Sick Kids and Birthdays

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Today is my birthday. It was a lovely day filled with cute kids and a wonderful husband.  We ate breakfast at a restaurant, took a hike at the lake, enjoyed plenty of sunshine, and dined on a seafood dinner on our deck.  My husband and children even made me an endearingly messy, homemade cake and presented me with handmade cards and a gift.  As they huddled around me to help blow out the candles, my heart was just so full. That is the only way I can think of to explain it.

I truly could not have asked for a better day.

However, in the wee hours of the morning,  I wasn’t sure it would be so spectacular. I was jolted out of sleep when my daughter cried her way into my room.  I soon found myself cleaning up after a sick child. As I gagged my way through stripping the bed and cleaning her off, I glanced at the clock and realized it was 12:30 am. I was officially a year older. Starting a new year of my life with rags and cleaning products in my hand was not quite what I had envisioned.

After I changed my girl into new Minnie Mouse pajamas, I tucked her into her clean princess sheets and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She turned to me with frightened eyes and asked, “Will you stay with me to make me feel better?”

So, of course, I climbed into her bed and cuddled up next to her.  She didn’t want the lights out, so I watched her fall asleep as she snuggled close to me.  I felt the slight rise and fall of her body as she breathed in and out. I stroked her blonde hair as I felt her soft breath on the side of my neck.

I slowly drifted back to sleep as I thought to myself … Not the worst way to start a new year of life, after all.

 

 

 

 

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A Visit to the Doctor’s Office

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“My little girl decided to be brave today.  She didn’t shed a single tear, although I could see that she really wanted to.  This makes my heart ache a little because I know that this moment is only the first of many times she will want to cry but will hold back her tears instead.”

I’m on Her View From Home today writing about the time my daughter didn’t cry at the doctor’s office. I would love if you would read it. Click here to read the article: To My Daughter: It’s OK To Cry

Thank you!

What are some of your battle stories from the doctor’s office?  Share them below!

 

 

 

Raising Creative Kids

Raising Creative Kids

Please stop by Mothers Always Write to read my article Coloring Outside the Lines. I am so proud of this essay, and I am so honored to have it on this site.  While you are there, check out some of the other beautiful and inspiring writing. Amazing!

In honor of my article about creativity being published,  I’ve decided to post some of my children’s artistic endeavors. Enjoy!

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My daughter’s portrait of me in my bikini!  I look so slim. All of this working out must be doing the trick!
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Well, I know this one is a volcano. As for the stick figure, I’m not quite sure. It looks like  he is shooting lava out of his eyes!  My son is a bit obsessed with volcanoes.
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One of my son’s sticker creations. We go through A LOT of stickers around here!
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Getting crafty at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh last summer.

Thank you for reading!  If you would like to share some of your children’s artistic endeavors, hop on over to my facebook page and join in the fun!  Click here!

Daffodils and Dinos

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Tonight I read my five-year-old son a bed time story that included the following passage:  “An insect had planted its egg in Chasmosaurus’ hide some days earlier. Now the egg had hatched and the larva was burrowing through Chasmosaurus’ skin to reach a vein so that it could suck blood.”

My son let out a loud “ewwwwww” and eagerly flipped to the next page, and we continued to read about the plant-eating dinosaur’s adventures escaping meat-eating predators.

As I continued to read, I came to two conclusions. I should probably monitor the books he picks out from the library a little more closely, and it is now quite clear why he often has nightmares!

The next page described a parasaurolophus being devoured by a pack of dromaeosaurs. I have no idea how to say these words, but my son makes sure to correct me when I stumble. As I flipped to see what other delights this book would contain, I looked down at my son’s warm head tucked into my armpit. One small hand rested on my leg and the other grasped a stuffed animal he has cuddled since he was only months old.

I tilted my head slightly to the side, so I could see his face. A wild, gleeful look flashed in his eyes as he studied the bloody gashes in the dinosaur’s skin. I shook my head. How in the world could this be the same boy who only an hour ago squealed in delight when we spotted a tulip growing in our neighbor’s yard?

Before our carnivorous bedtime story, we had gone for a walk around the neighborhood. My son would only agree to come with me if he was able to bring his notebook (because everything is a negotiation these days).

For several weeks, he has been carting around a spiral Avengers notebook  wherever he goes. Mainly, he uses the notebook to copy long dinosaur names from his dinosaur encyclopedia. The names are printed in a mixture of crooked, lower and uppercase letters that meander their way through several lines on the page.

This time he wanted to create a list of all of the flowers we saw on our walk. I agreed that it was a good idea and turned my attention to my daughter as he disappeared to go find his notebook.  My daughter, of course, had her own set of requests for the walk that needed to be negotiated – a baby doll, stroller, snack, and a princess dress.

When we finally got out of the house, the first flower we spotted was the forsythia bush in our front yard. He pointed excitedly and then opened his notebook. He proudly showed me a page on which he had drawn a chart. Situated in the center was a picture of a flower; I was delighted. Up until this point, I have seen him draw t-rex teeth, brachiosaurus necks, and ankylosaurus tails, but never any flowers.

The flower was surrounded by a set of boxes that leaned in all sorts of directions.  boy and chart“Okay, Mom. Check off a box,” he told me as he handed me the pencil. So, I did. After the forsythia, we found:  tulips, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, daffodils, periwinkle, redbuds, and violets. Each time we saw a new flower, he asked me to identify it, and then he instructed me to place a check through the box and write the name next to it.  The last flower we found was a dandelion. He picked two and handed them to me with a smile on his face.

***

I love this age. It is a perfect combination of sweet, little boy cuddles and hugs combined with wild wrestling, skinned knees, and a fierce curiosity to learn every gruesome detail about the world around him.

It is the age of meat-eating dinosaurs alongside special blankets and stuffed animals needed to fall asleep.

It is the age of sword fights followed by tea parties with his sister.

It is the age of jumping off rocks but still needing his mommy to kiss his boo-boos.

It is the age of speeding by on a scooter but being scared of the dark.

It is the age of whining and complaining, “I can’t do it! It’s too hard!” but quickly realizing he can.

It is the age of so many questions and not enough answers.

***

After reading about vicious dinosaur attacks, we cuddled in bed while listening to soft lullabies. Lately, our days are filled with many contrasts like this. As my son starts to take big steps toward becoming more boy than baby, I know these days of dinos and daffodils won’t last long.

I so enjoyed our “flower walk.”  What is your favorite Spring activity? Comment below or hop on over to my facebook page and leave a comment. Click here!

(And if you really can’t handle not knowing what happened to the poor Chasmosaurus referenced at the beginning of this post … don’t worry, all ends well for him. Well, if you disregard the whole extinction thing… The quote was from this book:  Chasmosaurus by Rupert Oliver).

Would Nighttime Yoga Help Calm My Children?

 yoga laA few weeks ago, we stumbled upon a yoga class for kids at the library. The kids stretched and posed their way through an hour session and really seemed to enjoy it.

At the table, there was a book that caught my attention, Good Night Yoga: a pose-by-pose bedtime story by Mariam Gates. As my children pretended to be jellyfish, I flipped through the book and enjoyed the whimsical, richly colored illustrations by Sarah Jane Hinder.

I then read about the author, who has over twenty years of experience working with children.  Perfect, I thought. She will help me calm down my children before bed. The inside flap suggested, “It’s a practice for kids and parents to end the day in a calming, mindful way.” I was intrigued. Our usual bedtime routine often involves wild chases around the house, tears, empty threats, and bribery. Surely, this would work better than our current system.

I ordered it immediately. Seeing as thought I have absolutely no prior experience with yoga besides the one class I watched my kids take, I don’t know why I thought this would be successful …

Night 1: “Namaste” and Fifteen Minutes of Looking for a Xylophone

My daughter was excited and insisted we start by introducing ourselves. She wanted each of us to hit a chime, say our name, and then spell out our name like she did during the library yoga class. After much commotion, no one could find our xylophone, so I turned a bucket upside down and we beat out our names to start “class.” This whole process took about as long as I wanted our entire yoga session to last.

Things I said during yoga:

  • Stop tackling your sister.
  • No snorting.
  • Focus!
  • RELAX!

Things they said during yoga:

  • Is this real yoga?
  • This isn’t real yoga!
  •  I can’t do it!
  •  I want to do dinosaur yoga class. Let’s do “Triceratops pose”!

 My thoughts during yoga:

  •  I am yelling way too much for this to be calming.
  •  I should have studied the book a bit more closely. I have no idea what I am doing. (I now know there is a chart in the back that explains all of the poses in details. Very helpful if you actually look at it!)
  • I must sit the children further apart from one another; there is way too much physical contact going on for yoga!

The end of our first session:

After we ended with a “Namaste,” they ran around pretending to be dinosaurs for a bit until I herded them to their rooms. I did not feel calm at all.

Night 2: Dinosaur Yoga Is Born

dino yogaThere was not too much successful about this yoga session. The living room floor was a mess of toys because the kids decided to play “store” while I cleaned up from dinner. This involves them dragging out all of their toys from their rooms and lining them up in rows. By the time I finished barking orders at them to clean up, get in pajamas, and brush teeth, we were all cranky.

I led them through four of the poses that are explained in the back of the book. As we tried to dodge the remaining toys on the floor, the kids purposefully crashed into each other. Then I attempted to lead them through a relaxation activity included in the book. They needed to imagine themselves on a cloud. This was just fits of laughter and wild flailing hands.

The one successful moment: My son led us through a round of “Dinosaur Yoga.” (Why isn’t this a thing? It should be!). Mimicking me, he took out his book of dinosaurs, pointed to a picture, and then made us imitate the pose. It was actually quite fun being a Megalasaurus. Even my husband joined in, making it a nice end to the activity.

Night 3: “The Velociraptor”

I decided to let my son start our yoga session with a round of “Dinosaur Yoga” since he had been talking about it all day. He opened his dinosaur encyclopedia and pointed to a picture of a velociraptor viciously attacking and eating a bird.  He instructed, “The boys be the meat eaters, and the girls be the bird.” Then he proceeded to screech, jump off the ottoman, and bite his sister. Maybe “Dinosaur Yoga” shouldn’t be a thing!

My husband tried to calm the kids by demonstrating Cobra pose and calling it “Brachiosaurus pose.” The children were settled for a bit, as they attempted to extend their necks as far as possible. But then, my daughter decided she wanted a chance to lead yoga class, so we were all forced to pose like flamingos. We never actually got to the book… .

Night 4: The Night We Added Music

My thoughts on the Pandora station ‘Yoga Makes Me Happy’: No. No, it doesn’t.

Night 5: “Be Quiet and Be a Cloud!”

We started late because it was a beautiful evening, and we had lingered outside.  After the second pose, my daughter started to complain she was tired.  Taking advantage of a tired child, I led them through the cloud relaxation hoping for better results than previous nights.  They closed their eyes, and they actually seemed to calm down. However, before I could get them to their beds, my husband came home and started wrestling with them on the floor. Then my daughter found a stink bug on her ceiling.  All calmness ceased.

Conclusions after Five Nights of Calming Yoga:

yoga half moonYoga at night just isn’t our thing. I loved the book – it really is beautiful and such a great idea. I would have liked to see it work; however, it was just one more thing to cram into our bedtime routine.  My children are not easily calmed, and after a full day of their shenanigans, I simply do not have the patience at this time of night.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that I am just not a good yoga teacher.

There were moments of nighttime yoga, especially when my husband joined us, that showed potential. It was fun to do something different together.  We often “divide and conquer” during bedtime routine, so it was a nice change to say good-night as a family. We just really could have done without the velociraptor attacks.

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