The “F” word Dilemma

So it happened.  I couldn’t believe it when it did.  My four year old said the “f” word.  In fact, he called me the “f” word.  That’s right… fat.  He told me my belly was fat.  And I cried.

Now, he is a very sweet boy and I know he didn’t do it with mean intentions.  In fact, he was smiling when he did it almost like he was teasing me and trying to be funny.  When he saw the reaction on my face, I knew he immediately felt bad although I don’t think he completely understood why.

My first reaction was “why would you say that?”  He of course didn’t know.   My next thought was “Where would he have even heard that being said to someone?” And that’s when I realized it.  He had heard it from ME.  Me, talking about Myself and the imperfections that I have been struggling with.  I try not to say it in front of my kids, but I know I have slipped up.

Let’s be honest here… After having 3 children within a 4 year time period, things don’t just pop back how they used to be.  At least not for me.  My weight has been up and down and my body has carried 3 human beings in 4 years.  Let’s just say I’m not anywhere near feeling comfortable putting on a bikini anytime in my near future.

But this whole being called fat thing really made me reflect on myself… not about my not so flat belly, but the words that I am speaking over myself and also the same words that I have allowed my children to hear me say about myself.

I never want my children to question their self worth based on their appearance, or to judge somebody else based on theirs.  I know we can be our own biggest critics, but we need to stop being so hard on ourselves.  I realize that I need to make a change in my own self- ridicule.  So here goes…  I am making it a goal to not say anything negative about my appearance in 2018- especially in front of my children.  If this is something you struggle with, I encourage you to do the same thing.  I want my kids to grow up being confident individuals, knowing that they are loved, and valuable regardless of their appearance.  I never want them to say the things about themselves that I often catch myself saying about me so I will do my part and lead by example.  Let’s make 2018 the year we focus on true beauty that comes from within ourselves!

Kindergarten Readiness

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Back in the day when I was a kid, kindergarten was quite different than it is now.  I remember going to school and coloring the letters of the alphabet, doing fun crafts, and getting to play in centers (the sand and water table being my favorite).  Fast forward 25 years and things have changed drastically.

Now that I have actually worked as a kindergarten teacher, it’s amazing to see how things have changed, and continue to change over the years. Nap time is no longer a thing in most kindergarten classrooms.  Centers and play time is a thing that is occasionally crammed into the end of the day if there’s any time left, or if the teacher is just done trying to teach the poor, exhausted children anything more for that day. 

Kindergarteners are now expected to be reading by the end of the year.  And I’m not talking about reciting a memorized story.  They are expected to actually sound out and blend words to figure out what they say.  They have to be able to read sight words such as “what,” “where,” “do,” and a very large list of others.  They are also expected to be able to write sentences.

The first week of school often seems to leave parents in quite a shock and fluster when they realize that their child may be starting kindergarten “behind.”  I’ve had several students enter my classroom being able to sing the alphabet and their parents think they are fully prepared for kindergarten.  It’s a harsh reality when they come to find out that their child is in fact not fully prepared for the rigorous standards kindergarten now entails. 

As a former educator and now parent, I can’t express enough the importance of working with your child before they ever enter an actual classroom.  Kids that enter kindergarten with prior knowledge and an educational foundation have a much higher probability of being successful in school than those who do not.  I have had several children come into my classroom and really struggle with their first year in school because they have not had their parents or anyone invest the time or energy into their education.  These kids struggle and instead of having a fun, enjoyable first year of school, they are just trying to play catch up the whole year. 

It’s so important for kids to enjoy the learning experience, and in order to do that it is absolutely necessary for them to feel successful.  Working with your kids and showing them that they are smart and are able to learn, is vital in creating a foundation for them to not only build their education on, but also their self-worth. 

The purpose of The Preschool Box is to give parents the tools to be able to easily work with and teach their kids the fundamentals of reading and math.  It’s a great way for them to work with and show their children that they value their education and want to spend quality time with them as well.  Whether you are an active subscriber to The Preschool Box or not, find ways to spend time with your kids doing fun, engaging, educational activities.  It’s super easy to plop our kids in front of a tv and let that do our job of educating, but it’s so much more meaningful and effective when the effort comes from Mom and Dad.  And the kids know it!

My Three Year Old Plays Videogames and I think I’m ok with it

My Three Year Old Plays videogames and I think I’m ok with it

I like to teach my son Owen lots of things.  At the age of two I taught him all the letters and sounds of the alphabet.  We’ve worked on numbers, counting, sight words, digraphs, and all sorts of other math and reading skills.  He’s currently 3 and we continue to extend his learning in many different areas.  I’m very proud of how smart my little guy is.  I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself for teaching him all these things at such an early age.  But, there is one thing I’ve struggled to be proud of, and that is this.  My three year old plays videogames.  And he does it well.

Before children, my husband Tim enjoyed playing various videogames in his downtime.  He still enjoys videogames, but now with three children, this whole “down time” doesn’t really exist in our family.  One way that he has bonded with Owen is that he has taught him how to play videogames, not just on one console, but on 3… the Xbox One, the Nintendo 64, and the Game Cube.  Thankfully, since Owen knows his letters, he is able to follow simple directions such as “Press Y to do this” or “Press B to jump.”  (You’re welcome for that by the way Tim).  Slowly but surely Owen was able to make his characters in the games actually do stuff and go places.

Lately Owen has been able to do a lot on the games.  So much in fact, that I don’t know how he knows how to do certain things on his own.  He will often ask me for help with a level that he is doing, and quite frankly I have no clue how to help him.  He has really impressed me with his critical thinking skills when figuring out different puzzles and activities in these games.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think videogames have been an ok thing in our house.  It is definitely something that has to be utilized in moderation, because let’s be honest here, he would be on it all day everyday if I let him. I am totally guilty of using it as a crutch this summer after welcoming baby number three.  We were stuck in the house for about two months to keep germs at bay as much as possible.  Since then, we have created a schedule for days and times that he is allowed to play.  So far, this has worked nicely.  In my opinion, videogames has been slightly better than just allowing him to watch Tom and Jerry all day on the television.  He at least has to use some problem solving skills and is practicing his fine motor skills using the controller.

All in all, there could be much worse things than letting my kid play videogames.

Owen and kind of Harper playing Lego Marvel Avengers
Owen and kind of Harper playing Lego Marvel Avengers

The Broken Toe Catastrophe

Harper at the broken bone doctor
Harper at the broken bone doctor

I always imagined that I would be a super great helicopter mom, monitoring my small children’s every moves.  My children would understand what it meant to be careful.  The last thing my children would ever have on my watch is a broken bone or any kind of severe injury.  Well, here I am with my 18 month old daughter who now has a humongous cast on her foot because she broke her toe.

I was a very cautious child, and I’m still a pretty cautious adult.  Never in my life have I broken a bone or required any kind of serious medical attention for any other kind of injury.  I would have hoped that gene would have been passed down to my children, but that’s not the case when it comes to my middle child Harper.  My oldest child Owen who is 3 years old has always been extremely careful.  Still to this day, he is too terrified to go up inside the playscape at McDonalds or go up any kind of tall slide.  I guess you can say I had it pretty easy when it came to making sure he was physically safe.

Harper has definitely proven to be my wild child.  From the day she started walking (which pretty much went immediately to running), I knew that she would be the one who would one day end up in the emergency room or urgent care for some self-inflicted injury.  It only took a few months after she was really mobile, but here we are!

I recently had my 3rd baby a little less than two months ago.  As we started bringing out all his baby contraptions and swings and such, Harper quickly learned how to climb up in them all by herself.  If the tray is off the high chair, she’s climbing up in it.  If something is on the dining table that she can’t reach, she’s on the dining table.  Well just a few days ago as Harper was sitting at the table eating her snack (which she has been able to do for quite some time now), the chair somehow flips backwards with her in it.  As soon as I heard the crash, I went rushing in to pick her up and check for any injuries.  She was screaming and her pinky toe was purple and covered in blood.  It seemed pretty obvious that it was most likely broken.

After rushing her to the urgent care clinic, they did x-rays, washed the blood off, and did some other torturous things to my child for a span of 2 hours.  After the radiologist viewed the x-rays, they determined that the toe was broken.  We were then referred to a pediatric orthopedic doctor.  There, they put a huge cast on her foot and a special shoe to help her walk in.  One would think this would slow a child down a bit, but not little Harper.  It took her about a day to get pretty steady on it and now she is running around the house and climbing on things, just as crazy and dangerously as ever.  She has even mastered using her giant foot cast as a stomping mechanism if there are crumbs of any sort on the kitchen floor.  We are all pretty much terrified of her stepping on one of our toes or fingers with the giant monster of a foot.  Also, having a 6 week old around Harper is pretty scary as well and I am constantly having to keep him out of her path.  Tummy time has pretty much become non-existent for poor Charlie for the time being because I’m terrified Harper might trip and fall on him or knock him in the head with her foot.

Bath time has been really fun lately as well.  She has to wear the cast on her foot for about four weeks and the stupid thing can’t get wet.  Every time we bathe her (which is quickly decreasing in frequency due to the task being such an event) we have to wrap her cast in a plastic bag, put her in a baby bath tub, hold that leg out of the water and have one parent bathe her while the other wrestles her leg to keep it elevated out of the water.  Apologies to anyone who may smell my kid in the next 4 weeks.  Bath time is horrible.

All in all Harper has learned nothing from this experience and has if anything become even more dangerous than ever.  I look forward to 4 weeks from now, but until then I at least get to enjoy what is the cuteness of an 18 month old Harper in a big purple cast running around the house just as happy as ever.