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That’s What I Meant

9 Oct

3 birthday parties for 5 children in 1 weekend = a lot of presents to purchase. To accomplish this feat I brought my trusty advisers with me to pick out some gifts for their buddies (not the best laid plan, but, not the focus of this post). So to the toy aisle of Target I went with Katie (3 ½ ) and Annie (5 ½ ), and here’s a little snippet from our conversations:

Me: So Katie, what do you think we should get for Eli and Brian?

Katie: Something boy-lish.

Annie: There’s no such thing as “boy-lish” Katie. ‘Cause boys can like girls’ toys and girls can like boys’ toys.

Me: OooRrr….toys are for everyone, and boys and girls should get to play with whatever they like.

Annie: Right. That’s what I meant.

image credit: ms office images

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Have The Day You Have

14 Aug

Annie started kindergarten last week. We have been eagerly awaiting this magical milestone, and placing a lot of focus on the “big day!” And while I’m all for establishing positive expectations, I walk a fine line between building confidence and creating too much pressure when it comes to preparing Annie for something new.  I know many kids do well when there is excitement and build-up leading up to an important event. My oldest child is not one of them. And in the spirit of all the important learning that lies ahead this school year, I have already learned something valuable –my child’s stress threshold is uniquely her own. Continue reading

Pick your battles and words wisely

31 Jul

For the better part of 20 years, I have been working with kids and therefore been working with parents. From camps to classrooms all over the map, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with all sorts of parents. I would never say that I’ve seen it all, but I have seen a lot. From the extraordinarily high maintenance to the extremely low maintenance and many, many shades in between, working with parents has taught me a lot about the kind of parent I want to be – especially when it comes to advocating for my child. Continue reading

WHAT did you say???!!!

22 May

“Smile!”

At the ENT – and in an especially photogenic mood – my kids kept asking me to take their pictures. Happy to oblige, I snapped away on my phone as we waited for our turn.

Smile!” instructed my 5 year-old. “Now make a sassy face.”

What did you say?!” Continue reading

It’Sugar

8 May

As I gear up for my 8th summer here in Phoenix, I’m reminded of a couple of lessons I’ve learned over the years that have helped me cope with the heat: 1) a shady parking spot is worth the extra walking and 2) you can enjoy the outdoors as long as there’s water. With the latter lesson in mind, I recently took my kids to play in the splash pad at a nearby outdoor mall. If you are unfamiliar with “splash pads,” they’re basically play areas where kids can run through water fountains without feeling embarrassed that your kids are running through a water fountain. They’re designed for kids, and in Arizona, one would think that having a business located right in front of a splash pad would be prime real estate. Especially if your target market includes kids, like for instance if you’re selling candy….

Continue reading

May Book Salute: Cinderella Ate My Daughter

1 May

In case you missed it, April 22nd marked the beginning of the first annual National Princess Week. Inviting children across the country to “celebrate the sparkle and wonder of every princess,” the long and the short of it is that Disney and Target partnered up (with Julie Andrews as a spokesperson) to get folks to buy a bunch of stuff for girls. Regardless of how you feel about the princess craze (and I pass no judgment here), I think we can all pretty much agree that these beloved characters are hardly lacking the attention and admiration that would warrant a week dedicated to their appreciation. But alas, as the Oncler once said to the Lorax, “business is business and business must grow!”

Photo Credit: PeggyOrenstein.com

So in the wake of Princess Week, it seems fitting to devote this month’s book salute to Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Continue reading

Getting Schooled By My Preschooler

24 Apr

The intention of this post is not to incite a princess debate. That being said, I certainly have my opinions, and I’ll admit that I can swing back and forth on the pendulum. Like many of you, the messages and lessons one can gather from fairy tales leave me uncomfortable. Likewise, the sheer overabundance of princess products in every aisle of every store makes me feel very put upon. I’m fairly certain I’d feel the same way about any commercial product that was showing up everywhere and stalling my progress in the grocery store by causing unnecessary “discussions” with a 3-year-old (translation: a 10 minute tantrum regarding a giant Cinderella gift bag we have no use for). Now on the other hand, I know my kids would love to go to Disneyland this summer, and I can’t imagine denying them the thrill of meeting the “real” princesses. We also have a number of princess products that have made their way into our home, and I will say that I rather enjoyed taking my kids to see ‘Tangled.’ So there you have it…I’m all over the board. But as I stated above, this isn’t about the great princess debate. It’s actually about me getting schooled by my 5-year-old. Continue reading

Lawn Chairs, Dirt Bikes, Good and Bad Ideas: Friends as Influences

20 Mar

Headed out of our neighborhood last weekend with both kids, my husband rounded a corner and came to an abrupt stop. Four boys around the age of 11 sat in lawn chairs placed strategically across the road. They remained there with their heads down, giggling, but you could tell a couple of them were nervous. Eventually one boy stood and moved his chair to let us through, but only after I rolled down the window and insisted that he do so. Continue reading

March Book Salute: Pink Brain, Blue Brain

6 Mar

While we’ve all been warned time and again to avoid judging a book by its cover, sometimes a book’s title can be equally misleading. When I first heard of Pink Brain, Blue Brain by Lise Eliot, I immediately thought it was a book discussing the idea that boys and girls are “hard-wired” from the start to be different. I was mistaken. Pink Brain, Blue Brain – How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps-and What We Can Do About It takes that theory to task. Supported by the authors own research in the field of neuroplasticity along with the critiques of many others’ work, Dr. Eliot demonstrates how a few, small biological differences at birth become exacerbated over time through socialization. Continue reading

Messes and Messages

28 Feb

I will fully admit that I moved to Arizona kicking and screaming. I was not a trooper. I did not handle this relocation with ease nor with grace. But two kids and 7 ½ years later I have to say that living in the Valley of the Sun (especially in February) is pretty sweet. Continue reading

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