Friday, September 26, 2014

My 4yo Has Some Powerful Advice For The World

Both of my daughters love to read.  But the youngest, now four and a half, will only read aloud and in private.  I love hearing her little voice and the beautiful stories she creates, but must use my ninja skills in doing so.

Well, I put them to good use yesterday, and couldn't be more proud of the result.  Take a listen...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why I Hid a Horrific Photo of My Daughter From Facebook (But Posted It Here)

I am not good at accepting constructive criticism, but I do love calling myself out on my own inconsistencies.  I usually view them as growth, as long as they don't both occur within a 24-hour period.  So when my husband and I brought our daughters to get their ears pierced in the end of last week, I knew this post was coming.

It was almost two and a half years ago that my eldest asked me twice within one week if she could get her ears pierced.  This was my post (and inner dialogue) that resulted:

"Now, she has also asked if she can be a waitress when she grows up, if she can take xylophone lessons and if she can go back to her old preschool because the new one doesn’t have naptime, but I didn’t take any of those inquiries seriously, as she asked only once.  I have learned from experience that once she asks twice, I will have an easier time refusing an intravenous Diet Coke drip than I will her requests."

Even more thankful for her "inconsistencies" than I am for my own, I was lucky this request was fleeting.  It was sort of like a supermarket meltdown.  Agonizing and seemingly endless in the moment, but in hindsight, over in a flash.  Phew.

But my second child... she is a whole-nother bag of tricks.  And when she started asking me for "ear holes" four months ago, I knew I wouldn't get off that easy.

I still feel the same way I did in October of 2012.  "It's the idea of making our babies grow up faster than they need to that makes me uncomfortable.  Joking that your baby has diva tendencies is one thing… forcing them upon her is another.  To pierce or not to pierce?  Either way, I feel her slipping away already.  Thank God she’ll need me to help wipe her bum later this afternoon… That’s always a decent reminder that we’ve got a looong way to go."

But, my baby isn't a baby anymore.  She is four and a half, the exact age her sister was at the time of my first post on this subject.  And to say she has a mind of her own is an understatement.  She has a voice, and we heard it.

The photo story that unfolded on my husband's Facebook was adorable.

She was so excited at the start...

Until a bit of fear set in...

But in the end, she was a BIG GIRL!

The problem with this tale, as with many told on Facebook, is that it didn't tell the whole story.  My husband managed to get a photo just as the second piercing when through the lobe, and the sheer TERROR on my daughter's face led me to say/scream that he'd be in huge trouble if he posted the picture.  He didn't.  But in retrospect, I am ok with putting it out there, because I think there is a valuable lesson to be learned.

Sometimes the things we desire most cause us the greatest pain to achieve... but if we overcome, they bring the greatest beauty.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Our Tooth Fairy Doesn't Give "Hundos", But She Gives Big in Other Ways. (Hint: It's Operation X-Mas Time!)

It was an apple, at her Nonna's house.

For weeks, Emilia had wondered where she would be and what she would be eating when her very first tooth came out.  So when it finally happened, after a long but exciting day at a the science museum, we noted all the important details.

Then I took immediately to Facebook, of course, to ask what the going rate for a first tooth is these days. See, months before Emilia's best friend had told the entire Kindergarten about a "hundy" the Tooth Fairy had gifted for her first one. I panicked a little, as my daughter has an incredible memory for a 6 year old, and I was fearful she'd hurt that her Fairy shorted her.  Our fairy doesn't give Benjamins.

A bunch of Facebook chatter (thanks, ladies!) and a trip to the craft store later, I was ready.

(It's all about the pixie dust, People.)

And $10 under the pillow.  Not bad, right?

Problem is, exactly two weeks later, Emilia lost her 2nd tooth (worth only 5 bucks).  And a third is hanging on by a thread. 

Let's face it... Emilia will receive more from the Tooth Fairy in a 4 week period than many children around the world will receive all year.

But, you can help change that.

Several years ago, I began giving two shoeboxes chock full of goodies to Operation Christmas Child, with Samaritan's purse.  I gave one box from each of my two children, that would be gifted to a child that would receive nothing else on Christmas morning.  The boxes are shipped all around the world.

I loved participating in the collection, but wanted to give more.  Once I'd imagined the smile of an ill or poverty-stricken child opening the box, I wanted to give more. And more. But, sadly, I couldn't do it alone.

For the last two years, I have asked my family, friends and readers to help me collect items for Operation Christmas Child.  The deal is... you guys send me the goodies, and I buy the plastic (reusable) shoebox size bins, pack them, wrap them, and pay the $7 donation per box. 

You can send as few or as many items as you'd like.  You can shop at the Dollar Store or Bloomies.  You can send a homemade craft.  You can collect all the soaps and shampoos at hotels you visit throughout the year and them and send them my way.  You can also send items from home that have never been used.  I promise.  I won't judge.

Or, if shopping isn't your bag, you can make a financial contribution.  I save them until the end of packing season, when I pool the donations and fill in the holes of what we need most.  I will also send you a photo of how far I helped your money go.

Whether you help me help others this coming holiday season or choose another outlet is completely up to you.  I only ask one thing.  When you gift your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors or friends, please take a moment to think about those that having nothing, but hopefully, hope.

(Then take a couple of those dolla' bills yo, and put 'em to good use.)

Now, some housekeeping.

* Click here to check out Operation Christmas Child.

* Each shoebox I pack will be labeled with the sex of the child and an age range: 2-4, 5-9, 10-14.  I  typically receive the fewest donations for the older children.

* There’s a list of suggested items (and what not to include) on their website.  I have included personal items like soap, toothpaste & toothbrush, shampoo, combs, band aids, socks, underwear, flip flops, sunglasses, clothing and sun hats.  Or something a little more fun like flashcards, toy cars, crayons, stickers, a yo-yo, a jump rope, puzzles, coloring books, sidewalk chalk or a personal holiday card.  The possibilities are endless, and stores like Big Lots are a great resource.

* Please keep in mind that the items must fit in a standard size shoe box, so it is difficult to include large items (like full size basketballs).

* Yes, I can take PayPal donations, and will provide you with a photo of the items "you" purchased.

* If you have a question or would like to donate, please email me directly at for address information. Or, I can help you find a local chapter where you can donate on your own.

* Collection Week ENDS on November 24th, so please don’t delay!

2013 Collection