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!”
Since my daughter was a toddler, we’ve been decorating pumpkins together as one of our Halloween activities. I can admit that I may love this tradition the same or even more than she does. This year was a tad different with a COVID 19 restrictions. Though the usual pumpkin patch we visit to select those “perfect” pumpkins was open, we opted to get them from a local store this year.
For the past few years, my mom (her Nana) joined us, and this year my niece (her cousin) joined in on the fun too. Quinn even decided to feature it as her YouTube video post this week and on her blog page, Quinnie’s Fun House.
There’s something soothing yet fun about decorating pumpkins, especially with my family. I’m hoping next year we will return to the pumpkin place, but in the meantime, we have our wonderfully decorated pumpkins to remind us of the fun times associated with Halloween and family togetherness.
I love exercising. It’s my way of not only staying fit but relieving stress and turning off the negatives of the world for just an hour or two. On occasion, my seven year joins me. Little did I know how closely she’s been watching me and how much of an impact my exercising has made on her.
Quinn loves doing Youtube videos and decided to do an exercise video for her latest post. She came up with all of the exercises she wanted to include on her own, and I was pleasantly surprised when she said, “Mommy, I want to include boxing as one of my exercises just like you!” As she recorded her video, she said that I was her inspiration.
As I watched her hit the bag and do her other exercises, I thought to myself, “Wow, Quinn is my mini me when it comes to exercise!” She actually inspires me to keep going in knowing that I am her inspiration.
Who knows, maybe we will do a mother and daughter exercise video one day and inspire other mothers and daughters.
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 started kindergarten, I would put a little note in her lunchbox. Sometimes, it has a wacky fact, and other times it had a joke or just a few words of encouragement. A few days ago, My seven year old, with a big smile on her face, told me, “Close your eyes, Mommy! I have something special for you!”
She then put I box of candy with one of the notes I gave her before virtual schooling started last year. All I could do was smile and then give her a big hug and kiss. I thought it was the sweetest gesture. “I miss getting notes from you with my lunch, Mommy,” Quinn told me. Can you still write me notes sometimes even though I’m learning at home?” I responded with another hug, “Of course, sweetie.”
It didn’t even occur to me to still write notes. If anything, she’s needs them more than ever now. When is the last time you wrote a note to give your child during lunch? We mustn’t let this “new norm” stop us from doing things that put smiles on our children’s faces and ours as well.
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.
Virtual learning is less stressful and far more relaxing, right? Wrong! Well, maybe for some, but for me…the jury is still out. The first week back teaching virtual courses and interacting with students synchronously and asynchronously, helping my second grader through the process and addressing a technical issue or two while tending to our 15 week old puppy and taking him to his first puppy grooming midweek and then class today left me wonder how I’m going to manage to balance it all in the coming weeks.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I can only imagine how parents with multiple children who may not be able to work from home are holding up. So with this in mind, I may be feeling a tad exhausted at times, but I’m grateful.
Who knows when, but one day I’ll find myself reminiscing about the moments of us all being home, bonding and working through it all together. There’s so much to learn right now, and I’m trying my best to keep that in mind when I start feeling overwhelmed.
Tomorrow is the first day of school for my daughter as a virtual learner and me as a virtual professor. The excitement and anxiety are definitely there: more on the excitement side for my daughter and anxious side for me.
Yesterday, she had an idea for her YouTube channel to post tips for virtual learning and came up with them all on her own. As I recorded her, edited and watched the video, seeing her confidence and positive outlook actually eased some of my anxiety as our new reality starts tomorrow.
For anyone else who’s nervous or anxious as a parent or caregiver, sometimes we can simply observe the calm demeanor and logical reasoning of our children. While the virtual learning situation may not be ideal for some, it definitely gives us an opportunity to challenge ourselves and overcome obstacles while strengthening our bonds with our children.
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.