Friday Round-Up

What a busy week! I was lucky enough to have my niece and brother come visit for a few days which led to some fun days in the sun and some very tired kiddos. But I managed to get some work done also and since I’m making a real effort to start posting regularly on my blog again, I’m going back to doing my Friday Round-up of places I was writing this week!

Over at Life360:

Over on SheHeroes:

Have a great weekend!

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Chris Isaak Beneath the Stars at Wente

Believe it or not my very first concert was The Monkees and Weird Al Yankovic. I know, kind of weird, except I’ll put good money on the fact that at least a few of you will read this and say “Me too!” Because it was a pretty popular tour that year. I was in the third grade and a pretty avid Monkees fan (thanks Nick ay Night) so when they came around my parents took us. This would be the beginning of a very passionate and life-long love for live music. Read more

Beauty and the Beast

There is something about the theater that is so full of magic that I can’t help but be swept away every time I get the chance to go. And if you add in a little Disney magic to boot, you’ve got a night to remember. And that’s exactly what I found when Cheyanne and I had a girl’s night out in the city. We went to the opening night of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Golden Gate Theater and were mesmerized from the moment we sat down.

I freely admit that I have done my share of trash talk when it comes to Disney Princesses. But I always feel that Beauty and the Beast (even in the pre Disney/original version of the tale) stands apart from other fairy tales because when you look at it, the person in need of rescue is Beast more than Beauty. And at the end of the day it Beauty who has saved the day, not the prince. Read more

The Dating Habits of Preschoolers

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So there’s this boy in my daughter’s preschool class. His older brother just happens to be in the same Boy Scout den as my son.  It wasn’t too much of a surprise when the boy and my daughter became best buddies. They see each other all the time plus they get along, no big deal. But then about two months ago my daughter starting calling him her “boyfriend.” Now this didn’t really bother me at first, in fact it came across as cute. I shrugged it off. But it continued.

The two have since become inseparable at school and at Boy Scout functions. They hold hands and walking around together and stuff. And now in the last week she has declared that she is in love with him, as he is with her, and that they are going to get married.

I’m active in the class, know the family and know that there is nothing to really be concerned about. But I can’t help but be a little taken aback. I mean, she’s five!

I don’t want her to be establishing quite so much emphasis on marriage at five. I don’t want her to automatically think she has to get married when she grows up. Right? I also want her to be able to establish friendships with boys that don’t revolve around labels like boyfriend or girlfriend.

I know that in another two months the school year will be over and they’ll be going to Kindergarten at different schools. A part of me is relieved but another part of me feels bad because she knows they won’t be together next year.

I guess it’s no big deal. And I guess it’s just another one of those things that us moms supposed to just let roll of our backs.

But let me just say, for the record, that if I ever get around to writing a book about parenting this is so getting it’s own chapter.

This is an original post to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.

Babies & Birthdays

I knew that it was a girl the moment I took a home pregnancy test. Every fiber in my being told me so, and when I finally got the phone call with the results of our amniocentesis I was not at all surprised when our genetic counselor told me it was a girl. I daydreamed for months about the strong, sassy and independent girl she would be.  And now exactly five years later she’s everything I thought she would be and more.  She is kind and thoughtful and full of heart. But she is strong-willed; she speaks her mind and doesn’t care much about what other people think.

I think many people; when they have a daughter, worry. Worry because girls are weaker, are not as able to take care of themselves and are more prone to heartbreak. Me? I laugh at the thought. In fact my worry is more for the people in this world who stand in her way, or hurt the people she loves, or try to force to do something she doesn’t want to do.

It’s really hard to express how much she means to me and how totally shocked I am at how fast these last five years have gone by.

When she was first-born, I was terribly concerned with how she was breastfeeding. Mainly because my son would feed for close to 45 minutes on each breast and during the first couple of weeks I had a hard time getting him to latch on correctly and to really get the hang of breastfeeding. It was a lot of work.

But my daughter, she latched on instantly. And her feeding ran about 10-15 minutes, TOTAL. I just knew she must be starving and couldn’t figure out why she was feeding for these short spans of time.

When I took her in for her first exam she had gained over a pound. I asked the lactation consultant how that was possible when she was hardly eating. She laughed. “It’s not that she’s not eating, it’s that she’s eating very efficiently.”

It’s been that way ever since. Every time I think I’m failing, she shows me I’m not.

I can’t believe she’s five today. My baby. Quite possibly my last child. Five. She’s not a baby anymore. There are no diapers, or changing tables, or bottles. No high chairs or cribs. I only have kids now, no babies in this house anymore.

Oh, who am I kidding? She’ll always be my baby. Whether she’s five or fifty.

Kindergarten

I swear it was just yesterday that my daughter was born. But in fact it was actually 5 years ago. Well in a few weeks it will be five years exactly. And now this week I registered her for kindergarten. KIN-DER-GARTEN.

How did this happen?

Not that I’m not happy and excited to be moving into this new phase of motherhood. The phase where both kids are in school. I’m happy and excited to see my children growing into such wonderful people and I’m happy and excited to be regaining a little of my own freedom back that I traded in when I brought my firstborn home from the hospital.

But another part of me feels a little sad. I’m not sure that we’ll have a third child. And if we do, it won’t be soon. So sending my youngest off to Kindergarten is a milestone that leaves me a little empty on the inside. Each day they need me just a little less. Each day brings them one more day closer to growing up.

And it scares me. Have I done a good job as a mom so far? Is she going to be ok in school? Is she going to be a bully? How will her Diva ways translate into a public school yard? Will she be a mean girl?

So much of parenting is letting go. But what if I’m not ready to let go? What if I’m not ready to move on to the next phase?

I guess it doesn’t matter. Time stops for no one. Not even moms.

“It’s a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.”  ~J.K. Rowling

Pictures

Most of you on Facebook may have noticed the retro thing going on with people’s profile pictures. Well considering how many dozens photo albums and picture boxes I have stocked full of millions of pictures, I thought it would be fun to pull out some old pictures, scan them and then tag all my old school friends. But instead I ended up spending an entire evening pouring through every single photo album and photo box I own.

I have pictures that of course begin with me as a baby, my childhood, teen years and into the years my husband and I were dating, our wedding and of course there were tons of both pregnancies and the kids all the way through now. My mind is kind of racing full of all the memories. It’s so weird to look back and see how much I’ve grown and changed. And even weirder to see how much the kids have grown and changed. I swear it was just yesterday that they were born. Then again I would’ve sworn that it was only yesterday that I got married or graduated high school…

There were so many pictures that just took me back. Friends and family that have long since passed away, friends that are still in my life today. So many people and so many memories.

Nothing puts your life into a sharper focus then looking back over your life in pictures. It reminds you of where you come from and who you are. It also reminded me of just how fast my babies are growing and that I should take time to slow down and smell the roses with them more often.

My dad took this picture when I was in elementary school. He told me to picture the woman I’d be when I was 30 and to say hi to that woman. And now here I am, 32, looking at that same picture, saying hi back to that girl I once was.

I never did scan any pictures and upload them to Facebook. Maybe tomorrow…

Religion and Parenting: Fail

The other day my 6 year old gets home from school and sits down to have a little snack. After a few minutes he jumps up and walks over to my desk. “Mom,” he starts, “What’s Jewish? Are we Jewish? What’s Hanukkah? Can we celebrate it?”

It was the equivalent of a parental drive-by shooting, questions flying at me like bullets. I was left frozen like a deer in the headlights as he stared up at me patiently waiting for answers.

“No honey, we’re not Jewish.” He looked at me a little puzzled then said, “Well, why not? What’s being Jewish mean?”

Instantly I pictured myself accepting the award for worst parent.

I couldn’t answer him. My first instinct was equating it with us being Irish or Native American. But I know that’s not right. Then I thought well it’s not just a nationality. Then I grasped at what I thought was a good enough answer.

“Well, it’s a religion. Kind of like Christians or Catholics. But they celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas.”

“Oh. Well what’s religion? Do we have one?” he asked.

Oh. My. God. I am soooooo flunking the parenting & religion thing.

But I don’t blame myself. They DID NOT have this chapter in Mr. Spock’s baby book. I’m sure of it.

In my defense, my kids know EXACTLY who Mother Nature is and never go to bed without saying goodnight to Luna (the moon). Do I get spirituality points for that at least?

So how do YOU handle these questions?

Your Parenting Style and How You’re Doing it Wrong

You're Doing It Wrong.Some of you may have already read the recent article in Time Magazine regarding “Helicopter Parenting” and the many blog posts and articles that have since been written in support and to dispute the piece. Well I couldn’t help myself and had to chime in with my own question regarding the many different types of parenting that are constantly being praised and disputed these days, which is what about just plain old parenting?

Does everything we do, as parents have to have a label? It seems that as parents we can’t catch a break. No matter what we do we’re faced with someone telling us why we are wrong for doing it.

Helicopter/Overparenting

Take the whole “Helicopter Parenting” thing. So what if we hover more than previous generations? We are the same 30-year-old kids raised in the first generation of  “stranger danger.” We had key words and watched some of the most high profile kidnappings in America unfold right in front of us on television. Michaela Garrett, Adam Walsh, Amber Swartz, Ilene Misheloff (I’ll take extra overprotective credit for THREE of those high profile cases being near my own community and around my own age). Of course we are careful about where our kids go and what they do.

I’m not going to apologize for being overprotective in this world. According to the World Health Organization Global cancer rates will increase by 50% by 2020. So YES, of course I’m going to be aware of what kind of chemicals are in products I’m buying and feeding my kids on. And YES I’m going to be uptight about car seats and BPA plastic filled bottles.

But is there a line? Articles like the one in Time got me thinking. OF COURSE there is a line between being protective and being extreme (doing your kids homework and stalking their coaches). I try to avoid judging other people’s parenting choices. It’s important to me that all moms, especially new moms, feel strong and secure in the choices they make that make sense for their family.

Fads in Parenting

Now I of course don’t condone moms wrapping their kids in bubble wrap and keeping them safely protected until after college graduation (though I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the idea hadn’t crossed my mind) but I urge moms to trust their instincts and ignore the fads in parenting choices.

Don’t skip out on Vaccines just because you heard someone say those vaccines are going to give your child autism. Read up first. Read about the increase in childhood diseases, read about the research that has debunked the autism studies and decide THAT WAY.  Don’t decide to breastfeed or not to breastfeed based on what all your girlfriends from high school did with their kids. Make that decision based on what works for you and your baby. And unless the advice is coming from someone who actually sleeps in your house every night, ignore anyone who tells you where you and your kids should be sleeping. It’s your house, your bed, and your sleep.

And to mom’s who judge, shut up. Just because a mom chooses not to fill every waking moment with extra curricular activities doesn’t make her less of a mom than you. And hey homebody moms, just because a mom DOES take part in every volunteer event and extracurricular team sport in your city doesn’t make her an overbearing judgmental mom. So bite your lip.

Stop judging ladies and please stop making your parenting decisions based on what’s cool at the time. My God, we are the generation of feathered hair and acid wash jeans. We put Vanilla Ice at the top of the charts for God’s sake. We cannot be trusted as a group when it comes to what’s in and what’s not. So decide for yourself. Skip the biased blogs and websites, read a few medical journals. And I don’t know… ask your pediatrician maybe…

We will all have bad days as moms. We will all momentarily lose our child in a crowd and have an instant of dread. We will all yell at our child over something stupid once in a while. We all make wrong choices. So, don’t judge. Just do the best you can. And don’t be ashamed when you grab your older child’s hand in a crowd. Forgive yourself when you lose it and offer your child an extra mile of patience next time. And when you make a bad choice, learn from it and move on.

What kind of parenting style do I follow in my house? The Best–I-Can Parenting. And that’s all there really is.

Father/Son & Mother/Daughter Day at the Harvey House

Allen and Patrick spent the day learning and exploring the airport while Cheyanne went for a trip to the African American Arts & Culture Complex in San Francisco. It was a big day for all of us, but the kids can’t stop talking about their big days and are asking when we’re going to flip flop and do a Mother/Son & Father/Daughter day.

It’s days like this that I just love that we live where we live and feel confident that as parents, we’re truly giving our kids memories that will last a lifetime. *Sigh*

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Cheyanne and SF District Attorney, Kamala Harris
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Patrick the Pilot