Tuesday, May 24, 2011


As newborns, both of my daughters would take a pacifier now and then, but once the first couple of weeks of their lives had passed and they actually became aware of what was going on they didn't really care for them. After I had determined that Charlotte was not going to be a pacifier girl I lamented the fact that it was now 100% on me and my boobs to satisfy her constant need to suck, but I also breathed a sigh of relief that I would never have to break one of my children of a pacifier habit. I boiled all my pacifiers and handed them off to my friend Carolyn whose baby daughter, it seemed, WAS a pacifier girl. It turned out though that she had discriminating taste and only liked soothie pacifiers, so Carolyn recently returned the rest. I tossed the bag into my box of outgrown sippy cups and baby food making paraphanalia and forgot about it.

Emily and Charlotte would periodically dig the bag of pacifiers out of the box, suck on them, giggle, scatter them everywhere and then move on. I'd dutifully wash them all, put them back in the bag, and put the bag back in the box. I should perhaps move the box, but the rest of my house is so jam-packed with outgrown baby stuff waiting to be passed down to my sisters or sisters-in-law when they start procreating (please get on that girls! Emily and Charlotte need cousins!) that there's not really anywhere else to put it that is safe from stinkbugs (i.e. not my garage or attic or back porch).

About a week ago, Charlotte dug out some pacifiers as usual, only this time she remained interested in them. She chose one and kept it in her mouth as she went about her business. When bedtime rolled around, she still had her pacifier with her, and for the past week she has had one in her mouth almost constantly.

I believe I have mentioned before that Charlotte has been a pretty tough baby. Tougher than Emily anyway, and those are the only two babies I have experience raising. Charlotte also seems to have inherited my sister's "JPL" (just plain loud) gene, and is capable of keeping up an almost constant series of earsplitting shouts and moans if you are not doing exactly what she wants you to do, ESPECIALLY in the car.

But since bonding with her pacifier? She will happily play in her crib for a bit at night, then fall asleep without a peep instead of screaming for 10 minutes after I leave the room like she does EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. She calmly sat on my mom's lap at Will's graduation for about 45 minutes, which is completely unprecedented. She is SO.MUCH.QUIETER. She is more patient on shopping trips. She'll occupy herself while I do some dishes. The list goes on and on.

It has really been like a miracle. It's like all the toughest parts of Charlotte's personality are gone, and I'm left to enjoy the (many) wonderful parts!

Of course, being a mom, my first reactions have been guilt and worry. Will she become dependant on the pacifier to the point where I WILL have to break her of it at some point? Will it mess up her teeth or delay further speech development? Am I being a pushover letting her have it all the time just to make my life easier? I do miss being able to see her mouth. And how weird is it for a 16 month old who never cared about pacifiers before to all of a sudden become obsessed with them?

Then again, she has ALWAYS loved to suck...maybe she is just naturally anxious and having something to suck on is relieving those feelings of anxiety? And if I have found a fairly commonly used and harmless way to make my day to day life go SO much more smoothly, well, don't I deserve a break from all the pawing and screaming and whining and biting?

For now I'm allowing it. There may come a time when it seems to be an issue, but for now I've decided to enjoy myself and enjoy my daughter. We'll let tomorrow take care of itself.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Zhyoonicorn party

On Saturday we had Emily's 4th birthday party. It was technically a unicorn-themed party, but she still has some funny little speech hangups and pronounces it as "zhyoonicorn". I will be sad when that little quirk goes away.

We had gorgeous weather, much to my relief.
Emily wanted to have her party at the park where she had it last year, and it's always very nerve-wracking at that instant that you finally commit and send out invitations for something that might very well get rained out at the last minute. Maybe that's why I didn't actually send the invitations until about a week before the party. Oops. Except that I kind of do that every year.

As usual, I freaked out about how many people I was going to invite. Practically all of our family lives in the area, all the way up to Emily's Great Great Grandmother, which is wonderful, but it makes parties difficult because as soon as I've invited all the family members I already have a guest list of 50 people. Preschool added a new element to consider, because with each preschool friend I invited there was a possibility of 2 parents and 1-2 siblings coming along as well, which adds up REALLY fast. Emily has not been invited to any of her preschool friends' birthday parties, and I got all indignant about it and was perhaps even heard to declare that I was going to invite EVERYONE in Emily's class to make them feel bad for not inviting her (why yes I am very mature) but I've been forced to eat some humble pie because when it came time to actually sit down and plan everything out I realized wow. That's a lot of kids. So I slowly, painfully paired our guest list down, and this time several core family members couldn't make it anyway, so we ended up with a very manageable party and all of my worry and lamenting that drove everyone around me nuts was for naught*

The cake got finished in time, and people actually ate it even though it was whole wheat. It probably helped that the frosting was not a bit healthy. I have yet to figure out how to healthify frosting and still end up with something that you can decorate with.
My wonderful family, as usual, helped me set up and clean up, sometimes at great personal risk
Even though I couldn't find the candles for her cake, it was a nice party.

After the party, we went to get Emily her present from Mommy and Daddy, which was her first bike. I was all for heading to Toys R Us and buying a $30 bike to present to her during present-opening time, but Will was adamant that we needed to take her with us to a REAL bike store and make an event out of it. It was a nice idea, but what really happened was that after the party was over we laid around until about 5:45 recovering, then realized that the bike place closes at 6 on Saturdays and had to throw everyone into the car and make a mad dash to the store. They only had one bike that was her size anyway, and predictably both girls were wailing within minutes of entering the store, so Will ran out the door with a screaming flailing girl under each arm while I remained behind to pay for her bike...which we brought home and Emily refused to ride, instead prefering her scooter she got for her 3rd birthday.

She'll learn to ride her bike someday, I'm sure. But for now no one has enough energy to teach her how.

*As an aside, I will mention that I have realized and hope to address the fact that it is about 90% disorganization that makes me freak out about everything so much (the rest is most likely neuroses). I want to be the mom who makes awesome cupcakes for her daughter to take to school on her birthday and throws well-planned birthday parties and does thoughtful things for people, and while I am just barely managing to do these things, it it stressful for me. Since I am so disorganized I feel like I am always living my life with everything on the verge of disaster, so doing anything above and beyond the norm is extremely stressful because while I am focusing on a project, everything around me DOES then end up falling into disaster. It would also help if I weren't totally lazy. I think some scheduling and menu planning would be extremely helpful, so I am going to try to implement both of those things as a start. I have to start somewhere, because "Do everything better" and "Be organized" aren't very helpful things to put on my to-do list. I would love to entertain more and look forward to events and engagements with excitement instead of the feeling of "OH MY GOD I still have so much work to do for this!!!!" I've always been awesome at procrastination, so this will take a lot of work, but I really do want to try to improve in this area.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

4 Years




A very happy 4th birthday to my beautiful little evil genius! We love you more than words can say.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A post about Easter, only about 3 weeks late

On Easter morning, we awoke to the sound of Emily running around downstairs. This is seriously THE FIRST day in this child's life that she hasn't purposely awakened us before going downstairs. Maybe the Easter Bunny should come every night!

By the time I got downstairs, she had already found quite a few eggs, discovered the chocolate covered raisins (grain-sweetened, of course) inside, and cracked into a hard-boiled egg.
Look Mommy! The Easter Bunny came!

This all happened with flagrant disregard for our The Way We Do Things On Holidays In This Family SOP, which is usually:

1. Make sure everyone is awake, wearing pants, and looking semi-presentable
2. Take pictures on the stairs
3. Come downstairs slowly while being simultaneously videotaped and photographed (so help me God there WILL be videotapes and photographs of these Very Special Memories)
4. Discover Easter baskets on table, react with suitable delight which is of course captured for posterity in ongoing videotape and photographs
5. Spend time joyously digging through Easter basket
6. THEN start hunting eggs

I re-hid most of the eggs, and then allowed the girls to hunt them.
I'm not sure I understand what is happening here

Then we dug through our baskets, which for the girls contained plastic snakes because the Easter Bunny decided we already have way too many stuffed rabbits and chicks that never get played with and the girls both love to play with snake toys when we hang out at Borders. Will has decided that Easter Snakes should be a permanent part of the Easter basket haul each year.
The girls on the couch
Hey, get your hands off my Easter snake! Easter joy abounds and an uneasy Easter Snake truce is declared

For comparison, a picture of the girls from last year, featuring a way-too-small hat on poor Charlotte because I had quite a bit on my plate at the time had to jam her into a newborn-sized outfit since I forgot to buy her an Easter dress:

Enjoying the hottest Easter morning I can ever remember
Hunting eggs at Gemmy and Dibby's house
Also hunting eggs at my Mom's church
After 3 egg hunts, I think Charlotte has the hang of it