Summer 2020 was very different for my daughter and me: no amusements parks, trip to the beach only once and limited outings to the park. So today was extra special when we, along my sister and niece, went to Six Flags Great Adventure. It was such a lovely day with a cool breeze and the sun shining.
We got on some rides, had yummy funnel cake, had some Halloween fun with a mirror maze, corn maze and trick or treating and enjoyed each other’s company. Though the experience was different with Covid restrictions, we had a a “great adventure!”
Ever been scrolling through your phone and come across random pictures you don’t recall taking but quickly realize that your child had a little fun taking selfies? As tempting as it may be for some parents to delete them and possibly admonish their child for taking crazy pictures, silly selfies or even using snap chat and different filters, I find myself smiling and chuckling at the pictures my seven year old takes.
When I was her age and well into adulthood, I struggled with self-esteem and lacked confidence. Though I enjoyed taking pictures of other people with my Fisher Price camera, long before the days of phones with cameras and cell phones in general, I was often nervous about taking pictures and had an awkward, forced smile. Sometimes, I wonder if I had an opportunity to take wacky, silly selfies if I would have been more comfortable and confident as a child and young adult.
Quinn uses my old cell phone through wifi, so any pictures she takes automatically are added to the cloud for me to see, and I just love seeing her smiling face, pursed lips or tongue hanging out in a crazy way displaying her not only her confidence but innocence too. Of course, there’s a thin line between being confident in one’s self and being self absorbed, so I try my best to model the right behavior. Also, selfies do have the potential to become an issue if filters become the norm, so we often talk about taking pictures and using filters for fun and how I love seeing pictures where it’s just her being natural with no filters at all.
I’m so glad my daughter has selfie confidence, and with virtual learning and her being at home even more, I’m sure she won’t disappoint by having more random pictures appear through the cloud in the weeks and months to come.
Since my daughter was a toddler, she would ask if we could meet her dad at the train station so that we could all walk home together when he arrived from work. Since a March, my husband’s been working from home and only reported to the office a handful of times. So when he went into work a few days ago, my seven year old said, “I have an idea! Why do we meet Daddy at the train station? It’ll be Zack’s first time too!” Zack is our toy poodle puppy.
Though we take neighborhood walks often, walking to the train station to meet my husband reminded me of we must appreciate the little things. We’ve had so many fun moments and great conversations on our walks. As we waited for my husband’s train to arrive, I thought about how simply walking to the train station and waiting on a loved one to arrive is a luxury and a moment worth embracing.
When his train arrived, Quinn started cheering, and Zack’s tail started wagging in overdrive. I couldn’t help but smile myself as I imagined this simple task eventually being the norm again.
Just like that, summer break is winding down, and the new school year’s about to start in the coming weeks. With this summer quite different from the past ones due to COVID 19 restrictions, I tried my best to be creative and even asked my seven year old to come up with a list of activities she hoped to do. We successfully tackled most of the activities on the list and even added a couple along the way.
Though we did cancel her postponed birthday party, we still had a great time at a restaurant with outdoor seating with my sister and niece. With a smile on Quinn’s face, she said, “I had a great summer, Mommy!” There’s so many memes circulating about how 2020 is the worst year ever, so it definitely puts a smile on my face knowing that despite all of the negative circumstances my daughter still has a positive outlook and enjoys the little things, just like her mom 😊.
So, I’m going into my second week of being a puppy mom, and I definitely have my hands full. Prepping meals for Quinn and Zack, tending to both of their needs and carving out a little time for myself has been tricky this week. Thank goodness for my seven year old who’s been helping me along the way. Just like a new born baby, Zack, woke up a couple of times throughout the course of the night to “go potty” leaving this puppy mom with four or five hours sleep.
Luckily, for the past few days he’s been sleeping through the night, possibly because he’s starting to feel more comfortable, we’ve been playing with him even more and running him up and down the block with him for a little while after he’s “gone potty,” which he seems to really enjoy.
Though he’s not a human, I love seeing how happy Quinn is with her puppy brother. I have a feeling that they are going to learn so much from each other, and I’ll continue learning so much from the both of them as well.
“This is one if the best days of my life! I’ll never forget this day,” my daughter said as she pedaled on her bike with no assistance from me. I’ll never forget this day either. The pure joy in her voice and sense of accomplishment made me feel so happy. The memories of when she first said “mama,” started crawling, took her first steps and began learning to read all came rushing back to me!
Quinn asked, “How did you know I would be able to ride my bike today?” With a smile on my face, I told her, “I could just feel it!” I recall having that same feeling when she took her first steps. Days before we headed out for my daughter to practice riding her bike, she told me that going in bike rides with me using the trailer bike made her feel more confident and that she was ready to master riding her own bike. I really think that the combination of Quinn’s confidence in herself and the confidence I had in her ability to ride her bike is what gave her that extra edge in reaching her goal.
She couldn’t wait to put together a video on her YouTube channel, Quinnie’s Fun House, helping other children or even adults with tips for beginners learning how to ride a bike. I love how she always want to help others even while she’s still learning.
With each bike ride, Quinn is getting better and better, and I’m looking forward to our rides together headed towards countless destinations and memorable moments.
As we biked down the road, Quinn said, “It’s so nice today. I love doing outdoor activities with you, Mommy!” It’s been nearly three months since the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our way of life, and even though the transition to online learning for her and finding different ways to have fun while practicing social distancing has been going smoothly, hearing the happiness in her voice and giggle as we sped down the hill let me know how much she misses regular outdoor activities and outings.
Though it was hot yesterday, neither one of us cared because we were both just happy to be outside doing something more than a walk around the neighborhood. The light breeze, the beads of sweat forming as we pedaled in over time to get up those hills with the trailer bike, and whizzing down a hill or two were all greatly appreciated and sought after.
When we got home, Quinn eagerly asked if we can go for a bike ride again tomorrow and then said, “Even if we can’t do a lot of outdoor activities like last year, we can still have a fun summer.” This statement made me think about how resilient my seven year old has been throughout this entire ordeal. She’s went with the flow, is full of energy, which helps to keep me going when I’m feeling depleted, and she demonstrates hope for when “things get back to normal,” as she often says.
We all may find ourselves “spinning our wheels” longing for normalcy, but for now, I’m trying my best to mirror the hope, persistence and gratitude my daughter often displays.
A few days ago, we received a notice from my daughter’s school district informing us of the potential plans for the next school semester in accordance with the CDC guidelines. As I read the possible scenarios of continuing online learning, rotating in a biweekly schedule or a hybrid situation with online and in class time, it quickly became apparent that my hope for a “normal” second grade experience will not be a reality and will instead be replaced with more uncertainty.
While I’m grateful that these last two months of my first grader learning from home has been an overall good experience with her being eager to learn and do special projects, I know she misses her friends, teachers and simply being in the school atmosphere.
There’s just a few weeks left for this school year, so instead of growing concerned about how everything will play out come September, I’m trying to focus on right now and how we can still have a fun and memorable summer together.
Here’s to all parents and guardians trying to keep their children and themselves motivated while making it through these last few weeks of the school year!
“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.
A little over a month ago, I decided to fulfill my six year old’s request to help her start a YouTube page: Quinnie’s Fun House. While I was certain that it would be involved and a fun experience, I find myself wondering why I didn’t help her start this page when she asked a couple of years ago.
With 14 posts ranging from topics on dolls and accessories, kid spa sets, adventures on the go and Adventure Academy, we’ve bonded over ideas and discussed the importance of confidence. It also allows for many teachable moments where I remind my daughter that it’s okay to make mistakes, and it may take practice to get the video to be just how she wants it. I let her know that I’m so proud of her for simply trying her best.
Though we’re still in the early stages, we’ve found ways to incorporate the videos into her everyday activities without them becoming intrusive or feeling like work. Quinn even said, “Some things can be for Youtube, and others can be special just for us!” I love the way she thinks and let her take the lead.
It makes me feel so good to help her by filming and editing the videos and posted about them for family and friends on her page, quinniesfunhouse.com and mine because they’re not just for YouTube but for us. I’m already envisioning looking back on her videos when she’s ten or even sixteen with a smile on my face wondering where the time went.