So much good happening on the web this week--the most exciting news being that Supersisters is hosting a Super Valentine's Giveaway February 2nd until the 14th. All you have to do is leave a comment, and everyday you get a chance to win something wonderful either from PBS Parents or from one of our friends around the web. On Valentine's Day we'll do the big give and send home an HP Photosmart
7280 Wireless Printer or a lovely Graco SweetPeace to two very lucky supersisters who comment from now til then.
And before I forget...Here's what not to miss around the web this week:
Why not make February the month of true love always at your house? Read your kids the legend of St. Valentine for starters or make a library run to collect your favorite books about kids and friendship? If you start now, Valentine's Day will be about so much more than candy and cards by the time the 14th rolls around.
If your kids are more techy than crafty, let them make Valentine's Day cards online with their favorite friends from PBS Kids. These card makers are easy to use and will give your kids a chance to include a wider range of family and friends.
Are you feeling the need for the kind of no-strings attached affection that often alludes mothers of babies and toddlers? Watch this video and read the true life story about how a community of kindness rallied to support our human need for an uncomplicated display of affection.
Looking for a way to help your children bring love to the whole wide world? I had the honor of meeting Greg Mortensen this week and was delighted to learn about Pennies for Peace--a very simple way even small children can help make a difference in faraway places on the planet.
I went to PBS for a meeting with Jean yesterday and she made the mistake of not being in her office when I showed up. (Click here and choose "watch in high quality" if you want the less-seedier and slightly louder version)
In honor of the box of goodies I discovered and expropriated, we are going to have a giveaway here at PBS Supersisters. Okay, we are going to have LOTS of giveaways. Starting on Monday, for two weeks we will be giving away all manner of PBS Kids awesomeness. We have videos and stuffed animals and stickers and activity books. We even have SUPER WHY stuff. I know. Your kids will love you. Forever.
What do you have to do to win? All you have to do is leave a comment (you can comment as many times as you like but your name will only be entered once for the daily drawing) on our posts from Monday, February 2 through Saturday, February 14. Each day we will do a random drawing (here are our giveaway "rules" if you want to check them out) and post the name of the winner on the following day's post. But wait!! There is a big prize on Valentine's Day. In addition to our daily prizes, we will take all the comments from all the days and throw them together. So if you comment every day on every post, you'll have 12 chances to win the big prize.
Graco has been gracious enough to give us a SweetPeace Newborn Soothing Center that we can give away to one of you!!!
If you haven't seen one of these yet, you won't believe your eyes. It is almost as good as Mama's arms. And Mama's arms are now open to fold the laundry or pull one of the older children off the top of the fridge. Even if you are beyond the newborn stage, I'm sure you know someone who would LOVE to have one of these.
So be sure to tune in every day starting next Monday, February 2, and leave a comment to win some fabulous prize. It will be loads of fun. And don't forget to grab your "I'm a Supersister" badge from over there on the left. It's just another way for us to spread the news and share the love.
My children never cease to amaze me. I walk this fine line between protecting them and letting them be free to be children. I guess I am always walking the line because I am forever trying to anticipate what the end result is going to be to some specific action.
Take the sledding, for instance. Ethan, while being a wild and crazy child, has his very sensitive moments. He is either falling down and laughing or falling down and assuming that the world has just come to an end. I am constantly trying to gauge what the final outcome will be before the event. Doesn't it sound like I am just trying to protect him like a good mom? Right? Actually I am just trying to avoid the 45 minutes of wailing for a crushed ego in case that is the emotion that chooses to surface. Because seriously, you mothers of girls who say, "at least you don't have the DRAMA all the time" really need to just knock it off. We know drama over here.
The picture above? Ethan started pulling Nathan in the sled down our ridiculously treacherous driveway. How treacherous is your driveway, Kristen? Um, my car, while being completely shoveled out, is stuck there until the ice melts. Sure I can try to drive it up the driveway but the last time I did that, I slid to the bottom and stopped just inches from the garage door. Inches. Whatever engineering scientist who came up with the slope to this driveway should be beaten with a wet noodle.
However, if you are nearly 4 and nearly 2, it is an excellent driveway for sledding. At their father's suggestion, Ethan began pulling the sled from the very top. About 2/3's of the way down, he slipped on the ice and when face first into the snow. The sled continued to go, pushing him down the driveway. His face was like our own personal driveway plow. When he got up after the last 20 foot slide on his face, he screamed, "AGAIN, NATE!!! AGAIN!!!!"
While I was glad to avoid the drama, I must say the window into my future was one filled with more trips to the ER. We've just added winter to the mix now. Oh, well.
You are not alone.
You are not the only one.
You aren't perfect and neither am I.
You can make amends.
You can make space for someone else to grow.
You can let your kids see the real you.
You can be in process.
You can start again.
You can learn something new every single day.
You can trust your kids to learn something new, too.
You can ask for help.
You can let yourself off the hook.
You can laugh if you want to.
You can be human.
You can be loved.
And here's a bonus link from one supersister to another. We're all in this together, girls. For real.
I've had a few big family doubts lately. Will we be able to give everyone the attention they deserve and need? Will someone get lost in the shuffle? I'm so grouchy, would I be more patient and kind if I had 2 children? The parenting doubt and guilt seems to be very much alive no matter the number, the circumstance or situation. Can we ever be everything we want to be to our children? No, probably not. Then we remember if we could be, it would probably ruin them. This brings me to the great roll watch of 2009.
Everyday Lyra gets closer and closer to rolling over. "Lead with your head!", I told her. Whoever is watching her at the moment yells when she is making a rolling attempt. Everyone else runs in like it's some amazing replay in the Superbowl or something. And then they stare and cheer her on.
"Who is the best roller in the family?" Jack says in 3 octaves higher than his regular voice.
"You can do it baby!" Josiah believes.
"Come on mamacita!" Lucy insists.
The good news is that for every time she cries a little too long waiting for someone to pick her up, there are moments like these. Moments when she is the entire world.
She finally did it today, our rolling girl. Lucy caught it before anyone else. I watched as she showed me. It was big news on the car ride home from pick-up. They gathered around to show Jorge when he got home from work. These little happenings keep me going until the next time I am sure this is all too much and we are not enough. We are enough, we are all okay.
What little bit of parent guilt are you carrying around today? Do share in the comments, I'm pretty sure we'll all feel better if you do.
The conversation started and seemed to spiral out of control before I caught on.
Ethan: Why do witches have gingerbread houses?
I swear, I do not know where these kids come from sometimes. Or what is going on in their heads. The total extent of our gingerbread house knowledge at our house (as far as I know, or should I say, knew) was making a gingerbread house for Christmas.
Derek: Well, witches have gingerbread houses so they can lure children in who love candy and then eat them.
I swear, I do not know where my husband comes from sometimes. Or what is going on in his head. I'm not exactly sure how I would have fielded that question but I know in all certainty that it wouldn't have involved eating small children. Call me crazy. But in his defense, my husband kept going.
Derek: That's why you are never supposed to take candy from strangers. A stranger could offer you some candy but then could hurt you.
Hmm. Not bad. Not my first choice but apparently effective.
Derek: So if someone you don't know offers you candy, what do you say?
Ethan: NO, SIR!!! (yelling)
Derek: And then you yell for help. You yell "I want my mom and dad!!"
Ethan: I will, Dad.
Kristen: What if it's really good candy?
Ethan: I won't take it, Mom. I know you will give me some candy if I don't take it from someone else.
Kristen: That's right, Buddy.
Life lessons come in the strangest ways sometimes. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.
Do you have a new baby coming soon? Want to cook with your kids? Need a new way to help your child overcome frustration? Come see what lovely links we've found for you.
Sometimes it takes an experience with a first baby to help you realize that you need to make a change to a new health care practitioner. Check out this playful and sage advice about how to choose an OB/GYN from Amalah on AlphaMom.
Winter is the perfect time to cook with small children. Use this guide to help you avoid common frustrations in the kitchen when you want to include your kids. You'll be delighted to see what good things start simmering in your family when you work together.
Are your kids hitting one of those developmental stages where the task at hand leads to tears more than progress? Here are some good tips to help you ease them through the transition time while they learn to conquer new skills.
Are your kids close together in age? I've always marveled at parents who skillfully navigate the sibling issues that arise when kids are overlapping in development. Check out this helpful article to help you avoid the chaos and create the ties that bond.
It's been brought to my attention that my life appears to be, well, dreamy, chock full of meaningful art moments and conversation. There's something you should know my friends. The truth is for every dreamy moment there are 3 in which someone is complaining, crying, arguing and I wonder why I even suggested such a project in the first place. Remember this?
So here are the tips I've learned in squeezing out the moments in life and cultivating opportunities for connection.
1. Let your children lead. Projects always go better when the kids decide what and how we are going to do something. Ownership makes everyone responsible and creates space for everyone to contribute.
2. Start with a question. Ask your kids what they think about a particular topic or how they can approach a task. You can offer options after to guide the process.
Ex. I have a problem, can you guys help me? What do you think we should do about...?
How should we celebrate...?
3. Let it be. If everyone has a horrible time on your kindness mission, or they fight over color choices for your group art project, it's okay. Not every experience will be perfect or lovely. These are opportunities to navigate group dynamics, personal growth, or just be in a family funk together. Don't give up, keep trying.
4.Leave some space. Some of the best moments just happen on their own. It's the beauty of letting life unfold before you.
What are your tricks for creating family togetherness or meaningful moments? Tell us dear ones in the comments.
Do you ever have one of those moments in parenting when you think, "I'm thinking a do-over would be helpful right about now?"
I got on a plane last week with Ethan and Nathan. I am 8 months pregnant. We had two seats for the three of us. Several people asked why I didn't buy an extra seat so we would each have one. Besides the fact that money doesn't grow on trees around here, it was a matter of principal. The airline will be extorting money out of me as of February, when Nathan becomes two. They are already getting me for $15 a bag and a 50 pound weight limit for my bag. I'm not giving them one extra dollar until I am required. I think there may have been a fee more fees I am forgetting about right now but it seems like you are constantly pulling out your wallet.
It's always that game when you get on a plane. Do you go during nap time and hope for the best (only if you have lost your mind)? Early in the morning, requiring you to wake the kids up before their normal rising time? I did all of these things and needless to say, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown right there on the plane.
To be honest, I think the key is a crowded vs. empty flight. No good is ever going to come from having someone sit in the seat in front of your toddler. Especially if that person is not quite bright enough to realize that the little feet couldn't reach the seat to kick it until he placed it in a full recline mode. And he didn't think to just put the seat back up to solve the problem of the kicking feet or my 300th "STOP TOUCHING THE SEAT." He just turned and glared. I wanted to feel bad but his solution was right in front of him. I have to live with my problem until high school graduation at least.
I had the complete bag of tricks (stickers, markers, paper, books, glue, fruit snacks). There is really nothing you can do when you have two children with more energy than a power plant. The trip was well worth it but I have to say I'm glad that I will never again have to travel as a big pregnant woman alone with two kids. At least the older one didn't throw up. Tell me your tragic travel story. I need to feel like I'm not the only one to make such a crazy decision in my emotional/physical state.
Today I watched while Patience zipped up Lyra in a front-pack carrier and headed off to the National Mall with Dave and a small collection of friends determined to watch history in the making. Lines quickly morphed into crowds, cell phone coverage was sketchy and the chances of hearing let alone getting up towards the front were slim. Still, the desire to be connected and to be a part of something new overruled more practical concerns.
Madeleine and two of her friends decided at the last minute they wanted to go downtown, too, while the boy cousins opted to stay home, sleep in and celebrate by playing the Wii. No matter. This is the first inauguration our children are most likely to remember, and chances are good that they'll grow up thinking it's completely unremarkable that a black man served as President of the United States. They'll reflect not on the color of his skin but the content of his character. They'll have a hard time wrapping their minds around the idea that anyone ever thought it could not happen. They'll marvel that it took us so long to understand that this is the way it was always meant to be.