Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

The Wild Rumpus

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

I’ve already posted these pictures in other places so apologies if you’ve already seen them. Feel free to roll your eyes at me for showing off my adorable kid all over the place. STFU Parents, amirite?

p.s. How excited am I that he wore this costume again this year? (Last year’s photos here) It makes spending way to many dollars on that Max suit hurt a lot less.

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She is a mermaid princess, in case that was unclear by the random blue dress.

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The light-up sneakers are a nice addition to the costumes, don’t you think?

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Wordless Wednesday: Toes Edition

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

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I feel like this picture tells such a perfect story.

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Merry Little Christmas To You

Monday, December 24th, 2012

My friends at How To Be A Dad asked if I had any childhood Christmas photos laying around for a post they were putting together and I tracked down one of me meeting a really bored Santa. I thought I’d share the rest of the photos my mom scanned for me, with apologies to my family. Remember, we all thought we looked AWESOME when these were taken.

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I have that hat in the closet and the orange knit reindeer jumper upstairs. Caroline wore it last year.

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That dress is in Caroline’s closet

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Putting things on babies: Hilarious since 1982

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I’m making that face because I know one day this picture will NOT be the height of fashion

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Caroline wore the dress my sister is wearing to a party last month and ruined it. SAD FACE. But the red one is still upstairs!

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MUFF

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Candy cane dress is in Caroline’s closet

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This one is my favorite.

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This was the year we got our “American Girl” dolls that were just blonde baby dolls. My grandmother actually sewed all the outfits after looking at them in a catalog and my grandfather made the chests & beds. I still have all of it.

 We decided to bump Christmas back to the 26th so we could all enjoy being together, so I’ll be back on the 27th when I can sit and breathe and sort through the epic number of pictures I plan to take over the next 3 days. A Blessed Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may your pants still fit in January!

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Caroline: 24 Months

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

I looked at Caroline’s socks this morning and they say “6-12 months” on the bottom. (If having a tiny child is good for one thing it’s getting your money’s worth out of clothes.) Those little purple socks have been through a lot of milestones, but when I think about 6-12 month old Caroline I can barely remember her. My Now-Caroline, the one who demanded sprinkles on her birthday doughnut and a kitty shirt to go with her kitty pants and is right now sleeping with her head in my lap, makes my heart so full I don’t even think longingly of the baby-days. There’s hardly time for missing things between her demands anyway.

We had to adjust our bedtime routine a few weeks ago and now I get to sit on her bed and watch her fall asleep each night. I love that she needs me for something besides a cheese-and-grape dispenser and I treasure the moment she drifts off and her arms relax. That’s when she’s still my baby. She even let’s me brush her ridiculous hair out of her eyes so I can actually see her face (tips on getting her to wear a barrette would be useful).

Caroline is still taking gymnastics once a week and her favorite part is hanging from things. She can hold onto the high bar for an incredibly long time and loves to swing on the rings like a monkey, complete with monkey sounds. She can do a somersault on her own finally and at the end of class she requests that I throw her – THROW, with lots of hang time – into the foam pit. In the past she hasn’t always wanted anyone but mommy to help her in class but she’s warmed up to the coaches and it’s making everyone’s life much easier.

She refused to tell me or Santa what she wants for Christmas so we are both being forced to guess. Considering she just got pretty much every fairy toy and book in existence at her birthday party she needs more toys like I need another Pinterest board, but I won’t let her December birthday mean she gets combined gifts. At least not until she asks for stuff like a flying scooter or a hair-dresser robot.

Caroline is so smart. She is beautiful. She is kind. She is an excellent sharer. She is hilarious. She is an incredible hugger. She might be a championship eater when she grows up. She is precious in every way. And even when she’s driving me totally bonkers I love her to pieces.

Likes include: Minnie Mouse, ducks, running, climbing, dogs, Santa from a distance, the rocket ship ride on thing at the mall, coins (“monies”), my wallet, counting, play-doh, cutting things, undecorating the Christmas tree, birthday parties, books, Tinker Bell, bath time, her blankies, dolls, stuffed animals, cuddles, Daddy, Mommy, music, Octonauts, cats, stickers and food.

Dislikes include: Santa up close, being tired, getting dressed and being told what to do (apparently she’s 15).

If having kids, especially Caroline, has taught me anything it’s that life isn’t always picture-perfect. We didn’t do anything photo worthy today, no special photo shoots in the woods, not even a stop in the grocery store for a birthday balloon like I had planned.  I tried to take her to Build-a-Bear yesterday to pick out a special new toy but I was too busy convincing her the deflated empty bears hadn’t been skinned for their pelts by stuffed animal poachers to remember to take photos. (Luckily Evan did the building for her, so now she has a lovely stuffed dog named Franz.) That was the last “fun” thing we’re even attempted – she’s been grumpy and feverish so today we’re celebrating quietly at home with our doughnuts, Play-doh and waaaaaay too many hours of Disney Jr. Even without two dozen staged photos to remember it by, I think turning 2 is a pretty special day.

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24 Month Milestones (from BabyCenter, as usual)

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)
Names at least six body parts – She’s especially fond of “chin” and “collar bone” so she can show off her scars.
Half of speech is understandable – I can understand 95% of her speach, other people can probably understand about 75%. She doesn’t babble, she just speaks with a toddler accent.
Makes two- to three-word sentences – Yes

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)
Talks about self – Me, mine, my, and Car-line are some of her favorite words. She also says “favorite” a lot.
Arranges things in categories –
Can walk down stairs – Yes, although she’s still awfully short.

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
Begins to understand abstract concepts (e.g., sooner and later) – I would say yes she UNDERSTANDS the concept of “later” but she prefers “NOW MOMMY NOW.”
Becomes attuned to gender differences – Er, well, having a brother means she understands at least ONE gender difference. And she can point out other people’s mommies and daddies. But besides that Caroline is equally willing to play the princess, the dragon or the knight.
Learns to jump – Tiny jumps, although she can fling herself off a trampoline like a pro.

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Playground Rejection Is Not Just For Kids

Friday, August 17th, 2012

One of the best things about being three years old is that everyone is your friend. My kid runs up to another kid on the playground and says “Hey, wanna slide?” and they’re off to have adventures, even if they never see each other again after that day. Kids that age like pretty much all the same things and believe in the Truth of Childhood: Climb it if it can be climbed, always run as fast as you can, and anything can be a pirate ship. They don’t know enough about the world yet to judge or condemn or turn their noses up at kids who want to join in so everyone gets to play. It’s beautiful and pure and I wish I was three years old again on a daily basis.

Or at least that was the world Evan lived in until this week. My heart is breaking a little all over again just thinking about it.

We’ve made a habit of visiting the park in the evenings, so Mommy can get some exercise, the kids can run their wiggles out and we can all enjoy as much sunlight as possible before it starts getting dark at 5 pm. There are two playgrounds at this particular park – a bigger one meant for older kids and a tot lot meant for littles. Caroline has no preference – as long as it has a swing, she’s happy. The big playground was crowded on Wednesday, so we took a stroll around the lake to the smaller park for some low-key fun.

When we got there, the situation looked perfect. There were two little girls – probably 5 and 6 – on the playscape. Evan ran off to join them and I put Caroline in a swing for a marathon pushing session. A few minutes later Evan can running back, looking a little upset.

“That little girl said I can’t slide, Mommy!”

“It’s OK honey,” I reassured him, “You’re allowed to slide if you want to. Just be nice to your friends and use kind words and remember you’re not the boss of them, OK?”

“OK Mommy!” he said and ran back to try again with kind words and a gentle voice. My boy is really good at using his kind words and gentle voice.

But I forgot the magic age of insta-friendships doesn’t last that long and by kindergarten little girls don’t always want to play with little boys, especially if they already have a girl friend to play with. Despite his best efforts, Evan was rebuked again and told he wasn’t allowed to play. “Go away, boy!” I heard from across the playground, and my heart sank knowing what I was going to hear next. My sweet little ginger, his offer of friendship crushes like a leaf under a pink Dora shoe, burst into tears and ran into my arms.

As I reassured him it wasn’t his fault – he was still a good boy, a nice friend, he had done everything right but sometimes people don’t want to play with us – I got a lump in my own throat. Oh how I know that feeling! I am overflowing with empathy when it comes to rejection and being left out and worrying that everyone is hanging out doing fun stuff without telling you. Even as I was telling Evan it was OK to cry but he shouldn’t let those mean girls affect his self worth – in the most toddler-friendly words I could think of – I realized I have never, ever been able to take my own advice.

Right now I can fake it, because my words to him are more powerful than my emotional reaction or my words to myself when I don’t think he’s listening. But the gravity of helping to shape my children’s entire emotional life if overwhelming. I miss the days when the only kid-related problems were whether or not they were sleeping through the night or if I was a bad mother for not cutting their grapes in half. I’ll take the baby stage back in a second rather than deal with the drama and heartbreak of my children’s friendships and unfriendships and fake friendships. I can’t even deal with my own friendships without chewing my nails into little stubs of worry and self-doubt. What if they don’t want to play with me?

So for now I just hug my boy and tell him he’s kind and good and beautiful and I adore him. I dry his tears and help him climb the jungle gym and cheer for his upsidedown sliding antics so he has the confidence to keep being himself. And I hope and pray he always feels that way, whether he’s 3 or 33.

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