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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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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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Hibernation for Twelve Months, Too Much to Ask?

2004, the year I found out I was pregnant with my first child.  Exciting and new and ready for a new adventure.  Pregnancy progressed and I saw my body changing.  I thought it was just the belly, that is where the baby grew after all.Time progressed, I got through the beginning, the hardest part for me.  Sick, tired and just didn’t quite feel like me.  Once passed the sickness, uncontrolled hunger.  Where did this come from?  I wanted to eat everything and my weight began to reflect it.  40 weeks passed and I gave birth to my firstborn son.  An amazing experience.  Now, I find myself in my 6th pregnancy, my 4th to term pregnancy and I have found that I am not the greatest pregnant woman nor do I marvel in being pregnant.  Hibernation for 12 months or so would not be so much to ask, would it?  Approaching my 28th week, entering my third trimester, I cannot believe the time has past as quick as it has for this pregnancy.  After a miscarry in October of 2013, I feel like I have been pregnant forever (I was able to get pregnant again in November 2014).  In my previous pregnancy, I really didn’t take the time to enjoy the life that was growing inside.  I was focused on the weight I was gaining and why with each pregnancy I feel like I have such lack of control when it come to food during pregnancy.  I have worked to focus on the growth of baby and not worry so much about  my lack of physical activity (though I try to be as active as possible).  My body hurts this pregnancy around and I know that this is the last time I will be pregnant.  I work at focusing on the kicks that are happening inside, the growth, the life that is living vs. the roundness of my face or the extra weight I will be left with after baby arrives.  As I write, she kicks, she moves and I know that she is there. It’s as if she knows that I am writing about her and her life to be.  Life is a miracle, the growth of a child is a miracle. As I realize this, I work to set aside my insecurities to enjoy these last encounters with pregnancy: kicks, side sleeping, rolling out of bed, physical limitations, round belly, awkward pregnancy waddle.  I know as this season of my life comes to a close, I will miss it. Though I am ready for the continued adventures of motherhood and parenting.

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Go, Climb a Tree!

“Mom, I want to be your age,” my oldest daughter, who is six, said to me.  My heart nearly broke.  When I think about life, being an adult and going from kid, teenager, young adult, adult, into older adult, getting older adult and so on…I think of how little the time is to be a kid!  12 years out of 100 or so (hopefully).  As a kid, I watched my parents, I thought, yeah, I want to make my own decisions when I get older, use the phone when I want, go to sleep when I want, eat when and what I want but I never realized how great I had it as a kid. Yeah, I had to listen to my parents and a lot of time I didn’t want to do what they said though as a parent now, I realize, I had it pretty good as a kid.  We had money to get us through,simple vacations and drive-able cars, my parents took care of us and taught us how to be self-sufficient.  We played with fisher price toys, played hopscotch, rode our bikes outside, caught lightning bugs on summer nights and enjoyed the stickiness of hot summer nights.  We scraped our knees, watched Scooba Doo, Gidget and I Dream of Jeannie.  Computers were barely coming into homes for personal use.  Now, it seems like computers and technology are taking over and kids feel like they have to move faster, live in fantasy worlds and give up their childhood.  I say, go climb the tree outside, enjoy the fresh air, spring breeze, fall crispness, winter freeze and summertime fun!  Swim in pools, read outside, play at the playgrounds.  Run, play tag, fall down. Have as much fun as you can in your 12 childhood years, being a grown up comes fast and then you wonder, where in the world did childhood go?  And, responsibility, isn’t that for parents?

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A Message for the Decades

Much of the time I don’t recall the activities I did as a child with my parents.  There are pieces here and there and events that stand out in my mind.  I can’t remember a lot of the time I spent with my parents, only what they share with me.  A spontaneous trip to Ikea today, I asked the kids if they wanted to go and they were pretty excited about the idea. There is a play area for the kids and it gets us out of the house for a little.  I wanted to get some art organizing supplies, to encourage more art and creativity vs. the perfected art of sitting in front of the tv or other screen.  Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and all of its perks and forms of communication technology provides, just I am a big fan of having the kids still use their brilliant minds that they have so much room to create things in.  Returning to my original thought, I turned to my kids as we entered the Ikea parking lot and expressed to them that I don’t know if I will remember the exact moment we were in the car together at Ikea or if they would remember this moment either, though I wanted them to know that I love them.  It is crazy sometimes how childhood can seem like such a different life.  A different lifetime from long ago, a make-believe world, a land of imagination.  When they look back on events of their lives, I hope the can remember my simple message to them, I love them and I am so grateful to have the time to spend with them.  Especially, in these days of hustle, bustle and time that seems to pass so quickly.  I want my kids to know I love them.

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A+ for Creativity!

Capturing the moment in a picture is something I need to do! Like all kids, my kids do some of the most random things.  My three year old is a beginner potty trainer.  He does his best to use toilet paper for its intended use–he also loves to wash his hands.  His speech is not completely clear yet, though I could tell from his tone he believed he achieved something miraculous! I walked into the bathroom, to find the biggest ball of wet toilet paper plastered to the mirror.  Water dripping down.  He thought this was a magnificent achievement! I thought to myself, thank goodness they are not plastered everywhere!  An A+ for creativity and the perfect ball of TP.

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Break the Monotony: Summertime Activities for the Kids

It’s summertime again! I can hardly believe this year has passed so quickly.  The kids will be or are already home and there is bound to be some downtime at some point or another.  Looking through websites and ideas, I collected a list of things that could be interesting to entertain the kids with this summer.

Join a summer movie clubhouse: http://www.cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse

Homemade Slime: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/07/24/how-to-make-gak-slime/

Yo Yo Balloons: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2010/06/24/yo-yo-balloons-from-jessica-of-zakka-life/

Chalk Paint: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/07/27/chalk-paint/

Homemade Playdough: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2008/08/26/homemade-playdough/

Tape a paper towel roll to the wall to keep toddlers busy: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Pencil erasers home bowling game: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Bar of soap in the microwave to make soap clouds: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Popcorn Olympics: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Balloon Ping-Pong: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Play-Doh Filled Ballons: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Pool noodle marble track: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Chalk bull’s-eye target game: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Throwing tarp: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Paper towel roll drop: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/activities-that-will-keep-your-kids-busy-all-sum

Summer bingo: http://www.enjoyutah.org/2012/04/summer-bingo-with-resources.html

Shaving cream slip and slide: http://www.playcreateexplore.org/2012/04/shaving-cream-slip-n-slide.html

Get creative with science: http://www.pinterest.com/redtedart/science/; http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/05/science-fun-for-kids.html

STEM the summer Slide: http://www.middleweb.com/15579/ideas-activities-stem-summer-slide/