Charlotte’s New Year

Last year I wrote that our resolutions for Charlotte for 2009 were: To learn to eat happily and politely so that meals can stop being the most stressful times of our day. To learn to dress herself. (Yes, both of those are actually mom & dad’s wishes for her.) To learn to peddle her bicycle so that Mommy will put the bell back on. To go back to Virginia Beach and play in the sand. To visit Nenenne in Belgium. To go back to New York City. To turn four. And, as always, to continue to grow from strength to strength.

How’d she do? Well, mealtime is still pretty stressful, but getting (mostly) better all the time. She mostly dresses herself, but really slowly because she prefers “full service”parenting. She didn’t get back to NYC, but she did drive through it and refused to sleep. Doesn’t that count?

Bicycling is a story in itself. Here’s the short version: Charlotte fell twice in one day in April. For the rest of that week, she rode her bike. A week later she stopped riding. A few times she let me get her helmet on her and then got hysterical. After that she simply wouldn’t even consider it. This lasted nearly 5 months. Sometime in the fall she announced that she was ready to ride again. She went as far as the library and back that day, probably about a mile round trip. From that moment on, she was the riding queen.

In 2009 (in no particular order):

  • Charlotte was “promoted” to junior-kindergarten, or as we call it at the Lycée Français, la moyenne section. She loves her new teachers and the class bunny, Coton.
  • Charlotte finally got to Boston to meet her Aunt Bobbie (my father’s sister) and Uncle Melvin (my father’s uncle). Cousin Mark nailed a cold reading of Skippyjon Jones.

  • She made it to Belgium to see her Nenenne and aunts and uncle. As a bonus, she also made it Paris and met my friend Fabrice, his partner Sonia, and his daughter Eva. The trip was such a success that Eva came to Chicago to visit us in October.
  • She went to New Jersey multiple times–to see her cousins Taylor and Jamie graduate from high school, to celebrate Thanksgiving, and again in December for the annual Goldman Hanukah exchange.
  • Expanded her movie repertoire to include 101 Dalmatians (101 times!), Cinderella and Lady and the Tramp.
  • Taught herself to read. Really read. We’re at about 1st grade level, I think. She reads everything–books, street signs, sale signs, you name it.
  • Started to get interested in basic math.
  • Decided she likes to eat (or at least try) whatever we eat for dinner, including black bean cakes, cod seasoned with Emeril’s cajun seasoning, tortilla-crusted tilapia, salmon, steak, you name it. She doesn’t always like it, but she nearly always tries it.
  • Started swimming lessons, progressed very little, and went on swimming strike.
  • Learned to write the alphabet
  • Had tubes put in both ears, ending the chronic ear infections
  • Hade her release appointment with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Feeding Team
  • Was assessed by a development therapist and an occupational therapist to address some school conerns (*more on this later)
  • Grew another 2 inches, reaching the height of 43″ or so, a virtual giant, and gained 5 lbs. for a total of 40 lbs.
  • Discovered board games and mastered a 100 piece puzzle
  • Lost Bubba and, more importantly, dealt with the loss with uncommon maturity
  • She still loves Bubba, ignoring the fact that he’s a “replacement;: plays the piano and sings, still making up her own melodies and words as she goes; plays dress up every time she can

Like last year, Charlotte and we would like to honor the extended Team Charlotte who helped us reach this day with grace and some bit of sanity:

  • Dr. Carl Backker, cardiac-thoracic surgeon. We haven’t needed to visit him this year, but he’s always going to be on the top of the list
  • Dr. Luciana Young, cardiologist extraordinaire
  • Dr. Kathleen Billings, ENT
  • The Feeding Team at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
  • All of our wonderful friends who never think of Charlotte as anything other than a regular kid
  • Lakeview Pediatrics, all the doctors and staff, who answer our questions and assure us that Charlotte is as extraordinary as we think she is
  • Janet Holzman , of Kids’ Kastle and her assistant Ramie, the very next best thing to caring for Charlotte myself
  • Lycée Français, Charlotte’s teachers and friends
  • Our families, especially our nieces who treat Charlotte like one of the girls, even if she is 10 years younger than they are
  • Dr. Charlie, Charlotte’s dentist

If I’ve left anyone out, please know that we are ever-grateful for all of your kind thoughts, your emails, your comments on the blog. We never take for granted the blessings we find in the love and support of our family and friends. And we are always moved when strangers find the site and post their well-wishes.

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