Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Not a Helicopter Mom, A Parachute Mom

Are you familiar with the term "helicopter parent"?

According to Wikipedia, "
Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters they hover closely overhead, rarely out of reach, whether their children need them or not. It is also called "overparenting". Parents try to resolve their child's problems, and try to stop them coming to harm by keeping them out of dangerous situations." Wiki also points out that it is an "ineffective parenting style" .

If you know me at all, you know that I don't plan or try to be a helicopter parent. And hopefully I'm reaching that goal! I've tried hard to let my children learn thru trial and error when at all possible. No, I didn't let them run out in the busy street and get run over by a car... not effective. And I have no desire to see my children dead, or to be reported to DCFS! But I have let them fall of bikes, trip over rocks, break toys that they didn't want broken, lose toys that they wanted to take in the mall, etc. I've let them live life and try to let them learn a lot on their own. I'll suggest to them, "Hey let's leave your favorite dinosaur in the car." But if the argument is good/long/strong enough, I've let them bring that fav toy into the mall. Hopefully we don't lose it, but we have lost things and it's been upsetting for my children. Yes, it sucks at the time... but the next trip to the mall, they didn't argue when I asked them to leave their toys in the car. Lesson learned!

I clearly remember a playground incident when Trev was about 2 years old. I was sitting nearby, under a tree, nursing Blake. One moment I looked over and T was happily playing, the next time I looked over (30 seconds later?) he was being held upside down by a boy probably 5 or 6 years old. WOW!!! I flew across the playground, grabbed him and helped him get right-side-up again. A few seconds later the other parent appeared and took her son away to talk with him (thank goodness, cause I don't know what I might have done). Do I enjoy this memory? Nope....Trev was obviously scared. But I wouldn't change that I wasn't hovering right over him to change that it happened. Do I think the other parent should have been hovering over her child? Nope... she saw the problem right away and responded by removing her child and disciplining him. No one was hurt, Trev went back to playing shortly after, and all was fine in the world (oh,and Blake was still interrupting him when he's eating!!!).

Okay.... right turn, Clyde....

Recently I read an article about car seats. (Stay with me here, this will all tie together I promise.) In the article, the author used a great analogy..."the whole idea of the car seat is to act as your child's parachute in a crash". The full article can be read here but the basics are this... The car seat is a child's parachute in the event your car crashes. It slows them down and helps them come to the slowest and gentlest stop possible. If their parachute (aka car seat) is loose, the forces of the stop are much more jolting potentially causing them much more harm than necessary.

This is such a well written understandable analogy. In her article she goes on to talk about why big puffy coats under car seat straps are bad. After all, you wouldn't want a big puffy coat between you and your parachute harness right? But I digress. As much as I fully agree with her point and am a big proponent of car seat safety, that's not the point of my post today (shocking, I know, can you believe it!!!).

Upon thinking about it further, this principle extends far beyond the car seat to me, it's a valid parenting analogy.
I want to be a parachute parent. (I'm trademarking that term right here, right now!).

To go back to Wikipedia, "the word "parachute" comes from the French para, meaning "to prepare for" or "to protect against".

I want to help my child stay safe, and slow down enough not to get hurt. I want to help them glide safely through life and land in adult-hood (gee, that was cheesy!). I want them to remember what I've taught them, carry it with them, and use it when they need it. But I can't and don't want to be hovering over them every second of the day, to do it for them. They have to carry their own parachute and know when to pull the rip-cord. I want to prepare them for life and the challenges they will face so that I know that they can handle them.

So there ya go.... I've got my new philosophy. And yeah, my kids still don't wear puffy coats in their car seats. They've got their parachutes on, and I want those straps tight... just in case.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The little girl who demanded....

Tonight after dinner, Trev took a shower. Nothing remarkable in that. He went and did most of the work himself, and came downstairs in his jammies with wet hair, ready to play Wii. Again, nothing remarkable. Blake and Iz are waiting down on the couch, Wii remotes in hand. Daddy turns on the Wii, and Izzy runs for the stairs. Now that's remarkable!

No she can't truly play the Wii, but don't tell her that. She grabs a remote anytime she sees someone else with one, and sits on the couch and pushes buttons and shakes it around and watches the screen and squeals in delight. She thinks she's playing. So why, when it's Wii time, is she running for the stairs??? She was talking away, telling me what she wanted. If only I understood!

We figured maybe she was ready for bed. So I followed her upstairs. She demanded I take off her clothes, and then she removed her diaper. I was ready to put her in jammies... she had other thoughts. Off to the bathroom she ran! Yay, I thought, she wants to go potty. Nope... she stopped in front of the cabinet and opened it. It was only then that I realized what she wanted....

She grabbed a crayon and climbed in the empty bathtub. And then she talked/yelled at me until I turned on the water. So she got a bath.... just like Trevor, just like she wanted!

And then she used her crayon. And told me what she was doing. Listen for yourself....

In case you're not fluent in baby/Izzy speak, she said "I drawing Elmo". And she did!!!!

Oh and then she poured buckets of water all over her head! And to think... this is the girl that used to hate the bathtub!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PTOs and Play-dates

It's a parenting rite of passage I guess, and I'm just getting thrown in and figuring this all out - or trying to at least.

For the last year and a half, I've willingly and regularly attended the PTO meetings at Trevor's school. I figure it's my job/duty as a parent (especially a SAHM), since it's at night during the week I don't usually have a conflict and since I'll have a kid at that school for the next 11 years (yikes!!) I should really get involved and find out what's going on around there.

His school has about 450 students, and at most I've seen 15 parents in that room, and 3 teachers. I don't understand. The 15 moms (I've seen a dad only once that I recall) are the same 15 moms that run all the events/fundraisers/programs that are needed/expected/desired by the remaining 400 families/teachers. And yet, half the people in the room don't fully know what the purpose/goal of the PTO is... and the rest of the 450 families surely don't. It's no wonder that fundraisers are only vaguely successful when most of the people being asked for money don't know what it's for. The apathy and lack of involvement/interest absolutely boggles me.

What I don't know is how to fix it, or even help it much. I'm guessing that sooner than later, I will be jumping into a bunch of those committees (not that I haven't done a few already) and I'll be on the PTO board sooner than I expected. If I want the best for my kids and their education, what other choice is there? But once I'm part of the board and the committees... then what? How does it change so that more people are aware and involved? Ugh....I think I just found my new full-time (not for profit) job. Oh wait, I already have one of those!!


On the other topic (sorry, no logical or entertaining segue's here!), Trevor got invited to his first play-date at a classmates house. To this point, we haven't known many of the kids in his class very well, other than getting invited to their birthday parties (that topic is worthy of a whole seperate post!). I spend time each week in his classroom helping out, so I know many of the kids, but I don't know the parents. Before he started school last year, we hung out with a group of my friends and their kids where the mom's were all friends so we were all together always. So, this whole notion of "Hi, I've never met you but sure my kid can come to your house and play for 3 hours without me there and then you can drive him home is fine" is kinda weird for me.

But T came home with a note that E would like him to come play sometime soon. And he talks about E alot and they play soccer against each other and I know he wants to go play (and I don't want him to be left out of this part of childhood), so I called and talked to E's mom and after deciding that after school is already rushed, we agreed that T would go there and play on Saturday afternoon. Why there? Because they invited us, and because a classmate lives around the corner that they are both friends with. So Saturday came, and we called to say we'd be over soon.... except no one was home. All afternoon! Talk about sad Trevor. We left a message but didn't hear back til Monday. So aside from dealing with T's heartbreak over the lack of play-date, I still haven't fully done this whole "play-date" thing and am still over-anticipating it (in true me-style) until this Saturday. I'm not an over-bearing, worrywart, helicopter type parent by nature....but still, this is uncharted territory for me and him!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Little Girl Who Cried "Stinky"

Yeah so it's been almost 3 months since I've written anything! I have no excuses, so I'll just try to move on and ignore it!!

Happy New Year! I do have hopes to write much more this year than last. I really view this blog as a "fancy" journal for keeping track of milestones and achievements and funny stories for the whole family. I missed quite a few of those in the last few months, so hopefully I can start this new year on the right foot!

As of yesterday, Izzy is 21 months old. However, she's already joined the ranks of the "terrible 2's". She's mastered the word "NO!" and will throw a fit (complete with lying on the floor) if she doesn't get what she wants.

She's growing up much faster than I remember either of the boys doing so. The highchair is gone, she'd rather sit in a booster at the table with the rest of us. She's been drinking from a big girl cup or a straw cup and has little patience for "sippy cups" anymore! Two nights ago, we converted her crib into a toddler bed. She's fallen out twice (once each night) but otherwise has had no problems going to sleep (for naps too) and staying in bed. It seems she still thinks she can't get out!!! A thought I'm not going to change!!!

The most obvious way in which she seems to be growing up is her increased awareness of all things potty-related. She's no longer willing to sit in a wet diaper, and if it's a poopy diaper, she will IMMEDIATELY inform you and demand a diaper change. She'll voice her demand by coming over to you and saying "stinky". In the last few weeks, this has escalated to wanting to sit on the potty and try to go. Again, this demand is voiced by the word "stinky".

All of this is great and wonderful. But lately, the demand to sit on the potty comes every 20-30 minutes, and rarely is accompanied by any results. 20 minutes later she will come over to me yelling "stinky" again and wanting to sit on the potty. But in the last few days, it is rare that she does anything more than sit on the potty for 3 seconds and then get up and run all over the house nekkied and laughing like a maniac. Dare you try to put her diaper back on, she'll pitch a fit that she needs to go "stinky" again!! She demands to sit on it, but won't do anything! So now she's the little girl who cried "stinky".

I know I should be thrilled that she's showing interest in being PT'd so early (especially compared to other members of the family!).... but I can't handle all this terrible 2's drama already!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


It has been brought to my attention (Hi Mother!) that I haven't blogged in quite some time. But when I logged in, and couldn't remember my password, then I realized that it really has been way too long.

I could attempt to explain why.... Reasons such as being busy seem silly since everyone I know is CRAZY busy right now. The fact that my laptop is no longer portable because it can't run on battery power for more than 3 minutes, is a sad fact, but it's still totally use-able, so not a great excuse! The fact that I now have a web-enabled phone is a great thing, and means that I use my phone for most of my internet access, which means I'm not even touching the aforementioned laptop very often. This is cool, but it's really hard to blog from a mobile device with a touch-screen keypad....I could do it, but so far I haven't!

Anyway, enough bad excuses. Here's the month in photos! Yikes, I just downloaded 183 of them!!!

Trevor the Cub Scout ready for his Den meeting.

When I was done taking pictures of Trevor, Izzy went and stood in the same spot... so I took her picture!
We bought Daddy a new car, since the clutch on the old one was about dead. You can also see the new garage door which finally got installed in late September. The old one got blown-out by the strong winds we have out here and the metal support rods broke!

We've done many soccer games and practices in the last month. These are pictures from one of the warmest October days we had, about 70 at 10 in the morning! This is about the 7th game of the season, and the first one we won! It's been a long season!Izzy came and enjoyed this game!

Then we had big happenings around here. Trevor lost his first tooth.
But he actually LOST it (as in gone, can't find it) while on the playground for recess at school. After being upset, the music teacher helped him calm down, and suggested writing the tooth fairy a note. So he did....
And it all turned out okay! The tooth fairy accepts notes in cases like this, in case you were wondering! She took the note in exchange for $1.

We had a surprise visit from my brother for a weekend. He was on the west coast for business, and had planned to go to Vancouver to visit friends, but he forgot his passport! Oopsies! So instead he came to see us! Great surprise, great visit. But I didn't take any pictures of it....oops!

A few days letter was Trevor's class field trip to the pumpkin farm. I'm thrilled I got to go, and we had a great time. They got to pick 3 different kinds gourds, a pumpkin, and 3 different colors of Indian corn to bring home.

The whole class posed...Trevor playing.
Then we dressed up our house for Halloween. We put up the pumpkin face last year, and this year we decided to add the orange behind the garage door windows (which we didn't have last year!). I

Of course, we've had some downtime between all the crazy. This was one weekend morning when Izzy wanted to watch a show with all her buddies (and Daddy!).
This past weekend, we went to a family wedding. I think it's the first one the kids have been to, and they did a pretty good job! Trevor asked to wear his tie. He asked to buy the tie too, for his holiday performance at school!!!

Izzy didn't sit for much, if any, of the ceremony. But afterwards, she was happy to sit... since there was food!!
Hubby and some of the family

Keeping the boys entertained. They were playing games on the (previously mentioned) internet-ready phone. Great way to entertain them!!!
Izzy had fun running over to the couch and sitting with the guys!
Last night we continued our Halloween preparations and painted bats with Scary & Kate.

Izzy enjoyed watching... for the first 5 minutes (not even). After that, she wanted part of the action too....
So we let her join in!

Tomorrow through Sunday continues to be full of Halloween fun and lots of photo opps. I'll be sure to take a bunch and post them sometime before Christmas!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Izzy's New Game

This is the newest game that Izzy and Trevor like to play! Sometimes I wonder which one of them likes it more!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Izzy is 17 months!

Seriously! She's almost 1 and 1/2!!! Wow!

No, she can't ride the tricycle yet, but don't tell HER that!

Words she can say:
dada (at least sometimes, many times she calls him mama too!)
up-y (as in, "pick me up-y")
thank you (more like tank-u)
beep (as in, push on my nose and say "beep")
brother (sounds like "bubba" or "bruba")
dino (and usually, this is followed by "raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa")

She understands all kinds of things beyond what she can say, including "put your cup in the sink" (which she does!), "sit down"(which she doesn't do!), "time for diaper/jammies" (and when she hears this she heads for the stairs), and "shoes" and then she'll got get hers so we can go outside.

She's the queen of dirty looks! Dare you say hello to her, she'll grace you with one, and even once she knows you and is comfortable around you, you'll get a variety of looks somewhere between shy, cute, coy, and mean! It's too cute most of the time! However, she LOVES the camera, so it's actualy quite hard to get a picture of the diry looks.... this is close to one of them!

She loves to climb, and isn't particular about what she's climbing. The couch, the table (I found her standing in the middle of the kitchen table once!), the toys, the slide. She climbs anything she can! She also loves playing with anything that belongs to her brothers. She's gotten very attached to toy dinos, has learned to say the word, and loves to watch "Dinosaur Train" on TV with them!!
She loves playing with her brothers. She and Trev seem to have a special bond, but with him gone all day at school, she's been hanging with Blake a lot more and having a great time!

Ah yes, she's definitely growing up!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

School Times Two

Finally, everyone is back to school around here.

Trevor started first grade 3.5 weeks ago, on August 17! Yes, mid-August is now back-to-school time. Personally, that feels way too early and way to HOT for school. Day 1 was no problem, it was also a half-day. He knew that there were 4 or 5 kids from kindergarten that would be in his first grade class. He was curious and excited to meet his teacher, see his friends, and meet his new classmates.
Trevor's first day, Blake and Izzy were waiting with him at the bus stop.

Trev was all smiles, with his hair spiked, the shirt he picked out ("Blame My Sister") and his skull sling!

The bus is coming, GROUP HUG everyone!!

Day 2 and onward, have been a struggle of varying degrees. Each morning he tells me he doesn't want to go to school. Some days it's a mention of it, other days it's a meltdown!!! His reasons vary from being bored by doing kindergarten level work (review), to missing his brother and sister, to it not being fair since I don't go to school (and get to spend all day with Izzy), to him not feeling good. He gets on the bus with tears in his eyes, nearly every day.

Inevitably, he gets home with a HUGE smile on his face and happy stories of friends and what happened that day in class. But as the evening goes on, he refuses to do homework, and starts to get upset again at the thought of going back to school.

Izzy is ALWAYS thrilled to see him. She cries when the bus leaves with him on it, and runs out to meet him when it drops him off!

On the plus side, he's doing amazing work....he's a pro at spelling (100% on all three spelling tests so far), he's great at math, and he's pretty good at reading! Now if only they would do something that would challenge him!!! ;)

Yesterday, Blake FINALLY started school. The fact that B didn't start til now did not help Trevor at all! So hopefully, things will get smoother from here!

Blake was ready, if not excited, to go back. We see quite a few of his school friends during the summer as their mom's are friends of mine. This year brings a new classroom, new teachers, and more days of school.

B willingly posed, with Izzy before we left. This is one of the RARE times that he didn't run the other way or hide when the camera came out!!! Since he had a backpack, she needed one too!We got to the room, and immediately Blake and Izzy were off playing with dinos. I had to wonder who was the kid going to school as Izzy seemed ready to stay and play, and could have cared less if I was there!!

One of the projects of the day was to find their name and make a beaded necklace to wear for the first week. Beads are one of Blake's favorite activities, he's quite the artistic child, so he was thrilled to do this.

Eventually, we left the dinosaurs, and Blake decided to work with the Lincoln Logs. He, of course, built the tallest house he could, with as many logs as he could find. As he finished, one of his teachers came over and asked if he was a Packer fan since the roof was green & gold. He claimed no, but I know he is!! Incidentally, that was his only interaction with any of his teachers. While he knows their names, he didn't want to talk to any of them yesterday! Tomorrow is his first regular day where I drop him off for 2.5 hours and come back later. We'll see how he does!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bucket List Part Deux

Just after my Bucket List post, I read an article in a parenting magazine, "Savor the Last Drops of Summer". Basically, a list of things you should manage to do this summer. Many we did, many we did not.

So now a "Bucket List 2011" of all the things we didn't do this year:
  • Visit the seashore (we did make it to a lakeshore this year)
  • Lie in a hammock
  • Jump off a diving board
  • Make a fort
  • Find a rainbow
  • Stargaze
  • Look for cloud formations
  • Take a nap on the lawn
  • Search for sea glass
  • Skip rocks
  • Dig for worms
  • Set up a lemonade stand
  • Put on a play
  • Make mud pies
  • Tell ghost stories
  • Build a sand castle
  • Learn to do a cartwheel
  • Play kickball
  • Do the hula
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
  • Build a box car
It's a good starting point at least. It seems the simple little things get missed the most!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

6 years and 2 weeks

That's how long it took.

Do you know for what??

For the first of my children to break a bone.

2 weeks after his 6th birthday, Trevor broke his right collarbone. Daddy, Blake and Izzy were present in the room when it happened. Me... I was 692 miles away on vacation in upstate New York!!! Talk about feeling helpless!!

It all started because t-ball was canceled. Although the weather seemed nice, apparently there was standing water on the field.

During the morning, a used disposable diaper had been ripped apart and the little beads that absorb the moisture were all over the floor of the boys room. So Daddy wanted to vacuum it up. He did so with all three kids in the room (kudos to him, but I think that's crazy... I would have put a movie on and left them downstairs!).

As he vacuumed he decided to clean the rest of their room, including under a chair in the corner where the cats sleep. So he moved the chair out of the corner of the room, and into the middle and the kids played on it.

(Can you figure out what happened yet??).

Both boys were on the chair (I have no idea where Izzy was)... T was sitting on it, and B climbed up the back of the chair (which is normal, but has no effect when the chair is in the corner). B climbed up... the chair tipped over... T flew out of the chair, and whacked his collarbone on the bunk bed post.

Immediately, two things were true... Trevor felt no pain and Daddy KNEW it was broken. He KNEW because he broke his twice as a kid. I later learned that his Dad broke his once so it's a requirement for the oldest son on that side of the family. On the plus side, Daddy's younger brother didn't break his, so we can hope B won't either!!

After finding Aunt Kate to come stay with B and Iz, Daddy took T to the ER. It took an x-ray, a 3-minute visit by the Dr, and a $450 ER bill to tell us what we already knew. It took $50 to get T a sling that he HATED (because it has teddy bears and balloons on it and is very babyish).

On Sunday I came home. Nothing much had changed. Monday, as recommended by the ER doc, I took him to an orthopedist to recheck it and see if anything else needed to be done. She said it was fine, nothing to worry about, sling for 4 weeks, no swimming, t-ball etc, and she'd recheck it in a month.

A few days later Aunt Kate provided a great fix for the sling....

For the most part Trev has been pretty good during this last month. But the realization that he couldn't play t-ball (3 weeks left) or swim for the week of summer camp (which started 2 days after he broke it) made him REALLY mad. Mostly because it was Blake's 'fault' that he was injured, but Blake was able to do all those activities. The other part of the problem is that it's never hurt him. It's hard to stop a 6-year-old from being active when the broken bone doesn't hurt!!!

I've tried to take pictures of the two sides, but it's very hard to see anything in pictures. At first there was a visible difference, and even now there is still a bump on the side he broke. I just hope that doesn't mean it healed wrong!!!

Tuesday is his follow up appointment with new x-rays scheduled. In the last week he's been swimming and I even let him play the last week of t-ball (lefty of course!). I'm just hoping that the x-ray shows all is well!!!