Special, Simple Sundays: Chalk it up to Having Fun with My Little One!

Some months ago, I did a blog post about my little girl the artist and how she enjoys painting and the arts in general. Yesterday, was the first time she used sidewalk chalk as her art medium, and she had so much fun and wanted to use every single color from red to orange to green and even black. Then, she wanted to do it again today. Actually, I think I enjoyed this activity just as much if not more than Quinn because when I was younger there weren’t many opportunities to use chalk on our sidewalk, but I always imagined the wonderful drawings I would do. I really got into this project and made a pretty rainbow and stars. Then, my daughter started giggling as she grabbed the gray chalk and started drawing over my rainbow exclaiming, “Here comes a rain cloud over your rainbow, Mommy!” Even if she did think it was hilarious to draw on top of my “masterpiece,” I really did enjoy our simple yet special time together. I look forward to many more of these moments with my little one.

All the best,

Tanya

What Would We Do Without It Wednesdays: Witnessing the Wiring of My Three Year Old’s Brain

2016-05-02 16.40.57According to Urban Child Institute, “In the first three years, a child’s brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood.” It’s no wonder why my little girl, who just turned three two week’s ago is growing mentally and intellectually by leaps and bounds. I’m often amazed with how much she already knows and what she has retained based on her interactions. As part of her bedtime routine, my husband or I read her a story that she usually selects. What’s interesting is that I did not know she and my husband read “Jack and the Beanstalk” until we were at the park a couple of weeks ago. As she climbed up the jungle gym, exclaiming, “I’m just like Jack, and this is my beanstalk!” I thought it was awesome that she associated what she was doing with the story she read.

Though I know she is observant and loves imaginative play, I’m noticing her ability to make parallel connections and correlations with what she has read with us or seen throughout the course of her day with a different activity she is doing. Witnessing her brain at work is a blessing because some children may have disabilities that prevent them from making these connections. Also, it encourages me to provide her with a positive atmosphere allowing the blooming and pruning process of synapses to take place so that she can thrive as she reaches the stages of preadolescence, adolescence and adulthood.

All the best,

Tanya

Terrific Toy Tuesday: There’s No Place Like Home, Especially an Eco-Friendly One!

“Okay, Mommy! I’ll see you later! I’m going to my house, and you can go to yours,” my daughter informs me. She then proceeded to go into her house in our front yard and closed her little door. My little girl loves playing outdoors and the idea of having a place to call her very own. So for her third birthday, just two weeks ago, my husband and I got her a little play house. Selecting the right house can be just as intense as looking on the market to purchase a real house. What features should it have? Should there be a sitting area? Should it have enough room for multiple children? What color would Quinn like it to be? Though I wanted the house to be a surprise, I thought it was only fair to have her be a part of the selection process since she would be the main one playing inside of the house.

I showed her a few. One had a sliding board attached. Another had a little bench, but the one she actually liked the most was the Little Tikes Go Green Eco-friendly Learning Playhouse. Now, of course, my three year old did not say, “I want the eco-friendly one,” but she did like that it came with a sink, has an outdoor and indoor light, collects rain water and has an area to plant a little garden. I love that it is teaching her the importance of protecting the environment, saving resources and energy. The sink recycles the water, there is a drain to catch all of the rain water that can be used for watering the flowers in her garden along with the flowers and plants in our yard. There are two areas for recycling, and the house has a green roof feature and solar power for the lights. This is the wave of the future, and I’m excited that my daughter is learning about it at a young age.

Last week, the weather was chilly, and it rained just about everyday, so Quinn did not get to fully enjoy her house, but her container did catch quite a bit of rain which was awesome because we were able to use it when we did the green roof this week. I think it’s fair to say that Quinn will be spending a lot of time in her house throughout the course of the spring and summer.  We’re both looking forward to seeing the grass grow on her green roof and flowers grow in her flower bed on the side of her house.

All the best,

Tanya

Mommy’s Monday Moments: Even If I Wanted to be, I Can’t Be My Daughter’s Friend

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My Daughter with her Best Friend Grover and New Friend Zoe

“What’s wrong?” I asked my daughter as she began to scrunch up her nose and whimper a little. She fought back tears exclaiming, “My new friends left!” We were outside chatting after going out for a Mother’s Day brunch yesterday, and Quinn quickly befriended some other children with their family who were waiting to be seated. On Saturday, we went to Sesame Place, and it seemed that she would talk to any child who made eye contact with her and be so sad when they went on their merry way. “Where are they going, Mommy? Why are they leaving?”

2015-09-25 12.59.47Quinn is not in school and spends most of her time with her father and me. Even though we play games with her, do different activities and have a great time, deep down I know that she longs for more friends who are children. I posted a blog entry a few months ago about how she sets up all of her friends for “school” to take a picture together, but it’s not the same as actual friends who talk back. She has her cousins and a couple of other young children who are friends, but I am sensing that she feels lonely. I’m not looking to be my daughter’s friend because I’m her mother first, but when I see her with Grover, her best friend from Sesame Street and observe her play and interact with him, I get the feeling that she wishes he was a real person and feel sad sensing that she may be unhappy. It’s no consolation, but I got her a new friend, Zoë, from Sesame Place who is life-sized, and they both have become inseparable already. But Quinn had informed me, “Zoë is my friend, but she can’t talk and walk like you and me mommy.”

It is official. My little girl is ready for school for various reasons, and one of them is so that she may make new friends and have more social interactions with children her own age. When I asked her who are her friends, she said, “You, daddy, Nana, Auntie, Kenzie and Arya.” Most of whom are adults or much older children. Since she will not start until September, I truly am looking forward to setting up playdates throughout the course of the summer so that she feels like she has friends.

All the best,

Tanya

It’s My Third “Mommyversary!”

Wow, it’s hard to believe that less than a week ago,I was celebrating my daughter’s third birthday, and now it’s my third anniversary as a mother. While my little girl has grown physically, and emotionally, my role as her mommy has too. Though I do still question if I’m making the best decisions for her and often pray that I am being a “good” mother, I am feeling more and more comfortable in my role as her mom. As I continue to take baby steps as her mommy, I’m not toddling as much as I did in the beginning, but every once in a while I have a misstep and may get a “metaphorical” scrape on my knee. But I’m getting better at dusting myself off, treating the scrape so that I can get back up and keep going on as her mother and role model.

Composing these blog entries about our journey together as mother and daughter is part of what helps me grow and embrace our bond. It gives me the opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve both come. I truly am grateful for the experience of motherhood because it has actually helped me to evolve into a better version of my former self not just for my daughter but for my husband, my family and friends and definitely for me as well.

Here’s to my third “mommyversary” and many more to come, and here’s to mothers everywhere celebrating motherhood. May you be recognized for all of the sacrifices, lessons, love and compassion you’ve displayed not just on this mother’s day but year round.

All the best,

Tanya

 

What Would We Do Without It Wednesdays: Learning from the Lens of My Little Girl

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Me: Consumed with Responding to Students’ Emails

“Can we do a puzzle now, Mommy?” my little girl inquires as I read and rapidly type responses to emails from students and try to read a few papers too. I assure her, “Just give me five more minutes, honey.” We’re in the last couple of weeks in the spring semester, and it’s busier than ever. My attention has become more divided between all of the work-related tasks and the attention my daughter requires and deserves. I’m surprised I was able to get all of the preparations done for her birthday party this past Saturday. Lately, five minutes turns into ten or fifteen minutes after I told her I’d be able to play with her.

Last week, while I was typing emails and even grumbling a little as I received an inquiry about something I discussed in class at length, my daughter gets my iPod from the table and starts snapping pictures like she’s a little photographer. She giggles, “I took your picture sending emails, Mommy!” I stopped what I was doing and said, “Let me take a look!” When I viewed the picture, I looked so consumed and then felt so guilty because I was physically present but mentally focused on my work, not Quinn.

She’s usually patient and is now at the age where she can enjoy her own company, but seeing the picture made me take a step back and try to figure out a new schedule for these next couple of weeks that will allow me to get my work done and not feel like I’m being inattentive towards my sweet little girl. I already wake up around 4 am to exercise and meditate, so I’ve been making a sacrifice this week to read a few more papers and emails during this time while she is sleep. While I love my job, I truly am looking forward to the summer break so that we can have even more time together with no distractions. It’s amazing what I’m learning by seeing myself through my daughter’s lens.

All the best,

Tanya

The Terrific Three: Happy Birthday to My Little, Big Girl!

On May 3rd, 2013, my life forever changed when my husband and I welcomed our little girl into the world. As I compose this 158th blog entry, today, I feel like I’m skipping along rather than taking “Mommy’s Baby Steps.” My little, big girl has grown so much, not just physically but mentally and emotionally. She truly is her own person, and though it may be raining today, she is my ray of sunshine who fills me up with energy and hope for the future. Here’s to many more birthdays, milestones and cherished moments together with my little lady, Quinn!

All the best,

Tanya

Photos by Lindsay Hamilton Photography

 

Mommy’s Monday Moments: Immortal Thoughts from a Mortal

“What’s that say?” My little girl points to the park bench that has two separate plaques honoring loved ones who passed away. “He was our Pop Pop Al…A special storyteller…our friend…Al Kaplan.” I paused as I reached the dates corresponding with his life and death. Though I do not know this man, nor his wife Ann, who’s name was present on a separate plaque, many thoughts ran through my mind pertaining to how loved they must have been, my own mortality as well as my husband’s and even my daughter’s. The phrase, “You’re not promised tomorrow” may be trite, but it is very true. Both people lived over 80 years, which is truly a blessing because there are some people who may not even make it to eight years old or even eight days old, so I try not to take my life or the lives of others for granted.

Knowing that my daughter will be turning three tomorrow on May 3rd makes me eternally grateful. I lover her so much and have learned a great deal from her. One of those important lessons is to prioritize. While I do enjoy teaching and strive to put forth my best effort, my family is even more important to me. I’ve been blessed to have a flexible work schedule that allows me to spend more time with my daughter than the average parents do. Some people have no choice but to enroll their children into daycare when they are as young as six weeks, but my husband and I have works schedules that allow Quinn to stay at home. Watching her grow so quickly and knowing that I am a mere mortal and have no idea of how long I will be in her life or she will be in mine does make me a little contemplative, but instead of focusing on the depressing what-ifs, I thank God that we have each other right now and pray that all we’ve taught each other and the memories we have together will become immortal.

All the best,

Tanya

Simple Sundays: “Sleepovers Are Great!” Says My Little Girl

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Ready to Have a Fun Sleep Over!

I loved having sleepovers when I was younger. My daughter, who will be three in just two days, loves sleepovers too. One main difference, however, is that I had my sister, who is just 18 months older than I am, but Quinn is an only child, so having someone come to spend the night is even more special to her. A couple of months ago, I posted an entry about the close relationship my little girl has with her big cousin and how she simply adores her. Having her spend the night on Saturday into Sunday was a huge ordeal. My niece, who is actually six years older, is so good with Quinn. They had fun playing games, watching a movie and eating popcorn together and just keeping each other company. Though going somewhere can be fun, just waking up together this Sunday morning, having breakfast and playing together was enough to put smiles on both of their faces. As the saying goes, “Sometimes it’s the simple things that bring us the most happiness.”

All the best,

Tanya