Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Charlotte Eve: 4 years old

Charlotte swinging with Gray Kitty
I am almost a week late in writing about Charlotte!  She turned 4 on the 21st, although she was telling people she was already 4 for a few weeks before it actually happened.

Charlotte at 4. As always, she is ahead of where her brothers were at her age. Whether this is because she lives by their example, or because that's who she is- who knows. She is now writing her name, and knows how to spell it both forwards and backwards.  She doesn't always tell me much about what she is learning at school, but then will come out with all kinds of information at other times (how to count in Hebrew, what God created on which day, the months of the year in order). She seems to remember almost everything she hears, for better or for worse.  Charlotte is still in a class with kids 6 months older than she is, and they will soon start getting ready to read. She has a real interest in letters and how to spell things, and I wouldn't be surprised if she picks up reading quickly.

She seems pretty athletic and is quite competitive. In the fall she competed in the Healthy Kids Running Series and took first place in her age group for the 50-yard dash. In the spring she will be in the 4 & 5 year old girl group, so might not win, but she sure enjoyed winning her trophy. She is currently taking swim lessons, and is continuing because she wants to get permission to slide down the big slides. She said she would like to take dance class again, but last year's dance ended terribly, so I am not too eager to sign her up again. (In case I never blogged about it, Charlotte's dance career ended in the spring when my mom took her to class and Charlotte was asked to do her "solo" for the dance recital. All the other girls did twirls or curtsies, but when it came to Charlotte, she got down on all fours and started meowing.)

Charlotte has turned into a real girly-girl. She only likes to wear things that are "beautiful," and prefers dresses. A couple of times she has put on leggings that she decided didn't feel right, and had to come home and change into a new outfit. Other days, she tries to wear tights as pants.  She has her own fashion sense.
Snuggling our foster kitten while the kitten eats her cheek
She is also newly interested in makeup.  She came with me to Bed Bath & Beyond and helped herself to numerous blushes.  I have a video of her as she sampled them saying, "ooh, I look GOOD!" and "Just one more..." and "I look like a ROCK STAR. Cool."  Did I mention she is also modest?
Makeup perfection
I let her wear the blush for the rest of the day. People commented on how beautiful she looked.  Later that day, she took some water color paints and painted her eyelids to give herself eyeshadow. And then I found her in our powder room, standing on the toilet, brushing her face with the little brushes we use to clean sippy cups.  She has begged me to wear makeup to school and I say "not yet."  If this is Charlotte at 4, I really don't know how I will make it through her teen years!

She is quite opinionated and vivacious in her arguing. At times she will say, "I'm going to ask you something. And you say 'no,' and I say 'yes.' Ready? Ok. Can I have cake for breakfast?" 

She has developed into a somewhat picky eater. She has given up almost all meat. Occasionally she will like something and eat more than a few bites, but mostly she has to be begged to try a bite of any meat. She loves carbs, high-fat dairy (fancy French cheese, yogurt, ice cream), and some fruit. She uses her good looks to get as many desserts as she can in any given day, and is quite successful.

Charlotte gets a lot of attention for being pretty. I have mixed feelings about it- on one hand, I take vicarious pleasure in it, as if somehow I am pretty by extension, and as if somehow this is an important trait that might even be indicative of the quality of her (and my) character. On the other hand, I consider myself a feminist, and don't want my daughter growing up to think that the most important part of life is to be pretty.  Earlier this month, she was given a box of 12 candy canes "because you're pretty." I told her that we should share the candy canes with other people and make them as happy as she was when she got them. She was ok with that and happily distributed candy canes, yelling a variation of "Happy Hanukkah!" or "Happy Holidays!" or "Happy Christmas!"  In any case, people seem to find her appealing, and her cute personality doesn't hurt, either.

Some of Charlotte's favorite things are: her stuffed animals (she has a growing collection of them that she carts around with her), her brothers, seeing her grandparents, seeing her friends, cats, desserts, and accessories. She loves her family.  She can be as sweet and charming as can be, but then can be a bit of a "mean girl."

For example, one day she watched me get dressed for work and said, "mommy, you cannot wear that to work." When I asked why not, she said, "Because it's not beautiful, and your clients will not like it."  I told her that my clients don't care what I look like and that it would be fine. Another day, I told her I wanted to go on a quick jog with her in the jog stroller (we still go for jogs together, which I love. I play pop music and she sings along). She said, "Mommy, our jogs are never quick because actually you are not a very fast runner." Mm hmm.

I baked and decorated her birthday cake
Charlotte celebrated her birthday numerous times over the previous week. First we had a big birthday party for her at the gym where she takes gymnastics. We had 25 kids attend, and Charlotte had a great time. 
Charlotte at her birthday party
She thinks this face is really funny
Our family at the party
She got a massive stack of presents- people were extremely thoughtful and generous.  She broke into the presents right away- Shopkins, crafts, an apron to wear when she keeps me company in the kitchen.  The following day we had a mommy-Charlotte day, and I took her for her first manicure and pedicure at the nail salon, and then for lunch with Meema at Panera.
4th birthday present: first manicure and pedicure
 Then, on her actual birthday, I made her sprinkle pancakes for breakfast, then she went to school and had cupcakes with her friends. Meema picked her up at noon and they had a fun day together, and that night she had Japanese noodles and chocolate cake!
Birthday breakfast with her brothers gooning around in the background
The birthday girl takes a rest with the ipad and her birthday crown
 On Thursday, we had her 4 year well visit. Charlotte is:
40.25" tall
37.5 lbs
The doctor seemed pleased with her growth, and agreed with me that she seems quite healthy and well. She is hitting all her milestones ahead of time. The only point of concern is that she doesn't eat enough protein, but I am hopeful she is making it up in cheese and hummus.
At the doctor's office, reciting the alphabet
 Then we went up to Maine, where she has been spoiled by grandparents and great-grandparents.  She has gotten endless gifts and desserts, and I think she may have even reached her limit- tonight she told me she wants VEGETABLES for dinner tomorrow.

My gorgeous girl
Another year where I have enjoyed her company, her hugs and her kisses.  She makes me crazy, but I miss her an hour after she goes to bed at night.  I love that she is growing into this funny little person, who is quick-witted and clever, even if it gets used to my disadvantage. She has always brought such joy to our lives, and is adored by everyone around her.  I get such pleasure out of doing the girly-girl things I had hoped I would get to do with a daughter some day, and I look forward to what the future will bring.  She is still so sweet and delicious, in that place between toddler and big kid, still soft and round, but also smart and strong.  My baby is four, and I am so proud of her.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

More than 2 weeks after Thanksgiving and I decided it must be time to write about our holiday.

This year, we had a big Thanksgiving, with lots of family. In addition to my mom and her sister (my aunt Jane) and their offspring, and their offspring's spouses and offspring, my uncle Richard, his daughter Hannah and her fiancĂ© were there; my mom, aunt, and uncle's cousins Steven and Jim and their spouses, plus 2 of Jim's children. I think we were over 30 people, which meant 3 turkeys and a heaping table full of sides.  As usual, the food was delicious and the company warm and welcoming.
Charlotte at her swim lesson
I took Wednesday off from work, but managed to have so much to do that I didn't get to relax. My friend from high school came for a few hours and we tried to catch up, but I also had to take care of Charlotte and take her to swimming. We had dinner on Wednesday night with some of the out-of-town family, and then on Thursday morning I ran the 5 mile Turkey Trot with my sister, her boyfriend, and my cousin Jess.  It always feels good to do that and get my exercise out of the way so I can devote the rest of the day to consuming calories!  Elana and I ran a respectable (for me) 9:22/mile and her boyfriend ran it 2 minutes/mile faster and waited for us at the end.

Elana giving the turkey its pre-roasting massage
The women of our family
After dinner we moved into the living room and sat by the fire and talked. My kids tore apart the 3rd floor of Jane and Ed's house, and Charlotte misplaced her stuffed animals and we spent 30 minutes looking for them at 9 pm at night, which annoyed me. On the way home I lectured the kids about bringing their toys places and then misplacing them, and we then instituted a "no toys outside the house" policy, which has only partly been respected and enforced.

I woke up on Friday morning to no milk in the house for coffee, so Charlotte and I went to CVS at 7:15 to buy milk. She asked me to carry her, so I did, and while I was kissing her cheek I noticed she smelled like vomit. And then I noticed she was in different pajamas than she had been at bedtime... I asked, "Charlotte, did you throw up overnight?" and she said, "Yes!"  I had moved to the couch in the middle of the night because I couldn't sleep, but apparently she had gotten sick in bed and Eric dealt with it! She seemed totally fine and wanted food and water, so I assumed it was from eating only a plate of whipped cream for dessert.

After brunch at my mom's, we took Asher and Charlotte home to nap, and Benjamin went hiking with my sister, her boyfriend, and my cousin Kyle. He promised me he would walk and no complaining, but apparently he lied to me, because he complained the whole time, made the guys carry him, and then facetimed me in a panic because he wanted to come home.  Another situation I was glad to miss.

Post panic-attack
When they got back after their hike, my cousin Kyle showed Asher a very important skill- making fart noises with your armpit.  Asher thought this was the most amazing and hysterically funny thing he had ever seen- he asked Kyle to do it the rest of the weekend, and laughed til he cried each time.  He wasn't able to perfect the skill himself, though.

Friday afternoon I did my obligatory Black Friday shopping, and then some wrapping.  Later I did MORE shopping, and then we had a Friday night dinner at Jane and Ed's. While I was on my second round of shopping, Eric texted that Charlotte had thrown up again! So we decided she should stay at home at dinner time, and I went with the boys.  She didn't get sick again, and no one else did, either, so if it was a bug, it was not a bad one.  Thank goodness! I couldn't have handled a stomach bug and Eric gone for the week.

On Saturday, Eric and I took the kids to a 10 am showing of the movie Trolls, and then Eric had to get ready for his trip to Germany.  He was gone for a week!  He did that 3 years ago, and this time was a hundred times easier for me.  Saturday night was more time with the family, but a smaller crowd- it was relaxing and pleasant.  I don't know if I am an oblivious idiot, but I really enjoy my extended family and I think they like me, too.  There is a great deal of fun and laughter, and the kids all play well together. I always look forward to seeing family and love that we are welcome at all of their homes.

On Sunday I took my 3 to the zoo. It was a little cold and the zoo was very quiet, but the kids played in the Treehouse, which is unchanged from when it opened 30 years ago.
In the Treehouse, on the dinosaur 
I will post my emails to Eric in another entry- I tried to detail the fun and excitement that went on in his absence. It was a memorable weekend with family we don't see often.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and this one certainly lived up to my expectations!