the hard and the good

I had a Twitter conversation with Gwen yesterday (who I don’t think has a blog anymore, and her Twitter account is locked, so I can’t link to her, but hi, Gwen!) about the people who I call Chronic One-Uppers. These are the people who, no matter what you’re doing with your life, they have to top it somehow. They make themselves feel superior by minimizing you.

Chronic One-Uppers exist in all facets of life – in school, at work, at the gym, in your social circles – but Chronic One-Uppers as parents? Are some of the most annoying people to be around. There are several different variations on this, from the Sanctimommy types (“you let your kids eat French fries? My children only eat raw organic vegetables that I’ve grown myself!”) to the My Child is More Advanced than Yours parents (“oh, your baby is 8 months old and not crawling yet? My baby crawled at 6 months!”), but the ones who I find the most intolerable of all are the “just wait!” parents.

(This is where I scrambled to try to find Temerity Jane’s post on this subject, but alas, Google has failed me.)

The “just wait!” parents are the people who take great delight in telling you how hard parenting will be further down the road than wherever you currently are.

It starts when you’re pregnant.
“Enjoy sleeping now! Once the baby comes, you won’t sleep again for years!”

[Side note to pregnant ladies or those who may become pregnant someday: this is a load of crap. First of all, sleep isn’t a savings account that you can store up and withdraw later. Second, trying to sleep when you’re hugely pregnant is miserable. You need a million pillows to support your body, and if you have to roll over, it’s a whole production of moving said pillows, and also you have to get up to pee every 20 minutes. When you have a newborn, yeah, ok, babies wake you up a lot, but when you get the chance to sleep, you can sleep however you want (on your stomach! On a couch! On the FLOOR if you want to!), and you may have the option of letting your spouse take a shift to give you a break. Your spouse cannot, however, take on your giant belly and sciatic pain to let you get a good night’s sleep when you’re pregnant. So those “sleep while you can!” people are liars, and you should either ignore them or kick them squarely in the shin.]

Then when you have a baby.
“Just wait until you hit the terrible twos!”

Oh, your kid is now a two year-old?
“Oh, three is so much worse than two, just wait, you’ll see!”

When you have a kid in grade school?
“Just wait until they’re teenagers!”

It never ends. There’s always something.

The thing is, no matter what phase you’re in, there’s some hard stuff, sure, but there’s also good stuff.

For example, when you have a newborn? Sure, you’re exhausted and you feel like you’ve been run over by a Mack truck full of hormones, but you also have this amazing little person who’s suddenly been thrust into your life. Which is pretty fantastic in and of itself.

From my point of view: I have a 3 year-old. And it’s pretty widely acknowledged that three year-olds are terrible and difficult, and basically irrational tiny dictators. And while that’s true, I also get unsolicited hugs and “I love you, Mommy”s, which are pretty much the greatest thing in the world.

She said, "I want to lay down in your bed & snuggle with you because I'm a little bit tired." I thought she was joking. She wasn't.

The snuggles are pretty nice, too.

And when she’s not acting like a threenager, Lucy is hilarious.

She is the stereotypical second child, a total ham, and she has a way of expressing herself that keeps us laughing all the time. (At least as long as she’s happy. When it’s tantrum time, LOOK OUT.)

Lucy happy about water play day at daycare

With Catie, at seven years old? Sure, there are times she throws a bad attitude around. I know that right now she’s practicing for the tween years, and testing my boundaries and trying to see how far she can push me. But at the same time, since she’s seven, I can talk to her like a normal person, and she understands. I can take her places and she acts like a civilized person. We can go to a restaurant, just the two of us, sit and have a conversation, and eat our food together, and she’s just completely delightful to be around.

School picture day for Catie. Lucy wanted in on the action too. (Texted to me by their dad.)

Here’s where I get to my main point:

You can be in a really hard phase of parenting, and it can also be really good at the same time. These are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Just because it sucks sometimes, doesn’t mean that it isn’t also amazing and totally worth it.

Example time!

I struggle with weekday evenings. It often feels like a nightly marathon. It starts with dinner, then homework, then bathtime, then one last snack (usually fruit of some kind) before we brush teeth, read books, and settle in for the night. Combine that with trying to make sure we’re set up for the next day – packing Catie’s lunchbox, setting up the coffee pot for me – it’s exhausting and I often get stressed out and short-tempered with them.

(Credit where it’s due: I almost never do the dishes anymore, because Chris does them for me. So that’s one less thing off my “nightly marathon” plate, and I make sure that I always thank him for doing it, because I am truly grateful for the fact that he does little things like that to make my life easier.)

So, the other night, I was irritable and kind of rushing the kids through the whole bedtime routine – making sure Lucy went to the bathroom one last time, making sure Catie took her asthma medication, all the stuff on the nightly bedtime checklist.

I finally got the girls into their room, and Lucy picked out a Sandra Boynton book for me to read to her. Catie said, “Hey, Lucy, you want me to read to you instead?” Lucy said yes, so Catie climbed into bed next to her, and read to her.

Catie has taken over story time from me. I will never complain about this.

It was one of those moments that just made me so happy. I love it when they’re sweet to each other, I love that Catie is more eager to read, I love that Lucy is old enough to not freak out when we suggest changing her routine just a tiny bit (6 months ago, she would’ve screamed if Catie had gotten into her bed to read to her instead of me).

So yeah, being a parent is hard. But ignore the Chronic One-Uppers. There will always be hard phases. The good stuff balances it out, and more often than not, the good stuff significantly outweighs the hard stuff.

And I guess that’s my version of the “just wait!” thing – if you’re in a phase where parenting feels like it’s just too much and you can’t deal with it, just wait, because someday your kids are going to do something that knocks the wind right out of your chest because of how overwhelmed-with-love you are.

And ok yeah, maybe that’s cheesy. Sorry for that. But damn, if it isn’t the truth.

P.S. Thanks for the inspiration on this one, Gwen.

Lucy’s day at the salon

Lucy is still not sleeping, and I don’t really want to talk about it because I’ll probably cry if I do.

SO! Let’s talk about Lucy’s hair, shall we?

Lucy’s hair has gone through many stages. She was born with a full head of dark hair, which is kind of amazing considering how blonde she is now.

Lucy at 6 days old

But within the first few weeks of her life, all of it fell out. And then she was bald. For a long, long time. Oh, she was so bald.

Had to take a break from packing to take the (still drippy-nosed) baby for a walk.

But then she finally grew some hair. Very blonde hair. And then we entered the phase of Crazy Bed Head.

The bedhead on this child. I cannot even.

Can we please discuss the back of Lucy's head? What on earth am I supposed to do with that???

And even when the bedhead has been tamed, she has what I can only refer to as a Baby Mullet.

After school picture day, I told her to show me how she smiled for the cameraman.

It’s bad. When Lucy sees the bottle of No More Tangles or the comb, she starts saying, “Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!” before I even touch her.

So, I decided that was enough. I called my friend Kim, who does my hair and Catie’s. She told me to bring her in and she’d take care of it.

(I got no pictures of the hair cutting process, because I had Lucy on my lap during her haircut, and I was using my phone to show her YouTube videos to distract her. Yet another case of the second kid’s milestones passing by undocumented.)

And now, my Lucy-goose no longer has a knotted up baby mullet.

First big-girl haircut!

First big-girl haircut!

Gotta say, I kind of love it. It’s like an actual hairstyle instead of just an accidental pile of hair.

Now, if we can just work on that whole sleeping thing…

sleep coaching a toddler

I met with the sleep coach a week ago, and I’ve been meaning to sit down and write about it ever since then, but I was too exhausted to actually implement any of the suggestions she gave me, and too exhausted to write about it, because, you know, my kid doesn’t sleep and that makes me tired. (Catch-22, anyone?)

Anyway, before I met with Pam from First Daze and Nightzzz, she sent me a questionnaire to detail Lucy’s history, so she could figure out where we were going wrong, and how to implement a solution that would work for us.

One of her questions was to list the things I had already tried. And I realized that this is a really long list.

This is what I sent her:

1.) Implementing a set/predictable bedtime routine that allows her to gradually calm down & get sleepy.

2.) When I suspected teething, I tried giving her either Motrin or Tylenol at bedtime.

3.) Trying the “cry it out” method. This doesn’t work because she gets so distressed that she makes herself vomit.

4.) Letting her sleep with me. This doesn’t work for a few reasons, but primarily because she wakes so frequently and is such a restless sleeper that neither of us was getting any rest.

5.) Moving her from a crib to a big-girl bed. This was probably a bad idea in hindsight, but it worked really well for my first daughter. Of course, the crib broke when I was moving it, & I cannot justify shelling out more money for a new crib that will likely only get a few months’ use. So we’re committed to the bed now. (It has a guard rail so she can’t fall out.)

6.) Trying the method of sitting next to her bed as she fell asleep, then over time gradually sitting closer and closer to the door as she fell asleep. Now I sit in the hall, but if she can’t see me as she falls asleep, she gets up and comes looking for me.

7.) Trying the “Supernanny technique” of not saying a word or giving her any feedback at all (neither positive nor negative), just simply picking her up and putting her back in the bed every time she got up. I did this for WEEKS. It never worked.

8.) I’ve given her Benadryl. Terrible, I know. And it had no effect whatsoever.

9.) A few weeks ago, out of desperation (because friends & pediatrician both recommended it), I took her off the bottle cold turkey & now only give her sippy cups.

That’s a lot of stuff, right? I also had to write out logs for at least 48 hours and make notes of when Lucy slept, how often she woke up, what I did to get her back to sleep, how much she eats during the day, etc. I left a notepad on my nightstand and scribbled down the times when Lucy woke up.

Normally, when I wake up in the morning, if you asked me how many times Lucy was up during the night, I would have no idea, because it all sort of blurs together. Seeing it all written out made me realize exactly why I’ve been so tired. Like the night that she woke me up 6 times. Let me repeat that: SIX. TIMES. And that’s not unusual! I mean, newborns wake you up less than that, right?


So, we came up with a plan, and I’m tackling it now.

1. Lucy has had eczema since she was a tiny baby. I normally put cortisone cream on it, and that keeps it sort of in check, but she scratches an awful lot (mainly her hands and feet). One of the ideas that Pam mentioned is that perhaps she sleeps so restlessly because her skin is itching. (Why that never occurred to me, I don’t know.) So I took Lucy to a dermatologist last week, and we got a new cream for her eczema (which I can already tell is helping), as well as a prescription antihistamine that is specifically designed to deal with itching. (I got excited when the dermatologist told me that the antihistamine “may make her a bit groggy.” Reality: it makes her slightly groggy. Mostly it makes her meaner than a damn snake.)

2. We had a “family meeting” (well, Lucy and I did, Catie was like, “this is boring,” and took off to play on her iPad) to discuss that our new friend the Sleep Lady is going to teach us how to help Lucy sleep at night. Hard to have a real discussion with a 20 month-old, and I don’t know how much of it she understood, but I’ve been repeating this theme a lot (learning to sleep in her own bed, etc.), and hoping that it’ll sink in.

3. I bought a My Tot Clock, which is blue at night, and turns yellow in the morning when it’s time to wake up. Lucy is a big fan of colors, so she took to this pretty quickly. When the clock turns blue (normally when we’re in bed reading books), she points at it and says, “Boo! Nigh-night!” Yes, baby, blue means that it’s night-night time.

4. In the vein of basic behavior/reward charts, I’ve created Lucy’s “sleep manners” chart. Obviously she isn’t old enough to read yet, so I googled some clip art to make it something she can understand visually.

Lucy sleep manners
(Click to enlarge.)

A lot of the things are easy, like putting on her pajamas and brushing her teeth – I help her with those, so they’re kind of automatic wins for her. (The idea being to kind of boost her up a little, rather than just, “Well, you sucked at everything yesterday, didn’t you?”) I also bought some smiley face and star stickers to decorate it when she accomplishes the items on her chart.

5. Using the “chair method” of sitting in a chair next to the bed while she falls asleep for 3 nights, by the door for the next 3, in the hall for the next 3, and finally out of sight (with lots of returns to check on her). I thought I was already doing this by sitting on the floor next to her & gradually moving out of her sight, but the chair does make it a bit more of an official, “this is where Mommy sits” spot.

6. Putting the baby gate in the doorway to her room. Several people suggested this to me, and I was very hesitant to try it, because I’m pretty sure that if Lucy was pissed off enough, she could throw herself against the gate and knock it down.

Pam said to phrase it so that it isn’t a punishment, and more like, “Since you keep popping up and forgetting to stay in your bed, this is going to remind you that you need to stay in your own room instead of running to get Mama every time you wake up.”

Again, not sure how much a 20 month-old is going to understand out of all of this, but the idea is just to keep repeating it and eventually it’ll sink in.


So, it’s a lot to take in, but the good news? Last night, Lucy slept through the night for the first time in ages. I have no idea if it was just completely blind, dumb luck, and we’ll be back to waking up 6 times tonight, or if it’s the start of a new trend. Obviously I’m hoping for the latter, but bracing myself for the former.

New big-girl bedding is both Lucy and Catie-approved.

Keep your fingers crossed for us. I sure could use it.

bye bye, baba

I’m not sure how many times I can sit down and talk about how Lucy doesn’t sleep.

But she doesn’t. Sleep through the night. Ever. And she hasn’t since, oh, last August or so.

She wakes up approximately every 60 to 90 minutes, and she comes running down the hall to my room. All night long. Every night.

A couple of weeks ago, we went out for brunch at IHOP with the girls’ daycare friends. The mom seems really nice and easy to talk to, and the kids adore each other, so it sounded fun.

Met up with daycare friends for lunch at IHOP. So fun!

The little boy in the middle is Kameron. He’s in the toddler room at daycare with Lucy, and they adore each other. His mom and I were talking about kids and sleep issues, and she mentioned that Kameron (who just recently turned two years old) had only been sleeping through the night for about a week, and it was because she finally took away the baby bottle.

I have said in the past that I didn’t care about Lucy’s bottle addiction. And I didn’t. It made her happy, it made my life easier, it worked. She could’ve kept the bottle until elementary school, as far as I was concerned.

I found them snuggled up like this today. My heart, y'all.

But desperation for sleep makes you do crazy things. So I decided that if there was a snowball’s chance in hell that weaning Lucy off the bottle would get her to sleep through the night? Well, it was worth a shot.

I dropped her off at daycare one morning, and I came home and packed up every bottle in the house. I put it all in a hefty bag and shoved it in the back of my closet. (I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, just in case this experiment failed.)

Then I wanted to cry and throw up. I kept thinking about her happily walking around the house that morning before daycare, drinking her bottle, and she had absolutely no idea that was the last bottle she was ever going to have.

One of the few times she took a break from walking at the zoo. (Oh, and note that my kid is double fisting her beverages with the bottle AND sippy cup.)
I’m so, so sorry, baby.

Normally when I picked up the girls at daycare, I would bring a bottle with me. Lucy would come running to me, give me a hug, then say, “Baba?” She knew I would always have it in my bag.

That day, when I picked her up, I had a sippy cup of milk instead of a bottle. She screamed as though I had betrayed every faith she’d ever had in the universe.

Halfway home, with Lucy still screaming to the point of nearly-vomiting in the car, I was trying not to lose it, and Catie was in the backseat with her hands over her ears. Finally, Catie yelled, “Don’t you have those DVDs with the music on them that she likes?!!!” I realized she meant CDs, and yes! Actually I did. I popped in a Wiggles CD, cranked it loud enough to drown out Lucy’s screams, and she actually quieted down and listened to the music for the rest of the way home.

(Don’t judge me for the Wiggles. I will listen to “Fruit Salad Yummy Yummy” all the livelong day, if it means I don’t have to listen to my kids cry.)

When we got home, she ran to the fridge, and I opened the door to show her that the shelf that normally contained her bottles? Was now stocked with sippy cups of milk. She threw herself on the floor and wailed some more.

Grief is tough, man.

The next several days were a lot like that. She’d hopefully ask, “Baba?” And I’d say, “No, Lucy-goose, the baba went bye-bye.”

I kept repeating, “Babas are for babies, but Lucy is a BIG GIRL now.” Most of the times she’d angrily shove the sippy cup of milk away rather than drink it.

Then I had an epiphany: Lucy wants everything Catie has. And Catie still drinks milk in a sippy cup at bedtime. (Yes, she’s 6. No, I don’t care. She drinks out of regular cups all the time, but she likes to have a sippy cup on the couch sometimes, and it means I don’t have to worry about spills, so that is FINE with me.)

So, one night, while I was still holding the sippy cup of milk that Lucy angrily rejected, I said, “Wow, look, Catie sure likes her milk in a sippy cup.” Lucy looked over at Catie, then turned around, grabbed the sippy cup out of my hands, and slurped it down.

She hasn’t asked for her “baba” since then.

Big girls drink their milk out of sippy cups, not a "baba." (The bottle is ALL GONE now. I can't believe it.)

And a weird side effect of all of this? Lucy has suddenly turned into a major cuddle-bug. She’s always been sweet and affectionate, but normally she was always on the move, she never wanted to sit still and be cuddled. Now, she gives all of these spontaneous hugs and she wants me to hold her on my lap all the time. And it just sort of occurred to me that she always got her comfort from the bottle, and now she’s been forced to seek her comfort from, you know, other humans.

So it’s good.

But, the whole reason for taking away the bottle? To get her to sleep? No dice. It hasn’t improved her sleeping habits even one tiny bit. So I’m essentially back at square one there.

To that end, and the whole “I’m at the end of my rope and I’ll try pretty much anything at this point if it means I can get some damn SLEEP” thing? I’ve hired a child sleep coach. I’m meeting with her next week. I have no idea if this will work or not, but it’s basically my last resort, trying to throw money at the problem to see if maybe outside professional help can fix it.

She comes over on Tuesday. Cross your fingers for me.

So damn lucky

(Apologies to Dave Matthews for using his song as a blog post title. It was the best I could do.)

I had plans to blog on Friday, and then… well. And then an elementary school in Connecticut got shot up and I spent the rest of the day crying in front of the news.

I don’t have any brilliant insight or words of wisdom here. I’m just as dumbstruck as everyone else.

These school shootings happen way too often, and normally they don’t get to me like this one did. I don’t know why. Maybe because this was an elementary school and the kids were all around Catie’s age. Self-centered worldview, I guess. It just really hit me in my gut.

On Saturday night, we were up late because we had spent the evening at my parents’ house. Lucy has a cold, and it took me a while to get her settled in bed. While she was waiting for me, Catie fell asleep on the couch. Rather than wake her up, I decided to just carry her upstairs to bed. My first thought was how big she is. She’s weighs about twice what Lucy weighs, and when I carry her, her feet dangle past my knees because she’s so tall.

But at the same time, I had this overwhelming sense of how little she is, because even though she’s heavy, she’s still little enough that I’m able to pick her up and carry her up a flight of steps. After I put her to bed, I went to my room and sat on the floor next to my bed, and I cried for all of the parents who don’t get to pick up their “really too big to be carried” babies anymore.

Last month, my friend Laura took some pictures of us for our Christmas cards. (Seriously, if you’re local and need a photographer? Go talk to her.) Today I’m looking at these pictures of my beautiful girls, who are still here with me, and I feel so, so incredibly blessed and lucky to have them.



Lucy and me

me and my Catie-bug

Catie and Lucy

I mean, seriously. How did I ever get so fortunate?

My lovely friend Victoria lost her nephew Noah Pozner in the Connecticut school shooting on Friday. For info on how you can help Noah’s family, click here.

18 months

There is no November 31st, so Lucy doesn’t technically have a half-birthday. So, sometime in the past few days, Lucy turned 18 months old.

First off, her stats from her pediatrician visit: she’s 32.5 inches tall (75th percentile), 27 pounds (85th percentile), and her head is off the charts. Both of my girls take after me, I’m afraid. Y’all will never be able to pull off hats – sorry, babies.

Meanwhile, her hair is epic.

Can we please discuss the back of Lucy's head? What on earth am I supposed to do with that???

Sometimes I can take to it with a Knot Genie and some No More Tangles and get it under control. And then it looks adorable.

"After" pic: I used No More Tangles spray & the Knot Genie. But it was matted up again by the time we got to daycare. Oy, this child.

It also lasts about five minutes before it looks like that first picture again. Sigh.

We are nowhere near being done with the bottle. I know. I KNOW. The pediatrician has already lectured me about this that we need to ditch the bottle soon, because the longer I let her keep it, the harder it will be down the road.

And I admit that this is an area where I’m weak. She stands at the refrigerator and screams, “Ba-ba!!” And I cave every time. Because I am a single mom, and I am exhausted, and there are two of them and only one of me, and look, let’s face it: the path of least resistance is often the path that I choose.

Look, Ma, no hands. (Also: most kissable belly ever.)

Honestly, pediatrician lectures aside? I just don’t care. If she still has the bottle in kindergarten, I’ll start to worry. I just cannot even fathom trying to tackle that one right now.

Also, if there was any concern that maybe she’s drinking too much milk and not eating enough “real” food? HAAAAA. Girlfriend eats everything. I cannot give her enough fruits and vegetables. Her normal breakfast is often a tomato or a pile of steamed broccoli. Yes, that’s weird, but she asks for it and I’ll be damned if I’m going to say no.

I figure that probably in a year or two, she’s going to refuse all healthy foods and live on a diet of hot dogs and air, so I’ll just load her up with all of the vegetables that she wants right now, and figure that it’ll all balance out in the end.

My parents are still her favorite people in the world, but so is her big sister. Every morning when she comes to get me, the next thing she says is, “Catie night-night?” Yes, baby, Catie is still going night-night. She’ll imitate me with her finger to her lips when I say, “Shhhhh!” so she doesn’t wake her big sister. We’ll head downstairs and turn on cartoons. Pretty soon Catie wakes up and we’ll all pile on the couch together.

Lazy Sunday snuggles. (Catie was kissing Lucy, not biting her.)

I love those few minutes of cuddling with both of them before we have to start getting ready for work/school/daycare.

I’m sure I’ve griped about it plenty, but the past few months have been really rough with Lucy and sleeping. I don’t know why, but she just cannot seem to sleep through the night anymore. I’m now working on sleep training her all over again, which is difficult. I spend a lot of time sitting in the hall, dozing off while leaning against the door of the linen closet.

It’s rough. And there are lots of tears on both of our parts. But hopefully we’ll get through this quickly.

I don’t know how to sum up how funny she is, but man. My mom said she once read an article about birth order, and it talked about how oldest children are often serious, cautious, and work hard in school (which is accurate for both Catie and my sister). And the second child is the “performer” – the article had a photo of a toddler in a top hat with a cane, and my mom said she laughed because that was exactly like me when I was a kid.

So in that sense? Lucy is pretty much my replica. She loves to entertain us by making faces and jokes and just being silly and wacky. Which is pretty much exactly like her mama.

Sometimes a girl just needs to run around in her birthday suit and some 3D glasses. Don't judge.

(Granted, I don’t usually run around naked wearing only 3D glasses. Anymore.)

(Or at least, if I do, you won’t find pictures of it on the Internet.)

She got sick over Thanksgiving (sinus infection), and it was bad because she was trying so hard to still be our little entertainer, but she could only do it for a little while before she’d collapse in tears. It was rough. Luckily she’s all better now. And thank goodness, because I really missed my little goofball.

Happy half-birthday, Lucy-goose. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

more whining about how tired I am

Ok, I can’t leave that last post at the top too long because it’s making me uneasy to have my heart all splayed out like that.

Hey! How are you? Let’s change the subject, shall we?

So, yeah, to follow up on our sleep issues: Lucy is sleeping a little better. I took the advice of… oh hell, I forget, I think a bunch of y’all said it… and I switched the nighttime bottle to just plain ol’ water instead of milk. I think she’s starting to realize that it’s not worth the effort. She’s slept through the night a couple of times, but she still typically wakes up at least once. Which is better than three times a night, so I’ll take it.

Also, I think that maybe Lucy is about to hit another growth spurt, because lately, I pick up the girls from daycare, get home, serve them dinner, Lucy INHALES her food (like, every single thing I put in front of her and then she says “Mo’! Mo’!” while doing the sign for “more”). After dinner, I give the kids their bath, and by the time we finish that, she is usually losing her mind, screaming from exhaustion. She’s been in bed by about 7:30 the last several nights.

This also means she’s wide awake and ready to start her day at 6 a.m. Which, no. Mama is not a fan of this trend.

Oh! And? She’s been napping for like 2 1/2 hours at daycare every day and her teacher says she normally has to wake her up because Lucy wants to sleep longer.

I’m thinking that eating tons and tons of food, plus excessive sleeping, is probably a sign of an upcoming growth spurt, right?

Sigh. Y’all, she already wears 2T pants and 3T shirts. SLOW DOWN, LUCY! It’s not a race, for God’s sake.

Daycare is closed. Having breakfast with my buddy.

All I can say is, thank God I saved all of Catie’s hand-me-downs, or I’d go completely broke trying to keep this child in clothes at the rate she grows.