This is the view from my mother in law’s toilet. 

Closer up

So now we poop in the presence of the holy mother holding her dead (dying?) son. Cool. 

Charlotte can now climb out of her pack n play. I discovered this when I put her down after my in laws’ Christmas dinner and by the time I closed the door and turned on the baby monitor, there was no baby in the pack n play. She met me at the door. 

There’s a meme about how sleeping with a toddler is like sleeping with a drunk octopus looking for its keys. Sometime around 3 am, Catch looked at me as Charlotte was thrashing about and whispered “drunk octopus.”

Christmas was lovely. Everything was an absolute whirlwind of getting from point a to point b, and our house looks like a hurricane came through, but we keep saying what a nice Christmas it was. We’re taking today to recover and drink copious amounts of coffee. 

I hope all your holidays have been wonderful!

Merry & Bright – 17 Months

Charlotte will be 17 months old tomorrow.


I really don’t want to jinx myself, but I feel like I need to say that things are pretty damn good right now. This age is just fantastic.

Yes, we have meltdowns. SO MANY meltdowns. She hates having her diaper changed. She hates when we leave for work. She hates when we won’t let her go outside rightthissecond. She hates waiting for her milk to warm up, but she also hates cold milk. Sometimes, she just hates in general and we don’t even know why she’s suddenly on the floor screaming. Par for the course. Most of the meltdowns are quickly resolved with a bit of redirection. That or we just ride out the screaming until we can get her shoes on and throw her outside. Outside time solves just about every single meltdown she has.

Meltdowns aside, she’s a pretty happy kid.

New words are slow to come, but when they do, they surprise the heck out of us. Last week we were playing a game that involved me saying, “Ready—GO!” and the next thing I knew, she was running around yelling, “READY! READY!”

This morning, I looked out her bedroom window at the sandbox that we’d forgotten to cover and saw that it was filled with rain water. I said, “Oh no!” and I heard my little parrot over on the changing pad repeat, “Oh no!” several times. Not new words, but the first time she’s put them together.

We also hear a lot of, “Hi dog!” these days as she is totally enamored with the dogs. She loves to call for them when she’s in the bathtub. “Dog! Doooog!” and when a nose peeks around the corner she squeals with delight. She tries so hard to pet the dogs, but mostly she hits them and we spend a lot of time apologizing to poor Twix and Rolo on her behalf.


“Oh wow!” is another favorite phrase of hers. Yesterday morning, Catch gathered her from her crib and brought her out to the living room. As they passed the Christmas tree, Charlotte’s sleepy eyes widened and she said, “Oh woooow!”

She is much more physical than verbal. This kid is all about the rough and tumble. She loves to hang upside down while I hold her by her hips and yell, “Upside down girl!” We usually end with belly tickles and crazy giggles.

She is a fearless climber, and in the last couple of days she’s discovered that she can stand on things to get taller. The other morning, she pulled out a large tupperware and stood on it to try to reach the cookies on the table. She has also pulled the basket drawers out of her nightstand and used them as stepping stools.


She is never happier than when she’s outdoors. She LOVES to run. She loves going for walks with the dogs. We can’t even hope to contain her in a stroller or her car anymore. She has to walk/run. So basically, one of us tends to the dogs, while the other chases the toddler. We bought her a tricycle for Christmas—the kind you can push. We’re hoping she’ll consider using it because chasing her around the neighborhood every evening is a bit stressful.

My mom bought her a small swing set and gave it as an early Christmas gift. Charlotte will run to it and demand, “Wheee!” Then she says “Wheee!” over and over while she swings. My favorite is when she throws her head back and looks up at the sky with her big open-mouthed smile. Pure joy on that swing set.


I don’t really know her height/weight stats at the moment. She’s as tall as the two year olds on the playground. People always assume she’s older than she is, and that she should be more advanced than she is as a result. It can be frustrating. She’s comfortably wearing a size 2T in everything, and her feet are an extra, extra wide size 6. We have a MISERABLE time trying to find shoes that fit.

I can’t wait for all of our Christmas celebrations over the coming days. She is just so much merry and bright.



Here’s the thing:

I am the bedtime dictator. In the Castro sense. We adhere to Charlotte’s 7 pm bedtime. Always. Period. OR ELSE.

Until this weekend.

It started on Friday night. The night of my holiday party. My mom had Charlotte that night, and she decided that they were going to see a Christmas light display that didn’t start until 6 and was at least an hour away in traffic. Charlotte didn’t get to bed until 9 that night.

(Also—the party was wonderful, and the Four Seasons was amazing, and everyone made it through the night just fine. Charlotte watched some Sesame Street from 1-2am, and I tossed and turned all night, but I’m calling it a complete success because ROOM SERVICE BREAKFAST. Thank you for all your encouragement.)

Photo collage evidence of hotel and party: (Only one year until I can soak in that tub again.)

On Saturday night, we had a family party to attend. It didn’t start until 5:30, and we didn’t leave until 8. Another missed bedtime.


Bonus–we put up the tree on Sunday while Charlotte napped and when she woke up from her nap, she was absolutely in awe. Totally one of my favorite moments.

On Sunday, we stuck to the routine because Monday was…


AKA, No Nap-Ville.

AKA, try to navigate your grouchy, overtired, teething child through dense crowds of people without completely losing your shit-town.

Here I am nursing my child as we embark upon our Small World voyage because she completely lost it as we climbed into the boat.


And here she is moments later sound asleep in my arms on the ride. Talk about white noise.


Naturally, she wouldn’t sleep in the stroller. Only in my arms. AND GUESS WHO FORGOT THE EFFING TULA? This girl. Wooooo!

Anyway, the point of all of this is to say that we survived this bedtime madness, but I am anxiously awaiting the moment tonight when we put Charlotte in her crib, say goodnight, and collapse on the couch at a reasonable hour because mama is TIRED.

Challenge Accepted

The past week has been out of control for me, but I really needed to take a moment to thank all of you who commented on my post about whether to leave Charlotte or not.

We are going for it. Tomorrow morning, I will leave the house and I’m not gonna see my little pumpkin again until late morning on Saturday. (Late enough morning that we can wake up when our bodies want to, order room service breakfast, and then get out of there.)

Assuming that I don’t get the emergency call from Grammy insisting that we come home.

I am equal parts excited and worried. Last night as I tried to fall asleep, I repeated, “She’s going to be absolutely fine. She’s going to be absolutely fine. She’s going to be absolutely fine…” Until I finally drifted off with the assistance of Benadryl because sleep has just not been my friend this week.

I really do believe she’s going to be absolutely fine. I worry that she’ll wake up in the middle of the night and freak out, but I’m trying to remain optimistic that my mom will be able to calm her down with a warm bottle and even some Sesame Street if that’s what it takes to distract her. (We did that at my in-laws house when she woke up and freaked out about where she was and we couldn’t calm her down—it worked and she went back to sleep after a short while.)

Wish us luck, friends.

I’ll catch up on all of your posts soon!

The Latest Thing I’m Losing Sleep Over

Every year, I plan my company’s holiday party. It’s a big budget fancy event at the Four Seasons. Since I am in charge of everything, I get a comped suite at the hotel for the night of the party.

Last year, Catch stayed home with Charlotte and I attended the event by myself. Someone else took the free room and I pumped every 3 hours in a little meeting space near the ballroom. I made it home to Catch and Charlotte around 1 am.

This year, Catch is coming with me and my mom is staying with Charlotte. The hotel room is booked in my name, and I had EVERY intention of using that room. The Four Seasons beds are out of this world amazing. An uninterrupted night’s sleep in one of those beds sounds like a dream come true. I haven’t had an uninterrupted night’s sleep since before Charlotte was born. I have been fantasizing about this for months and months.


(There’s always a but.)

Charlotte is still nursing throughout the night. She wakes up 3 times on average. If Catch goes to her in the night, she SCREAMS bloody murder until I show up.

This doesn’t seem to bode well for me having a night away from the kid. I don’t know what to do.

I want this so badly. SO BADLY.

But I don’t want to stick my mom overnight with an inconsolable toddler. Plus, mom already said that if Charlotte cries for longer than an hour, she’s calling us and we have to come home—which likely means a pre-dawn Uber, which is obviously less than ideal.

Is it possible that if Catch and I aren’t even home, Charlotte will respond differently? Is it possible that she’ll scream, but my mom will be able to calm her down with a warm bottle and maybe some emergency Sesame Street? Maybe? I don’t know.

The party is in 9 days. I don’t know what to do. I was up half the night last night worrying about it.

Normally, I’d say to hell with it. Baby comes first. We should just suck it up and go home. But god… it’s ONE NIGHT. One night that I need SO badly. Do you know how long it’s been since I had longer than 3 consecutive hours of sleep? It’s been so long. And now the opportunity is being handed to me on a silver platter with a fluffy down filled comforter and oversized pillows and it’s like a dream come true.

I have been avoiding traveling for work since Charlotte was born. I’ve missed out on some cool opportunities as a result, and I can’t avoid it forever. There’s a huge part of me that says we need to start somewhere with this. And maybe it’s good to start on a night when we’re away but still local? Or is 16 months just too young? Do I need to wait until she’s weaned?

I’m am completely at a loss. What would you do if you were me?