Bursting the Birthday Party Bubble

My younger daughter is turning three soon, and she is one of the last in her class to do so. 2016 started out with a series of birthday parties for her peers. Every other weekend, we were heading to a museum to pet turtles, a gymnastics studio to tumble, a trampoline park to jump, a carousel to spin around, and a farm to pet sheep. As much as I like exploring new spots with my kids, the birthday party circuit wore me out. At one point we had so many parties on the horizon, I just bought a bunch of kids’ books on Amazon, and tissue paper and gift bags in bulk, then tossed said book into said bag on any given Saturday. Economies of scale, baby. Every event was a programmed two hours at a kid-friendly venue. There was often decent food and coffee for the parents (God bless you). No doubt the host parents dropped money and spent time planning these events. I appreciate the effort, I truly do! And Emmeline had a good time. But, I grew weary of the Evites with 45 prospective invitees. Most of them included the fellow daycare parents, with whom I have no relationship outside of our pick-up and drop-off pleasantries. I started to decline a few parties because I didn’t want to forfeit another Saturday morning. I’m far from a party pooper. Ask...

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In Support of Lowered Expectations

I had a psychology professor in college who was a Zen buddhist.  He taught about meditation and mindfulness long before it was mainstream.  Dr. Derek Price started every class by scribbling quotes on the chalkboard. They served no purpose to the lecture other than to provoke thought and while most of them have long since left my memory, one has always stuck with me: For success, aim low. Over the years this has taken on so many meanings for me.  Back in the day, as a self-righteous college student it came across almost as an insult.  As in, “I can only be successful if I shoot for the middle”. Mediocrity did not suit me. However, as time has gone on, I’ve gained some knowledge on this subject.  I see no problem with shooting for the middle. Sometimes we strive for such lofty goals that we are doomed for failure before we start.  Or we spend far too long striving for something that is not easily attained.  It’s easier to set smaller, lower goals to inch your way to the lofty ones.  If only I actually believed that statement all the time. As humans it’s in our nature to want to continually do our best and aim high. Which brings us to yesterday.  I ran the Legends 4 miler in Middletown.  Yes, another running story.  Feel free to walk away...

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Moms Are Kind: A Mother’s Day Kindness Challenge

Hey fellow mamas! As you already know, Mother’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, May 8th. Each year CT Working Moms organizes a kindness campaign leading up to this special day. I personally love doing random acts of kindness any time of the year but doing something around Mother’s Day feels extra special to me. I like the idea of celebrating moms (because MOMS ROCK!) and I like thinking about the day as something that’s not just for me, as one individual mom, but a day for all of us. So each day, from May 1st – May 8th, we’ll...

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The 10 Things That Have Me Singing “Let It Go”

via GIPHY April break is over, and both my children and I have summer on our minds. There are six more weeks of school, and our goal is to survive it. We were fortunate to have a week of amazing, warm, sunny weather for last week’s school break which really clicked all of our brains into summer-mode. We unpacked the shorts, there are s’more ingredients perpetually stocked in our pantry, and the massive Ikea tote of beach toys has returned to its home in the minivan. If you haven’t already, you should read this classic piece by Jen Hatmaker, because this is my brain right now. There are some things that we will have to accept just are not happening now that we remembered how lovely beach trips and popsicle playdates at the park are. Here are a few we’ve all agreed to give up on at this point: Fancy packed lunches are over. Lunch is more…minimalist…than it was back in September. A banana, a sandwich, maybe a baggie of pretzels? The days of cute notes have passed us by. “School” outfits are so last winter. Gone are the days of “school shirts versus play shirts”. Tie-dye for 5 straight days? How colorful! Bedtime is getting later. I’ve always been a stickler for early bedtimes. 7:30 for my younger son; 7:45 for my older son. However, when my “baby” is about to turn five and...

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I’ve Stopped Giving a Sh*t…

I’m the type of person who loves to keep myself busy. From the moment I wake (anywhere between 4:30 and 5:45 depending on the day) to the time that I put myself to bed (at around midnight), I’m always doing SOMETHING. I tend to volunteer my idle time so that I’m constantly busy – currently, I’ve volunteered for next year’s PTA, am a board member and singer of a performance group, am on one of our town commissions, and am training and raising money for a half marathon. Between work, family, running, and my volunteer commitments, there is virtually zero downtime. Every...

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Lost in Transition aka A Love Letter to my Child’s Caregivers

Dear Talented and Devoted Teachers, We found out a few weeks ago that Hadley got into the school we’d applied for this winter, which is a really wonderful thing for so many reasons. I should feel elated; it will be her school until she graduates fifth grade and we can literally walk her there, something that has always been a fantasy of mine. I am absolutely positive that Hadley will love it. As you so often tell us, she is ready for big kid school and she makes friends wherever she goes. And, to top it all off, it’s a fraction of the cost, which alleviates some of our financial stress as we welcome the new baby in September. Yet, as much as I should be excited, I am scared about how it will impact me not her. This is the first time in Hadley’s life that I’m more worried about how one of her transitions will impact me rather than how it will impact her, and that feels terribly selfish. Getting to know each of you has been a difficult thing for me to do, not because you have made it hard but because I spend a lot of time wondering what other people are thinking about me. I pay attention to how the people around me take me in and it has always been important to me...

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Life Lesson: Be Nice.

Being a parent is an amazing, beautiful, scary, frustrating (add in just about any other adjective here) experience. You become your child’s biggest cheerleader, advocate, protector, enemy (the teen years terrify me), friend, etc. But when you have a special needs child, those feelings intensify so much more, especially depending on their level of dependence on you. Translation: sometimes it’s harder to brush off the hurt caused by other’s insensitivity towards your “different” child. As parents we have a responsibility to ourselves and to our children to do better than our parent’s did for us and I don’t mean materialistically (although I would so NOT turn down the lottery if I ever won). Something happened earlier this week that upset my husband and I a lot more than I would have initially thought. Sadly, I don’t think it was because of WHAT was said – which I won’t repeat – but needless to say was not something that as a PARENT (special needs parent or not) sat well with me, but more because of where it was said and the manner in which it was said. As a family that doesn’t fit inside what is considered “normal” we are open to ridicule – which is fine if that is what someone feels the need to do. (Please note that the situation I am alluding to was not directed at...

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My First Foray into Judgement Free Motherhood

If you’ve been here for a bit, you know that CTWM’s primary mission, along with keeping it real, is Judgement-Free Motherhood. The second the idea was born and the tag line was added to the page, it felt like home to me. Not that I’ve never judged another mom before (quite the opposite, actually) but because I had already been tasked with letting go of judgement of one of the most important mothers in my life – my kids’ mom. As a foster/adoptive parent, you are taught how to manage symptoms of trauma, navigate the court system, and follow...

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Toughening Up

When I was a kid, I often recall my father telling me that certain things would toughen my constitution. Usually it was stuff that I felt required me to suffer — for example, keeping the thermostat on low, shoveling snow, wiping away the tears and brushing off a skinned knee. I was a sensitive kid, and, hate to admit it, but I’m also a sensitive adult. He was sensitive, but not overly sensitive. I mean, he was a nice guy, but he was not a whiner. I see a lot of my dad in my older brother. And I’m pretty sure that my older brother would classify me as a whiner. It’s something I’m not proud of, being sensitive. And I’m emotional, a little nervous. But I’ve never wanted to be. I’ve always wanted to have an edge, be braver, and be blessed with stick-to-itiveness. I credit my Dad and my older brother for giving me what little resilience to uncomfortable situations I do have. So of course, being a pretty typical mother, through the rearing of my child, I want to address all of the qualities about myself that I feel are flaws. You know, I just want my kid to be the perfect version of me. Not a tall order, right? So no reason to be discouraged when I can’t mold a little person into a flawless...

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Potty Training My Son

Dear Luke, A few years ago, I  wrote a letter to your sister when she started potty training. This worked out ok so I have decided to do the same for you. I have decided to give potty training you a try this summer. Please bear with me as we embark on this journey because I don’t quite know how to potty train a boy. With your sister it was easy. I am female and grew up in a predominantly female household. But what do you do with boys? Do you stand? Sit? Straddle the seat? And if so, facing forward or back? Because I’ve been told you can do both. Nonetheless, we will try this sitting down so you can do whatever sort of business you need to without too much moving around. Keep it simple is my motto. I have been told it takes longer to potty train boys than girls. No one knows why. The Academy of Pediatrics thinks it’s because boys are more active than girls, but I can’t imagine that to be true because your sister never stopped moving ever since she rolled herself off the sofa at 2 months old. No worries – she was ok – but just scared the living daylights out of me. But I digress – this post is about you. Anyways, I consider using the potty one of...

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