Tag

two year old

Through The Eyes Of A Child

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This weekend we took an early trip to Santa’s workshop to beat the crowd and get in our Christmas lists. My daughter asked Santa to bring her a train set this year and some more Play-doh. She made certain to reiterate that she wanted a train set two more times before leaving his side.

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Outside of his workshop there is a room, a magical room filled with twinkling trees & falling snow. I watched my daughter & her friend as they ran through the fake snow. As the snow formed small piles around them, they tossed it up into the air, giddy with excitement. At first I began to object, but the objections trailed off. Have I ever enjoyed anything as much as they do right now I wondered? I stared at my girl, unable to blink. I didn’t want to lose a precious moment. I felt my eyes well up with tears. I hoped that nobody saw me. I felt silly to be crying, but I just couldn’t help it.

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There are moments when a mother cries. The tears are not from sadness, they are from joy. Sometimes there is so much happiness, so much love that your body simply cannot contain it. When it finally bursts, it can bring forth an explosion of smiles & laughter and at other times it flows out as tears. These tears are not bitter, they are sweet.

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I felt as if I had never witnessed anything quite so beautiful. I could feel her wonder. It was magical. Her energy was contagious. I found myself grabbing a handful of snow as well. Before I could throw it, I was hit in the face with a small handful of white flakes. My assailant was a dimpled face angel with braids in her hair. She laughed uncontrollably. “I got you, mama.” She giggled & then ran away.

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I looked around at the disapproving looks from the other mothers at our antics, but I simply did not care. Let them look. Today, I see life through my child’s eyes. Today, I am innocent and free and I don’t care what others think. With tears in my eyes, snow in my hair, a smile on my face & love in my heart I realize that this is my happy place. This is what life is all about. This is why I became a mother.

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Pasta Mosaic Craft & Activity

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This weekend it was my husband’s birthday. For his birthday, we had a nice family breakfast and spent some quality time together, but daddy really wanted to watch football today. Since he so willingly gives up football every Sunday for Paw Patrol & Doc McStuffins, Mai & I were determined to let him watch his team play today. We needed an activity to keep our little one occupied for a long period of time.

As you all probably already know, I am a huge fan of pasta crafts. We have more boxes of pasta for crafting than we do for eating in our house. One of my favorite pastas to use is Ditalini. When dyed, it looks like beads. We made pasta jewelry a while back and colored much more of the small pastas than we needed. We had a ton leftover to use. We just needed a project that we could use them on.

Luckily we had the perfect activity in mind that both kept her busy for a shockingly long long time & used up all of our little Ditalini.

Spread out Play-Doh in the center of a paper plate.

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Color pasta by shaking pasta in a plastic Ziploc bag with food coloring & let dry.

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Have them press the pasta pieces into the Play-Doh one by one.

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You can also use another pasta to outline a shape and work around it.

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This was a fun activity and craft for us. I was impressed with how thorough and thoughtful Mai was when placing each piece as if she already had a plan for each piece.

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Hey, why does yours look better than mommy’s?

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Pasta Jack-O-Lantern Craft

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As much as fall is my favorite season, Halloween is my favorite holiday. Halloween is next week & we are looking forward to taking Mai trick or treating. I wanted to let her choose her own costume this year. I asked her several times & her answer has always been the same. “I want to be a Jack-o-lantern, mama.” Our daughter loves pumpkins & Jack-o-lanterns, so next week our daughter will proudly strut the streets as the cutest Jack-o-lantern ever to say “Trick or Treat”.

Until then, we can have a little fun making our Halloween crafts in anticipation.

Pasta Jack-O-Lanterns

You will need:

Jumbo shells (as used for stuffed shells)

Farfalle

Ziti
You will need 1 piece of each of these pastas for each Jack-o-lantern

Orange & green paint

Black Sharpie

Glue gun

Directions:

Paint the jumbo shells orange & the Farfalle & ziti green.

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Let the pieces dry.

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Glue the ziti piece into the shell as shown.

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Glue the Farfalle piece over the ziti.

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With a black sharpie, draw on your Jack-o-lantern face.

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Why Are You So Good For Everybody Else?

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IMG_5457There are many things in motherhood that are a complete mystery to me.

Why does our daughter ask for something and then cry when I give it to her?

How can she be so utterly sweet & adorable one minute and then such a monster the next?

The thing that confuses me the most is why do tantrums & meltdowns seem to be reserved only for me? Why does she eat with no arguments at daycare and take naps for Nana & most importantly why is she so sweet for her father & yet gives me such a hard time.

I share my exasperations with my husband. I tell him about my traumatic morning battles with our daughter. I explain how trying it is to wake her up & get her dressed and off to daycare. He looks at me and responds “Really, when I have her, she wakes right up and says she is ready to go to Miss Laura’s. We get dressed without any problems” Of course you do. Of course. Once again, not only do I feel as if I am an inadequate mother, but I feel as if it my stories of these difficult mornings seem like nothing more than an over-exaggeration or a figment of my imagination. Am I perhaps crazy? Is she really not as difficult as I think?

On the mornings that my husband is home to bring our daughter to daycare, I am relieved.  There are no fights, no struggles. I just get to hug and kiss everyone goodbye knowing that my husband will flawlessly carry out the morning routine.

This morning was one of his mornings. I heard our daughter stirring early & I immediately thought to myself “Here we go, another easy morning for hubby.” Then something strange happened. As I quickly moved around the house to get ready for work, I overheard something so familiar.  “No Dada, I don’t want to change the diaper. No! Leave the dirty diaper on. I don’t like to go to Miss Laura’s. I want my owl shirt, not the polka dots.” For a half hour, I listened as they went back & forth. I intervened to offer a hand a couple of times, but had to leave for work.

En route to work, my husband called me.

“Is that what you go through when you take her to daycare in the morning?”

“Yes, every time.”

“Oh my god! Don’t ever leave us. That was horrible”

The edges of my lips slowly raised into a satisfied smile. Silly daddy, I would never leave either of you. I love my family, meltdowns & all.

Play-Doh & Popcorn Craft

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I was born with a creative soul. I didn’t have a choice, it was hereditary. I came from a family of artists. Every aunt & uncle on my father’s side had a God-given talent. Since I was a small child I have been drawing. For years I would flip through magazines & draw portraits that I found beautiful or interesting.

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When our daughter came along, I was anxious for her to reach an age where we could start drawing & crafting together. My hope was that some of that creative gene would be passed down to her.

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As you all know my daughter has indeed followed in my footsteps. She loves drawing, painting & doing arts & crafts with mommy. I have to admit I swell with pride with each new drawing & art project. She has amazing vision. Here is an underwater drawing that she made, complete with sea creatures.

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This is a drawing of a savanna. My two year old daughter actually used the word savanna while making this. What a little smarty.

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Mai asked me to make her some Play-Doh tonight. So we did. We made a lot of it. With all that extra dough, we decided it was craft time.

What you will need:

Play-Doh or colored clay

A piece of cardboard

Popcorn

Sugar

Water

Food Coloring

Directions:

Find a square or rectangular piece of cardboard.
Find a square or rectangular piece of cardboard.
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Choose a color for your sky & roll it out over the top portion of your cardboard. It does not have to be perfect.
Add your tree trunk & grass using your dough.
Add your tree trunk & grass using your dough.
Add a background color to cover our whole board.
Add a background color to cover the whole board.
Make popcorn & set aside to cool.
Make popcorn & set aside to cool.
To color our popcorn, I followed the directions from this sight. I needed to use more water in mine. Add more water as needed. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Rainbow-Popcorn Pour the different colored mixtures over separate containers of popcorn & allow to dry.
To color our popcorn, I followed the directions from this site. I needed to use more water in mine. Add more water as needed.
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Rainbow-Popcorn
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Pour the different colored mixtures over separate containers of popcorn & allow to dry.
Give your child the mat & explain to them that the popcorn is for leaves.
Give your child the mat & explain to them that the popcorn is for leaves.

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There goes that maternal pride again. She made a beautiful tree with her popcorn. She showed me as she placed each popcorn leaf. “Look mama, I make a orange leaf. Seeeeeee.” I was very impressed that she placed every piece around the branches all by herself. She was proud too. Mai was so excited to show off her artwork that she woke up daddy from a much needed nap to show him her lovely craft. Daddy was proud too.

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Parenting- The Good, The Bad & The Nasty

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IMG_4824This weekend, I had a rare opportunity to get away for a night with the girls. The conversation as it often does shifted to our husbands and our children. One of the ladies in our company did not have any kids. She listened as we told horror stories about botched birth plans, sleepless nights & a variety of other less than pleasant experiences. After sitting silently for a while, she finally chimed in, “The more I listen to people with kids, the more I realize that I don’t want them.”

I realized at this moment, that this is probably the case for any non-parent sitting back & looking in. How many of us only talk about the negative things, whether it be about our work, our husbands or our kids? The good stuff is never nearly as much fun to talk about. I find my friends and I arguing over whose child was the worst infant & who now has the most tantrums & meltdowns.  I think mine normally wins. There are many different facets to parenthood, some are good, some are bad & some are just plain nasty.

All of these things began as early as pregnancy. Some people I know loved being pregnant, I however did not. I had every possible pregnancy symptom that there was. If only 5% of pregnant women had it, I fell in that 5%. I had morning sickness, let me correct that, I had all day sickness for 8 out of the 9 months. My toothbrush terrified me to the core because of it.
I had nose bleeds, carpal tunnel, round ligament pain, hemorrhoids, constipation & heartburn so bad that I did not eat in my 3rd trimester. When my ninth month hit, I could hardly wait for my pregnancy to be over. I was eating fresh pineapple & eggplant, massaging the webs between my fingers & tweaking my nipples while simultaneously bouncing on a yoga ball. That baby needed to come out.

When the time finally came, nothing went as planned. During my 24 hour labor I had 4 botched epidurals, endless Pitocin induced contractions & an emergency C-section that was a thing of nightmares.

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In the hospital, I struggled as my daughter & I tried to learn together how to nurse & feed. Breastfeeding is not as simple as it seems. I cried for days as tried unsuccessfully to nourish my baby as an unsupportive nurse hollered at me for doing it incorrectly.

Once home, those tears continued as my nipples chafed, the lack of sleep set in, and I flipped through books & websites trying to find ways to get my daughter to stop crying.

Parenthood is a difficult thing.  You surrender your independence & your freedom to this little creature. You don’t realize how much you took for granted before. Things like running to the store for milk or going to the bank are no longer a simple process. Sleeping in is a thing of the past, unless you consider 7 am sleeping in. Your immaculately decorated home now looks like Romper Room threw up all over it. Trips to the grocery store alone feel like a day at the spa. You need to schedule time to take a shower. Privacy in the bathroom is non-existent.
You get pissed on, puked on & pooped on. You may even get lucky & have all three done at the same time. Freshly picked boogers will be handed to you on a regular basis. Your lunch menu consists of half-eaten, soggy cheese sandwiches & left over juice with backwash. Breastfeeding, diapers, potty training, tantrums & tears, these are all a part of being a mother or a father. I have been exhausted for the past 2 years, 8 months and 16 days.

Before we made the decision to start a family, these were the things that scared me off from wanting children. My friends never shared the good things with me. If you think that you can handle all of the above, remember that there must be some reason that even after all of this, women are still willing to try for baby #2. Being a parent is tough, but trust me when I say that it is worth it.

Here are some of the things that make it all worthwhile…

The first time you hold your new baby in your arms
The anticipation & excitement of every milestone
Watching & hearing them laugh
Every kiss, even the snotty nosed ones
Hugs
The first time you hear mama or dada
Seeing them grow & transform
The sweet sound of all the I love yous.
Seeing parts of yourself mirrored through your child
The awe & excitement in their face when they experience something new.
All of the funny things that they say that make you smile or laugh
Cuddles
The pride you feel as you watch them learn new things
Being the one that teaches them those new things
Unconditional love & forgiveness
Hearing them screaming “Mommy!” when you come home from work
Hearing them sing
Baby feet

What are your favorite things about being a mother? Let’s share all the great things too.

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Felt Birthday Cake For Toddler Play

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Our daughter is a fan of the television. I am not a fan of her watching television, but still we do let her watch videos & toddler appropriate programming in moderation. She does not like it when we shut off the TV. She is a smart cookie though & knows how to work her family.
Daddy: “Mai, we have to shut of the TV.”

Mai: “How bout, we watch Patriots.”

She knows her daddy’s weakness.

She also knows her nana’s. “Nana, do you want to watch Cooking Channel?

Mai enjoys watching cooking with her nana. She also loves helping in the kitchen and pretend cooking in her play kitchen.

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Her favorite pretend food to make is cake. She makes cakes out of Play-doh. She stacks her stacking cups to make tiered cakes & then decorates them with the cherries from her Hi Ho Cherrio game. There is a learning exercise on ABC Mouse that allows you to decorate cakes & she adores this. She will draw with her imaginary icing & place flowers & fruit all over her virtual cake.

To help inspire our future little cake boss to continue to make tasty treats, we came up with this felt birthday cake for her to decorate.

What you will need:

A medium sized plain cardboard hat box

Assorted colors of felt sheets

Yarn

Craft pom poms

Elmer’s glue

Glue Gun

Scissors

Pen

Directions:

Start with a medium sized plain hat box. You can purchase on of these at a craft store for only a couple of dollars.
Start with a medium sized plain hat box. You can purchase one of these at a craft store for only a couple of dollars.
Remove the top & trace out the outline of the top on a felt color of your choosing & then cut it out.
Remove the top & trace out the outline of the top on a felt color of your choosing & then cut it out.
Measure out and mark the felt to cover the side of your box top as well.
Measure out and mark the felt to cover the side of your box top as well.
Using Elmer's glue, glue down the top & sides. The Elmer's glue will allow the felt to dry flat & smooth.
Using Elmer’s glue, glue down the top & sides. The Elmer’s glue will allow the felt to dry flat & smooth.
To make my icing edge, I braided 3 long strands of yarn & used the hot glue gun to glue down along the edge of the box top.
To make my icing edge, I braided 3 long strands of yarn & used the hot glue gun to glue down along the edge of the box top.
Cut and glue felt to cover the bottom half of the hat box as well. Allow to dry before proceeding.
Cut and glue felt to cover the bottom half of the hat box as well. Allow to dry before proceeding.
Cut out colored felt strips about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut using a waving pattern on one side.
Cut out colored felt strips about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut using a waving pattern on one side.
Roll the strip to form your cake flowers.
Roll the strip to form your cake flowers.
Glue the flowers in place using a glue gun.
Glue the flowers in place using a glue gun.
To form a strawberry, cut out two heart shapes. Dot the heart shapes with a green marker to add seeds.
To form a strawberry, cut out two heart shapes. Dot the heart shapes with a green marker to add seeds.
Place a craft pom pom in the center of one of the heart shapes. Add hot glue from the glue gun around the edges & place the other heart over it, dotted side facing out. Press the edge together all the way around . Cut  out a small star shape in green & glue over the top center of the strawberry.
Place a craft pom pom in the center of one of the heart shapes. Add hot glue from the glue gun around the edges & place the other heart over it, dotted side facing out. Press the edge together all the way around. Cut out a small star shape in green & glue over the top center of the strawberry.
To make a cherry, I just used a red pom pom & added a green felt piece for the stem.
To make a cherry, I just used a red pom pom & added a green felt piece for the stem.

Cut out letters & numbers. Make as many different fruits & flowers as you like. Let your little baker go to work decorating their cake.

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Store cake pieces inside the box.
Store cake pieces inside the box.

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25 Things To Do With Your Kids In The Fall

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I hate to sound like a broken record, but I can’t help it. My favorite season is here & I am not afraid to gush about it. Being a New Englander, I just can’t help but love the fall. One of the great things about it, is there are so many fun things to do with our daughter. Some we have done already this season & some are still on our to-do list waiting to be checked off. Not everything on this list applies to every region, but I am sure that you can find a thing or two that you can do together.

  1. Go leaf peeping – My husband & I have done this every year since we started dating. We take a nice drive & stop at scenic outlooks & look for covered bridges. It is such a beautiful time of the year.                                                                                                      960009_10201389503292807_219033289_n
  2. Visit a farm– This is the time of year where many farms put on fall festivities. Look for one near you.
  3. Go apple picking– Our daughter had a lot of fun with this last year. The fun doesn’t have to end at the orchard either… see #4 & 5.
  4. Bake an apple pie or crisp together– If your child is like mine, she loves to help in the kitchen. My daughter loves baking together. Eating the baked goods is only a bonus.
  5. Make candy apples– This can be a fun & messy treat for you & your child. Dip the apple in the caramel for them & let them press nuts for candy into the caramel to make an apple of their own design.
  6. Take a hayride– If they are an older child, they may enjoy the haunted hayride, but for a toddler like mine a regular old hayride will do just fine.
  7. Pick a pumpkin from a pumpkin patch– Before you can carve your jack-o-lantern or bake a pumpkin pie, you have to first find that perfect one.                                                           1234517_10201276818275752_553515490_n
  8. Carve or paint a pumpkin– There are many crafty creations that you can make with a pumpkin. Look online for ideas for carvings, etchings & painting.
  9. Take a nature hike– The fall is a perfect time to get out and get active. The air is fresh & crisp, but it is not too hot or cold. The beautiful foliage adds a special visual treat for the eyes while you are out exploring.
  10. Visit a local fall fair– The fall is a great time for fall festivals & craft fairs. Find one near you.                                                                                                               IMG_4852
  11. Make turkey hands – When Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is just around the bend. This is a classic & easy craft for the young ones.
  12. Make a scarecrow – If you have a yard full of leaves, a few old pairs of nylons & old clothes, you can make this happen.
  13. Find a corn maze – This is a lot of fun. Just be careful, my daughter & I actually got lost in one last year.                                                                                                                                             1385828_10201442573739535_1636295361_n
  14. Jump in a pile of leaves – What kid didn’t love doing this?
  15. Paint leaves, acorns & pinecones – I love painting with my daughter. Things you find in nature make great canvases & turn into great craft projects.
  16. Make an acorn whistle. – Hold the acorn like shown, making a v shape with your knuckles together. Place your bottom lip under your knuckle & blow. It make take a few tries before you get the hang of it.IMG_5360
  17. Rub leaves– Collect leaves & place under a sheet of paper & rub a crayon over it. This will bring out the pattern of the leaf on the piece of paper.
  18. Collect & preserve leaves– Fall leaves are pretty. Find some that are in good condition & press them between two pieces of wax paper. Iron over the top of the paper to seal it. Ask for your parents help.
  19. Drink hot cider – Make sure it is pasteurized for the young ones.
  20. Eat cider donuts – Mmmmm, donuts!                                                                                                                                                                              1240627_10201276822875867_1277613731_n
  21. Decorate your home & yard for the fall– Breakout your haystacks. Let your child help place small pumpkins or gourds.
  22. Go to a sporting event– If you are a sports enthusiast, now is as good a time as any to invite your child to share in your passions.
  23. Plant flowers for the spring – Our daughter loves helping in the garden. Let them help dig, pull weeds & bury the bulbs or seeds.
  24. Have a fall picnic– Bring your apple pie & cider donuts along.
  25. Go trick or treating, of course – Don’t be afraid to dress up with your children too. It can be fun for us too.                                                                                                                       Bonus:
  26. Take family pictures– Since the season is so beautiful, you might as well utilize nature’s back drop & take some family photos.

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Enjoy the season.

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A Serious Case Of Mommy Brain

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I want to thank my friend Deb over at All About Parents for giving me the opportunity to guest post about ‘My Serious Case Of Mommy Brain’ on her fabulous blog. This post was originally posted on her site.

A very interesting thing happened when I was pregnant with my daughter. My mind turned to mush. I became very forgetful. I could barely hold on to a full thought. I would begin a sentence & then forget what I was talking about halfway through. I couldn’t remember the simplest of things.
“Honey, can you pass me that long silver thing with the buttons that changes the TV channels?”
“You mean the remote control?”
“Yes! Thank you! That is what that thing is called.”
My friends warned me about pregnancy brain & that it would get worse as my pregnancy progressed. The thing that they all failed to mention was that after my daughter was born that pregnancy brain would turn into mommy brain.
To read the rest of the post click through below…

Read the Full Post 

Can You Scold An Other Mother’s Child?

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Being a first time mom at 38, I was the last in my line of my friends to have a child. I had a difficult time relating with all of these friends when I was childless. There were many things I just did not understand.

One day while shopping at the mall with two of my friends and their children, one of the kids fell behind in the group. At the time she was only a toddler. I watched as she walked over to the escalator. As she slowly stepped on, I screamed her name & told her to be careful. Her mother quickly scooped her up & we continued on our way. A little later, my other friend pulled me aside and reprimanded me. “You don’t do that.” she told me. “I didn’t want her to get hurt.” I replied. “You don’t ever yell at another person’s kid.” she told me. I learned that many mothers felt this way and took this to be some sort of unwritten mom code. I learned to hold my tongue when it came to other people’s children.

Fast forward a few years, I am at a birthday party & playing with my neighbors two sons. The mother stood at the entrance & watched as I entertained her sons with my goofy antics. One second the boys were jumping & laughing and then without warning they started to wrestle each other. I stopped, frozen with the curse of the mom code. My neighbor hollered at me, “Stop them! Break it up!” I quickly pulled them off of each other in a daze of confusion. What is the correct thing to do when dealing with other people’s children? As someone that did not have any kids of her own, I truly did not know.

After the birth of my daughter, my eyes were opened to all of the struggles and joys all of my friends had already experienced. It brought a new clarity and understanding. As my daughter reached a certain age, we began to be more social. I took her to the park, kid’s gyms, the library and anywhere where she could be around other children. Often the mothers would socialize and talk among themselves while their children played unsupervised. I found myself facing that same old dilemma. If I saw a child that was about to do something that could put themselves or others in harm’s way, I am I supposed to sit back and mind my own business or do I risk the mother’s wrath and speak up?

I will take the wrath. I cannot keep quiet if I see a child dangerously close to the end of a jungle gym. I won’t bite my tongue if I see one kid hurling toys at another one’s head. I won’t because what if the day I stay quiet, someone gets hurt and what if one day it is my daughter throwing toys or standing to close to the edge, I would hope someone e would speak up for me.

Recently while at an amusement park, I saw a young child struggling to get off her ride. She looked as if she might fall, so I gave her my hand to climb down. The mother very defensively grabbed her hand and pulled her away. What a strange reaction I thought.

As mothers, we all have the same goal, we all face the same challenges and we all need help once in a while.  Nobody wants their child to get hurt and I am sure nobody wants their children to hurt anyone else, whether it is physically or emotionally, so why is it so taboo to address another mother’s child. If it done in a respectful manner, shouldn’t we all welcome the extra set of eyes when our backs are turned.