Popular Parenting Blog for Older Moms Over 35
Our group for older moms over 35 parenting later in life has a popular parenting blog that periodically features reviews of products, services, travel destinations, theater and other forms of entertainment and leisure pursuits. If you’d like to submit a topic for consideration, write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click to determine which type of writing opportunity is best for you.
November 5, 2010
Seth was off Tuesday for Election Day, and we had a playdate here with his best buddy Nathan. It’s been some time since they got together here, since over the summer, we hosted various playdates at our community pool.
His mom dropped him off, and they proceeded to first play upstairs, then gradually made their way to the basement. There, Seth played Wii, and Nathan perused the spacious closets full of toys and entertained himself. Things were going swimmingly for some time, until the both of them wound up in my home office proclaiming they were bored. Seth was armed with his tool kit in hand, asking me what needed fixing in the house. I wasn’t keen on going that route for my little Bob the Builder and his willing assistant, so I had to think fast.
Bored? How could they truly be bored? We don’t lack for toys and means of entertainment. Perhaps they were actually in toy overload and couldn’t focus? It was all likely becoming one big blur of legos, megablocks, fire trucks, spy kits, space vehicles, power rangers, rescue heroes, game boys, etc. You name it.
Recalling that I’ve learned to keep on hand in the pantry various mixes for cookies, muffins and brownies…..Seth has always loved to help in the kitchen….I quickly proposed we bake. They jumped on the opportunity, and Duncan Hines chocolate chip cookies won out. While fun, this took all of 15 minutes (not counting the oven and eating time). Then what?
Nathan loves to write (he knows I’m an author), and Seth likes to draw, so I proposed we create books. Armed with stapler in hand, paper, etc., they sat down at the kitchen table (after licking off the cookie dough spoons), and put pen to paper. After another 15 minutes, they were ready to move on.
I wasn’t sure what to propose at this point….until a moment of inspiration. The two of them started bantering back ‘n forth about how they met. I was so intrigued by their dynamic, that I whipped out my FLIP video camera (which I adore) and told them we were going to make a movie about the history of their friendship. They’ve known each other since they were 4 (they’re now 7), and theirs is a charming friendship. I’d like to share it with you (see below). And, I’d like to recommend that you consider filming your children interacting with their friends, etc…..and be spontaneous….some of the most precious moments can be captured at the drop of a hat, and I’m grateful to have preserved this time between them. It doesn’t always have to be a birthday or momentous occasion when we break out the video camera.
They both had a blast doing it. And, it reminded me of my childhood friendship with Audrey, who is still a close friend today. We both recently celebrated our 50th birthdays, and we’ve been good friends since kindergarten. There’s nothing that truly compares to a childhood friend who knew you “then.” While I welcome new, empowering friendships, having a history with someone means a lot. She knew me when I had childhood dreams. She knew me when I learned to ride a bike. She knew me when I felt unpopular in Kindergarten. She knew my crushes on boys. She knew my breakouts. She knew when I first got my period. She knew my mom before she passed away, and I knew hers. She knew the dynamic of my family as I was growing up. We went to the same college (had different roomates). We traveled overseas together. We socialized as singles (she’s still single). It’s hard to believe decades have passed. Lots of memories. She’s like an “aunt” to Seth, and I’m so glad they have that relationship.
As I watched Seth and Nathan, I wondered if their friendship will be one of longevity. It would certainly be nice for both of them. And, it would be cool to see how they mature and grow into the men they are meant to be. Time goes fast, and they may not follow in each other’s footsteps. But, I’ll always have the FLIP video of the day the two of them talked about how they came to be friends. And, hopefully in years to come, they’ll look back on it as well….smile….and be grateful they still have each other, as I do my special childhood friend.
http://sharing.theflip.com/session/e4abdfd33c45b36384aa19060d523fff/video/25799301 – click link to watch video
November 4, 2010
I started to write a whole blog about amniocentesis and advanced maternal age and genetic testing and blah blah blah and it was just kind of depressing. What I really want to talk about is the fact that my mother is coming to visit today. I’m really looking forward to seeing her, but I have to admit that I’m a little nervous about how she’ll react to my big old pregnant belly. Is she gonna think that I’m holding it together this time, or is it gonna be obvious that I’ve already gained the recommended amount despite the fact that I’m only halfway through my pregnancy? Overall, I feel really healthy and extremely blessed to be pregnant again, not only with our fourth child but with our very first son. I’m very much looking forward to sharing that joy with my mother, who had five children of her own. I do have to admit, however, that my mother’s reaction to my ever-blossoming pregnant body is not exactly at the bottom of my list of worries.
I come from a long line of women, you’re probably not at all surprised to hear, who were obsessed with their weight. I can still remember visiting my grandmother in the nursing home when she was 93 years old, and her telling me that she weighed herself every day and replaced two of her daily meals with Slimfast shakes. Why they would let a 93 year old woman have Slimfast instead of a meal, I have no idea. I guess I say all that to say that I come by all this neurosis honestly. Anyway, my children are totally excited for Grandma’s meet. She may even get to see my eldest daughter’s first winter swim meet, and we all plan to go out to dinner on Thursday night to a fabulous restaurant in Abington, PA called Timber. It should be a fun evening. By then I should have the results of my fetal echocardiogram and hopefully have been told that the baby is growing fine and is completely healthy. By all accounts, it should be a fabulous weekend…if I can just let go of my age-old neuroses and relax, it might actually end up that way!
November 3, 2010
I should have known better. I should have listened more attentively. I am the kind of mother who pays attention to her child’s burgeoning milestones. But somehow, I missed the cues on this one.
When my son was 11 months old, he wanted to “walk” down the stairs face forward. I let him. I held on to his hands as he dragged one foot after the other down the flight of stairs. And then he would crawl to the top and we would start all over again. Everyone fought me, allowing my 11 month old, who wasn’t even walking yet, walk down the stairs face forward. “Teach him to crawl down backwards,” I heard. “You’re making a big mistake letting him do that,” was another comment (I defer to our Blogger, Laura Houston’s blog from last week here). Still, I held my head up high and said plainly, “He sees all of us walking down the stairs face forward, he is going to learn to do it eventually anyway, so why not teach him the proper way now and allow him to practice while supervised?” Still, I got horrified looks and comments.
At age 2, my son wanted to learn to cut using real, adult scissors. Not the blunt tip, children’s type. Real, sharp, adult scissors. He was relentless. We had them locked in a top drawer in our kitchen and my son would hang on the drawer, cry and tantrum, aching to use those scissors himself. One day, I couldn’t take it any more. I thought, “You want to learn to cut using real scissors, go ahead, let’s cut.” We sat on the floor for almost an hour with my son perfecting the cutting of tape off a spool. Once all of the tape was used up, I explained that there was no more, but when I was able to get more, we would practice again. My son has never had a scissor injury, and every nursery school teacher had commented that they never saw a child my son’s age cut paper for crafts so well.
By age 3, my son was done with the toddler climbing apparatus at the park. He was ready to master the apparatus for ages 5 and up. I let him go. Again, I had horrified looks from parents. One mother could see my son’s Pull-Up sticking out above his pants and actually said, “Children who still wear diapers should not be playing on this equipment!” I asked her to show me where that “rule” was written anywhere in the park facility. She turned her back on me. My son mastered the “older children” apparatus. And when he was unsure of himself, he always knew to ask me to help him off. But in general, I let him test his wings to his heart’s content. And to this day, other than bruises, he has never injured himself doing any of the things he knew he was capable of doing. He even jumped off our local pool diving board at age 3 with my husband assisting him to the side of the pool. Today, at age 7, he does aerial flips off that same diving board and swims to the side himself. The lifeguards cringe. I stand next to them and reassure them that my son knows exactly what he is doing.
Finally, when it came to potty training between 2 – 3 years old, my son resisted with a vengeance. After getting into so many exhausting battles, I gave up and thought, “Fine.You want to take Pull-Ups in your backpack to Kindergarten and change them yourself, be my guest.” I literally gave up. My son was not ready to make this monumental change yet. I backed off and went my merry way.
One day, my son’s nursery school teacher pulled me aside on a Friday afternoon, when I went to pick my son up from nursery school. She said that he told her that he wanted to wear the Spider man underwear like the other boys. He was a little more than 3 and 1/2 at the time. So his teacher and I devised a plan that I would take him to buy Spider man underwear over the weekend, make a huge deal about wearing the underwear to school on Monday instead of Pull-Ups, and I would pack several changes of clothes and shoes should he have accidents during the day.
My son had one accident that first day, and never had another after that. He knew he was ready. He knew it was time to “graduate” to “big boy underwear.” By letting him take the lead, he was hugely successful! And it was all because I let him determine when he thought the time was right!
So, I was rather taken aback when my son, who has been wearing Huggies Goodnights to bed since he was 4, all of a sudden said to me that he didn’t want to wear them anymore. They were always fully saturated every morning. And my son is a very sound sleeper. There is no waking him in the middle of the night to take him to the bathroom. But I wanted to respect my son’s request even though the “evidence” proved otherwise.
I put a water absorbing liner on top of his sheet and explained that we would use it “just in case” of an accident. We also restricted his fluid intake 2 hours before he went to sleep. He also had to empty his bladder when we saw he was getting sleepy. And we sent him off to bed that first night with me thinking, “This is not going to work. He’s too sound a sleeper.”
My son did have an “accident” that first night. However he went 2 weeks straight after that night not wetting his bed at all!! He knew he could do it! He knew he was capable! Yet, to my surprise, after all of these years, I failed to see the cues and be more in touch with my son and his own understanding of meeting his own needs and milestones!
This past weekend marked 2 straight weeks of no accidents! I gave my son a “Medal” of accomplishment and I asked him to help me take the liner off the top of his bed! He was ecstatic! He graduated to “Big Boy” status!! Yet, unlike the times I knew he could accomplish certain risky things, this time I wasn’t so certain that my son would be as successful in this situation. But I did honor his request to try. And now I am as unsure as to who is more proud, my son or me!
I’ve always been highly in tune with my son. But I think that, of late, my own life events and personal issues have overridden being more in touch with my son and his emerging needs and fulfillments as he grows. I never want to lose that innate understanding of my son. And I always want us to have strong bonds through communication and nonverbal actions.
This was a huge wake-up call for me. One that I am taking quite seriously.
We started putting a Lego set together over the weekend but never finished it. I think tonight, it will be successfully completed!
November 2, 2010
On the day this blog is published I will be on a plane headed home to visit family — mostly to see my father who is very ill. No matter our differences, I love my family. Very much. I have three siblings. They are generous, loud and fun. In younger days, we all played soccer together, went to concerts, baseball games, and bonfires together, and we genuinely enjoyed one another’s company. But things change with the addition of wives, husbands, kids, and age.
There was a time I was really close to my younger brother Joe. He was funny, receptive, amusing and a good friend. In fact, chances are you know my younger brother — or at least an incarnation of him. He’s the 42-year old, bald guy with a beer gut sitting next to you at the soccer game who yells unhelpful coaching tips at his son, uses obscenities regarding the other team, and complains about the coach the entire game. He shakes your hand like he means it, and he’ll buy you a beer after the match while your kids play video games in the corner. He’s opinionated and loud, but not necessarily informed. He’ll gladly tell you everything you already know about anything while lending you a hand retiling your bathroom. He’ll even bring the beer. Joe uses the “n” word casually in conversation, thinks people are poor because they don’t try, and follows Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
He’s a good guy at heart but obnoxious as can be on the outside, and he can combine these qualities into almost every act he does. For instance, he makes his wife a healthy, tasty, turkey meatloaf for dinner, but he molds it in the shape of a big penis. Balls and all. Funny? Yes. Crass? Yes. He’ll cook you one of the most amazing, gourmet dinners you’ll ever eat — complete with fine wine and microbrews, but then after consuming mass amounts of roasted garlic, he lets them rip unabashedly at the table. You can’t help but love Joe and be appalled by him at the same time.
But the challenging thing about my brother is that deep down inside he is angry. There are insecurities and a sadness that run deep within him. He’s not even good at hiding it. He competes. He compares. He looks for ways to tear others down so he can feel better about himself. He learned this behavior from my mom. So did I. We all did. And we all work hard not to be that way. Except Joe. That’s why I can see past all of the nonsense and prejudice and remember he’s a sensitive guy who had big hopes and dreams for himself. He just can’t figure out how to get there. Like so many of us, he became distracted by new cars, a big, luxurious house he barely afford, electronic gadgets, excessive amounts of sports gear, and Facebook. There’s not much feeding the heart.
This is where I have to check myself and not be completely angry and disappointed with his behaviors and his bigotry. The four of us were never taught how to be happy. We all had to go out and learn it on our own, and we came up with different ideals. And even after a lot of hard work to achieve these ideals, they changed. And so did we.
So when I see my brother Joe for the first time in two years, I know I have to endure a few racist jokes, some personal jabs, some derogatory remarks about my sons and husband, and a political rant or two before I get to the heart and soul of who the guy is. He is entrenched in emotional armor that comes out aggressively and obnoxiously. But I still love him. He’s family. And that’s that. I believe we are given family so we can gain understanding about who we are and how people in the world work.
And me…I am the naïve optimist. I hope that when he meets his nephews for the first time that familial feelings will rise to the surface and soften that armor. I hope that as a father himself he will feel bonded to all of us simply by a common lineage and a respect for that lineage. But I am not counting on it.
Next week I’ll tell you how it all goes.