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Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Top 5 Things I Hate Hearing My Kids Say:

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It has been a long day.  Both girls have been sick, tired and hot as our AC is broken and taking quite a while to be fixed.  I don’t blame them.  I am hot and crabby as well.  We did have a nice morning (see the previous post), but the rest of the day has been a struggle filled with whining, crying and discomfort.  So, as I struggled to keep my cool with my kids today, I started thinking about the things that they say which drive my sanity to the edge of it’s virtual cliff.  So, here it goes, in no particular order.

1) “I’m Hungry” – Which in and of itself wouldn’t be bad, but it is constant most days, often within 5 minutes following a difficult lunch in which I couldn’t get Nora to finish even 5 full bites of what I prepared.  And, I know what she really means is “I want chocolate (or a cookie or ice cream or…)”.  So, yes, I get very tired of hearing this one.

2) “I had it first!” – I don’t care who had it first, as you are now both screaming about it, it belongs to me.

3) “I want Daddy!” – Which again, sounds innocent enough, but it is usually in response to something “mean Mommy” did and is followed by listening to them tell their father all about what a horrible troll of a mother they have.

4) “Watch Peppa Pig?” – I blame their father for their addiction to television.  He is a part time stay at home dad, which is good because they get to really spend time with their Dad, but he is also a TV addict himself and has it on entirely too much.  There are a few things I have sworn up and down I would not do with my kids and raising an addict to electronics is the one that I feel the strongest about and still fight for on a daily basis.  So, when I am home and refusing to turn on the TV, I get to hear about their deprivation continually.  And for the record, Peppa Pig is one of the most ridiculous shows in existence.

5) “Mersie hit me!” – You never know if this is true or not.  Meredith does tend to hit… we are working on that.  But, Nora also tends to exaggerate and is often the one provoking her.  So, really who do you yell at?  And they are still little people… heaven help me when they hit the teenage years.

On another day, when my AC is once again working… I will talk about the cute stuff.  And there is a lot of cute stuff.

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Land of Make Believe and Airplanes

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This morning, I hustled the girls out of the house early (for us) and we met up with a friend and her little one at the local playground near Lunken Airport.  It has been quite a while since I have been there, so I thought I would throw out a quick review of the experience.

http://cincykidsapprove.com/reviews/index.php/parks/lunken-airport-playfield/

There is a public play area here as well, but we went into the more shaded, fenced in section, named the Land of Make Believe.  It does cost $1 for kids over the age of 2 to get in, but it was worth it for the shade.  The girls and their little buddy Milo had a great time.

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There are 3 major play areas, 2 which are more appropriate for younger children.  The third was a little scary for the Mommy’s of the two 2 year old’s as there were a lot of pretty intense ladders and walls to climb up.  Once the toddlers figured out where the bridges and stairs were, it wasn’t as anxiety invoking, but the bigger kids still trampled them from time to time, which I guess is to be expected… they were a little young for that particular area of the playground.  All in all, it was a pretty good time.  Not my favorite park by a long stretch, but still an enjoyable morning.

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Don’t let Meredith’s sour puss face fool you.  She had a great time.

After the park, we went to grab lunch at Sky Galley, which is a restaurant that overlooks the airstrip.  The food isn’t anything to write home about, but the menu is diverse and the girl’s enjoyed watching the planes taxi to take off and landing.  It was a nice way to wrap up before heading home.

http://skygalley.net/

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Innocence

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We had gorgeous weather the other day and decided to check out a local park that I had heard good things about, but had never been to.  (I will put a review of the park at the bottom of this post for those who are interested.)

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My kids are social.  They like most people and are quick to say hi and engage even strangers.  For the most part I love this about them.  I like that they are quick to befriend and accept all children and most adults.  I like that people enjoy being with my kids because of this trait.  I like that they don’t have a hard time when it comes to separating from me, saving all of us from the heartache those tears often cause.

While the girls were playing, before I realized what was happening, Nora walked over to another mother and asked her for one of her chips.  And a little later, she asked this older man to help her get a drink of water from the drinking fountain.  Both adults were very nice people, also enjoying the park with their families, so there was no huge cause for concern on this particular day.  But, sometimes I cringe at the extreme lack of fear and readiness to engage strangers that both of my kids have.

I have joked on a couple of occasions that it would not be hard for someone to kidnap my kids.  Which isn’t really funny.  And isn’t that far from the truth.  Which scares me.

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I struggle with these emotions.  My kids are 3 and 2 years old.  They don’t know that there are monsters in this world.  And I don’t want them to – ever, if I can help it.  Although, I know that is not realistic.

I don’t know exactly what the right course of action is as their mother.  I don’t want to scare them into no longer approaching strangers and while I do talk to them about what I see as the best behaviors for them to practice in these moments, I don’t want to lay it on too thick because I don’t want to stifle the wonderfully loving and accepting little people that they are.

I guess until they are older, I will just have to keep an eye out for the monsters on their behalf and pray to God that we don’t ever actually encounter any.

And now, on a light note, my review.

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http://www.cincinnatiparks.com/alms-park

Alms Park is located up the hill from Columbia Parkway, off of Tusculum Ave.  It’s not too far from Ault Park for those of you familiar with the Cincinnati area.  It is really beautiful.  On one end, it has an overlook of Lunken Airport and on the other an overlook of the river.  It has several little pagodas, beautiful flowers, and a castle-like house that holds decent enough bathrooms (which is important to those of you with potty-trained or recently potty trained kids).  Surrounded by magnificent old trees, I have heard it is amazing in the fall.

There are also the usual playground suspects… swings, slides, monkey bars and other things for the kids to climb.  The girls had a really good time exploring the grounds.  But, the signature feature of this park is the recently refurbished concrete slide.  The whole family had a good time playing on this slide.

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Bottom line: We had a nice, fun family afternoon and we will go again.

Touche

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The following exchange took place a week or so ago when my oldest was refusing to do something I needed her to do in order for us to get out of the house to run some errands.

Me: “Nora, you are making me very mad right now.”

Nora: “Mommy, you are making ME very mad right now.”

And she kind of had a point.  One that I really couldn’t argue with.  And there in lies one of the biggest challenges I see when it comes to parenting.  You don’t expect such wise and insightful things to come from your 3 year old’s mouth.  And when they do, it throws you off, but it also makes you think… and sometimes laugh.

In this particular moment, I couldn’t fault her.  I had an agenda to run errands.  She had an agenda to go outside on the deck and play.  Why was my need greater than hers?  Yes, I have responsibilities that I need to attend to and I am the parent so she should do what I say.  Or should she?

On this day, I went from requesting that she get ready to bulldozing over her attempts to express her own needs to me.  Which as she so effectively stated, really only led to both of us ending up angry at the other.

As a parent we have an obligation to teach our children how to be decent human beings.  This does not entail teaching them only to do what they are told.  I really do try to listen to what my children are saying and give them choices when possible, but I am definitely also guilty of the “my way or else” mentality that so many parents fall prey to.  But, when we listen and recognize them as people, we teach them respect.  We give them the most valuable lesson of all in seeing worth in each other, regardless of our role in the family.

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I don’t want my parenting style to be a dictatorship.  In this particular situation, she effectively stopped me in my tracks.  I acknowledged her feelings, gave her a hug and asked her what she thought we should do about this problem.  She said the following:

“Maybe we could go to the store and when we come home we can go on a walk so I can ride my bike.  That would make both of us so happy.”

And so we did.

The Introduction

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Parenthood is not for the faint of heart.

Despite those idyllic visions that you have before you actually begin your family, your child will not eat only veggies, will not speak “please” and “thank you” as their first words, they will not be immune to sibling rivalry and they will not calmly tell you that they disagree, but respect that difficult parenting decision you are forcing upon them.  They will however inevitably throw up on you, spit on you, head butt you, yell at you, wipe their boogers on you, pee on your floor… let’s face it parenthood is gross.  And no, you do not sit there and think about how none of that even bothers you because you are so blinded by the love for your children that you don’t even notice.  No, it is still disgusting.  But you power through, not blinded by the love you have for these little people, but driven by it.  Because you do love your children.  More than you ever thought possible.  And they are pretty amazing.

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Not everyone wants to be a parent and I respect the self-awareness it takes for someone to confidently stand behind that decision if it’s the right one for them.  Personally, I wanted a family so badly that I was willing to go through anything to have one.  And unfortunately, I had to go through quite a bit, but my fertility story is one for another day.  Ultimately, none of that matters because it got me what I have now, my girls.

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All parents think their children are pretty remarkable.  But, unlike some, I like to think I am not in full denial about how wonderful (or wonderfully flawed) my children are.  Nora is pretty darn smart, has beautiful icy grey blue eyes and is my more sensitive one.

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But, she is also stubborn and dramatic and whiny.  Let’s be honest… she is just like me.

Meredith is pure sunshine to most people that she meets.  She is social, chatty and funny.  But she is also psychotic.  Check out this precious face, her saving grace.  Image

But, the other day she stripped out of her diaper and peed down my steps through the baby gate – on purpose.  See, psychotic.

Hands down, parenting is the hardest job I have ever taken on.  But, I am in no way a super hero because I am a parent.  Most days I can’t even manage to keep my toddler from stripping down naked.  But, I do think that being a parent requires a certain amount of tenacity, selflessness and some level of insanity that make it a job not unlike that of a superhero.  There is a lot I don’t know.  I am doing my best to navigate each day as it comes.  And in the end, I simply want to look at my children and be able to feel love, pride and joy.  I don’t think it’s that unrealistic.  After all, as I said before… they are pretty amazing.

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