A Modern Mom's Baby Journal

because really, who writes in a notebook anymore??

Night Terror(ist)

Last night was a first for us.

I’ve heard rumors of this sort of thing, but never experienced it first hand. Until now.

Of course, I’m talking about the toddler middle-of-the-night wake up. As in wake up for the day.

It started innocently enough. At what I’m guessing was around 3:00 a.m., I heard her singing over the monitor. I can only guess that it was about 3:00 a.m., because I refused to look at the clock. For me, there is just something about seeing the time in the middle of the night – I hate it. Once I know what time it is, it’s like it gets seared into my brain, and I become obsessed with it. With how long I have left to sleep. And then how long I’ve been awake. And then how long I have left to sleep….it’s a vicious cycle.

But back to the singing.

The song, of course, was the Baby Einsteins theme song.

The singing didn’t initially cause me much concern. It is not uncommon for Desi to wake in the night, sing or talk to herself for a few minutes, and then fall back asleep.

Sure enough, after a short while the singing stopped. Silence. Until…

“Mama? Mama??”

I lay stiff as a board, as if playing dead could somehow trick a kid who’s calling me from down the hall.

“Maaaaaaammmaaaa.”

I recklessly glance at the clock. 3:39 a.m. Damnit.

The calls continue, gradually increasing in intensity. Eventually, I accept that resistance is futile.

I pad down the hall to her room and peek in. She’s sitting up in bed.

“I want to sleep in mama’s bed.”

I feel momentary relief. This is a doable request. In general, Desi is a good sleeper and likes being in her own bed. Every once in a while, though, she’ll wake up in the middle of the night and ask to come into bed with me. Once there, she’ll usually fall promptly back asleep, sandwiched between me and an often none-the-wiser Scott.

I change her diaper, gather up her bunny, and head back to our room.

3:49 a.m.

Stop looking at the clock.

But I can’t.

And then, the requests begin. In a whisper, of course.

4:04 a.m: “Mama – I need another pillow.”

4:15 a.m: “Mama – I need your pillow.”

4:21 a.m.: “Mama – I need some apple juice.”

Stop looking at the clock.

4:44 a.m.: “Mama – I need some milk.”

4:50 a.m.: “Tickle my tummy.”

4:58 a.m.: “Your hair is touching me.”

STOP LOOKING AT THE CLOCK!

5:09 a.m.: “Where’s bunny?”

5:20 a.m.: “I need to watch Curious George. Can we go downstairs?”

I give. I’m defeated. So downstairs we go. Where we proceed to watch 3 Curious George episodes in a row. I doze on the couch. She sits up next to me, inexplicably riveted by shows she’s seen literally 100 times. She laughs out loud. She announces every time a new character pops on the screen. She talks to the television, warning George about what’s going to happen next.

She’s in a fantastic mood.

“Desi, how are you so cheerful and awake right now?” I ask, half talking to myself.

She looks at me with a giant Cheshire Cat-style grin.

“It’s a mystery!” she exclaims, and laughs.

I didn’t even know she knew that word.

The mystery didn’t last long, though. Julia sent me this picture at about 10:00 a.m.

sleeping desi

Funny enough, I felt like doing the same thing at my desk.

But ended up doing this instead.

Repeatedly.

She’s lucky she’s so darn cute.

smile

Is it my bedtime yet?

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Aaaand we’re back.

So, apparently the universe heard the self-pity dripping from my voice yesterday and decided to throw me a bone.

Today was awesome. We spent the morning at the aquarium, which Desi absolutely loved. We followed it up with mother-daughter afternoon naps, and ended the day with a lovely dinner with great friends. I took a bunch of great photos throughout the day, but of course forgot my camera at the Harris’s after dinner, so more on today’s fun will have to come in a later post.

Until then, I just wanted to get down this little gem from tonight. On the way home from dinner, Desi was chattering to herself in the backseat as usual – tonight’s “conversation” was mostly about jellyfish, princesses, and her buddies Pacey and Brighton.

“Mama!” she says suddenly. “Guess who’s coming over tomorrow?”

“I don’t know, who?” I ask offhandedly.

“Obama!”

Hmmm. Well, guess I’d better stop typing and get to cleaning.

Happy Saturday all.

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Point of reference.

45 minutes. Forty. Five. Minutes.

That’s how long Desi’s hysterical tantrum lasted this morning.

Actually, maybe it lasted longer. I’m not sure. When I left for work, it was still going.

Over an episode of Little Einsteins.

I really thought it was going to be a good morning, too. She slept in until 7:45 a.m. On Fridays, she leaves for school at around 8:45 a.m. Right away when she woke up this morning, she asked to watch Little Einsteins. Why not, I thought. Desi and Julia had picked up this Little Einsteins DVD at the library yesterday. We watched an episode last night, and it seemed to be a cute, educational show. Plus, the mere fact that it wasn’t Curious George had already earned it some points.

The episodes are about 20 minutes long. Perfect. Watch one episode, eat breakfast, get dressed for school, out the door by 8:45 a.m. No problem.

When the first episode ended, I turned off the television.

“Let’s go eat breakfast.”

What followed can only be described as hysteria. Total, complete hysteria. For 45 minutes. As I mentioned in my previous post, my method of dealing with the tantrums of late has been to just remove myself from the situation by physically leaving the room.

But the tantrums are getting more frequent and longer in duration. And she’s figuring me out.

So now, she just follows me. From room to room. Crying. Kicking. Screaming.

“I NEED TO WATCH LITTLE EINSTEINS!!!”

I feel lost.

And so now here I sit, at my desk at work, trying to repair my make-up to conceal the fact that I cried in the car the whole way here.

Friends have reassured me that this will pass. And the rational part of my brain knows that it will. And so I write this post for reference purposes. So that two years from now, when we’re back in this same situation with Baby 2.0, I can look at this post and say, oh yeah, remember? We went through this with Desi, too. And we survived.

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PSA: What not to say to preggos.

3 weeks to go!

Not that I’m counting (the minutes).

I’m really trying to keep my spirits (and energy) up, but at this point, I’m pretty much over being pregnant. Sometimes, I feel guilty about complaining about my pregnancy “woes,” particularly given that so many people (including some close friends) have had some real doozy pregnancies and in all honesty, both of mine have been totally manageable.

But hey, this is my blog, and since I’m nearing the end of that special time when pretty much anything bitchy I do or say is just generally attributed to out-of-control hormones, I’m gonna take advantage of it!

With that in mind, I’ve decided to put the snarkiness to good use…or at least my own entertainment. Wrapping up baby-growing session number 2, I continued to be amazed at the things people say to pregnant women. Smart people. Seemingly normal people. People without any apparent signs of recent head trauma.

Clearly, society needs my help.

And so, for all those preggo-impaired folks out there, I’ve compiled an oh-so-helpful list of some of the top pregnancy “just don’t go theres.”

You’re welcome.

THE TOP 10 THINGS NOT TO SAY TO A PREGNANT PERSON

1) “You look like you’re going to pop!”

Why is this such a common and generally accepted description of pregnant women? I promise you, no pregnant woman in her third trimester has ever gotten dressed in the morning, looked in the mirror, and thought, “Damn, I look tiny.” We’re big. We know. Reminders are unnecessary.

2) “Are you disappointed that it’s not a boy/girl?”

Um, no, but apparently you think I should be.

3) “Oh, you’re pregnant? Let me tell you some horrible story about something terrible that happened to my cousin’s co-worker’s neighbor’s sister’s pregnant friend.”

I get this one a lot. Why, for the love of God, would you think that a hormonal pregnant person would want to hear someone else’s pregnancy horror stories? We don’t.

4) “Enjoy this time.”

This one kills me on many levels, particularly since it’s been my experience that it’s most often doled out to women nearing the end of their pregnancy. Enjoy this time how, exactly? Should I go to a movie at the theater, where my back will inevitably start to cramp after about 20 minutes of sitting in the same position? Or maybe I should enjoy a nice dinner out, where I can stare longingly at the trays of cocktails while I manage about five bites of my meal before becoming disgustingly full…only to be hungry again in an hour. Or wait, am I supposed to be enjoying those hourly trips to the bathroom all night long? Seriously, if you think I should be enjoying being nine months pregnant, I’m going to need some detailed instruction on what I’m missing here.

5) “Your pregnancy has gone by fast!”

Yeah, funny how that tends to be the case when you’re not the one growing a person.

6) “Are you going to breast feed?”

“Why yes, thanks for asking (insert name of person who’s most often an acquaintance, at best), I’m going to give it a solid effort. You see, with Desi, I had some milk production issues, so I would just pump and pump and pump for hours on end, and man, what that’ll do to you after a while, if you know what I mean – ouch! And then after all that, I ended up taking a prescription that was supposed to increase my milk supply, but one of the side effects of the prescription was diarrhea, so that was kind of ….wait, wait, why are you walking away? I’m sorry, did I get too personal?”

7) “You think you’re tired now? Just wait.”

Gee, thanks for the awesome pep talk.

8) “Are you excited?”

Of course I’m excited. But I’m also uber-hormonal, a little nervous, kind of stressed, and just flat-out exhausted. I realize that that is not the answer that anyone’s looking for though, so I usually just end up making some overcompensating, crazy-eyed happy face and moronically clapping my hands together like a performing seal – “yes yes, soooo excited!”

9) “Should you really be eating that?”

No, probably not. Thanks for noticing.

And finally, the ol’ classic….

10) “From behind, you hardly look pregnant.”

While this is far from the worst thing you can say to a pregnant person, it’s not the best. I know when someone says this, that person thinks it’s a compliment, but it’s really more of an observation of the lack of an annoying but pervasive pregnancy side effect. It’s like saying, “wow, your face doesn’t even really look like it’s going through a second puberty,” or “hey look, you can still see a noticeable transition from your calves and your ankles.” Come on, you can do better.

And there you go! An easy-to-follow guide through the pregnancy minefield. See?? It’s not that hard.

Now excuse me, I need to go eat a candy bar.

pregnancy-cartoonradiant

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The Little Things.

I saw this sign in a store recently.

little things

I love this quote. In my case, however, it should probably include a second line that reads:

“And write those little things down, for someday you will realize you’ve forgotten them all.”

Accordingly, I’m going to make more of an effort to dedicate some posts to recording the details. The everyday occurrences. The hum-drum moments. The little things.

The big things.

***

Julia speaks a few different languages and is teaching some basics to Desi, who’s absolutely soaking it up. The problem? Yesterday, Desi asked me if she and I could “do her Polish cards,” and promptly produced these.

Mmmmkay.

I gave it a serious try, but Desi seemed unimpressed with my effort. And probably my accent.

***

On Friday night, we went to Scott’s sister Katie’s birthday party. Desi had a blast playing with her cousins, particularly “Madowen” (a.k.a. Madelyn). She’s subsequently been talking about Madelyn all weekend.

***

Desi, who’s usually up by 7:00 a.m. most mornings, slept in until 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. For breakfast that morning, she asked if she could eat her peanut butter toast on the couch, rather than at the table or in her booster, while she watched Curious George. And while I normally have a somewhat firm “no-peanut-butter-or-other-extra-sticky-or-smeary-foods-on-the-couch” policy, my uninterrupted 8+ hours of sleep had left me in a generous mood.

***

Bath time continues to be one of Desi’s favorite things. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still a battle to get her in it most nights. Once she’s in, it’s often a battle to get her to get out. But for 20 minutes in the middle there, she’s in bubble heaven.

***

Desi is obsessed with stickers. She will happily sit at the table putting stickers on a blank piece of paper for up to 20 minutes at a time, which is an eternity in toddler time. At long last, she’s also finally starting to accept that stickers are to be placed on paper, not tables, chairs, appliances, dogs or clothes.

Well….for the most part.

***

Apparently, during snack time at pre-school on Friday, Desi took her square cracker, bit off all four corners into diagonals, held it up and announced, “Look, an octagon!”

***

Desi is becoming aware of the general concept of past/present/future, but it still trips her up a bit. She’s got a pretty good handle on the past and seems to grasp the idea of discussing something that has already happened. Discussing things that are coming up in the future, however, is still a work in progress.

For example, on the way home from running errands on early Saturday afternoon, I made the mistake of telling her that her good buddy, Grace, was coming over later that night for dinner. Thrilled with the news, she chattered on about Grace for the next several minutes. When we got home, however, and Grace wasn’t there, she became distraught. I tried to explain that Grace was coming over later, but it just didn’t seem to sink in. And of course, there were some serious tears. Luckily, by the time Grace actually arrived, all was well again.

Happy Sunday all! Hope your weekend was filled with lots of little big things.

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Go figure.

The following is an actual conversation overheard this morning: 

Desi: “Julia, can I have a Rapunzel braid?”

Julia: “Sure, let’s do it.”

Desi (clapping): “Yes! Yay yay yay!!”

Go figure.

braid

braid2

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A tale of two toddlers

Oh. Holy. Mood swings.

You may think I’m talking about my nine months pregnant self – and while that’s not a bad guess – I’m in fact referring to my two year old.

7:15 a.m. this morning.

I’ve been up for about a half an hour at this point. As I’m getting ready for work, I hear Desi start to stir over the monitor. She’s talking to herself, as she usually does when she first wakes up. After about five minutes of listening to her babble on about trains, tunnels, bunnies and carrots, I peek my head in her room.

She’s sitting up in bed, surrounded by a pile of books she’s pulled off of her shelf. She looks up at me with a big smile.

“Mom! I’m reading! You want to get nice and cozy in the bed and read with me?”

Umm, yes please.

freight trainWe snuggle up under the covers and start reading. After the third reading of Freight Train, her favorite book du jour, she rolls over to face me and puts her chubby little hands on either side of my face.

“Mom, this is fun. I love you.”

Aaaaand cue the heart melting.

Yep, I’d pretty much give her anything she asked for at this point. Luckily for me, the next request is doable.

“Mom, can I have some princess juice?”

princess juice

Princess juice

In our house, “princess juice” is what we call toothpaste. This is a little trick I learned from my friend, J. Turns out, if you put the name “princess” in front of things, it makes them infinitely more appealing. J’s managed to get her daughter to happily eat baked beans by calling them “princess sparkly beans.” We’re not that advanced yet, but we’re working on it.

“Of course you can have some princess juice,” I say, unabashedly basking in my own smugness at how my sweeter-than-sweet daughter just requested to brush her teeth. She hustles over to the bathroom and I prop her up on the counter so she can look in the mirror while she brushes. She busies herself with her toothbrush and princess juice, and I ask a seemingly innocuous question.

“Desi, do you want me to put a Rapunzel braid in your hair?”

“No, mama. I don’t want a Rapunzel braid.”

I glance in the mirror at Desi’s hair, which looks something like this:

Addams-Family-Cousin-Itt-addams-family-5684028-356-288

Desi? You in there?

Desi HATES having her hair in her face. In fact, one of her first requests upon waking is usually for “ponies” (which luckily for us, means pigtails, not an actual pony…although I’m sure that request is coming, too). A few days ago, however, rather than the usual pigtails, Julia put Desi’s hair in an adorable braid. She loooved it, and spent the day proudly showing off her “Rapunzel” braid.

So, thinking that it’ll be no big deal, I quickly whip Desi’s hair into a short braid while she focuses on rinsing off her toothbrush.

Wrong. Move. Dear God, wrong move.

While I’m busy admiring my handiwork, she glances up and catches a glimpse of the braid in the mirror. I wish I could say that what follows next was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. But I can’t. Because I HAVE seen it before. In fact, I see it almost everyday lately. It is the transformation from sweet, little girl into….

She Beast 01.jpg

“I. said. no. BRAID!!!!!!” she screams at the top of her lungs. She grabs the braid and yanks it with a force I didn’t know she had, while simultaneously slamming her other fist angrily into her reflection in the mirror. Glancing down, we both notice that she has successfully pulled out a good chunk of her hair. This realization only fuels her meltdown. Now she’s REALLY mad.

I quickly undo what’s left of the braid and lower her off the counter to the ground, where she proceeds to thrash about on her back as if possessed, kicking her feet into the wall and screaming, “I said NOOOOOO!”

I stand there silently for a moment, analyzing my next move. I start to reach out to comfort her, but the fury of kicking feet derails me. Instead, I decide that removing myself is the best option, so I quietly leave the bathroom and head into her bedroom.

A minute or two later, I’m in the middle of making her bed, when a little tear-streaked, but smiling face peeks in at me.

“Hi Mom!” she says cheerfully, “can I have some milk?” She walks over to me and raises her arms for a hug.

Is this a trick?

“Sure,” I say hesitantly.

We head downstairs, and it’s as if the past few minutes never happened. She resumes her chatter about trains and her trip to the library yesterday. All seems well again, until I hand her the previously requested milk.

Her face contorts into a grimace, as if I’d just offered her some sort of horrific poison.

“NOOOOO!!! Not THIS milk!”

“What? But this is the only kind of milk we have. This is the only kind of milk we ever have,” I say honestly. As if reason has any place in this conversation.

“Nooooo!!!”

She slumps to the floor again, this time on her stomach, clutching her apparently “wrong” milk in one hand and burying her face in the other. And again come the tears. Big, fat, LOUD crocodile tears.

I feel tears of frustration start to prick my eyes, so I turn and head out of the kitchen. I walk into the living room, where I just stand there, staring at the wall. At a loss.

After about a minute, I hear the crying stop. I gingerly peek my head around the corner and into the kitchen. She is quietly sitting on the floor in front of the refrigerator, drinking her milk and playing with her alphabet magnets. She spies me.

“What are you doing, mama? Come here! Looks, so many letters!” She grins a million watt smile at me.

I go to her. She proudly identifies various letters of the alphabet. I make us peanut butter toast for breakfast. She dances while she waits, giggling at her own silly moves. When we finish eating, she follows me upstairs and sits quietly on the window seat in the bathroom, playing with her Cinderella doll while I get dressed. When I finish, she looks at me for a long time and announces matter-of-factly that she likes my hair.

I love this girl. I love her SO much. But my GOD she challenges me sometimes. Maybe it’s part of her decidedly fiery personality. Or perhaps it’s simply because she’s two. Or maybe it’s a mother-daughter thing. Who knows. I don’t. But I’m determined to stop trying to figure it out. Stop trying to fix it. Focus instead on what I know for sure. Like that the frequency and quality of her good moods far outweigh the bad ones. That her stubborn streak is counteracted by how fiercely she loves. That her short fuse is equally matched by her long laughs.

And that at the end of the day, she is SO much like me.

momanddes5

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Winter….wonderland?

To say that Desi and I have been uninvolved in the spirit of winter this year would be a vast understatement.

I can give you excuses until I’m blue in the face. I’m pregnant (the old standby). Desi refuses to wear mittens. We don’t have a sled. Or skis. Or skates. I’m too fat to zip my coat. Desi refuses to wear a hat. We’ve been too sick. Too tired. It’s been too cold. Too slushy. Too icy. Too windy. There is too much snow. There is not enough snow. Oh, and did I mention that I’m pregnant?

You get the idea.the_snowy_day

Desi’s winter “activities” have basically consisted of pointing out snow drifts as we dash from the Target parking lot to the store. Or gathering the little snow drops that the dogs drag into the house on their paws. Or living vicariously through young Peter by reading The Snowy Day over and over…and over.

And I haven’t felt the least bit bad about it. Until now.

Yesterday, Scott’s sister, Mandy, called to ask if Desi would be interested in joining her family for a day of sleigh riding, bonfire watching, snow playing, and general winter merriment.

I had my doubts. Desi and I hate winter activities, I thought to myself. That, combined with the fact that this proposed outing coincided directly with nap time, had me convinced that disaster likely loomed in the form of an epic Desi meltdown.

But Mandy was impressively optimistic, and the thought a toddler-free afternoon of getting stuff done was just too enticing to pass up. So, after many apologies in advance from me for any diva-like behavior, off she went with Mandy and family.

Well, she could not have had MORE fun.

She was practically beaming when they dropped her off a few hours later. All night long and into this morning, I listened to stories about her “Auntie Mandy,” her cousins, the horses, the birds, the snow, the treats, the other kids…she had had a blast.

Hmmm. Turns out I MAAAAY have been projecting my own winter grinchy-ness onto my kid a bit. Ooops.

That’s okay. I plan to totally make it up to her with TONS of fun winter activities.

Next year.

sleigh ride

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Princess promises

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and Desi received a Disney princess card from my parents (her “Nana” and “Tata”).

When you open it up, it plays a short little musical number about how any girl can be a princess. It’s pretty adorable. And given that Disney princesses are HUGE at our house right now, the card was a runaway hit.

This video was taken about 7:00 p.m. last night.

Since then, the card has gotten significantly less adorable.

It was Scott’s night to put Desi to sleep last night. This is a fairly new phenomenon at our house. Desi’s bath and bedtime duty has been my thing for as long as I can remember. And for the most part, I really enjoy that time with her. However, given that Baby 2.0 will likely soon be demanding some of my time during the hour of 7:30-8:30 p.m., we decided to start implementing Daddy night-night time.

Last night was the official round 1. Overall, it went more smoothly than could have been expected. Until it came time to shut out the light.

Desi: “Dada, I need my card.”

Scott: “Your what?”

Desi: “My princess card! Dada, I need my card for sleeping. I need it NOW!”

Scott: “Tell you what, Desi – first thing when you get up in the morning, we can get your card. Okay?”

Desi: *long pause, clearly indicative of plotting*…”Okay. I get it when I wake up, OKAY??!”

Scott: “Of course, of course, right when you get up.”

Rookie, rookie move.

What Scott didn’t really know last night, but learned at 5:08 a.m. this morning, is that this child’s pre-sleeping mind is like a steel trap. I don’t know how she does it, but she has this uncanny ability to basically resume exactly what she was doing/thinking about before she fell asleep once she wakes up.

5:08 a.m. this morning.

Desi (from her bed, heard over the monitors): “MOM!! Come here, MOM!!”

Me (rushing in, tripping on a piece of rogue toy train set, possibly swearing): “What, what is it?”

Desi: “Dada’s going to get my card. My princess card, mama. Dada get’s my princess card now, okay?”

Me (shaking fist to self): “THE CARD!”*

*In my half asleep state, I imagine that I am Jerry Seinfeld, and the card is Newman.

seinnewman7313032929242

Deep breath.

After all, I wasn’t the one who promised the card, said my selfish 5 a.m. brain. This wasn’t my fight.

I marched back to our bedroom.

“Desi’s up! She wants the princess card. You’d better get on that.”

Amazingly, Scott, who I have no doubt would sleep soundly through a zombie apocalypse, actually got up and stumbled out of bed towards Desi’s bedroom. Over the monitor, I heard the soft pleas of a man desperate for one more hour of sleep.

And then….silence.

Good God, he did it, I think to myself. I’m torn between being thrilled that he’s managed to get her to fall back asleep, and annoyed that his apparent ability to dismantle the 5 a.m. Desi-bomb is undoubtedly going to be flaunted in my face later.

But fatigue wins out, and I’m just about asleep again…when over the monitors comes the unmistakably tinny sound of greeting card music.

“Every one can be a princess….if you just believe….la, la, la…..”

Put the coffee on.

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Let’s potty!

It happened! First official use of the potty this past Tuesday!

My general attitude towards potty training has basically been the adult version of Desi’s attitude towards her brother’s impending arrival.

Scott: “Do you think we should start potty training Desi?”

Me: “Hey, look over there, there is a…something. Look.”

Scott: “Huh? Did you hear what I said? Potty training?”

Me: “I’m sorry, what? Did you say something?”

You get the picture.

potty training

Still, based on the reassurances of our nanny, Julia*, that Desi seemed ready, I agreed to give it a try.

(*Julia has 10 years of experience working with toddlers. I have…well, I suppose close to one year of experience now. She is quickly becoming my Yoda.)

So, off Desi and Julia went yesterday – first to pick up an Elmo potty DVD from the library, and then to Target to purchase the mini throne itself.

Upon their return, the “warming up” process began.

potty

And lo and behold, shortly thereafter….SUCCESS! She couldn’t wait to tell me about it when I got home that night. She was SO proud of herself.

Yesterday, however, her interest in the potty waned significantly. That is, until she was soaking wet mid-bath, of course. Then, suddenly, she had to give it another try.

16 year old Desi - I apologize for posting this. I just couldn't help it.

Future teenager Desi – I apologize for posting this. I just couldn’t help it.

She instructed her tub toys that she would be “right back,” and climbed out of the water to take her seat. She sat there for about 5 minutes, which let me tell you, feels like an eternity when you’re sitting across from a wet two year old on a bathroom floor. Sure enough, though, five minutes later, she jumped up from her seat, and (I kid you not) threw her arms up in the air and yelled, “I DID IT!!”

And she did.

I’m sure this potty training road is going to be long. And less than fun. But seeing her so thrilled with herself is kind of a kick. So I’m enjoying it.

For now.

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