Meet the Family!

Meet Lexie Grace, my first ever niece!

Meet Abigail Hope, my second ever niece!

Meet Bella

my daughters best friend who is a puppet that lives on my hand that I might have to knock off soon because OH MY GOSH every-ever-lovin'-waking moment Annie wants me to "talk Bella and Tad." Tad's her brother. They are from Chicago but they live with us because- Lord only knows- but I think I told her their mom couldn't take care of them anymore. Great, not only do we have sock puppets, but they are foster-sock puppets with heaps of therapy in front of them.

Y'all, what started out as a fun craft project has turned into a seriously unhealthy relationship. They have their own personalities and voices and Annie, I am quite sure, loves them more than Ryan and I combined. And I don't know how to kill them off. But it's become a real problem. The very first words out of her mouth each day are, "Talk Bella! Talk Tad," and she falls asleep with them every night. She wants Bella to go potty with her and help her wipe. She wants them to eat at the table with us, drive the car with me, and she wants them in the bathtub. She cries as if a puppy is being ripped from her arms,"Don't take my friends away," if I take them off for a time out.

She doesn't understand why I don't bring them in public and though the grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends have been so nice to Bella and Tad- I swear they think I am insane. (You know who you are. Thanks for treating them like people in front of Annie, but you should know, I promise I don't get some weird joy out of being a puppetmaster for my strange 2-year-old. I promise.)

This week, I am sad to announce, I gave in to Annie-

who begged and pleaded with her most logical arguments and sincerest desires that we please bring Bella and Tad with us to the park where we took a 40 minute train ride on Martin Luther King day, with every other child in Ft. Worth, Texas who wasn't in school.

And so I  brought them.

On the train.

On a public train...

I talked to socks. 

I talked to socks on my hands in front of hundreds of people- any my daughter gleefully relished every second of it.  Every kid on the train was staring at us. Then, they started asking the puppets questions and laughing and having fun with Bella and Tad!?! Having fun with my hands and the creepy ladies puppet voices.

OH MY GOSH. Every adult looked at me like I might try to steal their child for use in my own, twisted, personal circus. Like I actually enjoyed it. Like this brought me great pleasure to talk in voices to socks to lots of strane children while my daughter kisses the socks and tells the other kids they are her best friends.

Wow. That's really all I can say. I have stooped to a new low as a parent. Today, I raise a toast to all the people in this world doing insane things for the children they love...