Mommy Mondays: On the Topic of Teeth…

I am hardly squeamish. I am a champion diaper changer and I can clean up cat yak with minimal gagging. I can move snails out of harm’s way and admire earth worms with the best of them. But for some reason, loose teeth permeate my tough-mom exterior. The sound they make when they wiggle turns my stomach. I find the hole they leave in the gum when they finally do come out totally revolting. I want no part of them. And for some reason, we’re on a run at my house – three out in one week.

The Tooth Fairy actually came back-to-back nights. (As an aside, our first tooth ever lost came out on Christmas Eve last year, so the Fairy and Santa passed in the hall…) I’m hoping this is it for awhile, for my own sake and for Emma’s, since I’m not sure how she’ll eat if she loses even one more – and I don’t think I’ll even want to!

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Mommy Mondays: Gift-Giving

I just read an article about being a great gift-giver. Basically, it said to give what the person really wanted, or had even asked for, instead of what you THINK they’d like.
As a parent this is always a challenge for me. I think Emma should love Lalaloopsy Dolls – I mean seriously, those outfits! And the swingy little legs! And you can set up all their little packages and make a little village! And she likes them, a little.
What she loves is Lego Friends. We’ve got a few sets. Christmas would be the perfect time to give her the super expensive, gigantic Lego Friends house, right? But which Lego set is on her list? The Monster house! I guess I collect deep and she collects wide?
And the top of her list… an American Doll. Now, she has baby dolls (four to be exact) but they don’t get played with too often. And she has Barbie dolls, but they don’t get much play either. So why would I buy her an (expensive!) American Doll? Except that it’s what she asked for. Twice. I had her write two lists to Santa, just to be sure, and I’m glad I did because at the end of the second list, she added a “neklis” for me and a “gitar pedl” for my husband. And, as a friend pointed out, she isn’t a baby or a Barbie, but she is a little girl, just like an American Girl.
Now if only I hadn’t waited so long for her to change her mind… guess it’s a trip to the American Doll store for me, since it’s too late to order online.
Next year I’ll know, and start at the top of her list. Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays to you all!

Mommy Mondays: Getting Crafty

Hooray for Pinterest! Even though I think I use it wrong (as in I don’t follow anyone and have exactly 2 boards: arts & crafts ideas and pictures of bed frames I found online while shopping earlier this year and I’m always surprised when I get an email notice that one of these has been repinned…), I have found so many great craft ideas there!

Check out the fingerprint and hand print turkeys Emma and I made as Thanksgiving cards for the grandparents – so cute!

Our next project – and I might even go the extra mile and make it a Christmas arts & crafts play date for a few friends! – is painting these awesome Santa rocks…

Have you done any awesome arts & crafts this year? Lemme’ see!

Mommy Mondays: 15 Minutes

Why is it that no matter how early I wake up, how calm and peaceful I try to make the getting-ready process, the last 15 minutes before dropping my daughter off at school are always crazy?

This morning, for example, I woke up at 5:45 to work out, check emails, make lunches, and get myself ready before waking Emma up at 6:45 (clearly I don’t spend a lot of time on makeup). She woke up bright and cheery. We read a book in bed and then headed into the living room for a bit of coloring and a TV show before getting her dressed, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, and fish fed. Sometimes we can even sneak in arts & crafts or a walk around the block before we head out!

And then all heck breaks loose. Somehow the 15 minutes I leave to get us to school, which is 3 minutes away door-to-door, is never enough. Grabbing purses, backpacks, homework (which needs to go into the backpack, which is already on the back), and lunches… getting out the door and into the car (why is this so hard? It’s like it happens in slow motion)… driving to school and parking… it’s a marathon exercise, always a scramble, and the ramifications of cutting it short a minute or two—not having any playground time before the bell rings—can turn my happy, cheery girl into a storm of pout and cling.  And so my memory of our calm, peaceful, together-time morning is replaced by the last, pitiful look I get as she walks into class, and this is what I take with me all day.

Yes, my head knows that she’s fine the minute she turns the corner into her classroom, but my heart can’t quite believe it. Has anyone cracked the morning code? Left the drop-off happy and satisfied? Tips are much appreciated.

Amy’s got a Case of the Mondays

I’ve got a case of the Mondays. It’s almost guaranteed that I’ll have a case of the Mondays on Monday. No matter how great a weekend we had, no, wait, in fact because of the great weekends we have, it always makes me sad to go our separate ways on Mondays. I think it’s the pace of the weekend. Cartoons in bed, lazy days at the beach, evening play dates at the park, movie nights with popcorn, dragging out our telescope to check out the moon (although it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s not so easy to see stars in L.A.), even errands are fun on the weekends. Spending time together is easy on the weekends. It happens naturally on the weekends. I never feel like a B.M. (Bad Mom, to be clear) on the weekends.

Then Monday comes with the relentless beeping of the alarm clock, sending me scrambling to work out (thanks for cutting that down to 20 minutes, Jillian!), shower, dress, and make three lunches before I wake up Emma (nothing sadder than waking a sleeping child). Then the facade of a relaxed, slow pace. Emma has breakfast; I round up the darks and toss a load in the washer. Emma puts her dishes in the sink; I unload the dishwasher (I’ve got it down to 90 seconds). She brushes her teeth; I realize I only put eye makeup on one eye. She recites her spelling words; I search high and low for the car keys. Happy conversation on the two-minute drive, scramble for a parking space (is there anything worse?), get in line, kisses, hugs, and off she goes. And off I go. Trading in two days of together-time fun on the weekend for 57 minutes on a Monday morning… anyone else have a case of the Mondays?

Mommy Mondays: Benefit of the Doubt

I recently read a poll in a parenting magazine asking if parents pay attention to other parents’ “reviews” of teachers. It asked if parents would go so far as to try to have their children moved to other classes if they had heard negative things about the teachers their kids were assigned.

The readers’ responses varied. Some thought it negligent to ignore the negative feedback—why put their kids through a potentially bad experience if they could help it? Others gave the teacher the benefit of the doubt—some teaching styles work better for some kids, so why not give it a try first? If you’d asked me this question last year, when my daughter was heading into kindergarten, there’s no question what I would have said.

[My daughter, Emma. Her daddy is 6’3, with 6’ sisters and a 6’7 brother!]

Flash back…there we were…waiting to see the class list and meet Emma’s teacher. We’d heard such great things about both kindergarten teachers. We’d played for years on the kindergarten playground and peeked through the kindergarten windows at the adorable little chairs and tables. Even the in-class bathroom door was tiny!

What a surprise to learn that one of those two teachers had taken on the school’s new preppy-K class and my daughter was assigned to a new team-teaching pair. At first we were thrilled—two teachers in the classroom! Too good to be true! And it was. What it really meant was that two teachers would split the week. Really? Neither one could commit to a 22-hour work week? Then the other shoe dropped— neither teacher had ever taught kindergarten before. Oh, and that cute little classroom on the cute little playground? Nah, we were down the hall with the big kids. And the tiny bathroom door was replaced with the big girl’s bathroom—across a corridor open to the street.

I did what any good parent would do—I panicked. I tried the principal, to no avail. There would be no relocations; the classes were full. I wasn’t alone: we were all worried—two teachers, two sets of rules, two styles— and in this crucial year, no less! After a few sleepless nights and more conversations than my friends care to remember (oh, and a deposit at the private school down the road, which we really couldn’t afford and whose religious tenets we do not believe), I caved. I mean, what choice did I have?

Well, a year later, I am both thrilled and embarrassed to report that the year could not have gone any better. One teacher was nurturing and sweet. The other was stern, but conducted kitchen science lessons every Friday with edible treat results. I never heard any student or parent complain of trouble adjusting to different styles or routines. In fact, they may have come out more flexible for it. The highlight of my daughter’s year was winning the silent auction at the spring carnival. The prize? Lunch. At Burger King. With her teacher. The stern one.

I am not a go-with-the-flow person, but  man, lesson learned. So when the flurry of phone calls, texts, and emails started rolling in when this year’s class assignments were mailed, I’m happy to report that I closed my ears and went with the flow.

And I’m glad I did. Emma’s new teacher opened this year’s Open House by telling the parents how grateful she was to have a job that she loves so much. Teaching is probably the hardest job in the world (okay, tied with being a mom). Teachers wouldn’t do it if they didn’t love it. So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. I know I will!