Hip to the Hop and You Don’t Stop: Dancing into a New Season with my Daughter

2c0bbea1-1927-4613-82df-7ebdfb711c16There’s something wonderful, perhaps even magical, about dance. It can put a smile on one’s face and even provide exercise. I even located a “Ted Talk”on why dance is just as important as math, science and language and may even help raise test scores. Last year, my daughter was eager to take jazz and tap. This year, after observing her big cousin and developing her own personal interests, she asked, “Mommy, can I take a hip hop dance class next time?” “Of course, I said,” but I had to find another dance school who offered hip hop classes for six year olds.

After doing some researching, I located a nearby dance school, Zero Gravity Dance Company, who offers a variety of classes, including beginner hip hop for children as young as five. Quinn was very excited as was I. Though I didn’t need to purchase any special “dance” shoes, she helped me shop for different dance class outfits along with “cool” sneakers to wear for hip hop class.

This past Tuesday, Quinn had her first class, which lasted an hour. Her teacher, Miss Dez, was not only personable but offered good instructions for children Quinn’s age to follow. My six year old followed along confidently and immediately told me after class that she can’t wait until the next one.

While Quinn has many more classes to go with the season ending in the late spring, I’m eager to see her growth as a dancer. I’m sure she’ll be able to teach me some moves. Actually, there’s an adult class offered, and I’m considering taking hip hop dance classes too. Maybe we can just have a fun time exercising and practicing together.

All the best,

Tanya

An App with Class: Excited About My First Grader’s Journey

A dōjō (道場): a hall or space for immersive learning. When you think about it, most classrooms can be called dojo’s. Last week, when I received an invitation from my daughter’s first grade teacher to sign up for the Class Dojo app, I was intrigued. As Quinn reaches another milestone and I experience the inner conflict of losing my “baby” girl yet being proud that she’s becoming more and more independent, her teacher has actually given me some solace.

This app allows parents to not only receive updates about their children’s progress but also provides a glimpse into the first grade classroom. It’s so comforting knowing how the classroom is set up and seeing posts of my little girl and the other children enjoying activities in the classroom and actively learning.

Though the semester is just getting started, I love the idea of not having to wait until a teacher conference to discuss Quinn’s progress and to receive regular updates the the Class Dojo App. I”m so impressed by the app that I even signed up for Class Dojo Beyond to upgrade the star rewards chart I’ve been using with Quinn since she was a toddler. I allowed her to design her own avatar, and we discussed how she can earn points and rewards. It’s going to be an exciting year!

All the best,

Tanya

Look Out, First Grade! Here She Comes!

With her book bag on her back and a smile on her face, my little girl was ready for first grade this morning. She’s been eager to start since the last day of kindergarten asking when we could go “back to school” shopping. I remember when we were celebrating her milestone turning one years old, now she’s already in first grade!

Quinn learned so much in kindergarten, and I’m so grateful that I was able to help out in her classroom and watch her blossom. A year later, she’s reading, writing, doing math and really enjoys learning. I’m hoping I’ll be called upon to help out again in her first grade classroom from time to time.

As I waited in the school yard with Quinn this morning and briefly met her teacher, it is an emotional moment. My little girl is no longer on the “kindergarten” side of the school yard and has grown so much in a short duration of time.

“I had a great first day of school in first grade!” Quinn said with excitement when her dad and I picked her up today. I’m confident that she will have many wonderful experiences. It’s so exciting thinking about what this new school year will bring for Quinn, my first grader.

All the best,

Tanya

Unicorn Fun: Sleepovers Are Magical with Nana!

Imagine unicorn decorations, unicorn cookies, unicorn cereal, unicorn pudding, cake pops, cotton candy, dance parties, games, treats, you name it! No this isn’t a birthday party; it’s a magical sleepover at Nana’s! For the past few years, my mother arranges a sleepover and invites the granddaughters to spend the week with her.

While some children dread spending the week at their grandparents’ home and think it’ll be boring, my six year old always looks forward to this event where she gets to spend time with her cousins and her Nana too while having tons of fun. When my little girl came home, she was eager to tell her father and me about all of the activities she did and treats she had. She even mistakenly called me “Nana” a few times. 😂

I’m so grateful that I have a mother and Quinn has a Nana who is so generous and willing to put in so much time and energy to make sure her granddaughters feel loved and have togetherness. What a wonderful way to end the summer before starting off the new school year!

All the best,

Tanya

Chuck E. Cheese’s, the Place Where a Kid Can Be a Kid? Kind of…

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.

All the best,

Tanya

Life’s a Bike Without Training Wheels: Gotta Have Confidence & Balance!

My little girl and I’ve gone bike riding quite frequently, either on her bike with training wheels or her trailer bike attached behind my bike. But yesterday was a major milestone. We went out for her first practice ride with one missing training wheel and then with both taken off. Quinn told me, “I’m excited but nervous, Mommy. Do you have any advice?” I immediately said, “A big part of riding a bike without training wheels is having the confidence that you can do it, and another part is being able to balance!”

We spent about an hour at the neighborhood park’s lot for a flat surface: a half hour with just one training wheel attached and the other half with no training wheels attached. Without me coaching her, she repeatedly said, “I am confident, I am confident…” as she tried to balance, pedal, steer and look where she was going. There were times when her father or I was along the side or in the back and even a few instances when she was able to ride with minimal assistance.

While she  managed to get accustomed to just the one training wheel, no training wheels definitely proved to be more arduous. I could see the frustration starting to seep in as she tipped to the side when she pedaled a short distance, and I didn’t want her to feel defeated. I shared with her that I didn’t learn to ride a bike in just one day and that it may take some time.

Right next to the park’s lot we could see a couple of teens practicing tricks at the skate park, and I  asked, “Do you think they learned how to skate board or do those tricks in one day?” Quinn said, “No.” I responded, “Exactly! They probably practice a lot, and the more you practice the better you will get at riding your bike with no training wheels.”

This made me think about how so many tasks and activities in life require confidence and some level of balance in order to succeed.  Everything from bike riding to skate boarding to roller skating and even walking needs these features. If you think about it, the people who lead the most successful lives tend to be confident and well-balanced.

I also feel confident in saying that most would say this isn’t something that happens over night. Parents, teachers, mentors and many other people and “helpers” may be our “training wheels” in the early stages of life. Sometimes, people don’t need them at all, others need them for a little while, and some need them longer than others. I’m not sure how long it will take my daughter to confidently balance without training wheels, but I plan to be right by her side encouraging her that she can do it not just with riding a bike but with anything in life.

If you have any tips for riding without training wheels, please feel free to share.

All the best,

Tanya

Sweetness in the Making: Fun at Hershey’s Chocolate World with My Little Girl

 

Imagine making your own special candy bar from start to finish? Though the main ingredient, chocolate, is established, you still get to make it your own by adding other ingredients for that one of a kind taste. My family and I had this wonderful experience at Hershey’s Chocolate World. As I observed my sweet little girl totally captivated with the process from start to finish, it made me think about my role in “creating and manufacturing” her sweetness.

Just like the candy bar, her main ingredients, or DNA and personality, are already established, but as her parent, it is my job to determine what other ingredients, or environmental factors and reinforcement, will bring out her “yummy goodness.”

It’s amazing how there’s so many steps in the process of creating and making a chocolate candy bar that one may not be aware of or even consider. One in particular that stood out to me was the cooling period which is approximately ten minutes. This makes me think about how my six year old has and will go through so many different milestones. She’ll go through hot and cooling phases, so it’s essential for me to be in tune with her needs and operate the machinery with care in an effort to yield the best life-long production.

Take a look at our fun making candy bars. Though the tasty treats may not last long, the memories will last a lifetime. In the words of Hershey, it’s “A Tale of Determination, Delicious Chocolate and Lasting Goodness!

All the best,

Tanya