Here's to your favorite funny face makers this sunny May weekend! If you're looking for good reading material this weekend, here are our favorites from the week:
How do you handle your media preferences for your kids when they're off at someone else's house? Movie critic and mom Sandie Angulo Chen offers this media playdate protocol for the next time screens are part of the fun.
Want to hear what our favorite media experts have to say about kids and screens? Check out this complete guide with sage advice for kids of all ages.
One Silicon Valley mom reviews famous kids and famous mothers who have something to say about where they came from and where they're going. Read her balanced perspective on the way our children view us.
We noticed Josiah could barely see the television the other night during a family movie . He was squinting and asked to borrow Jorge's glasses for just a second. "Everything is so much bigger and brighter!" he said.
The next day I found myself will all four kids at the eye doctor's office. Poor Josiah, it was quite a scene. After waiting almost 30 minutes to been seen, the doctor ushered all five of us to the tiny examination room. It was just too much excitement for the peanut gallery to be quiet.
"You're doing great Josiah!" Lucy kept saying.
"Josiah, are you a little bit embarassed you are gonna need glasses Josiah? It's o-kay!" Jack said on repeat.
"F, Y, T, Z!" Lucy kept yelling in an attempt to help Josiah get the right answers. I think those are the only letters she knows.
After eye drops and even more tests, the doctor asked how he has been doing in school because it was a pretty strong prescription for the first time. My straight A guy has managed to make it in his fuzzy world. When all was done, we went to pick out frames. He picked the most rad pair. I love how funky they are. He asked if we could go to Chick-Fil-a to celebrate while we waited for his prescription. We toasted to a new world of everything becoming bigger and brighter.
On the way home he asked me what it meant to be a nerd. I could see the wheels turning and anticipating what might be waiting for him at school the next day. Part of my heart was in my throat as this is one of those moments where you have to walk beside your child instead of in front to protect him. We talked about how the word "nerd" can be mean but how in the end nerds rule the earth. We discussed all the super heroes with glasses. He smiled. I listened as he made his plan for less than positive responses and found his way to embracing this new part of himself.
All in all school went well, a few comments that were not the greatest but nothing terrible. He seemed proud and just fine. We even went to our neighbors for a popsicle party to show off the new lenses. I think we are all seeing a whole lot more.
If you wear glasses, do you remember your first pair? Any advice for navigating this change?
This life I am living is not familiar to me.
Growing up there were the four girls. When we fought, we yelled. Rumor on the street was that the two youngest may have actually exchanged blows but I can't believe that. We just yelled. And sulked. I did a LOT of sulking in my time.
Now I have three boys. Grant it, the baby isn't really doing anything just yet, but those older boys? They know how to rumble. The best part is that they aren't fighting. They are playing. It started last week when Derek mentioned to me that the boys were getting rougher and rougher. I was all "whatever" because I barely know my name these days let alone what craziness is going on around me.
Until today. Today the boys were climbing all over me when I was trying to nurse Mason. Mason doesn't seem to care that there are four people attempting to occupy the same space at the same time, but I have had all I can take of everyone on top of me. We need no distractions around here.
K: Why don't you boys wrestle?
Ethan: Okay, Mom. Nate, let's wrestle.
Nate proceeds to go over and lie down in the middle of the floor. Hello, submissive.
But two seconds later there is a rumble across my living room floor. It is all arms and all legs. I sat there in complete disbelief. Somehow we had crossed a line from a toddler and preschooler doing a little shoving to all out wrestling moves. I actually watched Nate drop his center of gravity and charge Ethan at his waist, sending him flying.
If there had been a fly in the room, he would have had complete access to the inside of my mouth. This went on for five minutes and they were laughing hysterically. I was wondering who was going to end up in the emergency room. In the end, no one got hurt and they just moved on to some other form of mischief.
I know I am supposed to encourage them to get their energy out and this turned out to be a relatively harmless activity, but I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown with all the body slamming. This isn't exactly how I envisioned raising boys. Am I the only one who is surprised by this motherhood thing?
Here's a confession: When I was in fourth grade, crushed under the weight of my school-wide reputation as being a straight A student and all around goody-goody, I learned how to swear. I was careful to keep my potty mouth to myself and a close circle of friends, in order to keep me under the parent/teacher radar and ensure all the perks of being a "good kid." But the thrill of saying bad words in the company of friends fed me with a love of scandal and outrageous behavior that I still secretly (or maybe not so secretly?) harbor. I never got caught and nothing bad happened, but there were always stories of those who weren't as lucky as I was--the girls who got their mouths washed out with soap. The boys who had to stand in corners for hours. And the very unfortunate few who withstood the torture of hot pepper and other hopefully now outlandish forms of behavior modification. It was a dangerous enterprise, I kid you not.
Now I have my own fourth grader who recently got caught on the front porch using less than PBS sponsored language in conversation with her younger brother. I wasn't there to witness, but Dave was. What to do? Make a big deal? Mandate silence? Give a lecture? Neither one of us had much of an answer.
Madeleine, however, had a very finally crafted policy on swearing that she is quite happy to share. "Here's how it works," she told us. "Grown-ups can swear in front of grown-ups, and kids can swear in front of kids, but neither one can swear in front of each other."
That's what she said, I swear.
I know what you're thinking. Ouch. And the more noble-spoken among you, Do we really need any swearing at all? Seriously? I plead the fifth on that one, but I'd like to know what you think. Swearing? No swearing? Consequences? No consequences? You can slice this one any which way and I'm not sure I have the answer.
I sort of have a black thumb, there might be one tiny shade of dark green but barely. It seems every plant I touch dies. I water too much or not enough, maybe it is just there are too many humans to take care of and other living things get the shaft. The funny part is, I love anything that is in the process of growing. My kids have been asking for quite some time if we could have a garden but since getting the lawn cut is a major challenge, we decided to start small.
I surprised them this weekend with gardening tools and eight hearty petunias.
They decided on the pattern and plan in which they would plant. Let's just say I've grown as a parent because it wasn't even, nor did the patterns match.
Lessons learned so far:
1. Let the kids pick. Kid decisions always invite investment in all forms.
From hauling those plants to the car all the way to clean up, every one will have more interest in the project.
2. Take advantage of teachable moments. (or not) There are about a gazillion science and life lessons associated with growing anything. You can use these opportunities to educate. If you are prone to squeezing lessons out of anything all the time, skip it and just get your hands dirty together and have fun.
3. Have a sprinkler party. This is the perfect time to end with something silly. Keep your regular clothes on and play in the sprinkler with your kids. I promise they will remember it forever.
Have you done any planting with your kids yet? Tell us your gardening tips for kids in the comments. Look for more gardening goodness on Friday when my kids and I set out to explore other families' gardens around town.
Check out our own PBS gardening expert Jamie Durie and all his great advice for gardening together. A very cute expert, I might add. Don't you think?
I'm not sure if this is a defense move, but I like to call it Mason's Karate Kid pose. I notice he does it when Nathan comes in the room.
He has spent this weekend with his father and his brothers, just spending time with the boys while Mom is off at work. Derek told me that in the car today, Ethan kept laughing in the back seat. When Derek asked him why he was laughing, Ethan told him that every he laughed, Mason would smile. Mason's smile would then make Ethan laugh harder.
Derek described his boys as "delightful" today. The older tried to help the younger and the youngest was just happy to be with his brothers. It's days like this that make you think that you just might survive and the kids might turn out alright. I think these are the days that make motherhood seem a whole lot less tedious and a lot more joyful. But maybe that's just me.
Here's hoping your Memorial Day weekend is full of the stuff that makes memories for years to come. If you're looking for ideas of what to do, here are a few tips to get you started:
Free Popsicle Stand. Pull out the cooler, load it up with ice and stock it up with that all-time kid favorite Flavor-Ice. Let your kids make a handmade sign that says, "Because You're So Cool! Free Popsicles!" Your neighborhood will be delighted by the surprise and your kids will get a glimpse at the power in giving goodness away.
Bike Safari. Since Carter started riding his bike, there's nothing that makes him happier than a longer trek to the streets far beyond our neighborhood. Turn your ride into a bike safari and bring along treats to eat when you get as far as you plan to go before returning home.
Gardening Goodness. There's nothing like a three-day weekend to inspire you to get your hands dirty and invite your favorite little mess-maker to do the same. Sunflowers thrive with little assistance and provide almost immediate gratification for your favorite little farmer.
Have a great weekend!
I'm convinced children are the masters at communicating and connecting in our world. Why we don't take notes and classes is a total mystery to me. A code has been created in our house during the last few weeks. It is what we like to call The Cricket Code.
I'm not sure how she came up with it but Lucy has been tagging "cricket" to our names during certain conversations. When we picked up that it was a kind of code we all started using it.
"We are the girls together! Right mama cricket?" Lucy said.
"We are Lucy cricket!" I replied.
The code usually means one of four things.
I want to connect.
I love you.
I need you.
In tense moments, I see her try the code to invite me to meet her in the middle. Other times it makes space for us to melt into a celebration of our shared goodness. Sometimes you just need a way to convey a thought or a feeling with out actually using the words. I am in awe when my children find ways to make our relationship better. In some ways I feel like I understand her in a way I never have before.
Do you have any codes or connecting games at your house? My friend Gina and her son Yates do this funny face game which ends in a tight hug and lots of giggling.
Are you looking for more help with this topic? I know I always am. Check out this guide for more connecting goodness.
Baby Mason comes by this face honestly. His brother? He's is a train wreck. I complained to his teacher last week about how he just barrels everyone over, ALL THE TIME. It's driving me crazy. He's running into things, knocking things over and generally creating quite a mess at all times.
His teacher reminded me that he is two. She reminded me that he has that eye issue. She reminded me that he has that foot that turns in. So now I'm frustrated at a kid that can't focus properly and has problems walking.
*hangs her head in shame*
Sometimes as a parent it is really easy to get in the moment and fail to see the big picture. For Nathan, the big picture is that objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear. His clunky sneakers might make it more difficult to navigate the clutter that is his life. And he might just be two years old.