Saturday, May 28, 2011

Looking Back...

Dotty has been going to her school for over a year now. The other day when I dropped he off with her class at the park I was reminded of the first few months she attended school. It was a tough time for both Dotty and me.

The first summer Dotty was at this school I would take her to the park each morning to meet her class. Dotty would cling to my leg and beg me to stay. When I would finally get her pried off and tell her everything was going to be okay she would just look at me with tear filled eyes and hug me goodbye.

I had to stay upbeat and strong for her but every time I got in my car I would break down and cry. I would make the block and drive past the park area again and if I saw her off by herself I would sob even harder. I had to really restrain myself from pulling over and going and getting her to take her with me.

I know that children need to learn to play with other kids and I know that Dotty needs to learn how to play on her own. As an only child that can be a difficult thing to do. I know that Dotty's tears were dried long before my own were and I know that she became a more well rounded child because of the experience. My heart was broken almost every morning and Dotty cried real tears but we both survived and I am sure we are both stronger because of it.

I know children need to experience some disappointments in life. I know that children have to cry from time to time. But I also know that it does not get easier to see your child sad, upset, or crying.

When I dropped Dotty off at the park the other day to be with her class she still asked if I could stay and she still hugged me tightly and held on for a little while but there were no tears. As she headed off to the swings by herself my heart dropped a little remembering what it was like a year ago. But before I could reach the park gate a little girl called out to Dotty. Dotty ran to her and they hugged then walked off to the sand holding hands. Dotty never looked back at me.

I cried then.

This time these were tears of joy. My baby had not only learned to be willing to play by herself but she had made friends. Friends that were happy to see her. Friends that she was happy to see.

I know there will still be tears in our future. There will still be hard lessons for both of us to learn. But I know now that the tears will dry...the lessons will make the rest of life a little easier...and we will both be just fine.

Why Is It...

Why is it that your children always behave better for other people???

In order to get Dotty in the bath tub at night I have to beg, barter, and threaten to beat the child at times. If she has to wash her hair then the real fun begins. It takes 30 minutes to do the entire process and we are both worn out, tired, and teary when it is over. Brushing her teeth is another not-so-fun chore and usually requires more of me telling her to do it or the Ariel toothbrush is going in the trash can. Heaven help us when it comes time to brush her hair. Several times I have given up completely and we have actually gone into her school and I have had her teacher tell her she has to brush her hair. I have no shame at this point in life.

The other night my friend Jeri came over to visit. She offered to get Dotty ready for bed. What I am about to say is no lie....

Dotty was washed and all...and out of the tub in less than 10 minutes. She did not fuss once. She brushed her teeth for Jeri with only one small comment of which Jeri totally ignored. Then she even let Jeri brush her hair out!

I am considering having Jeri move in with us and paying her good money to do this for me every day. I think it would save my sanity and my vocal chords.

Dotty's Style of Dance...

Dotty is a dancing fool! That girl likes to dance day and night. She wakes up wanting to dance. She wants to dance until I tell her we have to go to bed at night. She watches shows about Barbie dancing, Dora dancing, Yo Gabba Gabba dancing, and she even watched a little bit of Dancing with the Stars.

Based on Dotty's style of dancing I am not sure if she will be on Broadway, be a Rockette, be a professional sports team cheerleader, or perhaps be in Vegas. My only hope at this point is that she keeps her clothes on (but right now some of her performances in the bath tub are sans clothing).

Dotty's dancing is a combination of ballet, flash dance, and karate, with a little bit of hula dancing hip moves thrown in and some break dancing tricks just for fun. The best is when Memaw is her partner and there are some lifts involved. Memaw does not have quite the stamina as Dotty though so she is just a featured performer and her role is very limited.

I need to get some of this on film so when Dotty is famous I can be contacted by Entertainment Tonight for embarrassing home videos of her.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Princess Leia

Here recently Dotty has been talking about Star Wars quite a bit. I finally decided to ask Tony if he was letting Dotty watch Star War movies (which I would not be happy about at this age in her life...too scary and violent).

He said he had run out of bedtime stories and Star Wars was the only "princess" story he could think of...Princess Leia.

For Father's Day Tony is getting a book of Bedtime Stories. I can only hear about Darth Vader so much from my 3 year old.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I am a Nichols!

Most of the time Dotty is a pretty self assured little girl. She is not as shy as I am and she definitely has her own unique style when it comes to fashion. She is very comfortable in her own skin (and I hope she always is).

Like most 3 years old Dotty thinks she can grow up to be anything she wants to be. Some of her favorites are a vet, a doctor, a movie star, a princess, a mermaid, a rock star, a basketball player, a mommy, a daddy, Minnie Mouse, Dora, and a million others. She thinks she can meet Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Belle, or even Hannah Montana someday (if only I would take her to Disney World!). She wants to climb a mountain some day, join the circus, eat all the snow cones in the world, and ride on a dolphin under the sea.

In Dotty's eyes she is the best at everything! She thinks that because we all tell her that (except when Presley is around to point out otherwise). The other day we were sitting on the back porch with Memaw eating our dinner when several birds flew in our yard. Dotty started her "unique" bird call (unique to say the least).

I said, "Dotty you have the best bird call."
She responded with a nonchalant "I know."
I said, "Are you so good at everything because you are 3 or is it because you are Dotty."
She said "Because I am a Nichols!"

That mentality will serve her well someday...I have no doubt on the basketball court or golf course or classroom. For those of you who don't know Tony well he was the kind of athlete that wanted the last shot, he was the type of coach that wanted the game to be close...he thought those were the most fun...he always thought he could win too. There was never a doubt in his mind. It was one of the things I most admired about him. Dotty gets her "winner's spirit" from him and I couldn't be happier that she does!

Running Away...

This morning Dotty woke up and called out to me from her bedroom. When I laid down on her bed beside her she said, "Mommy...tomorrow I am going to run away."

Wow! My first thoughts were panic...tears...calling the cops to be prepared for an Amber Alert...then I remembered she is 3 years old.

So instead I simply asked "Why are you running away? I will miss you so much and be so sad."

Dotty said, "I want YOU to run away with ME. Won't it be FUN! We can camp every night."

Good thing I did not call the cops.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Child's Love For A Mother

Children show their mothers how much they love them in lots of little ways. Here are just a few that I have personally received from Dotty...

She snuggles up to in bed and whispers "goodnight" to me.
She wakes up in the morning all sleepy eyed and yawns a "good morning" to me.
When she is crying she only wants her Mommy to hold her.
She makes me drawings filled with all kinds of colors and stickers and hands them to me so carefully like they will be worth a million dollars some day (which of course they are priceless in my eyes).
She brings me flowers picked from our neighbors yard (don't tell our neighbor).
She brings me weeds that look like flowers.
She brings me bugs (both dead and alive...her favorite are rollie pollies).
She brings me rocks.
She brings me things that are dark and brown but are not rocks and we have to immediately go wash our hands!
She holds my hand to cross the street.
She holds my hand when she is going to sleep.
She holds my hand when she is not thinking about holding my hand...she just does it out of habit.
She puts on fashion shows for me.
She tells me I am beautiful.
She tells me she looks like she must be beautiful.
She tells me she loves me even though I have stinky breath in the morning.
She says she doesn't like me when I tell her no...then she tells me she loves me later on when all the tears have dried.
She is excited to see me when I pick her up from school.
She is not so excited to see me when I pick her up from Memaw...but she still goes home with me anyway.
She gives me kisses.
She gives me hugs.
She gives me a headache at times but then she goes to sleep and I am reminded of how lucky I am to have her.
Some days she begs me to keep her and not take her to school.
Some days she barely waves goodbye when I drop her off...but she tells me she missed me when I pick her up.
She tells me stories.
She sings to me.
She dances for me.
She even shares with me her life, her time, her wishes, her dreams, her hopes, her future.
She also sometimes shares her food with me (like on Sunday when she asked if I wanted her to share her Oreo cookies with me...of course I said yes...she broke the cookie open and gave me the half with no cream filling...then she licked the cream filling off her side and handed me that side of the well...if that isn't love I don't know what is).

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Night at School

Dotty's school hosts a Father's Night and a Mother's Night each year. Father's Night has been quite a while back but Mother's Night was last night.

Dotty was not really thrilled about attending but we did make an appearance. I have no idea what Father's Night is like since no moms are allowed but I have a feeling it is a lot less stressful.

Like most mothers, I was constantly on edge. I wanted to make sure Dotty was playing well with others, that she was behaving, that she was being a good girl. Every time she took a toy away from a kid or demanded to use a certain marker or even began to pout or fuss I was reminding her to "be good"...telling her to "behave"...and giving her the evil eye. I was tense the entire time and I was not alone.

I looked around the room and saw all the mothers whispering to their children, dragging some out of the room, and many have very similar "mom stares". Mother's Night started at 7pm at by 7:45pm all the moms left school looking frazzled and exhausted...the kids did not look much better.

When Dotty and I got home Dotty just looked at me and said "I am glad that is over."

I burst out laughing then told her I agreed!