Change

I see the signs of summer’s end creeping into our daily routine. My daughter’s summer activities have tapered from a flood to a trickle as each one ends. I laugh at myself now, fearing at the beginning of summer that I was over scheduling my five year old; now I’m fretting about how to keep us busy in these last two weeks. When my summer semester began, my five o’clock drive into clinical was accompanied by a sleepy sun; lately, I’ve been making my way to the hospital in the dark. Fall is coming. It’s right around the corner. I’m told I’m supposed to be teary about my baby headed off to kindergarten in mere weeks. It does feel significant; it feels like the true beginning of her life as a kid, one where mom isn’t around all the time. Where I won’t be the one primarily influencing what she’s exposed to. Where she’ll be trusted to make her own choices. Wait – I won’t be around all the time? I can’t control everything she’s exposed to? I have to trust in her choices?? Forget the tears and pass me a paper bag. Truly, though, we’re both more excited than apprehensive about the upcoming school year. I think on some level she and I both are ready for a little more time apart from each other. I think it’ll...

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Love your average different unpopular kids unconditionally

“Simply let them play. Just chill. Odds are high that your children will never be truly exceptional in any field, guaranteed your children will be God awful in more endeavors than not. In most ways on most days for most kids much of their lives will be spent within spitting distance of mediocrity. Average Joe’s and Jane’s. We should refashion parenthood by tolerating play, pain and failure. We should measure our children not by the mountains they conquer but by their efforts to climb. Oh, and let them pick which hills to scale.” Ron Fornier, “Love That Boy: WHAT TWO PRESIDENTS, EIGHT ROAD TRIPS, AND MY SON TAUGHT BE ABOUT A PARENT’S EXPECTATIONS” I’ve had another epiphany regarding parenting. Maybe most of you already know this, but I didn’t really KNOW it yet. My newest lesson is: I need to chill the f%&* out when it comes to my expectations of my kids. Seriously. I read (listen to) books every day in the car during my 2-3 hour daily commute. I alternate between fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes, I listen to books that really teach me something I want to share with as many people as possible, but I worry it is so preachy. Well, it may be preachy, but I don’t care. This post is a pseudo book review of Ron Fornier’s book “Love That Boy” and I can’t wait...

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how I gave control to my kids and it was OK

Rose got a haircut the other day. She was super excited to get a new look before going back to school. She wanted a pixie cut like her big sister. And oh, how I struggled. We have always taught the girls that their bodies belong to them and no one else. The opportunity to give them a concrete lesson in this first came when Rose’s older sister was four. She had long blond-streaked hair that fell to her waist. She was my first girl, and I loved finding adorable outfits for her and putting her hair in braids and pigtails. I saw parents around me who had rules about their daughter’s hair — they couldn’t cut it, or it had to be a certain length, and they decided what hairstyle their daughter wore for picture day. I was tempted. My kid, my doll, right? But Lily* informed me when she was four that she wanted SHORT hair. She wanted to cut it all off. And we realized that this was our first test. Our first chance as parents of a child who was rapidly becoming old enough to understand imposed gender roles and expectations to show her in no uncertain terms that her body is hers alone. And so I took her to the hairdresser for her first real haircut. It actually took me some doing to convince the...

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Just Dance

When we were a family of four with two rough and tumble boys who had no interest in formal dance training, I didn’t even allow myself to dream about tutus and tap shoes.  However, once I found out Baby number 3 was a she?  The floodgates of my mind opened to a whole new world.  Couple that with Eliza’s way of dancing like no one is watching as soon as she hears a beat of music. I recently did what anyone who witnesses her appreciation for a good melody would – I signed her up for dance. Eliza attended a week long dance camp with participants whose ages ranged from 3-7. Being at the younger end of the spectrum, some of the other kids were a full head (if not more) taller than my petite little peanut. But my girl…she walked right into the studio with her pale pink leotard and mini bun and rocked it!  I watched her follow the instructors’ directions and show off her moves from my view through the hot pink trimmed observation window.  At the end of the week, the “talent” performed in a brief showcase.  My boys and I piled into the studio with the other audience members and watched the kids do their thing.  Eliza stomped. She jumped. She twirled.  She “Danced like her Daddy” a la Meghan Trainor.  It was all kinds of cute.  The absolute...

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Is This a Dream?

My boys and I have been going through some pretty major changes recently with their dad moving out of the house.  I’ve been trying my best to keep things as “normal” as possible for them, whatever that means.  I’m starting to question what “normal” is for me so I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for their little brains to comprehend.  My two-year old doesn’t seem to be too affected by it so far; he’s always been pretty laid back.  My five-year old, however, is more sensitive and it takes him a while to adjust to change...

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Feminist Mom Frustrated: I Actually Don’t Want You to Yell at Me From Your Car

I’ve written about street harassment and sexual harassment before for this site. I hate it and I think it is indicative of a culture fraught with sexism and misogyny. Whoo, that felt good. Well, it happened again this past weekend, while out running in West Hartford and on my way into the New Haven train station. In both instances, I wasn’t with my kids, in fact, any time I’ve been harassed on the street my children have not been with me. It’s not as if I want my children to be there when the harassment takes place, thank god...

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My Mixed Emotions About My Kid-Free Weekends

I’ve been divorced now for over a year, and separated and living apart for longer than that. For the first several months of navigating shared custody with my ex, I had a very hard time on my weekends alone. I missed my daughter the entire time. I had this deep, aching feeling in my heart and I just couldn’t enjoy those weekends. My biggest fear in getting divorced was missing my daughter. I cried so many tears about that, tears that flowed down my cheeks while crying in bed, in the car and at my desk. It tore me up inside that I’d miss time with her, this little person that I love more than anything on this planet. After a while, I noticed my kid-free weekends getting a little bit easier. The way our custody schedule works, I’m pretty much the primary parent for 2 weeks, all by myself, and then my ex has her every other weekend. I began to cherish having some alone time. As an introvert, working parent and single mom, it began to feel like I could finally breathe and recharge on my solo weekends. Recently the sadness of missing her has been creeping back in. When I drop her off at school on the Friday that her dad will be picking her up, my heart and brain pull me in different directions. My...

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Mom vs. Mom: Something to Prove

Have any of you other moms noticed there seems to be this subtle mom vs. mom thing that happens between us? To me, there is this way that moms sometimes interact with moms they don’t know. Take for example my experience from just last week. I was at the grocery store having a kid-free shopping experience. My-oh-my how different that is than the experience of shopping with children in tow. That is probably another post for another time, but ah, the freedom. Anyways, back to my story. I noticed another mom in the store with a baby in his/her car seat that appeared much younger than my soon-to-be six month old. She was quietly pushing the cart with the baby through the store, piling all of her groceries to the point it was almost overflowing. I noticed how calm she was, and how her experience seemed rather peaceful. She happened to get in line behind me as I was finishing checking out. Any of you moms that have shopped with children in tow know how quick you just want to be done at the store. I very pleasantly offered to help this woman unload her groceries onto the belt. She politely declined my offer. I then offered the fact that I was a mother of two also, and that I understood how hard it can be at the store sometimes....

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What I Didn’t Do This Summer

I had plans for this summer. BIG plans. I was going to be organized, efficient and really get on top of all the things that were lost in the shuffle of the end of school scramble. I even had my list that was written in April. I was going to tackle that list once and for all. Now it’s August and there are only four (FOUR) weeks left until school starts again. I give myself a B-. If I’m being generous… I did not stick to my list. There are nail holes and chipped paint on my walls from the many baby gates of the last 6 years. There are picture galleries in my hallways that are missing my two 19 month olds. And please do not even think about asking to see my basement. The answer will be no, you definitely cannot go down there.   Instead of those tasks I tried to keep up as my five children enjoyed the sandbox so much that it is now empty. The sand has found its way into the yard, clothes, and my house. And to top off the experience each day, I have to wash the bath after giving the kids a bath. So much sand. Everywhere. 2. I did not paint the trim of my garage – which I chipped after forgetting the car-top carrier was on the roof of...

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Mom’s first time out

Tonight, Lenny got his first mom-issued time out, and we both survived to tell the tale. Truthfully, the time out was a long time coming. Despite Lenny being the generally well behaved, good natured kid he’s always been, he is also fully in the throes of Being Two And A Half–testing limits, and his ability to say the word “no” as much as possible. Just this past weekend, my husband gave Lenny his very first time out, for a reason I can’t even remember at this point. I, however, had avoided the time-out until now, opting instead for a lot of patience, some negotiation, and probably too many chances given. However, I’ve gotten tired of what has become our routine for getting in the car. First, Lenny has to do everything himself, from climbing into the car and his car seat, to buckling each buckle. If this were the extent of the routine, I would applaud his independence and tolerate the little extra time it took so he was able to do it on his own. Only, it doesn’t end there. Before he gets in the car, Lenny has to go through the extensive process of putting whatever toy he has on hand in the “cave” (the space between the car seat and the back seat), then take 15 minutes just to convince him to climb into the car,...

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