Posts

Review Time: That Physics Show

Review: That Physics Show

Location: Elektra Theater,  300 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036, United States                                                                                                                        Our Show time: 3pm

“I learned  more in these 90 minutes than I learned in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade”. 

These were the words of my 13 year old as we walked out of “That Physics Show”, an off- Broadway production that my family and I were fortunate enough to be given tickets to see. The premise of the show? Well, the name says it all: “Physics”. It was 90 minutes of Einstein meets Bill Nye the Science Guy. My son’s reaction to the show took me by surprise. Throughout the entire show, he looked less than amused. I guess it was that “don’t let them see you smile, laugh, or enjoy anything about life” thing that teens do. His 10 year old brother, however, knelt in his chair, sat on the edge of his seat, stood blocking the people in front of him, all to see experiment demonstrations, one after the next. He also whispered the occasional “I know what’s about to happen” in my ear, followed by a sped up narrative of what was about to go down so that he could beat the experiment to the outcome and have the satisfaction of saying “I told you!!”

As for me, I was pleasantly surprised that both of my boys ended up enjoying the show. My first instinct upon sitting in the small theater was concern that they were going to be bored. Well, actually, my VERY first instinct was to scout out the “Exit” signs. Having all three of my children (and my mom) in the small space automatically triggered my anxiety and had my spider senses tingling. But once that was established, I was concerned that the boys were going to stare at me some point in the show and say “Really mom? Really?” They were already giving me that look when I told them we were going to a show about science.

“That Physics Show” was carried out primarily by one man, David Maiullo, with appearances by his two assistants who said very little, but provided him with all the props needed to set him up for each of his “tricks”. When the show first began, he explained to the audience that he is a physics demonstrator at Rutgers University and that it is his belief that physics (and practically all sciences), would be a lot more interesting if they were taught in a hands on manner. While I definitely believe in that theory, I thought that his college vernacular would have my children snoozing in no time. With terms like “Laws of Conservation of Motion”, “Inertia”, “Isobaric Pressure”, and “Uniform Circular Motion” I thought surely they would lose interest. However, this was not at all the case as he presented some pretty amazing demonstrations to go with each tongue twisting term. Furthermore, as he performed each experiment, he tapped into the audience members’ inner scientist by posing questions like “what do you think is about to happen?”, followed by an enthusiastic  “let’s find out!” My ten-year old was always up for the prediction and waited to see if his hypothesis was correct. I, on the other hand, stayed silent not wanting to predict anything and run the risk of looking silly in front of my son. For example, did you know what would happen if people filled balloons with hydrogen instead of helium? Well, I didn’t know! (Don’t judge me). But my son knew and when it happened, the wide smile that filled his face was enough to indicate that this show was right up his alley.

After the show was over, everyone had an opportunity to take a picture  with the star of the show. My 10 year old stared at him with respect and admiration. My 13 year old gave him his props and told him how he wished all science classes were taught in this manner. My mom was just happy to get out with her grandchildren. And my 2 year old was able to keep it together with a little help from the iPad and some headphones for the last 30 minutes of the show.

Yup, it was a great 90 minutes: an outing with my kids, educational, and fun. Definitely time well spent.

Would I recommend this show?: Yes.

Who would I recommend this show to?:

1. Parents of a curious child

2. Middle school students (it’s a great way to show them how the things they’ve learned actually applies to real life).

3. Educators who need a little reminder that teaching should not be filled with lectures.

Pros:

1. A very interactive show that keeps the audience engaged.

2. My teen liked it! A teenager liked something that his mother chose to do. Enough said.

3. Extremely accessible from the NYC train station. The “A” train to 42nd street Port Authority, followed by a 50 foot walk from the train station.

4. The different physics concepts were broken down into simpler terms so that children as young as 7 or 8 years old could understand and connect it to their everyday lives.

Cons:
1. The seating was all one level, making it difficult for shorter children to see the stage.

2. Some of the experiments/demonstrations were anti-climactic while others kept me in suspense. It was like an entertainment sandwich; great experiments followed by things that I could have done at home, followed by things that absolutely wowed me. I am not sure that this is a true “con” per say, because it still held the attention of my children, and I guess that’s all that matters.
Overall Rating:

Four peas in a pod! (Out of five)
Talk to you soon,

Serene
Share with me: Have you seen the show already? What did you think of it? Do you plan to see the show? Let me know you thoughts once you see it.

Little Packages, Big Gifts

Children are a blessing or so the saying goes, but have you ever stopped to think about why they are such a blessing? How exactly can something that takes so much energy, time, not to mention, money from you add so much value to your life? Well, during a moment of reflection I had a revelation of why my children are a blessing to me and why I am so very grateful for them. Sure, they bring me happiness (the majority of the time). The laughter of my two year old daughter “Bean” makes the very depths of my heart smile. And my boys (Papi,13 and Munchkin, 10) make me proud as I watch them grow to be intellectual and kind-hearted young men.

But it wasn’t until I looked at myself B.C (Before Children) and compared it to the present day Serene, that I understood that these three little people have helped shaped me to be the woman that I am and am still becoming, and it is because they are, that I am.

As I mold myself around who they are and who they need me to be, day by day I understand and accept my transformation that was meant to happen. All 3 of them were uniquely designed like special keys to unlock doors that lead to me fulfilling my life’s purpose. I am thankful for my big gifts in these little packages and while at times, they make me want to run for the hills, waving my white flag, I know that there is no “return to sender” and I am fortunate to be the recipient.

Talk to you soon,

Serene

Share with me:

Do you have a story to share of how your particular child (children) transformed your life, your mindset, and/or purpose? I’d love to feature your story in my new Sweetpeame.com series: When the Student Becomes the Teacher.

Please email me at 123sweetpeaandme@gmail.com
All entries are due by April 1st and stories will be posted throughout the month of April.

 

Make a Splash!

On Wednesday evening , just like any other day of the week, I left from work at 5pm to pick up my daughter (we call her “Bean”) from the day care. On this particular day however, I was more exhausted than I remember being in a very long time.  Work that day was quite strenuous. It was one of those days where all the demands of work that suddenly pop up that day stop you from doing the work that you attempted to accomplish that day. One of those days where your supervisor calls you in the office to have a meeting about the meeting that you just had 20 minutes before that meeting. One of those days where you begin the day with 20 things to do and leave with 45 including the original 20.  You get it; one of those days. Then to top it all off, It was a rainy day.  So if a day of being unproductive didn’t have me feeling like a complete failure, a dreary wet day (of frizzy hair) definitely wasn’t going to give me that extra boost of confidence that I needed.
So needless to say, when the clock hit 4:59, I ran out of the office without stopping to say a word to anyone at all.
After a 45-minute bus ride and walk I finally reached the day care and had to apologize for my less than cordial manner, puffy hair and slurred, tired words. I just needed to get home and to my bed as quickly as possible.

However, my Bean had a different idea. As I opened her stroller, stuffed my bags underneath, and lifted her to sit her down, she loudly exclaimed “No, I wanna walk!”  Ever since she turned two years old 1 month ago she has been really taking this independent thang to a whole new level.

I started to lift her again, hoping that she would just see the desperate look in my eyes that cried ” I need my bed NOW!” but she was too busy preparing for a tantrum to notice my plea. She was prepared to fight for her right to walk and I had no fight left in me after this very long day.
As I walked out of the building, I was very grateful that the rain had stopped and that at least it wasn’t freezing outside.   But the question then lingered “how was this 7 block walk going to happen quickly with this little girl sight seeing the entire time?”

And then it happened, while her eyes were occupied, she accidentally stepped in a puddle. As she looked down, her face went from shock to confusion. And as I gave her the new vocabulary word “puddle” to explain to her what she had literally just stumbled upon, the smile spread so widely across her face as she lifted her leg and made the biggest splash that that little could puddle could have produced.
And at that moment I took off my tired mommy lenses and saw the world through her eyes. She didn’t know how hard my day was. She didn’t know that my staff made me absolutely crazy that afternoon. All she knew is that her little feet had the power to make water fly in the air. The smile on her face made time stand still for a moment and caused my heart to smile.
It made me smile even wider as people walked by staring at me as if I was crazy to let her shoes and pants get all wet.  It’s not my fault that they forgot what it was like to be a kid! 
As my Bean became a “puddle finder”, my ten minute walk became a 30 minute walk but when her dad opened the door and she happily shouted “I stepped on puddles!!”, I knew it was 30 minutes well spent.

Talk to you soon,

Serene

Share with me: What is one of your fondest childhood memories?  

There’s No Place Like Home

Friday evenings in my home are my absolute most favorite evenings of the week. Besides the fact that for the past 10 years Fridays is breakfast night in our home, Fridays are the best for me because on that evening my house feels like the epitome of the word “home”.

One by one or two by two the members of my family and I trickle through the door and exhale deeply after a long week of work and  school.  Bags and jackets get tossed on the arm of the couch or straight to the floor, whichever one we have strength enough to do first.  My hubby comes in, and lays right across the carpet as he begins to plan the movie we are watching for the night.  My boys get in the house and throw themselves across their beds,click on the television and become instant zombies. One sock on, one sock off I find a corner of the couch to plop down on and just glance, with a careless side eye at the sink full of dishes that were made from the morning. I slide my bra off through my sleeve and just sit there without a single thought of preparing anything for the next day. This Friday evening, even my almost 2-year old daughter came in, and requested that I take off her shoes, socks and pants promptly so she could run free in her diaper. She already knows what this day is all about.

On this particular past Friday, it was during our synchronized “let loose” routine that I realized the true meaning of the phrase: “Home is where the heart is”.

After a long week, I am not stressing the messy pile of coats on the floor or the fact that the children are laying across their beds in their outside clothing. None of these  things matter to me at that moment. I don’t care that we have not started cooking yet so that everyone could eat at 7pm sharp. We will eat when someone musters up enough energy to even care.  Instead, I am exhaling deeply that my children are feeling safe and comfortable and that we are all together working towards one common goal: relaxation.  And that’s how it should be.
Unfortunately, we are living during a time when children are being put in situations where those who are suppose to care for them the most are actually harming them the most. It is so important to me, now more than ever, to create a haven in our home.

Though it sounds simple, I know it’s not easy at all. Life happens and life is stressful!!!

Trust me, I understand. In my home we have gone through financial hardships that have made me want to lash out at the world, and sometimes at my own children.  I have had days at work that were so tough that on my walk home I’ve contemplated going somewhere else because I didn’t want to hear anyone taking a breath too loudly, nonetheless, speaking.  These feelings are very real and very intense when they hit.  But at the end of the day, my children did not ask to be brought into this tough world. But they are here.  And while the thought of them being out there in this world that can be a bit scary each day makes me feel uneasy every now and then, I find comfort in the fact that I have some control in creating an environment where they can have peace. A place where they are loved and cherished. A place where their opinions are respected and their thoughts are validated.  A place where they are safe to be themselves no matter how goofy that may be. A place they can call HOME.

Talk to you soon,
Serene

Share with me:
What things happen in your house to make it feel like “home”?

Stuck In The Middle

A couple of weeks ago people across the nation celebrated National Middle Child Day.  Usually, I don’t pay much mind to all the many “National” Holidays cause there are just so darn many. I am way too busy trying to remember what day of the week it is to add anything new to the calendar.

But on Wednesday, August 12, I thought that it would be fun to acknowledge National Middle Child day as we have our very own middle child, my “Munchkin” who is definitely worth celebrating.

Almost two years ago he became a middle child when we welcomed our little girl “Bean” into the family. Until then, I had heard all of these horror stories about what having a middle child would mean. According to friends and family, the middle child goes through something called “Middle Child Syndrome”. I was forewarned that my youngest son would become weird, awkward, and be the blacksheep of the family.
Because of all the warnings, I was determined to not let that happen. There was no way I was going to let my baby boy become the forgotten one just because his sister was born. I was determined to give him just as much attention as I did before child number 3.
And then she was born…And I totally understood why “Middle Child Syndrome” becomes a thing.

Parents are all to blame! In my household I am partly to blame. My husband is the other part, but until he realizes it, we will just focus on my shortcomings. He’ll just have to get his own blog to work out his issues.

According to the urban dictionary, middle child syndrome happens because the oldest child is usually the overachiever, the attention hog. The middle child is the less demanding one, that just goes with the flow, making it easy to become the “forgotten one”, and then there’s the baby, which comes with his or her own set of needs that babies require. Well, darn you urban dictionary, it’s all true. Well, partially true. I can’t actually say that my oldest son Papi is an overachiever. Being a pre-teen, he’s simply overly annoying (not on purpose, just by default). But he definitely is and has always been an attention hog. His first words may have been “look at me”. First born, first grandchild, it comes with the territory. Then number two was born and while we were so very excited and blessed to add him to our family, there was definitely a different tone in how I responded to meeting his needs. With the first child, every little cry caught my attention. If a person simply looked at him and caused him to cry, that person was banished and never to return until my baby felt comfortable. With my second son, I got over all of that real quick, cause, ain’t nobody got time for that! While I understood that he too was precious cargo, I also understood at this point in motherhood, that he wasn’t fragile fine china. He was not going to break if I let him cry a bit. I didn’t have to walk around with him strapped on my chest to be considered a good and attentive mother. And while this behavior of mine did not make him “a forgotten child”, it did contribute to him becoming a more “go-with the flow” kid. He learned to entertain himself if I was busy. He learned to be patient until his needs were met and as he became older, he learned to meet some of his own needs much quicker than his older brother did at his age. And then he had his big brother to hang out with so he wasn’t right under me like Papi was for the first 3 years of his life. Fast forward to 2013 when baby girl was born. She is our first girl, the first granddaughter, and the last baby that I plan to have. Plus, she has two big brothers who are giving her anything and everything, which is actually just fueling a little high maintenance monster (but in a cute sort of way).

Yet, with all that said, there is something beautiful to be said about my little middle child.

Something that I think is overlooked when people think of middle children. Middle children have an advantage in their birth order. They are the only people in the family with someone to look up to and someone to look up to them. They naturally become a teacher and a student amongst their siblings. They also tend to pick up some other great traits because of their birth order. My munchkin is the most compassionate and cooperative one out of the bunch. He is also the most observant one. He studies his big brother carefully to see the choices he makes and decides whether he wants to follow suit or make a different choice and he tries very hard to be a great influence for his little sister.
One National Middle Day, I asked him how it feels to be in the middle. He explained to me that it’s hard because he has to do what his big brother tells him to do (not true , but you see what lies his big brother feeds him), and then he has to share with his little sister even when he doesn’t want to (also not true, but he falls for her tears and just gives in to her all the time). He couldn’t see why or how being the middle child was a good thing even worth celebrating. We sat talking about the great things he is able to do, not because he is a middle child, but strictly because he’s just an awesome kid.  By the end of the night, he was grinning from ear to ear as I explained to him that just like an Oreo cookie, a Peanut Butter and Jelly, and a set of bookends, all the good stuff is in the middle. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He’s my favorite middle child!

Talk to you soon,

Serene

Share with me: Do you think that birth order plays a part in the formation of personality? Where do you fall in birth order of your siblings? Are you an only child? What role do you think that played in who you are?

 

Summer Amnesia

Originally published in August 2014

It’s that time of year again.  Summer Break for the children and for me as well.  Although I still have to go to work every day, not having to get up in the morning and wake up Papi and Munch, not having to pack their lunches the night before, not having to prepare clothing for the week is all a very welcomed break. But what I have found is that it is also a brain break, which could be a good thing, but right now I am not referring to the good way. Right now I am referring to the brain break that my children always take that makes it seem as if they have never gone to school a day in their lives by the time school begins again in September.  Last year, I will never forget my oldest son, Papi picking up a pencil to write something towards the end of the summer break.

It looked like he was using chopsticks for the very first time with his non-dominant hand, then he actually said “this feels so weird! I haven’t held a pencil in so long. I almost forgot how to write.” 

Now you may be asking yourself, what kind of mother am I that I didn’t see to it that they were writing all summer long? My response: It was just that kind of a fun summer. Don’t judge me.  But either way,  what kind of craziness is that?!!  Does two months really have the capability of wiping away something that is practiced daily for ten months? Well apparently it does and this summer, there was no way that I was going to let that type of amnesia try to set it again.

And thus, my new family project was born. Now, the key to having children do anything that even resembles school work during the summer, and they still enjoy it is to disguise it as something else.  I have seen parents who sign their children up for literacy, and math classes throughout the summer to avoid the aforementioned “forgetfulness”, but I am not that parent as I do think children need down time.

However, I am that parent that will trick her children into doing work by making it look fun. SO this is what I did.

First I came up with a writing topic, something that sparks creativity. Then instead of just assigning the writing task to the children, our entire family got involved: me, and my hubby, as well as the boys. Next I gave each of the boys their own composition notebooks and a due date that we all had to adhere to. Two days after the assignment was given, everyone was ready with their story.  We gathered on the sofa and took turns reading our stories out loud. The rules were that no one was allowed to laugh at anyone’s story in a critical manner, and no interrupting.    It was a great success! Everyone definitely brought their own personalities to their stories with the big laugh of the night being my hubby’s half human, half raisin story (yep, that’s his personality for sure).  But most importantly, it was family time well spent and the children enjoyed writing.  So much in fact, that when I was ready to give them the next writing topic, they had come up with a few of their own. So now we let Munch choose the next topic: “If you could have any super talent in the world, what would it be?”  Then our oldest son, Papi is excited to choose the next topic thereafter.  I think I may be on to something! This September, there will be no forgetfulness when it comes to holding a pencil! Mission Complete.

Talk to you soon!

Serene

Share with me: What things will you do over the summer for your children to counteract summer amnesia?  

Pot of Sweet Peas

Homework Personalities

When my eldest son, Papi became a 2nd grader, it was my first introduction into the world of being a parent of a kid who now had homework. I don’t know when it happened exactly but somewhere around the time that I had two school aged children with homework, I actually became as sick of homework as my boys were. Between their work load and the need for me to be the “homework police”, monitoring the assignments and ensuring their completion, there was a time when I felt like homework became a bigger burden on me than it was helpful for them and furthermore, it started to become more stressful than anything, which was not the experience that I wanted for any of us.

One evening, last year while helping the boys do homework, I found myself losing my last bit of patience. Instead of working, the boys were talking to each other, losing all kinds of focus. No one could find a pencil although I purchased over 150 pencils at the beginning of the school year. And my youngest son kept shifting in his chair because he just “couldn’t get comfortable”. All the while, I was preparing dinner, watching the time slowly move into the hour that baths were suppose to begin and it looked like no one was close to finishing homework because they just couldn’t get it together.

That night I became angry with my children which manifested into me turning into the HULK, banging on the table and yelling “GET IT TOGETHER! HOMEWORK TIME IS SERIOUS TIME!” and a few additional threats to cease all fun activities in the home for the next 2 months.

This resulted in my then 5 year old, crying and not being able to focus anyway. I then became angry with every teacher who ever assigned homework, including myself in my classroom days. “Don’t teachers know that parents can’t spend ALL NIGHT dealing with homework? What is wrong with them!!” Of course, I know that this was not rationale thinking but I had to be angry at someone at that moment. I can’t remember how that night even ended or if homework even got completed but I know that that evening was pivotal for me.
Since that night, I had to figure out a way to take some of the stress off the homework process for everyone’s sake.
Though in theory it seemed like a good idea to have both of the boys at the dining room table, close to me in the kitchen while they worked, it was not conducive for them to be next to one another. So the first plan of action was to separate them. Each child in his own space of choice to work. Then I had to accept the fact that my youngest son was uncomfortable in the chairs and did not work best sitting with his butt in the chair, feet on the floor, facing forward , which I thought was key to creating a studious little intellect. When I took out the time to listen to what he needed, I realized that it worked better for him to lay belly down in the middle of a room with his books and papers lying beside him. He just thinks better that way and still does 4 years later. Now, figuring out exactly what my oldest son needed to work best was not a challenge for me as much as accepting what he needed was. I grew up learning that your work space should be quiet so that you could focus and tune out distractions, which is why to this very day, I can’t stay focused if any noise enters my work space. So when my son asked to play music while doing homework, I couldn’t fathom how he was going to also concentrate so I fought the idea for awhile. But he kept insisting “Mom, I can’t think while its this quiet!”, he’d say. I just couldn’t wrap my head around that. But finally one day, I did and let him work with his music of choice. And surprisingly he was able to remain seated and quiet for the whole hour plus that he worked on his homework.
Now I am not saying that all of these homework changes made homework time a breeze in my household, but coupling these “newfound” practices with a pre-homework snack and at least an hour to unwind before beginning homework definitely makes for a less tense home during the week.
My lesson in all of this: Sometimes your children’s methods of doing things are not your own nor are their methods how you envision things being able to work out, but sometimes for the sake of learning something new and making life a bit easier, parents should listen to what their children are asking for. They might just know what they need for themselves.

Talk to you soon,
Serene

Share with me: What are/were some of your best homework time practices in your household?

Bubble Show

Review Time: The Gazillion Bubble Show

Review: The Gazillion Bubble Show
Location: New World Stages, 340 50th street between 8th and 9th
Show time: 11am

This weekend for exactly one hour, I was transported back in time to my childhood when the simple things in life kept me mesmerized and smiling in amazement. That is the only way that I could describe how I felt while watching the Gazillion Bubble Show along with my three children and the hubby.
I was gifted the tickets this past week, and while I had been meaning to take the kiddies to see this exact show when it first appeared a few years ago, I just never got around to it. Boy, am I happy that I was given the opportunity to finally see it.

Prior to going to the show, I looked up a bit of information about it, because I was on the fence about bringing my 15 month old. I didn’t know how she’d react to the dark theater or the crowd. But the site said, “fun for all ages” and that’s exactly what it was.

For exactly an hour, the bubble making genius Melody Yang captivated  the entire audience with tricks and illusions that had everyone sitting with our mouths hanging open, scratching our heads, as we wondered how in the world she made these bubbles do such fascinating things! (Spoiler Alert: Who knew bubbles could be square shaped?!!) I’ve blown a lot of bubbles in my days and the fanciest trick I’ve ever done was to catch the bubble on the end of the wand.
I mean, really, even my 12 year old turned to me during the show and said “Mom, this is so cool!” And listen, when you are a pre-teen, the words “mom” and “cool” rarely go together. rI definitely didn’t think he’d enjoy half as much as he did. But, honestly, even the coolest kid couldn’t help but to jump out of their seat, swatting wildly in the air, as the crowd was engulfed in a sea of bubbles multiple time throughout the show.

I knew that bubbles made children happy but this show proved that we all still have little children hidden in us that something as simple as bubbles can obviously unlock.

Would I recommend this show?: Definitely!

Who would I recommend this show for?: Anyone who likes to smile and occasionally enjoys the feeling of being a kid again.

Pros:
1. The theater was small ,intimate and the stadium seating allowed for the stage to be viewed no matter how tall the person is that is sitting in front of you .
2. There are two parking lots across the street.
3. You can purchase your own container of Gazillion Bubbles at the bubble store in the theater lobby. (I’ve actually used these bubbles back in my teaching days and they are the best by far!)
4.  There is stroller parking available.

Cons:
1.  There are no changing tables in the bathroom that I visited but I was told that a changing table does exist in a different kind bathroom on a different floor.
2.  There is a mandatory $20 Cash Only “Lap Seat” Ticket Fee for children under the age of  2.

3. Be prepared to spend $5 for a pack of M&Ms as well as a few other individual items that are being sold by a person who walks around the theater before he show actually begins.

Overall Rating:
Five peas in a pod! (A perfect score)

Talk to you soon,
Serene

Share with me: Have you seen the show already? What did you think of it? Do you plan to see the show? Let me know you thoughts once you see it.

Girl World

Being Confident in “Girl World”

A few weeks ago I asked my friends on Facebook for inspiration for my next blog topic.  I love writing about my own experiences but I thought it would be different to write about a requested topic.  One particular response that came from a friend of mine was to write about boosting confidence in young girls. I loved the idea of that topic. After all, I am a “girl”, I’ve taught girls, and I have a daughter. Piece of cake, I thought. Boy, was I wrong. I sat in front of that computer and my mind went blank. What was wrong with me? I usually have no problems writing about topics that I’m passionate about it. But this was just not coming to me. Although I have a little girl, I realized that trying to boost her confidence was not something I had begun to think about.  After all, she’s only 15 months so this was something that really didn’t need to be on my radar yet, or so I thought.  A week or so after my “brain fart” and non-existent promised blog post, I had an experience that made me realize I had better start thinking about this, and quick:

While over at a friend’s for a fun Friday night gathering, my daughter sat on the floor with another little girl who was around the age of 3.  As the girl sat coloring with a marker, a huge bag of at least 70 additional markers sat next to her. Being curious, my little Bean tottled over and  reached in the bag to pull out a marker, when the 3 year old snapped out of her drawing trance and with squinted eyes, yelled, “Hey! stop I’m using those!” Immediately, I switched into my teacher voice, hoping to diffuse the situation, “Sweetie, you have a lot of markers. Can you please let her use one and when she’s done, she’ll give it back to you?”  That ought to do the trick right? NOPE, it didn’t.  The little girl just stared at me and responded just as snappy as before, “No, I’m using them! I don’t like her!” Wow, I did not see that coming.  Naturally, all my teacher instincts went out the window.  And as I pictured myself snatching the bag of markers from the little girl and perhaps bumping her slightly with my bottom, I looked at my daughter who had already moved on to the next thing, totally unfazed by the whole situation.

And it was at that exact moment that it occurred to me that I am the mother of a little girl and having been a little girl myself, I know that “girl world” is a heck of a lot different from what I was use to when raising the boys.  I had to start thinking about building her confidence much sooner than I thought.

I had an epiphany that evening and I realized that it has to be one of my many goals to make sure that I raise a little girl that is so confident, she will be able to walk away, unfazed, moving on to the next thing if someone else says “No, I don’t like you”.  But how? Where do I begin?

When it comes to raising a girl, it’s so common to hear people say, “make sure you tell her she’s beautiful” so that she can be confident.  But somehow, I don’t think that’s enough.  Sure, this has to be one part of building her self –esteem.  Girls, people, and the world can be cruel and judgmental when deciding what look is “in” and what features are favorable.  My little girl will definitely need to know that she is wonderfully made both inside and out.  And though I think that this is a small part of creating a confident little girl,  it is going to take something big from me. I have to first understand that I am her first example of what she will aspire to be. With that said, I have to show her what it looks like to love myself, flaws and all.  I have to continue to embrace my natural hair so that she can embrace hers. I have to love all 4 foot 11 inches of me no matter how tall everyone else stands around me.  I have to resist the urge to show signs of self-loathing, realizing that every time I critique my cellulite, and inability to acquire the perfect hourglass figure that my Bean is watching and she will criticize those same things on herself.  I will have to tell myself that I am beautiful and show her that we are beautiful.

But this is not enough. One day my daughter may encounter someone else who tells her “You can’t use my markers”, “You can’t come to my party”, “You can’t be my friend” “I don’t like you”.  Her knowing that she is beautiful won’t help her to walk away unfazed.  The only way that she is going to be able to keep it moving, head held high, when she is rejected is if she understands that people who didn’t make you don’t have the power to break you.  She will also need to understand that she can move on to the next thing and that there is something out there made especially for her.  As her mom, I’ve been charged with the job of truly seeing my daughter for her talents and skills and I must nurture those things so that she can grow to understand how special she is.  If her eyes are bright and focused on the goals that she and I set for her, then she will be too busy in her own world to care that someone has rejected her from theirs.

But even that may not be enough.  One day, with her knowing that she is beautiful and having a goal in mind, she may be told that she still can’t do something just because she is a girl.  Well for that, I simply say, thankfully she has two big brothers to run side by side with.  She already tries to keep up with them and they have already proven to be her biggest supporters.

I don’t know if this is the perfect formula for raising a confident girl.  I’ve never raised one before but I’m thinking that with beauty, drive and strength my baby girl will also have the courage and determination to walk tall (no matter how tiny she may be), and proud as she navigates her way through “Girl World”.

Talk to you soon,

Serene

 

Share with me: Where does your confidence come from? Who helped you to gain that confidence? What did they do?

Mom Folder

The Mom Folder

The idea of a “Mom Folder” was definitely not one that I came up with, so I can’t take the credit. The concept was passed down to me from a fellow coworker and mom, but once I learned about it, I took it and ran with it. And now I pass it down to you 🙂

If you have school aged children then you know what it’s like to get a ton of paperwork sent home constantly!

There’s always a permission slip to be signed, or a new movement from the Parent Committee that we should be so interested in or a school function coming up.  I mean really, like something that must be reviewed every…single…night! Who is photocopying all these papers at schools?Sheesh! Either way, because of all the papers, there are always lots of deadlines. In the evening when the boys are doing their homework and simultaneously shoving documents in my face, telling me what I have to look over, the Mom Folder has been very instrumental in helping me not lose my mind  the papers. My Mom Folder has a pocket on each side; one is labeled “To Be Reviewed” and the other is labeled “Reviewed/ To Be Filed Away”. Once the children are in bed, I can take a look at all things and figure out how I need to deal with each document. My folder has also been helpful for organizing my bills, and housing little to-do notes that I jot down throughout the day. It travels with me to work which allows for me to switch hats and get into mommy mode for a moment during my lunch break. As I cross things off of my to do list, make very necessary phone calls, and shift papers from one side of the folder to the next, I feel productive and pretty darn proud. And that, my friends, is another way that I try to get a handle on this beautiful thing called motherhood.

Share with me: How do you organize all of the paperwork that comes with the territory of being a parent?