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Parenting, Does It Get Any Easier

Sitting with one of my long time friends, she began talking about parenting and her two little ones.  She has a two and a half-year old and a ten month old. “Does it get easier?” she asked.  She asked this and I reflected back to the time my first child was placed in my arms.  It was so foreign to me and the years seemed like they would never pass.  Becoming a parent was a change to me and so was my life.  There are some that it seems motherhood and parenting comes natural, for me, it was a bit different.  Perhaps, because I never paused to think about my life with kiddos?  I am not sure. Though as I thought about it in those brief moments as my friend was waiting for an answer and I saw my eight and a half-year old playing for the most part independently and being okay doing that, my answer to her was yes, it does get easier in some ways.  As children start growing you see their inclination to want to grow up and it’s a proud moment and a sad one too.  Dependence of children when they are young can be so very draining on a parent.  I have three children, each about three years apart, so I never encountered children that are really close together in age.  I can see how that could be a bit more challenging.  Some days as parents we feel as if we are being pulled in so many directions. Fatigue and tiredness set in and any kind of break is welcome and needed.  It especially becomes a little more difficult when there is a lack of family support or limited help around. Not that having some else take care of your kids is what you are looking for, just a break, a moment to breathe, to regroup is a great gift.  As a parent of young children, from ages 0-5, some of the things I found to be helpful during those “Does it get any easier” days:

  1. Get your kid or kids outside (summer is great for this of course but winter works too!  Kids love the snow!)
  2. Read books for ideas on how to communicate with your little one. A couple of my favorite books are, Happiest Toddler on the Block and Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp
  3. Get the craft materials out.  Kids love to get messy.
  4. Bubbles, kids love bubbles
  5. Have fun with them and give them structure. Visit my Build ME Blocks website for ideas.

What do you think?  Does parenting get any easier as kids get older or does it just change?

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Journey of an Inanimate Object

Inanimate ObjectsSitting there at the edge of the bed as my three-year old is falling asleep for nap time, I glance to the closet and see my nine-year old’s old gym shoes, sitting there, still, nothing happening.  Looking at them, I think of the life my son gives to this object, he runs, he jumps, he ties them.  He has used them, they have holes. He is so hard on his shoes!  I can hardly believe it.  Scanning the objects around me, the books, the beds, the blankets,etc.  Amazing the life we bring to them. Amazing the memories we keep from them.  His sweater, I take it down, it is blue, zips up in the front and I can picture him as a three-year old. Emotional, tears form and I think he will never be three again.  Continue with the closet clean out, I am about to give this simple sweater away, no, I am going to keep it for 30 more years. His son will wear it.  Maybe.  Years ago before having children, I came home from work, my husband was traveling, alone,  I was sitting on the couch, staring at the  blank t.v. and thought how we give so many inanimate objects life.  Without our existence they mean nothing.  They are things, they sit, they don’t move. We move, we live, we give life.  Objects they help us form memories, feelings, thoughts. My mind, returning to his athletic shoes, grateful they were sitting there and grateful for the journey of an inanimate object.

 

 

 

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Wait, Don’t Throw Away Those Tickets

 

 

Summer is in full swing, the kids are out, you’ve probably visited a few places.  Don’t throw away those tickets! Use them to make a summer memory bowl. Browsing through the pages of the Family Fun magazine, I came across this idea of a Summer Souvenir Bowl.  What a great idea!  Summertime is a great time for kids and families and when it come to an end, even though there is excitement of school starting, there are those days of wanting the summer days and nights to return.  This is a great idea to remember the fun times and be able to look back on them when the summer closes and the fall begins to roll in.  So, no, don’t toss those tickets, they are worth memories. In fact, this is a good idea, even for yearly keepsakes.

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Idea: Getting Through Bedtime Challenges

With young kids, bedtime can be rough.  So much excitement during the day, running around, a running thought.  So, how to get them to settle and look forward to bed.  A little creativity, maybe? I love to hear the different ideas about kiddos and how to encourage them to take responsibility for themselves.  The other day a friend of mine and I were talking.  She had mentioned her kids bedtime routine had become a little hectic and it was wearing at her.  She went with a “sleep fairy” idea, encouraging her kids to close their eyes for the night and to get their much needed rest.  Though, the sleep fairy would not be able to come until they were sound asleep.  When she did come, a little gift would be left under their pillow.  She shared that this idea has been helping to have a more relaxed bedtime routine.  So, if you are having trouble with kids getting to bed, give this idea a shot!

Do you have any other ideas that have been especially successful with your kids?  Please share!

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Mommies Need Encouragement Too: Meeting Goals

Encouraging my kids, helping them to learn to believe in themselves and face their challenges has been something I enjoy helping my children do.  There will be times I tell my kids, ages eight and five that I am working on something, trying to be better at something– I have set a goal for myself.  It amazes me that when I let them know this, how encouraging they are.  If they see me slip or fall off track, they like to help me get back on track.  It is nice having support come from my kids and in turn, I know that they are able to see that there is reason to work toward something, there are reasons to set goals.  They can also see there are times that I do fall off track and that it helps to have reminders–like their little voices–to get back on track and keep on going. I enjoy knowing that my children learn that there is great achievement in goals and that their encouragement plays a role in my achievements.

 

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The Mailbox: A Letter, A Surprise, Something Special for Me

IMG_0551“It’s my turn, It’s my turn,” Isabella was expressing in her fervent voice as she ran to the mailbox.  William had already won the race to the mailbox.  I watched them as they ran to the mailbox and noticed how much they enjoyed doing this.  I know as an adult I look forward to getting mail, the fun kind of course.  As I think back, when I was a kid, I had a mailbox, one from Fisher Price or something similar.  I can picture myself looking in the mailbox, wondering when the mail was going to arrive or how it was going to get there. When it appeared, I would be there to get it! I Wondered if there might be a letter, a surprise something special in that box for me.  That must be the excitement of the little ones–wondering if there is something mysterious and fun in the mailbox.  That day, I decided that they would each get their own mailboxes. I wasn’t sure how it was all going to come together or how it was going to work, or if they would even like it.  I decided to have them make their own mailbox, well, at least paint their own mailboxes.  We went to the craft store, picked up some unpainted wood boxes and brought them home to paint.  William, Isabella, Daddy and Mommy and even one for Liam who was not born yet.  They enjoyed this project and the idea that they would receive mail.  We found a spot on a shelf in our family room that fits all of our mailboxes.  When the red flag is up, there is mail! I write to each child, just a simple letter.  The way I organized it is beginning with how the day was, notice some good things I saw in them during the day and remind them of some things they could work on to help themselves become better in their relationships, behaviors and actions with their family, friends and those they interact with. I include a little treat along with the letter. Perhaps it is the treat they like!  Though, I have found that it is a great way to communicate and spend time with my children. We became quite regular at our mailbox time though for some reason we stopped. I thought the kids didn’t enjoy it, I thought I didn’t enjoy it.  Today, I realized that I did enjoy it even thought it takes a bit of extra work. I also realized that it makes a difference to my kids and myself.  I have not committed to everyday of mailbox though I will work to fit it in as much as I can. If you are looking for a fun way to spend time, talk to, or read to your kids, try a mailbox!

I include below an example of a letter I write to my kids.

Dear William,

Wow! I can’t believe how fast today went.  Today was your first day of 2nd grade!  How did it go? (He usually answers *smiles*) I have noticed that you have been working really hard at being an example to your brother and sister.  That really helps mommy and daddy and our family.  Thank you for doing that.  Oh, I also noticed that you had a harder time sharing your toys today. Do you think you could work on sharing when your sister is asking?  Alright, time for bed!

Love,

Dad and Mom

I usually include this as part of our bedtime routine.  It is relaxing for the kids and for me. I have found it is a good way to wind down the day.

Have you used a mailbox with your kids? Does it work for you and your family?

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The Student is Me

I was reflecting the other day about the time in my life when my husband and I decided to bring children into our life and share our world.  My husband and I looked at each other, our lives were going good.  Not too much that we weren’t handling.  We had been married for two years and felt as ready as we could.  I thought to myself, time will pass and it will be good to be able to share the time with a little one, teaching, inspiring, directing.  A little student!  Little did I know that it was me who was going to be the student!  As I have been in the role of parent, I have been taught, inspired and directed more than I ever imagined!  It is a miraculous learning experience and I continue to learn and grow everyday.