Sunday, December 27, 2009
"How 'bout 'Teen Rabbit'?...okay, Puffin. Time to rest. Not time to play games. No games. This is serious. Time to rest. No games, Puffin. Serious. That you beak. It kinda like a beak. Serious. No games. Wrap you up. You cold, Puffin."
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Me: No, honey, I can't make a pretend burp.
Charlotte: No, you make a BURP, Mom!
Me: Sorry, babe. I can't pretend burp.
Charlotte: I do it.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Can I just tell you that pretty much nothing went as planned this week? I'm not gonna get into a day-by-day play-by-play, though it's tempting. I will say this, though...there were BACK TO BACK trips to the doctor's office on Thursday and Friday to have fuzz pulled out of Charlotte's nose. I don't want to talk about how we scoured her bed and got rid of everything we thought she could get stuffing from, or how the first doctor may not have looked hard enough, or how she screams, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" as she's held down by a nurse while the doctor comes at her with the long tiny tweezers.
So why am I even posting?
I'd like to whine without reliving...it's just been one of those weeks where you know you are doing everything right and everything you can, and it's still not enough. The kind of week where you feel like you were grumpy all week and allowed too much television and not enough "I love you"s. (Though I did get two of the most rare, the spontaneous "I love you, Mom"s on Monday. That was nice.) The highs and lows came so fast that I feel unbalanced and uncomfortable and out of control. Which sucks. I'm supposed to be the calm one, the laid back one, the one who takes things as they come and makes flexible plans, and instead I feel like one more reschedule could make me shatter. The thought of continuing exactly like this for the next nine months is terrifying. The thought of only doing this for nine more months is heartbreaking. I don't want to think about pre-school and potty training and sleeping in a big girl bed, but I know that I may have to, as soon as next month, next week, or maybe even tomorrow. (Charlotte asked to pee on the potty twice this week, and did both times! Then she peed once on the floor, and today wouldn't sit at all, but that's okay.) Christmas is so exciting and overwhelming at the same time. The present I had my heart set on getting for Charlotte is sold out until January. Charlotte is so excited by the "Chris'm" lights in her room and the santa hat Matt got her that she cried hysterically at bed time. I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, and Charlotte answered, "A Chris'm tree, and go a Yankee Candle." Luckily, I think she'll get both those wishes this weekend.
So that was my week. High points included the two aforementioned spontaneous "I love you"s from my daughter, babysitting (by myself!) the excellent baby G-man (and the excellent puppy-nephew M...the kitty nieces informed me that they did not need or want babysitting, so there), watching Charlotte get very into Christmas songs/lights/decorations, playing Pretend Yankee Candle (auntie's idea) with Charlotte, and making chicken & cheese enchiladas for the first time. Low points were too numerous and horrible to mention.
Tomorrow, though, to mix up some literary heroines, is another day...with no mistakes in it. And boy, am I looking forward to that.
Monday, November 30, 2009
(on noticing that my nephew and I both have my grandfather's dark brown eyes.)
me: That's Virgil's toy. [catnip mouse]
C: Gonna mell it.
me: What does it smell like?
C: umm...mell like Virgil cat....treat toy.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Charlotte: Buh, buh, um, baby....Baby Gavin spitting! Baby Gavin do spitting!
Awesome. Charlotte's first baby cousin related excuse.
Had a great Thanksgiving, went to my Mom's house in upstate NY with Matt & Charlotte, Nicole, her husband & baby, my brother & his wife, my brother's mother-in-law and father-in-law, and my brother's brother-in-law and the brother-in-law's girlfriend. Whew. My mom and stepfather were there too, of course.
Sleeping arrangements were a little complicated - it worked out well the first night, but Charlotte had a major freak out at 1:30 AM and didn't fall down asleep again until almost 4, sleeping between me and Matt on the fold-out couch. Charlotte has never been the kind of kid to come into bed with us and sleep - not since she could sit up/stand up on her own. She's too much of a mover and a shaker. Unfortunately, our only option on Thursday night/Friday morning was to have her in bed with us, and it took her over two hours to fall back asleep...and it wasn't just awake, it was screaming/chatting awake. I was laying there, making sure that she didn't climb off the bed and trash Nana's house, and wishing I could write down some of the stuff that she was talking about. I don't remember it all now, she was using her Elmo and "climb climb climb-a up!" all over Matt, and saying strings of random words.
Despite all the insanity, it was a good time. Mom and I talked a little about how for our family, emotionally, Thanksgiving is almost as good as Christmas when we're all together. It sounds hokey, but it's true. Me and my brother & sister & Mom are really, really close, and we love hanging out. Our spouses are very good at understanding our insanity when we're all together.
Next up...Christmas shopping! Here's what we really want to get Charlotte. Little People A to Z Learning Zoo - pretty much ever since I saw it in a catalog we thought it would be fun for Charlotte. She loves animals, and this has letters, too. Got my fingers crossed that it will still be available when we try and order it. I still have a lot of shopping to do for the step-niece B, who will be 10 month olds at Christmas, and of course, my sister's son who will be almost 5 months at Christmas. I have a few ideas for the kids, I'm pretty psyched. This year is going to be a huge, exciting Christmas...my brother's house renovations will be done soon, and we'll be visiting in January to do Christmas with my mom and sibs.
I have a few more posts coming up...some stuff is percolating in the back of my head, more philosophical mom stuff rather than day by day, blow-by-blow stuff. We shall see.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Which doesn't mean we have it easy here in the Casa De Sick. Charlotte is a little wild, not napping and not eating. She told me this morning that she is "vewwy hungwee", but she won't actually eat anything except juice and veggie sushi. Yesterday she completely rejected two whole meals...she ate a hot dog bun and a slice of cheese when she was out with my sister, mom, aunt, grandmother, (and of course, baby G), but at home all she ate was juice and veggie sushi.
Yesterday was really fun, though, otherwise. My mom is having a hard time living in a different state than her two grandchildren, and often comes out for a one-day visit (3+ hour drive each way!!) to see us. Since she works in the higher ed system, she had Veteran's Day off, so she coordinated a visit with my sister, her sister, and her mom. They made their almost-annual pilgrimage to the Yankee Candle flagship store, not three miles from my apartment. Nana (Charlotte's name for my mom) couldn't bear the thought of being so close and not seeing us, so she asked if she could stop by (briefly, because I was working). Matt jokingly suggested that she take Charlotte with her, since Charlotte loves Yankee Candle. Mom was thrilled, and agreed to pick her up.
Charlotte really does love Yankee Candle - part of it is the actual candles, she really likes smelling them - the flagship store is this Christmas-year-round kind of place that sells candles, ornaments, seasonal decorations. It has several theme rooms, including a woodsy-Christmas tree forest that has fake snow come down every 6 minutes, and a toy train track suspended from the ceiling in several sections of the store. Charlotte loves to go and smell candles, see trees, see snow, and see the train. Eating a snack in the cafe and occasionally getting a toy are just bonuses that she hasn't caught on to yet.
Mom and Nicole took Charlotte over with the rest of the visiting family, and were gone for almost 3 hours...3 hours which I didn't have to do anything but just work. Since I can't just work, no matter what, I also ripped several CDs to my iTunes, ate a snack, and finished casting on for a new sweater...but I did also get tons of work done. It was very bizarre to be done with work at 9:15 last night, instead of working up until midnight and still having some left over. I'm not sure what to do with this information now that I have it; there is still no extra $ to get Charlotte into a day care program so that I could have time to work during the day, but it is good to know that I can be so productive when I have time to myself. I kind of thought that I had lost the knack.
Matt wants to banish Charlotte's nap, since she sleeps so well at night when she doesn't sleep during the day....but I really need this time to regroup and prepare for the afternoon steady decline into madness. I think our schedule needs to be tweaked somehow, but I'm not yet sure how to do it. And I need to remember that a week when Charlotte isn't feeling well isn't the time to implement any major changes, anyway.
Alright, off to work while Charlotte is having some quiet time.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
This is long and probably boring, but I need to get it out of my system. For some reason, this has just dominated my brain, and I need to spit it all out.
I: Part the First, Wherein We Question the Necessity and/or Safety of the H1N1 Vaccine
So when I first heard about the H1N1 vaccine I thought that probably Charlotte didn't need it. She doesn't go to day care, she's a healthy child, etc, etc. But after doing some thinking and reading some articles, Matt and I decided that we did want to do it. Matt is a very hard-scientist thought process kind of guy, and a strong believer in herd immunity. And I started thinking about my baby nephew, and my sister the elementary school teacher, and how we spend a lot of time at the library and how we just got a membership to the Holyoke Children's Museum, and how those 19 otherwise healthy kids died from H1N1, and so Matt and I did decide to get the H1N1 vax for Char. Easier said than fucking done, thank you very much.
There was further debate on whether to get the inactivated virus injection, or the live virus nasal mist. Originally I leaned towards the mist, mostly for ease and because I was a little concerned about the heavy metal content of the inactive injection. I know that there was mercury in the majority of those, but I couldn't find any info how much. Researching this whole issue is a nightmare. No agency in charge wants to actually say, "Yeah, you know what, mercury is a poison but we use it in the injection." You get a lot of articles that say, "Mercury was proven not to cause autism, just get the shot!" Which missed the point of my concerns entirely. Matt and I agreed, after both our research, to get Charlotte the nasal mist version of the vaccine as soon as it was available. Which it wasn't and wasn't and wasn't. Our pediatrician's office has a pretty comprehensive website with a section I thought of as "Vax Watch '09." As soon as the vaccine was available, they'd post times for the clinic.
II: Fist-fights and The Lottery: The First Attempt
Finally, the first full week of November, the H1N1 vaccine (hereafter referred to as Hamthrax Vax, or just "the vax") became available at Charlotte's peds practice. There were to be H1N1 clinics from noon to 1 every day, with evening clinics from 5:30 to 7:00 Tuesday to Saturday. Charlotte and I showed up at 5:40 on Tuesday night. There was a police office in the parking lot, directing traffic. I later found out that there had been a "scuffle" at the noon clinic that day, so the police officer could have been there as a squelching presence, as well. After waiting in line for maybe 15 minutes, a woman came out to say that there were numbers being distributed and that the wait at the end of the line was going to be at least 90 minutes, considering that they averaged a minute a vaccine. I was totally prepared to wait, except for the fact that a) I didn't have a snack for Charlotte and dinner was coming and b) I had forgotten to put the stroller in the car, so Charlotte would have to stand with me in a dark parking lot for two hours. After a teleconference with Matt, we decided that we would try our luck the next day, coming armed with stroller, snacks, and activities.
III: Friday Night Lights: Preparation is for Naught, and We Are Turned Away Again
After I posted my vax fail on Facebook, a number of people suggested that we try calling and scheduling an appointment to get the vax for Charlotte. I was pretty sure our practice wasn't doing that, that they were just doing the clinics, but we decided it was worth a try, and Matt called the office. They told him that they were only doing the hamthrax vax via clinic, and that they were dividing their remaining supply into three days, and that the first third of the alphabet could come on Wednesday, the second third on Thursday, and the last third on Friday. Our last name starting with V, we planned on the Friday clinic.
At this point, our preference had changed from the live vax via the mist to the inactive vax injection. Charlotte had gotten a live vax for the seasonal flu, and she had gotten a mild case of the flu from it. Fever, vomiting, lethargy, the whole nine yards. Also, I heard a radio story on NPR discussing the vaccination, and that the amount of mercury in the injection is about the same amount you would get from one serving of tuna. Considering that I have not eaten tuna since the last time it was forced on me (probably, oh, 25 years or so) and Charlotte has never had it, I am pretty sure that she has no mercury built up in her body, and the amount from this one injection is totally an acceptable risk, in the opinions of myself and her father. Especially considering our concerns that since she got sick from the last live vax, she might get this illness too.
Charlotte and I were in line. I had her hat & mittens, and she was in her stroller playing with her Hello Kitty. A nurse/office manager/whatever came out with a sign that the clinic was closed and an announcement: "All healthy children from 2 to 5 years of age, we're asking you to come to a clinic on Sunday from noon til four. Unless you already have a number, or are asthmatic or under 2, you will most likely not get a vaccine today." I started to get really, really pissed at this point.
"Excuse me," I said. "I was told specifically to come today so that my two year old daughter to get a vaccine."
"Yes, well," she said. "We're asking that otherwise health children over two come back on Sunday."
"Is that for the live virus mist?" I asked. "Because I really want her to get the inactive vaccine. The injection."
(Pay attention, because this is important.)
"Oh yes," she said. "I understand. We only give the live virus to children over three."
"Just to be sure," I said. "She'll still be able to get the injection on Sunday?" This is the most forceful I get with medical authority. Even office staff. I am just uncomfortable arguing with medical people.
"Right," she sighed. "If she's two, she can get the injection." She then raised her voice again and repeated her announcement to the parking lot. "If you are here for a healthy child between the ages of 2 and 5, please come back on Sunday. Only under two and asthmatics tonight." Charlotte and I left, with a little tears on both our parts. Charlotte had visions of fishtanks and chalkboard tables dancing in her head (ah, the waiting room) and I was exhausted from trying to deal with this scheduling nightmare.
IV: Lying Liars and the Lies they Tell; Plus, a Mean Nurse
Sunday rolls around, and Matt and I are both taking Charlotte to the pediatrician's office, with stroller, snack, toys, and two parents. This way one person can stay in line and one person can chase toddler. We arrived at the office at 11:20, before the clinic started, but not quite first in line. Charlotte was kid #9, family #8. I chatted with other parents while Matt helped Char on a little climbing/play structure in the courtyard. A woman two people behind me was back for her third time, too. The woman behind me said that her husband brought her son Friday night, but had to leave.
As the line inched forward, we got to go in the office and check in. The two people in front of me I both got info sheets on the flu mist. I saw a folder labled "Flu Mist Facts." I got a sinking feeling in my stomach that the only available option was going to be the live flu mist vax. When I got to the receptionist, I asked her if there was any injection. She said no, today was the mist only. I told her that on Friday I had been told that she would be able to get the injection today. She gave me a blank look, and just said, "No."
"Uh. You see, the last time she got a live vaccine, she got sick from it."
"Hmm. That's very rare," said the receptionist.
"Right, that's why I'm concerned. And that's why I asked on Friday and was told that I could still get her the injection today."
"Well, we don't have any and we're not doing it today. We are supposed to get 400 more doses sometime this week. And if you watch the website, we'll post information about another clinic."
I called over Matt and did a quick conference, thoroughly aware of the hundred people at my back every second I took. We decided to just go for it, since this has already been three days of rigmarole. We took our number, 8, and then went in to the waiting room so that Charlotte could watch the fish, color on the table, and torture other small children by totally crowding their personal space. I chatted with another Mom whose family had been on the same schedule as us - their last name starts with S, so he had also shown up on Friday and was told to come back on Saturday. He found out that what happened was that they had so few people show on Wednesday and Thursday that they opened Friday for everyone. Her husband had been ready to dump the practice after that, and so was Matt when he heard that story. I have had two years of great experiences there, but I was pretty damn disappointed.
Our number was called, and we were ushered into exam room #13 with a woman who was a nurse? PA? med tech? I have no idea, but let's call her a nurse just for the sake of this story. Let's call her Nurse Ratched. That's an exaggeration, but she was really unpleasant. She took our information, asked if we had any questions. I repeated the fact that we were concerned about Charlotte contracting a mild case of the H1N1, and asked again what we should be looking for. She sighed and said, "Fever, vomiting, lethargy. Okay?" Matt and I exchanged looks, but then we got down to business.
Matt put Charlotte on his lap, and held down her arms. Once Nurse Ratched started coming towards Charlotte and reaching for her nose, Charlotte started squirming. One hand got free. "I need you to hold her! There are a lot of people out there, and I need this to go as quickly as possible!" Nurse Ratched barked.
We kind of just stared. I'm still feeling my heart thump. I have never been spoken to like that by a medical person before - EVER. Charlotte started crying. "It's not going to hurt!" Nurse Ratched crabbed, advancing.
I stepped up. "Look," I said calmly. "She was just here two weeks ago to have something pulled out of her nose with really big tweezers. She's very sensitive about her nose right now, and she's clearly scared." To Nurse Ratched's credit, her face softened, and she did take a step back.
"Oh, well," she huffed. "It's not gonna hurt, okay?" she said softly. Matt pinned Charlotte down more, and I helped hold her head. Poor Charlotte sobbed afterwards, just totally sad about the whole thing. After that, Nurse Ratched made a hasty retreat.
Matt and I walked out of the room, and I looked at his face. "I know you're pissed," I said. "We'll write a letter, let's just go, okay?"
Epilogue: What to do, what to do?
So. Mission accomplished, but with only a qualified success. Yes, Charlotte did get the Hamthrax Vax, but not the way we wanted, and with a really disappointing experience at the office. Matt is ready to break up with them, but I'm not. I really wanted to come back to Nurse Ratched and say, "Hey, I know you want to get through this quickly, but this is my fucking third time here within a week to get this damn shot, and you may be pissed at how long we're taking, but I'm pissed at how fucked up this is. And you didn't make these decicions, so I didn't bring it up, but if you're gonna bitch at me, I'm gonna bitch at you." But I didn't. And it seethed in both Matt and me all day. I think my original instinct is the best - I am going to write to the office. I'm debating about whether or not to include the nurse incident and the nurse's name, or just address the whole "Come back another day. No, come back another day. Yes, we'll still have the injection availabe. No, only the mist." Matt was pissed because he didn't remember the nurse's name, but I do. I'm just so bummed. It's like when I found out my stepsister's otherwise awesome husband doesn't believe in gay marriage, and in fact doesn't really like gay people.
Okay, maybe not as bad as that. But close.
(pictures are from this morning, before all the drama!)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
At this point, I almost have to wonder if she has some weird form of pica, but I know that's not the case. Charlotte just investigates things with her mouth, like a horse, or puppy or...her mama. I did the same things when I was a kid. HOWEVER. I did not stick fluff up my nose, requiring a trip to the doctor's office. Dr. Chabot was very nice and efficient, and very carefully explained to Charlotte that noses are for smelling with and breathing with. NOTHING is to be stuck up there. I was just so happy that Charlotte's practice has weekend hours for urgent care, so that we called ahead and got an appointment within an hour, and paid a regular co-pay, rather than sitting in the emergency room for hours with the pig flu and huge co-copays and all that.
Charlotte was not suitably concerned by all this. That was on Saturday; by Tuesday she was telling me that she had fluff in her nose and that she needed to go to "dockta office." The fact that they have a fishtank, chalkboard and stickers apparently wins out over any trauma that pulling a small, bloody & mucusy piece of grossness out with mile-long tweezers may have caused. So now I am making a cover for the footboard of the bed that is just fabric. It never needed to be padded, it's not like Charlotte is a head-banger, just that's the only one we could find. There is a minor issue; two, really. One, I can't sew a straight seam and two, my sewing machine is in my sister's basement, along with any fabric I might have. I got creative - bought some fat quarters at Michael's and some iron-on fabric tape. We'll see how this works out.
In happier news, Charlotte is really enjoying the books she got for her birthday. She got three Mo Willems books, Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus, Knuffle Bunny, and Are You Ready To Play Outside? Her "auntie" got her several books, including Blueberry Girl and Crazy Hair, both poems by Neil Gaiman that were illustrated into childrens' books. Auntie Jen thought that Charlotte might be "too young for Neil," but wanted her to have them anyway. Charlotte surprised us all, and loves the two poem books. I guess she's about the age that really enjoys rhyming and predicting the future. It's some sort of developmental stage, I know that, I just can't remember if it's called anything in particular.
We read a zillion books a day in this house - new books, old books, library books, board books, everything. Matt reads 2 to 5 stories at bed time, I read a few before naptime, and a bunch more in between. So it's not surprising that she has books memorized, and that she repeats our tones and inflections. The stuff that sticks with her, though, can be pretty strange.
Charlotte will bring out a book and then read it out loud. The other day it was The Giving Tree. She opened it and said, "The Giving Tree, by Neil Gaiman." I laughed out loud at that. That is seriously funny, because I started imagining a version of The Giving Tree written by Neil Gaiman. You can bet that the tree eats the boy at the end, I'm just saying. Or at least tells him off in a rhyme.
Other favorites have been, "Goodnight, Moon, by Mo Willems," "The Mitten, by Neil Gaiman" and today's giggling moment, "The Bread Book, by Neil Gaiman." The Bread Book is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day which Charlotte loves for the pictures. Or, maybe not. "Ooh, recipes," she said.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
"Up and down, Mama, up and down!"
"Do jumping! Jump, Mama!"
I showed her a few more things, some arm and neck stretches, hip twists, and up-to-the-sky stretches. This so delighted her that I actually had to roll up the yoga mat and put it away so that we could stop "stretchin'" and move on with our lives. My sister Nicole and my nephew G came over for a visit, and I told her about it. Nicole thought it sounded so funny that she wanted a demonstration. "Good luck with that," I said. Auntie Nicole spent the next five minutes at the whims of the tiny dictator.
"Onnie Nicole, uppa sky! Down, uppa sky!"
"Stretchin' you arms, Onnie, stretchin' you arms!"
Nicole then showed Charlotte a couple modified yoga moves (one is that you hold lay on your stomach and hold yourself up on your arms so that you look like a seal) that she used to do with her third-grade class, and Charlotte ate them up. Charlotte also started doing "fallin' down," which means lay on your back and breathe deeply. This is the point at which I realize that Charlotte must have seen a yoga class on TV somewhere and has taken it upon herself to teach us that we must all have quiet meditation at the end of our workout.
This is seriously one of the randomest funniest things that Charlotte has started doing in a list of random funny things - but there's this kind of creepy undercurrent of how just seeing something a couple times on TV has made this deep impression on her. I'm really struggling with making sure that she watches less TV vs. getting more work done vs. Charlotte begging to watch "mo dye-saur twain." It's probably the singlemost guilty conscience thing I have going on.
Well, that and all the goldfish crackers.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Then she ran off to cook something in her kitchen while singing the "I'm a T. Rex" song.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Well, I could have started this post with a burst of motherly guilt about not having handmade Charlotte's Halloween costume, and how it's not even that creative or ordered from a small Etsy shop, but that's all moot now. Because Charlotte LOVES her Old Navy 2T-3T tiger costumer. I mean, LOVES it. She said, "I have a costume! I like wear-a costume!"
I tried it on her today in order to buy us some post-nap, pre-grocery store trip time. And to make sure that I wouldn't have to exchange it, etc. I put it on her and told her it was a tiger. "It a costume," she corrected. Charlotte was impressed at the claws on her hands. "Terrible claws," she told me.
"Terrible claws?" I asked. "Terrible claws like Where the Wild Things Are? Or terrible claws like deinonychus*?"
"Like a dinosaur," Charlotte insisted. "I tyrannosaurus. T. Rex!" Then she roared and stomped around the living room and my heart grew three sizes too big. It's hard to be a Grinch about a cranky toddler, messy house, and more work to do when your kid is having such a great time. I'm not gonna post pictures yet, I'll save them for actual Halloween, but I did take some and show them to Charlotte. "That Charlotte in a costume! Tiger!"
* The other day on Dinosaur Train they talked about deinonychus, and how it means "terrible claw". And then yesterday I was reading her some dinosaur book and I pointed it out again, "That's deinonychus. Remember from Dinosaur Train? It means "terrible claw"." Charlotte said, "Gnashed it terrible teeth," which is a line from Where the Wild Things Are, and follows the line, "showed their terrible claws."
Friday, October 9, 2009
Phew, the last three weeks have been crazy, and the last 10 days Charlotte has been sick. Not serious, but not fun for anyone either. A couple days after her birthday, Charlotte had her 2 year-old immunizations and the FluMist flu "shot." She had a fever, malaise, and one incident of vomiting. Poor kid. After she threw up and while Matt was cleaning her room and I was cleaning her, Charlotte said, "I spitting. I spitting, Mama."
"It's okay," I said. "You weren't spitting" - spitting is Not Allowed - "you threw up. It's okay, you were sick and you threw up."
"I spitting," she repeated. Clearly, she didn't really get what was going on. Luckily, we have a friend with a carpet cleaner, so it wasn't the worst thing in the world, but it was fairly traumatic all around.
Charlotte recovered from that in time to catch a totally DIFFERENT cold that I had, that involved a sore throat, stuffy head, and losing my voice. Now Charlotte is bossing me around in a nasal voice, and coughing when she should be napping. How is it that we have TWO erectile dysfunction pills clogging up my TV air waves, but no one has yet developed a safe and effective toddler decongestant? Priorities, people.
Lots of crazy developmental stuff right now. Charlotte's current obsessions include the new PBS show Dinosaur Train. There is nothing sly or jokey about this show - it is quite literally about a train for dinosaurs. It is like toddler crack. You know how Elmo is crack for one year olds? This is like that - but even more unexpected. After a couple episodes, Charlotte says to me, "That a brachiosaurus," and "Triceratops eat plants!" She found this little train that was attached to a play table, and the only train she has, and she brought it to me saying, "That Dinosaur Train. Dinosaur Train!" Charlotte got some dinosaurs for her birthday, and she was showing them to her baby doll, Judah (named by Charlotte!!). "That stegosaurus. Here triceratops. Triceratops eat plants. Plants inna garden!"
Negotiation has kicked in...she's been doing this for a while. "How 'bout Play-Doh, Mumma? How 'bout more book, Daddy?"
I'd love to post more, and I'm working to get back in the habit, but I gotta get some work done before midnight.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
* Stick things up her nose (mostly paper and stuffed animal fluff)
* Gnaw on the slats of her crib, after we covered the rails, footboard and headboard
* Climb out of her playpen
* Climb onto our bed
* Say "uh-uh"
* Say "dank you" for thank you
* Get her milk cup out of the fridge
* Play pretend on her own
The list of cons - the "uh-uh" has got to be the most annoying thing she knows how to say. I know that some people hate it when their kid says "No!" to everything, but I just have a hard time dealing with the whiny, "uh-uh!" when asked to do something. "Charlotte, can you come hear please so Mama can put in your ponies?" "Uh-uh!" The sticking-things-up-her-nose phase came earlier than I was prepared for, but after she sneezed out a huge wad of paper, Charlotte may be re-thinking that hobby. But the most terrible issues of all are the ones surrounding the bed and bedtime.
I will be the first to admit that I'm a chewer. I chew my nails. I chew gum. I chew on pen caps and toothpicks and water bottle caps. I still remember how it felt to chew on the top bunk bed railing, and the coffee table in the living room and erasers in art class. My sister once joked about me, "Oh yeah, Barbie shoes are like gum!" So I wasn't surprised when Charlotte started chewing on the crib rails. We covered them up with a hard plastic cover that was too easily removed, and then the silicone teething rail cover that attached with adhesive. (Which, by the way, is cheaper from onestepahead.com than from Babies R' Us, even taking into account the cost of shipping!) That held the chewing instinct at bay for a while, but then Charlotte started gnawing on the footboard of her crib! We searched the internet for something to cover that up, and found some fleece covers that tie on - which are now EVERYWHERE but we couldn't find to save our lives three months ago. We thought we were save, until one day when we found Charlotte laying on her side, chewing on the vertical slats of the crib.
Chewing. On. The. Vertical. Slats. Of. The. Crib.
I'm just stunned and hysterical at this point. We put the bumpers back on, and she just pushes them down and goes to town. This is the point where we have the brilliant idea to only put her down for nap in her play pen, since naptime is the worst chewing time. This works out great for about three weeks, until one day the play pen is placed just a little too close to another piece of furniture, and Charlotte climbed out during naptime and trashed her room.
Right now we're in this state of denial where we know that sooner or later we'll just have to bite the bullet and completely toddlerproof her room and convert her crib to a toddler bed. I'm just not ready for Charlotte to be in a big girl bed - she's not even two! And her room is babyproofed, but that's not the same thing as toddlerproofed. To me, babyproofed means that a 1 year old under adult supervision is safe. Toddlerproofed means that you can leave your kid in that room overnight and she won't find some furniture to climb, or pull on top of her, or cord to pull on, or toy to destroy and choke on. I may be a little more paranoid than most, but I also have stories of my own childhood to go from. Apparently "I climba out!" is genetic.
At the same time, Charlotte is just growing so fast mentally that it almost makes up for all the craziness. Her language has just taken off, and she can tell longer and longer stories and sentences that make sense. Sort of. Last week she dumped all her food off her tray, and as I gaped in annoyance, she said, "Mama, Maddie will clean it up." Now, granted, Maddie is a toothless 8 year old cat who never cleans ANYTHING up, but it was pretty funny that Charlotte decided that would be her excuse for making a mess. And as a sentence, it was clear as day and made perfect sense. Kinda blew my mind, really.
Pretend play is really taken off. She's been "doing voices" for a really long time - partially in imitation of us when we read stories to her, and partially just out of her really insane love of Elmo. It's not that she has a lot of Elmo toys or books, she just likes the ritual of Elmo's World on Sesame Street, and likes to go through the routine herself. Frequently on the changing table or in her high chair, Charlotte will say, "Hi, Elmo!" in her high-pitched Elmo voice. That's our cue to talk about the things they talk about in the Elmo's World segment. We talk about Dorothy (his pet goldfish, for anyone w/o kids, or lucky enough to be a no-TV family) and whatever topic of the day. Once I suggested "Plants" as a topic of the day, and made up all these things that Elmo would say about plants, and now that's the fallback subject. Anyway, the point is that this is frequently done in an Elmo voice, and it is hilarious. Charlotte's bestest stuffed friend, a very pathetic Tigger, doesn't have a voice, but he does have some bad habits. He likes to chew on beds, touch things he's not supposed to, and touch poopy diapers. These are all things that Charlotte knows she's not supposed to do, and blamed on Tigger. I once came in to get her up from nap and found her chewing on her crib rail.
Mama: Charlotte! What are you doing?
Charlotte: No chew. No chewing!
Mama: That's right, no chewing. No chewing on beds.
Charlotte: (holding Tigger up to freshly splinted crib rail) Tigga, no chew! No chewing!
Today, while watching some episode of one of the four TV shows I let her watch, there was a bee flying around. Charlotte then looked at me and said, "I a bee!" and ran around the room with her arms out, saying, "bzz, buzz!" and I was floored. It was the first time that Charlotte has ever spontaneously decided to be something (other than Elmo) all on her own, and then acted it out appropriately!
I swear, my kid is a genius.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
The other day we went to visit Matt's mom and visit with his sister and the other nephew, the big kid. He'll be nine in October, and he is one of the most fascinating people in the world, both to me and Charlotte. Charlotte follows him around, and says, "Hi, K. Hi, K. Hi, K..." over and over until I say to him, "Just say, 'Hi, Charlotte.' She'll be happy, and she'll leave you alone." One of my favorite moments from the visit happened early on, when he was playing a synthesizer program on the Nintendo DS to make music, and Charlotte danced to it. A little moment, but really, that's about as interactive as you can expect from an almost nine year-old and almost two year-old.
Charlotte has really been pushing her "almost two" status. She's kinda destructive and hyper and chatty. It's hilarious, but we are also almost constantly trying to keep her away from anything she can chew up. She has destroyed huge sections of her crib by gnawing it to splinters. This week Charlotte started putting things up her nose...pieces of paper and little pieces of fluff she's pulled off her blankie and Tigger. It's kind of crazy-making. But at the same time, she's telling all these stories and really expanding her language by leaps and bound. I'm amazed at how well she remembers song lyrics, and movie/tv show dialogue, even from stuff that I haven't emphasized. She's great with theme songs. Charlotte's current favorite movie is Mary Poppins, and all the songs that go with it. She's way into Sesame Street as well, and randomly quotes it. Charlotte chewed a piece of veggie burger (pronounced "chicky bugga") into a triangle and told me that "this my favorite favorite triangle," which is something that Telly on Sesame Street said one time. It totally blew my mind that not only did she recognize a shape in her food, that she could pick a quote out of her memory that applied. Crazy. And on Tuesday, I was changing her diaper while she was waving a drumstick (sticks are still the toy of choice around here) over another toy. "pee-a buttah sammich!" she announced a few times. I realized that she was saying "a la peanut butter sandwiches!" like Mumford the Magician from Sesame Street.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
(my sister and I - she's at 39 weeks and 2 days in this picture, and you can't even tell!)
This summer has been ridiculously busy. I've been meaning to post about some of our excursions, and Charlotte's blossoming vocabulary, and the trials and tribulations of working from home with a busy toddler, but I'm starting to accept that I might never get to all of it.
I'll end with a quick picture of Charlotte from last weekend - we went to the Glasgowlands Highland Games here at Look Park, Florence MA. Matt's parents met us there, and we had a blast. Matt wore his kilt - inspiring my favorite quote of the day from Charlotte: "Daddy have tutu!"
(Charlotte in the stroller at the games)
Monday, June 8, 2009
I will post some things later about stuff we've done with Charlotte since this spring. She likes field trips, and we like taking her. She's been to her first show, got to meet cows, went to a children's museum, and rode a carousel. She's also talking a blue streak, and starting to use 3 word sentences. Charlotte says new things every day.
To illustrate, here are some words she said today that she used all day, and I don't think I've heard her say before: pencil (always referred to it as a pen, like most other writing instruments), shovel (in a book, usually she calls shovels "scoop"), and cherries (previously lumped in with all other red foods as "apple").
Also today were three new sentences: "Morning, Mama!", "I do it!" and, bizarrely, "I draw V!" She did, in fact, draw a "V", but it was more like a < . Oh well, I'm proud.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
This picture was from my sister's backyard on Mother's Day. Charlotte knew that you get water from the spigot, but she's not really sure how to make it work.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
This week has been totally non-glorious in only the way it can be when you have a cat who pees on the floor who suddenly gets diarrhea and a toddler who has to assert her will about EVERYTHING and a complete lack of ambition to even do so much as fight for the right to shower, much less party. It's one of those weeks where working from home doesn't feel as awesome as it did in the beginning, and I start to worry that I'm damaging my kid since she's obviously bored out of her skull. What sorts of things can I do with an 18 month old that don't involve extensive supervision? Does it make me a bad parent to admit that I keep her in the room with me and keep a vague eye on her rather than trying to amuse her every second of the afternoon? And I'm fighting this sinking feeling about letting her watch Sesame Street every day, but she LOVES it, and I get work done, and Matt loves that she loves it.
Urgh. The questions don't get any easier.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Charlotte has entered the terrible toddler zone. I wouldn't call it the terrible twos, because it really ranges from 1 1/2 to 3 or so...but that's where Charlotte is now. She doesn't want to eat anything, she doesn't want to nap, and when she doesn't get what she wants, she can't really be re-directed. There is no more swapping of mom's phone for Charlotte's toy phone. No more switcheroo with Elmo for the TV remote. And she's asking for TV all the time. She's figured out that Elmo and Pooh live in the TV and we can make it happen whenever she wants. Which isn't great. And she's learned how to whine.
But on the other hand, this is one of the most fun ages ever! Charlotte can request her books, her toys, her food - she has an opinion, and she can tell you about it. She does voices for her toys! (Is that advanced, or am I just a totally typical parent who thinks her kid is a genius?) When she's playing with Elmo, she does Elmo's voice, and answers him in Cookie Monster's voice. She pretend-talks on the phone constantly, and has really funny conversations: "Hi! Okay. Umm....da-da, come! Kitty, hi. Uh-huh. Okay. Elmo. Okie dokie!" Charlotte tries so hard to read and count. When she's "counting" she points at things and says, "two, three, two, three. Nine." She likes to look at books and point out letters, and sometimes she even gets them right. Odds are good if the letters are C, E, O and P. Charlotte loves her family, and had a great time being baby-sat by Grammy and Grampy last weekend. No tears, and she talked about them all night after they went home.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Charlotte has also, sort of, started potty training. She's been interested in it for a while, just a little bit. I thought she might be getting ready soon because every so often she grabs her diaper and says "Pee!" Who knows if she's actually peeing when she does that, or if she just suddenly notices that her diaper is full of pee, but the fact is that she's kinda gradually becoming aware of it, and that's pretty exciting. We picked up Once Upon a Potty a few weeks ago. At first Matt was reluctant to buy another book, but I pointed out that I didn't want to get it out of the library. After all, I said, where do people read that book? In the bathroom. Do we really want a book that's been on countless potties before us? It's kind of a long book for Charlotte, but she likes it just the same. Gradually after that I would sit her on the big potty for a second at bath time, just before putting her in the bath. I didn't make a big deal out of it, or even do it every time, but then she started to ask me to put her on the toilet if we were in there. She'd touch the lid and look at me and go, "pee?"
It all kind of came to a head this weekend when I made a serious error in judgment this weekend out at a restaurant and we were having a horrible diaper change and she begged to sit on the toilet. There is a page in Once Upon A Potty that goes, "Then she went Wee-Wee and Poo-Poo, but not exactly IN the potty." We had that moment. In public. Due to my bad judgment, Charlotte went back to the table with one less onesie layer and minus shoes and socks. Sunday I bought her a potty, and she sat on it a few times yesterday. Amazingly, before bed, she peed in the potty! It was awesome. One of those moments when we hooted and hollered and clapped and told Charlotte how proud we were of her, and she was like, "Ain't no thang, Mama. Can you read me another story, please?" Matt and I had a moment where he said, "Are you going to take a picture?"
"I don't know - honestly, I just was thinking about it and dismissed it as too weird."
"Well," said Matt. "How about you take it, but don't post it on the internet. We'll save it to mail to her college roommate or something." So on my hard drive are two blurry pictures of a potty. You can't even see the pee, but we know it's there.
In lieu of those potty pictures, I'm going to post some pictures from yesterday that didn't involve bodily fluids. Okay, well, not pee anyway. I put Charlotte in her crib to set up her playyard and do a few other quick chores. When I came back to get her, she had totally slimed her red play silk, and gotten dye all over her hands, face, and sheet. It was very weird - I wouldn't have thought this silk had any dye left to give up! I washed it a few times, and she's slimed it a bunch of times, and it hadn't bled like this in a long time. Such is life.
Charlotte is very proud of her dye job.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
So far this year is...underwhelming (with the exception of the new president!). We got a new mattress, which is just plain awesome - I wake up in the mornings without a backache, and I am totally sleeping better at night. I can't believe that we've been putting this off for two years as a "luxury expense." It's been worth it.
Aside from that, we're just going through what the whole country is going through. This economy blows - we both still have jobs, but have the feeling that they could disappear at any minute. No yearly bonuses, no overtime, and a wage freeze. I try not to think about it too hard - it's so hard to find a legitimate job where I can work from home. Even if I wanted to put Charlotte in day care (which I don't) I can't imagine where the extra money would come from - and the extra car. Right now we have one functional car, which isn't a big deal since I work from home and Matt works literally three miles away. If there is a problem in the middle of the day, Matt can be home with the car - and car seat - in five minutes. If our company laid us both off, we'd have to find new jobs, which would probably be for two different companies, in two different locations, with two different schedules, all of which would require us to negotiate that balancing act that most families with two working parents are required to negotiate. And I would hate it. So for now, we're keeping our fingers crossed and our resumes up-to-date.
In family news, my stepsister Julie (who is my favorite stepsister, I'm not gonna lie) is scheduled for a C-section on February 9th with a baby girl. I'm very excited for her - this baby was a total surprise, but she's embraced pregnancy and upcoming motherhood with a maturity and panache that I don't think a lot of people expected. I'm so proud of her I could bust - and I'm knitting like a crazy woman in hopes that the baby blanked arrives before my niece does.
My sister, Nicole, is also pregnant. This is even bigger news - Nicole is my best friend, and my closest family member, and I'm so thrilled for her. The timing, in my honest opinion, is not great - but she wanted to do it this way, and Josh went along with her, so we're all riding it out with them. She's due July 28th, and I just cannot wait. Nicole and Josh don't want to find out the gender of the baby, and I think that's awesome. I really wanted Charlotte's gender to be a surprise, but Matt couldn't take it, so we found out. I'm going back and forth on what I think Nicole's baby is going to be. Charlotte has voted girl, boy, cat, so really, it's anybody's guess.
As for my baby girl, her new hot trick is singing. Charlotte has always loved music, but since she has been picking up on this talking thing, the ability to speak the words of her favorite songs has been a fun new hobby. She's been requesting "row, row" for some time now, but now she sings along with Old MacDonald, too. She can make her requests known, too - she's very into "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond right now. It's one of her current top three. In fact, here are Charlotte's top three favorite songs, as of today.
3. "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel
I love this song, so I've been playing it a lot. To Charlotte, the best parts are the lines where she can sing along - she sings "boom" to the line my heart going boom-boom-boom. Her favorite part is the part on each chorus when Peter Gabriel sings "I've come to take you home" or "I'm going home" - she loves to sing "home" in this sweet, wistful tone that I know she got from me.
2. "The Hoppity Song"
Her other favorite song right now is the cover of The Hoppity song, originally sung by John Ondrasik...I think that Uncle Rock does the cover that Charlotte loves, but I'm not sure. I couldn't find what I was looking for on YouTube, but this video is hilarious, and it's the right song, so even if it isn't the performer, it's appropriate. There's a part of the version Charlotte likes where he sings, "Everybody sing hi(gh)" and the chorus sings back a high-pitched "hi!" and then he said "Everybody sing low" and the chorus sings back a low-pitched "low!" Charlotte loves to say "high!" and "low!" and have us sing back. We're an easy bunch to amuse around here.
1. "Sweet Caroline" - Neil Diamond
For those of you who aren't from Massachusetts, let me explain that "Sweet Caroline" is played at Fenway Park every game between the 7th and 8th innings. During the 7th inning stretch they play "God Bless America" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (as do many parks, I believe) but a few years ago the music director started playing "Sweet Caroline" because they really liked it. A sort of call and response has grown during the chorus - after the line "Sweet Caroline" the whole park goes, "bum-bum-bum", and then after "Good times never seemed so good" the park says, "so good! so good! so good!" Charlotte has learned these, and requests the song by singing, "Ba, ba, ba." To add to this, my mother-in-law got me a Wally the Green Monster doll that plays the chorus to "Sweet Caroline." (That sentence is such a Boston Red Sox fan in-joke that I can barely unravel it - sorry if you don't care.) Charlotte loves Wally, of course, and will request him by singing "ba, ba, ba" and pointing. She can be appeased by either squeezing Wally's hand so he plays, or by playing "Sweet Caroline" on the stereo. We do a lot of both.
Here is a video - it's kind of dark, but Charlotte is holding Wally, and sings the response *almost* in the right place.
Matt says that today Charlotte made her first two-word sentence that didn't consist of the word "hi" or "bye" as the first half. Apparently when he microwaved his soup for lunch she said, "Ha noo-noos," which means "hot noodles," if you don't speak toddler.
I think that's just about all the news that's fit to print - and I have some baby stuff to knit, so that's it for now.
Friday, January 23, 2009
AND they were local, based out of Northampton, MA. What a bummer, dude.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Charlotte and I watched CNN's coverage of the inauguration on mute while listening to NPR. Her favorite part was Aretha Franklin singing - Charlotte was utterly transfixed. My favorite part was Obama's speech, and the closing prayer actually made me cry.
Will post more later, re: babies, baby showers, employment, and my new mattress
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Christmas was awesome, and I may post more later. Charlotte had a doctor's appointment and got a jillion vaccinations. Matt and I have been half-jokingly checking her every day for signs of autism and chicken pox. God, it's exhausting to be a nervous parent.
Have a happy and healthy new year, to anyone who might actually read this. :)