Tag Archive for 'Milestones'

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Today is Claire’s first day of “real” preschool. Last year, she went one day a week for an hour-and-a-half. It was a great experience for her, and turned out to be the transition that Momma needed. (Claire did fine…it was me who had to hold back the tears.) This year, she’ll go in the mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I’m almost not sure what to do with two hours to myself…twice a week!  Technically it’s FIVE HOURS OF FREEDOM a week, but I’m counting it as four, due to drop off and pick up times, etc.  (Although, 2 + 2 can equal 5, for larger values of 2…)  😉

You know that school supplies commercial where you hear “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” playing in the background, and the dad is dancing behind the cart?

Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

Only instead of plodding along behind me, Claire is just as excited to go!

Last night, we had the Open House to meet her new teachers and see her classroom, and as soon as we got there, Claire wanted me to sign her in and then leave. “Go home, Momma. Go do paperwork. Please leave me alone!”


This wasn’t that kind of thing…we weren’t supposed to leave them there, much to her dismay.

So, today is an exciting day. This is the earliest we’ve had to be out of the house for something like this…and last night was our first real school night. We have to get up early! (Well, early for us…) I don’t remember the last time I had to get up early for school, but I think it was sometime in the late 1900s.

Despite the change in our schedule, today went smoothly, and I am happy to report that today’s drop off was a complete success! There were no tears! And, Claire did great too. 😉

Where’s the cake?

I can’t let this week slip by without mentioning a milestone of sorts…

July 22nd was The Casual Perfectionist’s 2-year birthday! Can you believe it? So far, we’ve survived the last few days without many tantrums, but the week isn’t over yet. 😉

Now, if you look in the archives, you’ll see things written back in May of 2007, but as I mention there, those were all post-dated with things I’d written offline. The official go-live date of the blog was July 22, 2007.

So, here we are two years and 936 posts later (937 if you count this one), and the story has only just begun.

Thank you for following along with me! I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

Three…and a half!

She finally let me take a photo, but her name written in the magnetic letters on our fridge had to be involved. Fair enough. 🙂

On May 30th, Claire turned three-and-a-half! When I told her I wanted to take a picture of her, she vehemently declined. She didn’t want a picture taken, because she was still three. Her age wasn’t any different. She insisted that I was wrong.

“You ARE three-and-a-half!” I said.

“NO I’m NOT!” she yelled.

“Oh, really? Then how old are you?” I asked.

I’m not telling…” she said in the most sing-songy voice imaginable.

Thus proving, she is indeed three…and a half!


Is 40 a lot or a little?

Wow…month 40. Whenever we count out ages by months, it seems so surreal, doesn’t it? Forty. Is that a lot? Is that a little? The answer to that question changes on a moment by moment basis sometimes. 😉

When I told Claire that I needed to take her picture today, because she was 40-months old, she said, “No, I’m not! I’m three!”

When will I stop doing the monthly photos? I don’t know. I haven’t decided. If you know me, you know how hard it is to get me to stop doing something I’m already doing, especially if it fits so nicely into a patterned schedule.

So…it’s the 30th, so I took a photo. And, since I took a photo, I may as well share. 🙂

Check out Claire at 40-months!

Check out Claire at 40-months!

And, for some fun comparisons, check out this link for the other month-at-a-glance photos!


Well, if February had a 30th, it would be time for Claire’s 39th month photo…but it doesn’t!  So, this will have to do.



She’s been winking for months, and I finally captured it on film!

…Thus proving she can; she just doesn’t want to. Sometimes.

So, a couple Saturdays ago, Claire and I were having a lazy morning.  Daddy had gone skiing, and we were lounging around the house.  Claire came out to where I was sitting at the kitchen table, and when I looked up at her, I was stunned.

She was wearing real clothes.
She had changed out of her pajamas, and put on real clothes.
And, they matched! But, that’s not the amazing part…

I was still in my robe.
I hadn’t even told her to get dressed.
She hadn’t asked me for help.
She’d just decided that it was time to get dressed and did so…like a normal human being.

When did this happen?

All of a sudden, she doesn’t need me to tell her to get dressed?  She’s skilled enough to put on articles of clothing by herself…and most of the time she insists on doing it herself, but I’ve almost always had to pester her get the ball rolling.

This is the same girl who will melt into a puddle on the floor when told nicely to put on her shoes and socks before we leave?

“I can’t, Momma!  You have to help me, Momma!  I can’t!

No, I don’t ask.  I tell.  But, I tell her politely.  And, she almost always drags her feet. I used to give her choices and ask and blah blah blah, but I’ve resorted to telling her what needs to happen.  I have found that me telling her they really go on her ears and then trying to put them on her ears will invoke her overwhelming urge to show me how they really go.

She always has to be right.  I have no idea where she gets this trait.  *ahem*

She grabs them out of my hands and starts putting them on her feet.  “See, Momma?  They go on my feetNot my ears!”

I try not to laugh too hard as she’s showing me the proper way to put on her socks.

…all by herself.

Silly me!  What what was I thinking!?



Well, now the secret is out.  She can and will get dressed by herself, all without prompting.  I guess some days just call for a little more drama than others.  🙂

I’d love to take credit for this, but she did all the work.

According to the notes in Claire’s babybook, on March 3, 2006, Claire discovered her thumb.  By March 8, 2006, she was waking up with it in her mouth.  By March 30th, her 4-month birthday, she had no interest in her pacifier.

(Keep in mind that I didn’t want Claire using a pacifier.  Oddly enough, on the second day home from the hospital, in the middle of a 3am crying session – hers and mine – I changed my mind, and the only one Claire would take was the one the hospital sent home with us.  And, she would only use that specific kind.  The day my hubby came home to find me boiling the only one we had because I’d accidentally thrown it away in the kitchen trash was the day I found them online and bought two more of them.  Dear Soothie™, I loved you, and you saved my life, but I don’t miss you.)

Click photo to enlarge.

Claire and her thumb

Claire and her thumb

And, so began the relationship of Claire and her thumb.  When I told our pediatrician she was sucking her thumb, and asked him if we should try to curb the behavior, he relieved my fears.  He said that the self-soothing mechanisms were great, and that by the time any permanent damage would be done, we could redirect her.  We could wean her off her thumb later.

I took a big sigh of relief and focused my energies elsewhere.  I looked at the bright side.  I never had to fumble around in the dark for a pacifier that had fallen out of the crib.  Never did I have to pick up a pacifier off of the dirty restaurant floor or have to turn inside out while trying to reach her pacifier from the front seat of the car.  Her thumb was always there.  It was there if she needed it.  It made my job easier, and it made her happy….two things at the top of my list.

When she turned two, I talked to the pediatrician about it again.  He said that two-yr olds really don’t have the mental capacity to stop a habit like this yet, so hold off on fighting that battle.  I was okay with that answer.  We started reminding her that she wouldn’t need to suck her thumb…eventually.  You know, when you’re a big girl! Slowly we started implementing little rules.  You can only suck your thumb in your car seat or your bed.

It seemed to work, for the most part, but we really didn’t pressure her.  Most of the time a simple reminder, “Oh my gosh!  Where are you supposed to suck your thumb?  Are you in your bed?  Are you in your car seat?” would suffice, but if she was really agitated or tired, she’d pop that left thumb in her mouth and use her right hand to caress her hair.  I’d remind myself that she was still my baby.  It was still too early to worry about it.  I knew it would all work out.

When she turned three, I knew we’d have our work cut out for us.  Now was the time to really focus on the project at hand.  I’d decided to talk to the pediatrician again to see what his ideas were.  At her well-visit, he had awesome ideas. One that really stood out was establishing the Fingernail Polish Reward.  If she could stop sucking her thumb, she could pick out (and wear!!) her very own fingernail polish.  Her eyes lit up when he said that, and I could tell that was the way to go.

He then got down on her level and looked her straight in the eye.  “Claire, do you know why you shouldn’t suck your thumb anymore?” he asked her.

“No…” she hesitated.

“You are a big girl now!  And, big girls don’t suck their thumbs!  And, here are the three reasons!  The first one?  There could be germs on your thumb, and if you put your thumb in your mouth, you could get sick.  The second reason?  You could hurt your thumb.  It could get dried and cracked and even bleed.”

Claire looked at both of us with wide eyes.

“That actually happened last year, Claire.  And the year before.  Do you remember that?” I asked her.  I reminded her of how hard it was to keep her thumb from cracking and bleeding in the winter.

“And the third reason,” Dr. B. said, still looking at Claire, “is that you could move your teeth.  You could ruin your pretty smile, and we don’t want that to happen.”

He repeated the three reasons and had her repeat them, too.  She got the answers right, and she was so proud of herself.

I told him that we were going to her first dentist appointment in a couple weeks, and I was sure Dr. J. would say the same things.  I told him we’d focus our attention fully onto that plan after that meeting.

Before we left the office, Dr. B. told Claire that she was a big girl, and that he knew she could do it.

He then reminded me that now was the time to start, but it might not happen for a while.  “Between three and four” was the target we were aiming for.  He gave me good pointers on how to remind her (put a piece of tape on it during the day, etc.), but that we should start slow.  It would happen.  She’d stop sucking her thumb.

A couple weeks later, we went to Claire’s very first Dentist Appointment. Just as predicted Dr. J. had the same three reasons for Claire to stop sucking her thumb that Dr. B. had!

That night, as we were snuggling on the couch, Claire was telling Daddy about her appointment at the dentist, and we started talking about the appointment we’d had with Dr. B., too, a couple weeks earlier.

“Dr. B. said I could suck my thumb for a little bit longer, Daddy,” Claire said matter-of-factly, hoping Daddy would believe her.

“No, he didn’t,” Daddy said.

“He didn’t?” she asked, knowing he hadn’t.  Big alligator tears started to well up in her eyes and fall down her cheeks.  “He didn’t say that?”

“No.  No, he didn’t.  He said you needed to stop it right now.  Do you know the three reasons why?”

As we held her, she just sobbed her little heart out.  When she was done crying, we all talked about the three reasons.

She wiped her face and looked at Daddy.  “Well, Daddy…if Dr. B. said I shouldn’t suck my thumb anymore, then I won’t!  I won’t!

I was amazed at her conviction but happy to hear it.

“Dr. B. said I don’t need to suck my thumb anymore!  I’m a big girl!”

And, that night, she didn’t.  She didn’t suck it when we kissed her goodnight, and I peeked in on her before I went to bed a few hours later.  Her thumb was nowhere near her mouth.  In the morning, it was bone dry.  Day Number One of the No Thumb-Sucking Project had been a success.

I was shocked and relieved.

In a former life, I was trained as a counselor.  I’m very aware of the fact that it typically takes 21 days (or repetitions) to end a habit or change a behavior, and that’s only after you can admit that there’s something that needs to change.  I knew that every day we were mostly successful with Claire would be a day closer to complete success.

Every time she’d go to bed, I’d remind Claire about the three reasons for not sucking her thumb, or I’d have her tell me what they were.  Then, I’d peek in on her.  (Sucking her thumb outside of her bed was non-existent.)  There have been a couple naptimes during days that were particularly exhausting that I’d see that pesky thumb, but I’d tiptoe in, remove it from her mouth, and she’d never put it back.  At night, she has yet to have a slip.

I couldn’t believe it.
She’d gone cold-turkey.  Or, would that be cold-thumb?

By my calculations, she’d gone 23 days without sucking her thumb, so, on Saturday, it was time for the reward.

She had requested a special Cinderella Nail Polish and had been talking about it ever since Project No Thumb-Sucking began.  When Claire wasn’t looking, I may or may not have put Cinderella stickers on a brand-new bottle of Sally Hansen™ Diamonds Nail Polish.  Shhh, it will be our little secret, okay?

Click photos to enlarge.

Cinderella Fingernail Polish

Cinderella Fingernail Polish

Momma did the honors while Daddy acted as the paparazzi, capturing the big moment.

Momma did the honors while Daddy acted as the paparazzi, capturing the big moment.

The Newest Proud Member of the No Thumb-Sucking Club

The Newest Proud Member of the No Thumb-Sucking Club

I am SO proud to announce that Claire is officially no longer a thumb-sucker!  I’ll still remind her of the three reasons to not suck her thumb and still peek in on her, just to be sure we stay on the right track, but it feels so good to know that we’ve made it to the other side.

My favorite part about all this is seeing how excited she gets when we talk about it.

“I don’t have to suck my thumb anymore!” she’ll say.  And, she says it like she’s finally free.

Big girls don’t have baby teeth

As you may remember, Claire turned 3-yrs old on November 30th.  Well, because she’s automatically covered on our dental insurance policy, and because 3-yrs old is the magical age when both our  pediatrician and dentist agreed should be the time to start going to the dentist, I set up an appointment for her with my hygienist and dentist.

Neither my hubby nor I have ever had any cavities (knock brush on wood), so the dentist isn’t a place we fear.  Still, a lot of people are afraid of the dentist, and I want Claire to be comfortable going.  I figured this is the perfect way to get that ball rolling.  It’s never too early to think about good dental hygiene.  😉

I made the mistake of telling Claire about the appointment way in advance, and if the question of the day (…any day.  Pick a day.) wasn’t “Is today Monday!?  Can I go to school today!?” it was “Can I go to the Dentist!?”  Finally, the 18th of December rolled around, and we got to go to the Dentist.

She was beside herself with excitement.  I told her about the cool chair that moves up and down and lays back.  I told her about the bright lights.  I told her how the hygienist would wear a scary mask and weird glasses.  I told her how it was okay to be nervous, but that there wasn’t anything to be afraid of.  Momma and Daddy actually like going to the Dentist, and so will you!

And she did!

You would have thought Christmas came early.  She loved Kate, my hygienist.  She was a little weirded-out by the chair, but she got used to it.  She wore her pink sunglasses so that the lights weren’t too bright.  She even got the hang of how to hold the water in her mouth and then let Mr. Thirsty (the name they gave that sucker-dealie**) suck it out of her mouth.

Even the squirter-dealie** didn’t upset her.  “Momma!  Kate put a little water-fountain in my mouth!”  **I’m pretty sure those are the technical names for those instruments.

I was so impressed!

I mean, we’d scheduled what that office refers to as “A Happy Visit,” and they said they count it as a success if they get the little kid to sit in the chair without crying.  It’s considered a good day if they can count her teeth.  If they’re lucky, they actually try to clean them.

Claire had such a great time and was so into the whole thing that Kate was able to do a full exam and clean all 20 of her teeth.  You see, Claire had been told she could pick out her very own Princess Toothbrush when the exam was done.  She sat in that chair like a little baby bird, her mouth wide open.

Claire also got to meet my dentist, Dr. J.  She was a bit anxious around him at first, but that’s to be expected.  He told her he wanted to look at her teeth, and she said, “That’s okay.  Kate already did!”  It was all my hygienist could do to not laugh out loud.

It didn’t take Claire long to warm up to the dentist, and he got a good look too.

He told her she had all her baby teeth, and she told him that she didn’t!  “They’re not baby teeth.  They’re big teeth!”

Thankfully, everything looks great.  Claire loves brushing her teeth, so that’s not an issue.  The only concern I’d had was about the thumb-sucking.  Dr. J confirmed what Dr. B, the pediatrician, had said.  Now is the perfect age to get that to stop.  If she doesn’t, more of the bone will be moved than what is already happening.

She really took what they both said to heart, and I’ll have to write more about that later, because it’s really quite comical and amazing.  So, stay tuned!

After Dr. J looked at her baby big teeth, and the exam was over, he led us to the front of the office to the Treasure Chest.  That’s where Claire got to pick out whichever toy she wanted.  That’s funny, I’ve been going to that office for what, nine years (!?), and I’ve never gotten to pick out a toy!  I feel gypped! 😉

I’ve already scheduled Claire’s six-month cleaning, but I’m not telling her that yet.  June is way too far away for me to handle the “Can I go to the Dentist today!?” question.  🙂

So, in honor of Claire’s First Dentist Visit, here are some photos of her brushing her teeth.  These were actually taken before her first visit, so that’s why you don’t see her New Princess Toothbrush.  They were taken the day she turned 3-yrs old!  And, ironically, her birthday was one month ago today!  So, I’ve thrown in a picture of her that I took today, too.

Click to enlarge.

Brushing, brushing, brushing

Brushing, brushing, brushing

Claire is 36-months old in this photo.

Claire is 36-months old in this photo. It was taken on her 3rd birthday!

She’s getting really good at spitting into the sink.

She’s getting really good at spitting into the sink.

Admiring her handiwork

Admiring her handiwork

And, today...a month later…37-months old!  She and Merlin are fast asleep.

And, today...a month after her 3rd birthday…37-months old! She and Merlin are fast asleep in Claire's big girl bed.

Monkeys, fingerprints, and wood-flavored sticks

On Friday, Claire and I went to her 3-yr Well-Visit at Dr. B’s office.  Three!  I can remember that very first well-visit when she was a week old.

Has it really been three years?

Sometimes it seems like it’s been longer.  Sometimes it seems like it was just a couple weeks ago.  I can honestly say I’ve really enjoyed the ride so far, and I’m so happy to feel that way.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel looking back, and it’s nice to be where we are now and feel so good about the journey and the adventures to come.

We love Dr. B.  He’s funny and smart, and he always makes us feel like we are his only patients.   He calls me by name, and he gets it right.  He acts as though he has all the time in the world, just for us.  I know he’s really busy, but he’s never rushed or makes me feel like my questions are silly.  As a brand new parent, that was something I craved; something I needed.  And even as a parent of a 3-yr old, it’s still nice to hear positive feedback about your parenting.  Positive reinforcement is such a confidence booster, and I always leave his office feeling awesome.

Claire did great at her appointment!

She weighs 33 lbs, which is in the 80th percentile, and she is 38.5 inches tall, which is in the 75th percentile.  This is right around where she’s always been, so the doctor is quite pleased with her progress.

She jabbered up a storm with him, and he got quite a kick out of her little personality.

One of the things I like about Dr. B. is his sense of humor.  He let her hold on to a tongue depressor and told her that it was a very special one.  It’s a very special wood-flavored one and at the end of the exam, he’d let her taste it.

He told her he was going to look for monkeys in her ears, and she told him matter-of-factly that there were no monkeys in her ears!  She was right.  He checked.

He then wanted to look in her nose, but she didn’t want him to.  He asked her if she thought there were boogers in there, and she said she didn’t care if there were boogers or not, she didn’t like the light on the end of that thing he was holding and she did not want it anywhere near her nose.  He told her that the light wouldn’t hurt, and he quickly took a peek.

Do you know what he said he found in there?  Fingerprints!  She was a little confused by that, but I thought it was hysterical.

Then, she got to taste the special wood-flavored stick, and she wasn’t too impressed.  She told him she thought it would be better if he had some that tasted like candy.

It was time to listen to her heart, and she told him that she didn’t have a heart in there.  When he asked her what was in there, she said, “Oooey, gooey stuff!”  He thought that was hilarious.  We don’t let her watch ER, I swear!  😉

He had no concerns about her health, and when he asked me if I had any questions, the only one I’d wanted to discuss with him was his ideas about how to curb the thumb-sucking.  He said that right around now (between 3 and 4) is a good time to start working toward breaking that habit, and he had some fabulous ideas on how to get started.  I’ve already started laying the groundwork, so we’ll see how this goes.

In the meantime, we’ll have to watch out for those monkeys.  They like to get into the craziest of places.  😉

Party Preparations

Guess what!?  Today, Claire turns THREE YEARS OLD!!  This morning, we’ll be hosting a party, and NONE of us can wait.

I have so much to say about my baby turning three, but all of those musings will have to wait!

We’ve got a party to set up!
We’ve got a party to get started!
We’ve got to party!

I promise to share more this week about all the fun and excitement, but in the meantime, here is a sneak peek.

Claire has no idea how sneaky we’ve been with the preparations, and I can’t wait to see her face!  Here is what we’ve been up to:

I wonder what this is tucked away in the freezer?

I wonder what this is tucked away in the freezer?

Can these be what I think these are?

Can these be what I think these are?

Look who’s going to help us celebrate!

Luckily for us, little mermaids are good at keeping secrets!

Happy Birthday, Claire!!

Edited to add:  If you’re looking for Claire’s 36-month pictures, check out this link!