Nearly every weekday morning for the last two years, I’ve had a little friend ride with me to and from work. We’ve had many conversations via the rearview mirror – my youngest child, now 5, buckled into a car seat in the back, and myself in the front as I drove to work and dropped him off at daycare just across the street.
We’ve talked about his school, his friends, his fears, his toys, how much we loved each other — googleplex plus googleplex times infinity plus 180 or so – and, most recently the latest superpowers that he acquired from a friend, including his laser eyes, ability to spawn tornadoes and hands that could freeze anything they touched. Some days, all he wanted to do was clench his green blanket and suck his thumb, a relaxing end to a long day, but now, at age 5, he’s growing up and moving out of that stage.
So today, I’m sad, as I have been for the last several weeks: I dropped off and picked up my youngest son at the OPUBCO Child Development Center for the last time. Today was his last day, and after next week, the doors to the wonderful facility will close for good. The teachers and staff and aides are outstanding, and I hate to say good-bye to them and the happy place that’s done so much good for children through the years.
As families have found other places for their children to attend, it’s become more and more like a ghost town lately, but the teachers still there continue to be dedicated and committed to the well being of the remaining children.
I’ve loved the childcare center (thanks, OPUBCO, for running it all these years), but I’ve cherished even more this one-on-one time with my son, daily alone moments that are hard to grab with any of my children, since there are three of them and only one of me. As the youngest, he’s had even less of me than the others because I’m spread thinner, now single and working full time, which I didn’t do when the older two, now 8 and nearly 10, were his age.
So for now, that daily one-on-one time is over. I’m so thankful I had it and hope to figure out a way to carve out more of it with each of my children amid the daily busyness. Any ideas?
~ Lillie-Beth Brinkman (email@example.com)
A couple of weeks ago, I described instances where my son can be a little more outgoing than I would like or feel comfortable with.
He has tried to tone it down for me a bit since then … even reminding me, “Mommy, remember don’t say hi.”
But Shari, a Hiccups reader, offered me some perspective on it. Her daughter, Penelope, was also a chatty one growing up. She tried methods I’m pretty familiar with … no eye contact, directing my responses only my child, trying to hurry in stores. Not only because she didn’t feel like talking (much like me) but also for her daughter’s safety.
Growing up, Penelope continued to be social, meeting interesting people and being able to share interesting stories.
Her advice: Watch my son closely, but allow him the joy of being friendly. She said he’ll go far in life with an outgoing personality.
Thank you, Shari. I sincerely hope I’m not stifling my little boy. Maybe I just need to relax a little and be more willing to sacrifice my own quiet time to let him be himself.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
My daughter Kaci really wants a pug. She is convinced somehow she is going to get one for her birthday or Christmas.
I know this, but it’s not something I think about every day. We have a lab already, and he’s a handful.
So, this weekend while I was working at the newspaper to catch up on some tasks, Kaci passed by her daddy’s home computer (he works at The Oklahoman, too) and she saw an e-mail exchange between us.
In the subject line, my husband had typed: “bring home a bulldog”
My reply was ”Yes-sir.”
Kaci was ecstatic! Momma was bringing home her pug!
But sometimes children misunderstand what seems obvious to adults.
If you’ve ever been around a newspaper and heard the lingo, you would know a “bulldog” at The Oklahoman is an early edition of the Sunday paper that customers can buy on Saturdays. Some readers like to read the stories or clip their coupons and see the ads early. My husband wanted to preview his Outdoors page.
But Kaci knew she was getting a puppy.
Alas, when I came home empty-handed, Kaci was disappointed.
It reminded me of when I was little and I had spyed a camera box in the top of my mom’s closet. I just knew I was getting a camera for Christmas.
The gifts were opened, and no camera!
My mom then explained the box was from her old camera.
Yes, I was disappointed, too. … Almost 40 years later, like mother, like daughter.
My mom, “Gwennie,” comes into town about twice a year from Connecticut. While here, she usually packs in a few trips to the local country western outfitters, a visit to a BBQ joint and, of course, enjoys some Mexican food.
For putting up with the craziness her trips usually entail, I’m entitled to some gift … usually of the purse variety, and of a brand I wouldn’t be able to afford for myself.
So there I am last week, searching for my perfect new bag. Alas, I find it but the store is down to two.
Can they hold it for me? Of course – but only until the end of the day … a full week before my mom’s arrival.
Can she charge it over the phone? Of course! So my mom ensures I have my dream bag and charges it over the phone for me. Here’s how that went …
Saleslady: “Ma’am, would you like us to send the bag home with your daughter or would you like it held in customer service until your arrival?”
Me: Super excited to take home my bag.
My mom: “Leave it customer service. She can wait.”
Me (to the saleslady): “Is she serious?”
Saleslady (to my mom): “Ma,am, are you serious?”
My mom: “Yes. I’m absolutely serious. Please box it up and we’ll pick it up Friday.”
After the disbelieving salesgirl shared this with her fellow salesgirls and they all expressed their sympathy for me, I called my mom back and asked “how could you??”
The explanation is this:
My mom wanted us to go pick it up together. She knew how much I wanted it and she wanted to be there to see my excitement to pick it up. She didn’t want it to be “old hat” by the time she arrived a week later. Part of the fun in getting for me was seeing my reaction to having it in my possession.
Three years ago, I wouldn’ t have had an ounce of understanding about this, and thought it was just plain cruel. But being a mom, one of the greatest joys I have is seeing my boy happy. I treasure those moments – the ones of utter surprise, of excitement, of bliss. And I probably will still treasure them when he’s my age. I guess some things never change.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
Have any old family portraits you’d love to send through the shredder? Any of them so embarrassingly mortifying, you’d rather burn them than ever let them see the light of day again?
Here’s a site that shows some of the worst, most awkward, yet funniest family photos. Click here to check it out. If you have any memories of really funny or corny family portraits, let me know! Comment here or send me an e-mail. I’d love to hear some stories.
My 4-year-old has started becoming very strong-willed, stubborn, independent …
Whatever you want to call it, the result is that I’m physically strained to keep up with the little booger.
Cade is cute, and he has the most heartwarming smile. But his defiance is wearing me out.
When we cross the street, I expect him to hold my hand. But that just won’t do. He either wants to walk on his own or he just sits down wherever he is. The end result is that I pick up this squirming 35-pound wiggle-worm to get to the car, house, store, etc.
When I try to put him in a car seat, he stiffens his back, twists to the side, cries out … he’s a strong little boy. I used to be able to distract him with a song or a book. But now it has to be just the right book, and he definitely doesn’t want me to sing. (Channeling Simon Cowell?)
By the way, the car seat is not an option. I’m persistent until he is properly buckled into his “big boy” chair.
And, so it goes. As long as Mommy is involved, he’s determined to resist or disagree.
Welcome to the WWMF (Wiped-out Wrestling Mommy Federation).
– Linda Lynn
Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department has planned some FREE summer activities for kids. Here’s some fun you and your children can get in on:
FREE Kids’ Fishing Classes
For ages 5-15, these classes teach casting, knot-tying, fish identification, angler etiquette and fishing regulations. No license or permit required and equipment is provided. Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian.
July 25 – Dolese Youth Park Pond, NW 50 and Meridian
June 20, Aug. 22 – Crystal Lake, 6625 SW 15
July 11, Aug. 8 – Metro Tech Springlake, NW 36 and Springlake Drive
July 18, Aug. 15 – Edwards Park Lake
City Pools are now open and admission is free all summer. They include:
Northeast Pool, 1300 NE 33
Woodson Pool, 3405 S. May
Carson Pool, 8301 S. Villa
Minnis Lakeview Pool, 12518 NE 36.
Swim lessons are offered for kids and adults at all area pools for $20 per session. For more information about lessons, or to get a free parks & pools guide, call 297-2211.
Play in the Park
This annual program offers FREE supervised activities such as arts, crafts, games , reading and field trips for kids age 6 and older. 26 metro-wide locations have the program. Click here for more information.
Father’s Day Downtown
On Sunday, June 21, Dad gets in free (with a paid family member) to:
Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, 301 W. Reno
OKC Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City National Memorial, 620 N. Harvey.
So take Dad out on his special day and enjoy all downtown has to offer.
For more information about OKC Parks & Recreation’s events, go to http://www.okc.gov/Parks/index.html.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
It’s so easy to read 8 books in a day to a 3-year-old so we decided to do that this week to reach our second goal in the Metro Library System’s Summer Reading Program. What an easy way to not only make sure your child is getting read to every day, but it’s a great way to earn great prizes.
Just for completing Goal 2, we received a ticket to Frontier City/White Water Bay, 2 tickets to an Oklahoma City RedHawks game and a ticket to Oklahoma Children’s Theatre.
Sign up today, get reading and get rewards!
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
My son has a somewhat cute, however slightly annoying (yes, annoying) habit of saying “Hi!” to every single person he sees. Not only does everyone get a big greeting and smile, but they also get a rundown of what his shark eats and what kind of growl his dinosaur makes. While you may be saying to yourself “awwww, how cute!” let me tell you how it’s not exactly the cutest.
Let’s take, for instance, the mall. Nothing lures a pushy salesperson like a friendly toddler. If they ooh and ahh and interact with your child for any extended amount of time, you automatically feel obligated to buy something.
How about wanting some quiet time out shopping? It seems like everytime he says hi to someone, it starts a conversation between me and the other person. Sometimes I just don’t feel chatty. Actually, most of the time I’m out running errands or shopping, I don’t feel particularly chatty.
And then there’s the leery guy lurking around … you know the one. My boy always gives them the big “Hi!” and I suddenly feel uneasy. And I can’t help but think if this is how predators lure away little kids – kids who unknowingly give them the OK.
So what am I do to? I hate trying to inhibit my little boy’s personality but in this day and age, you have to be prudent. So I told him plainly to please stop saying hi to everyone. I thought that worked until he told the lady at the shoe counter, and then everyone else, “Please don’t say hi to me.”
How do you combat stranger danger? Let me know by commenting here or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
If you visit one of the libraries of the Metropolitan Library System and haven’t enrolled your child in the summer reading program, you’re missing out on some neat prizes.
“Be Creative @ Your Library” is a free program for children and teens. Just to get you and your child started, you’ll get a packet with all kinds of free goodies: stickers, a coupon for free tots at Sonic, a couple of bookmarks, a reading log, free admission to local attractions and a chance to win tuition from Oklahoma College Savings Plan.
Then all you need to do is read 8 books to your child to reach your first goal. Do that, and your child gets a really nice award ribbon, and coupons for free food at area restaurants.
For each goal met (8 books, 8 hours or 800 pages read) , your child is entered in drawings for really cool prizes. There isn’t a list of books, and you don’t have to just read books checked out of the library (although kids do love getting new books to read).
So sign up today at your local Metro Library branch or go to www.metrolibrary.org for more information.
~Erica Smith, copy editor