Happy “Lucky Number Seven” Birthday to My Sweet Girl! “Virtually” the Best Celebration!

Today is my daughter’s seventh birthday, and I feel so lucky to be her mother. I know everyone says it about their own kids, but Quinn really is a good child. She listens, is respectful, extremely caring, works really hard and tries her best in school, even with it not being online, at home, and always thinks of others. I want her to feel special everyday but especially on her birthday, so since the plans to celebrate with friends and family at Painting with a Twist were postponed as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown, I baked her a unicorn cake, which was a first for me that she absolutely loves, But I still wanted to do something more. Then the idea came to me: a surprise virtual party would be perfect, and it was!

First, I made arrangements with parents her closest friends to attend her unicorn themed, virtually fun, magical party using Zoom. Instead of the children just chatting, asking random questions or showing their favorite toys, I decided to give it a “real party feel.” So I sent out invitations, made virtual party bags with light-up unicorn headbands and rings, a rainbow scratch unicorn mask, a unicorn bracelet and chain and even a little note card for selecting their unicorn names. I also baked cupcakes and delivered them early in the morning along with the party bags to the doorstep or porch of each child in keeping with social distancing.

When the party started, we had Kidz Bop music playing in the background to set the mood, and before I knew it the girls had their light-up unicorn horns on and were having a great time showing off their most impressive dance moves. I was so happy watching Quinn beam with excitement. After dancing to a couple of songs and doing “freeze dance,” they all worked on their unicorn masks and were eager to display how they decorated them. Then, we did a unicorn version of “Simon Says,” which they all enjoyed doing and wanted to keep playing. Just like most birthday parties, we wrapped up with singing happy birthday and having cupcakes. Of course, we ended with a last dance, and I even joined in the fun too.

Though it wasn’t the party I’d planned for my daughter, it was still a fun time for all. She even said, “I still feel like I had a birthday party because I got to have fun with my friends, Mommy!” Hearing Quinn say that brought tears of joy to my eyes. I just love how she always goes with the flow, is grateful for what she has and makes the best of situations. Quinn may only be seven years old, but she’s my unicorn: special, magical and rare. I am so lucky to have her as my daughter.

All the best,

Tanya

My Little Girl is Flying High! Story Time at Quinnie’s Fun House!

Story Time at Quinnie’s Fun House

A few days ago, my daughter had an awesome idea for her 25th YouTube post: story time reading one of her favorite books. I thought this was a wonderful way for my first grader to practice her reading skills. While I am not necessarily fond of flies, the way she read “Fly High, Fly Guy!” By Tedd Arnold had me entranced and eager to hear the story. I was very impressed with her inflection and hope she will want to read a story more often on her channel. If you or children you know are fans of Fly Guy or just story time, please check out my soon to be six year old.

All the best,

Tanya

“Rememory:” Stories to Remember with My Little Girl

“The cards are a secret, parent and night. Ooh, I got a good story for this one!” my six year old exclaimed. A little bit before the coronavirus lockdown was enforced, I came across the game “Rememory” and thought it would be an excellent way to strengthen my family bond.

Each evening for dinner, Quinn enjoys opening that little box, filled with hundreds of cards. Little did I know she would have so many stories to share that I would be hearing for the first time. I look forward to not only reminiscing but sharing my memories with my daughter and husband too.

Actually, Rememory has offered me comfort in knowing that this lockdown will one day be a distant memory and story that we will share with our future generations.

Until then, I’m enjoying the stories and memories I am currently sharing and building with my daughter.

All the best,

Tanya

Coronavirus Lockdown: Mother Daughter Weekend Edition!

b965bb0b-889b-470d-a3c5-423d6f87eace“I really wish this weekend didn’t have to end,” my six year old said. I told her, “We don’t need to set aside a special day to spend time with each other and that I enjoy being with her.” Last week, Quinn asked if we could have a mother and daughter day so that we can have extra fun together, and I said, “Why not make it a weekend!?” She wrote out a list of  five activities she’d like to do and asked when our weekend would start. When I told her Friday at 3:30pm, it couldn’t come fast enough for her. She was absolutely ready for our day to commence and let me know when it was a 3:29pm.

On Friday, we used the cotton candy maker from my childhood along with the new flavor sugars I ordered. She went with cherry, and I had blue raspberry. Though I did give mine to my husband since I knew I’d be having a weekend filled with tasty treats.

Bright and early on Saturday after breakfast, I attended a dance party lead by Quinn and learned some new, cool dance moves to Kids Bop songs. My Fitbit watch even noticed how hard I was dancing because it logged me for nearly a half hour of an aerobic workout. We even drew pictures together and used the free app Happy Color to do color by numbers and made it a competition to see who could get done their picture first. We played Mario Kart Tour using the app (another free game) and even got my sister and niece to join in from their home for a virtual race. It was so much fun and brought back memories of when I was younger playing race car video games.

After having some pizza delivered from Papa Johns, I rented the new “Trolls World Tour” movie through Amazon Prime video. We were able to watch on our big screen in our basement, along with my husband, giving it that movie theater feel as a special surprise.  We made our own ice cream sundaes, had popcorn and just a really good time together. Honestly, I didn’t want the fun to end either.

Though many of us are now having even more time with our children as a result of the lockdown, how much of that is “fun” time together? Yes, these are serious times, but it felt so good to just laugh, be silly, play games and enjoy each other’s company. Quinn gave me such a big hug and kiss yesterday and told me, ” I love you so much, Mommy! I can’t wait to have a mother daughter day again!” To which I responded, “Me neither!”

Coronavirus Lockdown: Growing Veggies Together with My Little Girl

766945bc-81f3-4cb8-9ef6-63303d7f1480“You know what, Mommy, if we start growing our own veggies, we won’t need to order them from the store or worry about leaving the house to get them,” my six year old said. A few days ago for our home school science project was planting green peppers and tomatoes in our indoor green house. At first, Quinn wasn’t very interested but then shortly after we started that it was more fun that she thought it would be and how she can’t wait until our veggies grow.

We do projects quite often, but I’m willing to admit that we might not have gotten around to attempting to grow veggies if we were not experiencing this Coronavirus lockdown. For the past couple of days, Quinn has looked at our little green house trying to see if anything has sprouted as yet. I told her it will take a little time. Even still, she’s actually encouraged me to plant more vegetables outside. Though it would require quite a bit of work with preparing the soil and an areas to prevent squirrels, rabbits and other little critters from eating what little we grow, I think this will be an excellent opportunity for Quinn and me to grow together and continue to strengthen our bond.

All the best,

Tanya

Coronavirus Lockdown: Yoga Together with My Daughter

It’s going on the fourth week since my six year old has been physically in her classroom since the Coronavirus lockdown, and I’ve been trying my best to give her sense of normalcy with a daily schedule that mimics what she would be doing in school. While I could have just focused on reading, writing and math, I decided that it is equally important to focus on the special subjects like, art, music, science and gym. So each day, we’ve been doing a fun activity. I decided to share my experience in hopes that it may give parents an idea to try with their child or children.

Last week, for gym, Quinn and I did yoga together. While I’m sure there may be some videos on YouTube geared towards children, I have a DVD on Yoga for kids, and it was perfect and challenged us both. “I can’t wait for the tree pose and the warrior pose,” Quinn said. As we looked at each other and smiled, sometimes teetering a little in the different poses, I thought to myself, what a wonderful bonding experience. After we finished the series of poses, she asked if we could do yoga again for “gym” because it’s relaxing and fun. “Of course,” I said.

Even though we’re both adjusting to the new norm, which will require more adjusting again when the college courses I teach resume all online tomorrow, I’m grateful for the extra time and activities we’re getting to do together.

All the best,

Tanya

 

 

Dancing Is Not Cancelled! Thanks to Debbie Allen Dance Academy!

81178884-6b8a-4572-9c16-b60a92780360My daughter excitedly asked, “When does dance class start again, Mommy?” She was ready in her comfortable workout attire eating for it to get underway. Yesterday, we got the chance of a lifetime to dance with choreographers from Debbie Allen Dance Academy live through Instagram. At first, Quinn was doing it by herself because it was advertised for three to seven year olds, but the dance instructor said, “Mommy’s and daddy’s join in too!” As I was watching from afar in the kitchen, “Quinn yelled out, “You can do it too, Mommy! Let’s dance together!”

Though I had on jeans, not the most comfortable for dancing, I quickly raced into the living room where I had the Instagram live feed mirrored to my TV. In knowing this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I decided to record us dancing together. We moved, wiggled, giggled and even breathed heavily at times as we tried to keep up with the dance moves of the choreographer. Afterwards, my six year old said, “I think Kenzie (her thirteen year old cousin) could have done that dance too!”

We both struggled a bit trying to keep up with the fast paced African dance routine, but it really was so much fun. Plus it was great exercise too. Yes, now has been quite a trying time. There’s so many limitations on what we can do, so I’m so glad that Debbie Allen and her dance studio put together such a wonderful online event with thousands and thousands of people tuning in together. In times like this that we must remember the Zimbabwe African Proverb If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing. My daughter keeps me moving which in turns keeps my spirits up!

All the best,

Tanya

This Mommy’s Treading Lightly: Carefully Addressing the Seriousness of the Coronavirus with My Little Girl

Getting some fresh air

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!?

All the best,

Tanya

It Might Seem Like All Fun & Games, But Kids Are More “Clued” in Than We Think!

“It was Scarlet with the lead pipe in the garage,” my daughter asserted. We both love playing games. I especially enjoy how it not only gives us quality time together but improves not just her critical thinking but mine too.

Clue was one of my favorite games to play with my sister when I was younger. While I was eager to introduce it to Quinn, I was a bit apprehensive because of the premise of the game: find out who committed the murder, with what and where? According to the box, it’s for ages eight and up, but after giving it some thought and discussing it with my six year old, we determined that she could handle it without the game being too much for her. Boy, was I right!

Though there were newly added rooms, and I had to relearn some of the basic rules, it took Quinn no time to catch on to the concept of Clue. She strategically went to the different rooms to cross off what places the murder didn’t happen, and paid close attention as her dad and I did the same so that she could rule out suspects.

As I determined what cards were in the clue envelope and eagerly awaited my turn, Quinn solved the crime! I was always amazed at how “clued” in she was. A part of me was pleasantly surprised, but then again, she’s always been good at critical thinking. Some people think children are too young to understand certain concepts or lack basic critical thinking skills, but oftentimes it is us adults who are clueless for doubting or underestimating the abilities of children. Time and time again, Quinn reminds me of how adults can learn so many lessons from children.

All the best,

Tanya

“Lucky” Number 13! Hoping & Wishing My Six Year Old & I Will Still Be Close

“I’m not looking forward to you turning 13,” I told my six year old, as we sat at the dining room table. Quinn asked, “Why not?” To which I responded sadly, “Once you’re a teenager, you won’t want to hang out with me.” This discussion came about because her cousin just celebrated her 13th birthday, and it made me think about how time is just flying by. My little girl made my day and said, “Of course, I’ll still want to hang out with you, Mommy! Hanging out with you is one of my favorite things to do!”

As a smile came across my face, I thought for a moment and then asked, “How about we record a video of you saying that?” She eagerly obliged, but her refused to be a witness. I guess he knows that she’ll evolve in years to come and may or may not still feel the same way. My hope is that  our bond will be even stronger, and we’ll both get a chuckle from watching the video. If not, I’ll always have it to look back on bringing a smile to my face as I recall how enjoying each others company was one of our favorite things to do.

All the best,

 

Tanya