Children: A Thought on Personalities

Children: A Thought on Personalities

If possible, her smile is even cuter now!

That pretty, charming little smile gets me every time. She grins from ear to ear, and her little eyes light up. Then, in a cutesy little voice she tells me she loves me. I can feel it working. My anger begins to crumble, my mouth twitches as it attempts to smile despite my best attempts to stop it. My hands firmly stationed on my hips begin to slacken. She knows it too. That little twinkle in her eye gets brighter and brighter. Somehow her previous tantrum doesn’t seem quite so bad anymore. I am weak!

Now there are still certain things she does that no amount of the cutesy face can calm that raging parental anger, such as the last time when she threw her cereal bowl, which was of course filled with milk. However little things, like her getting in trouble for hitting our dog with her over-sized teddy bear, just seem so… miniscule compared to the power of that adorable little smile.

Take the past week for example. My daughter is a whirlwind of mess. She can destroy a room in less than five minutes. Given the right amount of sugar, that five can quickly drop to one. She plays with a toy for about ten seconds until she decides it is no longer worth her attention, then moves on to the next. Much to our annoyance, she usually leaves this toy on and upside down so that some random key is pressed and it just keeps repeating whatever noise that key causes. Do you have any idea how annoying that is? Didn’t I make a rule when I gave birth to her that no one was allowed to buy her toys that make loud noises? Where the heck did all these things come from! If only I could find my screwdriver, I would yank those batteries out! However that would just cause more mayhem.

She is proudly rocking her Auntie’s Versace sunglasses 🙂

You see, my daughter is a lover of broken things. If it doesn’t do what she knows it is supposed to do, she follows us around the house repeating, and I stress the repeating, this conversation…

“Mommy, it broken!”

“Uh oh, why don’t you play with another toy?”

“No, you buy new one.”

Now, I have no idea where she got this buy new one thing. My fiancé and I do not spoil her, and we do not buy her many toys. Most of them she either steals from my mother’s daycare, or a certain sister of mine buys them for her. Don’t deny it! You spoil her and you know it! It used to be “You fix it.” But apparently she has entered into the “buy me this” stage.

How cute are those boots? To this day she still loves them, although they no longer fit!

Luckily, as we do not buy her many toys, when we go to the store she doesn’t ask to be taken to the toy department. Seldom does she ask for us to buy her a new toy, unless of course a current one is broken. Instead, the most common thing she asks for is to buy her shoes. This is completely and totally my fault. I am a lover of shoes, and my love has transcended to her. We cannot walk past shoes without the two of us going “Ooo new shoes!” My poor fiancé is then left trying to drag us both away. She is also obsessed with sunglasses and purses, again which is totally my fault. I love buying them for her because she just looks so darn cute walking around in her little aviators and a bright little purse seating on the crook of her arm.

So is this buying trait my fault? Probably. However I think I might still blame my mom and my sister. It is much easier that way! If I take responsibility, then I will have to stop buying her those cute little shoes, and there is no way that can happen. Fall is here, and do you know what that means? It means it is time to buy boots! I can’t wait!

Are there things that you notice yourself buying your children a lot? If so, what is your “spoil” object?

Toddlers: A Thought on Tantrums

Toddlers: A Thought on Tantrums

From the moment my daughter hit 18 months, we have been cautiously awaiting that time. The time all parents notice that their children, their adorable, sweet little children turn into stubborn, chaotic, vicious balls of terror: the Terrible Twos. I long thought that my charming daughter would not enter such a stage. She had such big innocent doe eyes, and the sweetest softest little voice that I just couldn’t imagine it morphing into a fearsome creature. How wrong I was. Be warned, you parents of angels, there is a demon lurking just under the surface.

It started with a little back talk, and a little whining every now and then. Occasionally when she got angry, she would smack things. Never you, or any person, simply the table or even her own leg. At first, it was a little comical, but not to worrisome. As time progressed, those cutesy antics progressed. Then it became the look. Yes, even her facial expressions communicated her rebellion. She would give us the look after we told her to do something, or if we did something she did not like. Normally, I can combat her artfully crafted look with a perfected one of my own that sends her scampering off to do my bidding. My fiance, the strong man that he is, has little hope against our precious angel. Men, such tough exteriors and yet such mushy interiors.

She generally ignores him when he tells her to do something, and then laughs if he gets angry. Now I know she is only two, not even two and a half yet, however there is something so utterly infuriating about a toddler laughing at your frustrations! And the talking back, sometimes I am rendered speechless at the things she says or does in retaliation.

Take for instance my Saturday morning. I had just returned from overseas, and was eager to spend time with my demon… err daughter. I poured a bowl of cereal for her, and one for me. Well she did not want the bowl I poured for her, so I gave her mine. Such a good little mommy, she thought. At least that’s what my mind thinks she was thinking. Well I did not like the cereal I gave her (was her favorite) so I decided to make some english muffins. I should have known better, I really should have. She decided, halfway through the cereal, that she did not want the cereal anymore, that she wanted my english muffins. So I informed her that she already had breakfast. She looked down at her little cereal bowl still half full of coco pebbles and milk, picked it up, and threw it on the floor. My jaw hit the ground along with it. She then looked at me. Right at me and said, “No I don’t.”

It was this moment the truth became clear to me. My daughter has gone from being a toddler with a slight attitude to a full on terrible two. I calmly put my perfectly toasted english muffins down, out of her reach of course, and walked into the other room. I counted to ten to ease the torrent of emotions within me before leaving the room with a tight smile. She did not get my english muffins, and she most certainly did not get any more breakfast. Instead, she sat on her adorable little rump and picked up all the coco pebbles and wiped the spilt (thrown) milk with paper towels.

Take this as a warning, all you in-denial-parents, your adorable little baby has a dark side! The cute laughs and bright eyes are just tricks to weaken you! They will get you when you least expect it. And yet you will love them all the more for it.
What about you? Do you have any funny terrible-twos (or beyond) stories to share?

Reflection: A Thought on Little Girls

Reflection: A Thought on Little Girls This morning some cruel twist of fate had me awake at 3:00am.  No matter how much I tried to drift back off to the dreamland I could not.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was in my home alone, as my fiancé and my daughter had been away visiting family, or perhaps it was because my upstairs neighbors have a dog that is the epitome of annoying.  It’s one of those yippy ones that have a complete inability to stop barking.  No matter the case, I was awake. Instead of continuing the futile attempt at sleep, which would only serve to aggravate me more, I decided to get out of bed and start my day.  First and foremost, I needed coffee. I have been attempting, unsuccessfully I might add, to decrease my caffeine intake however that was out of the question at 3:15am.  After drinking my liquid addiction, I poured myself a bowl of Honey Comb cereal and promptly plopped down on my couch with my kindle to check my email.  As the trusty little thing loaded, I was greeted first and foremost by pictures.  I had been reviewing my facebook, which of course is filled to the brim with pictures of my daughter and nieces.  I decided I would tell you all a little bit about them.

My first niece is Faith.  She is a beautiful girl who is turning four in two days.  Faith is a special girl, and a wonderful child.  She was born with a rare heart defect, and as such needed open heart surgery when she was only a week old.  The doctors said she would need them all throughout her life.  She was due for another one at 6 months, but through some amazing miracle she has lasted 4 years.  Although she is going in for a procedure in a few weeks, it is not known whether she will need to go for another open heart just yet.  She has defied expectations.  Children are pretty awesome like that.  Faith also is an award winning big sister.  Her little sister is a few months younger than my own daughter, and goes by Becky.  Now, unlike Faith, Becky is mom’s best friend.  I suppose she inherits that from her uncle, he is all about his mother!  Becky, much like Kayla, loves to eat.  I remember heading over there for lunch, and that child mowed down on her food like someone was trying to steal it!  It was truly adorable.  You would never guess her apatite by her appearance, she is a peanut.  The two of them are a absolutely beautiful pair.  Their parents are very lucky.  Out of respect for her mother, I did not post a picture of them here.

My next niece is an adorable, high energy, beautiful nut, born on April 3rd, 2010.  This child would exhaust even the most athletic Olympian.  She is brilliant, a fact that can be a bit creepy when this little two year old can hold full conversations with you.  She is sneaky too!  You can’t help but love this little girl, she is always smiling and laughing.  They say that Karma pays you back tenfold to those who gave their parents trouble by having a child just like you.  Have fun, my fantastic cousin, you are in for it!  Alana is the oldest of the new generation in our family.  We are now a 4 generation crew!   Alana was the first granddaughter, and was the beginning step in completing our apparent tradition.  My grandmother had four girls, and then the first four of the next generation were girls, and now that group has produced four girls!  We are kind of hoping the next one is a boy, just for some variety!  As three of the four are within months of each other, they all seem to have similar clothing…

Now the next one born to fulfill the female tradition was my own daughter, Kayla, who was born twenty days after Alana on April 23rd, 2010.  My daughter was born premature, but was healthy.  Her lungs had developed, and she had no foreseeable issues.  However, like most premature newborns, she had jaundice.  Jaundice does not pose a threat to infants, unless its caused by an underlying medical condition, which thankfully was not the case with Kayla.  Despite that, we were new parents, and we were terrified.  In the beginning, we only knew that our child needed to stay under a UV light and that we couldn’t  hold her was not a fun experience.  We ended having to be transferred to another hospital just under two hours away that had a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).  It was terrifying.  We were there for six days, and it is not an experience I wish to repeat.  Once we took her home, the real fun began.  There were now two newborns in our family, Alana and Kayla.  These two, though very different, were insanely good.  At a few weeks old, kayla was already pretty much sleeping through the night.  How many of you guys can claim that? It was like hitting the damn lottery!  At five weeks, we would put her to bed at 8pm, and she would wake up at 7am.  It was incredible!  I was probably the most well rested new mother they had ever seen. She didn’t cry too much, but that didn’t mean I didn’t call my own mom crying when she did. It was very stressful being a new mother!  It did not help that I lived in another state.  Even now, I look back to how nervous I was, how carefully I handled Kayla as though she would break.  I remembered how I used to panic when she would sleep passed the 4 hours the doctors recommended and thought about waking her up.  Thankfully, my family had instilled the firm words of “Never wake a sleeping baby” into my head, otherwise Kayla probably would not have learned to sleep through the night.  All of these memories paraded through my mind as I browsed through hundreds of photos.  Through the ups and downs, time flew by.  Before I knew it, Kayla was three months old, then she was six and had a new baby cousin.  This brings us to my third niece, Kylie.  Now this child was a little different than Kayla and Alana.  Even just after birth, this child had a set of lungs that identified her as a future powerhouse diva.  She hit notes that I swear did not even make sound!  They just made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on edge.  This child has big blue eyes, dirty blonde hair, and an award winning smile.  She will be two in October, and it just so happens that her birthday is also on the day of my wedding.  Its going to be an action packed October!   Alana, Kayla, and Kylie; the three little pigs, or stooges, or whatever threes group you wish to identify them with.  When you get them together, hilarity and chaos ensue.

Despite age, Alana is the smallest, a little peanut compared to the others. Don’t let her size fool you, she’s as feisty as her mother and can probably knock out anyone who gets near her flailing arms as she dances.  Kayla is tallest, and the darkest.  She has my complexion, thankfully, with her tan skin, large dark eyes, and dark hair.  She is a little more reserved than the others, and has a soft little voice, until you make her mad.  She can be a bit vengeful, which her father swears she gets from me.  I don’t see it; I am a saint I swear!  Kylie is in the middle, but this child is solid.  She is the cutest little brute you would ever meet.  After she knocks someone to the ground, she gives you The Lips; the big, puckering lips that you just can’t stay mad at.  Her grandfather, dubbed Grampy is especially susceptible to them.  This little trio will rule this world, I promise you.

Within the past few months, our little trio has actually grown.  There is a new one, the adorable Brenna.  Although her personality is still evolving, she is showing the signs of being like her sister, Alana.  She is a ham, first of all.  It must be my cousins influence, but Alana and Brenna seem to sense a camera and pose beautifully for it.  My daughter has the opposite sense.  She senses the camera and scowls so all I get is a picture that is clearly telling me to go to the bad place.  Brenna is in that stage where she is still making the adorable little coos that melt your heart.  She has big round eyes and teeny weeny little lips, and chubby little legs that you just love.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I seriously think my family is good at making cute babies.  I might be a little biased though… what do you guys think?

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Picture from Digitaltrends.com

Electronics: A Thought on Technology

Electronics: A Thought on Technology

Many of you have probably heard a lot of talk about parents using television to “babysit” their children. If you are trying to get something done, you turn on the TV, park your children in front of it and voila, instant babysitter. Some parents embrace this, some do not. Some studies say that it is very bad for your child; others say that depending on the program it can go good for your child. Many of the discussions I have heard on the subject generally tend to align with the first. It goes hand in hand with video games consuming our children’s lives, increasing child obesity, antisocial behaviors, and laziness.

Now to be honest, I have mixed reviews about this. I am a very technology centered person, as is my fiancé. My daughter, despite being only two, can easily work my iPhone like a pro. She knows which remote goes to what, and she knows that the keyboard and mouse only work if the computer is on. She is already following in our technology savvy footsteps. Some parents would look at us and sneer that my child knows the opening song to a few programs, mainly Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

To those parents, I say mind your own business. My child watches TV, but she also spends a good portion of her day outside playing in the sun, and she has the tan lines to prove it! Yes, she knows a lot of the opening songs of the shows she loves, but that is also because we sing them all the time! As for knowing how to use my iPhone and tablet, well all I have to say is that when she goes to school and needs to know how to use things like that, she can tutor your kid who can’t.

As you can tell, I am an advocate for children and electronics. Whether you want to admit it or not, our world is growing more technological by the nanosecond. Introducing technology to my daughter earlier on is only going to strengthen her aptitude with them. Not to mention, kids can learn a ton from many of the education games out there. I stumbled across a blog here on wordpress filled with great information and great apps for your smartphone and tablet. And guess what? Many of these games are educational and fun. My daughter loves them. Thank you, iGameMom, your blog rocks. (I highly recommend parents, or babysitters, to visit it. )

Kayla wearing her Daddy’s gaming headset!

I actually had a slight confrontation about electronics and children with a coworker. He is kind of earthy and I was showing a picture of my daughter wearing my fiancé’s gaming headset to another coworker when he said, rudely I might add, (this is a true quote, by the way) “Wow your daughter is already playing video games. You better be careful or she will end up as one of those teenagers with acne and no social life.” Seriously? Hi, this is my iPhone and it wants to punch you in the face. First of all, gaming doesn’t cause acne. I am positive of that. Do you see a warning sign on the gaming console saying Warning: Use of this product will cause acne, make you fat, and destroy any hope at having friends. No, I am pretty sure it doesn’t. Second, obviously I don’t to let her sit all day in front of the TV all, can’t you see the tan on that child? It isn’t good for her, and it’s not good for my electric bill either. And third, mind you own business!

Why do people have such a condescending attitude about involving electronics into a child’s daily routine? You can easily turn any game, or television show into a special bonding moment. For example, I have a wonderful app on my tablet that works with my daughter on her colors and her shapes. She adores this game. We sit down together on the couch and play together.  She laughs, I laugh, and she is learning. As for television? Well my daughter has a lot of energy at night for some reason. So, to help her wind down we turn on the TV and cuddle on the couch. We call this our Cuddle Time. She curls up next to me with her teddy bear and her blanket and we watch a movie. Gosh I am such a bad parent!

Now I understand that some people take electronics to the extreme. There are some people who let their children park it in front the TV or computer all day and never move. Yes this is bad, I get it.However I also feelthis is just as bad as filling every waking moment of your child’s life with some sort of educational activity, electronics or not. Anything to the extreme can be detrimental to your child’s development, and health. The key is to use a healthy mix. Instead of using the TV as a babysitter, perhaps involve them in what you are doing. My daughter loves to empty the dishwasher. I just have her hand me the stuff as I put them away. You don’t always need to distract them if you are trying to get something done. Instead, use TV in a meaningful way to enhance their day. Make it an after supper exclusive, or a lure to get up early in the morning. You guys are smart, you will think of something. Just stop sneering at those of us who do.

The point of this blog is that you shouldn’t feel bad about putting on the TV for your children, just as you shouldn’t feel bad about turning it off and pushing them outside to get some nice vitamin D. It’s all about the mix.

Thoughts of a Working Mom

Kayla, my two year old daughter who owns my heart

One of my good friends is a stay-at-home mom, one of the few that I know. Sometimes I look at her life and say, “man she is lucky!” Who wouldn’t want to stay at home with the kids and not have to go to work? To not have a boss, but be the boss?  Not only that, but I envy her ability to spend time with her children. I sometimes work long hours, and my commute one way is 45 minutes. I am gone usually from 7:30am until 6:00pm every day, and that is on a normal day. Now I shouldn’t complain too much because my job is cushy and I do have opportunities to work from home every now and then, but still. If I could, I would totally take not having a boss.

Sometimes I will admit that working so much makes me feel guilty. I feel like I am missing out on things that are meaningful. It was like when my daughter first called me mom, which just happened a few days ago. I had always been Mommy. It hit me like a truck, oh my gosh she’s growing up! It was a horrible, sickening feeling that left me near weepy. Where have I been? What have I been doing that I somehow missed this sudden growth? She is only two, not even two and a half yet and she called me mom. Given it was just one time, but that one time made my happy, albeit naive, bubble that she would always remain mommy’s little girl forever pop like a balloon.

This feeling then turned into a vicious, angry, jealous green monster towards my fiancé who gets to spend these precious moments with her. I may have momentarily let that jealousy get the best of me as I shot ill-concealed looks of fury in his general direction, a look so intense even his usually-broken-angry-female-radar was able to pick it up easily. He spent the next 30 minutes keeping as far away from me as he pondered what he could have possibly forgotten to raise my ire. If I hadn’t been so emotionally distraught, I probably would have laughed.

Once again, my thoughts go back to my friend who stays at home with her two daughters, teaching them about the world. The image that blooms into my mind is like some glorified suburbia show from our parents era where everyone got along; images of me cooking dinner with my perfectly behaved daughter, or even the two of us sitting outside in the sun counting the clouds. I swear it was like a slideshow of those T.V. commercials of the perfect families where a child spills something, and mom runs over with a handy paper towel that soaks it all up in one swoop. That last image was the one that broke the angry staring contest with my fiancé. With that last image, I remembered something very important. Those T.V. commercials, those images of how perfect life would be as a stay-at-home-mom are fake.

Now before you get all angry, please note I am not saying that being a stay-at-home-mom is not perfect, because it could be for someone. Many many people enjoy being a stay at home parent, and I truly applaud them for that. It is nowhere near as easy as it looks, and anyone who chooses to do it earns an awesome sticker in my book. I personally know that I could not do it, at least I wouldn’t choose to.

Some of you may think that makes me a bad parent, choosing to work instead of staying home with my daughter. Be that as it may, it is true. I am the type of person that is always striving for more. Not necessarily in others, but in myself. I thrive on setting goals, and completing them to the best of my ability. I take immense pride in my work and in my achievements that I actually begin feeling very uneasy when I am not at work. In fact, I had such an awful pregnancy, I was on bed rest for the latter end of it. During that time, and for four months after she was born I was out of work. I went crazy. I felt so down about myself, and feeling that I wasn’t contributing to our family that it actually made me a little depressed. It was not that I was unhappy to be with my daughter, for I loved every moment of It, and yes that includes the midnight feedings. However I am the type of person that needs to work. I need to be doing something.

Would I lower my hours? Definitely, however that is not exactly an option with my current profession and with the fiancé out of work the financial responsibility falls to me. I would love to take a part time role, or better yet a work from home role, but those jobs are few and far in between.

Even now as my work picks up and my schedule becomes hectic, I know that I like my job, I like my life, and I like what I am doing with it. Just because I am not there as much as a stay-at-home-parent does not make me any less of a parent as I sometimes feel. I am supporting my family, and giving them a wonderful life. I may not know as many of the songs from toddler tunes as a stay-at-home-parent, but I will sing them with my daughter anyways. What makes you a good parent isn’t based on the number of hours, but based on the life you give them, emotionally especially. My daughter knows her mommy loves her, and knows her mommy will devote her time to her when she is home, and that’s what matters to me.

So to all you working parents out there, I applaud you.

Stay at Home Moms vs. Stay at Home Dads

Stay at home dad image from http://lorialexander.blogspot.com

Just a Simple Thought

Today is an age very different than that of our parents.  When my mother was my age the world was evolving.  Although women had equal rights, there was a definite bias towards them that limited their potential.  My mother did not make much money.  In fact, she worked multiple jobs to support my sister and I.  My father, well that is a story for another day.  Needless to say, when my mother was raising two children by herself, the odds were stacked against her.

Thankfully it is very different now.  I like to think I am a modern mom.  I have a two year old daughter who is my heart and soul, and a wonderful fiancé who I am lucky to have.  I am also a work horse.  I log long hours at the office, and bring home a sizeable paycheck to support my family.  At this moment, I am the sole income to my family, the figurative breadwinner if you will.  My fiancé is not currently working so he is at home minding our daughter until he finds work.  Even if he goes back to work his resume is not exactly high earning potential, and as such his work only affords him a little over minimum wage; which around here is a little over 2 gallons of milk per hour.

Being the supporter in our little trio of a family has raised a lot of brows; most of which from our families who do not take kindly to his position as caretaker.  Although I understand that our norm is different than others, I can’t help but wonder why is it received with such negativity.  Why would women view men staying at home to raise the children as something negative?  Was it not women who fought for equality?  Why is there a double standard?  If women are equal to men, and able to do the same work, shouldn’t the opposite be true as well?  What is wrong with a man being at home?  I suppose from a man’s prospective it is very different, as many of them still have that notion that they should be the providers.  I do not believe this is a correct notion, nor do I believe it is an incorrect one.  To each their own I say.

No matter which way it works, my family is being provided for.  Is that not that the main purpose?  I will admit if he were to find a good job I would be ecstatic, but not because I think he should be the main provider.  I simply think an extra income would be nice.  However, if he ends up not finding a job, I cannot help but think the option to be a stay at home dad is a good one.

So I thought to pose the question to you, readers of word press.  Why does my fiancé receive so much hostility at the admission that he is at home while I am at work?  What are your thoughts?  Why do you think society views stay at home moms as acceptable, but not stay at home dads?