It seems like it was just last week I was pushing around my little man in a stroller … able to contain him in any environment – the mall, the zoo, the arts festival.
But just a few short weeks ago, my baby turned 5 and I found myself registering him for kindergarten, setting up his big-boy bed in his room, and holding my breath as he went on the kiddie roller-coaster at the local amusement park.
Of course, it was a nonstop celebration to honor Hunter’s turning 5. It was a day he’d been anxious for and with all the begging and pleading, it still couldn’t come quick enough for him. For me? It’s always too quick.
A week full of a visit from Gwennie (as grandma is so affectionately called) culminated in the party of the century with a big dancing, talking mouse (any guesses?). A chocolate-only cake, decorated in Star Wars fashion was on the menu, topped with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker with real working light sabres (it doesn’t get cooler than that). Friends, family and even a girlfriend (yes, girlfriend!) made the event extra special for my little guy.
And it seems things have changed overnight. My 5-year-old is already going on 15. The phrases he uses, the facial expressions, the eye-rolls … the ones that say “Mom, you are so not cool” when I’m trying to make him laugh. Worrying about giving his mom kisses in public … worrying about whether his jeans are “regular” or “skinny” and if his shirt is tucked just right. He’ll readily stick up for friends if they find themselves on the receiving end of a bully’s push. And he still manages to tell me how pretty he thinks I am and but now adds how he thinks I should wear my hair.
He’s truly turning into his own little man. As fast as it goes, it gets better every day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has changed its stance and guidelines on infant car seats.
The AAP now advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
The previous standard was 12 months/20 pounds as a minimum for facing backward.
To read the full report, go to www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/carseat2011.htm.
A reference guide for all age groups can be found at www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx.
A huge permanent tooth … nestled right behind two baby on my 4-year-old’s bottom row. I started calling him “shark tooth” because it reminded me of the multiple rows of teeth sharks have, and because he thought the name was cool.
Then the wiggles started. Those two precious baby teeth … the first ones to sprout when he was just a baby … started to wiggle. I called his dentist and in he went to get it checked.
“Ms. Smith, the dentist will need to extract the two bottom front baby teeth.” Extract?? At 4 years old? Even the dental assistant remarked at how early this was for baby teeth to come out. And I suddenly found myself unprepared. I had no tooth pillow, no little treasure box, no cash! And my son didn’t even know who the Tooth Fairy was. Not to mention the emotional unpreparedness. I wasn’t ready for anything “baby” to go … and it does go … way too fast.
In the end, it all worked out. My boy was a trooper – not one tear shed and he was all smiles, even with the huge gauze pad stuck in his mouth. The dentist put his teeth inside a little glittery tooth-shaped box for the Tooth Fairy to snap up. And I made that trip to the ATM.
It’s starting. My 4-year-old son has mastered the art of negotiation.
He’ll want to ask for something he already knows will be a hard sell. “Mom, now don’t say no. Just listen. And just don’t say no.”
I sigh. “OK, what is it.” And you know what? It works. I’m such a pushover. When my little guy asks so sweetly and pleadingly for something, it’s impossible to say no and he knows it.
The same thing happens when he knows he did something wrong and punishment is inevitable. “Mom, now don’t get mad, even just a little mad. OK? Promise?”
Sigh. “OK, what did you do?” Again, he has complete success. How could I get mad when he prefaces his confession with that plea?
Or there’s the obvious deal-making. “So if I drink all my milk, and eat all my dinner, then I get two ice cream sandwiches, right? Two healthy things means I get two treats. That’s fair.”
I’m really in for it, aren’t I.
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.
Child Guidance Services of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department has some great workshops still available through the end of the year. All workshops are for parents and caregivers of young children unless otherwise specified. Pre-registration is required for all programs by calling 425-4412. All programs are FREE.
Enhancing Language and Literacy Skills in Young Children
(for parents, caregivers of children from birth to age 5)
All three workshops are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 16 – Midwest City Library
Nov. 23 – Village Library
Nov. 30 – Choctaw Library
Temper, Temper! Handling Tantrums
Both workshops are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9 – Midwest City Library
Nov. 16 – Village Library
Both workshops are 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Nov. 9 – Warr Acres Library
Nov. 17 – Edmond Library
Lullaby & Goodnight
10:30 a.m. to noon on Dec. 3 – Warr Acres Library
3 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 15 – Edmond Library
Boosting Your Child’s Brain Power
3:30 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 21 – Ralph Ellison Library
Child Guidance Services also offers screenings in speech, language, development and health. Call 425-4412 to schedule a screening. For more information go to www.occhd.org.
Need a neat way to encourage your children to be polite? How about free pizza?
From now until Nov. 31, Cici’s Pizza restaurants will be stocked with “Thank you” trackers for parents to take home (see below). They can note each time their child says “thank you” without being prodded. Once they get 10 thank yous, you can bring the card in for a FREE buffet for children age 10 and younger (with the purchase of an adult buffet). And what kid doesn’t like pizza buffets?
Cici’s fans also can send their own thank you note on Cici’s Pizza’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cicis and the recipient will receive a “Two can dine for $9.99″ deal, including buffet and drinks. Recipients can be anyone – teachers, military personnel, friends, etc.
“At Cici’s, we believe an environment that fosters kindness and appreciation is as essential to our success as our hot, fresh buffet,” CEO Mike Shumsky said in a news release. “… it’s why we created the ‘Thank yous Count’ campaign.”
Some locations may even have giant thank you cards or posters for patrons to sign. These cards will be delivered along with dinners to community groups throughout November.
And with your kids earning a free meal, you may just end up telling them ‘Thank you’ for being so polite.
I recently had a birthday and you know how kids are … birthdays are the COOLEST thing since sliced bread. They don’t quite understand how adults just don’t count down the days to their next mid-30s birthday.
My 4-year-old son on Thursday morning greeted me with a “Happy Birthday, Mommy!!” and it really was the cutest thing. He even thought we were going to my “birthday party” and when he saw me pulling into the school parking lot instead, he let out the most heart-wrenching “Noooooo!” and the tears started flowing. I felt awful. What kind of mid-30s mother doesn’t throw a party for herself? So I promised him just that. A party.
So here I am, picking him up from school and ready to keep this promise. “Where should we have Mom’s party?” I should have expected his response. “Chuck E. Cheeeeeeese!!” Sigh. OK. We can do this. We invite his best friend and his friend’s mom and headed on down to see the big mouse.
To be honest, the next couple of hours were the most fun I’ve had in a while. Our “host” greeted me with a big sticker and a handful of free tokens. Score! Then we scarfed down a pizza and got ready to play some skee ball. It was great. Even Chuck E. came out to take a picture with me. I felt like I was a kid again. Which was appropriate, because if you ask my son how old I am, he’ll say “5″ with absolute certainty.
Take my advice … You’re never too old to be 5 again.
But did you know that they also offer the storytime experience online?
With Online Storytime, children can hear their favorite books read aloud by authors and even celebrities. This month, author Judith Viorst reads her story “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
Just go to http://www.barnesandnoble.com/storytime/index.asp to have storytime in the comfort of your own home.
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.