Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I have been reluctant to share this because we all know that as soon as you declare something publicly with children, they decide to flip the whole thing on you, just to show you who's boss.

But it's been eight whole nights and so I think (hope? pray?) I'm in the clear.

Clair has not had her pacifier since Sunday Aug. 30th!!

My original goal was to put a stop to her nighttime addiction when she turned 2. That deadline was blown out of the water by her supreme-and-total love for that danged thing. If we even suggested she could sleep without it, she would FLIP. OUT.
Is that Sophie in that picture? Awwww! Sophie!
So our new deadline became 3. I didn't want to do it right after she started school because I thought that was too many changes, and that we'd be taking away her one source of comfort. (Poor thing.) So I was all prepared to defy the dentist's admonitions about the pacifier and let her have it a few more months. OK,  I also didn't want to deal with it. But it was mostly about Clair and her comfort! Or halfway about Clair. Whatever.

Anyway, then we went to my friend Andrea's wedding and had the kids sleep overnight at my parents. I somehow forgot the pacifier. My Mom called to tell me we forgot it, and there was a moment of panic (mine). But then I remembered that whenever Michelle would babysit for us at night, and put the kids to sleep, she would never give Clair her paci, and my child would be just fine with that. Like, Southern belle agreeable about it. But with us? FANTASTIC, ACADEMY-AWARD-WINNING FLIPPING OUT.

Anyway, Clair slept without her paci at my parents without incident. So the next night, at home, I just decided to keep it up. I just didn't give her her paci. It was touch and go there for a minute, especially the first couple nights. She slept, but not without giving me the Spanish Inquisition. Seriously, this girl should work for the NSA or something. She would NOT let up. If I knew state secrets, I probably would have given them to her, just to get her to shut up and go to sleep! Eventually I had to lie get creative and tell her the paci-fairy came and took all the pacis to give them to little babies who needed them. This didn't fully satisfy her - in fact, it kinda freaked her out that there was someone in her room who she couldn't see, and that caused a whole chain reaction of other sleep challenges. (#notmysmartestidea) ...

But there was nothing she could do about the fact that there were no more pacis, so eventually, finally, she just accepted it, and slept. And now, she doesn't even ask about it anymore!

Unless something crazy happens (and I have learned enough in my few years of parenting to know that that is entirely possible), I feel fairly ...hmm.. somewhat? ...sorta comfortable declaring our house officially paci-free!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Best email I might ever have gotten!

Today, Lester and I got this email from Miss Michelle, Clair's teacher:

Clair had a great day!!!!


Michelle C.

Hi Tanika and Lester,
I hope you both had a wonderful Monday.  I am just writing you to let you know how proud of Clair I am.  She is doing awesome and is so smart.  I just wanted you to know that. 
She did great with pick up too.  Clair is rocking it!  Clair's family tree came out awesome too.  Thank you so much for the pictures.  I will be hanging them up soon.  Teddy Bear Day tomorrow:-)
God Bless and Have a Wonderful Evening! 
Miss Michelle
Yes!!  Our little Clair totally ROCKS it!

Best email ever!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Week one for the boys is in the books!

Cary and Dean finished up their first week at their new school, with nary a complaint to register.

No tears, no mishaps, no nothin'...It's amazing.

Here they are when I picked them up on their first day. See something missing on Cary? Yes. My child broke his glasses. Again. But look how happy he is. Dean was happy too. But he was too busy asking me if we were going to the playground to be bothered to smile.

We also had two-plus days of the new sitter, Miss Arlene. And although Clair is still not really feeling her AT ALL, when I get home from work, she is usually happily ignoring the sitter and playing boisterously with her brothers. As long as she isn't sitting in a corner sobbing or shaking in fear, it is all good with me.

I did come home early the first day of her working and was surprised that no one was there. I called through the house, peeked out the back door, checked upstairs. No kids. No Arlene. Her car was outside and her purse was in the living room. She must be here, I thought. The last place I had left to check was the basement. I put my hand on the door knob to go down there and in a split second, my brain conjured up an image of my children with their throats slit and Miss Arlene dead.

That is how crazy I am, y'all. I just knew this new babysitter had murdered my children and committed suicide. My heart was beating out of my chest. I was freaking out.
When I finally gathered the courage (and the common sense: "Get it together, Tanika!") of course, she wasn't downstairs. And neither were my murdered children.

In fact, she had just taken my very happy and safe children for a walk, because Dean had written a "letter" - literally, he wrote the letter "D" on a piece of paper, folded it up and put it in an envelope - to no one in particular and wanted to mail it. So Arlene drew a stamp on his little envelope and walked with them in search of a mailbox. She didn't kill them. She was actually being VERY sweet to them.

I felt like a heel. And a nut.

But I'll get better. We'll all get better. We're all getting adjusted to the new, much more hectic schedule, and by the end of the day every single one of us is pooped. The kids crash at bedtime like they were working in the salt mines all day. Last night I was asleep by 8:50 p.m.  

But I can tell things are going to get easier. Today, Clair still clung to me for far too long, but didn't cry at all when I dropped her off. In fact, when her teacher took her hand, she simply said in a small voice, "Bye, Mommy," and I closed the pre-K 2 door, and walked away.

Of course, I felt a mixture of pride and happiness and sadness.

Our babies are in school. All three of them. They leave us in the morning and we don't see them again all day long. They are learning things that we don't teach them. They are experiencing things that have absolutely nothing to do with us. In fact, most of things that happen in their day, we won't even know they've seen or heard or done or felt.

This is the natural course of life, I know. And it is good. And sad. And crazy.
And normal.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Boys' first day of school (sorta); a wedding, a hangover and other tidbits

Today the boys had their orientation /first day at their new school!

We met their new teacher, toured their beautiful classrooms, watched as they selected cubbies, played with toys, did some spin art, and met new friends. They also saw their friend Marcus, and fell right in together, like old times.

This is the multi-purpose room. We were waiting to go up and tour their classrooms.
Their new teacher, Mr. Valle.

The Three Amigos. That's Marcus - in the stylin' hat.
Making spin art.
Their masterpieces! (And my toes.)
Guys - it is such a nice building, with all the things you think of when you imagine what a pre-school should look like. I got all teary thinking about how blessed we are to be able to provide this kind of place for our kids - and about how this is the kind of school ALL kids deserve. I don't know how the years will go -- or even this year -- but I can tell you that I really felt good when I left there today.

This week is another crazy week, with weird schedules and introducing the new aftercare sitter to the routine, so I'm not completely out of the "I need a Xanax" woods just yet. But I'm getting there.

Speaking of the new aftercare person, Friday was officially Michelle's last day with us, after four years of being a total member of our family. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! :-(
We'll miss you, Mi-Mi!
I am so sad about it. She was a Godsend, truly. I don't know what we're going to do without her. We made a special dinner for her, and gave her flowers and a balloon, and we had chocolate cake to celebrate our time with her. We were all really sad (but cake helps!) and we're determined that Michelle will not be gone for long. We'll still have her come hang out with the kids for some date nights, etc. And she wants us to Skype with her from time to time, too. I love it that she loves my kids so much, especially because they ADORE her. So, for us, it's just see you later, Michelle, and not good-bye. You can't get rid of us that fast!

This weekend, as a matter of fact, we would have used her to go to my friend Andrea's wedding, but we decided to let them stay with my parents overnight so that we could enjoy the wedding and not have to get up at the crack of dawn the next day.

Andrea's wedding was fabulous! She looked beautiful, but she's asked us not to share photos of her, so I won't. Just trust me when I say her dress was gorgeous! And it was great to get together with her and so many friends and drink and eat and cut-up and dance the night away. We had so much fun!!

"Ussie" with my girls Kelly and Shreya
Me and my sweetpea. Check him out in his new tux -- and 35 lbs. lighter! I hate him.
Why am I so short? I blame my parents.
The fellas, stylin'!
By the end of the night, women were bringing out bottles upon bottles of spirits, with fireworks coming out the top. Yes, it was that kind of night.
I might have done a little too much cutting up (ahem) because the next morning, Lester and I both needed this -- in copious amounts.

But it was great to get to go out to brunch with my sweetie and ease into the day. Many thanks to my Mom and Dad for watching the Davis crazies for us! We love you!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Clair's first week is in the books!

Clair's first week of school has been less eventful than I thought, but not as smooth as I'd hoped.

Like most families, I suppose, we've been on a roller coaster of emotions.

Day 2 was Lester's early day at work, so he had to take Clair to school, since I had to wait for Michelle to arrive.

During summer camp, when I asked Lester how Clair did at drop-off, he lied spared my feelings by saying she did "OK," or "just fine." But on Clair's second day of preK -- the first time we left her there alone -- he couldn't even sugar coat it: "Oh, she was so hurt," he said, sadly. "She cried and cried. It was terrible."

Day 2 was a half-day, so I left work to pick her up and bring her home. When I got to her, she was all smiles, and her teacher said she only cried at drop-off and not a tear after that. "She did great today," she said. And on the car ride home, Clair even told me what she did at school! "My teacher reed a book. I see my friends [not that she actually has any.] I eat some snaaaack."
It was great! I don't think Cary and Dean have ever re-capped their day for me. Ever.

On Clair's day 3, Lester dropped her off again because I had to be in Annapolis at 9 a.m. with the boys (long story). His report: "No tears. Minimal clinging. I was pleasantly surprised."

But I was still worried because Day 3 was the first ever "nap in the class" day, which seemed to me to be a potentially high-octane event, just ripe for meltdowns and nervousness. So after I dropped the boys off at home, I went to her school and peeked in on her in the class. Imagine my surprise - and happiness -- when I walked in on this:

That's her teacher, Miss Michelle. I can't tell you how good it felt for me to walk in unannounced and see her teacher sitting there with her hand on my baby girl, comforting her as she slept. Or pretended to sleep.
The closer I got to Clair, the more I could see her eyes flitting about under her eyelids. So I don't think she was actually asleep here. But she was trying! They said it was naptime, so my girl was doing her best to take a nap! Brava, Clair!

I was soooo relieved. I still got weepy seeing her in there trying so hard to do what the teachers wanted her to do. What a good girl! And also, what a poor baby, having to sleep in class and not in her own little bed in her own little room. Ugh. My little baby girl! But I felt like maybe we were on the right path. The pre-school director hugged me on the way out the door. I'm such a sap!

Then this morning, I dropped her off again and guess what? TEARS galore. Ugh!

So I suppose the roller coaster is still in full force, and likely will be for awhile, as next week is another crazy week, getting the boys acclimated to school. She'll even have to get picked up by Miss Arlene -- the new babysitter -- who she has met twice (and thrown her shade both times) and I know that is going to freak her out!

Bottom line: I will be really glad when we are in a solid, predictable routine again. For her sake, and for mine.

Two cute/funny things from this week to note:

In Clair's classroom, the teachers put labels in the cubbies so they'll know who's full-time, who's half-day, who's three days a week, etc. Except for some reason, instead of writing "full-time" on Clair's label, they accidentally wrote "fun time." This tickled me to no end. Clair Davis: Fun times, man. Fun. Times. Hahahaha!

And Cary and Dean - who are so confused as to why Clair's in school and they're not -- got handwritten cards from their new teacher in the mail! They were SO excited!

Isn't that cute? I'm looking forward to them starting school next week. And dreading the craziness that next week is sure to be.

Hello, roller coaster. Please go away soon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Clair's (sorta) first day of school!

Today was Clair's first day in the 2s class!
It's so nice only having to convince one child to look at the camera!

I call it her sorta first day, because it was only an hour and a half long, and we were there with her the whole time. *Tomorrow* is the real first day, when she has to stay from 8 to 11:30 -- alone. And then Thursday, she has to stay the FULL day -- until 2:30 p.m., which means she even has to nap there. Yikes.

Poor baby girl. Next week, when the boys start school, her world will be rocked even more, because she will not only have to stay for the full day, but she will also be picked up by a new caregiver, because this is Michelle's last week with us. I'm too sad to talk about that right now - really, it's too much.

So let's focus on Clair's (sorta) first day!

First of all, for one small child, we sure had to bring a lot of stuff.

The class did a gradual entry today, so only nine of the 16 kids in the class were there this morning. Guess how many of the nine Clair played with? If you guessed "not a one," you are correct!

She stuck close to us, not even venturing off to explore all the exciting toys unless one of us was near.

Making breakfast for Daddy.
Mommy's big going-to-school girl!
 She enjoyed decorating her name-tag and putting stickers all over it.

She didn't cry at all, thank goodness, though there was some whininess. But for the most part, I would say she was generally unimpressed with the whole thing.

Unimpressed is better than freaked the funk out, so I'll take it.

Because tomorrow, my friends, is another day altogether.
Pray for us.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cary and B.O.B. are becoming friends

Some of you mentioned the B.O.B. books for Cary when I mentioned a while back that he was showing some very preliminary early reading signs.

I was doubtful that he was ready, so I didn't get them. But lately, Cary has been poking his bottom lip out, lamenting that "I don't know how to reeeeeeaaad," and "I can't reeeeead!" so I figured it couldn't hurt to at least try the books and see how he does.

We got the first set of books last week, and he is doing so great with them, I can't even tell you!

I don't know why the sound on this video is soooo incredibly low, but if you turn your computer speakers ALL the way up, as far as they'll go, you can hear him sounding out words phonetically, like a big boy! So proud of him! Most of all, he is really proud of himself!

Dean is also doing very well with the books, though he is not as adept just yet as his older, book-loving brother in this area. But what has surprised me about my builder/doer/helper boy Dean is that --  once he saw Cary "reading" --  he immediately took a serious interest in the books, and has been asking me every day to read them to him and help him sound out words. And unlike Cary, who is easily frustrated when he doesn't quickly master something, Dean is undeterred by mistakes and just wants to keep trying and trying and trying. I SO admire that trait in him. (Not sure who he gets that from, but don't look my way...)

It's nice to see them both excited about these books. Generally, Dean has his "thing" and Cary has his, and they both sorta don't care what the other one is into. But with this, both boys are equally psyched about at least trying to figure out what those darn words on those little pages are actually saying!

Looking forward to them learning even more about reading this school year! Maybe by this time next year, they'll be reading bedtime stories to us.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Well-played, Princess Pink, you stealth ninja, you.

I was driving with the kids yesterday to meet a friend and her kids for ice cream when we passed a shopping center.

Clair yells to me from the backseat: "Mommy! (she said "Mommy" like 13 times because she has that hilarious toddler stutter). Mommy! Can-can-can-can-can-can-can-can we go in the pink store?"

I had no idea what she was talking about until I turned quickly and saw the T-Mobile store, which looked something like this.

"Oh no, baby. That's not a store for kids. It's a phone store. It's for adults to buy phones," I said.

Clair responded: "But-but-but-but-but-but-but it's PINK!"

She was not saying adult stores that sell phones shouldn't be pink. She was saying she NEEDED to go in that store because it was pink, regardless of what was actually being sold in it. Pink = need!

At the ice cream shop, Clair didn't want any of the ice creams available because none of them were pink. So she settled for vanilla ice cream with a heap of pink sprinkles. She ate the sprinkles and stirred the ice cream into a pale pink soup. Then she drank it.

Three days ago, when Lester was taking the kids to the park, I packed snacks and water bottles for them. Clair's sippy cup was among the missing (as usual), so I gave her what is supposed to be her "school cup." It used to be Dean's, but it now has her name on it. It's stainless steel with blue and yellow accents (you know the one.)

She recoiled when she saw it and screamed, "Nooooooo! I want my gur-rul cup! (She says "girl" like "squirrel.") I don't want that cup! That's DEAN'S! I want my GUR-RUL CUP!"

I had no idea what she was talking about, until we realized she wanted one that we took to the beach with us, with pink and turquoise polka dots on it.

She flat out refused the stainless steel one and cried until we poured the water into the cheap plastic polka-dotted one.

Oh, she also calls her navy blue Mary Jane shoes her "princess shoes" and asks if every girl she sees on coloring books or TV commercials is a princess. One day I put on my clothes for work and felt especially winning, so I smiled down at my child and said to her, "How does Mommy look?"

She took in my slacks and flat shoes and said disapprovingly, "You-you-you-you-you not a princess."

I PROMISE you, we have never called anything in our house a "girl" anything or a "boy" anything.

Even with my love of little girls in little girly things, we have not pushed pink on her in any way. Her room is green. Her bookbag is Sesame Street's brand of primary colors. I like to think she wears clothes in lots of different colors, pink included, but not exclusively. And the poor girl barely has toys of her own, because we thought it was stupid to buy them when her brothers had a zillion toys she could play with. But the ones she does have are not any more pink than they are green or blue or multi-colored.

And we have NO princess anything in our house, other than the daily 10,000 playings of "Let it Go" on my iPod. Not that I am opposed to princesses - or pink. But we just haven't gotten there yet. Or so I thought.

I say all this to say: Well-played Princess Industrial Complex. Somehow you have pinkafied my daughter and I don't even know how. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rain rain, don't go away!

Yesterday, it rained like rain was going out of style.

From 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., it poured - hard and relentlessly. I got soaked going back and forth from my car to meetings, and other, less fortunate, people had their cars swept away in flash flooding. It was crazy. In total, some six inches of rain fell on Baltimore yesterday.

My children were aching to get out in it. We recently bought them rain boots and raincoats, because the boys' new school stressed to us that there are very few days that they don't take the kids outside to play; a little rain, they said, was not a reason to stay inside. (A philosophy we love, by the way.)

So when the skies opened up yesterday, C, D and C just knew this was their chance to splash in puddles with abandon!

When I got home at 5:30, they immediately started pulling on their boots and jackets. They banged through the screen door and stood on the porch steps, looking at...


Not a drop of rain anywhere. Seriously, it was like someone just turned off a heavenly faucet one minute after I came in the house.

Poor little vinyl-coated cuties!

In other WTF news, the school sent us some correspondence which lists Cary and Dean this way:

Davis, Cary - '28
Davis, Dean - '28

CLASS OF 2028?!?! Whaaaaaaaat?!

That just completely blew my mind. I need a moment.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Clair and her hair

Remember how when I was pregnant with Clair, my curls just went completely away? That's how I knew I was having a girl, even before the ultrasound confirmed it. I knew she was stealing my curls to populate her own little head.

Apparently our heads of hair are still connected, because as my hair is getting thinner (Seriously, folks. I have like 22 strands of hair left on my head), Clair's hair is getting thicker and thicker.



Pray for me as her beautifully thick head of hair just gets longer, curlier and coiler.

And pray for our bank accounts, slowly being depleted to pay for all of the hair products.

Thank you. God bless you. Good night.