Thursday, August 16, 2012

Poo Bear

Sweet Caroline,
It's really your fault that I go months between postings. You keep us busy!
You started preschool two months ago. At first, it was awful and I spent 10 minutes standing in the art closet, asking myself if we were doing the right thing. Now, you push me out the door, wave bye, and happily go about your day. I'm so proud seeing how much you've grown and learn in your short time there.
You are blossoming into an amazing little girl. There's almost no trace of baby left to you! Every day for you is filled with so much excitement. Yesterday, we were stopped at a light next to a school bus, and it made you giddy pointing to it, yelling over and over "School bus! I see a school bus!"
You've become so loving lately. I love our times at night together when you curl up into my lap, snuggle into my chest, and let me fully embrace the intense, unwavering love I feel for you. It makes the moments when you're a pain in the butt two year old easier to deal with.
When I come to pick you up from class, you wrap around my legs with the most intense hug, and it makes every crappy thing that happened in my day temporarily disappear.
We've struggled a lot these past few years with bad jobs, no jobs, no money, you name it. There's been dark times where it's been hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But then, you say "I love you, Momma" as I lay you in your bed, and all I can see is good.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

By the time you're old enough to read this, I'm sure you'll ignore what I have to say

Sweet Caroline,

Just finished another wonderful Sunday with you. I struggle to get through the work week, only seeing you for a precious couple hours a day. Were it not for the fact that it would turn you into an unmanageable terror, I would let you stay up even later than your ungodly late bedtime of 9pm. Let people raise their eyebrows all they want, but we've got you on a sweet schedule of sleeping 9pm-9am and I would rather have more time with you at night and SLEEP IN than see your shining smile at 7 in the morning.

There are a few pieces of advice I'd like to give you, though I know you'll probably ignore them. As my daughter, it's your job to roll your eyes at whatever I try to tell you, only to realize years down the road that it would've saved you a lot of heartache to listen to your momma the first time around. There's nothing I can say or do to stop you from learning most of your lessons the hard way, but I'll try anyway.

1. Don't ever let your sense of self worth be totally wrapped up in one person's opinion of you. That person, in all likelihood, is a jerk to have made you feel that dependent on them in the first place.
This especially applies to the people you date (this will only happen over Daddy's dead body, of course). The sad, hard truth is that the bulk of your relationships will fail, and often not peacefully. Resist the urge to blindly believe what movies and TV shows will try to tell you. The odds are highly stacked against you that you will marry your high school sweetheart, so don't bet the farm on one person.
Still, love fully whomever you are with. Just don't lose sight of the fact that you were your own confident, beautiful, worthwhile person before you were with them, and you will always be that person, with or without them.
If you ever feel yourself thinking in the terms of "He's my whole world", "I'm nothing without him", etc... please... RUN AWAY WITH QUICKNESS. Nobody on this earth is that important that they can define who you are and how you feel about yourself. Run, and tell your father so he can kill them and hide the body.

2. On that same line, don't throw yourself fully into a relationship with the blind hope that you can change yourself or them to make things work. People pretty much are who they are, and outside of small quirks aren't likely to be able to achieve a massive personality overhaul. For example, I've had to learn (and still fail) to not let my shoes/socks live wherever they may fall when I take them off coming through the door, because it drives your father nuts. That's a small thing that I can work on. I could not, however, make myself not be the overly anxious, worry prone person I've always been. If a person can not only accept you, but adore you how you are, they are not the person for you.
Your dad and I know we'll be together forever if nothing else than the fact that we know there's no one else around who would ever be willing to put up with our silliness. I still laugh (sometimes) at his obnoxious gas. He still smiles when I jump on him and expect to be carried around like a koala. That's real love, dear.

3. The money you make, the job you have, the degree you hold do not define who you are. If you are confident and happy with yourself, then that can carry you through whatever you do 8+ hours a day to make ends meet.

4. Things like pretty but impractical shoes and handbags in every color are therapeutic. Indulge in them whenever you can... and bring me shopping with you.

5. It is rude to discuss religion, money, and politics in mixed company. Watch your words because you don't know who you could be offending.

6. Remember that not everyone has to share your beliefs. At the end of the day, being a good person is more important than being liberal/conservative, gay/straight, whatever.

7. Don't forget to laugh, especially at yourself. You have the most amazing laugh, and I don't ever want to see you lose it.

8. Not everyone will like you, and that's okay. Not everyone needs to be your friend. You do, however, need to be nice.

9. Run away from any man with a pet snake. Snakes are agents of the devil, which means that man is in cahoots with Satan. If you spend the night with this snake man, his snake will eat you.

More to follow later, kiddo.


(PS I'm very, very serious about the snake business. Ugh.)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Seriously, you did what in my bathtub?

Sweet, stinky Caroline,

In our tender two years together, you have done a lot of gross stuff. Even from the beginning when you passed your meconium while in the womb, making my water break yellowish green. As a first time who was already scared shitless (har har) that was an added anxiety that I really didn't need!
Time and time again, it always seemed to fall to me to be the victim of your grossness. From spit up to actually having you vomit into my hands, we've been through a lot together.
But tonight you really outdid yourself.
For the first... and hopefully last... time, you crapped in the bathtub.
The tub that I take such pride in scrubbing to a point that you could eat out of it. Maybe it was my fault, since I had you all excited by turning the shower on ever so slightly so you could pretend it was raining in the tub.
Either way, it was a horrible moment when I saw what you had done. I felt so bad for you, because you felt so terrible about the mixup between the potty (pooping in it = good and you get stickers) and the tub (pooping in it = bad and Mommy has to clean you and it). You even asked if you were getting a sticker since you didn't poop in your diaper. Not quite what I meant when I said if you use the potty you get a reward! You did your best to reach into the tub to help me scrub it out, but obviously I didn't see that as a productive use of our time.
Gross, kiddo. Daddy thought it was hilarious, since he was conveniently not home at the time and just got to listen to me freaking out about my poop hands as I cleaned up the aftermath. I'm trusting you to seek vengeance on my behalf.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Go the F to sleep!

Sweet Caroline,

This used to be what you did with the bulk of your day. Napping. Do you remember napping? It was awesome.

My sweet girl... it's 2pm. Do you know what that means? That means it's naptime for Ookie Bear, and you need to go the F to sleep. That does not mean call my name, "accidentally" throw toys out of your crib for me to fetch, or plot devious ways to get into trouble later this afternoon. It means lay down, be quiet, and sleep. For like... 2 hours. Please. If not for you, than for me. Mommy has an intense amount of crap to do that can't be done with your sweet, sweet help. Lesson plans need writing, toilets need scrubbing, and hey, Angry Birds need birding. That's right, even mommies sometimes need to do nothing, which can't be done if you don't nap.
Also, you are not my sweet girl if you don't nap. You are a foul, mean, cranky thing and we both know it's best if you are the sweet girl. You're very smart. I know you can do this. You can count to ten (ignoring 4-7, because they apparently don't matter to you). You know an amazing amount of letters and colors, which you can show off to me at any time but when you are supposed to be sleeping.
And when you are supposed to be sleeping... is now. I can hear you! I know it's our fault, because we made the mistake for months of running to your every whimper convinced that if we didn't we were destroying you emotionally. We know better now. We know that you're clever, and sometimes devious. It's hard for me and Daddy sometimes to accept that you're our big girl two year old, and capable of manipulation. You know that we're here for you, and we would never, ever leave you to "cry it out" if you really needed us. I think that with that in consideration, you could occasionally cut us a break from the emotional abuse of whimpering our names knowing that it kills us to be firm and not run to you.
Even now, I ran to your room after you cried out for me. Glad I did, because you had your cell phone stuck in your pant leg.
Cell phone. Stuck. In pants. I don't even know where to start with that. How did you sneak your phone into bed? Why was it in your pants?
No matter... I fixed it.
So please, please, please... go to sleep. Because if you do, there's a teeny, tiny chance that Momma could nap too.


This is what you do with the bulk of your time now. You are a crazy, joyous ball of energy and we love you. But you still have to sleep sometimes. Like now. Now would be great.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

We survived your second year!

Sweet Caroline,

I'm sorry I've fallen so behind in writing these letters for you... it's almost like I've busy running after a toddler!

You turned two this Monday. The night before as we got ready for bedtime, you snuggled up in my lap to read a book. I found myself tearing up as I thought about how your days of being a baby are leaving us, and you're moving so fast to being a big girl. I hope you'll hold onto those sweet moments of quiet cuddling for as long as you can. I'm so proud of all you've learned and accomplished, but I will miss my sweet little baby.
For your first birthday, we spent way too much money on a birthday cake that didn't fully get eaten, and presents you probably didn't need. The pictures of you with icing all the way up to your ears was worth every penny! That night, we took you out for dinner at Bonefish Grill, fancy dress and all. You were so well behaved that night!
That was a year ago. This year, we played it smart. I baked a cake and decorated it with Elmo figurines (your request, of course). We took you to the park to feed the ducks (the quack quacks) and play on the playground. You had a wonderful time and looked like such a big girl, a TWO year old, running around all by yourself. You have this amazing personality where you're hesitant at first in new situations, but you take off independently once you feel confident. Some people tell us you're like that because you don't go to preschool; that you need to be "socialized". Those days will come soon enough, and we will never regret doing everything we could to let you be home with us for as long as possible.
You celebrated your second birthday by throwing an epic tantrum that morning... over nothing. Ah, the nothing tantrums. Laid out on the floor, flopping your legs like you don't know how to work them. Your temper, fortunately, is a flash in the pan. Bright and burning for a moment, but over quickly and completely. You can't stand that we're actually saying "no" to you these days, but believe me, we're doing what's best for you! Ice cream three meals a day may sound fantastic, but in the long run, we're doing you a favor by occasionally saying no.

You've grown and changed dramatically this past year. You're walking,talking, and have the most inquisitive spirit. You absorb new information like a sponge and stun us by rattling off colors, numbers, and letters. You're always imitating us, from using Daddy's same authoritative voice to tell the dogs to "sit down!" to clomping around in my flip flops. You always make us laugh, even when you're being ridiculous.

I'm so excited to see what's in store for you this year. You're going to learn so much! You're our big girl now, and we're so lucky to be your parents, each and every day.

We love you very much. Happy birthday, sweet girl.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas with Caroline

Sweet Caroline,

Christmas with you has been a multiweek adventure. It started in early December when we put up the tree. I sat on the couch and handed you ornaments, which you took over to Daddy and helped put on the tree. You were so proud of yourself! We took you to see Santa, whom you decided was absolutely not your friend. Your picture is of Santa smiling as you are sliding down his lap, mouth wide open in anger and terror. Maybe next year you'll buy into the whole idea of a fat, jolly guy who brings you presents.
A couple weeks ago, we took you down to Evergreen to see my side of the family. We were so proud watching you run around and play with your older cousins. We were worried that you'd spend the whole time locked in a back room watching Elmo and refusing to be friendly, but you were your happy, excited self even in the midst of a large group of people you barely knew.
It was so much fun watching you tear the paper off of your gifts, and of course, spending more time playing in the box than with the actual present. You've brought so much joy to the whole family, especially those who didn't have a little girl of their own to spoil with pink sparkly things.
My only fear now is what's going to happen come January when the tree has to come down and there are no more pretty boxes to tear open. Don't worry, though - your birthday will be here soon enough!


Growing up

Sweet Caroline,

You're growing up way too fast, and there's apparently nothing I can do to stop it. Tonight, as we were enjoying bath time, you pushed my hand away and said "I do!" You dumped the cup of water over your head, giggled and held out your hand for soap, saying "scrub scrub!" Then you lathered up your whole body, hair included, and washed it all off with your ducky wash cloth. I was amazed - it's usually a fight to put water over your head. Apparently when you're in control it's different.
I stopped for a second to marvel at your budding independence. A year ago at this time, you were sitting up and barely crawling around. Today you're walking, running, and saying "I do!" whenever you have the chance. While I'm so sad to say goodbye to the little baby girl who needs me for everything, I'm so proud of all that you've learned and marvel at all you want to learn to do all by yourself.
My teary eyed moment of nostalgia didn't last long. It was interrupted by you dumping a cup of water over my head. Thank you for keeping me in the moment!

Love you always,