Monday, November 11, 2013

Charlotte has been exploring "fashion" lately. For her, fashion = accessories. So, the more jewelry or hair clips or scarves she's wearing, the more "fashion" she has. This afternoon she came into the living room wearing an extra cardigan, one of my old headbands, and two necklaces.

"Oh, nice fashion," I said. "I like those necklaces."

"This isn't fashion," Charlotte answered seriously. "I'm Princess Leia. These are data necklaces. They have plans for the Death Star on them and I'm sneaking them out."

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Next Taylor Swift?

Charlotte is currently writing a country song. I think. It involves a lot of "oh oh oh" and horses and cowboys. Though Matt is the one who started her and he spelled it as "oooow" which is annoying to me. Charlotte also made up her own lined paper, which is sort of hilarious. I also think I need to teach her about rough drafts and final copies, since she is getting stressed out about putting words in the wrong place.

note that the caption "title" is the largest print on the whole paper. 

Transcript of rough draft (spacing my own, spelling preserved):

"Riding Through The Town" 
Oooooow the horses run in the desert
Ooow ooow ooow
The cowboys ride on the horses
Ooow ooow ooow 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 and 8 horses
Ooow Ooow Ooow
The towns people saw the horses
and they

So far, so brilliant, right?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Last Day of Pre-K

Today was Charlotte's last day of pre-K. It also happened to be "costume day." The kids had earned a reward, and one they had decided on was a dress-up day. Their teacher, Mrs. R, was sort of reluctant to put that pressure on everyone the last day, but one of the kids reminded the rest of the students, so she was kinda stuck.

That's okay, it gave Charlotte an excuse to dress up as a pirate again.

This year was a GREAT year for Charlotte. I think I have blogged about it before, but I was really conflicted on whether to push her into Kindergarten this year or have her do a second year of Pre-K. She needed the second year to kind of reinforce all the school rules, and to get extra PT/OT services without it disrupting her academic schedule too much, but I was worried she'd be bored. As I had predicted, she went into the school year reading a few words, and finished pre-K a proficient reader. Well, proficient for a 5 1/2 year old. But Charlotte really needed the extra time to bake. And the extra time with the low student to teacher ratio you get in pre-K. She had three amazing teachers this year who all helped her grow immensely.

Charlotte is feeling a little nervous about Kindergarten, but I know she'll nail it. How can she not? She's Superman/Captain Jack Sparrow/Super Hello Kitty/Charlotte Emily. She's my favorite superhero.

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's always weird to get back to blogging after an absence. I have read a lot of "how to blog" and "how to be a good blogger" posts/articles out there on the big internet, and a lot of them say to not apologize for an absence or acknowledge one. And I get that - unless you have a strict posting schedule it's a little silly. It gets annoying to read post after post of apology. Especially if it's someone without a big audience (hi) - then it just seems bizarre. But at the same time, this time I kind of feel I need to do some explaining.

There's been some upheaval in our lives - nothing that directly has to do with me, my husband or daughter, but two of the families that we are closest to are going through some really hard times. And being supportive friends and family members have impacted our lives. I think it's a really positive thing for Charlotte to witness. To see that when things are sad and scary we stick together, and help the people we love with whatever we can do. It's hard, it's sad, and sometimes leaves us worn out and worn thin, but it's the right thing to do and it does help.

I have lots to talk about, and lots of things to blog about, and plans (and schemes) and all those things, but I'll save those for another post.

(copied from my other blog)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rambling (defensive) thoughts on what it means when my daughter calls me fat.

I don't remember the exact context my daughter first called me "fat," but I remember how I felt. A little hurt, irritated with myself for feeling hurt, and then overwhelmed with a feeling of don't-fuck-this-up about having to talk about the word "fat" with my daughter. There's a lot of don't-fuck-this-up moments in childhood, I'm learning. Usually in response to big questions, or off-hand statements, like, "What do you mean 'God'?" "Why is that woman's skin black?" "Boys aren't supposed to wear dresses." For me, talking about body shapes is right below gender, skin color, sexuality, and class. Kids are bullied for their size/shape a lot, and it's important not to let things slide in those conversations because it's awkward.

I am not proud of how I acquitted myself that first time Charlotte called me fat. I think I stammered out something about how yes, I am fat, but it hurts other people's feelings to be called fat, so maybe don't say that to people. She was bewildered, as most 3 year olds are, that stating a fact about someone's appearance could be considered offensive. And you know, she was right. She was stating a fact about me, not making a judgement. Because at 3, she spent a lot of time processing opposites - up/down, in/out, fat/thin, big/small. And adjectives - dark, light, black, white, tall, short, big, small, thin, fat. It was totally reasonable for her to look at me and say, "Hey, you're fat." I am. I am fat. I am bigger than the average person. I am bigger than 99% of the people she knows. That makes me fat. I'm also shorter than the average person, wear glasses, and have my nose pierced. I wouldn't have been insulted if she said, "Hey, you have short hair." But I was when she said I was fat. Because, when my daughter said I was fat, she meant that I was larger than average. What I heard was: lazy, dirty, weak-willed, unattractive, slovenly, lesser.

I am fat. I'm not particularly happy about it, but I don't particularly want my daughter to hear me talk about being unhappy with it. I do my best to teach her healthy eating habits, and model them myself. Contrary to popular belief, even though I am fat, I do know how to eat properly, and I actually do eat (mostly) properly. The reasons I am fat are not relevant, and the things I am doing to not be fat are not relevant, but I feel like I have to say that. This is what happens when you are fat. People look at you and think they know how you eat, and they don't. People look at me and think they know how my daughter eats, and they don't. Example: every time I go to the doctor he tells me I should lose weight. I know I should, and I do not resent him saying that. But he then tries to give me advice on how to do that - "Cut out packaged food," he says. "Don't eat convenience food or drink soda, and maybe try to cut back on salt." I patiently reply that I don't drink soda except occasionally  and then it is diet. I don't take sugar or cream in my coffee. I don't eat fast food, except maybe once a quarter on the road. I have been on a low-sodium diet since before I was pregnant with Charlotte, and I eat more servings of fruits and veggies a day than my average sized husband. I don't really drink juice, and I know what the Dirty Dozen are and belong to a CSA. This is not the first thing people think when they look at me, and I try to be patient with that.

When my daughter said a few months ago that I am fat like Cee Lo, I try to take it as the compliment she means it to be. She loves Cee Lo Green. He is, for some reason, a big hero of hers. I am also a big hero of hers. For a lot of people out there, that is scary. Fat people being heroes is scary because it might encourage people to get fat. And that is just irresponsible (sarcasm). I don't think that my daughter is going to get fat to look like me - I think that she's going to wear sequins to look like Cee Lo. She wants me to teach her to sew and knit so she can make things to wear. She looks at Cee Lo and sees a fabulous dresser who is a great singer. She looks at me and sees someone who makes things - clothes, food, craft projects, plans. That's what she wants to emulate. Sequins, big sunglasses, and lots of scarves. Singing and dancing in the kitchen to Cee Lo's Christmas Album.

I want my daughter to be happy and confident in her body. I want her to be strong and unconcerned. I would prefer she isn't fat - because I know how much it sucks to have people look at you and instantly disapprove. That is the truth of it. I know people who think fat people are automatically unhealthy, and I want her to avoid having to explain herself and justify herself just for walking around taking up more space than the average person. I ran a lot last summer - I used to skate with a roller derby league - I was a gym rat for a year and a half. I walked to and from work because I didn't have a drivers license or a car. I walk my daughter to and from school, to and from the library, to and from the playground. There are a ton of parents out there who do less - but when they look at me, they can feel relieved, because clearly they are doing better than at least one other person out there.

I understand that this is controversial. Clearly, using someone's race or gender or sexuality against them is wrong. But people can control their size, can't they? So isn't it different? I would say that it is not. Because not everybody can control their size. Whether they can or not has nothing to do with who they are as a person. To look at a fat person and assume that you know why they are fat and can therefore pass judgement on them is incorrect - and also wrong. Especially when that person is a child. If we teach our children that it is okay to look down on fat adults, and to judge them, that's setting a dangerous precedent. Just think before you speak - if you call someone fat, is there a reason that you are doing so? Are you using it as anything other than a neutral adjective for their size? Is there a reason to bring up their size at all?

I am afraid of giving my daughter an eating disorder. I know that sounds ridiculous - there's this concept that fat people can't have eating disorders. But I'm pretty sure that obsessively categorizing and keeping track of what I'm eating, it's points value or calorie value or carb value is not really all that great of a thing to model for Charlotte. Obsessing about what I can eat next and when I can eat next. I remember my mother talking all the time about how she'd feel better if she could just lose 10 pounds, if she could go down a jean size. She stopped saying the word "fat" after I clearly began to fit the word. I grew up in a skim milk world, with low-fat EVERYTHING. I'm still fat. And my mom is the same average size she's always been, but still would feel better about herself if she could lose a little weight.

There's a lot of talk out there about not saddling our daughters with our own hang-ups. Especially hang ups about our imperfections. So many of those pieces are talking about average sized women. It's hard for me to relate to that. Because the rest of the world is reflecting dissatisfaction with my body type back to my daughter. Fat people are the comic relief. Fat people are not attractive. Fat people aren't healthy. So I do the best I can. I continue to model healthy eating. I keep active when I can. I wear my bathing suit without a cover up and go swimming with Charlotte at the pool and lake. I never say, "Ugh, this makes me look huge and disgusting!" I never say that something is "fat" as negative descriptor, I keep it neutral. I explain that some people's feelings get hurt when we talk about how they look, because how people look is a personal thing. It isn't really good manners to talk about someone's size, or skin color, or body. It's totally acceptable to tell someone that they look good today! Or to compliment someone on an accomplishment. Most importantly, I remind myself to listen to what my daughter is saying. Not what my baggage is saying.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Copied from Facebook

March 14, 2013

"I love your hair. I like the way it looks when it shimmers in the sun. I like the're quite a looker." 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Notes From Today

Charlotte told me today that when she grows up, she wants to be a "rescue person." She wants to live near the ocean and have a swimming dog with a life belt to rescue people from shipwrecks. I think this was inspired by The Bravest Woman in America by Marissa Moss. It's the story of a girl named Ida Lewis, whose father was a lighthouse keeper. Ida loves the sea and the lighthouse, and learns from her dad all about lighthouse upkeep, and learns to row and becomes a strong rower. Her father becomes sickly, and she takes over the care of the lighthouse. She rescues some people, and becomes a hero. Charlotte is super-inspired by this, and is telling me that when she's 8, we need to move near the sea so she can work on her rescue person training.

Last Friday, for Family Movie Night, we watched Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Charlotte has been interested in Star Wars for a while now - some kids in her class are into it and she's seen some of the Lego sets in the Lego aisle at Target. Matt and I figured that she's old enough to handle most of it, and, worst-case-scenario, we'd turn it off mid-movie. Charlotte ended up really liking the movie, and has been talking about it ever since. And asking questions about the whys and wherefores and what happens next? Today when I picked her up from school, I could hear her calling to one of her friends, "Princess Leia, Princess Leia! We need to get back to the Mirrenium Falcon!" Her teacher was cracking up.

"Guess who saw Star Wars on Friday?" I said, rhetorically.

"She's been so funny! She told me she saw 'the ORIGINAL Star Wars.'"

That's my girl.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Five year old in winter, in pictures.

It's not that stuff isn't happening. It's just that I'm sorta lazy? Busy? Hermit-ing?


a million more pictures under the cut. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Very tired this morning.

We never had a full on family bed - our blankets and pillows and mattress and headboard weren't really safe for that, and Matt is a very sound sleeper. I never felt that it would be safe in our situation. So Charlotte, when she was an infant, slept in a co-sleeper sidecar'd alongside the bed. It worked out very well, until she got big and it wasn't safe anymore, and she and I kept each other up with every little shift and sigh. Charlotte was sleeping in her crib in her room when she was 7 months old. And basically, she never looked back.

Charlotte has always been a tosser and turner, and I'm a light sleeper and Matt's a heavy sleeper. On a few occasions when traveling, we've had Charlotte sleep in bed with one or both of us, and it has never worked out well. It wasn't until this last year or so that Charlotte would even fall asleep in bed with us at all if she woke up in the middle the night and came into our room. She would wake up and I would be half asleep and just let her come into bed to see if she would sleep. Usually at that point she would talk and laugh and play and then I would lead her back into her room. Now and again she'll fall asleep in bed with us, and sometimes Matt will sleep through it but I never do. Just doze.

That's what happened last night. Charlotte came into bed, I have no idea what time, and was very scared from a nightmare she had. Charlotte doesn't usually want to talk about her nightmares (I don't either) but she did want to tell me about this one. Apparently we were on an elevator and got separated. Or I got onto an elevator without her, or I was taken from her and put on an elevator. I could relate - I had a dream last week where we were separated from each other by something foolish I did, and I was a wreck that whole night and the next morning. I still feel sad and guilty when I think about that dream. I was happy to let Charlotte in to snuggle last night.

Charlotte is a very affectionate child. She's a hugger. A smoocher. A quick cuddler. But it's been a long time since she would actually demand full on body contact snuggle. That's one of the many reasons I didn't mind when she crawled into bed with me early this morning. Charlotte held onto my arm and used it as a pillow. She sighed with relief when I put my arms around her. And then, feeling safe, she fell right back to sleep.

I'm exhausted. Matt is too. I had him put Charlotte back in her bed once it was clear that she was fast asleep and we were not. Charlotte staggered out to the couch this morning and said, "I'm still tired."  We all are. But I'm also grateful for that prolonged snuggle this morning. I can feel a count down ticking. Five years old seem so big sometimes.