Why you should date your children

The definition of a date is [according to Google] “a social or romantic appointment or engagement.”  To further clarify, romantic is defined as “conducive to or characterized by the expression of love.”

There you have it.  A date is really an opportunity to engage and socialize with someone and show them how much you love them.  Doesn’t that sound like something your child would want to do with you?

Last week my four-year-old son took me out on a date.  He insisted on wearing his Sunday Best, complete with a tie and crazy, cool spiked hair.  I fancied up from head to toe, wearing my favorite heels and I even dug out the reclusive curling iron.

All week leading up to our date, my son had been talking about it, the excitement in his voice coming out in squeaks and giggles.  So when the big night finally arrived, he was over-the-moon thrilled and eagerly said goodbye to his little sister as he skipped out the door.

I don’t know what it was– the delightfully cheesy movie we watched through our popcorn crunching, the chocolate lava cake we indulged in after our dinner out on the town, or the “way-past-our-bedtime” cruise through the dark neighborhood streets with him meticulously directing my turns from the backseat—but the entire night was magical.

If the chocolate cake wasn’t enticingly persuasive enough, here are 10 reasons to date your child.

  1. One-on-one time is invaluable.

When was the last time you really got to spend alone time with your child—no rushing, no one fighting for your attention, no stress, no schedule—with just the two of you enjoying each other’s company?  For me, it doesn’t always happen that often.  Sometimes it feels good just being with them and knowing my only responsibility in that moment is to hold their hand.

date

  1. You really get to see your child and notice the little things.

Soak in that adorable nose, the tiny freckles dancing on their skin, the way their eyes twinkle when you mention how late you’re staying up past bedtime (even if it is only a half hour).  They are only small for so long and I’m guessing they won’t want to date you forever…at least that is the hope.

  1. It lets them see that mom isn’t really a crazy, over-protective, demanding psycho who’s lost all capacity to have fun.

Maybe it was the after-high from the giant chocolate cake that he devoured, but I swear my son looked at me differently that night.  He genuinely enjoyed being with me, as did I with him.  I wasn’t refereeing a sibling rivalry, pleading with a two-year-old to poop in the potty as opposed to the floor, while simultaneously arguing the nutritional value of a banana versus a cinnamon bun flavored Toaster Strudel.  The weight of the world was momentarily lifted and I was free to just relax and be me.  Continue reading

Lifestyle Photography: what it is and what’s to love

If you’ve ever endured a photography session at a traditional studio, perhaps inside a mall or department store, I’m guessing you’ve had an experience that goes a little something like this:

You show up about 10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time, entering a room that has nearly reached fire code capacity.  There are no seats to be found amidst the sea of denim and Aqua Net, so you send the family into the lobby while you fight your way to the counter to check in.  Returning to the lobby, you find your son has successfully managed to remove every last trace of gel from his hair and your daughter is lying down on the ground, shoes off, practicing what appears to be the “stop, drop and roll” technique.

By the time they call you back into the broom closet to take photos, the kids are on the verge of a stage 5 meltdown and the adults are no longer speaking except through clenched teeth.  Despite the photographer’s desperate attempts at amusing a 3-year-old with a dog toy, the uproarious enthusiasm that played out in the lobby is nowhere to be found.

In an effort to avoid this grueling experience and to take a photo that captures the true-to-life spirit of their children, many families have forgone or at least supplemented the traditional “pose and say cheese” studios with what is known as “lifestyle photography.” Continue reading

Who invited crazy face?

Some of us know this scene all too well.

You go out into the world with good intentions and who you thought were the rational children you’ve been nurturing and loving since birth, only to enter a crowded vicinity and have PDI kick in.  And not just any case of PDI…the full-blownsies.  I’m talking about Public Display of Insanity, also known as PDI.

PDI comes in various forms, strengths and audible levels, but usually involves situationally inappropriate displays of extreme emotion, slurred and unrecognizable speech, an abundance of tears, flailing of limbs and unwarranted disobedience.

It is a very common disorder found in children (and some adults) brought on by over-exhaustion, hunger, too much attention, not enough attention, and/or absolutely nothing at all.  It occurs any time, any place, but only under optimal conditions for embarrassment.  Making important phone calls, entering a place of peaceful business, and attending any event that requires extended periods of silence will almost always guarantee an outbreak of PDI.

Warning signs of PDI include a sudden lack of enthusiasm, whiney speech, a persistent complaint of hunger, an abrupt bout of defiance and/or an abnormal amount of face scrunching.  Should you witness one or more of these signs in succession, you should immediately grab the ticking time bomb that is your beloved offspring and make a dash to the nearest exit.  If you must leave your unpurchased items behind, so be it!

In rare and extreme cases, these warning signs may be masked by superficial displays of joy and enthusiastic bliss, in which case an escape is unlikely.  You will quickly find yourself face to face with an unforeseen case of PDI.  These are the absolute worst.  Do not panic.  It is still strongly encouraged that you leave the building you are in (yes, you must take your little crazy human with you), but avoid eye contact with strangers and employees at all cost.  Their hollow glares are intended to eat your very soul and will only make your pain and suffering of PDSD that much worse.

That brings us to the subsequent condition: Post Display Stress Disorder.  Often following a particularly robust case of Public Display of Insanity, PDSD is a condition involving hot flashes, extreme embarrassment, heavy breathing, blurred vision, and a strong desire for happy hour.

It not only affects the parental unit of the displayer, but it can also spread to surrounding individuals in the general area of the PDI occurrence.  If left untreated in individuals without children, PDSD can become an unintended form of birth control.

While there is no known cure for PDI, parents can take comfort in knowing that they are not alone.  Millions have suffered and continue to suffer from this horrible condition.  PDI and PDSD are temporary disorders that will improve naturally over time.  If you are a grown adult and find yourself suffering from PDI on a regular basis, you should see a doctor.

*The fine print: all conditions mentioned previously including PDI, PDSD and the “full-blownsies” are fictionally based on actual events occurring in nearly every household in the world.  In other words, it’s a joke people.

crazy face 1

A thing or two about a thing or two: Lessons learned in 2014

Here are a few of the many things I learned as a parent this past year:

  • Let your kids pick their own outfit, even if it means you’ll be taking a tiny batman to TBall practice that night. The cape may not really make him run faster, but your certainty in his independence may just work wonders for his self-confidence.

dress yourself

  • Sometimes the best thing you can say to your kids is “Yes.” Yes, you can use that blue marker to turn your body into a dot-to-dot.  Yes, you can jump on the bed.  Yes, you can wear your underwear outside your pants…. It makes the “No’s” a little more tolerable.

blue marker

  • There is magic in these two words: Slumber. Party. If you let your kids sleep in the same room, even if only for a night, what they lack in sleep they will make up for in giggles. And trust me, there are few sounds more beautiful than laughter between siblings.

slumber party

  • Pancakes taste WAY better after dark. Serve them up for dinner once in a while and sit back and enjoy the excitement that will surely ensue.
  • Let your son go away on a “boys’ trip” with his daddy. Just don’t ask too many questions because you really don’t need to know about his adventures of pooping in the woods and you DEFINITELY don’t want to see the picture that proves it.
  • There is nothing more frightening than taking a one-year-old on an airplane, except for maybe that one-year-old having an enormous and aggressively fragrant bowel movement on said airplane. That is the only thing more frightening.
  • Stories are received way better if they are read with gusto in the voice of an old, Jewish woman from Boston. I do not know why, but alls I do know is dat my kids is gonna have one wicked awesome and confusing accent when they grows up.

Continue reading

Now entering the terribly terrific twos…

“This too shall pass”—Simple words that could not ring more true, especially within the realm of parenting.  No sooner does one challenging childhood phase pass, than the next begins.

Running straight into the face of danger the second your vice-grip hand lock is broken—We’ve  passed that one!

An unyielding determination to find the one overlooked choking hazard in the room and immediately put it in their mouth—Passed!

Body stiff as a board with hulk-like strength and resistance while trying to get them into a car seat—Passed…almost. Continue reading

“Going Turquoise:” Little farmer, big ideas

A few years ago if you had asked me what a hoe is used for, my response would have been comparable to that of a 13-year-old boy’s—wildly inappropriate and unbearably immature.

But, as happens more often than not, my children have inspired me to look at life and the simple act of gardening in a whole new way. My husband and I first started our garden when we moved into our home with its modest backyard.  He removed some palm trees, made a little raised bed and my son and I went at it.  We planted whatever our little hearts desired, just for the sheer joy of playing in the mud and seeing what would grow.  This is now our garden’s third year, and I still have not mastered the planting season, correct seed spacing—none of it.   In an effort to stick to a planting schedule and attempt to grow things in an orderly fashion, we have opted to give our little man his own garden space so that he can farm according to his liking.  The last couple seasons he has opted for sunflowers, which are a GREAT crop for little ones.  They are extremely tolerant and grow quickly as you can see below. Continue reading

Hurry up and stop growing!

When you’re a mother, it is absolutely vital that you master the art of roshambo—paper/rock/scissors, ick-ack-ock, whatever you call it in your household.  You need to get your mind right and have a plan of attack because when the screaming baby strikes at 3am and your head is cloudy and your senses dulled, this is when your husband will strike you with the old, “Paper/rock/scissors for it?”  He knows exactly what he’s doing.  He knows that in your moment of weakness you are going to pull out the same old move you always go for and he’ll be ready for it.  So, trust me, throw in a wild card every now and then, and mix your game plan up if you’re going to actually win this and come out the victorious sleeping beauty. 

The next time you find yourself at the losing end of this battle and you’re pin-balling down the hall to the baby’s room at unspeakable hours of the night (or is it morning?), you may find yourself wondering when you will ever sleep through the night again.  I know I did.  Continue reading