99% Big Girl

Announcement time:
Catie has worn big-girl underpants to daycare every day for the past two weeks. And a direct quote from the source: “I keep my panties dry ALL DAY! And NO acci-nents!!”

Catie in her "two ponytails" (don't call them pigtails to her)
She is quite pleased with herself.

However, when she wants to poop, she goes into the bathroom cabinet, retrieves a Pull-Up, and demands to put it on so she can poop in it. Rather than, you know, just using the damn toilet like a normal person.

I haven’t figured out how I’m going to tackle that one. I’m tempted to wait until I know she’s about to poop, then plop her on the toilet and tell her that she can get up after she’s done. But I know how stubborn she is, and I also know how prone to constipation she is, and I’m kind of scared to force the issue. She’ll figure it out eventually, right? RIGHT?!?!! (Her daycare teacher keeps reassuring me that she will. I’m hoping that’s the truth.)

And for the record, yes I’ve offered bribes. I’ve told her that we’ll have cupcakes when she poops on the potty. I’ll buy her a train table for all of her Thomas trains if she poops on the potty. I’ll do anything. Still no dice.

I’ve also tried telling her that only babies poop in diapers and Pull-Ups, and all the big girls use the potty. She keeps saying she’s a big girl, and I’m all, “Yeah, you will be as soon as you learn to poop in the potty! That’s the only thing left that keeps you from being a big girl!”

I got nothin’.

P.S. A toddler fashion tip:
Besides big-girl panties (which, you know, are all the rage right now), Catie would also like you to know that:
1. “Two ponytails” (NOT pigtails) are the best way to keep your hair out of your face when you’re playing at daycare, and
2. When it’s chilly outside in the morning, throw on your favorite old-lady cardigan, button it up incorrectly, and off you go.

Casual pose on her way to daycare
It’s fashion, darling.

This is what happens when you have a girl

Catie has this issue with her hair. Specifically: she doesn’t want to do anything with it. Occasionally she’ll indulge me and let me put in some barrettes to hold it back out of her face, but most of the time, she wants nothing to do with it. She likes to wear her hair down, and she doesn’t want any accessories. I usually have to grab her and sit her on my lap just to brush it, then she’s off and running.

Because you aren't really a princess unless your crown has maribou feathers on it
Exhibit A: Just-brushed hair. This is about as good as it gets.

Which, you know, it’s fine. Sure, her hair usually has a slightly-messy thing going on, but she’s only three, so who cares?

One day she came home from daycare and had barrettes in her hair that weren’t ours. I knew she didn’t have anything in her hair when she left for daycare. The next day, I asked the teacher about it, she said that they have a little bowl full of ponytail holders and barrettes so they can get the hair out of the kids’ faces if it becomes a problem while they’re eating or working on an art project or what-have-you. Huh. Ok then.

Earlier this week, Dave picked Catie up from daycare, and when they walked in the door, her hair was in pigtails. This was amazing because she never lets me put her hair up in a ponytail or pigtails at all. And is there anything cuter than a little girl in pigtails?

studying constellations on the iPad
Exhibit B: I rest my case. Also: it totally freaks me out that she figured out her way around the iPad’s interface in two days, but we’ll leave that topic for another time.

I know that the only reason Catie allowed the pigtails is because the daycare teacher suggested it, not me. And that’s fine. But the next day, I asked her, “Hey, do you want Mommy to put your hair up like Ms. Sandy did yesterday?” She said, “Yeah!” So I did.

showing me the game she was playing on Dave's iPhone
Exhibit C: More cuteness. And yeah, she knows how to work the iPhone too. My Microsoft-y heart weeps, but she is a pretty devoted Mac girl already.

She let me put her hair up in pigtails again today. It’s weird how this is making all of my “someday I’ll have a little girl and I’ll play with her hair all day” fantasies surface. I freaking love putting her hair up for her. It’s kind of strange.

Also: exposed toddler neck. Cannot stop kissing. Don’t judge me.

Photo Essay: Mornings at Chez PooBou

Catie: "Mommy, take my pitcha wif Beaumont." Beaumont: "Is she touching me?"
Catie: “Mommy, take my pitcha wif Beaumont!”

Beaumont: “Is she touching me? Why is she touching me? Make her stop!”

Catie: "Beaumont, say cheese!" Beaumont: "MOW! Now make her let go of me!"
Catie: “Beaumont, say cheese!”

Beaumont: “MOW! Now make her let go of me!”

Catie: "C'mon, Beaumont, we take a pitcha!" Beaumont: "Get this kid away from me, I just want my kibble."
Catie: “C’mon, Beaumont! We take a pitcha! Smile!”

Beaumont: “Get this kid away from me. I just want mah damn kibble. Can’t a guy eat breakfast in peace around here?”

Catie: "Mommy, why Beaumont not smile for the pitcha?" Beaumont: "I will have my vengeance."
Catie: “Mommy, why Beaumont not smile for the pitcha?”

Beaumont: “I will have my vengeance on you, woman.”

Easter weekend wrap-up

Our weekend:

Catie & Tracy
We got to spend some time with my sister. (Clearly, Catie was not in the mood for my camera. At all.) Tracy’s friend Renee was also here, helping her move, which was fun because I haven’t seen Renee in probably six years, and she’d never met either Dave or Catie. It didn’t take Catie very long to warm up to Renee. I’m pretty sure she was in Renee’s lap within a minute or so.

My sister’s cats were also here, which was definitely a high point of the weekend for Catie. Probably not so much for the cats. They spent the night cooped up in a guest room, totally freaked out.

Saturday night, the Easter bunny came to visit. I think Catie is a fan.

Catie likes her new bunny a lot.

On Sunday morning, we got all dressed up and went to church.

Catie & Mommy before church on Easter Sunday
My new favorite picture of us.

After church, we went to the playground and a local lake (with the intent of seeing the ducks and geese, but alas, there were none at the lake yesterday). Then we picked up lunch, came home, and took a nap.

Teenie finds this particular lap insufficient, but you know, any port in a storm

After naptime, we had a little impromptu Easter egg hunt in our backyard.

Reaching for a pink egg under a bush

After the Easter egg hunt, Catie heard some neighborhood kids playing outside and wanted to go join in. I walked her across the street so she could play for a while. It was very bizarre to me that she ran up and started talking to these girls who are about 8 or 9 years old, and they totally understood her. Apparently my toddler-to-English translation services are no longer needed. That’s new.

Easter egg hunts are fun

Hope everyone else had a nice Easter (or, you know, just a nice weekend, if that’s more your thing).

in which the Internet will judge me for listening to the pop radio station with my toddler

This morning started off like most of our weekdays. Out of bed, get Catie a sippy cup of milk, start to get dressed, pause for a toddler tantrum over some tiny injustice (in this case, it was because she wanted a piece of the candy that my mom sent home from New Orleans with her, and I told her she couldn’t have it until after breakfast, because I am a cruel & horrible tyrant), try to finish getting dressed, get Catie’s daycare bag together, out the door and off to daycare in a reasonable time frame. It’s like a daily marathon.

Today, before we left, we talked about how tomorrow, her daycare will be closed (for Good Friday), but Mommy and Daddy still need to work, so would she like to go to drop-in daycare instead? Her response: “Yeah, that’d be awesome!” Note to self: need to watch the valley girl slang in front of the toddler. I don’t know if her daycare teachers are amused or annoyed when she calls them “Dude.”

We finally set off for daycare, and listened to the radio in the car and talked; she was confused by the lyrics to “Telephone” by Lady Gaga.
Catie: “Why she can’t* want to talk anymore?”
Me: “Because she just wants to dance, sweetie, she doesn’t want to talk on the phone.”
Catie: “Yeah, I can’t want to talk on the phone while I dancing.”
Me: “Nope, me neither.”

* Random: Catie’s been doing this for a while now, but I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it. She never says, “I don’t want X,” it’s always “can’t.” Like, “I can’t want to take a bath,” “I can’t like eggs,” etc. I don’t know where that comes from, but it always cracks me up.

So, you know, pretty much a typical morning for us. Then we turned onto the street where her daycare is located.

Catie: “I can’t want to go to daycare class.”
Me: (stomach sinking and thinking I confused her by mentioning drop-in daycare earlier and oh lord, she’s going to have a meltdown and this is going to suuuuck) “What do you mean, babe?”
Catie: “I can’t want to go to daycare class anymore. I go to preschool class with da big kids.”
Me: “Oh. Um. Well, let’s ask and see, ok?”

We walked in, and I spotted the director of the center. I asked her if it was ok for Catie to go into the preschool class today. She said, “Oh yeah, she spent most of the day in there yesterday, I think she’s ready to transition over to that class now.”

We headed into the new classroom, and all the kids were like, “Hey, Catie is here!” It was like the 3 year-old equivalent of Cheers. (“NORM!!!”) She gave me a kiss good-bye, and bounced off to play with her new “big kid” friends.

Catie on the stairs

And so it goes. Another milestone, another tiny piece of my heart. I am so, so proud of my girl.

New Orleans trip, in photos

Our trip to New Orleans was so much fun, I don’t know where to start. I think I’ll let the pictures do the writing for me.

Catie in her princess dress that Mimi made
If you need a custom-made princess dress, it’s good to have a Mimi who knows how to sew. (Also included: silver sparkly headband-crown, which you can’t really see in this picture because of the light.)

Two of the nights that we were in town, we went to my cousin Ryan and his wife Theresa’s house, who generously hosted a dinner/family reunion/hanging-out-talking-for-hours thing. That was a lot of fun, since they have kids close to Catie’s age, so she had a fantastic time playing with her cousins (and their toys).

Brendan & C.C. smiling for the camera, while Catie's having a very animated phone conversation
This picture cracks me up. Brendan and C.C., two of Catie’s cousins, were happy to smile for my camera, but Catie is totally indifferent and is all, “Whatever, I’m gonna call somebody on this toy phone and have a very animated phone conversation complete with hand gestures.” And, um, I don’t know where she gets that whole talking-with-her-hands thing. *cough* I swear I don’t know anyone in my family who does that. *cough cough*

We were lucky to have gorgeous weather all weekend. On Saturday, a bunch of us went to City Park, which I was hoping to get to take Catie to see.

Oak trees lining City Park
I love the old oak trees in City Park. My aunt Michele said that the oak trees are almost like people, they’re such a part of New Orleans’ identity. I can kind of see what she means. Those oak trees hold a piece of my heart like almost no other part of the city.

The last time I was in New Orleans (June 2006), it was almost a year after Hurricane Katrina, and the train ride around City Park was still destroyed. I was six weeks pregnant with Catie at the time, and I started to cry because I always had this vision of someday taking my kids on the train that I had ridden on when I was little.

In the last few years, they’ve rebuilt City Park to even better than before. Not only is the train ride back, and the carousel has been restored, there’s a small amusement park there as well. It was fantastic.

Catie & me on the carousel

Catie "driving"

Finally, we got on the train.

family train ride!
All aboard!

I’ll be honest, I almost cried. It was so cool to finally get to take Catie on that train, which four years ago, I thought might never happen.

I took a few dozen pictures from the train. Most of them were crap. Then I happened to snap this one, which I didn’t even know was good until I saw it on my computer later.

One of the biggest & oldest oak trees I've ever seen

I want to have it enlarged and framed. I love it that much. And I’m not trying to toot my own horn as a photographer, this one was just a really happy accident. It was taken from a moving train, it’s not like I had time to compose the shot.

On Sunday, we went to the French Quarter.

St. Louis Cathedral
Catie recognized St. Louis Cathedral as “the castle from Princess & the Frog.” I tried to explain that it was a church, not a castle, but… eh. It has spires. I can see how she’d be confused.

The Wilkinsons on Wilkinson Street!
Hey look, it’s the Wilkinsons on Wilkinson Street!

Catie & Mimi share a moment by the Mighty Mississippi
I love this picture of Catie and my mom, the way their heads are tilted toward each other. They have such a great relationship, I love watching them interact.

Flying home yesterday was exhausting, as air travel always is, with or without a toddler. But we’re home, and we’re getting back to normal everyday life now. As nice as it is to be home, though, I am already missing New Orleans. I love that city so much.

learning curve

Our previous baby-sitter, Nicole, emailed me over the weekend to ask if Catie could come play in the morning one day this week. Catie was good friends with Nicole’s daughter Kiersten, and I know they’ve missed each other these past couple of months, so I thought sure, why not. We decided that Catie could go play on Wednesday morning, since that worked for both Nicole’s and my schedules.

On Tuesday, when I picked Catie up from daycare, the director stopped me and asked if I had five minutes to talk. I said ok, and my stomach immediately knotted up. Why is that? It was like some residual “getting called into the principal’s office” fear that came out of nowhere. The woman is only a few years older than me. Why am I intimidated? Bizarre.

She wanted to know what I thought about moving Catie up to the preschool class. The class Catie’s in now is called the “Upper Twos,” which means it’s kids that range from 2 1/2 years old to kids that just recently turned 3. The preschool class is all 3 year-olds. I thought that being fully potty-trained was a prerequisite for the preschool class, but the director said no, there are a few kids in that room who are still in Pull-Ups. (For the record, Catie has probably a 90-95% success rate with peeing in the potty. It’s just the poop. I cannot get her to poop in the potty to save my freaking life.) The main difference between the rooms is the curriculum. She had noticed that Catie knows all of her letters and the sounds they make (which I take absolutely no credit for, it was totally because of this) and she can count to 20, so she’s probably getting bored by the Upper Twos class, since they’re still working on that stuff there.

So we were talking about my Special Little Snowflake and how brilliant she is (naturally), and I was thinking about Catie’s upcoming playdate at Nicole’s house and how much it threw me when Nicole suspected that Catie had SPD, and the thing I wrote yesterday about her going down the slide… And I just blurted out and asked her if she had noticed if Catie ever displayed any signs of Sensory Processing Disorder. She looked a bit surprised, but she said that she’d spent quite a bit of time in that classroom (filling in when one of the other teachers was out sick), and that she’d never noticed anything remotely abnormal about her.

I said, “Well, you know, she is scared of swings and she only recently decided that the slide was ok, but she still hates her tricycle…”

She said, “Yeah. But, she’s THREE. It’s not the same as it would be if she was scared of those things at 5 or 6 years old.”

I admit it, I sort of breathed a sigh of relief. (And no, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with kids who have SPD, or that it’s bad, or whatever. Some random person showed up the last time I wrote about it and completely took what I was saying out of context & was offended, so I’d like to just state that up front. I am not blasting your kid. I’m just talking about my own.)

Of course, when I talked about changing classes with Catie herself, she was dead set against it. They’re going to ease her in and let her spend a couple of hours in the preschool class here and there, and let her gradually make the shift. I think it’ll be really good for her.

And for the record, the playdate at Nicole’s house this morning was fine. She and Kiersten hugged both when we first got there, and again when it was time to leave. I love that it seems easy for her to make friends. I already knew she adored her cousin. It’s nice to see those friendships develop with non-family members too.

I picked her up from Nicole’s house around 11, and she got upset when I said that I was going to take her to daycare. My gut instinct knew that she wanted to spend time with me, not just get shuttled from one place to the other. So I decided that work could wait for a little while, and I took my favorite girl out for lunch.

Lunch break with Mommy

Mommy Time FTW! The chicken nuggets and french fries didn’t hurt either.