***Don't forget to enter Mommy Delicious' giveaway! Two lucky followers will win a $50 American Express gift card! Click here to enter!***
***Don't forget to enter Mommy Delicious' giveaway! Two lucky followers will win a $50 American Express gift card! Click here to enter!***
Next up: shopping! David Z, H&M, and Urban Outfitters did NOT disappoint. I figured, I just went through a breakup, which makes it okay to splurge a little. Plus, it's a new season and I need (want) a couple new staple items for this Fall.
I was very happy with my finds: two pair of skinny jeans, new slacks, a new wallet, a fabulous leather bag that's big enough to fit my books and some of Aiden's crap (I mean, toys), an amazing burnt orange Fall jacket (perfect color for the season), and great necklaces. Score!And let's not forget the shoes! I love a good heel. The higher, the better. But when I went to David Z to purchase a pair of Uggs, these fabulous flat, over-the-knee boots were calling my name. And I just couldn't resist. So I got them too.
Now... about the fabulous giveaway:
Because I love you and because it felt so gosh darn good to spend money on myself for once, I've decided that you deserve to spoil yourself too. Wouldn't it be fabulous if you had an extra $50 to spend on whatever you wanted?! Well, now you will!
Here is a list of good reads from this weekend's link roundup.
Your baby will look even cuter (is that even possible?) with these Halloween costumes. Mom Finds has got the skinny on costumes for babies that meets all budgets.
Teaching your kid how to read? Then you'll want to check out these awesome tips from Shiny Brite! With a son in the first grade, these moms are right in the thick of it and are passing on what they've learned thus far.
Culture Mom has yet another treat for all its lovely readers: a chance to win a family pack of four tickets to "Angelina Ballerina: The Musical." To enter, all you have to do is click the link and add a comment on her blog. Love it!
Hope you guys have a fantabulous weekend!
Mommies are great at multi-tasking. Unfortunately, this can be a blessing and a curse.As a newly single mom, I find that my mind is always racing. I'm always thinking about the next thing on my mile-long list of things-to-do. I'm always thinking about how I'm going to find the time to accomplish things, and do them well. I want Aiden to have a top-notch mommy and not put him at a "disadvantage" because he is no longer lives in a two-parent household.
But because I want to do it all, I am always on the go. Always.
Lately this has been the case even during my weekends when I don't do anything work-related, but spend time with Aiden or catch up with friends. It's funny that even during these "leisure" activities, my mind is constantly thinking of the thousand things that I have to do. I love the activities that I do with Aiden. And I love spending time with friends. Both energizes me in different ways. But I've been having trouble putting the brakes on things, relaxing, and just being "in the moment."
I'm always thinking of bills that need be paid, assignments that need to be completed, the load of laundry that I have yet to do, or (lately) if my dinner is going to come out edible-looking and yummy.
And if it's not one thing, it's another. It's all a balancing act and I don't have it down quite yet.
I want to give Aiden a mother who is always put together and always on-point. But I fall short of that about 50 times a day because me trying to be perfect 100% of the time = major mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion! Not to mention, A LOT of tension in my shoulders and back, which is usually where I hold all my stress.
So yea... I'm not the perfect mother. And I'm way too hard on myself.
But somethings gotta give. And after reading a post last week on The Young Mommy Life, I was relieved to realize that I'm not the only mommy on the planet with these sentiments. Mommies need a time-out too, gosh darnit!
Although Aiden will be 3-years-old next month, I have to remind myself that with each stage that he -- we -- go through, it is NEW. And that's okay. It's okay to be a novice. I'm still figuring out this whole single mommy/ full time graduate school student thing... and that's okay. It's okay to still be figuring things out. That's all apart of growing. And all apart of motherhood. And all apart of life.
So... what am I going to do about the tension in my shoulders and back? I've already booked a massage appointment. Lovelovelove 'em. Hopefully I'll be able to relax, be in the moment, and just enjoy the massage.
As a mother and a New Yorker, life can get pretty expensive. This is not a good thing for a poor grad school student like me. Luckily, I like to seize all deals, steals, and opportunities. Basically, I love anything free [and legal]. That's why I was super happy when A Child Grows in Brooklyn posted a list of free children's classes ranging from arts to movement to music that was pretty much all over Brooklyn.Since Aiden is in between semesters for swimming and we didn't have anything on our agenda for this past Saturday, I decided to take him to a toddlers dance and movement class at the Williamsburg Movement and Arts Center. Located in trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn, they are dedicated to introducing the love of dance to people of all ages so I thought taking him to the class would be a neat idea! And did I mention that it was for free?
Like most daycare centers/preschools, Aiden's school has a pick-up time of 6:00pm, 6:30pm the latest. The day when one of my classes ends at 4:45pm is the absolute worse. By the time I pack up my things, jet out of the room, and practically run to the subway, it's already 5:00pm.
Since we live in Brooklyn and his preschool is in Brooklyn, on those days I curse myself because I just had to go the the Ivy League graduate program that's an hour away from our house and his preschool (on a good day). On those days, I also I stress, panic, and pray that the Subway Gods are on my side and in my favor. One day last week, they weren't.
Because of some stupid "investigation" going on, all the trains that I rely on were delayed or out of service. Sigh. Once I re-routed and got to his school by 6:29pm (no kidding!), in my rush, I totally forgot to take the kid to the bathroom before we headed home. Bad mommy.
He wet his pants on the way home. Already stressed and tired from my commute, I got a tad bit upset. Yea... I said it. Right now, he doesn't have 5 uniforms for the 5 school days in the school week and the others were already dirty, which meant that I would have to wash the one he was wearing when we got home. Like I needed another thing to do that night. Sigh. Of course, I had a mini temper-tantrum in my head.
But I gave myself permission for a do-over.
I took a deep breath. Yup. Right on the corner where Aiden wet his pants then looked up at me with those "oops!" eyes, I had a "woo-sah" moment.
I paused to think things through. It's not his fault; he's only 2-years-old; I forgot to take him to the bathroom; he's been wearing his underwear and doing *so well* lately; one accident won't kill us; I can bathe him and just wash the doggone uniform when we get home.
Do-over. "Aiden, the next time you have to go the the bathroom, please let me know. Okay?" And that was that.
And when we got home, I had a couple more "do-overs" throughout the night. Hey, sometimes you need to have more than one.
When Aiden spilled his apple juice... Deep breath. Pause. Do-over!
When he became whiny and cranky because he wanted to stay in the bath longer... Deep breath. Pause. Do-over!
When he protested going to bed by trying to get me to read him a third book... do-over! Well, sort of. Instead I told him about my crazy commute on the "choo choo train," as he calls it. And he made up this extremely elaborate ending to my story, which included the conductor fixing the train and a lion coming to my rescue so that I could get to his preschool "faster, faster." Too cute! Gotta love it!
So, as I head into a new week, I'm reminding myself of three things: take a deep breath; pause to think things through; have a "do-over" if need be.
Here are some good reads for this week's link roundup.
The 'skinny jeans' trend (for boys and girls) is now bigger than ever. Aiden has quite a few pairs in his mini closet, but since fall is upon us and he has outgrown some of his old pairs, I've bookmarked this post from Mom Finds, showcasing the best skinny jeans for boys, no matter what your budget!
If mannerism is an issue with your little one, here are a few tips from Shiny Brite about the things her children are not allowed to say. Feel free to steal a few of her ideas!
Routines in the mornings and evenings helps make life with children much easier. This week, thanks to professional organizer and mom of two toddlers, Amanda Wiss, A Child Grows in Brooklyn has pretty awesome tips for establishing routines. You're welcome!
Have a great weekend. Enjoy your children and enjoy yourself!
"More than one-third of women who were cohabiting at conception and whose pregnancy was unplanned broke up with their partner by the baby’s 2nd birthday."
"70% of black children are born to single parent homes, a statistic that's higher for Blacks than any other ethnic group in the U.S."
As some of you may know, my son Aiden has a very active temperament.
From playgrounds to play dates to birthday parties to Gymboree to swimming class, the kid keeps me pretty busy. That's why it was important for me to chose a daycare/preschool that incorporated play into their learning activities.
Although I totally think that preschools should teach our children basic skills and strongly prepare them for elementary school, I DO think that it is unnecessary to teach three-year-olds the order of operations aka PEMDAS or that (7x6)+12=54 and 20,000 site words... especially when they are not learning how to read via learning phonics and the sounds that letters make. Trust me on this. As a former 3rd grade teacher, I've seen kids who "knew" how to read site words, but didn't know how to read words they've never encountered before because they never learned phonics. And therefore, they could not read complete sentences. In the third grade. But that's a total tangent. Back to the point.
Play is to children what work is to adults. Through play, children learn some serious skills. From gross motor development to fine motor development to even greater cognitive and problem solving skills to their social and emotional development to language development to helping move them towards self-sufficiency, playing helps our kids grow mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Because I live in NYC and we don't have acres and acres of open grass and fields for the kids to play, in addition to the above mentioned activities, I have to rely on Aiden's school to encourage play. And not just aimless playing (although the free exploration definitely helps kids discover lots of things about the way the world works), but playing with a purpose... to learn something.
I remember having a conversation with a friend about preschool choices for our children and she mentioned that her top choice for her daughter was a school that's super strict and taught the kids to multiply through endless drills... by the age of three. Three! Because she did her research and seemed to know what she wanted, I'm sure that'll work for her, but it's not my cup of tea. To me, when done correctly, pretend play and socio-dramtic play teaches math and life skills just fine.
And besides, Aiden has Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade to learn that stuff. I never went to Kindergarten so I learned basic multiplication in the 1st grade... and no where on my college application did it ask, "At what age did you learn the answer to 8x6?" And I went to Columbia University... on a full academic scholarship. And, since I also got in again for grad school, I can assure you that it was no where on the grad school application either. Don't get me wrong, of course I want Aiden to learn basic reading, writing, and math readiness (and he has!), but not at the expense of learning through play...
The younger toddlers will usually engage in parallel play, which is where they play near each other, but not necessarily with each other. It may look weird to us grown ups, but they kiddies are truly learning as they engage in this type of play. Also, don't expect 'em to share too much during this type of play.
For the older tots/preschoolers, with some encouragement, they can engage in associative play. This type of play is where they still do their own thing with their own toys, but they interact with each other often and may even share their toys... if they feel like it. LOL.
As they get older, in the preschool/pre-kindergarten years, they progress towards cooperative play, which is where they play with each other by coming up with a plan and executing it. Ever played a game of tag or seen a group of kids having a fabulous tea party? That's cooperative play!
Think about how much of a workout you got from a good game of freeze tag. Or how much you learned from playing dress-up. Think about how much your little one can discover when play is incorporated into many aspects of their learning. Now get out there and let your little ones play, play, PLAY!
**Thanks to my awesome coursework and professors in the Counseling and Clinical Department at Columbia University for equipping me with all this fabulous information that I can pass along to you guys.
Between Aiden's dad and me, I have always felt like I am the "better" parent. Well, not exactly "better," but, you know... more readily available. I mean, since it's always, always, always "mommy, mommy, MOMMY!" I feel that it's only fair for me to make such a statement.
Another really cute way that Aiden requests or demands my attention is "mommy, do you hear me? I talk to you!" Not "I'm talking to you!" He's hilarious. But that's a total tangent.
All of the parenting and childcare issues usually lands on me.. 96.5% of the time. Really. Getting the boy up in the morning, giving him milk in his favorite cup, making breakfast, packing his lunch and snacks for preschool, trying not to get into a power struggle when he wants to choose his own outfits, getting him to preschool, trying not to get into a power struggle when it's time to say "goodbye," picking him up from preschool, feeding him an afternoon snack... Are you tired yet?
No? Well... then there's dinner, bath time, story time, trying not to get into a power struggle when I've finished the 3rd book and story time in OVER, saying our prayers, hugs and kisses, and bedtime. WHEW! I'm definitely tired now.
So exhausting that sometimes I pop in an Diego dvd when I just want to relax... and bedtime seems nowhere near in sight. Only thing is, Aiden always wants me to play with him... even when the dvd is on! Who knew?!
But one thing that I have learned from Aiden's dad is how to be truly present while playing with Aiden. See... I can always look for the silver lining in every situation. Even this one. To him, taking care of Aiden means nonstop, total, and complete playing for a good half hour or so. To me, it's all of the nurturing and mothering stuff, which sometimes makes me too tired to truly play.
Thing is, I don't want Aiden to grow up thinking that I was too busy packing his lunch or cleaning the house to play with him and/or be fully present in the things that matter the most to him. And as this Fall semester kicks off, I have to remind myself of this NOW as opposed to when I'm in the midst of midterms or writing that 20-page final paper.
So here's my little reminder to myself: during Aiden's play time. PLAY MORE and FRET LESS! No blackberry, no Facebook, no dvd's in the background, no cleaning, no reading a great article for class. Just us two. Playing. Laughing. Having fun. And enjoying each other's company.