I’ve been the big bad mom lately. Annie and Mike only get about an hour together every night before bedtime, so they squeeze a lot of fun-time hijinx into that 60 minutes. That leaves me to be the primary disciplinarian, and I don’t have even a fraction of Mike’s patience. I’m working on it, but it’s hard. I often feel bad that they are stuck with mean mom at home instead of nice dad.

Annie and I have been butting heads lately. It’s my fault. I’m still working on my scheduling and sleeping and I’m just not doing a good job at anything right now. She’s around, so she bears the brunt of my crankiness. We also haven’t done a lot of fun things lately – no breaks from the grind of sameness. While Annie does thrive on routine, I think everyone can benefit from the reward of spontaneity once in a while.

Annie loves surprises more than any other person I’ve ever met. I sometimes use this to my advantage and say things like, “Surprise! We’re going to clean the house!” and she’s totally into it, because it’s a surprise. Last Friday after a frustrating week, I decided Annie and I both needed a break. My mom watched James, and I took my girl out for a Mother/Daughter Reset Day. Surprise!

We kept it simple. We started at the mall, where Annie did one of her favorite things: hang out with mannequins.

Annie and the Mannequins

She picked out some birthday presents, along with one shirt for herself. Watching Annie pick out clothes is such a trip. The girl has style, and more opinions than names in the phone book. Once we finished shopping, we grabbed our favorite drinks: venti latte for me, tall vanilla bean crème frappuccino for her (love the crème drinks for kids – no caffeine!)

My favorite thing was surprising her with a dinner date. I had a dress in the car, and when we arrived at our destination I told her where we were and what we were doing. She clapped her hands and said, “Oh boy, Mommy! A special dinner for just us!”

The restaurant had etch-a-sketches for the kids to play on, and Annie got busy drawing the blueprints for the house she wanted to live in some day. “Mommy, my house is going to be so big, but in the middle of your house and Jamesie’s house, because I need my own house but I also need to be near you guys.”

drawing on her etch a sketch

Sometimes she listened to me talk…

lady date

But mostly, she did all the talking.

never stops talking.

never stops talking.


When it was just the two of us, Annie told me about school and her friends. She told me about the funny things her different coaches and instructors say. She told me about wanting to grow up to be a Doctor-Designer-Architect-Butterfly. She asked me LOTS of questions. Neither of us were distracted, so we were able to focus on each other 100% It was so great. We held hands on the walk back to the car, and she asked me if we could have another special dinner soon.

Since our “reset,” the two of us have been doing a lot better. Before James was born I planned on lots of solo outings with Annie and it’s been far too long since our previous girls’ day. I’m not going to wait so long next time – my Annie and I both deserve it.