Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Transition

Hello there! A big hiddy ho 2015! Sorry to be just checking in now but we have been busy doing....not a whole lot. I guess between the blahs of winter and trying to actually figure out a new routine I've been occupied. Also it's been really busy and stressful at work so when I get home I just want to stare at the wall...or a tv show with a ridiculously easy to follow plot. And I am also reeeeeeally trying to finish a book so I can finally read the book my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas that she keeps asking if I've read (please dear lord let that book be a page turner, or we could be discussing it over watermelon in July.)

As far as the routine goes with Emma's new school, I think we are getting pretty settled. Change has always been difficult for me so easing my family into something new while having to adjust myself has been challenging. Surprisingly, Emma has transitioned really well into her new school. Actually, I shouldn't say surprisingly because she is a social butterfly. She has her shy moments but every time we went to visit her new school she ran around like she owned the place and so far, it's still that way. It still feels weird to me not having her in the building with me at work. Not that I ever saw her or anything but I miss having her close, even though she is only about 15 minutes away from my office (10 minutes or less from home - aka: shorter witching hour car ride!)

As far as I can tell from the short periods of time I spend there, the new school is warm and welcoming for her. She has learned new songs and seems to be making new friends (although I still don't know all of their names.) By the time I pick her up, she is in the aftercare room with a bunch of different kids so I haven't met all of her classmates yet which is kind of odd to me since at her last school they were all full time kids so they were together all the time.

We will be attending our first social event at the new place on Friday, they are having a pizza/ movie /pajamas night (they will be screening Frozen of course.) So, I suppose I will have to be social and talk to other parents, which I am terrified of doing, but who knows, I could make a friend. I will be glad to spend more time at the school than just running in and out to pick Emma up. I knew the other daycare so well because I used to go down there every day on my lunch break to see Emma when she was a baby. In doing so, I learned a lot about the staff and the other kids and the parents. I don't have that at the new place which I miss. Also, (it's a blessing and a curse)...they don't hand out sheets of paper with information on them at the end of the day so, I have no idea how many times she went potty or if she napped or what they did in class that day (however they do save trees every day so there's that). I suppose this is where I should stop my working mom hurriedness and actually talk to the people there to see what the goings on are but this requires time and...what's that other thing....oh yeah....effort. Even though the place is closer to home it still takes me the same amount of time to drive over and get her after work and head home. Who knows, maybe I will bond with the teachers and parents over pizza and Frozen.

Other than that 2015 has been ok. I might be lacking in positivity these days but again, the winter blues have me in their icy grip so we shall see how things go for the next bone chilling month. I am really hoping to pop in here at least once a week still. I might try to work on a tv post and a bedtime post so stay tuned for those (but don't hold your breath.) How has your 2015 been so far? How did you adjust to your child going to a new school?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: A Spectacular Look Back

It’s funny to look back on things. Well not funny so much as therapeutic I guess, a bit of a thought process that has me wishing my December 2014 self could run full speed ahead (behind?) into my January 2014 self and share a boatload of knowledge. But that wouldn’t give me some of the most difficult and challenging lessons I’ve learned in my life. There are some years that are more difficult than others and this was my doozie of a year. At the end of it? I feel simultaneously more planted in adulthood and yet marveling even more at the world through the eyes of a child. I think one of the things that stands out to me the most is that I matured a little more this year, bringing me ever closer to accepting my fate as a grown up, which I hate. I know that deep inside of me I have never left Never Land and I don’t intend to. But overall, I evolved as a human being, which, as I roll through my 30s, seems to get harder and harder to do, especially since I have started to form my grumpy old woman routine and opinions. Becoming stuck in my ways means that any change I’m faced with ends up usually hitting a few road blocks. But when you are forced into something, like I was this year, you have to adapt. This turns out to be good because you never know when the unexpected will happen, so the more you go through crazy shit, the better you become at adapting to it.

This year contained some bad events overall but, I don’t want to look back on the year as a complete failure. It was the year I learned that the term “mom” doesn’t define me. I learned how to balance motherhood and find time for myself in certain ways or at least give myself credit for having dreams and wanting to accomplish more than just doing the laundry on weekends. Eventually I will get there but for now, I’ve learned to merge what I love with motherhood. I use all of my pent up creativity to make my child smile (outings and crafts ya’ll) and through that, I’ve been enjoying life.

After some major heartbreak this year, I came out on top and figured out what next steps I want to take as a person to continue to grow and develop. I’m excited for 2015 and I hope you make some plans to look forward to as well but for now, a quick look back on 2014 with a few insights into the world of mommy Patterson (when Emma asked me what my name was that’s what I told her.)

Here are some top 5s for you:
*Top 5 Burning Toddler Questions Answered:
Potty Training: I have not posted an update on this in a looooong time mostly because well, progress has been made but not a whole lot. Looks like 2015 will be the year for potty training (which is going into its 3rd year  : /).
The terrible twos: Right now, we are doing pretty well learning which situations result in tantrums and avoiding them if possible. With the increase in Emma’s communication and understanding, we are also able to discuss in some detail when problems come up and how to resolve them. Still, wake this kid up from a nap at the wrong time and God help you.
Sleeping arrangements: We are still blissfully embracing the crib! Although, I know our time with it is very limited. The other day Emma climbed out during “nap time” when she decided she no longer wanted to stay in there. I know it’s just a matter of time until she figures out she can climb out of there after being put down for the night. Once that happens a few times, we will look into a new sleeping situation.
Preschool: So far so good, after a visit to Emma’s “new big girl school”, things are looking up. We talk about her new school constantly and she seems to be pretty excited about it although, I’m not holding my breath come the first day. It will be a bitter sweet time, leaving the only school she has ever known but I hope the transition goes smoothly (updates to come.)
Consistent Favorites Throughout the Year: Mickey Mouse (this show seems to never get boring ugh!),  cake, cookies, candy (the three C’s of course), running (I’m realizing more and more that Emma has potential as a track star), dinosaurs, gymnastics, piano/ music (whenever she sees a piano she has to “play it”), Frozen (it will never end), dump trucks/ any heavy machinery, reading books (she prefers “reading” them on her own rather than boring old mommy reading them to her), and oddly enough broccoli is still a favorite! (Notice naps didn’t make the list hmmm.)

*Top 5 Blog Posts: 
These are my most popular posts from 2014 (the most viewed):
*Top 5 Songs as listened to by me: 
Real Estate: Atlas (album) – Their music almost sounds like soothing elevator music with soft vocals and pleasant guitar riffs that somehow speak to me at this point in my life. This band/album was my most favorite discovery of 2014. My absolute favorite track is “Crime.” To be honest, I actually listened to it a lot after Robin Williams died. It soothed me and gave me strength at the same time.
Coldplay: Sky Full of Stars – It wouldn’t be me without a Coldplay song on here. Again another Robin Williamsish song but still uplifting and touching.
Pitbull and Kesha: Timber – I really can’t listen to this song without smiling/ getting an insta-mood boost. The lyrics are vulgar and not at all feminist friendly but, I have to allow room for some heavily produced musical crap in my life, right?
Elle: Ghost – Another upbeat song with a “conquer all” message. It was very motivating for me during workouts.
Santigold: The Riot’s Gone – And just so I don’t piss off my indie music peeps, I do want to mention this little gem that came out of a movie I saw. It’s unexpected, quirky, and captivating all at the same time.
*Top 5 Favorite Moments:
-Going to Florida! I wish I had blogged about this and might someday I will but we had such an amazing time together as a little family of three on vacation. The resort was amazing. It provided a little adventure for us and a chance to see great grandma which is always wonderful! – We will hopefully plan another “big” trip next year sometime.
-4th of July at the pool! This was the day I got my back injury but before that, Emma and her cousin played for hours in the baby pool just splashing around and having the most amazing time!
-When Emma was excited to see Santa Clause! I am sure a moment I will never forget.
-Going to see the dinosaurs! Granddaddy came along and we had a amazing time checking out the exhibits and playing outside on the National Mall.
-Getting to meet cousin Lucy! It was so exciting to be at the hospital with my sister when she gave birth and it was even more exciting to introduce the cousins a few weeks later.
I’m not setting any resolutions for myself except to maybe document Emma’s development more on here, go on more one on one dates with the hubs, and actually take a writing class at some point! (Yeah don’t expect my verbiage, content, spelling, or sentence structure to improve here but we’ll see.) Anyways I hope you all have a wonderful New Year full of adventure! See ya in 2015!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

Due to lack of a computer and overwhelming laziness to drive to Nana’s house, the blog will temporarily not feature pictures as I am posting from my phone. Here’s to hoping for a new(ish) computer in 2015!

Well we survived another Christmas! Actually, I probably should not complain because we didn’t have to travel far or host a million people or really do much of anything out of the ordinary. I did get thrown a curveball when I picked Emma up from daycare on Tuesday night (the day before Christmas Eve) to discover she had a fever. The next few hours were spent in a panic trying to figure out what to do but since it was a low grade fever, we decided to take her to the doctor the next day. After a checkup, we were informed it was just a virus and to let it run its course. Keeping panic at bay was difficult because over the next few days, Emma’s temperature was a rollercoaster of scary, going from 99.7 to 101 back down to normal and spiking at 102, then finally going back down to 99 and finally we were fever free on Saturday. This made the annual Christmas stops at the grandparent’s houses a bit difficult.

First stop was Thomas’ mom’s where last year there were a way too many people crammed into a small space. This year, it was much quieter, only Emma and her cousins. It was a very informal and comfortable setting, which is why I love going over there (a woman who does not bat an eye if you show up disheveled in sweatpants…my kind of lady). Thomas’ mom is very warm and welcoming. Emma was thrilled to get one of two toys Santa had the foresight to get her (yes, Santa comes early to Mimi’s house to deliver special presents.) She got a Doc McStuffins checkup kit! It's from a tv show she likes that actually has a cute premise and great lessons to teach kids, plus it has helped Emma get excited about going to the doctor and getting to perform her own “checkups” on mommy and daddy. A win-win.

After a night of pizza and presents, it was clear that Emma was ready for bed and probably should have stayed home away from all of the excitement. I felt terrible that she was under the weather for Christmas. Luckily, Santa still came and surprised Emma with some new things (she said she wanted “toys” from Santa but did not specify which ones as crazy as that sounds.)Santa, being the insightful guy he is, knew Emma loves jumping on the couch and in her crib. So, low and behold on Christmas morning he brought a trampoline and a tumble mat! The other awesome thing he brought was a Frozen ice castle! Complete with furniture (which I know for a fact Santa hand built himself)! Emma was over the moon and I was happy to see her enjoy her gifts for a little while. We took it easy and watched Babe (yes the pig movie, Santa must know mommy loves that one so he brought it – for Emma of course) the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, Emma’s every other day napping schedule continues so Christmas day was a no-nap day and we ended up going over to Nana’s house napless with a medicated child. Probably after the third present was opened Emma had had enough and pretty much melted down the rest of the time there. I felt so bad that she wasn’t able to enjoy her time with family. We ended up leaving right after dinner (not even a morsel of delicious fruit tart accompanied us home :( ). Finally on Friday, Emma was able to just rest at home (although she did take a few opportunities to jump on the trampoline – I guess that’s sick toddlers for you).  By Saturday she was finally fever free and now only has a lingering cough. 

Overall it was a quiet, low key Christmas and I’m glad we are on the mend in this neck of the woods. I hope everyone had a safe and healthy holiday.
Stay tuned this week for a second post (yes I know two in one week) for a look back at 2014.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Picture With Santa: Recap

It’s that time once again to look back and reminisce on that joyous occasion we embark on every year, yes that magical trip to see Santa. A time honored tradition that resonates in the deep recesses of our childhood delight and wonder. Even though, come to think of it, I do not recall ever seeing one picture with Santa from my childhood. I don’t think my mom ever sprung for the overpriced keepsakes (although she sure as heck can’t wait to get one of her grandkids with Santa now! Go figure.) It would be interesting to take a look back and see how I handled the Santa experience but since those childhood memories are forever locked away on some roll of Kodak film somewhere, I present to you for comparison years 1 and 2 from Emma’s Santa experience. 

Basically to recap year one, in the 11thhour, we got her to smile after a slow clap (like from the movies) permeated through the entire crowd of onlookers. Year two didn’t go too well but we were able to get one good picture before a meltdown happened. The picture itself from year two turned out well, she at least didn’t look terrified. Now we move onto year three. This year, I held onto hope, stemming from a well-crafted plan, that Emma would come to love and trust Santa. I made it a point to brainwash…er gently provide evidence in the form of cartoons (because they hold all the truths) that Santa is a wonderful, magical man who is worthy of speaking to and sitting with.  Beyond that, I used the power of motherhood to conveniently discuss how awesome Santa is in extreme detail and frequency. Of course I was merely sharing in the good tidings of the season with my youngster and in no way manipulating her to want to sit on Santa’s lap and smile for a picture on demand. Either way, every time Santa came up, Emma had a ho hum sort of reaction so I was a bit concerned and certainly surprised when she met him….

Finally after all the hype, the day had come! We went to the Gaylord at the National Harbor just outside the city. The place was beautifully decorated. There were festive trees, a gingerbread village, a little train for kids, Madagascar characters running around, and of course, the big guy himself. If I wasn’t so exhausted we would have seen/ done more there. The morning started with breakfast which I knew would be a hit, full tummies make for happy toddlers. Then, after breakfast, we made our way upstairs to see Santa. I was prepared to stand in a long line and was planning to use the time to solidify Santa’s awesomeness. When we made it off the escalator, I peered around the corner and saw that there was NO LINE!!! Both a blessing and a curse because ready or not here we come. When we walked up, there was one kid already talking with Santa so we got to hang out for a minute. Emma looked through the door and suddenly the moment happened. Let me first explain that this moment is one of only a handful of moments parents wait for in anticipation. It is a top ten moment in your child’s life, as in one of the most amazing moments actually ever, you know like when they take their first steps, when they speak their first words, when they learn how to ride a bike, and when they graduate from college….the moment that only happens very seldom in this big crazy parenting world…..your child experiencing magic. Like, literally living magic for a moment in time. A magic that as adults, we struggle to find, but it happened for me in that very moment, my child’s eyes widened and her mouth hung open in that shocked/ amazed way, and she spoke the words “It’s Santa! Mommy, mommy it’s Santa!” It was the moment my child first truly believed in Santa Clause. I tend to do this thing where I consciously know something amazing is happening that I don’t want to ever forget and I burn it into my memory. I grab hold of whatever I can and encapsulate it in the deepest corner of my mind. I might not remember exactly what Emma was wearing, or what was going on in the background but I will remember the look on her face and the excitement in her voice. It was the magic of a child at Christmas and I will never ever forget it. I’m hoping even if I succumb to alzthimers, that I will still be able to pull this little gem up and bring myself back to one of the most incredible moments of my life to date.

Ok now that I’ve taken you down the sentimental rabbit hole, it’s time to snap out of it an embrace the nightmare that was the next 10 minutes of our 2014 Santa experience.  After yelling excitedly about Santa several times, the minute we walked into the picture room, Emma clung to me and gave Santa a questionable look. I made sure to approach the chair slowly to let Emma warm up. She stood there for a few minutes while he spoke to her. She was completely unresponsive and I knew at that moment we had lost all hop of any sort of Pintrest worthy Santa picture so I did what any good mother would do, I lifted my flailing child onto his lap. It became quite clear immediately that this arrangement was not working for any party present and then something completely unexpected and also just as magical happened….. It started as a low rumbling and grew into the most amazing thing I’d ever seen/ heard. I looked over my shoulder to witness the baritone voice of the photographer singing…”LET IT GOOOOOOOOOO”!!! I kid you not, the freakin camera guy for Santa started singing “Let It Go” in an effort to calm down Emma. I of course, was thoroughly entertained and joined in. Emma (and possibly Santa?) were not as convinced. Finally, daddy took over and sat Emma on his lap. We got the picture and as I started to head for the door (certainly not running out to find a quiet corner to be alone and cry in after all of my hard work didn’t pay off) when a hush fell over the room and I heard my husband say “AWWWWW” I turned my head in slow motion to catch the end of a hug between Emma and Santa. It was truly the sweetest little moment between just the two of them. It seemed to be exactly what Emma wanted, just a small moment with the man to herself, none of this picture riff raff. Unfortunately the camera man “let it go” and the moment passed without being documented.

So this was it for 2014, another meh Santa picture in the books. But mark my words, next year will be the best yet!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving and other Holiday Shenanigans

Sorry I am posting this late. Our computer finally bit the dust and so we shall be computer-less for a while. The good news? You can count on a regular Saturday post going forward as I blog "live" every Saturday morning from Nana's house.

Happy week after Thanksgiving weekend all! I hope everyone had safe travels and sweet times with family. Overall, we had a great weekend in our neck of the woods. Emma and I are getting over the cold we manage to get at this same time every year although this one is a duesie.  It started off by taking me down for the count last Sunday and Monday and just when I started being able to breathe through my nose, the hacking cough came. This cough is like a million horrendous aftershocks from an earthquake that happened so long ago you barely remember the actual main event. It’s like the congestion left and now I am stuck sounding like a 90 year old bronchitis patient. Emma is at about the same stage and it just seems this mutant mucus that won’t leave.

So that about sums up how we were when Thanksgiving day rolled around. I pretty much lay in bed all day up until dinner. At dinner, I tried to avoid everyone as best as I could. No one wants to be the plague passer oner at a family event. It was like every time I burst into a fit of coughing hysterics everyone looked at me like I should be wearing an Ebola hazmat suit. This is why there are no cutesy family pictures from the day. By Black Friday, I was feeling well enough to hack my way through some stores but after a nightmare shopping experience (standing in line for over an hour with the threat of losing out on time sensitive deals) I was pretty much over it. Thankfully (see what I did there), my gracious and loving sister went into battle with me and we ended up watching bad/ hilarious infomercials in line (a good way to pass the time if you need one!) Thank you YouTube! Suffice it to say, although Black Friday has been a fun little tradition I’ve shared with my sister and aunt for years now (mostly in celebration for no longer working in retail after over 7 years in the biz) I think this *might* be my last one. It was still fun but crowds of people are becoming less and less my thing (ok they never were.)

Once again this year, I realized that December started right after Thanksgiving….(imagine that) and thus we needed to get a Christmas tree. Why do I feel like December started a week after Thanksgiving when I was younger, like there was more time to decorate and get a tree, a little breathing room between the taste of turkey and the smell of pine needles? I guess before I had a kid decorating just sort of happened when it happened but now, I feel like there is a real need to capture every single second of holiday cheer and by December 1, I want everything to transform into Christmas Merriment for my child. So with that, we set out to find our Christmas tree.

Now for the past two years, we have all been plagued with terrible illness to the point where we were unable to leave the house thus we were at the mercy of getting our tree from a big box store. Both times they turned out really well and I was pleased that we did not lose Christmas magic because our trees were pre-cut, sitting  in a pile rather than hand sawed direct from the tree farm to our house. This year, even with the aforementioned hackers cough, we were all in reasonable enough good health to make a trip to the magic tree farm! The crazy thing of it all was when it came down to it, when all was said and done, when the line between tree farm tree and store bought tree appeared in the distance, I suddenly remembered the joy of picking our tree out at the store. It was a 5 minute trip versus a 45 minute trip, we could be in and out of the store quickly so we wouldn’t have to be out in the cold too long, and I really liked their tree selection. So incredibly, this year, we continued our tradition of skipping the farm and having a good time frolicking through isles of trees and garland.

Of course as it turned out, my toddler decided to act like a two year old and my husband was more interested in football once we got home ( in his defense, I did make him hold up EVERY single tree in the place so I could judge and scrutinize every single branch so I guess he was tired when we got home) but I managed to be as merry and cheerful as I could through it all. I’m hoping this lack of interest in all things holiday on the part of my family ends at some point but maybe it was just the day or perhaps we should have slugged our way through the Christmas tree farm, at least there are no shopping carts to lounge in ( see picture explanation below) and you don’t have to unravel 20 trees to find one you like even though it’s already half dead. Yes, after meticulously inspecting every tree for perfect height and fullness, we picked the best looking and most impractical tree on the lot, the one with a bunch of dead branches on the bottom. Of course we might have a dead tree by December 16thbut by goolie, it will look amazing until then.

 Daddy's excited to get a tree. so much.

Daddy picking up one of a million trees I made him hold up to look over. 

Annnnnnd he's over it!

It turned out pretty well though!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Preschool Search

It seems like the farther along I get into this mothering gig, the more I think and know and the more I find out I don’t know squat. I like that though. I like to get schooled on the ways of the world. It keeps me on my toes and reminds me that even though I think I know…I really do have no idea. 

So, somewhere in my head I seemed to build up this magnificent idea that once a child hit a certain age, they went to preschool, as simple as that. Preschool…. the very word brings to mind the smell of crushed up crayons, stale sandwiches, dried finger pains, and afternoon snacks…the stuff of dreams. What I didn’t realize was a child “needing” to go to preschool and actually “going” where two totally different things. Preschool, I would come to find out, is not mandatory and only holds sessions between the hours of 9am-12pm. That’s it, 3 hours of unabashed childhood excellence maybe 2-3 times a week. I, being naive and new to this whole school bureaucracy thing, was kind of surprised to find out that no full time preschool situations exist. The key was to find one that had “before” and “after” care (read: from a child’s perspective: mommy doesn’t love you enough to pick you up by lunch time) ugh! I will forever try to make sure my child doesn’t have to go into after care but there’s no way I can swing a 12pm pick up! So the truth, I found out; most preschools seem to be set up for SAHMs or part-timers or someone who can work around that schedule. I was disheartened and almost gave up after I came to this realization a few months back, as a full time work out of the home mom, I would not be able to send my kid to a "real" preschool.  For working moms, the option it seems, is full time daycare with a preschool curriculum. Luckily, Emma’s daycare goes all the way up to pre-k (which I also found out is for those kids who turn five after September of the start of the school year….yippie for one more year of paying exuberant daycare costs!) 

For some reason though, I just could not let the idea of preschool go. There were several reasons for this, one being that even though I like Emma’s current daycare, there have been several small instances that have bothered me. She is still the only girl in her class which, gender stereotypes aside, makes me raise an eyebrow when she comes home acting extra aggressive. Don’t get me wrong, I do love the facility with its large classrooms and floor to ceiling windows and two huge playgrounds with bikes to ride and a huge courtyard to go on “Nature Walks.” Not to mention the structured curriculum and the reports/ newsletters and extracurricular activities they host, like gymnastics and soccer. On paper, it’s great, top notch, and you sure PAY for the shiny facility and structured curriculum but, that doesn’t mean that place has it all. And what I feel is the missing piece from her current daycare, we found at another place. A place that I thought only existed in fairytales. It’s a preschool with YEAR ROUND before and after care and classes!!! It’s very small, the complete opposite of the corporate run place she’s at now, and that gives it the homey, personal touch I was looking for. A place where they connect with the kids and really address any aggressive or upsetting behaviors with loving and caring alternatives, not just “we don’t do that” discipline. The teachers are doing their life’s work and the overall environment seems to be filled with love, plus they go on field trips! (which both excites me and makes me nervous as hell) and they put on a Christmas pageant! (which I’ve always wanted my kids to be in for some reason) and the icing on the cake…we have a friend’s recommendation! 

My husband and I actually went to visit the place a few weeks back and even with all of the amazingness; it still took me a full week to finally decide to move Emma to the new place. I know from the description it seems like it would have been a no-brainer but, my husband will have to alter his work schedule a bit and we will have to coordinate days off when the center is closed (it has a winter and a spring break). The other reason I took so long to decide is that Emma has been at the same daycare since she was 8 weeks old. She knows where everything is located, she knows all the teachers and other students and she genuinely seems to like the place. It’s all she has ever known, plus it’s in my office building. If there was ever another earth quake or a sink hole or an Armageddon like asteroid storm, I could be right there by her side within, probably under 2 minutes. Just knowing I have my family right there with me at work is a real joy. I don’t ever feel alone there because I know she is physically nearby. Having that was a tremendous help for me to transition into being a working mom. We both had a need to be close to each other and while that is still the case, I know we are beginning to enter that point in time where she needs me less and can thrive on her own. It’s just hard admitting that, which is why it took me a week to get to the place where I am comfortable letting her go into a new world without me nearby, a magical place called preschool. 

Coming January 2015…

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Tale of Two Lovies

About a year or so ago, I seemed to have this idea that Emma had found her lifelong lovie, her Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal. For those that need a brief explanation, a “lovie” is a child’s favorite comfort item/ best friend/ go to thing that they must have everywhere with them at all times. So for a while, I thought we’d lucked out and Emma had picked a stuffed animal to see her through the good and bad times that was a universally loved character and would be easy to replace should tragedy strike. I feel like there’s a Winnie the Pooh bear at every toy store, drugstore, airport, and roadside stand so we would be safe if he was to get lost or ruined at any time. 

Well the months passed and Emma’s monogamous relationship with Winnie the Pooh evolved into an all-out love fest that included Mickey Mouse, Curious George, Goofy, the velveteen Rabbit, and several baby dolls. I thought we'd dodged a bullet, my child didn't seem to have a preference for any one single item so there was no need to worry about anything getting lost, or accidently thrown out, or covered in vomit, or run over by a Mac truck. We’re good. And things stayed the course for a long time until slowly a few key players seemed to always find their way into Emma’s bed and then they seemed to find their way out into the living room with her and even sometimes into the dreaded car. It should have clicked then for me that the same two things kept coming with us wherever we went but me and my motherly buffoonery did not notice anything happening. Until one night…

I was peacefully sleeping, which I am so thankful to get to do these days, when I heard a cry come from Emma’s room. I got up to see what was wrong, went into her room, and comforted her until she went back to sleep. The next morning, I asked her why she was crying last night (thinking it might be nightmares) and her response came flying at me like a ton of bricks… “I lost my baby and I was sad mommy and I cannot sleep without my baby!” In slow motion but all at once, my eyes popped out of my head and my jaw dropped to the floor. Storm clouds quickly gathered over our living room and I swore I heard O Fortuna streaming in the background. I was suddenly acutely aware that my sweet slumberful nights now depended on a 13 inch piece of cotton with a fleece pink dress and two yellow yarn braids coming out of a Paddington bear like pink hat! 

I knew which baby she meant. I had purposefully picked this baby to be the “sleep in bed only” baby doll as the rest were always covered in dirt and dog hair the minute they left Emma’s room. I always make sure she has a few things in her bed to snuggle and that doll was one of them and now all of a sudden, it had become a necessity. To give a brief background on this particular baby doll, it was given to Emma by her great grandmother probably when she was about 9 months old or so. It was the first baby doll she ever received and I was weary about it (gender stereotypes and all) but Emma loved it so we kept it.  I thought for sure it was a specialty doll or something random and obscure that we would never be able to replace but…

There she is in all her ready to be ordered glory! Thank you internet universe! After that first bad night, I found the original baby stuck between the bed and the wall so… crisis averted! We’ve had a few close calls when baby does happen to make it out to the car or the living room (which I have been giving in on more and more…) but for the most part, there have been no loses. Since the first night we discovered Emma’s sleep depended on a baby doll, she has woken up a handful of times crying because she cannot find baby but each time it’s a quick fix (baby likes to travel to the foot of the bed it seems.) So there you have it, lovie #1.

My eyes just darted up and I realize this has become a long post already and I haven’t even addressed the SECOND lovie. Yes, we have been blessed with not one, but two items my child cannot sleep without/ has to have with her everywhere. This second lovie might be even more important than the first, it’s Emma’ s blankie. If you dare misplace Emma’s blankie, a toddler tantrum vortex, the likes you have never seen before, will swallow you up and drag you down to the flaming hot gates of HELL! You know, no pressure. The story of the balnkie pretty much parallels the story of the baby doll, only I was more aware that she had a dependency on it, I was just in denial about it for whatever reason. This blankie is a green, thermal, Gerber baby blanket that seriously is NO LONGER MADE (well in green). Being clairvoyantly savvy before Emma was born, I had ordered three of them knowing what dangers lurk out there for wonderful blankets. One of the blankets didn’t make it through an unfortunate diaper explosion back in 2012. The other two, thank goodness, are intact and still around after all this time even though Emma has definitely out grown them, yet still insists on using only them as a source of warmth. Literally she refuses to use any other blanket at night and will end up with either her torso or her claves/ feet exposed. It is great having two since we always have one while the other gets washed but that means both are CRITICAL. It’s like a ying and yang balance that gets thrown off if either blanket goes missing. And one day, one did…

It was a Monday and Emma was upset she could not find her blanket to take to school with her (which is forbidden because we’ve lost a big box store’s worth of baby inventory at daycare so yeah I let her bring them in the car but no further.) After a long search, a meltdown that I don’t even want to replay in my mind to describe here, and several frantic phone calls to the hubs, I was sure it was lost forever (this is the day I found out they do not make the green one anymore, they have white or pink but um yeah not the same). Anyways we finally found blankie in the back of daddy’s car. At that point I made it crystal clear to the entire household that blankie was to NEVER leave the house under any circumstances and we’ve been fine since. 

I’m not sure if one really reigns supreme over the other. Both seem to have the same mesmerizing grip on her. In a way, I’m glad she has comfort items to turn to if things ever get rough. I just hope we never have to part with the originals.