The overnight forecast calls for snow and then rain. Still not enough for a snowman, my daughter informed me. A little over a week ago, we got our first snow, but with technology and the kids using Zoom and Google classroom throughout the pandemic, there was no snow day.
While this was a little disappointing for Quinn, she was happy to see her teacher and classmates online and to have enough snow to build a tiny baby snowman after school ended online.
I remember longing for the snow when I was Quinn’s age and wanting to build a huge snowman. While she longs for the same thing decades later, she now has a different and new concern. Will she get an actual snow day if it happens on a school day, or will she still have school online using Google classroom?
This is an instance where I can empathize with her and children who are being robbed of their snow days. I’m hoping that if we do get a lot of snow this year that Quinn doesn’t have to wait until after her Google classroom meeting to build that snowman and is actually granted a snow day.
At Quinn’s last wellness appointment this past May, she was delighted when the doctor told her, “No shots this time around.” But this past Friday, she was excited and counting down the days. The week prior she even reported that one of her classmates already got his and that she couldn’t wait to get hers. The day before getting her shot, she asked her dad and me how ours felt. We both said it was like a pinch. So she was ready to take it like a champ.
When the day finally arrived, I picked her up from school, and we drive to the vaccination site about twenty minutes away. It was cold outside, so I had the heat on full-blast not realizing that I was “roasting” Quinn. When we were a few minutes away, she started taking off her jacket and telling me she was hot. Upon arriving and having the nurse take her temperature from the car, Quinn had a 100.7 degree temperature, and I was beside myself wondering if she wouldn’t be permitted to get vaccinated.
Both Quinn and I a looked at each other with nervousness, and me with disappointment. Could we make it this far with Quinn being well and then turned away? Luckily, the nurse could feel the extra warmth coming from the car and suggested that Quinn walk around outside for a few minutes before retaking her temperature. For the second reading it was right at 97.6 degrees, and I was bubbling over with joy inside.
Quinn had a little grimace as she got her shot but reported that it was just a little pinch like we said. Then she told me, “I don’t know why, but I feel so happy getting my Covid vaccine shot!” When I asked her what the shot means to her, she said getting back to normal, no masks and getting to have more fun with my family and friends. Then she said, “I guess that’s why I’m happy.” She couldn’t wait to show off her sticker and Tweety Bird bandage to her dad when we got home. No side effects except a little arm soreness, and she’s already talking about the second dose.
Why does seeing my daughter get vaccinated make me even happier and excited than when I did? She’s the future, and I look forward to her having a normal childhood where she can enjoy her family and friends with limited restrictions.
Motherhood is full of countless emotional roller coaster rides, trial and error, hope, happiness and even concern along with rewarding moments. As I prepared for the the arrival of our new addition this Friday, the range of emotions I experienced with my daughter, who’s now seven, all came rushing back. But this time, there’s one major difference. Our new addition is a puppy!
Zack is an eleven week old toy poodle who’s just too cute for words. But this is our family’s first time having a puppy or dog, for that matter. I never had one as a child, nor had my husband, so this is completely new. While I’m excited, I am nervous too because I want to be a good “puppy mom.”
I’ve done tons of reading, watched several a videos from the leading experts and probably over-purchased toys, food, treats, grooming items, you name it, to make sure Zack has a smooth transition and loves his “fur ever” family.
Something that definitely helps me as I take baby steps as a “puppy mom” is the help from Quinn, my sweet little girl. She too has read through her puppy training book, watched videos, been loving towards Zack and wants to help take him out to go potty and to get his food ready.
We’re only two and a half days in to having Zack join our family, but having him here and seeing how happy my daughter is and how well she interacts with him lets me know that I’ll have her hand to hold as I take on the journey as a puppy mommy.
With some Kidz Bop music playing in the background, my seven year old and I sat at the table quietly sorting through all of the puzzle pieces, 500 pieces to be exact! Since I can remember, I’ve always liked doing puzzles, and Quinn is the same way.
Though we both enjoy doing puzzles, we have different techniques for getting started. I tend to focus on the edges and piecing together the frame of the puzzle, and she prefers to sort through the colors looking for similarities. Though my strategy yielded quicker results, leaving Quinn a little frustrated with her progress, I reassured her that once the frame was done, I too would be following her technique.
While we’re just getting started, this activity is perfect to constructively pass time as we continue to practice social distancing. It also made me think about how there’s so many things to piece together during these puzzling times. Just like working on this 500 piece puzzle, it can initially be overwhelming, but we must be patient and work together diligently. Over time, everything will start to come together and be clearly presented. Then, we’ll be able to admire our hard work and Pat each other on the back for working together as a team.
Yesterday, my daughter and I played a few rounds of checkers and connect four. Both games were my favorite to play when I was younger. I’d always excitedly say, “Smoke before fire!” There was something about going first that made me feel like I had an extra edge to win the game.
“You didn’t see that jump?” I asked my seven year old as we played checkers. “Aww man, I see it now,” she said as I jumped over her piece and removed it from the board. From that point on, Quinn put on her game face and was ready!
As we continued to play both checkers and connect four, I saw how serious Quinn became. Her lips curled slightly, and she squinted a little as she looked at the board determining her next move. She reminded me of myself.
In thinking about the concept and strategies of both games, a big part of them is keen observation. This made me think about life and how “it” will happen whether we’re paying attention or not. Overlooking one move or piece on the board can cause the entire game change course.
As the Coronavirus lockdown continues, I’m trying my best to be observant and focus on the positive side of life. I must be mindful of my moves not just for me but my daughter too.
This past week has been a roller coaster ride. My first grader‘s school has been closed since March 10th and might reopen on March 30th, fingers crossed. While dealing with the “new norm,” as a result of the Coronavirus, involving her schooling, my job and the many business closures in my area, I’m a bit conflicted with if I‘m providing my six year old with the necessary information, tools and support as we embark on uncharted territory.
I explained to her that some people are very ill, and her school wants to make sure she and her classmates are safe, so this is why there’s no school. Like any normal kid, she was initially happy about having time off, but she did say that she misses her friends and teacher.
Though I’ve been making an effort to practice “social distancing,” I haven’t really explained that to Quinn. The park is usually empty when we’ve gone to get some fresh air, but a few days ago, we did see one of her classmates who she immediately wanted to hug. I didn’t know how to address it or if I should have stopped her from hugging her friend.
I gave her a wipe as we were leaving the park, as I have been doing for years. When we got home, I just told her to wash her hands for snack, as we normally do when coming from the park.
Yesterday, Quinn asked to go to the park to film some of her video for her YouTube channel, Quinnie’s Fun House, about ten things to do when you’re bored. So before going to the park , I did explain to her that more people are getting ill and that we want to keep her healthy. I informed her that I’d be spraying the swing with disinfectant to get rid of germs and that she’d use a wipe as she always does upon leaving the park. Quinn was okay with this and even reminded me about the wipe and not wanting germs from other people.
While I’m glad she’s taking it all in stride, I am concerned about making her scared or leery of interacting with people for fear of becoming very ill. Also, I know how important interactions with children her age are for her, especially since she’s an only child. I’m trying my best to tread lightly and be a sensitive yet strong mom for her.
I wonder, how are other people coping with explaining all of what’s going on to their young children? Any advice!?
For a while, my daughter had been asking to go to Chuck E. Cheese’s, so we finally went this past Wednesday on the “All You Can Play” in an hour day. I can vividly recall being so excited to go to Chuck E. Cheese as a child hoping to win tons of tickets to get that prize I longed for so much. Though I was happy to see that smile on my six year old’s face as she won tickets in hopes of claiming her prizes too, as an adult, I had a different perspective.
Actually, I struggled a little with this all being “good fun” for kids. It was like a casino for kids. The atmosphere was full of pings, pongs and musical sounds as several children were glued in front of the gaming machines. Their eyes were entranced by the flashing lights and tickets spewing out of those machines for them to collect. “How many tickets do you think I have, Mommy?” Quinn asked me. “I’m not sure, but you have quite a lot,” I said.
When our hour of playing was up, Quinn eagerly headed to the ticket counting machine with no hesitation, but I observed some children who begged and pleaded with their caregivers or parents for more time or had tantrums if they couldn’t play longer.
I thought to myself, is this teaching young children how to gamble or planting that gambling seed, or is it just all in fun? Maybe I’m just too far removed from my fun days at Chuck E Cheese. I know I always had fun and loved the pizza too. Either way, I was happy to see my daughter having a good time and want to make sure she has fun just being a kid without me projecting my adult perceptions.
“For how much longer will you be working on your class work, Mommy?” my five year old asked with a sense of urgency in her voice. This past Wednesday was a snow day for the both of us: no school! But that did not mean the work stopped for me. I had to send out an early morning email letting my students know how to proceed and started working on modifying the course syllabus as a result of losing a day of class. I also had to still work on reading and grading essays. It pained me that it couldn’t just be a “snow day” for my daughter and I to have some fun, and I had to explain to her that work sometimes still goes on, and work has to come before fun.
Though this was just one day, I am finding more and more that I am telling Quinn, “I need to do work first, and sometimes it takes much longer than I anticipate. She seems to understand, but there are times when I just feel guilty. Yes, we have fun together and do many activities that I even talk about on this blog. Yes, I know it cannot be all about having fun all of the time. My daughter knows this too. But when she looks at me with those brown eyes simply wanting my undivided attention and to spend time with me, I feel horrible wishing that I could just drop everything and enjoy everyday moments with her.
There are so many more years to go in her childhood, and I do fear the idea of picturing lost moments that I will never be able to get back. I don’t want to get in the habit of saying, “We’ll see. Maybe this weekend. Or give me twenty minutes that turns into sixty minutes or turns into maybe tomorrow.” Being a present mom, in general, is not easy, definitely while working full-time, but I’m going to continue to try my best to perform the balancing act and create as many memorable moments as possible with my little girl that we can both close our eyes and picture for years to come.
For Christmas, we welcomed a new member into our family, Tori the cat! My five year old has been wanting a pet for a while and settled on a six month old rescue kitten to shower with love. My husband just went along with the plan even though he was apprehensive about getting a pet since he still holds on to the memory of his pert cockatiel who he had for decades that passed away, while I excitedly went out to purchase all of the necessities for Tori’s arrival.
Actually, Tori arrived just a day after Quinn was came home after being hospitalized for nearly a week with bacterial pneumonia and the adenovirus. So we tended to her until Quinn was feeling much better and up for some cuddle time.
I imagined building a bond with Tori along with Quinn. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it went. Tori immediately bonded with my daughter but had limited interest in me. But for some reason, she absolutely adores my husband. Months later, she follows him around the house, wants to play and snuggle with him, and tends to avoid me whenever possible.
Sadly, it is bringing back those torn feelings I once had when I saw the special daddy and daughter bond Quinn and my husband have. Of course, we are close, which I am grateful for, but daddy can do no wrong. Now, the pattern continues with Tori. She plays games with my daughter and husband and is so sweet with them while I try to when her over day after day.
Interestingly, my five year old has been consoling me and has suggested that I keep trying. She’s convinced that Tori will eventually come around and want to be with me just as much as she enjoys being with Quinn and my husband. Her kind words and optimism gives me hope. I’m so grateful to have such a sweet girl and am glad that she is able to bond with Tori even if it’s going to take a little time for me to bond with her.
A few weeks ago, my five year old daughter and I traveled to Washington, DC to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture among other historical landmarks. While we both enjoyed ourselves, I had a bit of an epiphany as we walked through some of the exhibits. Even though we identify as African Americans, we’ve never really discussed race within our household. We live in a multicultural neighborhood, and Quinn attended a multicultural preschool and now a multicultural elementary school. I truly do love that we come in contact and embrace many different races, nationalities, cultures and even religions, but am I negligent in not focusing as much on our African American heritage?
We do talk about relatives who are no longer alive, and when it is African American History month or Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday may talk about the accomplishments of African Americans, but we’ve never really talked about the “struggle” of our ancestors and sadly the “struggle” some African Americans still face today with racism and unfair treatment.
I actually made the decision to stay clear of the slavery exhibits because I just didn’t feel ready for the questions Quinn would have and did not want to expose her to those types of evils. As we walked through the segregation exhibit and witnessed the disparities between blacks and whites, she asked, “How come people had to be separate, Mommy?” As my mind raced for an age appropriate response, I just told her that is used to be that way long ago. Some people are mean and may not like you for different reasons, but everyone is not that way. I told her how many people fought for us so that we could all be together, go to school together and even eat together today.
Everyone’s experience is different, and it saddens me in 2018 that some people are still treated like they are less than human because of the color of their skin. Yes, I want my little girl to be proud of her heritage, but more importantly, I want her to be a proud human being who cares for others regardless of their skin color and just so happens to be African American. I hope that I am a good role model for her to emulate and that she will not allow any future racism or poor treatment because of the color of her skin to deter her from being a good person. As she gets older and more questions or even instances of racism surface, I hope and pray that I am raising a brave and proud daughter who can handle it.