Monday, December 21, 2015

Charlotte Eve: THREE years old!

School picture, cropped to avoid showing her underwear!
Happy 3rd birthday to my joy, my sweetness, my only baby girl!  She is THREE!  I spent some time reminiscing with her about the day she was born, and showed her some pictures of her right after her arrival- I am not sure she has really put it together that it's her.  But it feels like just yesterday, and it is still hard to believe that I will never have another baby.

Today we went to the pediatrician for her 3 year well visit.  She is measuring:
33.6 lbs (75th percentile)
37.5" (about 50th percentile)
The doctor seemed to think that her height was off, since her last height was taken lying down and this height was taken standing.  I'm inclined to agree, since things have definitely gotten shorter on her in the past few months, and she looks thinner to me than she did before.  The doctor said she is perfect, healthy, and thriving.
Birthday girl wore her birthday suit to birthday breakfast
Cupcake at school

My Charlotte continues to be precocious, funny, silly, and sweet.  She has started to call me "Mama" sometimes, which I just love.  She knows her alphabet and recognizes many of the letters. She can count to about 13 and can sometimes count accurately (sometimes things get counted twice, sometimes not at all...).  She knows almost every song she has heard and sings them to me.  The other day we were in the car and Drake's "Hotline Bling" came on the radio and it started, "you used to call me on my..." and she piped up from the back seat: "Cell phone!"
Paw Patrol shirt, Hello Kitty necklace, fairy wings, wand.
She takes dance once a week, and always looks forward to it.  She doesn't dance or sing on command (what 3 year old does), but she is adorable when you catch her doing it.  She loves her kitty cats, and continues to "adopt" more and more cats to sleep with at night.  Charlotte keeps Black-and-white Kitty and White Kitty with her all the time, and now "Charlotte Kitty" (an orange cat she got for Hanukkah) has to come in bed at night, too.  She sucks her thumb when she is in bed, or tired, or feeling shy.  Her love of cats extends to books- she loves the book "Naughty Kitty," and when I had to return it to the library, I bought Charlotte her own copy.  Then she loved the book "Kitten for a Day," which I also had to return to the library.  She loves to watch TV- too much.  She gets obsessed with shoes and will watch them endlessly, and beg me to watch TV "just for a little bit!" We use the TV to bribe, but there are often tantrums when the TV goes off.

Oh, the tantrums.  Charlotte could be worse; she is definitely able to be redirected, or at times amenable if she's given a choice of one thing or another.  But she is definitely strong-willed and opinionated.  I do admire that in her- I don't want a pushover for a daughter.  She is lucky, because she is cute, and people often give her what she wants without a fight.
A rainbow heart cake, at Charlotte's request
My baby who once ate everything I handed her is now picky- she falls somewhere between Benjamin and Asher in pickiness.  She really dislikes most meat, or says she does- she avoids it on her plate, but if we convince her to take a bite she then says, "Yummy!"  She eats eggs, pancakes, French toast, waffles, oatmeal, and cold cereal for breakfast.  She loves fruits and will often ask for fruit for snack or in her lunch.  She loves yogurt, all kinds of cheeses, crackers and pretzels, and hummus.  For lunch she generally prefers a collection of snack foods to a real meal.  And at dinner- pasta, pasta, pasta!  She also likes mashed potatoes, many vegetables, fish sticks, hot dogs, dumplings, and meatballs.  She is easily distracted and will hop up from the table if one of her brothers gets up first, even if she isn't done eating.  And like Asher, she has a great sweet tooth, and loves cookies.

Charlotte is agile, and fast. She runs with great coordination- and loves to race. Every time we want her to do something she seems reluctant to do (go to the potty when she hasn't gone in a while), we tell her we will race her and we will win! Then she gets going. But if we get too far ahead and make it impossible for her to "win," she will throw herself down on the floor and scream, which is the opposite of what we were hoping to achieve.

She has recently started to fight about nap and protest her nap time.  She still really needs her nap, and is a total crab without it, so I'm not eager to have her stop, but fighting her on it is pretty painful.  She sleeps well at nighttime, thank goodness, but I need that break from kids in the afternoon!  Asher still naps predictably, and he is almost 6!

We had a birthday party for her yesterday, which was not the success I had hoped, but I don't want to go into the painful details here. Charlotte said she had fun, which is what I do hope for in the end.  Here are some pictures:

I love my girl, I have loved having another year of fun and happiness with her.  She is sweet and delicious, and I cannot get enough of her. I am excited for what this coming year will hold, and so proud of her.  She is a joy to be around, a charismatic and lovable girl, to whom everyone is drawn.  She is three, and I still cannot believe how lucky I am to have her in my life.  She is the perfect last child, the final piece to the puzzle that makes our family.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

December so far

I don't like that I haven't had time to do an in-depth post, to talk about all the wonderful things that happen here- but we have been BUSY.  Here are some photos of our past 2 weeks:

The first weekend in December, I took all 3 kids, by myself, into the city to see the light shows.  We started at Macy's. They have an old-fashioned light show and some organ music.  It was short and sweet. I had thought we would go see the "Dickens Christmas Village" but the line was 45 minutes long, through the lingerie department, with the 3 kids making trouble... so we left.  Whew!

Waiting for the light show. The boys were picking jewelry and watches for themselves
 Next stop, the Comcast Center. They had a very cool show with lots of fun holiday songs, and snow machines dropping snow on us- possibly the only snow we will see this winter!
Charlotte and kitty enjoying the show
For the first time in my adult life, I felt nervous about being in a crowded public place in the city.  I am not afraid of crowds, but all the recent news of mass shooting and the terror attacks in Paris nagged at the back of my head.  I made sure we were standing in a place I could easily get us out. I hate that I was thinking that way; I hate that I would have to think that way.

We went from there to the Christmas Village, which has stalls set up selling holiday goods, plus food, plus hot chocolate.  The kids got soft pretzels, and we picked out an ornament for Memere for Christmas.
Serious young men 
Charlotte is being held up by some random woman who offered to help me out
 We wanted to stay out of the house longer, since Eric was working with friends on our basement.  So even though the kids were getting tired (the boys walked about 3 miles with me!), we went out to lunch at Panera.  The weather was so warm that we were able to eat outside!  Everything was going great:
Until they just fell apart. Benjamin was hanging over the chair saying he didn't feel well, his tummy hurt, and he wanted to go home and take a nap.  I totally panicked, thinking he might have a tummy bug and start vomiting, so we hit the road fast and I made Eric rush home from his lunch break to help get the kids in bed. Benjamin went right to sleep, slept about 3 hours, and woke up totally fine.  I guess I just wore him out with all that walking.

That night, we had a dinner with my grad school friends and their offspring. 7 families: 14 adults, 14 kids (and 2 more on the way). It is total madness!  My friend took this picture:
 Our friends have an exercise room in their basement and I guess the kids were working off their dinner!  Benjamin is in the foreground wearing a safety vest and a yellow helmet.  This picture cracks me up!

Sunday, daddy was still working, so the kids and I went shopping for the "angel" we adopted from an angel tree at a YMCA.  We went first to Kohl's, where Asher struggled to understand that we could shop and not buy a single thing for him.  Our angel was a 5 year old girl, and her wishlist was: clothes, sneakers, snow boots, a winter coat.  The kids just couldn't understand that there would be someone out there who needed those things, and whose mommy and daddy couldn't just buy them.  In the end, they came around to it, and got excited picking out things for her.

We went to Costco to buy her a winter coat, but first had to stop for pizza and hot dogs at 10:30 am.

 Then the stress got to them.  Asher couldn't stand to be in the cart or walk, so he went through Costco like this:
 Here are some of the items we picked out for our angel: Coat, hat & gloves, pajamas, slippers, a reindeer necklace (Asher's special pick), underwear, socks, sneakers, several outfits.
 We also received a donated pair of brand new snow boats, and picked out some small toys at 5 Below.  Asher chose a rainbow unicorn beanie baby, and Benjamin chose Frozen-themed nail polish.  I ordered her a gum ball coin bank from Amazon and gum ball refills.  I really hope that she loves everything.

Sunday night began Hanukkah, and we hosted my parents and aunt Jane and uncle Ed here for dinner and candle lighting.  The kids were SO excited.

Monday, Charlotte and I had a whirlwind day but managed to squeeze in a visit to the Please Touch Museum.  Here she is curled up in a baby doll's crib! She insisted she fit.
 Monday night, we went to a friend's house for dinner, candles, and a gift exchange.  We got a little extra excitement when Charlotte pooped in her underwear and needed a bath and full outfit change.  A year and a half ago, Benjamin did the same thing there! I told my friend there must be something special in her house...

 Wednesday night, Eric and the kids went to another friend's house for Hanukkah and dreidel.  I was at work, but came at the end, completely hungry, grumpy, and anti-social.  I felt much better after I ate, but I was not a very nice person before that.

Thursday night, we had Hanukkah at yet another friend's house!  This was at our next door neighbor's house, and the kids made a gingerbread Hanukkah house, which they decorated, and then ripped apart and devoured.
Hanukkah house decorating
 We lit the candles together and I gave the kids each a package of 20 shopkins. What happiness that gave them!

Friday I ran the bake sale at Charlotte's school. In addition, it was her Hanukkah show.  There has been a lot of attrition in Hanukkah show attendance over the years, since her brothers continually failed to perform.  This year, NO ONE but me came to see Charlotte.  And you know what? She was great!  Smiling, dancing, and knew the words.  Maybe next year the family will turn out.

Charlotte in her Hanukkah hat- she is a pink candle
 We got back Charlotte's school photos, and she is beyond adorable. I could eat that sweet face!  Her sassy pose is not actually a pose, but artful cropping done by the photographer- I heard from numerous reliable sources that she would give a perfect smile and pull her dress up simultaneously.  This clever crop just hides her belly and underwear.
 On Saturday we drove up to Newton, MA for my cousin's daughter's bat mitzvah.  We stay in hotels so infrequently that the kids think it is the greatest adventure on Earth.  We packed our swim suits and played in the hotel pool, we walked across the street to Walgreen's, and then went to the Hanukkah party at my cousin's house.  (If you are counting, there are 8 nights of Hanukkah and we have spent every one of them with family or friends.)  My cousin's wife had thoughtfully bought gifts for all of the kids, and they were thrilled!  There was soda, sparkling cider, and Hanukkah gelt everywhere, so they all had sugar for dinner and were happy as could be.
 Charlotte was upstairs playing with some older girls, and Asher came to tell me that she was getting wet- My cousin's daughter had set her up with a bunch of barbies and a small plastic pool.  Charlotte was very enthusiastic with their swimming, and had made a huge mess on the (newly refinished hardwood) floor.  She was already soaked, so rather than end her happy fun, I stuck her in the bathtub.  Girl loved the barbies!
"Look, Mama! I get this one wet, her hair turns PINK!"
I had cleverly packed a full diaper bag before leaving Philadelphia, but then put the diaper bag in the hotel room and left it there. So when she needed a full outfit change, which I had in the diaper bag, I had nothing.  She ended the evening in her cousin's size 6 underwear, big tank top, and a tutu skirt.

Today was the bat mitzvah, which was lovely, but long for the kids.  They played outside, watched Netflix, and made bead necklaces.  Finally, it was lunch and party time!

Waiting for the service to end
 I was so excited for the kids to go to their first bat mitzvah.  They loved the music, the socks for dancing, and the photo booth. Oh, and the dessert! And the hot chocolate bar!  We left around 2 and I drove us home at a very speedy pace. We made 1 brief stop for a potty break and that was it- I shaved 30 minutes off of what was predicted to be a 5 hour and 30 minute drive.  As Eric said, I drive like my father.

Charlotte dancing with my uncle Richard. She LOVES him.
At home, we had a quick dinner and then celebrated the 8th night of Hanukkah. The kids loved their final gifts- I got Benjamin a dry erase board and he immediately drew a picture of himself with Daddy at the beach. Asher got an electronic safe with a code from Meema and Papa Nick, and he has already stored his most valuable treasures in there.  He has shared the code with Benjamin, Daddy, and me- but Charlotte is never allowed to know it.