Tag Archives: children

Room to Grow

14 Dec

A few weeks ago, I started writing an unfinished blog about how it’s been tough for me to give my kids room to grow. I’ve been worried that I’m suffocating their free spirits by not letting them play outside by themselves more – or stay over more friends’ houses – or let them walk the block to the bus stop without supervision. I see children playing outside in our neighborhood with other kids, no adult in sight. It looks as though they run this place. Confident and carefree, growing into their own. My kids, meanwhile, are sheltered.

It’s not that I don’t trust my children. I don’t trust others and situations outside of my watch. It’s been like that even for sleepovers at friends’ houses. Nia just had her first “alone” sleepover at a friend’s this year and I was worried the whole time. I woke up in the middle of the night. I checked my phone. She was fine and I felt like a mess. What’s my problem? I played outside until the street lights came on or until I heard the yell from home base. I had sleepovers and adventures sans adults. It’s just so tough for me to let them walk barefoot in the grass because I feel like when I do, they get stung by a bee.

What I need to remember is that the bee is really out of my control. I didn’t see it there as I sat and read my book. The kids didn’t see it there as they giggled and chased each other. Moments of bliss, interrupted with pain and tears. Mom and dad are there to make it better though. Scoop them up with hugs and kisses – medicine and a bandage. Don’t forget the ice cream. Still, we are able to be the protectors. Always the protectors. But what happens when you can’t be there to protect or comfort?

The heartbreaking tragedy that happened in Connecticut today captures that fear for me. Each day, we send our children on their merry – or cranky (depending on their mood that morning) – way to school and we head off to work or to whatever routine we have on the schedule. “Love you! Have a great day!” Words of caring we exchange to each other as they walk toward the bus or building. “See you later.” Because that’s what’s supposed to happen. See you later.

Sometimes, the hurt that happens when they are away from us isn’t permanent like the violence of today. Hurt feelings or worry in their hearts because of bullies, a fight with a friend or boys saying rude and inappropriate things. (That last one happened to Nia today.) For the most part, that hurt can be healed with an end of the day hug and talk with mom and dad. They feel better. They have some options on how to handle things if it happens again. They know teachers will be there to help because mom and dad talked with them. But still, I couldn’t keep them protected at the moment of their pain and I need to absorb that I never will be able to do that. They are not hurt-proof. None of us are. Mere mortals. Breakable. Perishable. Fragile.

Thinking about what happened in Connecticut today, my heart hurts for all those facing “What now?” and it hoards fear about “What if?” I am telling myself to allow my children to savor more barefoot in the grass and sleepover moments – especially for all those innocent little ones who now cannot.

Lip Glossaholic

2 Mar

It all started a few years ago. A small dab and that was it. She was hooked.

There ought to be a warning label on those tiny tubes of tasty temptation. “Warning: Once you smooth this on your lips, your mouth will never be the same. (Smaller print: Especially dangerous when given to young girls. Has been known to turn some girls into clown faces, pouters and pickpockets.)

I want some lip glohosssss!

Please mommy. Please can I have some lip glass?



This is not our first experience with the power of the flavored lip gloss. I’m more than happy to share my stash with her – if I have any left to offer.

Ready or Not

13 Aug

The “Hello Kitty” backpack now sits filled with crayons, glue sticks, safety scissors, antibacterial lotion and notebooks.  Her matching “Hello Kitty” lunch box will soon be stuffed with her favorites.  She placed the order herself – peanut butter and jelly, applesauce and cheese crackers.  Oh and don’t forget the juice box, Momma.

Soon that backpack will weigh on her shoulders.  Now crisp and clean, on Friday it will begin its days of being dragged, kicked, dropped, tossed, used, abused and loved to pieces. The lunch box will soon start its important job of carrying the lunches I make with care – the one connection I’ll have with Nia during her long day away.  It will carry more than food, it will carry my love all zipped up with her PB&J – Momma hopes you like your lunch Sweets.  I’m thinking about you and hoping you have a great day at school.

I hope you learn a lot, laugh a lot, live a lot.  I hope your school days are happy days.  I’ll miss you while you’re there.  I’ll worry that you’re ok on your own.  You’re so small.  You’re so sweet.  Will they take care of you like they should?  Will they love your little ways like they should?  Will you make friends that you’ll have forever?  Will you want to invite them over to play?  Will kids be mean to you?  Momma can’t protect you there.  Be strong little girl.  Be brave.  Be nice.  Be helpful.  Be polite.  Behave.  Be fun.  Be you.

I love you Sweets.  Friday is your first of many days growing up but I will always remember you as my little girl with the “Hello Kitty” backpack that was adorably too big and that bounced when you walked.

Minding your own beeswax doesn’t work

29 Jun

Poor little man.  There he was (minding his own beeswax), taking a dip in the pool, when a bee decided to interrupt his fun day in the sun.

We never saw it coming.  He and I were watching Nia walk to our chair to get her floatie-arms and the next thing I know, Nate was screaming out in pain.  The bee got him right between his shoulder and his neck which is pretty amazing being that all of his floatie gear leaves very little skin exposed.

I never thought I would purposefully touch any bee but my motherly emotions took over and I actually grabbed that pesky mofo with my fingers and tossed it in anger.  I really didn’t know what to do next, but I saw that the stinger was still in Nate’s skin so I squeezed around the area to work it out.

Nate cried all the way around the pool as we rushed to get medicine from the lifeguard.  He kept saying so pitifully, “Bee did it.  Bee did it.”

It was heartbreaking.  After the initial pain of it all, Nate was just fine and actually faked a sad face when he later told his daddy what happened.  “Bee did it Daddy,” as he pointed to his boo-boo, “Bee did it.”

The Measure of a Mom

6 Jun

Some moms:

  • Never yell at their children.
  • Never let the stress show.
  • Think their children are perfect.
  • Let their children get away with murder.
  • Have patience with their children.
  • Jump at the chance to build blocks for the millionth time in one day.
  • Feed their kids the recommended daily allowance of fruits, veggies, grains, etc.
  • Never let their children eat junk food or drink too much juice.
  • Work outside the home and still have enough time and energy to successfully balance home work.
  • Never say something they’ll regret to their children.
  • Always look put together.
  • Love their children and would do anything for them.

This mom:

  • Feels like I yell too much at my children.
  • Has stress written all over my face.
  • Would never want my children to be perfect.
  • Worries when they play rough with each other.
  • Steadily loses my patience over the course of a day.
  • Throws my head back in emotional exhaustion when asked to play anything for the millionth time in one day.
  • Is happy if my children just eat their food.
  • Lets them have a few of my chips when they catch me secretly snacking in the kitchen.
  • Doesn’t work outside the home and still finds it hard to be successful at home work.
  • Usually ends the day with regrets about something I said/did as a parent.
  • Wears shirts and jeans with holes in them and desperately needs a haircut.
  • Loves my children and would do anything for them.

Super Mom versus Good Enough Mom.  Despite all the differences, in the end, we are the same – moms who care.

Nia’s New Love

7 May

He’s 26 years old, he’s super short and wobbles when he walks.

He needs a tan and needs to learn how to handle his beer.

His fingers are incredibly long and one of them can glow.

He has a limited vocabulary, usually repeating the same words/phrases over and over again.

You know, like “E.T. phone home.”

Nia was introduced to the little alien this weekend and hasn’t been able to stop talking about him since.  She loved every minute of the movie, laughing out loud at parts (the “phone home” part really made her giggle, especially since E.T. was dressed up) and even crying toward the end saying, “I don’t want ET to die Momma.”

It may sound incredibly dramatic but the whole thing made me tear up because of how precious it all was.  I was Nia’s age when I first watched the movie and now I get to experience the feeling all over again through her eyes.  The movie captivated her heart and imagination and there is something touching in that.  She’s becoming a little sci-fi/fantasy lover and I think that’s so cool.  From Lord of the Rings to Narnia and now E.T., I’m so excited for her to discover there’s more than just Disney princesses out there!

The 5 W’s Times 100

19 Apr

Who?  What? When? Where? Why? Oh yeah, and How?

They’re asked while I’m talking on the phone.  They’re asked if I sigh or think out loud to myself. They’re asked, of course, if I say no to a prior question that’s usually about going somewhere or doing something.  They’re asked while I’m driving.  They’re asked while I’m taking a potty break.  They’re even asked while I sit in silence.

All day long.  Questions. Questions. Questions.   Sometimes, I don’t even have the answers to them.  Other times, I think I have the answer but then Andrew very sweetly smiles and shakes his head and then tells her the correct reason two positive ends of a magnet don’t stick together (or whatever).

I read somewhere that an average 4-year-old asks about 440 questions a day.  I just don’t have that many answers.

If Nia Judged American Idol

10 Apr

Nia is smarter than Paula Abdul but her judging skills are pretty much on the same level.  It’s not about the singing, it’s all about how they look.  Her favorite singer?  She “likes all the girls the best because of their makeup.”

We’ve created a little Idol addict.  We let her watch it last week for the first time and that was it. She wants more, constantly asking us when it was going to be on again.  Andrew even had to mark the calendar to show her when she’d get to watch it.  It makes her feel like such a big girl to get to watch a “mommy and daddy” show and I love to hear what she thinks about the singers.

“I like her the best because her shirt is sparkly.”

“Oh, look at her earrings!”

Hold on to your seat Paula –  Nia’s getting ready to take your place!  Don’t worry though, you still “look great!”

Surviving the Stages

8 Mar

“This too shall pass.”  I know it’s a quote/saying/belief that is commonly used in times of mourning or hardship but for some reason it feels good for me to apply it to where I am right now.

I know it could always be worse but I’ve been having a really hard time dealing with the difficulties of raising a 4 and 2-year-old.  And I’m not talking about just a few incidents here or there with them. I can handle that fine (or at least I think I can).  What’s really getting to me is the constant fighting between the two of them, Nia giving me major ‘tude whenever I try to talk to her about her actions and Nate’s aggressive behavior that doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Right now the major thing that’s getting me through this is knowing that I will get through it.  I realize that it is just a stage and it will eventually end.  I also realize, however, that after it ends, another stage will start! Hopefully, it will be the sharing, caring and listening stage. I can dream right?

The Best Hints Ever

3 Feb

Lately, Nia’s been playing this game where she’ll say, “Momma, guess what I am.  I have wings and I fly.”

I pretend like I don’t know and that I need some help. To that she replies, “It starts with a b-b-b sound. B-b-b. B-i.  B-i-r.  B-i-r-d.  Bird.”

It is the cutest and most interesting thing – watching her try to quiz me and then sound out the answers. I don’t know where she learned it but it amazes me and leaves me asking, who is less than 3 feet tall, completely adorable and super smart?  N-n-n.  N-i.  N-i-a.  Nia.  My Nia.

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