Friday, July 11, 2014

Son How-To

Two weeks ago, Little T finished kindergarten.  (It seems like just yesterday I was changing his diapers!)  Today, five and six-year-olds learn much more in kindergarten than they did 30-something years ago. T is reading and writing like a pro (things I didn't learn until first grade).  By the end of the school year, my son had written and illustrated at least 20 "books."  In school, he had a "writer's workshop" where students would create books on a topic that was assigned to them.  His final piece de resistance was a "how-to" story entitled, "How to Pee in the Pool."  The story goes like this:

Page one:  "First, see if you haft to go pee."

Page two:  "Gat nakid."

Page three:  "Then gat in the pool."

Page four:  "Last pee in the pool!!!!!"

Spelling errors aside, it seems like Daddy-in-Training and I  have a real writer on our hands.  According to Little T, his teacher never saw his last assignment.  I'm not really sure what her response to it would have been.  However, T said his friends loved it.

I plan to nurture my son's writing skills during the summer.  Perhaps we need to tackle story topics first.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A blip on the radar screen

For a few years, Daddy-in-Training and I have suspected that Little T may have ADHD.  He has many of the classic symptoms: inattentiveness, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and non-stop talking.  Since diagnosing a child with ADHD before he's seven years old (Little T is six) can be tricky, we thought we'd give it some time before taking him to a doctor.  However, two months ago, T's poor behavior went through the roof.  He began having uncontrollable outbursts when he'd kick and hit things (or sometimes Daddy-in-Training or me) and scream and yell at the top of his lungs.  He'd often tell us he hates us, too.  This behavior was especially alarming since it's so far from the easy-going little boy we've known.  It seemed like anytime T didn't get his way, it would set off a violent outburst.  Nothing we said or did helped in the midst of that chaos.

Needless to say, I turned to Little T's pediatrician, school psychologist and kindergarten teacher for help.  They all offered words of wisdom and advice with the common conclusion being that a combination of things were likely to have been influencing T's behavior.  These included an increased work-load at school, lots of snow days which broke up the flow of school work, and just being a regular six year old kid with the accompanying emotional ups and downs.

As fast as T's outrageous behavior began, for the past two weeks, it has completely disappeared...thankfully.  T has returned to his happy-go-lucky self.  He's been giving me kisses each night and making me cards that say he loves me.  But, don't get me wrong--the hyperactivity, impulsivity and long-winded, one-sided conversations are still evident.  However, the hitting, kicking and screaming have stopped.  For now, I'm chalking up T's terrible two months as "a six year old blip on the radar screen."

I can only imagine what my three-year old daughter's "blip" will be like at age six....

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snow day stress

So far, there's been six snow days this season.  Each time school is cancelled, we've been stuck at home all day long.  Last week, we had nearly two feet of snow in two days and school was closed both Thursday and Friday.  This week, Little T and Little L are home for winter vacation and it snowed again yesterday.  Cabin fever is taking place.  Our snow days mostly have been filled with screaming, yelling, and fighting with some playing in the snow.  (Mama needs a spa day.)

In order to keep my sanity, I came up with several suggestions to survive the winter break:

1)  Reinforce our regular list of house rules with my children and make sure they understand consequences if not followed.

2)  Plan activities outside of the house such as trips to museums, play areas, sledding, movies and lunches.

3)  Arrange extra play dates.

4)  Designate a special "home movie afternoon" with kids and have them choose the movie.  Include lots of popcorn!

5)  Have several new activities on hand at home in case of another snow day.  These can be arts and crafts, new books to read, new CDs, indoor picnics, and grabbing some boxes from the garage to build indoor forts.  Be creative!

6)  Schedule a spa appointment (I prefer a swedish massage) for a couple of hours during the week.  (Try to enroll a friend to watch my kids and then return the's a win-win situation for everyone!)

As I finish writing this post, I'm watching yet more snow fall (only four inches is predicted this time).  Thankfully, Daddy-in-Training is working from home today for reinforcement.  I think I'll book that swedish massage now....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New year resolution: work more

My resolution for 2014 is clear: work more and spend less time with my kids.  Before you shout with dismay and judge me, hear me out.  I am primarily a stay-at-home mom who fits in some TV hosting/reporting and auditions between getting two young children ready for school, shuttling them around to activities, hosting play dates, and changing diapers (currently, with a broken wrist!).  You know the drill.  Daddy-in-Training leaves for work at 6 a.m. and doesn't get home until 8 p.m. (sometimes later).  I am with my children close to 24/7.  As much as I love them beyond measure, I am burned out from spending the majority of my time with them.  Most of my day is spent reprimanding and discipling instead of playing games and enjoying the two amazing people they are becoming.  In addition, since my husband works long hours, he's a novelty to the kids on the weekend.  As a result, I get pushed aside while Daddy-in-Training has all the fun.  When my husband is home on the weekends, the kids prefer to spend time playing with him than hanging with me.

I've come to the conclusion that my mommy-flame is burning low.  I need to redirect my focus to some of my needs in order to be recharged with my kids.  This year, I resolve to move work to the top of my list of priorities, while spending perhaps (more limited) quality time with my children.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Surviving a kid-filled Thanksgiving

During the holidays, one of my greatest joys is being surrounded by my children and family.  In a perfect world, my kids would calmly dine with us for our Thanksgiving feast and everyone would enjoy a relaxing and pleasurable meal.  But as any parent knows, having children under the age of 10 does not equal a calm meal—especially with the excitement of Thanksgiving.  If your kids are anything like mine, you know that children at holiday dinners are like jack-in-the-box toys with a circus theme.  My children pop up and down out of their seats and yell with excitement.  This year, I've come up with a plan to calm the chaos and maintain at least some of my sanity.  Here are my top tips for surviving (and enjoying?) Thanksgiving with young kids:

1)  Drink heavily.  Just kidding, but I would recommend having a couple glasses of wine to calm nerves.  Just don’t offer any to your kids.
2)  Put the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV for children to watch so that the meal can be prepared with limited interruptions.
3)  Have a couple of Thanksgiving crafts and/or games prepared ahead of time for kids to enjoy.  (Bonus points if you can enlist the help of another family member/friend to play with them.)
4)  Ask kids to assist with setting the table, putting out food and later cleaning up.  Offer rewards for whoever is helpful.
5)  Have kids choose a special holiday-themed DVD to watch in a separate room so adults can linger at the dining table.

Finally, sit back and enjoy the smiling faces on your little loved ones.  As my mother says, "Remember, in the blink of an eye, they’ll be off to college."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Super kale!

My latest story for Hudson County TV.  National Kale Day is Oct. 2nd--feed your kids kale!