An Open Letter to the Tooth Fairy

Dear Tooth Fairy,

Last week Farrah Abraham’s daughter lost a tooth. She got 600 dollars. Last night my daughter lost a tooth. She got five dollars. Now I’m not trying to stir the pot. I know you are a very busy lady, and if you are anything like my children’s teachers, you likely spend a lot of your free time fielding complaints from the parents of the children you work with. I wish I could let this slide, but I’m sensing something a little fishy, and as a mother I feel it’s my duty to at least voice my concerns.

When my daughter bounded out of her room at 6:00AM this morning with a note and five dollar bill clutched in her hand, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit slighted. Five dollars. That’s it! I thought as I surveyed her tight grasp on Abraham Lincoln’s face. My daughter was grinning so widely I could almost see her first missing molar as she announced “The tooth fairy gave me FIVE whole dollars!” I scowled back at her but managed to hold my tongue for fear of the obscenities that may or may not have left my lips had I allowed myself to speak at that moment. Was the tooth not shiny enough? Had it not been brushed or flossed enough? Was it the fact that she ran out of mouth wash several months ago and no matter how many times “Kids Act” was written on the shopping list, I just couldn’t manage to remember to bring a bottle home to her? I just need to know what exactly crossed your mind as you entered her bedroom through the window, reached in to your wallet, and decided to go for the fiver rather than the wad of hundreds I know you have sitting around in there.

Dear Tooth Fairy - An Open Letter to the Tooth Fairy

As you may have realized already, this tooth of my daughter’s is the first tooth she has ever chosen to give to you. Several years ago her older brother read a book called Throw Your Tooth on the Roof. Since he had always found you a little creepy, he decided to throw his teeth on the roof rather than allowing you entry to his bedroom. Naturally my daughter followed suit for her first 10 teeth, and it was only after some prodding from friends, as well as hearing about the cash incentive, that she decided to finally let you have a tooth (I know of your affinity for teeth and I have no doubt you likely found the others on the roof and took them home to your castle – unpaid). So you see, although this was my daughter’s eleventh tooth, this particular tooth was a very special one.

Now don’t get me wrong, had anyone asked me several weeks ago I would have thought five was a perfectly acceptable amount to give a child. I would have even thought it a little high! But after I heard about Little Sophia’s golden money-spinners, I polled a few children I know, and found that you were giving crisp twenties to many of the neighbor children.

I know you’re likely thinking about how content I was with the quarter you gave me as a girl. And yes that’s true. I was happy. It was big and round and shiny. And I, along with all the other quarter receiving kids of the eighties, were blissfully unaware that some teeth in the world were valued at more than twenty five cents.

I’m not sure what the best practice here would be. Perhaps as a mother I must simply learn to accept the disparity in tooth prices just as I learned to accept the disparity in jeans sizing. I realize giving every child 600 per tooth is likely not a reasonable solution considering supply and demand. I’m just feeling a little shafted and am hoping you can help me work through my big feelings on this.

And also, you forgot to close the bedroom window. Are we air conditioning the out doors here?

Thank you for your time,

Mother of a Small Bill Receiver

Back to School Must Haves

Back to School Must Haves

I really hate buying stuff. I’ve found that the more stuff we own, the more stuff I end up having to clean up off the living room floor. Which is why our Back to School Must Haves are limited to several items I actually feel we must have, as opposed to a long list of fun things like heart shaped erasers. The main thing I look for when buying things for my kids is how long the item will last. I’d rather spend slightly more on products that will last several years as opposed to spending less on something that will come apart quickly and end up in a landfill. Here are 5 of our favorite back to school must haves.

Jansport Backpack
I had the same backpack for most of my childhood, and I still use it today. It’s a Jansport. Jansport backpacks are super durable. If they do break, they have a lifetime warranty, and you can simply send them in for replacement. I like the larger size for my kids because of the extra pockets. I generally put the kids lunch and folders in the biggest pocket, anything they need for after school activities in the middle pocket, and their after school snack in the smallest pocket. One of my kids is the kind of child who will reach into their backpack for something, and accidentally knock half their belongings on the floor without noticing. Having everything separated and organized keeps items from being lost as easily. If you think your kid needs an exciting character backpack, just buy a Jansport and stick some pins on it for personalization.
Jansport Backpack Back to School Must Have

PlanetBox Lunchbox
When I first bought my kids PlanetBoxes I was a little nervous about the price tag, especially since one of my children looses everything. We are now going in to year 3 with these, and they look just as good as they did when we first bought them. Unlike plastic bento boxes, the stainless steel is super durable and comes clean really easily. We don’t have a dishwasher, so I love that I can give these a quick scrub down and have them look pristine. We ditched the magnets awhile ago and stuck Dymo name labels in their place. These lunch boxes come with a 5 year warranty, so that should give you an idea of how durable they are.

Pants with Reinforced Knees
Both of my older kids switched schools midyear to a school without uniforms. However, if your child is required to wear dress pants I can not recommend reinforced knees highly enough. With the regular French Toast khaki’s my son would literally put holes in the knee within a week (and sometimes even on the first day). Reinforced knees really, really help. Lands End makes a great uniform pant. Yes they cost twice as much, but they last 4 times as long, so it’s worth it (disclosure: that isn’t a scientific statistic, just my own guess). Plus, keep your eyes open because they do have sales.
first day of school

CamelBak Kid’s Water Bottle
When it comes to water bottles, I always go with the CamelBak. We have tried everything. Screw tops are a no go, because they don’t get screwed back on properly and leak all over backpacks. Push tops are a no go, because they don’t get pushed back in properly and leak all over backpacks. I like the CamelBak because it’s easy to clean, as opposed to some of the other water bottles with smaller openings that you can’t fit a sponge into. My kids inevitably end up losing the straws, but that doesn’t affect function.

Dymo Label Maker
This thing has literally been the key to my children holding on to their belongings. I spent a few years using sharpie markers. Over time the marker would fade, or maybe my handwriting just wasn’t clear enough to start with, either way lost belongings would never be returned. I am proud to say that aside from one water bottle that was lost forever on the soccer field, every lunch box, sweatshirt, and snack container has made it’s way home this year. The great thing about the Dymo is that you can put different kinds of tape in the labeler for different things. We’ve liked the cloth tape for labeling clothes, the plastic tape for labeling lunchboxes, snack containers, and water bottles, and the paper tape for labeling folders. Tip: Put your child’s name AND classroom on the label.
Dymo Labeler - Back to School Must Have

Need more back to school ideas? Check these out.
How to Pack a Bento Box
, Goodie Godmother
Perfect Teacher Gift for Back to School, Cook. Craft. Love.
Essential Oils for Back to School, Little Blog on the Homestead
Back to School Must Haves, No Bohn’s About It
Back to School Brunch, An Aiming High Wife

5 Perfect Back to School Ideas

Can Foster Parents Have Post Adoption Depression?

Can Foster Parents Have Post Adoption Depression?

Can foster parents have post adoption depression? I can’t say for certain, but I can tell my story.

My children arrived on a Friday afternoon many years ago. We had gotten “the call” on the Wednesday two days prior. You know what I mean by the call, the one you spend months waiting for, the one that makes you jump up and down with anticipation as you organize the sock drawer and wash the sheets on the spare bed. What would they look like? What would they like to do? We’re going to have so much fun together! I thought. Like so many people, I could hardly contain myself between the time time I said yes and the time two small children showed up at my door.

I’m not sure what I expected would happen first, but as soon as their foster caseworker left, the kids headed straight for the toy shelf and began unloading everything. They weren’t that interested in my attempts to engage them. After what felt like several hours but was really about two, I declared it bedtime and tucked them in for the night. They fell asleep almost instantly and I went and cried on the couch. What am I even crying for? I wondered. Was it them? Was it what they had gone through? Was it my own feelings of helplessness? I didn’t know, but the tears poured down. I felt exhausted. I hadn’t done anything that afternoon besides watch two children wreck a bedroom, yet I could barely muster the energy to change into my pajamas. I was certain it was just first day jitters. By 8:30 I had fallen asleep.

The next day was Saturday and my husband was working. I needed to take the kids to the pharmacy down the street and fill a prescription. That was the only thing on my agenda for the day. The 4 block walk suddenly seemed like an insurmountable task. I have to dress these children, and feed them, and walk them all the way down the street, I thought to myself. Followed quickly by Get it together Erin! Walking children down the street is not rocket science. I didn’t know why I was so overwhelmed by such a mundane task, but overwhelmed I was. At the same time I felt ridiculous for being overwhelmed. It’s not like I had never cared for a child before.

By the time Monday morning came I could not wait to return to work (an experience I have never looked forward to before in my life). I couldn’t wait to talk to adults and peacefully eat my lunch. As the day ended I looked at my watch with dread, oh no 6:00, I have to go home. The thought of going home was enough to get the tears going again. All the small things on the schedule, like dinner, baths, and reading stories seemed like too much. I knew I could make myself do them, but for some reason something inside me just didn’t want to. I arrived at the daycare and the kids ran to hug me, I hugged back while simultaneously feeling like I was trapped in a straight jacket by their arms.

Everyone kept asking how it was going. Great! It’s great! I enthusiastically told each and every person who asked over the next few weeks. And each and every time I felt like a big fat faker. I would smile, and laugh, and tell stories about all the cute things the kids had said or done. While secretly feeling certain I just wasn’t cut out for this whole foster parent thing after all. I considered calling the caseworker and letting her know that being a foster parent wasn’t the gig for me, but the fear of other’s judging my failure kept me moving forward. Numerous people had told me beforehand that I shouldn’t be a foster parent, that I was too young, that I didn’t know what I was doing, I couldn’t stand admitting all those people had been right. Fear of judgement kept me from reaching out for support. I continued to go through the motions, simply to save face, but each night I dreaded the arrival of the next day.

Slowly, things started to change. People always ask me how long it took. I can’t remember, I don’t think I want to. Several weeks atleast. It was a slow upturn. One night I found myself enjoying board games with the kids. A few nights later when they snuggled up for a movie I felt myself enjoying the closeness. A Friday came, and I found myself excited to have the weekend to spend with them. Slowly but surely I became the foster parent I thought I would be. I loved my kids and I loved getting to be their mom, even if it was only for a little while*.

It wasn’t until years later that I learned about Post Adoption Depression or The Post Adoption Blues which affect roughly 65% of all adoptions (the majority of that 65% being experienced by mothers who adopt children over age 1). As a foster parent, I’m not sure one can technically have post adoption depression, since one hasn’t technically adopted. But I think often times the same contributing factors are there. The stress, the new routine, the experience being different than expected. People at training can tell you a thousand times that bonding takes time, and older children come with a lot of needs, but until you are in the trenches, it’s hard to know what it will feel like. It’s no wonder such a large percent of foster parents quit within the first year. If I could relive those moments, I would have reached out for a support system sooner, and I urge anyone who is struggling to reach out to their agency or a professional now. I’m not sure that I would have been given an official diagnoses of post adoption depression had I visited a specialist, but I can definitely say that I struggled with some post placement blues. I think a lot of people do. I wish I hadn’t been so worried about saving face, it would have been nice to have someone assure me that the way I was feeling would pass.

Can Foster Parents Have Post Adoption Depression?

*After fostering our children for 3 and a half years we were able to adopt them, but at the start (as is the case with most foster placements) we were told it would only be for a little while.

Now on to the Adoption Talk Linkup!

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Today’s topic is Adoption Hurdles. Grab a button for your post and join Jamie, Jenni, Jill, Madeleine, Rachel, and me!

New to linking up? We’d love to have you join us, here’s how.

No Bohns About It


Coping With a Miscarriage During My Husband’s Deployment

Today’s guest post was written by Tara. She is the spouse of an active duty service member, and suffered a miscarriage while her husband was deployed. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, here is how.

Coping with a miscarriage during my husband's deployment

My husband and I were married a few years ago. Upon returning to work between our wedding and our honeymoon my husband found deployment papers on his desk. It was time to deploy, again. We would still be able to enjoy our 2 week honeymoon in Europe, shortly after returning home he would need to leave for training. My husband came home few times between trainings and I flew out to one of his locations for a long weekend.  After training he had 2 more weeks at home before leaving for 6+ months (deployments are almost always longer then they say).

My husband and I always talked about having a big family. So after the wedding we choose to start trying to add to our family. I took a pregnancy test right before my husband left after being a few days late for my period but it was negative. It stung, we wanted a family so bad, and now it would be put on hold until he came home.

I remember driving him to the airport and apologizing that I wasn’t pregnant. I know it was silly apologizing for something that I couldn’t really control. This particular drop off was harder then the last. This time we were married. This time we put starting a family on hold until he was home. This time it was a public airport not a military one. As I walked with my husband to his gate, trying to hold back my tears, a lot of people shook my husbands hand and wished him luck. Those same people would glance at me, with my eyes full of tears, and give me a slight smile because no one knew what to say to the emotional wife. Then one lady, I will never forget, walked up to us and looked me dead in the eye and asked if I was scared that he would die over there. I couldn’t answer. This is something that terrifies me every day while he is gone. Yet this deployment I was focusing on starting a family when he got home, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that he might not come home. The more I thought about it, the more emotional I got. What if that two months was my only chance of giving my husband the family he wanted? We said our tearful ‘see you soons’ and my husband sent me on my way. We have a few rules: Never say good-bye, it is always see you soon, and don’t stand there and watch him get on the plane. We walk away from each other, that way we are leaving each other behind.

Two weeks later my husband had safely landed in his final destination and we got to talk on the computer. Every time I could see him it would make my day. This particular time I was so excited to talk to him I could hardly wait. I had been to the doctor the day before and found out that I was pregnant. Telling him over the computer wasn’t ideal, but it is part of being a military family. He was so excited I could see his glowing smile through all the scrambled pixels.

The next week I went back to the doctor for blood work,  I have a blood condition that required monitoring every 3 days in the beginning. Everything was looking good. Then early the following week I had my blood drawn, and received a phone call to come in the next day to have my blood drawn again. After taking my blood they sent me to my doctors office. She came in with a very serious look on her face. She told me that my levels weren’t rising. They had me come back in 2 days and repeat the blood work. Again my levels had not changed. My doctor scheduled an ultrasound. There was no visible heartbeat. It was not a viable pregnancy.

I was crushed. All I remember was sitting in my doctors office staring straight ahead thinking, how was I ever going to tell my husband. The next day when he called me on the computer and I saw his smiling face I broke down. I thought telling him we were having a baby over the computer was hard. Telling him we weren’t was even harder. I felt like I let him down. For the next week I didn’t leave the house. I spent days and nights cuddled on the couch with our dog crying my eyes out.

My friends and family were there to help me through this rough time, they did their best to keep me busy. Yet, all I could think about was how much I wanted to be there for my husband. After a quick discussion we decided to put our feelings on hold and didn’t talk about what happened again until my husband returned home. I just tried to let it go, and not dwell on it, I had plenty of other things to worry about. However once my husband returned home it was like reliving the whole experience over again. We both had a mix of emotions. We were sad and frustrated. We were also happy to be together again and anxious to start trying again. I still have very mixed feelings about the entire experience, its a mix of sadness for the baby we never got to meet, and I feel lucky. If it had not happened we wouldn’t have the amazing wonderful girl we have today.

Now looking back, I am thankful that when we did get pregnant again, my husband was home. I got to tell him we were having a baby face to face. He got to be at the doctor appointments, we got to hear her heartbeat for the first time together, he got to feel her kick, and he was there when she was born. A lot of military daddies don’t get to be there for it all, and my husband did. When I think about it, I know it happened for a reason and our marriage is stronger because of it.

Coping with a Miscarriage During My Husband's Deployment

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Coping with a Miscarriage During My Husband's DeploymentTara from An Aiming High Wife, is the spouse of an active duty service member. This is a post she wrote during her husband’s deployment. She has a beautiful daughter and 2 dogs that make her want to pull her hair out on a regular basis. She and her husband have called 3 states and 5 different houses, home in the last 5 years.

Monday Morning Coffee Talk: Dream Vacation

Monday Morning Coffee Talk: Dream Vacation

My son asked me over the weekend if I had noticed that we haven’t planned a vacation yet for the summer. Yes I’ve noticed, and no we aren’t planning on planning one! Was the first response that popped in to my mind. Thankfully my brain stopped my mouth before I had the chance to spit out my words of impatience. Instead I asked, if we could plan a vacation to anywhere, you know a “dream vacation” what kind of vacation do you wish we could plan? One of my son’s best friends is spending the summer in Italy, another is spending several weeks in Amsterdam, I guess I assumed my son would have some kind of fancy international request. “Hm. Probably Chicago or Mount Rushmore.” He said after taking a few minutes to think it over. He did his “fifty states” assignment on Illinois, and has since taken an interest in Chicago. He’s always liked George Washington, so it makes sense that he would want to see a giant memorial featuring our first president.

“What’s your dream vacation mommy?” He asked with interest. My mind started racing with kangaroos in the outback and relaxing on a beach in Bora Bora.

African Safari - at 6 flags

That one time I took my family on an African safari. (Disclosure: It was at 6 Flags)

I have so very many dream vacations. Instead of going too crazy I decided to build on his and picked a road trip across the country, which is something I’ve been dreaming of doing for years, though don’t see our family having the time or resources to do in the foreseeable future. James and I ended up verbally planning a month long loop around the United States that involved Chicago, Mount Rushmore, and visits to just about every family member who has moved away. Although I’m not a planner, we had so much fun discussing it. Someday I really do think we’ll do it in some form.

If time and money were no object, what would your dream vacation be? Feel free to share your realistic or completely unrealistic plans. Talk to me about dream vacations on this Monday morning!

Friday Favorites

Just a few of our Friday favorites from this week.

Favorite Picture: Somehow I only managed to take my real camera out once this week. So I guess the choices for favorite picture are pretty limited. This really is a favorite though. Violet was pretending to put her baby doll and her Mickey Mouse to sleep, while giving baby a snuggle she decided to go ahead and take a nap herself.
Napping with baby and MickeyFavorite Story: One of my kids is a bit forgetful. I don’t want to point any fingers…. but it’s James. Well the other day while getting his lunch box out of his backpack I found a 4th of July paper plate maraca that he made at camp. This was after the 4th of July. It was nicely decorated, which is unusual for James who generally puts a few scribbles on things before calling it a day. Did you want to keep this? Or should I recycle it since the 4th of July is over? I asked him assuming it was from some camp activity and he was done with it. He looked at me in complete shock and said “I made that for Violet! I even went to art class and I hate art class just to make it for her! I wanted her to be able to shake it on the 4th of July but I forgot to give it to her!” Naturally I felt like the worst mom ever for suggesting he throw it out. He really is the sweetest big brother. The paper plate maraca is currently sitting in the toy box. I talked him out of saving it until October and giving it to her for her Birthday. I hope Violet gives it the appreciation it deserves.

Favorite Search Term that lead someone here: “Coffee made me happy and not care about anything.” Good. Me too. You’ve come to the right blog.

Favorite Book: I’ve just started reading Chicken Soup for the Soul’s The Joy of Adoption. Although the subtitle “meant-to-be kids” made me cringe, I love short stories, so it seemed like a good fit for me. I’ve been skipping around from story to story and have found some I really relate to (others not as much). I would have liked to have more of the stories written from adoptees and birth moms, but overall I am enjoying what I’ve seen so far.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Adoption (101 Stories about Forever Families and Meant-to-Be Kids)

Favorite Recipe: These Brown Butter White Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches on An Aiming High Wife‘s blog look amazing. Will someone make them for me? Please and thank you.
Brown Butter White Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

I recently read an article on Elite Daily called The New Face Of Motherhood: Young, Cool Moms Who Are Totally Killing It. According to Elite, well dressed, white, hip fashionistas are the new face of motherhood (as opposed to the old face of motherhood, which consisted of wrinkly faces and high waisted jeans). I’m youngish (29), I’m coolish (depending on which kid you ask), and I’m definitely totally killing it (and by totally killing it I’m talking about my kid’s goldfish and all the houseplants that I’ve accidentally murdered). Despite being young, cool, and killing it, not a single selfie of me made the list (shocker I know).

That’s okay, to be honest I wasn’t too keen on this particular list. I’m not sure why it showed up in my newsfeed three times yesterday. Are people actually believing this !@#$%^&*? I wondered to myself, because I certainly wasn’t.

Every Millennial mom knows you’re not really pregnant until it’s Facebook official.

Actually science has proven that you’re not really pregnant until a fertilized egg implants in to your uterus.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

Admittedly I did share our daughters birth on Facebook. So much quicker (and cheaper) than baby announcements.

You only buy all-natural, organic, gluten free, non-GMO baby food.

Because that’s the only kind of baby food that stores sell these days. And also because I care about healthy eating habits. A lot.
The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

Or, you just make it yourself from scratch because you can never be too sure.

Cooking from scratch is very important in our family.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

In case you can’t tell, that’s a cake.

If you’re into ink, there’s a good chance you have a tattoo of your baby’s name.

My husband has a tattoo of Roseanne Barr. I sometimes have some pink dolphins. I guess that shows where our allegiances lie.
The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

Your Instagram has slowly become your kid’s Instagram.

But only because my followers seem to like pictures of my kids more than pictures of my salad.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

You consider yourself to be way more fun than the ordinary mom.

Oh yeah I’m totally fun. I tell my kids all the time that I’m a fun mom. Yet for some reason they pretend not to know me when I pull all my fun antics out in public.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

The only kid left who isn’t embarrassed to be seen with me.

Your closet does not contain a single pair of “mommy jeans”….

That’s true. Mostly because my closet barely contains any clothes at all. They are all in the hamper hoping and praying for a laundry day.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

TBT to the time our family occupied 9 dryers at the laundromat

And style is still a top priority for both you and your baby.

I’m too busy focusing on keeping my children alive to worry about how stylish they look.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

My sons shoes. Stylish right? He’s going for the well worn look here obviously.

In fact, your little one probably owns more accessories from Etsy than you do.

Yes. Mostly because I don’t own anything from Etsy, and all together, my daughters own 2.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

And you get your baby’s #OOTD inspiration from pint-sized Insta-famous fashionistas.

I might if I had an idea what #OOTD was.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

I googled it. Outfit of the day. This is my daughters outfit of the day. Faux fur in the middle of July.

Your child’s birthday parties are just a real-life version of your Pinterest boards.

My children’s birthday parties involve cake and candles. And apparently a lack of instagram photos.

You know the lyrics to “Let It Go” better than any of your kids.

As does every red blooded American.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

Wow a Frozen shirt, Merry Christmas to me.

You have no shame wearing matching outfits with your little one on the reg…

I do have shame using the phrase “on the reg” but yeah, matching is a big deal in our house.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

We gave each other matching pedicures

Your baby is pretty much attached to your hip and goes everywhere with you.

Heavens no. In fact she’s at daycare right now attached to some other lady’s hip.

And your 3-year-old can work a tablet better than your parents.

Everyone can work a tablet better than my parents.

And you have more fun hanging out with your baby BFF than most of your adult friends.

For an hour or two, and then I start begging for adult interaction.

The Face of Motherhood: Young, Cool, Moms (who are just as mom like as every other mom)

I love them. A lot. But I also love hanging out with adults whose faces I do not have to wipe.

We love our kids, just like every generation of moms. We’re working hard to raise smart, kind, hardworking people who will hopefully make this world a better place, just as we aim to do. We’re not any cooler or more stylish than any one else out there, and we certainly don’t make that a priority in our parenting. Call me crazy, but there is so much more to a millennial mom’s life than her kid’s fashion sense.

Best Laid Plans (Yet Another Reason I Am Not a Planner)

Best Laid Plans2

A lot of my friends are planners. Sometimes, I’d really like to be a planner. Planners always have an assortment of delicious snacks in their purse and they arrive on time to everything. They come up with ideas (also known as plans) and those ideas work. I’d like to carry bandaids and when some kid at the playground scrapes their knee, I’d like to remember that I put them in my purse. I’d like to give our guests a tissue instead of a wad of toilet paper. I’d like to have an extra pair of pants handy when the pair I’m flying by the seat of gets ripped. I’d just like things to go smoothly every now and again.

On Sunday I decided to try being a planner. Rob and James were kayaking for the day, so Mariyah, Violet, and I would do something fun. A little “girls day” if you will. After careful consideration we (and when I say we, I mean I) selected the pool as our destination. I did the things that planners do. I called ahead to check if it was open. I packed a pool bag and remembered snacks and goggles and sunscreen. I put Violet down for her nap a little bit early so that she would wake up a little bit early leaving plenty of time for afternoon pool enjoyment. It was all so perfectly planned, that had I had a horn I would have started tooting it.

Until Violet woke up. I went to dig the stroller out of the closet. Gone. Apparently I had left it in the back of the van which Rob had taken kayaking. No biggie, I thought to myself. I’ll make a new plan. I’ll wear my baby. I used to wear my baby all the time when she was small. People like wearing babies. Wearing babies promotes bonding. Bonding is really really important. I think. At least thats what someone who planned to have well bonded kids told me. The walk to the pool will be a bonding experience I decided. It’s okay if my baby isn’t a baby anymore, she’s not that heavy of a toddler. It’s okay if it’s nearly 90 degrees out, women in Africa can do it so I can too. Slightly frazzled, I dressed Violet in her swim suit and little swim diaper. Mariyah and I dressed ourselves in our swim suits (sans little swim diapers).

Off we set. Toddler strapped to my front. Pool bag strapped to my back. 7 year old metaphorically strapped to my side. A few blocks in to our 1 mile stroll I noticed my daughter carrying towels. Why’d you take the towels out of the pool bag? I asked her. “I didn’t take them out. I decided to bring more.” Sure. Because why shouldn’t a family of 3 bring 6 towels to the swimming hole. On we trudged.

About halfway in to our journey I started thinking that perhaps walking to the pool in the heat wasn’t a good idea after all. Although I had remembered snacks, naturally I had forgotten water bottles. The pool bag and my toddler were both digging in to my shoulders. We passed a playground with a sprinkler and I tried to talk the girls into playing there rather than the pool, they didn’t go for it. “Sprinklers aren’t that much fun for me,” Mariyah said. To be honest sprinklers aren’t that much fun for me either, so I understood where she was coming from.

After what felt like an eternity (20 minutes) we finally reached our destination, where we found a big old locked gate. I flung the pool bag onto the ground and sunk into a bench while I called the office to see if they planned on reopening anytime soon. They didn’t. Although I had ever so carefully called ahead, a child had ever so carefully left a “code brown” in the pool between the time we left the house and the time we arrived. Of all the gin joints….

“There’s a pool by my school.” My ever helpful towel toter piped in. Yes, yes, the pool by the school.

For some reason I felt light as we walked along. This was going to be easy. The pool by the school was actually a bit nicer. There was a fun shallow section. The journey was downhill. We would arrive before we knew it. “Can I have a snack?” A snack. From the pool bag. Which I carefully packed. And left by the bench. Back we turned…. up the hill to get our bag…. and start back down again.

Pool 2 was about a mile and a half from pool 1. Violet and I were both covered in sweat courtesy of our familial bonding experience. I’m always very apprehensive about her and dehydration, so we stopped for some water bottles. I asked Mariyah if she might be able to carry the pool bag. “I can carry Violet! Pool bags aren’t that much fun for me.” To be honest pool bags aren’t that much fun for me either, so I understood where she was coming from. But Violet weighed twice as much as the pool bag, so the chances of her carrying Violet for more than a block were miniscule. I ended up using my parenting clout and she carried the pool bag (now stuffed with 6 towels).

“I’m so glad we got that water!” Mariyah smiled happily at me. Me too sweetie, I agreed. As if she was trying to say “Yes me too people!” Violet took that opportunity to pee. In her swim diaper. AKA on me. Because swim diapers only hold solids, not liquids. And everyone who knows anything about planning to take their children to the pool knows that you are supposed to plan to change your baby into their swim diaper at the pool, not at home. If you do change them at home, you drive swiftly to the pool, you do not traipse 2 and a half miles around town in search of a pool and then give your child a giant water bottle. “Mommy, you’re lucky I planned ahead and brought extra towels!” Yes. Yes I am.

We finally made it to the pool, showered, and enjoyed an afternoon of swimming bliss (and when I say afternoon I mean hour because pool number 2 closed earlier than pool number 1). Like so many of my days as a parent, best laid plans. But we made it, so that means we get to chalk it up as a win right?Best Laid Plans1

8 Real Responses to Your Child’s Boredom

Childhood. Spending the school year wishing for summer, and the summer complaining you’re bored.

Or maybe that’s just my kids.

Real Responses to Your Child's Boredom

We don’t do many organized activities in the summer aside from camp, so our weekends and afternoons are generally pretty free. Naturally all that free time leads to the ever popular childhood claim of boredom (it’s a classic and I admit to using it myself back in the day). Now that I’m an adult (sort of) I figure boredom is good for kids, it leads them to creative thinking and that whole self entertainment thing that I am hoping to instill in them.*

I’ve seen several large lists circling the internet chock full of ideas for parents to give their children when bored.

I’m sorry, but 101 Fun Responses to Your Child’s Boredom is the worst idea ever. When your child comes to you with boredom the last thing you want to do is turn yourself into the entertainment by giving them ideas. The conversation will go like this:

Child: I’m bored!
Parent: How about baking some cookies for the elderly neighbor?
Child: That sounds boring.
Parent: Have you considered playing outdoors with sidewalk chalk?
Child: I tried that for 7 seconds yesterday. Too boring.
Parent: How about a wild game of chutes and ladders with your sibling?
Child: Board games are boring.
Parent: What about inviting a friend over?
Child: That sounds bor-… Well. Okay.
45 minutes later – after several phone calls, searching for everyone’s shoes, loading everyone into the car, and driving across town and back to pick up your child’s super fun best friend forever.
Child and friend together in perfect unison: We’re bored.

It’s (probably) a scientifically proven fact that the best way of responding to bored children is by giving the most boring response possible. The more entertaining your answer, the more your child will rely on you during those dark, bleak times in their life known as boredom. Select just one or two responses and use them every single time. You want your child’s thought process to go like this. 1) I’m bored. 2) I’ll ask mom. 3) No never mind, mom will just say ________. I’ve compiled a few ideas for you. Remember use only one or two every single time and forget about the others.

Child: I’m Bored!

Me too. Now entertain me!
Then force your child to tap dance or play a tune on the piano or sing for you or something. Make sure they go practice in their room first. Don’t let them rope you in to entertaining THEM. They are to entertain YOU.

Good. Because someone needs to clean the bathroom.
Or car. Or garage.

Good. Because I have some worksheets for you to do.
They probably need to brush up on their handwriting anyway.

When was the last time you took a shower?
This is my personal favorite and the one I find currently most effective on my own hygiene hating children. I generally add a few sniffs in their direction for good measure.

You’re bored? Get away from me. I’ve heard boredom may be contagious.
Then shoo your child out of the room and don’t let them back in until they have recovered from their boredom.

Are you bored of being bored because being bored is boring?
This one is mostly for my actor friends. Get a little vocal warmup in every time your child claims boredom.

Only boring people get bored.
Use a really monotone voice for this one. And repeat it over and over again.

Silence
Say nothing. If you feel your child really could use some helpful ideas, “101 Fun Responses to Your Child’s Boredom” may actually come in handy here. Print list. Laminate. When your child claims boredom, just slide the packet of ideas in their direction and continue what you were doing without a word.

*We aren’t experts in this field by any means, and teaching my kids to entertain themselves is a work in progress as evidenced by the fact that they have both taken several showers this summer.

Friday Favorites

Here are a few of our Friday Favorites from this week.

Favorite Picture – Mariyah was painting my toenails and insisted that Violet needed to get in on the action. Violet wasn’t feeling well so I didn’t think she would be interested, but she proved me wrong! Afterwards she strutted around the house showing her toes to everyone who would look at them just like Yiyah. How sweet are these sisters?
Sister Manicure

Favorite Post – When you have a blog, it’s really weird to see what posts people love and hate. Sometimes no one reads your very best stuff, and sometimes lots of people share posts that you didn’t think would get much traffic, as was the case with a post I wrote earlier this week on Violet’s chronic illness. Here it is in case you missed it then.

Favorite Story – Okay so this cracked me up a little bit. I was in the kitchen last night cleaning up from dinner and I could hear James and Mariyah talking in the living room. They were whispering (loudly, since neither one is exactly proficient at the whisper).
Mariyah: Do you think there’s going to be ice cream for dessert?
James: No way.
Mariyah: What? Why not?! I saw cookies and cream in the freezer!
James: That was last weekend Mariyah. there’s no way there is any of that left. Mommy has definitely finished it by now.

For the record there WAS ice cream left, although I had made a dent in it I had not actually finished it. But man, my kid knows me too well.

Favorite Book – Violet is just as hooked on The Very Hungry Caterpillar this week as she was last week, Mariyah and James have been rereading The Ramona books. Of all the series we own Ramona has definitely logged the most page turns. I think we’ve read every single book 3 or 4 times. I’ve got to be honest, I prefer the old illustrations, but atleast the story still rocks.
The Ramona Quimby series by Beverly ClearyFavorite Recipe – I’m pretty picky about beverages. Most of the time I would just prefer to drink water. I know, I know, party animal in the house. But these Classic Mint Mojitos from Goodie Godmother look amazing. I love how refreshing a mojito is in the summer.
Classic Mint Mojitos