Yes, I Gave My Toddler a Pacifier

Tonight, I intentionally persuaded my two year old to take a pacifier.

I know. You probably think I’m terrible.

Let me explain… When Charlotte was born, HOS and I agreed that we did not want her to use a pacifier. Lucky for us, Charli started sucking on her index and middle finger of her left hand from day one!

Naively, we thought the finger sucking was adorable, innocent and far more convenient than any pacifiers. Twenty-nine months later, we are in the beginning stages of a losing battle to kick the habit.

Charlotte isn’t conscious of her finger sucking issue. We ask her to stop, and she removes her fingers only to pop them back in a few moments later. She sucks her finger so hard, she is starting to develop blisters and callouses.

Tonight, she held out her hand to show me two deep grooves from her teeth! She is biting and sucking on them so hard she has sores!

I gave up!

I offered her the only alternative I knew. And you know what, I’m not even sorry. I would rather teach her to use the pacifier and then break her of that habit than let her continue sucking her fingers.

What do you do to help your children overcome their bad habits?

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Beautiful, With or Without the Lip Gloss

Charli stood in my doorway this weekend begging for help with her “makeup.” I twisted her lip gloss open and gently applied the smallest amount of shine to her pink toddler smile. She grinned, smacked her lips and said,

“I’m beautiful!”

Without skipping a beat, I said, “yes, you are, but makeup doesn’t have anything to do with it!”

Even at two years old, Charlotte is aware of beauty. She watches me get ready in the morning – style my hair and put on my makeup. We read Sleeping Beauty, a story in which three fairies could give Aurora anything, and they give her beauty and great singing voice. (Gag) But Charli loves it.

She wants to put on makeup with me.

She wants to be the princess from books.

There is nothing wrong with Charlotte wanting these things. I refuse to worry about them. I could spend endless hours reading blogs about how one parent says to raise my child, or what psychologists believe caused body issues. I could become so obsessed with being the “perfect” mother for Charli.

But I won’t… Because the “perfect” mother doesn’t exist.

There is only me.

And I already received some awesome parenting advice on body image.

My mom owned one bottle of mascara and one blush. I don’t know that she ever wore either of those things during the 18 years I knew her. She didn’t need it. She didn’t define herself by clothes, hair or makeup. She was a mom, wife, friend, teacher, follower of Christ. Her actions, not her appearance, told the world who she was.

Now, I’m not naive enough to believe my mom was 100 percent happy with her physical appearance. She would go through slim-fast phases, not unlike my calorie-counting phases. That was the only evidence I had of any insecurities, though. She hid her feelings about her body or appearance from her children. Instead of focusing on outer beauty, mom taught me modesty and humility. She taught me kindness, love, charity, discipline, honesty and strength. I could go on… In essence, mom taught me the beauty of being an amazing person.

I’m not like my mom. Those are some big shoes to fill! I do things a little differently, and you’re very welcome for my diligent use of make-up! I absolutely have issues with my personal appearance. But I’m not worried about Charli.

She comes from a long line of beautiful women. Lip gloss or not, mascara and blush or not, her actions will demonstrate her beauty.

Granted, we have a little while before we get there. She is only two!

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Charli’s Thankful List

I ask Charlotte what she is thankful for every night at bedtime. It’s inevitable that “daddy, “Ashy,” “Gwama,” “Papa” or some friend or family member will make the list.

Sadly, she never tells me she is thankful for me.

Now, I know it would be petty for me to feel jealous of the list of people and things for which Charli is thankful. …

BUT this list includes the likes of Minnie Mouse and shoes, just any old shoes. While thanking God for shoes may be interpreted in a very profound way, I doubt my two-year-old is contemplating the socioeconomic status of developing nations and how millions of people around the world do not own shoes and she has four pair in her latest size.

She was once thankful for a squishy toy lizard. How can I even try to get on this list?!

I want so badly for her to look up at me with those big blue eyes, smile and say she is thankful for me, mama, mommy or even Angie. That would be ok with me!

But no…

I wasn’t here to tuck Charlotte into bed tonight because I was playing volleyball. When I got home, HOS told me that Charli finally said she was thankful for me. ME!!

When he asked her why, you know what she said?

“Uh, cookies.”

Smart girl. And she will be getting more cookies tomorrow!!!

🙂

That’s Some “Shit”

I know it’s wrong. I know I shouldn’t even put it into writing. I definitely know I will be judged by many, appreciated by some and laughed with by most.

There is something adorably hilarious about a toddler saying curse words.

C’mon!!! You know exactly what I mean.

Let me set the scene…

Last night, Charli, my ridiculously cute toddler, walked into the kitchen. Her arms were wrapped around a bottle of Life Water and her sippy cup filled with milk. I hardly noticed as she passed behind me, walking on her tip-toes. As I was jabbering away at HOS and browning the ground turkey for dinner, I heard my daughter’s first (confirmed) curse words.

“SHIT! Oh, shit!”

She stomped her little foot and looked around with utter exasperation.

I probably looked like a moron. My mouth had fallen open, but I was smiling/choking back laughter.

Without thinking, I asked what was wrong. She furrowed her brow and point at the counter top saying, “Rabble, rabble, rabble. Table.”

I asked her to put her drinks on the dinner table instead of the counter. She walked toward the table and accidentally dropped the sippy cup on the floor.

“Dammit!”

This time, my shoulders racked with laughter, but I hid my face. She placed the drinks on the table and tip-toed back to her toys like nothing had happened.

My sweet baby girl with a precious toddler voice that can’t form the sounds for l, r, or y is now competing for swearing sailor of the month.

Fast forward to today…

As funny as it was the first couple times, the cuteness quickly wears off.

Charlotte slipped climbing the ladder to her slide. I caught her bottom in my hands. I apparently didn’t move fast enough…

“SHIT!”

There it was again.

She couldn’t open the door.

“Shit.”

She dropped her baby doll.

“Shit.”

She tripped.

“SHIT.”

We tried ignoring the word in hopes it would go away because it didn’t invite a reaction.

That did not work.

I have moved into the stage of timeouts. How do you tell a two-year-old she is in trouble for saying “shit.”
And that “shit” is a bad word she shouldn’t say. If she says “shit” again, then she will get a timeout. Super scary punishment!

Oh, and you don’t.

For now, we are in a curse word Cold War. Any one who drops one of those bombs goes straight to time out.

Moms of the world, how can I win this war?

Charlotte’s First Illness (& My Breakdown)

I started to write this blog several times now. I tried to find the right words to tell my story of today in a riveting, memorable manner.

I don’t have the energy or brain to do that tonight.

This week, my two-year-old daughter fell ill for the first time in her blessed life. The fact it took so long is amazing!

Charlotte is pretty awesome. She’s a “go big or go home” kind of toddler, so when she finally fell ill, she fell REALLY ill.

Without going into details, Charli was vomiting and filling diapers. We couldn’t get her to stop, and she wouldn’t eat or drink.

On top of that mess, HOS is out of town for a bachelor party.

After an awful night with little sleep and lots of showers, laundry and scrubbing, I finally reached freak out mode. To be fair, she has never been sick before… And there is something devastating about failing to make my Charli feel better. She looks up at me with big, blue eyes that beg me to help her and I have nothing to offer aside from hugs and kisses to wipe away her tears.

Worst. Feeling.

After the second round of vomit, and zero wet diapers, I took Charlotte to express care which sent us to the ER for dehydration.

Emergency Rooms should be equipped with therapists or preachers or lots and lots of chocolate.

I held my baby as she screamed louder and longer than I ever thought possible. I helped hold her down, and I kissed her tears while they used a catheter to extract a urine sample. I held her down and whispered apologies in her ears when she looked up at me, pleadingly, screaming for me to help her. They blew out the vein on her right arm and then inserted the IV on the left arm. They pumped her full of fluids.

I think I needed a therapist, preacher AND chocolate by the end of the experience. I would have fallen apart if my sister hadn’t spent her whole day with me.

It took five hours, but we were released to go home. We are cuddling in bed. I’m still hovering. My nerves are shot, and I need food and sleep. All I want is to hold my daughter, kiss her sweet cheeks and thank God for the doctors.

Today, I learned not to give a sick toddler milk… Even when she is begging. I also learned our carpet is no match for a sick toddler.

Most importantly, I learned that there is nothing more blessed than a healthy child.

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12 Things I Learned While on Vacation With My Two-Year-Old

Last week, I took Charlotte on her very first vacation! There is nothing like taking a brand new two-year-old on a trip … without HOS … To visit family six hours away. But seriously, I made precious memories with my sweet baby, and I learned a lot.

What I learned while on a five-day vacation with my two-year-old:

1. If Charlotte is sleeping in the car, do NOT wake her! Sure, she refused to eat lunch and the only food in her belly may be seven donut holes (don’t judge!) but once she is awake, there is no going back to sleep.

2. Don’t be cheap about audio books. I don’t know. Maybe you enjoy listening to one chapter read by a British woman followed by one chapter read by a gruff old man followed by a chapter read by someone whose accent is so heavy you simply skip the chapter in its entirety. If you don’t enjoy some odd woman reading in strange little voices that make you seriously consider listening to local, rural Nebraska radio stations, then I recommend paying for the audio book on Audible or using an app from your library.

3. Charli is afraid of men. She seemed to develop a leeriness of men overnight. She has never met you? She doesn’t like you. You’re her papa whom she talks about constantly? She doesn’t like you. You’re her cousin who plants a sweet kiss on her forehead? She dislikes you so much she cries.

4. The need for naps is real, people. Trust me, you don’t want to test this!

5. Charli is afraid of trains. She will stand in a completely empty room and begin telling me, “I scare. I scare! Twains, mommy!” An hour later, she sill stand in a room filled with toy trains, a conductor hat placed backward upon her head, and she is happy! I can’t pretend to understand this child.

6. Sugar is not a source for sustainable energy. Charlotte tried to prove me wrong all week long, and failed every time.

7. Charli is afraid of farm animals. I’m fairly certain this is due to the fact that all animals have faces. This is apparently very scary, especially when said farm animals look Charlotte in the face.

8. There are few greater feelings than your baby (two-years-old counts..) falling asleep in your arms. There are few greater workouts for your thighs than climbing two flights of stairs while carrying that 27 lb “baby!”

9. Charli is afraid of curtained windows. … For this, I have no explanation.

10. Tantrums thrown by a “two” are not at all like what you people describe! They are worse.

11. Charli is afraid dogs. Again, they have faces.

12. If possible, always leave for a road trip at the beginning of nap time, preferably when Charlotte has a full belly! Driving solo with a toddler trapped in a car seat is no easy feat! (And remember #1!)

What lessons have you learned on your family vacations?

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Dear HOS: I Need You to Know

Dear HOS,

I know that you have your doubts as a dad. I know you worry about the hours you work. I know you stress about the impact you have on our wonderful daughter. What parent doesn’t feel this way?

I wanted to let you know that I see you. I see everything that you for our family, and I am grateful. I want to ease any doubts or concerns that may enter your mind.

You make the most of every minute you share with Charlotte.

Charli asks for you when you aren’t here, and she is excited to see you walk in the door.

Charlotte learns from you every day. Our not-quite-two-year-old knows her body parts because you taught her. And she can tell her left from her right because you taught her.

And while I know you (and I) will have moments, days or even weeks when we feel like we are most definitely screwing this up, I need you to know that you are amazing dad.

XOXO

Love,

Angie