Thursday, August 25, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes…

Have you ever heard the phrase "Kids say the darndest things"?  Well, it really takes on new meaning when you have your own kids and they're the ones saying "the darndest things"!

The other day my daughter and I were driving past a…er…I guess we’ll call it a gentlemen’s club, and she spotted pictures of scantily clad women on its exterior. She looked thoughtful for a moment, then came out with a zinger - “Mommy, those girls are not very kind… they’re not following the rules. You’re not allowed to leave the house without your clothes on!”. Well, I laughed so hard that I almost cried!

Kids are so observant - more than we give them credit for. As we all know, it’s usually the stuff we don’t want them to see / hear / remember that they do. And they are honest, almost to a fault. I remember one time we crossed paths with a “biker dude” wearing a bandana over his long hair. My preschooler proceeded to point at him and announce proudly, “Look, Mama, a pirate!”.  (Just so you know, she LOVES pirates!) But what’s a mom to do? I kindly pointed out that he probably wasn’t a pirate and, even if he was, it’s not nice to point and stare.

Our kids have a knack for catching us off guard and doing inappropriate things at the most inopportune times. They really do keep us on our toes, don’t they? Sometimes I wish I could be that honest and uncensored. (Well, actually, some adults are and it’s not necessarily a good thing!)  My kids teach me to not take everything so seriously, make me smile when they notice something I’d never normally see… and, while it’s not polite to point and stare, that is the only way they’ll learn the rules of civility and courteous behavior. 
So, to all those biker types out there, please don’t be offended if you see a cute little 4-year-old pointing and calling you a pirate… to her, that’s the greatest compliment she could pay you! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

They Grow Up So Fast!

My daughter, with a "big girl" braid!
As the summer slowly comes to an end, I am reminded that this is the start of a whole new era for my 4 year old... she's going to "big girl" school in the fall and there's nothing I can do to stop it!  ;)

It's always bittersweet watching my kids outgrow one phase, while beginning a new one. Just the other day, my baby took his first (unassisted) steps. I actually teared up, saying to my husband that this is the last time I'll ever experience one of my babies walking for the first time (we're stopping at two...).

Don't get me wrong, I'm the proudest mama on the block when my kids master their latest skills, but sometimes I just want to slow things down and have some more time to savour the little things. My kids are growing up before my eyes and time is moving too quickly. (Wait! I haven't even taken hand and foot prints of my now-14-month-old! Arrrggghhh! What happened??  Add that to my to-do list!)

I can take comfort in the fact that my daughter's life will be greatly enriched by all the new experiences she'll have at school - making new friends, learning new things and, most of all, developing independence and self-confidence that will help shape who she is as a person. I look forward to all the wonderful stories about her days at school and will revel in the fact that, while I'd love for her to stay little, it's magical to see her growing up.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Change is Good

My daughter won’t eat apples. (Or pears, peaches and melon for that matter, but don’t get me started.) What kid doesn’t eat apples? Really… that’s just weird. She’ll eat everything made of apples, but not an actual apple.  I’ve tried to explain that you have to try something to know if you like it or not. But she’s afraid of change, I guess. She sticks with what she knows and likes, and I can’t complain because she’ll willingly eat broccoli and asparagus (go figure, eh?). I find it ironic, then, in my quest to instill in my children that "change is good" – give up a bad habit because it’s better for you; make new friends because you’ll have more fun; try a new sport because you’ll like it – that I struggle the most with the idea of change.

Many people would characterize me as being outgoing, opinionated (maybe too much so, at times) and friendly, but I sometimes have a hard time moving outside my comfort zone. I try not to let my kids know, for example, that I’m afraid of heights (ladders = bad; airplanes = okay) and that I really don’t like bananas.  But, sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you’ve just gotta go with it! A few years ago, I was laid off from my job and had to seriously think about my next steps. I had never before been in that position, and it really scared me… the thought that I didn’t have a job to fall back on and didn’t know what the future would hold.

Fast-forward two years, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. While I’m very busy with work and my family responsibilities, I realize that I am extremely fortunate to have the kind of flexibility that I couldn’t have achieved at my old job.

So, while my kids may not listen to me when I tell them change is good, I hope they can see by my actions that Mommy can roll with the punches, that change really IS good, and that we’re all better off for it. :)