Category

Parenting

Some Day My Prince Will Come

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Like many young girls, my daughter is caught up in the fairy tale world of princesses and princes. She parades around our home in her princess dresses and tiaras almost every day. “Princesses don’t wear pants, mama.” They do however, wear gowns & sneakers like it is their job.

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Lately, she has been bringing her father into her world of make believe.
“Prince, prince, where are you prince?”
“Prince, please get me some juice.”

Her prince is always happy to oblige.

I think about this fairy tale world that she lives in right now. In these stories the prince is always dashing and handsome with great hair, a sparkling smile and the ability to slay dragons. It is love at first sight. True love is portrayed with song and dance routines and of course everyone always lives happily ever after.

In the real world if you went around singing & dancing, they might have you committed. Love is seldom at first sight & that dashing prince might be a wise cracking bald guy. Not every relationship is a whirlwind romance, but that does not mean that it is not a great love story. The man that wins your heart might not be handsome or dashing, but he makes your heart skip a beat. In a real fairy tale the prince & princess have their ups & downs. They fight, they make up. You might not get a happy ending. You might get left with a broken heart. Life is not a fairy tale.

I hope that as you get older, you realize that real love is not what you read in your story books or see in the movies. There are no big dramatic gestures. John Cusack will not be outside of your window holding up a boom box. There will not be a mail box full of love letters from Ryan Gosling. Real love is flawed, it takes work. It requires communication, patience & understanding.

Real princes are men like your father. They clean off your car when it snows outside. They make supper when you are running late. They get up in the middle of the night to change poopy diapers and they are great fathers. Prince Charming may have slayed a dragon, but he never slept on the floor at the foot of his sick daughter’s bed. That’s a real prince.

When I Grow Up I Will Be Married

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This weekend my baby sister got married, and by baby I mean soon to be 30. With 11 years separating us, I sometimes forget that she is a grown woman. Even with as much as we have been through together and the friendship between us, I often still think of her as that little girl that I used to make call me mom when we were out in public. After our mother passed, I felt as if I took on a maternal role. I took on all the worry, the protectiveness. I glowed with pride at all of her accomplishments and watched her mature and grow.
I looked at her over the course of the evening. She was so beautiful, so happy. I watched as she kissed her new groom & it felt almost surreal. When did she become this woman? She caught me watching her a few times, “What’s wrong?” she asked me. “Nothing.” I replied. She never did care for me thinking of her as a little girl. Why should she? She is a woman.

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Our daughter was fortunate enough to be included in her auntie’s festivities as a flower girl. She was very excited to be a part of the wedding. She was dazzled by the whole day. Mai put on her beautiful dress. She had curls in her hair & a basket of flower petals. She oohed & aahed over the lights and flowers and flirted with the groomsmen. It was a night to remember.

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This morning, still beaming from her first march down the aisle, our daughter asked to put on her gown again. We obliged & let her spend her day twirling & dancing in her new princess dress.

“Mama, someday I will grow up & I will get married.”

All of a sudden, I was having flashes of talks about the birds & the bees, young suitors, broken hearts, and my husband armed with a shotgun waiting at the front door to greet her dates. What kind of man will win her heart? Is it someone we know already? Will he be a nice boy or a punk? Will he be good to her? Will we like him? One day this day might come & as with my sister, I know that I will have a hard time. Even though she will someday be a woman, she will always be my baby girl to me.

“Yes Mai, someday when you are a big girl you might get married.”

For now, let’s take a nap in our princess dress & have sweet dreams about Play-doh.

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Creativity Is Cheap & Imaginations Don’t Cost A Thing

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I just adore my how my daughter’s mind works. I never know what she is going to say or do. To look at life through her eyes is a daily adventure, with a new story every day.

Since the birth of my daughter I have become a pack rat. I never throw anything away because everything has some sort of creative potential. Things like empty paper towel rolls, tissue boxes & milk jugs are great for craft time. My daughter loves to draw and color and I have found that many things other than paper make for a great canvas. My home is cluttered with empty boxes, recycled ribbons & bows and other assorted odds & ends.

Mai’s birthday party is this weekend. This year, it is a Play-doh theme to pay homage to her favorite addiction. I have saved all of her old Play-doh containers in the hopes that I would be able to use them for her party. As I was washing out all of the containers, Mai saw a chance to grab the lids. My daughter played with the lids, pretending that they were various things. She baked Play-doh lid cookies, formed Mickey Mouse ears with them & cracked them open for scrambled eggs. For an hour, we played with them. I listened as she described to me every step in the Play-doh cookie lid baking process. She told me the flavor of each different colored treat. Some were sprinkled with sugar, some with cinnamon. She made sure that both of us had our oven mitts on before handling our freshly baked desserts. She is just fascinating to watch.

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With a glorious imagination like hers, remind me again, why we have a house full of toys.

For more free fun…Please check out my latest article in this month’s Seek.

Indoor Fun With Sheet Forts

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Kiddie Cliques

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv797-=ot-244;=;44=--8=XROQDF-2;86;353;-245ot1lsi (1)When I was a young, I was never what you would consider a popular girl. I wrestled with several social issues. As a child, I was taunted for being Asian. I was called every stereotypical ethnic slur that you could think of. I was a rather chubby child until I reached high school, so that gave the mean kids in my school more ammunition to use against me. When I reached high school my body changed, but unfortunately most of these people remained the same. Like many schools, ours had its fair share of cliques. I was often disliked or dismissed because I was not a part of any of these groups. High school was not a fun time for me.

Our daughter is an only child. I have tried to expose her to other children as often as possible for her to understand the importance of socialization, sharing & patience. Along with daycare, we have play dates, assorted classes & playgroups to assist with these. Much to my heartbreak, I have witnessed that exclusion, cruelty and bullying are not just reserved for teens.

Recently, my child was playing with an older group of already established friends. She approached them with her usual cheerful spirit & energy, filled with excitement to meet each & every one of them. As she was introducing herself, the foursome turned and walked away, leaving her standing there alone. I felt a stab in my heart as my sweet girl watched them walk away. Luckily being a resilient toddler, she quickly moved on to independent play. I was more wounded by this interaction than she was.

It made me look ahead. It made me scared for the future. It is a certainty that through the years that she will feel the pain of hurt feelings, exclusion and children’s cruelty. With any luck she will keep her resilience. She will understand that the opinions of others do not define her. My wish is that she never tries to conform to be accepted by others. As time goes on and she encounters this more and more, I hope that she keeps her same gentle spirit, that she does not give in to the taunting of others and that she is always true to herself.  In the meantime, I will do my part to try to instill these values in her & pray that her adolescent pain is kept to a minimum.

A Potty Training Dilemma

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When you are pregnant, there are things that you prepare yourself for before the baby comes. You know that you will have sleepless nights, you know that there will be crying & you know that you will change dirty diapers. What you might not realize is that those sleepless nights can last for days, that the crying continues even in to the toddler years & that your child can produce an obscene amount of poop.

When my daughter was an infant, I barely fastened the straps on her diaper before she started pushing out her next poop. When we left the house, we were armed with a diaper bag filled with extra diapers & 3 changes of clothing. Many public poops ended with wet feces that shot up my daughter’s back & soaked through her clothing. As a new mommy, I would frantically try to remove her clothing without covering her hair & face with her own bowel movements, while wiping her butt & back clean and getting her in a new diaper before she went again. Let’s not even talk about bath time, which became dubbed as poop soup. As she got older, I was relieved that diaper changes got easier. Messy blow-outs were a thing of the past.

Enter the potty training era. We have had a very successful month with toilet training. Mai now strictly pees in the potty & takes great pride in wearing her big girl undies. The problem is that she is still afraid to do the dreaded number 2 in the potty. When a poop is brewing, she dives for her nearest hiding spot. Anywhere out of reach will do, under her tea table, in her cardboard playhouse, under her safety stool. Finding that unreachable spot is not enough though. She must barricade herself in by pulling toys, boxes, pillows and chairs around her to keep her safe. “Don’t look at me, mama.”

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We have been trying to give her a gentle nudge to the toilet. We were successful in getting her to sit on her potty one day, but it ended in pooptastrophe as she had a change of heart halfway through & stood up and tried to diaper herself. I will spare you the messy details.

Since that day, I have backed off a bit. She didn’t poop for days after the incident, so we needed to take some of the anxiety off of her. When she is ready to poop, she asks for a diaper. I change her into one & then she heads to her favorite poop spot. Mai has accompanied me to many bathroom trips lately, so that she can see that it is no big deal. She is not quite convinced. Has anyone else encountered this & what did you find that was successful for you?

A Mother’s Resume

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Yesterday I did a post about the irrational fears of mothers. A reader commented that these irrational thoughts are part of our job description. This made me chuckle. My response was that our job description is far too long, that sometimes I forget what is on it. It got me thinking. Being a parent is a difficult job. It is demanding, keeps long hours & you never get a day off. Our list of responsibilities is a lengthy one.

A Mother’s Resume

12/18/2014
The Pinterested Parent
https://www.facebook.com/thepinterestedparent
Thepinterestedparent.com

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OBJECTIVE:

To successfully raise our child to be a sweet, smart, well-mannered young lady with family values, respect for others and a strong sense of self, without screwing it all up.

EXPERIENCE:

Mother to Mai (January 2012-present)

Child Care Manager 

  • Nursing with no regard to sore breasts, bleeding nipples or mastitis
  • Changed thousands of soiled diapers & cleaned poop out of clothing, hair and sheets on several occasions.
  • Endured sleepless nights comforting a crying baby, a cranky toddler, a sick kid & a scared child
  • Over-protector and dirty look wielder to playground bullies
  • Kissed and bandaged many boo boos & ouchies
  • Wiper of runny noses, poopy bottoms, dirty hands & tears
  • Personal chef to the most finicky of eaters
  • Washed, bathed, shampooed & brushed the teeth of a squirming child daily
  • Hairdresser & stylist specializing in pig tales & Elsa braids
  • Responsible for transport by either horsey ride, piggy back, carrying, stroller or car
  • Diffusing tantrums & meltdowns

Education Director

  • Teacher of colors, objects, animals, math, reading, sign language, problem solving and geography
  • Acting as a role model trying to accomplish all of the things in the above objective without passing on all of my own bad habits and short comings
  • Professor of arts & crafts with a deep focus on paper plate art, painting, Play-Doh sculptures & macaroni art
  • Assists in the progression of crawling, walking, talking, potty training & riding a bike
  • Responsible for discussions on God, love, sex, death and other various subjects pertaining to life

Purveyor of memories

  • Amateur photojournalist chronicling the life of my little girl from birth to present day
  • Collector of art projects & drawings
  • Archiver of cute, funny & beautiful moments that I will hold securely in my heart & head

Head of Entertainment

  • Skilled at Peekaboo, I got your nose & shadow puppets
  • Builder of sheet forts & puzzles
  • Lead singer of popular children’s songs & silly made up ones
  • Tea party guest and Play-Doh cake taste tester
  • Master story teller and book reader
  • Knock Knock joke aficionado

Housekeeper

  • Washer of dirty laundry (no sir, that is actually daddy)
  • Dishwasher
  • Sweeps up dried up Play-Doh, glitter, crumbs, chunks of crayon, etc…
  • Wipes up juice spills and potty training accidents
  • Picks up toys, and then picks them up again and then again and again
  • Instructs our little housekeeper in training how to be responsible for all of the above chores

SPECIAL SKILLS

  • Carrying a diaper bag, pocket book, juice boxes and stuffed animal while balancing a child on the hip
  • Giver & receiver of unconditional love
  • Demonstrating patience when my patience wears thin
  • Expert at hugs, kisses & cuddles
  • Mind reader during incomprehensible crying fits
  • References are available in crayon upon request.

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A Mother's Resume

 

Irrational Mommy Thoughts

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It is often easy to feel that you are alone in your paranoia & fears when you are a mother. We worry about so many things. Are we spoiling are children too much? Are we disciplining them enough? Are we handling tantrums the right way? Are we feeding them the right foods? These are things that things that we constantly wrestle with, but then there are other more irrational thoughts that we contend with as well.

This weekend we had a play date with a friend of mine and her children. We were having a discussion about how our kids would fall asleep in the car while running errands. We were joking that they need to come up with a babysitting service that will come to your car so that your children can continue to sleep while you complete your errands. My friend told me that sometimes she will run in to the ATM while her children sleep because she can still see them in the car. She then went on to say that this even worried her. What if someone kidnapped her from the ATM with the children in the car & nobody knew that they were in there?

This made me come out of my seat. I have had many crazy thoughts like this since our daughter was born. How many times have I thought of scenarios just like this? In one, I have just finished fastening her in the car seat. I go to return the carriage and get hit by a car and can’t tell anyone that my daughter is in the car. In others, I am home with her alone and fall down the stairs or collapse from a heart attack or some other ailment. How will she take care of herself until daddy gets home? Will she be scared? It’s funny that nowhere in my morbid fantasies am I concerned that I just got plowed down by a car or broke my neck tumbling down the stairs.

Death used to scare me. It still does, but now for different reasons. I worry that I might not be there to watch my daughter grow up and how it might affect her. My mind is a dangerous place filled with far too many fears. I thought as she got older it would get easier, but it hasn’t. It has just opened up a new set of worries. I still check on her every night. I still look to see that she is breathing. I often felt as if I was turning into a crazy person for feeling this way. It was a relief to find out that I was not alone.

10 Things You Can’t Do If You Have Kids

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There are many things that you take for granted before you have children. The small everyday things that do not seem like much turn into a rare treat once you have a child. Here are 10 things that are almost impossible to do when you have a child.

1. Get through a whole meal without getting up – “Mama, I want juice.” “Mama, I spilled my juice.” “Mama, I need more juice.” Between wiping up spills, cleaning a dirty little face & making a cheese sandwich because spaghetti just wouldn’t do, it is amazing that I am not a size 2.

2. Go to the bathroom in private – Since the day that my daughter was born, I have come to terms with never getting to go the bathroom without an audience. As an infant our daughter would accompany me to the can while riding shotgun in her Bjorn. As a toddler she will just bust in on mommy. “Pick me up.” Not now, mommy is pooping. Let’s not even talk about using a public restroom.

3. Have an uninterrupted phone conversation with a friend – Before our daughter was born it used to drive me crazy when I would talk to my friends on the phone that had kids. I would be in the midst of a riveting story about my carefree childless weekend when “NO! Don’t touch that!” “Get that out of your mouth.” I am not sure which is worse, being on that side of the conversation then or being on the other side now. Now the only time I get a chance to have a full chat with a friend is in the car while I’m driving.

4. Take a shower – Perhaps this does not belong on the list as obviously I do shower, but it can be such a challenge at times that I think it has earned its spot. If the hubby isn’t home, I usually do not get a shower that day.  

5. Sleep in on the weekends – Oh how I miss sleeping in late on the weekends. I have tried to explain to my daughter that on Saturdays mommy likes to sleep in, but she does not seem to understand this. It seems as if she purposely wakes earlier on a weekends than on the weekdays. I think this is meant as a payback for dragging her out of bed to go to daycare.

6. Make it anywhere on time –  It does not seem to matter how much additional time I give myself, something always holds us up. Trying to get my daughter out the door as she is tearing off her clothes and having a half-naked tantrum because she wanted to wear her purple shirt, not her pink shirt can be time consuming.

7. Take a sick day – If you are under the weather you might be able to call out of work, but your little boss at home does not give days off so freely. She requires overtime & constantly has you on call. She expects 3 meals on the table, a few Play-Doh crafts and sheet forts set up all over the house before your work day is over. She does not accept excuses.

8. Have nice things – Nice things could mean anything from clothing & jewelry to furniture & other home decor. I have not worn earrings in 3 years because my toddler’s first instinct is to try to yank them out of my ears. Our couches are full of dried up Play-Doh chunks and missing puzzle pieces. If you have a child don’t buy nice clothes. You are just asking for peanut butter finger prints all over your lovely new frocks.

9. Watch TV during the day – I can remember lazy weekends cuddling with my husband on the couch watching movies and just relaxing. Those days are over. I try not to allow too much television time during the day, but if it is on, it is Bubble Guppies and Doc McStuffins that light up our screen.

10. Swear – Alright, it is not as if my husband & I used to sit around throwing F-bombs at each other, but if one did slip out there were no consequences. These days with a little parrot in our midst, if a naughty word comes out of one of our mouths it could result in an outburst of toddler Tourettes in the grocery store. It is not just the curse words either that are repeated, so watch all context around your little mimics.

 

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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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Toddler Cold Remedies

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It has been a vicious 4 weeks in our home. The change of season has brought a lot of beauty, fall treats & fun things to do, but it has also brought with it a collection of colds, stomach bugs & other viruses. Let the passing around of illnesses begin. Until I can find a giant bubble on Amazon or matching hazmat suits, it is inevitable that we will continue to get sick as the cooler weather approaches.

This week our daughter was sick for the 3rd time within the past few weeks. She has had a rough run of it & so have mommy and daddy. The difference is we can take medicine to alleviate our symptoms. There are not many options over the counter for a toddler, but there are things that you can do to remedy your young one’s symptoms.

Fluids: Keeping them hydrated is essential. Fever, vomiting or diarrhea can cause dehydration. Give them water or 100% fruit or vegetable juices.

Rest: Our poor little toddler’s bodies are working so hard when they are sick that they need the extra sleep to get better. Of course as we all know, if a toddler does not want to sleep they won’t. Books, videos and cuddle time are a great way to get them to relax.If you are lucky they will doze off somewhere in between.

Garlic: When I was sick as a child, my father used to make me hold a clove of garlic between my teeth. He said that it had healing properties. Turns out he was right. I am not so sure if holding it between the teeth will work, but eating it certainly will. If your child has an appetite, add a little fresh minced garlic to their meal.

Vapor Rub: Vapor rub is wonderful for clearing a stuffy nose. Do not apply too close to the face. When our daughter caught her first cold I read that you should apply the rub to the feet instead of the chest.  I did it & then tried it on myself the next time I was sick. It worked great. Our daughter loves Vicks. She asks for it even when she is not sick, of course mommy has to say no.

Humidifier: Every home should have one of these. A cool mist humidifier can help ease many cold symptoms. Running one while they sleep can help the little one breath better and control coughs.

Honey: Raw honey has a number of health benefits. It can be used on skin ailments & it can be used to help cold symptoms. It is a great alternative to cough syrup. If your child is resistant to take a spoonful like mine is, sneak it into their juice or try a peanut butter & honey sandwich.

Ball Syringe: Have your child blow their nose as much as possible to clear out all of the mucus. Too much mucus can lead to post nasal drip which will irritate their throat more. Teach them not to suck it back in. If they let you, use a ball syringe to clear out the mucus.

Chicken Soup: Every mama’s favorite cold cure is hot chicken soup. Studies have proven that this is not just an old wives tale.

Popsicles: The frozen treats are fun to eat & will help sooth their little sore throats. Try to stick to bars that are 100% fruit juice.

Elevation: There is a reason that your child’s cough & sniffles always seem worse at night. Staying propped up will keep the nasal passages clear.

Don’t forget to give plenty of hugs, kisses & cuddles while your precious little ones heal.

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