the list of things I waste my money on.

Just A Little Off The Top

Charlotte got a little trim on Friday so she is ready for her big first day of school this week without her bangs going into her eyes.  On Saturday morning while I was getting ready to go to a birthday party, she was sitting quietly in the living room – which is usually suspect for danger – so I went to check what trouble she was getting into.  She had her blue and green chair set up with a stuffed animal on each and was holding her scissors (the kid safety ones, I’m not that stupid) and was pretending to cut their hair.  I stood there and watched for a while since she didn’t realize I was in the room yet, because watching her play by herself is the best.  And not just because I don’t have to be the one playing with her.

“I just take a little off the top.  Oh look how pretty you look! You doing so good!”  She swapped out a stuffed animal for a Barbie doll.  “Okay now sit still and I do just a little bit. There you go!”

It always amazes me how much kids actually process and remember things.  She took her experience at the hair dresser the night before and turned it into a game that kept her occupied and happy long enough for me to do my hair.  Kids are really so impressionable and their imaginations are fantastic.  I really hope she keeps this innocence and imagination for a long, long time.

Back to Schoooool

I just want to say thank you to those of you who took the time to wish me a happy birthday yesterday! It means a lot and put a smile on my face for sure. Charlotte woke me up with her card and asked me why we weren’t having cake yet and then started in about going to Sesame Place because I said we could go after my birthday and that was a real rookie mistake right there.

We’re in the home stretch before school starts now. We have orientation on Thursday where I get to stay with her so I’ll be able to watch her call everyone disgusting and scream that she hates people, so that’s good. I took off work for her actual first day on the 13th and was excited about having 3 hours of time to myself only to find out her first day is only one hour so I might as well just sit in the parking lot and hope she isn’t assaulting anyone.

I’m not getting any of those fuzzy feelings about my baby growing up and starting school. I bought the sign that she probably won’t hold up because Facebook shamed me into it, and we got her a nice Trolls backup which is two times the size of her that she will probably hate by next week and we talk about school every damn day so she gets excited (which isn’t working), but I just don’t feel sad. I want her to go! I’m so prepared to hug her goodbye and leave her there sobbing and screaming for me to be honest. I know she’ll be fine and I think she needs this more than she needs to stay home, that’s for sure. I just want her to make friends and be kind and learn. There’s a great big world out there for her to see! GTFO!!!

I bet next Thursday I’ll be sobbing in the parking lot, right?

Proud Moments

There are moments as a parent when you feel immense pride and joy in your child.  When they smile at you for the first time, when they take their first steps, when they go off to school and start a new chapter of their life.  Perhaps you feel pride when they learn how to tie their own shoes or can wipe their own behind.  These last few weeks, in the hellscape that has become this New York summer, I have never been prouder of my Charlotte.  Every heat advisory we have have, and I think we’ve had them every week at this point, the second we walk outside we have the same conversation.

“WHY IS IT SO SUNNY? I AM TOO HOT. THIS IS TOO HOT. MOMMY WE NEED TO GO INSIDE. I CAN’T STAY OUT HERE. I CAN’T! OH GOD IT IS SO HOT!!!!”

There is no doubt this particular trait my daughter possesses comes directly from me.   My husband loves the heat.  He is one of those people who adores the summer.  I do not come from a place of heat enjoyment.  Do I like swimming and relaxing when it is 85 degrees with no humidity? Of course I do.  But we NEVER GET THOSE DAYS.  We get 95+ with a real feel of 106 degrees!  We get extreme mosquito activity because it is a swamp outside!  We get HADES TEMPERATURES.

But my girl, she hates the heat.  She hates the humidity.  She does not ask me to go play outside when the sidewalk feels like the surface of the sun.  She is my daughter, through and through.

I have never been more proud.