Preschool beauty secrets…

Her costume was set out.  Her makeup was laid on the counter, ready for application.  Her routine had been practiced 70 times that morning.

And Mommy was in the shower.

What better time to try her hand at this:


Yep, that’s right.  A mere hour before her first dance recital, my daughter had taken scissors to her hair while I cleaned myself up.

When I got out of the shower, she came bounding in my bathroom, a huge, proud smile on her face, and exclaimed “Mommy!  I cut my hair!”

I have to admit, I didn’t make the best choice.

What I should have done:  Perhaps acknowledge her pride and independence, not overreact but instead calmly explain that we don’t cut our own hair.

What I did:  Stomped. Her. Buzz.

A total killjoy, I yelled “NOOOOO!” and scared the crap out of her.  Then searched her hair like a mother howler monkey preening her young, trying to assess the damage.

And when I pulled away from her scalp to look her in the eyes, I was met with tears.  She had come to me, all excited and proud, and I had made her feel horrible.  What’s a mom to do?

Thankfully, she actually did a pretty decent job cutting her hair, creating a little fringe near her chin line in an updated “Rachel” for the preschool circuit.  It was still long enough to put back for her recital, so all was fine.  But I did have to have a conversation about how we don’t cut our own hair, because those snips are real.  Speaking from experience, bad haircuts are hard to recover from.

Still, I think there’s some merit there to her sense of self and beauty.  I wish that I could feel as confident in myself when there are markings on my face (in my case, zits and wrinkles instead of markers and Curious George stamps).  That it might not be a bad idea to not put so much stock in to how my hair looks.

So, I’ve come up with a few preschooler beauty tips to try and follow.  Because, seriously?  That girl could do anything she wanted to herself and she’d still be the most beautiful thing on the planet to me.

preschool beauty secrets

Less is less.  More is more. 

If a little dab of lotion works wonders, a huge blob should provide enough moisture to turn back the hands of time, circa the Newborn Era.

Matching is for ninnies.

Want to wear two garments of uncomplimentary shades in contrasting patterns? If you’ve got enough sass, then coordinating isn’t an issue.  You wear the clothes, they don’t wear you.

Jewelery is best worn in quantity.

See “Less is less” above.

Go au naturale.

Why bother wiping that peanut butter off your face?  Its natural (and organic if you swing that way) properties will provide just the right balance of foundation and protective barrier you’ll need to face your date night with confidence.

That Bed Head look is totally in.

No need for brushing that mane! Knots and matted sections really emphasize that wild side of you. Not to mention that avoiding a comb shaves time off your morning ritual.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

You should feel comfortable in your own skin.  So comfortable in fact that clothing is optional.  It’s all beautiful.  And clothing only gets in the way.

When in doubt, flash those pearly whites.

A preschooler’s precious grin goes a pretty long way, so why not try this fashion accessory out for yourself?

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The final nap…

My daughter is at that stage now where I fear that any day she’ll resist naps all together. She’ll be 4 in May, and while I realize that this is normal for this age, I still dread the day the naps go away.  Or panicked.  Take your pick.

Granted, right now we’re back in the nap groove. She’s actually been asking to take a nap. As in “Mommy, let’s go up and read books so I can go to sleep.”

Mind. Blown.

And I will take this for all it’s worth. Just a mere month ago she was begging to be able to stay up all day, every day.  The Party Girl.

Surprisingly, these naps haven’t left her bedtime a total disaster. She ebbs and flows with this. Sometimes a hearty nap will result in an hour of Jack-In-The-Box door opening at bedtime. But not lately. Perhaps it’s a growth spurt. But let’s not tempt fate by trying to figure out why we’re in a zone, shall we?

But I know it’s coming. My son napped all the way until Kindergarten, when he went in the afternoon. By that point, it seemed cruel to then ask him to take a nap on the weekends, after he had spent all that time during the week trying to adjust.

Sure, “quiet time” is still an option once a nap disappears. But, c’mon, how successful is that?

With my son, we set a timer and told him he couldn’t come out and bug us until the timer went off. Yet, he would still come out every 10 minutes or so and question why his timer hadn’t gone off yet. Didn’t I know how to work a clock? I must have been doing it wrong! There’s no way 45 minutes could be that long!

And so, I wait. I wait for her naps to become discombobulated. For them to fall apart. For me to lose that time during the day to regroup.

She is the last kid we’ll have. This is the last nap left. After she shuns her naps, the day will be one long, high-speed bullet train to bedtime.

So, yes. I will miss the time to myself. I will miss being able to pay bills, write emails, work, clean, poop in private without having to keep a small child occupied. I will dread the transition that may result in overtiredness, meltdowns, and the She-Devil that emerges after five consecutive days of sleep deprivation (her, and me).

But I will also miss something much sweeter.

The best part of my day is waking my sleeping daughter from her afternoon nap.

I know, that’s crazy talk, right? But hear me out.

My daughter has been napping hard lately. And I usually have to wake her up to be able to get her brother from school. The walk upstairs is a weird mix of saying goodbye to My time and happy anticipation of what awaits.

When I open the door, I’m hit with the tranquility of slumber and an orchestra of white noise machines. She’s out like a light. Sometimes clothed, sometimes not.  Her body sprawled out in ways that would make a Yogi proud.

I crawl in bed with her and soak in her warmth. Sleeping is hard work.  The hair around her neck is slightly damp, and I inhale the sweet, sweaty smell of deep sleep.

It takes her a while to open her eyes. As she fights to stay asleep, her body burrows in to mine, her mouth sucking her thumb fervently as if that could shut out the world.

We lay like this for a while, and then the ritual begins. She pretends to still be asleep as I tickle her. And, man, is she a fantastic actress. It’s only when she can’t take it anymore that her eyes pop open and she says hello to the afternoon.

I won’t ever get this back once it’s gone.

Sure, there will be mornings left. But mornings are tricky. Her sleep isn’t as deep, she wakes easier, and the rush of school makes the whole process speedy and quick.

For now, I savor every nap.  Relish in the 1.5 hours of quiet catching up.  Cherish every warm cuddle with my sleeping girl.

This walk upstairs to wake her is a roulette wheel.  I’ll I never know when the last time I’ll get to wake her will be until it’s already happened.

Three is the new two…

Miss P turned 3 on Tuesday, and like clockwork, her new age brought a whole new level of defiance and tantrums.  I love her madly and would throw myself in front of a loaded gun for her, but man, she’s become a little turd at times this week.   You’ll ask her a question and she’ll just stare at you without answering. Or blinking.  THAT LOOK.  The one that will make me even crazier when she’s a teenager.  She’s already perfected it.  When she’s not doing that, she’s having a colossal tantrum.  Welcome to 3! Mommy’s going to need some new tricks up her sleeve…and a run to the liquor store.

And Mr. B isn’t fairing so well, either.  He got been getting in to trouble at school and has had a hard time at home lately, and I’m at a total loss for what to do.  I feel like a failure as a parent, that I’ve raised a child who has ZERO self control.  And I worry that, as we move forward to this new, possibly less-tolerant school, that he’ll be marked as ADHD or get sent to the disciplinarian’s office more times than Joan River visits a plastic surgeon.  He’s a good kid, he really is.  I have to remind myself that he’s FIVE.  And a boy.  All normal behavior.  And his “trouble” at school is not mean or malicious, he just prefers being silly and disruptive.  Mind you, Mr. B is wicked smart.  He’s reading at a 2nd or 3rd grade level…in kindergarten and at any given moment, he’s reading.  A book, a sign, a receipt, the nutritional guide on his bag of Cheetos.  He can focus, he just chooses not to.  Or more likely, he can’t help himself by his love of silly things and laughing, and uses that as his guide.

I think what’s really going on though is a little fallout from our weekend.  Since we didn’t really give the kids a proper Spring Break, we did some research, cashed in hotel and airline points, and took the kids to Disneyland this past weekend.  Three whole days spent traipsing around the Happiest Place on Earth.  The kids had a total blast.  Riding rides non-stop, feeling as if the whole day was based on their agenda and not ours, meeting all sorts of characters, and being so excited that I was sure someone, at some point, would pee themselves.  Alas, they did not. 

Mr. B, being finally tall enough to ride most of the rides, went on just about every thing he could, sometimes twice. 

And Miss P?  She was so enchanted by the whole thing.  We stood in line on Thursday to meet Rapunzel, and Flynn happened to stop by.  I thought P’s heart might stop right then and there. There is absolutely no question of my daughter’s sexual preference right now, and if she could have figured out how to stalk Flynn around the park, I bet she would have.  Mind you, I can’t blame her.  Most of the moms in line were a little dreamy-eyed towards Flynn.  I think even Jon might have had a little man-crush on him. 

Miss P didn’t nap for three straight days and loved every minute of it.  All in all, the kids were fantastic.  We didn’t have too many meltdowns, they were patient (for the most part) in all of the lines (and there are a lot of lines), and we really enjoyed ourselves together.  By the end of the first day, though, my legs were tired, my arms were sore from carrying around either a small child or a large backpack, and I could have used an ice cold beer.  Don’t ya know it, they don’t serve alcohol in Disneyland! 

Miss P had breakfast with Ariel, Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora and Mulan, which was so adorable.  Mr B kept trying to maintain his macho facade and get all whiny about having to dine with princesses.  But of course, once they came around to the table, he jumped out of his seat, took his hat off (like a gentleman should, right?  Am I right, ladies?) and strutted over to meet the fair maidens, get their autographs, maybe even sneak a hug, and get his picture taken along with his sister.


As a reward for being so supportive of all the girlie stuff, I took Mr. B on the Tower of Terror.  I don’t know what he was expecting, but certainly not the elevator ride to hell and back.  Have y’all been on this thing?  You get in an elevator car with about 20 other people, belt yourself in to a metal seat, and hold on for dear life.  The car then drops down an elevator shaft at speeds just slightly faster than free fall.  But not all the way down.  Oh no, that would be too simple.  First, the doors open so you’re looking out at the park.  The moment you get comfortable?  This sucker pulls you down about 20 feet.  You’re looking out another door, and right as you’ve turned to your companion to laugh it off, the car plummets down about 170 feet.  Then it shoots you back up to the top and you do the whole thing all over again in complete darkness.  I nearly shit my pants.

I took one look at B’s face once the plunge started, and I instantly felt regret.  What the hell am I doing to my kid?  Is he going to be scarred for life?  He looked like he was going to cry, yet he never did.  And when the ride was over, though, his face was a mix of exhilaration, pride, and sheer terror.   I was so proud of him and his courageousness.  And he didn’t even have a streaker in his underpants!

While I know there are only so many memories that can hold their place in our  kids tiny brains, I really do hope this experience lodges itself in there somewhere and stays put for a while. 


Parting is such sweet sorrow…

To quote Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please GO NOW?…  

The time has come.  The time is NOW.  

Tomorrow, my little girl starts daycare for the first time.  Full day, 9-3.  All by her big self.  I’ve been spending the last few days getting her supplies together, trying to make a smaller lovey for her to take along, and biting my nails at the prospect of that first tearful parting.  But hopefully Miss P will prove me wrong.  We’ve been calling daycare “school” in the hopes that it builds up the excitement a little, seeing as how her big brother has been going to school since she can remember and will be starting Kindergarten in a week.  Miss P has meet her teacher a few times already.  And I’m hoping that she’ll kind of remember the place, seeing as how she came with me to drop off and pick up big brother when she was tiny.  My only saving grace is the knowledge that she probably won’t be the only little one crying. 

Humpty Dumpty…

The title for this post is fitting in more than one way this afternoon. But before I launch in to a tirade of self-pity, let me just rant about apologize if things get a little wacky in here. As many of you probably know, Blogger went off the reservation yesterday and ate two big ole posts of mine. Who knows if they will return, but I sure as heck ain’t typin’ em up again.

Today, something happened that I’m so not proud of.  I hesitated even coming in here and writing about it, seeing as how the Internet is just full of crows waiting to pick at the weak.  But here goes.

My daughter, you see, is a bit of a dare devil.  The girl has no fear, none.  She willingly jumps off counters in to adult arms, has figured out how to use her glider and diaper pail as stepping stools to get on to her changing table, attends swim class with an air of Been-There-Done-That as she plunges in to the pool at whim, and in general gives me a heart attack on a daily basis. 

So, today, we were at Costco.  And since my little Houdini can wiggle out of the child seat belts in the front, we’ve taken to placing her in the big part of the cart.  Yep, you can guess what’s coming.  She’s sitting down, I turn to grab deodorant off the shelf, and as I turn back around, there’s Miss P, perched on the side of the cart.  Faster than I can take a step, off she goes, falling backwards out of the cart and crashing down on to that damn hard wholesale concrete floor.  A parent’s worst nightmare.  The kind that you hear about and think “no way is my kid or am I stupid enough to do THAT.”  Even as I type this, I can see the sight of Miss P falling and the look on her face, can hear the sound of my sweet little girl’s head hit the ground, can feel the hysterical wiggling of her body as I tried to calm her down afterward.

I know it’s not the smartest place to put your child.  What I didn’t expect was the blatant un-helpfulness with which I was greeted when trying to find help.  I could just sense the judgement in people’s stares, especially from the parents that have their child strapped in to the front seat of the carts.  A+ for them.  What I needed in that moment was someone to step in, see that I was in need, and help me out.  Would it have killed someone to check if we were alright, to get us a bag of ice, and tell me that it’s not the first time this has ever happened?  The following correspondence was the one that did it in:

Older woman walking past me as I hunker down on the floor near the bathrooms with Screaming Banshee:  Is she alright?
Me: No, she fell
Older woman: Not out of the cart though, right?
Me:  Yep, out of the cart

What kind of assistance is THAT?  I’m already crying, you don’t have to make me feel even worse about it.  It is interactions like this that turn me off from people.  Ugh.

So, I get Miss P calmed down to a whimper.  She says she wants to go, so we make it to the car, where her lovey is.  She starts sucking her thumb and seems fine, but then starts getting groggy, so I call her pediatrician and take her over.  Two blocks away from the office, Miss P perks up and seems back to normal.  Thankfully the pediatrician we saw had the same thing happen to her and didn’t make me feel horrible about it.  I believe Miss P is fine – not a bump on her noggin yet, no vomiting, no sign of a concussion so far (how is that even possible?  Does she have a lead head?), she’s running around the house like nothing happened, and hopefully we are in the clear.

Still, I can’t get over the guilt, embarrassment, and humiliation of it all.  How could I be so stupid?  How could Miss P be so fearless? 

And with her fall, down went my self-esteem as a mother and caregiver.  Crying on the way home from the pediatrician (man, did I pick a bad day to try out non-waterproof mascara!), I just kept thinking that I need a personal renovation.  Like a giant car wash, where I’d go through one end with all of my dirt and grime and hot/disappointed/un-confident/sad emotions, and come out the other side shiny, sparkling and ready to take on the road.