Charlotte: Loves, Hates, and -Isms

I thought I'd update on Charlotte a bit, since she's pretty much my favorite subject ever. With her newfound ability to actually HEAR, I feel like her development has kicked into turbo gear in her quest to catch up.

As Charlotte gets older, her tastes are growing and changing, and lordy, she’s becoming ever more vocal about them. Here are some of the latest LOVES:

1. Purple. Oh my goodness, anything purple is the BEST. “Purple! Purple! Purple!” is what she shouts when she sees that most lovely color. Lavender, royal purple, doesn't matter. She loves all shades of purple. Of course, her shoes are purple, and this fact brings her endless joy. I'm already mentally planning how I'll redecorate her currently pink bedroom, if this purple phase sticks.

2. Monkeys. Charlotte thinks monkeys are HILARIOUS. She has two sets of pajamas with monkeys on them, and just adores wearing them. She makes her monkey noise “hoo-hoo-ha-ha” and then laughs at herself. Now, if we can find her a PURPLE MONKEY, her world would be perfect. In the meantime, I'm debating if I should take her to see the new Disney Chimpanzee movie in the theater--if we go, it will be her very first movie-in-a-theater experience. I'm not sure if she's ready, but I sort of think that with a tub of popcorn in front of her (Papa introduced her to the the buttery salty goodness of the world of popcorn when he was here), she could sit through the whole thing.

3. Shoes. Oh, how my child loves shoes. She loves putting them on and taking them off, and she adores going through all of Mommy’s shoes and trying them on. Shoe shopping is her favorite, and she’ll happily let me try on her feet as many pairs as a store has, which is usually what it takes to find a shoe that fits her very wide, chubby foot. Charlotte becomes extremely distressed in the morning when I’ve gotten her halfway dressed but haven’t yet gotten to shoes yet (in fact, she’s generally still half-dressed in PJs at this point). She says, “Mommy, I need shoes!” And she will repeatedly remind me of this until I get her downstairs and into her precious shoes.

4. Macaroni and cheese. She can eat enormous amounts of mac and cheese. This trait is a godsend, because it's on every kid's menu at every restaurant, which means she'll happily sit there and eat for the entire duration of a dinner out.

5. Spaghetti. She’ll eat any spaghetti, but she especially likes it with Nana’s special spaghetti sauce. I think that's sort of cute, because Nana's sauce has quite a bit of kick (lots of Italian sausage), and my girl is all about big bold flavors. And, well, I agree. Nana's (Mums's) spaghetti sauce is the best. The only rule: Spaghetti day in her lunch canNOT coincide with a white t-shirt. Daddy didn't think that one through when Mommy was out of town last week.

6. Balls. Beach balls, wall balls, baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls, rubber balls, bouncy balls, sensory/spiky balls—Charlotte loves ANY sort of ball. She actually has a pretty decent arm on her, and my dad spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out if she’s right- or left-handed (the jury is STILL out on this). My smart girl would grin and throw first with her left . . . and then throw with her right. Just to mess with him.

7. Slides. This one is new. The taller and bigger the slide, the more she wants to slide down it. And of course she doesn’t want Mommy or Daddy ANYWHERE near her as she climbs up. “No, Daddy. I do it,” my independent offspring says. It’s actually pretty funny to watch her slide down the serious slides—she gets a look of terror on her face as she barrels down, then breaks into a huge grin upon landing. And repeat.

8. Drinking through straws. Charlotte was a bit behind on the learning curve as far as figuring out how to get liquid up a straw, but once she got it, she never looked back. I too prefer to drink just about everything with a straw (huh, maybe it’s genetic), which has mystified Chris since our dating days, but I’ve had to stop that habit because Charlotte will claim my drink as her own. And lets face it. The kid leaves behind floaters.

9. Running/wrestling/spinning. Charlotte is an active kiddo, and I think you could even make the argument that she needs (or at least prefers) a LOT of sensory stimulation. As a baby, she loved to swing and bounce, and now she loves as much movement as possible. One of her super favorite things is wrestling with Mommy (we’re SUCH ladies, no?), but I’m getting pretty tired of having to perpetually block her baby brother or sister from accidental kicks and punches, so I think I’m gonna punt this activity to Daddy.

10. Music. If I put on children’s music, or even real music, Charlotte starts to dance. Blissfully. She loves songs, doing hand motions with the songs, and singing along. And the girl has some moves.

11. Unloading the dishwasher. Charlotte adores helping me unload the dishwasher. I figure it’s good for her to have chores, so I have her put away everything she can reach and that’s safe (no knives or glassware). Sure, Chris or I will open a cupboard and a torrent of Tupperware falls out, or we find a wooden spoon someplace weird, but I never undermine her by correcting her efforts. I let her do it her way. (Note: If I actually SEE her putting a spoon someplace wrong, I’ll remind her where it goes. But I won’t UNDO something she did, just so it’s “right.” Besides, I think her Charlotte touch gives our kitchen some charm.) At the end, she dramatically grunts as she pushes up the heavy dishwasher door, high-fives Mommy, and proudly yells, “I did it!”

12. Kleenex. At the first sign of a runny nose, Charlotte will declare, “I need tissue!” I say yes, follow her into the bathroom, and lower the Kleenex box so she can pull out a tissue herself. She’ll then wipe her nose and say, “Trash,” and go into the kitchen to throw it away. She loves this process so much that she’ll say again, “Uh oh, I need tissue!” with a totally dry nose on occasion. I’ll say, “No, your nose is fine. You don’t need a tissue.” So, my darling girl will commence blowing very hard through her nose until she manages to dislodge some goobers, at which point I agree that yes, she does indeed need a tissue.

The following are things Charlotte does NOT love. In fact, she pretty much hates them:

1. Sharing.

2. A break in the routine. Lord help you if you try to get her to wash her hands BEFORE she unloads her lunchbox in the evening.

3. Being hot. Charlotte has her father’s internal temperature meter, and she gets hot—and will tell you about it—very easily. Like her daddy, she also MUST take off her shoes and socks immediately at the end of the day, because she just can’t stand her feet being so hot. I’m quite certain I will be freezing until she leaves for college, as Chris now tells me it’s two against one when it comes to air conditioning levels in the car and house.

4. Getting out of the bathtub. Every bath time has its period of negotiation in which Charlotte asks for “a minute!” more. I always give in just once, saying, “Okay, sweetie, one more minute.” Not understanding that a minute and one minute are the same, she’ll shake her head and say, “No, a minute.” Anyway, I taught her how to pull the drain, which temporarily got her out of the tub faster because she’d run out of water, but my little smarty pants has since learned how to start/stop/start/stop the drain, so it takes about a year and a half to get the water to disappear.

5. Kissing guys. Let me explain this one. First, to Charlotte, a “kiss” is her putting her cheek against yours. She has no clue that lips are supposed to be involved. Now, she’ll give me all the Charlotte kisses I could ever want, because I’m a girl. But if you’re a guy, and you shave, she will not come near your face with a 10-foot pole. Your face is just too rough. Poor Daddy and Papa have yet to get voluntary “kisses” from that girl.

6. Having dirty hands. This one is new. If, when I pick her up from school, she has been coloring and has marker on her hands, she’ll show them to me with a dramatic “Oh no!” and will run to the sink to wash them. At home, when she eats, she’ll get peanut butter or whatever on them. Again, it’s an “Oh no!” followed by “natkin [napkin] please.” Obviously, I’m totally encouraging this behavior.

7. Potty training. She has no interest in it, short of loving her potty books and occasionally sitting on her hot pink potty chair. I am SO not stupid enough to push it. When I ask, “Do you want to try going pee or poop in your potty?” she looks me straight in the eye and just says, “No.” And that's that.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, Charlotte's speech is rapidly improving, so here are some recent Charlotte-isms:

“Mommy, I need TV!”

After Mommy or Daddy (usually Mommy) sneezes: “Bwess [bless] you, Mommy.”

After she lets out a rather loud and unladylike toot from her tush: [fake gasp of surprise] “What’s that?” (said with an impish grin and hands innocently out to the sides).

“Daddy, like this,” she’ll say, patting her mattress, indicating that he needs to lay down next to her.

When we drive past the church, on our way to Costco (the two main times we go down a particular road): “Oh no! Daddy, THIS WAY!” (pointing frantically at the church).

Now, these might not be very impressive phrases for a lot of kids Charlotte’s age, but for the three of us who have been lost in the abyss of poorly articulated mumbling and mystery words for the past year or so, we’re discovering a whole new side of our girl, now that we can understand so much more of what she’s saying. The way she dramatizes certain phrases (“Mommy, I NEED TV!”) and how she’ll so sweetly say something else (“Dank [thank] you, Daddy”) is just hilarious and adorable to us. Being better able to express herself allows Charlotte to be even MORE Charlotte-y, which I didn’t really know was possible--because, well, she was already pretty darn Charlotte-y.


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