Tags: Children, Creativity, Curiosity, Family, Fun, Growing Up, Kids, Perspectives, Photography, Summer
“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
F is “for everything Thy goodness sends.” See more F’s at Jenny’s.
Tags: Birthday, Children, Creativity, Daughters, Growing Up, Milestones, Motherhood, Personal, Relationships
She’s been 7 for three days.
This girl, the one missing her front top teeth. The one who loves sequins almost as much as she loves rabbits. The one who graduated to chapter books when I wasn’t looking.
She roller skates. She backstrokes. She rides her bike, the one with the sparkly purple streamers, without training wheels.
She’s wise to this blog thing and suggested I write about “that funny growl Bun makes when he’s cranky, which is a lot, Mommy.”
She has a slight addiction to funny cat videos on YouTube.
She digs in the dirt. She makes her own mud. Her fingernails are a mess. She doesn’t care.
She does this thing now where she rolls her eyes and sighs when she’s exasperated. There’s usually an “aye yai yai” to go with it and, occasionally, a sassy hand-on-the-hip gesture.
She read a book on global warming this summer and decided to start an environmental club. There are 15 members and counting. So far, they’ve planted bean seeds, cleaned up the neighborhood park, and made nature collages. For the next meeting, she’s planning an autumn-focused sing-a-long and maybe some choreography.
She leaves me purple sticky notes on the kitchen counter with reminders like, “Please fix my bird’s wobbly beek” and “I prefer grape jelly for my luntch.”
When she grows up, she wants to run a store called Love Bunnies. She’s got a business plan partially drafted, complete with a social media component. She’ll sell real bunnies, stuffed bunnies, bunny clothes, bunny food, bunny snacks, bunny toys, and bunny bling. There may be a line of bunny ballet slippers. She will oversee things, and Giggles will be her minion. They are both okay with this arrangement.
Last week, she researched bats on the computer and wrote a nonfiction book about them because she had a little time before swim lessons. There may have been a glossary.
Last month, she got an award at school for, among other things, “general awesomeness.”
She’s 7. She’s amazing. And she’s mine.
I think I’ll celebrate with some choreography.
V is for she’s growing up so very fast, it’s giving me vertigo. See more V’s at Jenny’s.
Tags: Balance, Children, Fun, Growing Up, Life, Motherhood, Perspectives, Photography, Play
“There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” — Alexander Woollcott
Are the leaves and acorns falling off the trees where you are? What’s your learning-to-ride-a-bike story? And have you patted a fluffy bunny lately?
T is for truth and training wheels and tenderness. See more T’s at Jenny’s.
Tags: Boredom, Bugs, Children, Growing Up, Heat, Motherhood, Play, Summer, Sun, Vacation
Three kids. One mom. One house. One week. Only 79 days of summer vacation to go. But who’s counting? (Me, me, me!)
Here’s a recap of our first week of vacation:
Trips to Target: 1
Scoops of ice cream: 13
Trips to splash park: 1
Goose eggs acquired at splash park: 1
Number of times swimsuits laundered: 5
Water-bottle refills: Oh, who can remember?
Containers of yogurt consumed: 19
Items lost: 1 dress, 1 hat, 1 stuffed bunny, 1 temporary tattoo
Items found: 1 jacket, 1 flag pin, 7 bottle caps
Books checked out from library: 15
Episodes of Curious George watched: I plead the 5th.
Lunches at Daddy’s office: 1
Tantrums while lunching at Daddy’s office: 4
Number of homemade muffins delivered to the fire station down the street: 23
Firehouse tours: 1
Ice-cream factory tours: 1
M&Ms smashed into ice-cream-factory floor: 7
Scraped knees: 5
Band-aids applied: 3
Summer reading logs in progress: 4
Tubes of sunscreen used: 1 1/2
Roly polies collected: 9
What’s your summer been like so far? Are the heat and the boredom crushing you, too? And how many roly polies are living in a jar on your coffee table?
C is for summer crush. See more Cs at Jenny’s.
Tags: Children, Creativity, Family, Fun, Growing Up, Kids, Personal, Perspectives, Photography
“Why not just live in the moment, especially if it has a good beat?” — Goldie Hawn
How do you stop, or at least slow, the march of time? What symbolizes time for you? And don’t you wish you could pull off pink ruffles? (I know I do!)
“T” is for time … See more Ts at Jenny’s.
Tags: Boys, Dirt, Fun, Growing Up, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Play, Rocks
“Boy, n.: a noise with dirt on it.” — Not Your Average Dictionary
What are your favorite noises? How much dirt do your children acquire daily? And how many rocks have been through your wash cycle?
“N” is for noise … See more Ns at Jenny’s.
Tags: Children, Feet, Fun, Growing Up, Hands, Kids, Outdoors, Photography, Play, Tattoos
“Play is the highest form of research.” — Albert Einstein
What kind of monkey business does your family enjoy? Does your neighborhood burger joint have cow statues to climb? And how old is too old to get a tattoo??
“M” is for monkey business (and more) … See more Ms at Jenny’s.
Tags: Children, Growing Up, Love Notes, Milestones, Personal, Perspectives, Relationships, Secret Admirer, Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day — it’s a glittering light on the horizon during those dull, murky post-Christmas days of January when snowman wrapping paper that’s
70 80 90! percent off is finally replaced with boxes and boxes of chalky candy hearts.
And doilies. Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a hand-written “Be mine” and a few Snoopy stickers on a pink paper doily. Am I right?
When I was 8, I sat at my kitchen table with a stack of those doilies and a 64-pack of crayons. I wrote a different message for each kid in my third-grade class: UR 2 sweet, Love ya!, Friends 4-ever. It took me 7 episodes of Kids Incorporated to finish.
I brought them to school and carefully placed them in 16 decorated shoeboxes with holes cut in the top. I remember because this was also the year I found a love letter in my own foil-covered shoebox. From a secret admirer. Scrawled in freshly sharpened pencil on wide-ruled notebook paper was a poem I can’t remember and this: “With Love, K.S.”
With love! From K.S.! I glanced at the boys in my class with a nonchalance that belied my mere 8 years.
And then I saw him. A cutie named Kyle Scott. He had light brown hair and dimples. All of his permanent teeth had come in. His skin was bronze from soccer season. And? He. Liked. Me. I knew it.
But it wasn’t Kyle Smith. My teacher Mrs. Laughlin confirmed it. Something oozed out of my heart like the saccharin filling of a chocolate-covered cherry.
And then I really knew: Kniles. Kniles Smith.
He looked like you’d imagine a kid named Kniles to look. Short and mousey. Big beaver teeth. A brown bowl cut. He wore thick black glasses and made jokes about meteorology and BASIC. My heart oozed more goopy stuff.
When Mrs. Laughlin nodded her Barbie-blonde mane, I slid into my orange plastic chair. Stunned. Disappointed. Kniles.
I had enough manners to know I shouldn’t show how upset I was. But I just couldn’t help it. I felt like one of those overfilled heart-shaped balloons, the ones that never really look like hearts at all. Pop!
K.S. Kniles Smith. Pop!
But somewhere between the red-velvet cupcakes and the donning of my safety-patrol badge, I had an epiphany that third-grade Valentine’s Day — perhaps the first of my young Smurf-and-sticker-book-filled life. What a risk Kniles had taken writing me that poem. He had given me his heart, disguised as crooked mixed-case graphite couplets. He didn’t know how I would react. He hadn’t asked for anything in return. He just felt so strongly that the words had to come out, had to be shared, had to be folded into a pull-flap rectangle and dropped in a shoebox, my shoebox.
I saw Kniles Smith that day. Really saw him. Beyond the scrawny, awkward boy who knew more about fractions and food webs than anyone else in third grade, I saw someone with a brawny heart just as big as his brain. A Casanova, a Lord Byron, a Lloyd Dobler — on the inside, where it matters most.
For K.S, wherever you are.
Tags: Challenges, Children, Difference, Empathy, Growing Up, Kids, Kindness, Motherhood, Parenting, Perspectives
“Isn’t that kid weird, Mom?”
Giggles said it casually, as if commenting on the purple carpet or the way the air smelled like freshly pumped basketballs.
My heart stopped, but we kept walking. Past the dad with the green T-shirt and retro specs. Past the blond-haired little boy with his eye permanently shut and his cheek puffed out. Past the “Pediatric Craniofacial Specialists” sign where they waited, talking quietly, probably about something altogether ordinary like video games or burritos for lunch.
Giggles, Bun, and I walked inside our own pediatric specialist office and checked in. We updated paperwork, fought over the train in the basket of toys, waited, fought, and waited. We talked with the nurse, got new X-rays, talked with the doctor, got lollipops, and checked out. We bundled up. We unbundled for a potty break. We re-bundled, and walked to the elevator.
The boy and his dad weren’t in the hallway anymore, but I could still see them clearly. And us.
The dad, patient and strong; the boy, stooped and a little sad; me, holding coats, hats, crayons, and a grande Starbucks mocha; my boys, galloping like Adidas-clad rhinoceroses down an otherwise quiet hallway.
Quiet except for this, except for us: “Isn’t that kid weird, Mom?”
How many times had they heard that? How many times had it chinked right through the defenses of that sweet little boy? How many times had his dad held him close and wished he could be the one hurting, the one being examined by strangers and doctors alike?
And how many mothers had sat down with their own children and said the things I said a few hours later? About the difference between thinking things and saying them out loud.
About how our words make other people feel.
About imagining ourselves in someone else’s place.
About being kind next time.
About being kind above all.
What would you have done? How do you teach kids the power of their words in this complicated world? The power of empathy?