Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lessons Learned at the Park

Dotty is my only child. For that reason (and probably many more) I am OVERPROTECTIVE. This I know.

I watch my child like a hawk (99% of the time). I really do so when we are out in public places.

Yesterday I took Dotty to a local park. It was about 3:30 so there were lots of kids of all ages at the park. Many parents just sat in the shade and watched as their kids ran, played, slid down slides, climbed all over the jungle gym maze of hang bars, ladders, ropes, bridges, etc.

This park playground is surrounded by sand so many kids built castles, dug holes, buried toys, trucks, and their mother's keys or cell phones.

Dotty is a lot like me and Tony. She is shy and reserved at first but once you get to know her she will get in the mix of things.

Also, Dotty being an only child she likes to play with me...and only me. All the other kids soon made "friends" with each other and they ran, yelled, jumped, fell, and basically did what any kid between 3 and 8 years of age do.

I was amazed watching the other children. How they talked to each other. What they said and how they said it. Now when I hear Dotty say the words..."stupid, idiot, creep, ugly, or poopy head"...or claim to..."kill me or hate me"...or stick her tongue out at me or try to hit me...I may have some idea where she gets these ideas.

Those children were animals!

I also saw a mother of 3 (who was not American or at least was not speaking English to the person she spent the vast majority of the time on her cell phone with) use some unique parenting tactics.

Her oldest son (who was probably around 7 or 8) at one point had his shorts and his underwear off to inspect the sand that must have gotten into some cracks that he did not appreciate.

Her middle child (a boy around 5ish) hit at least two other children that I saw.

Her youngest child (a girl about 2) climbed all over the playground equipment...some of it gets very tall...over six feet...and many places have openings in the bars for kids to climb on hang bars or slide down poles.

All this being said the mother was oblivious to all her children and was clearly more interested in her phone conversation and the snack she was eating. She did make her older son put his clothes back on when he walked in front of her naked from the waist down. She never noticed the other boy or the little girl (who by the grace of God) never fell the entire 30 minutes she was on the playground equipment.

I know kids are tough. I know they have to learn things on their own. I know all of this and more. However, as I sat in the sand playing with Dotty getting almost as dirty as she was I thought to myself...Dotty may not slide down too many slides without knowing I am at least at the end to catch her if I need to...she might always look around to see where I am when she crosses the bridge (I am right behind her)...and she may always prefer to play with her Mom.

But I also know that some day she will be too old to want to slide down slides...she will cross a bridge, a street, a stage at graduation and she won't need to see if I am there because she will know she can do it herself...and she won't prefer to play with me always.

So until those days will find me in the sand with Dotty and not with the other moms. Those moms may have funny stories, good ideas, and lots of great gossip...but they are not Dotty...they are not my baby girl...they are not the reason I came to the park in the first place.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A good day...

Today (so far) is a good day.

It started off with me not having to fight Dotty to get up and go to school.

She complained about nothing. She was very cooperative. We even got to school by 8:30am (only 30 minutes after we are supposed to be there...but 30 minutes earlier than we usually show up).

When I left my sweet baby girl I thought how wonderful it was to start a day with no fights and arguments.

Then I also thought...

Of course she did not argue...

She got to eat 2 packages of "pupcakes" (the 100 calorie packs of chocolate cupcakes...they do have fiber in my defense).
She got to wear the "flip flop dress" (but I did make her put on a jacket and put pants in her bag for recess).
She also wanted (and got) an ice cream sandwich to eat on the way to school (my version of a glass of milk).

Hmmm...well...if it works then who I am to argue!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Looking for a Fairy Godmother...

Yesterday after school I took Dotty to a local pumpkin patch to pick out a few pumpkins to put on our porch. There was a wide assortment and Dotty found one she loved...and check out the price...who could beat that?!

Dotty just rambled she usually does...about all sorts of things but during our talk she told me...

"Momma, can we come back here tonight?"
"Why" I asked.
"Maybe a Fairy Godmother will be out here and she will turn these pumpkins into coaches with horses. I could wear my Cinderella dress so she won't have to get me a new one."

I don't know what I loved more...that my sweet baby girl believed in Fairy Godmothers or that she was going to wear her Cinderella dress to make the Fairy Godmother's job a little easier.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Layered Look

Today Dotty went to school once again in her "Flip Flop Dress" but because it was 50 degrees outside when we left this morning I did make her put something on under it.

She wore a purple t-shirt and purple tights under the Flip Flop Dress. I also made her wear socks with her Crocs since she demanded to wear them too.

What a look let me tell you!

Her teacher is a professional though. She simply nodded to Dotty as she walked into class...then she snickered out in the hallway.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mr. Mac

Yesterday afternoon we had some family visitors come north to Wichita Falls. Donna, Jamie, and Mac all made the long trip up from Houston to see Aunt Nell (who is Tony's great aunt) and were so nice to stop by to see The Pecan Shed crew and Dotty.

Mr. Mac is just as cute as he can be. He is all smiles and a man few words.

Dotty was not 100% sure what to think. Most of the time she spent trying to get him to play fetch or asking (in her most motherly voice) if he could say things like...ball, monkey, Jupiter.

She also got mad when he took a toy she had deemed as "hers". She still does not share well.

All in all it was a great day. I never got the two kids to be still long enough to get a picture but that was okay. I am sure we will have more opportunities later on.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Lots of people have catch phrases they use or that they are known for.

Paris Hilton: That's Hot
Donald Trump: You're Fired
The Guys from the movie Wayne's World: Excellent
Surfers: Dude
The kids from Petrolia when I was in Jr. High: Cool Beans

Some of these sayings make no sense. Some are used at the wrong time. Some can be used to answer a question, make a statement, express joy, pain, anger, etc.

Dotty's new word is...


Why it is this I have no idea.

She started saying it the other day. Now she says it for everything.

When something is great. Jupiter said with joy.
When something is really wow. Jupiter said with awe and wonder and in hushed tones.
When she is mad. Jupiter said with a growl and a scrunched up face.
When I ask her what she wants to drink. Jupiter.
When she thinks something is funny. She tells me "It is so Jupiter" as she laughs and giggles.

Last night as she drifted off to sleep she rolled over and mumbled...Jupiter.

Perhaps Dotty will explore outer space someday. Perhaps she will be a scientist or a teacher. Perhaps she will just be the funny girl who says "Jupiter" at weird times.

All I know is right now she is 3 years old, cute, sweet (most of the time), and funny.

She is one Jupiter kind of girl!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Flip Flop Dress

Dotty does not know that today is the first day of Fall. Mother Nature still doesn't have a clue either since we are still running in the 90s every day.

Dotty loves a particular summer shirt of hers...that she refers to as a dress but it is really a smocked brown shirt covered in blue and pink flip flops and she pairs it will a brown skirt with blue, pink, and white polka dots (she has a flare for fashion).

The shirt style looks just like this...

Since the "Flip Flop Dress" is Dotty's favorite she of course demands to wear it every day! And I mean every day.

Yesterday she had a meltdown because her horrible Mom had decided to wash the dare I be so calloused.

So today she wore the "Flip Flop Dress" to school again...did I mention she wore it Monday too...and she wore it Sunday but at least those at school did not see her that day.

I don't know what we will do when it does finally turn cold. I guess we will layer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bed Time Stories...Gone Bad!

Dotty loves to hear me tell her "Ariel" (which is "The Little Mermaid") and she loves to hear "Cinderella" too.

Sometimes though when I am really tired (which is just about every night) I start to drift in and out of sleep BEFORE Dotty goes to sleep WHILE I am still trying to tell her stories.

One night in particular I made it through "Ariel" just fine but when we got to "Cinderella" I started to get sleepy...very sleepy.

A few minutes in Dotty tapped me on the shoulder. I was startled and when I opened my eyes Dotty was sitting up in bed looking at me funny.

Dotty: "Mommy. What are you saying?"
Me: "I am telling you about Cinderella."
Dotty: "Well Ursula is not in Cinderella."
Me: "Did I say Ursula? I meant to say the Mean Stepmother."
Dotty: "And who is Chance? I thought the Prince's name was Phillip?"
Me: "It is. I am sorry. Let me start over."

I was so embarrassed. I sat up straight and made sure I did not fall asleep until Dotty did.

Apparently I was not only combining "The Little Mermaid" and "Cinderella" but was also throwing in a little "Young and the Restless" just to make things really interesting. (Side Note: I always knew Chance was still alive but they sure did milk it for all it was worth.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pioneer Reunion Parade

I grew up in Clay County and with that being said I have attended probably close to 30 Pioneer Reunion Rodeos/Parades. Looking back at my memories, the 3rd weekend in September always seemed to be filled with fun, food, and farm animals (mainly horses and cows).

Pioneer Reunion is so important to me that I took Dotty to her first one ever when she was only 6 days old (you read that right...6 DAYS old...days...yep...days). Let me just say that "Ouch" does not begin to explain how bad i felt on the way home that 95 degree day (lucky for us Pioneer was a little bit cooler than normal).

Friday morning Dotty and I loaded up in Memaw's car with Keri and Presley to head to Henrietta. We got there in plenty of time to see the "McGhee" girls and take their annual "horseback" picture then head to the square to find a good seat.

Note: A "good seat" at the Pioneer Reunion Parade involves shade and a breeze.

We did not find a very good seat.

Thankfully Memaw had packed like we were going to be staying for 2 days not just 2 hours. She had lots of drinks, snacks, and chairs for everyone...including people we did not even know that helped themselves.

When the parade was over...of which I am sure Dotty saw about 5 seconds of it before she started playing in the ice in the ice chest...we headed back to the car. Memaw carried Dotty and held Presley's hand. Both girls of course were furious Memaw was even touching the other one.

Note: Presley and Dotty being only children do not share well. They are even worse when it comes to Memaw.

When we finally got back to the car the girls fought the whole way back to town. This caused me to remember why Dotty is an only child and to think that my mom had a reason for sending me and Jake to Grandma's house so much when we were little.

Once we were back to Wichita Falls both Keri and I agreed to remind each other of all the "fun" we had today. Of course, like childbirth, I am sure a year from now we will think "it wasn't THAT bad" and we will go again.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fit Throwing Threes

I thought when Dotty turned three I was going to get to celebrate living through the "terrible twos"...little did I know the "threes" were going to be worse.

Dotty has been throwing so many fits lately and really trying to test my patience. I am not sure if she is doing this because we took away her "bottle-like" sippy cup or what. I know in the past when Dotty got mad or frustrated she would just grab that sippy and a blanket and go to town but now she usually grabs a fist full of air and starts hitting the ground (a few times me...until she found out that was really a bad idea).

The past few evenings I have watched and waited for my child to stop throwing a fit to take a bath, eat her dinner, get pajamas on, get in bed, turn off the tv, go to sleep, etc. Then the mornings continue with fits to get out of bed, get clothes on, get in the car, go in to school, etc.

I try to give Dotty some space but to also let her know that I understand she might still want to play or that she might not be ready to wake up yet or that sometimes I don't want to go to work either but I do, etc. However, I sometimes just have to draw a line in the sand and start counting...1...2...3...and then it is either time out or a pop on the bottom. (Note: I don't like to spank children and I really don't like to spank my own baby. On the other hand, I do realize that sometimes new tactics must be tried.) Thus, last night I told Dotty I was going to spank her if she did not get back in the bed by the time I counted to three. I said, " you want to get in bed before I say 3?"

Dotty replied with a loud and vehement "NO!"

So I said, "3...pause...Okay. You had your chance."
Then I picked Dotty up off the floor. Gave her one pop on the tush and put her to bed. Now mind you Dotty has hit me a lot harder than I hit her then but I think the point was Dotty was surprised I actually "spanked" her. While I did not like the entire event I do want Dotty to know that I mean what I say. I hope the next time just the threat of a "spanking" will work...I HOPE!

With all this being said I talked to Dotty's teacher this morning to see if Dotty was misbehaving at school. Mrs. Hall is a very calm and patient woman. She had been doing this for a number of years. She has seen and done it all when it comes to three year olds. She is also very blunt.

Mrs. Hall told me Dotty always wanted to be first. She doesn't like to share. She doesn't always play well with others.

At this point my mind was freaking out so I sort of heard only muffles after that. My heart dropped. I began to think that I was a terrible mother who had raised an awful child.

Then Mrs. Hall did say something that brought me back from freaking out. She said "Dotty is a typical 3 year old."

Oh thank heavens! I almost collapsed in relief.

Then she said..."Yep. The worst years are when your child is 3, in 3rd grade, and 13 years old. So Dotty just turned 3...that means you have a full year of this and two more rough years ahead of you."

Oh joy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The past two nights I have had trouble getting Dotty to "go to sleep". She wants to play, eat, sing, laugh, get every stuffed animal she owns on the bed, cry, go to the bathroom (again), etc.

Both nights I finally had to get mean and tell her she was about to have to go to sleep alone in her bed (usually I lay with her until she falls asleep and then I get up and go to my bed). Telling Dotty she is going to have to go "night-night" alone is almost as bad as telling her Memaw is leaving...crying always follows.

So both nights I had to threaten to leave her alone due to the fact that she was tired and had school the next day...I was tired and had work the next day...and...well...I am a mom so that is what we do...we pull out the big guns when we have to.

After crying and telling me, "I don't care" (her new favorite phrase), then crying and asking me to stay, Dotty grabbed a blanket and took a last sip from her new sippy cup and then cuddled up beside me. Both nights as she drifted off to sleep she would fling her right arm over my neck and hug me then leave it there until she feel asleep and I got up to go to my bed.

Both nights when that arm was squeezing my neck all my frustration, exhaustion, and pleadings with God to make my child go to sleep went away and I simply said a little prayer of thanks for my little girl and the hugs that she gives me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sippy Rehab...

Dotty is doing great in her "sippy rehab". The worst night was the first but then she went to stay with her daddy and he told me it went well.

Now Dotty uses the "Take and Toss" Princess sippy cup. Since it has a hard plastic top and will drip out without her sucking on it, she no longer uses the cup like a pacifier.

When I picked her up Sunday, Dotty told me, "I don't take a sippy cup anymore."

Such a big girl!

Last night I had a little trouble getting Dotty to go to sleep but that sometimes happens when she gets off her schedule. Finally at a little past 10pm she fell asleep.

She woke up at 7:15am...not a peep all night.

Hallelujah...praises to heaven...and bless my soul...why did we not do this 6 months ago?!?!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kicking the Sippy Habit

Dotty is a sippy cup addict...and not just any sippy cup...a particular kind of sippy cup...the kind that has a top very similar to a bottle. The Nuby "Transitional" Sippy Cup.

It all started when she was being weened from her actual baby bottle. Ruth Ann started that project while Tony and I were on a trip and we (of course) continued the weening process when we got back. However since I am a sucker (and enjoyed sleeping at least an hour or two hours at night) I bought every kind of sippy cup that was available until we found one Dotty would take.

The one Dotty liked was a sippy cup in which the top was VERY similar to a bottle top. At that point I didn't care. She was drinking and I was least a little.

Dotty is so addicted to that sippy cup though she couldn't sleep without it...and if she woke up at night she had to have it. (Dotty never took a pacifier but that sippy was even worse!)

So when Dotty turned 3 Tony and I decided to kick the sippy habit. (Somewhere along the way we forgot this particular sippy was supposed to be "transitional"...must have been in the fine print.)

I had the first night...and it was bad. Actually it started at school.

When I picked Dot up from school she wanted her sippy (because she usually got on then) but I told her we didn't have one...the screaming, crying, and wailing began. Twenty minutes later (during which I got pleading looks from both Dotty and Memaw) I got her in her car seat...without a sippy.

That night though when it was time for bed Dotty spent an hour and a half screaming, crying, wailing, thrashing around, and almost making herself sick. She told me she didn't like me, she wanted a new mommy, she wanted her daddy...some things I just can't repeat...but you get the idea.

Finally after watching Wow Wow Wubzy until midnight she crashed with just a few more tears at 12:20am. I woke her up at 7:30am...not a peep all night.

The following day she asked for the sippy a little but not as much as I expected. I took her to her daddy to spend the weekend with him. I threatened Tony to not give her a sippy (although I was about 90% sure he wouldn't but Dotty has a way of breaking her daddy down...the main reason I made Tony PROMISE not to give Dot a sippy was because I feared if we caved now she would be taking that cup with her to college) and so far I hear things are going well.

I am not the best mother and heaven knows I do not always do things right but here is a good piece of advice...

Ween your child of bottles, pacifiers, and bottle-like sippy cups early and make sure they sleep in their own bed and through the night early on too. You want to do the weening process as soon as possible preferable when they are just crying because that is bad enough. It is even worse when they can make full sentences and throw a guilt trip at you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I wish I had a camera...

Lots of times in life things happen where I say "I wish I had a camera" so I could capture the moment or better yet record it on my Flip.

Yesterday even though there were lots of cameras and my Flip was filming, there were still moments that I just hope I remember forever.

It started when Dotty and I pulled into the Chuck E. Cheese (CEC for short) parking lot. Dotty was getting out of her car seat and as I was gathering up our stuff she asked..."Is today just MY birthday party?" (Presley's birthday being the day before Dotty's was a hard thing for Dotty to understand).

When I told Dotty that this party was just for her the smile she had and the little clapping she did just melted my heart (although I did think it was a little selfish on her part...but hey...give her a break...she is 3).

This she asked "Will all the presents be for me?"
"Yes" I said.
Dotty asked "Presley won't get to open up any?"

Okay at this point we were teetering on the edge between cuteness and brattiness so I nipped it in the bud.

I told Dotty that today was her special day. That everyone has a special day. That we also need to enjoy when others get presents or get to celebrate and we also need to thank those who come to our special day. I told her Presley and the other kids would be getting goody bags to open at the end of the party.

Dotty's smile slowly faded and because I know my child so well I told her I had also made a goody bag for her just like the other kids....big smile returned.

Lots of other great things happened that night. Dotty playing air hockey was just great. Her victory dance is something Ocho Cinco would be jealous of and I am sure she would get a 15 yard penalty for it.

But one of the best things of all was when Dotty was opening gifts.

I had been asking Dotty all night if she needed to potty knowing that with all the fun she would not want to take a potty break. She kept telling me no so we kept right on going.

Half way through opening presents Dotty stops mid paper rib and says "I tee teed in my panties."

"Oh no"...followed by a little smothered laughing was done by most in attendance.

Memaw asked "Dotty do you need me to take you to the potty?"

Dotty answered "No Memaw. I told you I JUST DID tee tee." This was said slowly and loudly in case Memaw had missed it the first time.

Loud laughter was heard throughout the building.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday!!!

Today Dotty is 3 years old!

Thanks to all who have made the past 3 years so enjoyable and especially to all of you who have been so much help. It really does take a village (and sometimes the help from people who live in villages far away) to raise a child.

Dotty is a lucky girl to have so many people love her.

Tony and I are lucky to have such a wonderful, sweet, beautiful, loving, smart (okay...okay...proud Momma here)...girl.

I have no idea what the next year, 3 years, 13 years, or 30 years will be like but I can't wait to find out.

I remember this day 3 years ago. I was scared to death, in a lot of pain, and was so excited to meet my baby (we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl). Today I am not as scared, definitely not in that kind of pain, but I am still excited to see what my baby will grow up to be...what her life will be like...what new and exciting things she will see and do.

So again...Happy Birthday Dotty...and many more!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Last Day as a 2 year old...

Today is Dotty's last day to be a 2 year old. My how the time has gone by fast. It seems like just yesterday we were having her 2nd birthday party and now a year has already past.

It seems like just last week she was a tiny baby I was holding in my arms. So soft and sweet and new.

This past year has not been easy due to the "terrible twos" and for other reasons but in a way this year has taught me to treasure time with Dotty. I don't get to see her every day and there are moments in her life I miss due to work or whatever. But because of the past year's "life lessons" I have learned to enjoy the time I do have with Dotty.

I have learned to stop and have dinner in "Dotty's kitchen". To listen to her making up stories with her dolls. To sing with her. To laugh with her. To let her cry. To watch her dance.

I think so often I get busy just "living" that I forget to really enjoy my life. Of course laundry has to get washed and groceries have to be bought and baths and bedtimes must be done...but raising Dotty is not a chore. Raising Dotty is a joy...and I want to enjoy every part of it.

I hope Dotty enjoys her last day as a 2 year old. I know 2 years ago I didn't particularly enjoy Sept 7th. But I endured contractions and pains and just being down right uncomfortable...for one reason. Happy Birthday Presley! My best gift to both girls was not making them share their birthdays with each other!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Birthday Blues...

Little ones have a hard time with "time". Dotty cannot understand how long 30 minutes will take. She does not know what a day, a week, a month, or a year really is. She is still very naive when it comes to "time".

She is learning though. She tries out the words. She has been a kick lately where everything happened "last year" to her. It does not matter if it happened last week, yesterday, or five minutes her it was "last year".

Dotty's birthday is coming up and she is excited. Of course she wants to open gifts and have cake but she is also just excited about the whole idea of a birthday. She knows it is special and that it is something wonderful.

She is having a hard time though because she feels like her birthday will never come. The main reason for this distress is that everyone else seems to be having birthdays.

Payton's was August 25th, Will's was August 30th, Presley had a party last night but her actual birthday is not until September 7th.

So in Dotty's mind...and as she said "it will never be MY birthday".

I tried to show her on a calendar. I tried to explain it as best I could but nothing really helps.

The sad thing is...I want to push off Dotty's birthdays for as long as possible because while she wants the cake, the presents, and the fun that comes with a birthday I want my little girl to stay little. And with each birthday I know that my little girl is growing up. With each candle that is added to her birthday cake I am reminded once again of my favorite saying...the days are long but the years are short.