Being home with my kids is a blessing. I know it. Most days, I’m grateful. Most days are fantastic. And then there are those OTHER days. The days where you’re bored, and the kids are bored, and everyone is just a little bit off. The fact that the day is SUPPOSED to be a blessing somehow makes the whole thing worse, and you find yourself with a case of the Mondays on a Wednesday morning. The toddler schedule isn’t working, you’re not the fun and funny mom you usually are, and you’re questioning your ability to actually parent these tiny little monsters. You start to spiral, and then decide that, come Hell or high water, this day will be salvaged. You will BEAT these stay at home mom problems. You pour yourself a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and begin your journey through the various levels of parenting desperation.
Having kids is a big responsibility. You hold your tiny baby and think, “I’m going to teach you letters and numbers and colors, how to throw a ball and how to read” and it can feel overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. Kids are constantly learning and part of our job is to facilitate this amazing experience for them. And then they take off their pants in a Chick-fil-A and you realize you’ve been focusing on all the wrong things. And there’s a whole world out there of things you NEVER thought you’d actually have to teach your kids.
So here are seven things we learned the hard way that you absolutely MUST teach your kids.
Back in the day, when I knew everything about raising children, without actually having children, I just knew how my kids were going to behave. I knew that they would never dare to defy me, that they would have occasional tantrums and the like, but that they would always know who the boss was, and that ultimately they weren’t gonna get away with nothing. And they’d eventually give in. After all, I literally spent years as a trained behavior therapist. I understand behaviors and their root causes, I know how to troubleshoot them, to identify them, and to fix them. As a special education teacher, I always said I could outstubborn a rock, and there was no behavior that I couldn’t solve eventually, with my determination and patience. I was known for getting through to tricky kids, kids with off-the-wall behaviors, and kids who were simply defiant or stubborn. I like to say that I have a Master’s Degree in getting kids to behave, and although the piece of paper says something fancier than that, it’s basically what it amounts to. So my own kids, of all people, would absolutely know better than to truly test me.
Ha. Ha! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
So the other day at the dentist. Continue reading “Disaster at the Dentist”
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When Cole was a baby, we went on a lot of trips. Before he was a year, he’d flown to Seattle, New York, Baltimore, and Hawaii twice. And generally, it went really well. Then we had Evie, and when she was about 4 months old we decided to try a flight as a family of four. But after a 45 minute flight to Reno, we swore off air travel. It wasn’t for us. We would drive, we would cruise, but there was no way in hell we were getting back on a plane.
As a family of 5.
Going across an ocean.
It was time to get strategic. This isn’t a simple toss a baby in an Ergo, bounce and provide snacks type of production. And lots of the tips for road tripping with kids is applicable, but a plane has all. Those. Other. People. So here are plane specific tips for traveling with your
band of misfit monsters darling children.
A few weeks ago, in a fit of desperation, I had a rare stroke of genius.
“The kid who cleans up the most blocks gets to be the Torrez of the Day!”
My son, aged one and a half, pretty much did nothing. Because…aged one and a half.
But my Four Year Old? Whoa. Continue reading “Torrez of the Day”
According to experts, kids are supposed to play outside for at least two hours a day.
Stop and take that in for a second. They need to play outside for TWO. HOURS.
Now this may seem crazy when you think about the amount of time your kids are at school, or the amount of time you are at work. But when you think back to when you were a little kid, it might not seem that ridiculous. I remember getting home from school and taking off on my bike with my friends. Or exploring the creek next to our house for hours. Or playing endless pretend in our backyard, or gardening with my mom, or swimming in our (above-ground) pool. There was SO much time outdoors, that it wasn’t even a thing. It was just something that we did. Do I think my mom worried about meeting the required two hours each day? Uh, no. Because that was not a thing back then. You just sent the dang kids to play outside.
And we (I’m talking societally here), just don’t do that anymore.
Even when you talk about going “screen free” or unplugged, it usually means board games and books and hours of playdough play. It’s not considered safe for kids to roam around on their own, and our green spaces are kind of being eaten up. So we have to make up for it somehow, as forced as it may seem at times. Because yes, it is another “requirement” of childhood, but from a scientific perspective, it is crucial (check out this article from the New York Post if you want to read more about this). Kids who play outside more are less likely to be obese and are less likely to be diagnosed with attention-related disorders. Time spent in green spaces is good for anxiety and depression, and reduces stress-and that goes for little kids and grown ups alike. We were biologically just meant to spend time outside, and we have to make sure that’s happening for our little ones, and our bigger kids, too.
My daughter is a Taylor Swift fan. Like, a big fan.
She knows the words to pretty much every song on the 1989 album. She knows what each song is about. She loves her music videos and her “fashion” and her pretty hair and she especially loves to dance to her TS jams. She loved Taylor Swift in the way that only a four year old can.
And now she doesn’t.
I let her listen to the song “Look What You Made Me Do,” recently, thinking she would be excited to hear something from her favorite singer. I thought the beat was catchy, and she could dance to it and learn the words easily. I knew the video was dark, but I thought as long as I just played the song, the lyrics would be subtle enough to fly right over her head. I figured she’d be bopping and singing along in no time.
But you know what she said? “How come Taylor Swift got mean?”
If you haven’t heard it or seen the video yet, you’ll need to know that it is dark and edgy and the lyrics are full of bite. There are zombies and burglaries and car crashes. The song is a lot more bitter and a lot harder than anything she’s put out before. Clearly, she’s trying to reinvent herself. And look, it is not up to Taylor to be anything for anyone but herself. It is her life, and her brand, and she can do what she wants with it. That’s her right, and I stand by that. But Lila? Lila doesn’t.
And you know what? I’m kind of with Lila on this one. You don’t have to get edgier, and sexier, and darker with each album. It’s okay to be kind, and sweet, and keep your optimism no matter what life throws at you. I’m tired of artists feeling like they have to constantly evolve. You can have a truth and stick to it. You don’t need to keep up with the
Joneses Katy Perrys. You don’t have to get mean in order to stay popular. In fact, it may just end up costing you, and some of your fans, a little something in return.
So we’ll keep rocking 1989 in the car, and we’ll keep Shaking it Off. But otherwise, I think we’re done here. Thanks for the fun, Taylor. It was good while it lasted.
For many of us, school is just getting started. End of year teacher gifts are FAR off of our radar. We are miles away from Teacher Appreciation Week (thank goodness. It has turned into such a circus, but that’s a post for another day.) The last days of school? Please. Let’s just get through Back to School Night first, am I right?
Except then I had the CUTEST idea. On the first day of school, when I asked Lila how her day was, she said “I need three popsicles. And a nap.” The second day, she said, “When Mrs. D gets mad, she sounds like a buffalo. It’s AWESOME!” And it made me think about all the funny/silly/sweet things my students must have told their parents about me and my classroom, and I desperately wished I could have heard what those things were (I mean, the nice things, of course. I’m not a glutton for punishment. I don’t want to hear about how the kid said I’m a monster, obviously).
So I decided that I would keep track of the little things Lila reported about at school on a cute little paper somewhere, and then at the end of the school year, we could gift Mrs. D with a collection of the sweet, crazy, funny little moments that stood out most for Lila. Along with a fat gift card to Target. Because TARGET.
And I can’t just keep something like an adorable printable to myself, so we’ll go ahead and share it with our friends (aka YOU!). Download the free printable HERE and put it in a safe place where you can add to it throughout the year, and we’ll check back in with you in the Spring to see how it’s going. Follow the blog to make sure you don’t miss out on the update!
Want to make your printable even cuter? Click the link below to purchase a custom copy that includes the student and teacher names of your choice.
Do you have a kiddo in school? We’d love to hear the funniest thing your child has said about their classroom or teacher in the comments below.
Summer may not officially be over until September 21, but let’s face it: It’s over for us. The kids are in school, the lifeguards are working their last weekend at the beach, and there’s football on the TV today. For all intents and purposes, it’s fall. But before we put on our cozy scarf and grab a pumpkin spice latte, we have a tradition of sitting down as a family and doing a Summer Send-Off.
And now, you can join us! Snag this printable and take a few minutes to capture the best, worst, and most memorable events from your summer!
What’s your favorite vacation memory?
Jaymi: We spent an amazing three days at a cabin on some remote coastal property in NorCal. The road trip there was intense, but man was it worth it. No TV, minimal internet, no work, not even toys… Just our little family and our friends, spending the days hiking, rope-swinging, roasting S’mores, and playing at the beach. Pure, unplugged magic.
Christine: On a whim, we decided to go down to San Diego for a night to go to the zoo. They were going to have bands and lights and a special bubble show off this giant bridge and it all sounded like fun. But all my kids wanted in the whole world was to see the hippos. So we walked around, we did the bus tour, but still no hippos. They were on the very very very far side of the zoo through very steep and windy paths. And we were pushing a thousand pounds of stroller. I really wanted to shut it down. We could see them next time. But the kids were insistent. We had to see the hippos. So right before the zoo was closed, we made our way to the right path. And it was DARK. This isn’t like some amusement park where they light everything up – no, this is like the wild. And it was a little spooky. And there were animal noises everywhere. You could barely see. And then we came upon the hippos. And there was no one there. Just us and one beautiful hippo swimming back and forth and back and forth. And my kids were the happiest I’ve seen them in a long time. I was so glad we went looking for the hippo.
What’s something from summer you’d like to forget?
The unnecessary stress I put myself through. I get too worked up over things that are supposed to be all fun and get caught up in the details. I need to try to relax a little!
The Great Potty Training Debacle of Summer 2017 – wherein my 2 year old, who we thought was ready to potty train due to one successful declaration of “I need to pee!” She was NOT apparently because upon us making the effort to train her she decided to go on a two week stint where she would poop consistently – and EXCLUSIVELY – in a pool. Not cool.
What will you miss most about the summer?
I am going to miss all the opportunities for free or cheap kids’ activities. Cheap movies, wading pools, late evenings at the park, days at the beach. Anything that got me out of the house and having fun with my kids! And I think I’m going to miss having Lila home with us everyday (I mean, you never know. I could be like, “Thank God It’s Monday” on the regular. Only time will tell!). Having her home gave us so much flexibility, and so many opportunities for fun, that I know that I’m going to miss her. But summer will be here again before we know it!
I’ll miss our pool being warm enough to swim in everyday. Poop incidents aside, the pool is our favorite thing. And this year I had the added bonus of the big kids both being completely confident swimmers so I could sit on the side and watch them have a great time – and get hella tired. Early morning swims as the sun rose, hot midday swims while the baby napped, sunset swims where I had to beg them to get out to eat dinner and late night y’all should be in bed already swims. Soon the pool will be too cold for us to swim whenever and I’ll sure miss it.
What was your best moment of the summer?
An evening at the wading pool. Hands down. So simple, but I was already nostalgic for it while it was still happening.
Is it so absolutely terrible if my best moment totally did NOT involve my kids?? During our staycation, we had the genius idea of getting a babysitter at the hotel. Vacations are wonderful, but all that togetherness and kids and hotel rooms and everything that makes it into a trip can be forgotten for one brief shining night when you get a babysitter! My husband and I went to Disneyland and went on rides and ate food without managing the needs of the tiny people and had conversations without interruptions and it was the kind of night that makes you realize why date nights really are that important. Which is why over after dinner drinks and some chocolate bread pudding that was bomb.com we decided we needed to make date nights a “thing.” So we did. And I definitely credit it to that one perfect summer night.
Now it’s your turn- download the printable and spend some time with your family talking about your summer highs and lows, and then share a little with us in the comments below!