six and a half

I know that lately all of my posts have been about my relationship or my boobs, but can I stop for just a minute here and talk about Catie?

Because, my god. That kid.

She is this amazing combination of toddler and teenager. She can still throw a tantrum with the best of them — although to be fair, she didn’t have them for a long time, it’s only been since Lucy hit the “terrible twos” that Catie has started acting out again (obviously a case of sibling competition happening here). At the same time, she can throw her hands on her hips and heave a sigh at me, and I swear it feels like a 14 year-old just showed up in my house.

She picks up on everything. I can’t spell words around her anymore because she’ll immediately figure out what I’m trying to say that I don’t want her to hear.

She’s tall and skinny and she’s all long limbs that she hasn’t quite mastered yet. She’s clumsy, like a baby horse trying to find its legs.

She hides from my camera now, and on the rare occasions when she does smile for a picture, she does it awkwardly.

The first time they both let me put their hair up on the same day

There are two missing teeth in that smile. Every day, she checks the mirror to see if her “grown-up teeth” have come in yet.

She loves Skylanders and Angry Birds and Plants Vs Zombies and a million other video games, and I have no doubt that she’s going to grow up to be a video gamer chick. Her favorite baby-sitter plays Legend of Zelda with her after Lucy goes to bed.

She’s a tomboy. She doesn’t like to wear dresses, and on the rare occasions when she does, she wants to wear leggings or shorts under them (which is FINE with me.)

She still says she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up.

One of her favorite songs is “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

She loves “Eye of the Tiger,” and songs by Michael Jackson and Duran Duran. She had me put the entire Xanadu soundtrack on her iPad so she can listen to it over & over, just like I did when I was a kid. (Only, you know, mine was on a cassette tape.)

She also loves most songs on pop radio – she’s a big Macklemore fan. I love singing along with her in the car while we drive.

She still believes in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, although I know I only have a couple of years left for that. (I learned about Santa when I was 7.) One day, because of scheduling issues, she had to come with me to my chiropractor’s appointment, and he – being kind of an oddball dude – showed her a couple of magic tricks. She was amazed. It struck me that to her, there was no slight of hand or trick of the eye, that magic was all real to her. Which is pretty awesome.

But oh, she can be difficult. She’ll whine that I don’t like her because I only take care of Lucy and I don’t do anything for her, she’ll dig her heels in and refuse to try something new just because I suggested it, she’ll throw a fit because Lucy dared to pick up a toy that she hasn’t touched or played with in at least a year.

But then she’ll go the other direction and blow my mind. She’ll get out her old Halloween costumes so she and Lucy can play dinosaurs together…

Oh dear. Looks like there are dinosaurs in my bed.

…Or she, the one I’ve always called my Cautious Girl, will decide to go to some giant indoor trampoline place, which she would’ve been too scared to attempt even just a year ago, and she’ll launch herself off of a trampoline into a giant pit of foam blocks…

My super cautious girl getting ready to jump off a trampoline into a pit of foam blocks.

…Or she’ll sit down with Lucy to try to teach her how to write letters and color within the lines.

One of the few moments where they sit quietly next to each other without fighting.

She has so much empathy for people around her. A little boy at daycare stomped on a caterpillar and killed it when they were playing outside – no reason why, he was just being a jerk, I guess – and Catie sobbed. She said she scooped it up with a leaf and put it under a bush in the shade to “bury it.” And then she cried to me, “And I told him that I hope he has a happy life in heaven.” I told her that heaven needs butterflies too, so it was ok, but she was heartbroken for that caterpillar.

Before kindergarten ended, she came home from school one day and told me, “Everyone in my class says that [little girl’s name] is fat, but I think she’s the beautifulest.” Since I was one of those fat little girls myself, my heart just melted.

Yesterday, I had to get my hair cut, and I had my hairstylist also do Catie’s hair, since it was looking really long and shaggy. She gave her this really great bob cut, and suddenly she looks so much more grown up to me.

My hairstylist also cut Catie's hair. She looks so pretty I can't stand it.

Seriously, I do not know how I created a little girl that is this pretty. (I tend to not say too many flattering things about my ex-husband, but I think he gets the credit for most of her.)

She starts first grade in less than three weeks. I know she’s nervous about it, but she’s ready.

I hope she knows how proud I am of her. I tell her all the time, I just hope she hears me.

Because she is amazing.

on big wheels and toddler classes

The family that lives next door to my parents’ house has two little girls that are close to Catie’s age (I think they’re 6 & 7). The parents are super friendly and easy to chat with, which I love. And the kids are so polite and sweet, and they always seem happy to have Catie around to play with, even though she’s younger than them, which I appreciate.

Catie & Lucy with Lexi & Arianna (neighbor friends

They had a tricycle/big wheel thing which they had outgrown, and they thought that my girls might like it. So they gave it to us, which was unexpected but just really nice and generous of them. Catie likes it even though she’s a little bit too tall for it, and Lucy loves it (her feet don’t reach the pedals yet, but I have a feeling it won’t be long until they do).

Lucy taking the big wheel for a test spin.

There’s no real point to that story, I just had these pictures of the girls and the big wheel, and I love that Catie has kids around that she can play with.

Catie & her friends


Also this weekend: my sister was in town, which was nice because she’s basically the easiest house guest in the world. I don’t have to play hostess with her – she knows where everything is, she helps out with the kids (more Catie than Lucy, but that’s because Lucy is still a little unsure of her and Catie wants Tracy all to herself), and it’s just really fun to have her around.

Then after the kids are in bed, we crack ourselves up talking about random stuff like old Spanish ladies who botch restorations of paintings of Jesus and laugh until we cry. (If you click that 2nd link? I think the Mona Lisa & The Last Supper are my favorites.)

So it was nice to have her here. And since Catie was distraught after she left (because my sister is her favorite person on earth), I distracted her by taking her to a playdate at a friend’s house. Her friend just got a brand new (teeny-tiny, completely adorable) puppy, so that worked as a distraction.

Although now I’m waiting for Catie to start asking when she can get a puppy, which… no. No, no, no. Between two kids and a cat, I am maxed out on the amount of poop that I have to clean up every day. We will not be adding a dog to the mix anytime soon.


And, about Lucy? Girlfriend is fully walking. Like, everywhere, all the time.

Anytime she sees her Pop-Pop, she takes off running to him.

She’s not entirely steady on her feet. You know how toddlers walk sort of like tiny drunks? Yeah, that. I’m pretty sure Lucy couldn’t pass a field sobriety test if she tried. But she’s walking, and that’s all that matters.

At daycare this morning, they decided that since she’s walking now, she’s ready to move up from the baby room to the toddler class. This was kind of a huge deal.

As the daycare director led her out of the room to go down the hall to the toddler class, I half-expected Lucy to look over her shoulder and yell, “Peace out, BABIES!” Instead she just waved and said, “Bah-bye.” But I knew what she really meant.

The strange part is that I feel like I should be sad about her moving up to the toddler class. Like it’s another loss of her babyhood, as she grows into her toddler years. But I’m not mourning the baby phase at all. Instead I feel like, “Whew, we survived that. Thank god. Next phase!”

Is that weird? I don’t know, I think I’m a better parent to kids that are mobile and have a firm grasp of the English language. They’re just easier for me to figure out.

Sisters sharing blueberries.

I really, really like my big kids. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

New Routines

We’re starting to get settled into our new routine now, and it’s good. I’m getting in the habit of making lunches at night before I go to bed, plan out the kids’ outfits in advance… all little things that make the mornings a lot easier.

Once we’re out the door in the morning, I drop Lucy off at daycare first, then take Catie to kindergarten. (The daycare is less than 2 blocks from the elementary school, so it’s an easy commute.)

Me & my buddy.

The past couple of mornings, we’ve gotten there early, so I park the car, and Catie climbs into the front seat with me, and we talk for a few minutes before we head inside. I love that time with her, where we can just sit and talk about what she’s excited to do at school today.

Her reviews of kindergarten so far have been mixed. She mostly seems really happy, but big changes are scary. She likes her teacher a lot (so do I, for that matter), but the rules are a little more strict than at daycare, so I think she’s going to need some time to adjust to that.

Our daycare has an after-school program, so in the afternoons, they pick Catie up on their bus and take her to daycare. Catie was so excited to ride the bus with Miss Debbie (the assistant director of the daycare who picks them up), and it lets her keep a little bit of her routine, since she spends a couple of hours with all of her daycare friends who she already knows.

And, bonus for me, it means that I only have one stop to pick up both of my girls in the evenings.

So, things are working out really well, is I guess what I’m saying.


In completely unrelated news, Lucy would like you all to know that she has 7 teeth now. SEVEN!!


That is a hard cheese there, Lucy.

And also, that she’s still being a pain in the ass about waking me up in the middle of the night. Which might be the impending arrival of tooth #8, I don’t know, but Motrin at bedtime hasn’t helped at all, and I still feel like I’m going to lose my mind.

So, she needs to knock off that nonsense immediately. Because I’ve decided that part of our new routine needs to be that everyone in our house gets a good night’s sleep. GET ON THAT, LUCY.

First day of kindergarten

Yesterday’s post was all about Lucy, so now I need a minute to brag about my Catie-bug.

Where we live, the public schools have both traditional and year-round calendars. We opted for a year-round school (meaning, kids go to school for 9 weeks and then get 3 weeks off, every term), because I like the idea of being able to take off-season vacations, and it also works out well for planning visits from Dave.

So, year-round schools started today. This means that I am now the mom of a kindergartener.

Catie on her first day of kindergarten!

She has a dinosaur backpack with an Angry Bird clipped onto the zipper, a Sonic the Hedgehog lunchbox, a My Little Pony nap mat, and new sneakers that light up when she walks (her “sparkle shoes”). That pretty much encompasses Catie in a nutshell right there.

She knows how to write her first and last name. She can count to 100. She knows more words in Spanish than I do.

I love that Lucy's mouth is all, "SHUT. UP. No way!"
See look, even Lucy is all, “SHUT. UP. No way is my sister starting kindergarten already!”

She says she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up, so she can look for dinosaur bones. But she wants to live with me and have me drive her to work every day, because she doesn’t want to learn how to drive a car. (I expect that desire to drive will kick in sooner than I want it to.) I’ve told her that she can live with me for as long as she wants, and I’ll drive her wherever she wants to go.

Lucy & Catie
Lucy will probably be hotwiring cars before she even hits middle school. That kid is gonna be trouble, I tell you.

She was so excited about starting kindergarten. I, on the other hand, have been a nervous wreck. My stomach would knot up every time I thought about it. I’ve been faking it for her sake, acting like I’m super-excited too, because I didn’t want her to pick up on any of my worrywart vibes.

Only this morning did she finally say, “I think I might be a little bit shy at my new school.” I told her that was normal, and that a lot of the kids are shy at first because it’s new for all of them.

We dropped Lucy off at daycare first, and then Catie and I went to the elementary school. We got there early, and waited outside (along with a lot of other parents and kids) for the doors to open.

A little apprehensive before school opened on the first day.

We made our way in and found her classroom. She was a little bit clingy and wanted a lot of extra hugs and kisses before I left. But really, she was fine. Great, even. By the time I got to the door, she was happily working on a dinosaur puzzle with a little boy.

No tears at all for either of us. I think we both deserve a cookie.

Me & my Catie bug. First day of kindergarten for year-round school.

I am so damn proud of her, y’all.

Pre-K graduation

Last Friday, Catie graduated from her pre-K class at daycare.

Catie and her pre-K graduating class (she's 3rd from the right)
She’s 3rd from the right if you’re doing a “Where’s Waldo?” of the teeny-tiny caps & gowns.

I also love this picture, mainly because it captures exactly how bored all of the kids were precisely two minutes into the program.
The pre-K crowd isn't exactly known for their long attention spans.

But then there was this, which I loved.

(It seems that I am incapable of filming a non-jiggly video. Sorry about that.)

And this, which… y’all.
My pre-K graduate.

I’m generally pretty good about staying stoic through these types of things. I don’t cry at every “oh my baby is growing up” milestone. But yeah. Catie’s teacher cried, and then I almost lost it.

(The way to cope with this, by the way, is to stealthily text your other single mom friend in the room about how skanky her ex-husband’s new girlfriend is. Especially when the new girlfriend is sitting less than 3 feet away from you, and OMG honey, it’s a bunch of freaking 5 year-olds in here, do you really need to wear a dress so low cut that we can almost see your areolas?)

(Moral of the story: keep it bitchy and you won’t cry in public. Yay feminism!)

I tried to explain the concept of graduation to Catie. I told her to think about all of the things she couldn’t do a year ago that she can do now – she knows how to write all of her letters in upper and lower case, she can count to 100 & do basic math, she knows more Spanish than I do, and she’s really good at coloring inside the lines. I told her that graduation is when we celebrate all of those things she’s learned, before she moves on to the next thing, which is kindergarten. She seemed to get that.

As for kindergarten, Catie is signed up for year-round schools here. For those of you not familiar with Wake county, that means the kids go to school for 9 weeks, then have 3 weeks off after each term. (It works out well for taking off-season vacations, and makes visitation issues with Dave easier.)

It also means that kindergarten starts two weeks from today. HOLY CRAP.

The good news is that Catie is so excited about kindergarten, she asks every day if it’s time to go yet. I love that she’s so psyched about it.

My nervousness, on the other hand, mainly revolves around preparation. I’m in a tizzy worrying about school supply lists, trying to figure out what to pack in her lunchbox, figuring out the logistics of getting her there on time and then getting Lucy to daycare, etc. It’s… a lot. I think I need some to-do lists.

Oh, one last thing about pre-K graduation? Each kid was given a little book full of artwork they’ve done throughout the year, some photos that the teachers snapped of them, and then they all had certificates saying they were Most [whatever]. Catie won Most Inquisitive. Which is no surprise to anyone who’s had to listen to her ask “Why?” a million times. Or anyone who was in the car with us last night when she out of the blue (the radio was off) started singing “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” and then asked what “sexy” means. (Try answering THAT one with the grandparents in the car! AWKWARD.)

So, yeah. My Catie is a pre-K graduate. Time is a-flyin’, I tell ya.