At our amazing neighborhood pub, Charlie had a diaper mishap and her pants got socked—just as dinner arrived. She was clapping and SO PUMPED for dinner, it didn’t seem fair to drag her home and change her pants. So, she ate her noodles with pee-pee pants and then I strapped her pee and tomato sauce covered legs around me in the Ergo. We’re taking things as they come, world.
Today we had a great playdate with two of Charlie’s classmates, e. and c. The girls’ moms, K. and E. are super nice, down to earth and noncompetitive, which is refreshing.
The girls were on the swings and K. said to me, “Charlie is so advanced with her words.”
E. chimed in, “Yes, Charlie has such a great vocabulary!”
They didn’t make it about their kids at all, yet I felt the need to say, “Well, yes, she is pretty good at talking, but her motor skills aren’t the best.”
Excuse me? Charlie’s motor skills are just fine. They’re great, in fact. As the words came out of my mouth, I realized I was doing to her what I had done to myself for thirty or so years. I had always downplayed what I was good at so I didn’t stand out too much or so it didn’t seem like I was showing off. Somewhere along the line, I realized how dumb this was and stopped. Except now I had just done it to my daughter. I was an asshole.
So, I’m sorry, Charlie. I will never, ever again dismiss or downplay your awesomeness, smarts, strengths or skills.
Sorry, Sheryl Sandberg, women, little girls and myself. It won’t happen again.
Tonight Sam was putting Charlie to bed and noticed she was totally wet. “Diaper Malfunction!” he shouted. But Diaper Malfunction this was not. I had put her diaper on inside out. Mom Malfunction. Happy Monday.
I couldn’t have felt worse taking Charlie away from her beloved teachers, even though I knew switching to the new magical day care was the right thing to do. Every morning she would flap her arms and chant her teacher’s name. Both her teachers cried on her last day, hugged me and told me I was the best parent they had ever had (which meant so much to me, I cried). They wrote “We love you!” on her daily sheet.
I felt awful, but I’ve had to let go of a lot of people and situations in my life and so will Charlie. It’s best to give yourself a sad moment (or two) and then move on.
Today I woke up as nervous as if it was my first day of school. I prepared to stay there for a couple of hours until she felt OK.
Within five minutes she had left my lap and within six, she was holding hands with a boy in the class. Sure, she screamed bloody murder when the teachers made me leave, but she stopped by the time I had folded up the stroller. That kid’s a toughie and I’m so proud of her.
Tomorrow’s Pink Day and we’re going to show Magical New School what we’ve got. I think she’s gonna like it here.*
*Annie reference, which I’ve watched about nine thousand times now.
Today was our last day at Charlie’s day care. After the biting incident, I called [SECRET DAY CARE WITHOUT A WEBSITE] which I had heard about from a couple other parents. In fact, three kids in her class had transferred to this new place in the past four months.
The things I knew about [SDCWAW]:
• You couldn’t really see it from the street. You had to know the address.
• You couldn’t find the address easily because, as I mentioned, it doesn’t have a website. It actually has no web presence at all, which is, like, not even possible.
• To get the phone number, you had to know the name of the place, find the only mommy blog that has the number of the Uptown location, call that number, then get the number to [SDCWAW].
• Despite all these obstacles, [SDCWAW] is known to have a waiting list a mile long. I’ve actually had people tell me they’ve been on it for over two years and…
• to even get on the wait list of [SDCWAW], you have to go on a tour.
• It was really, really close to our apartment.
I had written this place off. Hey, I’d been around the block before and I knew about impossible wait lists and how hopeless they feel. And I was fine where Charlie was.
But after the whole biting incident, I went back to my Day Care List and began calling places. She was #47 on one list. Some people just kind of laughed when I even inquired about an opening. [SDCWAW] said that of course I could take a tour. They wouldn’t tell me how long the list was.
The tour exceeded my expectations. The teachers were awesome. The facility was great. It was $300 LESS a month AND they included diapers and wipes (and food and milk). A dad actually stopped our tour group and told us it was the greatest place on earth. I asked about their biting policy. They had one—it was good.
I tried not to get my hopes up, but as soon as the tour was over, I was inquiring about the wait.
"We should know in two weeks or so," the director was kind and friendly.
Exactly a week later, I called [SDCWAW].
"Can you hold on one minute?"
Thirty seconds later…
"Well, this has never really happened this fast, but we have an opening. Can she start in a month?"
There are moments between the things-are-very-hard moments and the I-hate-people-so-much-I’d-like-to-punch-that-asshole-in-the-face moments when you feel like you’ve really won. Like you’ve conquered “it,” whatever it is. Getting into a secret, affordable day care right near our home ranks pretty friggin’ high.
Someone once said to me, “I can’t wait for my kids to go to sleep and then I miss them more than anything.” This is 100% true.
Today when I dropped Charlie off, a little boy in her class crawled over to me and put his hands on my knees. Charlie gave him a look, then physically removed his hands. No one touches her mama.
Today started like this: Charlie woke up around 6am after a blissful night of sleep. It was still dark. I was still groggy. I laid her down to change her diaper and… blood. Everywhere. From her bangs to her chin. All over her hands. I looked over at her crib and her sheets were smeared with it.
I knew then what kind of parent I could be. I was calm. I felt in control even though things around me certainly were not. I was steady. I wasn’t allowed to freak her out (and make her feel like the baby zombie she looked like). I’m the mama and I had to fix it.
It turns out, she had a nosebleed because it’s been so dry. I looked it up immediately and found out they’re totally normal. I cleaned her up, changed her jammies and sheets and snuggled her in our bed.
It was yet another snowpocalypse (please, make it stop). Schools were open when we woke up even though it looked like the Earth was ending outside. I had a huge day at work—tons of meetings and a lot to get done. I bundled my kid up, feeling awful about it, and packed her in the Bugaboo. I bundled myself up. We went outside.
It was friggin’ crazy out. I tried to push the stroller, but it would barely move. I shoved the stroller past my Super’s window and I could feel her watching me. I know I looked like a lunatic. I felt horrible.
I went back inside, unpacked my kid and strapped on the Ergo. We are going to walk it! It will be fun! An adventure! She was getting fussy by this time (duh). She didn’t want to have an adventure.
I knew then what kind of parent I could be. Selfish. Nonsensical. Torn between the different things in my life so that I was failing at all the things in my life.
I went back out with an umbrella, and trudged five feet through the madness. My umbrella went inside out. A gust of wind hit her face, she spit out her pacifier and started screaming. I trudged back to the lobby and felt a buzz in my pocket. Most of the teachers couldn’t make it. School was cancelled.
I went back inside and stripped us down, near tears. I was so frustrated. I felt like a horrible mom and at the same time I had to go to work! I also hated New York City, snow (obviously), umbrellas and people who were able to go to work.
The rest of the day went like this: Sam and I divided the day between work and baby. We fed and changed our daughter and made her laugh and played games with her. We even read her books. But she also watched Annie twice because it’s the only thing that she would sit still and watch so we could get something done. She had two tantrums.
I got all my work done and even got on a conference call. I ate lunch. I did my best. I felt like today was five days long. I’m glad it’s over.
At the end of the night, Charlie gave me a long, hard hug. This kid is worth everything. But for the love of god, please make this snow stop.
Polar Vortexes. Ice shard storm giving my face tiny smacks. Meany mean heads who will trample someone in their Winter Rage. And today. Today I paid $44 to travel nine blocks so I wouldn’t have to walk in the Wintry Mix from Hell. Winter, we hate you. Even “Winter People” hate you. If I have to look at another Instagram of ice, snow, or two foot deep puddles, I will scream. IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO GO.