Here’s some news from the Oklahoma City Zoo:
The Zoo’s Education department is offering a mother’s day out program beginning in February. The program will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nature Explorers Mother’s Day Out Program will run from Feb. 15 to May 26 and is for children ages 3 and 4. (Child must be 3 or 4 on or before September 1, 2010.)
The program will promote interaction skills, self direction, language skills, intellectual growth and environmental awareness.
For more information, including a program handbook, tuition costs and registration forms, go to http://zoofieldtrips.publishpath.com/explorers.
It’s been 4 years since I’ve been home. Why 4 years, you ask? Because this blogger doesn’t fly.
I know, I know. It’s the safest form of travel. You can spout off statistics all day long and I still won’t board a plane. Call me crazy. Especially when you hear that I drove, (yes, drove) to Connecticut, which is about 1600 miles from Oklahoma City … with a 4-year-old. Yep, that’s me, the crazy lady.
But to be honest, it was amazing. The drive was long, but my son was terrific on the drive up and back. Thank goodness for car DVD players! It took us about 2 1/2 days each way and we were able to stop at some fun spots along the way, such as the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo., and the Ohio State Fair on the way back. The Great American Road Trip. That’s what we were on.
The best part, though, was going home. Seeing all my family, some dear friends, including a girl I’ve known since I was 5, and even Simba the family cat. It was a two-week whirlwind. Trips to museums, the beaches, and of course, New York City. My son was in heaven when he stepped foot into the largest Toys R Us – the one in Times Square. He got to meet his heroes, Iron Man and Spider-Man. It doesn’t get any better than that for a 4-year-old boy. And the train ride back to Connecticut to boot. He was in awe.
Seeing his Gwennie (his grandma) and grandpa, his Uncle Will and great-grandparents was such a treat. They spoil him and he knows it. Family friends were calling day and night, wanting to catch a visit with us. With some, we could fit it in, with others, we just couldn’t make it this trip.
Now, I’m back in Oklahoma and find myself missing home. I may sound like Dorothy, but there really is no place like home and no one like family and lifelong friends. I know I won’t be able to wait another 4 years to go back, airplane or not.
Not for the gifts, or the special deals moms can find around town. Not for the flowers or for that nice dinner out. But because it’s a day set aside to cherish our own moms and our children. It’s the one day a year many of us can celebrate having a mother and being one at the same time.
Like many of you, I am completely in love with being a mom. It has brought the greatest joys imaginable and every day I wake up and know how truly blessed I am to have my little boy there. It’s the kind of love that is truly unconditional and unwavering. The kind of love that lets you know you’d do anything for your children. And it’s the kind that I celebrate in my own way every day, not just on Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day makes me stop and think about how much my own mom has always loved and sacrificed for me. Although if you ask her, she wouldn’t call them sacrifices, but just “the things that moms do.”
So give your kids the biggest hug, not just this Sunday, but every day. Cherish those little gifts they’ll give you that they made with their own two hands. Call or visit your own mom. Tell her how much you love and appreciate her. Let her know how much you’ve learned from her. And enjoy your special day.
When tragedy hits a family, you can’t help sometimes compare the situation to your own family.
Especially when it is the death of a mother who leaves young children behind.
Shock is the initial feeling I felt when I heard my friend Karen Baker had died Sunday. She and I had been co- assistant leaders for our daughters’ Girl Scout troop, and then co-leaders.
Our children had attended the same daycare and then the same schools. Her children were similar in age to two of my children.
Karen was always smiling, laughing … You always felt good around her.
How saddening was my second thought. Her children. Her husband. Why?
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, my first reaction was fear, but it was quickly followed by a deep, sinking feeling that I might not be around for my children, then ages 1 and almost 5.
Karen’s children are middle school and high school ages, still very young. They still needed their mother.
My heart breaks for this family. And it also renews the worries.
Whether you’re a mother or father, you always want to be there for your children.
– Linda Lynn
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
My 14-year-old started reading the Twilight book series sometime last year and got hooked. “A book series on vampires?” I thought. “Should I question what she’s reading?” But one of her middle school friends just loved the books.
And, when “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth book, was due out in bookstores she could hardly wait.
Another friend bought her a T-shirt with a verse something like: “The forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.” … I made her exchange it for a different shirt. I couldn’t help think that the T-shirt was just a bit inappropriate for a young teen. And, when I walked into Hot Topic, the hip store with body piercing studs, tons of scary images on T-shirts and lots of black – It was like the anti-Claire’s of the mall – I couldn’t help feeling just a little conspicuous and a lot uncomfortable. But I wanted her to at least get something toned down.
For her birthday, she received more Twilight stuff – a really cute zip-up hoodie, but, still, I teetered on the edge of whether this was a good thing.
Then comes the movie. My 28-year-old niece and her mother suggests we all go together. Me? me? Maybe I can get out of this. But it sounded fun just because I would be with my two sisters and their daughters and my daughter. OK. I’ll try it.
When the previews began, the movies were gruesome, scary films. Oh, no! What have I done?! I’ve just brought my teenaged daughter to a slasher, blood-sucking vampire movie! My older niece who is in college even covered her eyes.
Then, the movie started ….. And I loved it! I plan to read the books.
Now, I’ve seen it twice. Some friends have seen it three, four and five times! These are women my age!
Although my husband is tired of me raving about the movie, my friends aren’t. He made the comment that I was acting just like a “14-year-old.”
Well, my daughter might disagree. But there’s worth in finding an interest in something your daughter likes. She doesn’t seem to want to talk about it with me. She’d rather talk about it with her friends and cousins.
So, I’ll just talk about it with the rest of my “14-year-old-going-on-45″ friends.
– Linda Lynn
A lot of mothers — both married and single — sometimes do without to make sure their children get what they need or want.
As a mom, I know this to be true.
A story in today’s New York Times just bears this out.
Moms, it seems, are putting off their own needs to make sure their kids get their Christmas wish lists fulfilled, according to the story “To Buy Children’s Gifts, Mothers Do Without.”
Moms, does this resonate with you?
Do you put off buying things for yourself or doing things for yourself to ensure that your children are taken care of and have what they need?
Do you put off exercise and doing other things for yourself because of your children’s schedule or routine?
Let me know. Send an e-mail with your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name, hometown and a phone number where you can be reached. Your views may be used for a future story.
Sounds fun, right? Well, not so much.
Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of moving … with a 2-year-old. We didn’t move far, just a few miles closer to work, and to a much bigger place and much quieter community. However, that doesn’t ease the strain and hassle of moving.
Since it’s just us two, I had to figure out a way to get everything packed in the few days prior to the move, with a toddler underfoot in every room of the house. As I would fill up boxes, he would take things out of them. If he saw a toy he hadn’t played with in months being boxed up, all of sudden it was his favorite and must be taken out and played with immediately.
When two of my friends came to move everything, all he wanted to be was part of the action. I couldn’t help all that much moving things because I had to constantly watch him.
And for days to follow, I couldn’t for the life of me, find the right cup or plate or toy in the 40 plus boxes I had in the new place. I couldn’t find his favorite bedtime books or the caboose for his train set. And I heard about it – every day.
But we’re slowly getting settled. He only refers to it as ‘the new house.’ If I say ‘we’re going home’ he gets upset because the last time he saw ‘home’ as he knew it, it was an empty spot where things used to be. But going to ‘the new house’ makes him happy and excited, which makes it home to me.
Soon enough, it will be home to him, too.
Any horror stories about moving with kids? Share them here or e-mail me at the address below.
Bonnie Harris, author of the new book “Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With (Adams Media, September 2008),” has plenty of tips for parents seeking solutions for morning time struggles between children and parents.
Several are listed in today’s Life section of The Oklahoman. Here are more of Harris’ tips to transform stressful mornings:
1. Decide what the best morning routine is for everyone. Make a chart. If you have a white board, write each agenda item with a box next to it for your child to check off when done.
2. Pick out clothes the night before.
3. Make lunches the night before.
4. Go over the next day’s schedule the night before.
5. Remind children to get backpacks ready before the bedtime routine starts — don’t expect this to be done without reminders unless you have an especially organized child.
6. Establish a rule that anything you have to do concerning homework is done the night before or it doesn’t get done.
7. Get up earlier and get your personal routine done before waking the children.
8. Ease your child awake with a smile and a back rub — unless she uses an alarm clock.
9. If you’re creative, prepare a “fancy” breakfast menu to present to your children when they get up. This can be a once in awhile option.
10. If things are not going smoothly, even silently acknowledge everyone’s agendas.
11. If your child is cranky, validate how hard some mornings are to get going and that you often have the same problem. Each day is different.
12. If there is a particular problem your child is dealing with, acknowledge the problem, and offer help and support without trying to fix it.
Bonnie Harris founded The Parent Guidance Center (now The Family Center) in Peterborough, N.H. in 1990, which is dedicated to parent education and support. She is the director of Connective Parenting and has designed and taught parenting workshops and counseled parents for 20 years. Sign up for her e-newsletter by going online to www.connectiveparenting.com.