Archives for category: Parenting

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Royal Roundup: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Take Their Son Home

I cannot do a weekly round-up without mentioning how happy I was that William and Catherine had their baby George. Kate looked lovely and was so brave to face all those photographers with her precious baby at such an emotional and personal time. I thought I saw some winked back tears and I can’t imagine how she came out, and even spoke to the press, with such grace.

Related: This. Can you imagine?

Quit Pointing Your Avocado at Me

What we seek we will find and if we’re looking for a world full of judgmental mamas — we’ll find it. Parenting is the most important thing to many of us and so it’s also the place we’re most vulnerable. We’re all a little afraid we’re doing it wrong. But even when we’re scared — we can still choose. We can choose to see each other as competition or as fellow warriors — fighting the same fight on the same team. One goal — many paths. We can learn from each other. We can even ENJOY each other.

Queen Elizabeth: “Thank Goodness He Hasn’t Ears Like His Father”

I may need to breastfeed while you are here. If this offends you or makes you uncomfortable, I keep some blankets close by for you to put over your head.

Mother Like a Firefighter

Did you know much of a firefighters life is quite boring? They spend their days doing boring maintenance and following a boring routine. They do the exact same thing every time they run through their checklists.

They wear the exact same uniform, drive the exact same vehicle, work from the exact same building.

They are extremely routine and scheduled.

Boring.

But they become heroes in a split second.

They have chosen to surrender certain small freedoms and choices so that they can be free and available to those in need WHEN THEY need.

Twaddle Free Books for Young Children

Twaddle:Dumbed-down literature; absence of meaning.

Homeschooling or not, I believe children (and adults, really) should invest their time in living books, and not waste time on twaddle.  And quite frankly, there’s a lot of twaddle out there in the world of children’s literature.

Note: I would add the Virginia Lee Burton books.

Lessons in Motherhood

You are the best mom for your child.

What Makes You Put Down a Book

Question: Why do so many people always finish a book?!? Life’s too short to read a bad book!

Also, I have only read one of these books – The Lord of the Rings. I did not abandon it, although I abandoned The Hobbit several times before finishing it and now have no idea what took me so long.

Did you read anything fascinating this week (besides royal baby coverage)? 

Toddle rhymes with dawdle.

Toddler rhymes with dawdler.

Enough said.

Toddle watermarked

Or maybe not “enough said” because I feel like I have more to say about this. A lot more.

Why is my child still standing back there? Why will he not walk forward? Why is walking to the side, in circles, is he backing up?!? Oh I don’t know. Maybe he’s looking down at his shadow. Maybe he’s looking at the rocks. Maybe he’s looking up into his hat brim. Maybe he’s listening to the sound of his eyes moving. Maybe he’s staring into space and nobody can tell what the hell he’s doing.

It takes Nathan approximately 10 minutes to walk the 30-40 feet (I’m not good with distances) to our car. I am not exaggerating. Well maybe a little. But it’s usually at least 5.

If I do not encourage him verbally (“Nathan, come here. Nathan, keep walking. Nathan come, 1…2…3…”) he will stand there indefinitely. Sometimes I look back and he’s just standing a few feet behind with his head cocked to the side apparently doing nothing.

Recently, I was urging him on to the car. We were running late to a party and I’d already had to tell (read: yell at) him not to walk under the stairs where one of my neighbors graciously smashed a glass bottle that has never been cleaned up. He loves being told no as much as the next two-yearl-old and epic dawdling ensued. My “gentle” verbal encouragement to “Come. Right. Now.” sent him into a fit and he refused to keep walking. I had to turn back, grab his arms and force him to keep moving while he wailed and thrashed and threatened to go limp noodle. We were on our way to a swim party so my arms were filled with bags and towels and gifts and so on. I was having a great time. I managed to move him a few feet closer to the car, down off the curb and part of the way across the parking lot when he finally decided to just sit down. In the middle of the parking lot road. I had to swoop down and scoop him up in one arm like a sack of potatoes and carry him kicking and screaming to the car. Awesome.

Does your toddler dawdle? Does it drive you crazy? Tell me your stories!

The Lock Edited

It was a small thing. Almost unnoticeable and certainly prosaic. It was early evening. We’d finished dinner but weren’t ready for  the bedtime routine so we decided to all head out and run an errand to the bookstore so I could get a new Bible Study book and a numbers poster for Nathan.

There was the usual hubbub of clearing dishes, finding shoes, and moving toward the door.

(Note: Why does it take so much effort to get just three people to the car with everything they need for only a 10 minute drive?!?)

I heard a little voice calling to me as I gathered my things, “Mama.” 

I hear that name so often. So frequently that my brain sometimes doesn’t even register it anymore, treating it instead like background noise of traffic or the air conditioning. But this time I heard and turned from grabbing my purse and said, “What Nathan?” And I saw him standing by the front door, his arm stretched high over his head.

He repeated, “Mama,” and then tapped his fingers on the lock.

Oh that lock. It is above the round door handle and he can barely reach it. He stretches up just enough to touch the bottom of it and can flip it from the up/down of locked to the horizontal position of being unlocked. The tantalizing brass and the feeling of moving a piece of machinery is like a magnet to this boy. He has not been able to help himself from touching it and flipping it. At first it wasn’t a big deal, I saw it as one more thing he was learning to do. But then I started looking over at the door at various times during the day and finding it unlocked. Not cool. I started telling him, “no touch.” He kept unlocking it. Frustration.

It finally became a time-out offense, which is the worst level of discipline in our house. I try to save it for danger or aggression. This certainly fell into the danger category. We cannot live in a house that may or may not be locked at the whim of a toddler and his love for mechanical things. I began to consistently make him re-lock the door and sit in time-out if he unlocked it without permission. This got very annoying when he would unlock it just before we needed to leave the house. I also worked to give him ample sanctioned opportunities to unlock it. I didn’t want him to feel like it was a privilege he couldn’t have, but instead a privilege that required permission. It got to the point that he didn’t even protest the time-outs. He knew he’d done something disobedient.

So in the middle of that ordinary bustling evening, the one small word and gesture meant so much more than they appeared. He was taking a big step forward on the bridge of self-control. Seeing that lock, knowing it needed to be unlocked and that he could do it, he stopped, waited, got my attention and asked permission. That’s big stuff when you are only two!

I gave him permission and then we had a mini party there in the entryway. High fives and congratulations. Kisses and hugs. Every job well done deserves to be celebrated. 

And like a true Mama, I got a little misty eyed as I thought about my boy growing older and in wisdom. Goodness gracious how I love him.

These are the days. 

That’s my motto for this season.

These are the days…my son will be two.

I don’t want to get caught up in the daily grind and miss my son’s second year. These are the only days he’ll be two, two and a half, two and three quarters, and gone.

These are the days…of summer. 

I’ll never celebrate this summer again. This first Forever Family Day, this 31st birthday, Jason’s 32nd birthday. We’ll never be quite the same family again in this routine, this place. I want to celebrate being home for the night by 5:00 most days, long evenings with Jason, the time alone while Jason works, early mornings, hot weather. Summer comes back every year, but it never comes back quite the same.

These are the days…for learning how to talk, how to walk, how to play.

These are the only days filled with these particular tasks. Soon Nathan will know how to walk up stairs, and down. Soon he’ll be able to say Daddy and eat and go like a champ. Soon he’ll be dressing himself without asking for help.

These are the days…for hearing Mamamamamamamamamama. Over and Over.

I longed to be called that name for years and I don’t want to cringe so much when I hear it in abundance and in a less than lovely tone of voice. I want to rejoice that I have a boy who calls me Mama and wants my attention. I want to wear that name with honor as one of the brave ones.

These are the days…for morning and evening bottle time.

These are the days he still needs the nurture of being nourished by his Mama. Don’t rush it. He deserves every minute of Mama time he missed out on in the early days.

These are the days…for snuggling a boy who still fits in my arms. Mostly. 

Those legs are growing longer every day. They already hang over the arm of the rocking chair. I want to treasure the weight, the warmth, and the steady gaze inches from my face.

These are the days…for being able to carry him when he doesn’t want to walk.

Soon he’ll want to walk all the time. And he’ll be too big for me to carry. I want to say yes when I can.

These are the days…I am famous in his life. 

He won’t always light up and laugh when I walk in the room, follow me around just to be with me, and ask for me when I leave. Treasure his adoration and don’t take it for granted.

These are the days…for building our life.

Life doesn’t start somewhere down the road when we finally feel like we can catch our breath. Life was yesterday. It’s today. It’s now. This is Nathan’s childhood, the memories and worldview we are shaping for him that will continue on and on. I want to grab it and run with it, not let it slip away.