Preschool Graduation May Surprise You

Mommy-and-Aud

Life has been crazy busy lately. We are moving at the end of the summer, so between finding us a new house, setting the kids up with their new schools, and all the end of the year events, the blog was put on hold. The great news is, I’m back, and have loads of fun posts ahead. Including one amazing coffee cake recipe that you must try!

Yesterday, was Audrey’s preschool graduation. At home, we’d been discussing this important day for a few weeks. The excitement was building and building for everyone, especially Audrey. To my surprise, when the day finally arrived, I was the one who felt most excited and emotional. So, mommas don’t be shocked when your little one finishes preschool, if you feel overwhelmed. Let me break it down for you. It’s not like she was receiving her masters degree, or even graduating high school, but it’s a significant milestone that she is growing up. Here are three surprisingly emotional moments I experienced yesterday. Those that have older children can probably relate!

Moment #1 Before the program begins all the parents wait anxiously, cameras prepared, for their handsome little one to walk down the aisle toward the grand stage. As the music softly plays, and each silly, happy face struts by the crowd, your heart smiles. The children slowly walk while searching and searching for their parents. Where is my Mom? Where is my Dad? You can read it on each of their faces. Then, when your child finally meets eyes with you, and forms the biggest grin from ear to ear, it’s that moment when you don’t know who is prouder? Your little one or you?

Moment #2 During our ceremony the children sang five songs. It can be summed up with one word – ADORABLE. You will only watch your child, because that’s what all parents do. It’s hilarious to see their little expressions and how serious they take singing for an audience. One of the songs performed was, “You are my sunshine”. I have been singing this song to Audrey since she was teeny tiny. I’m guessing other mom’s do too! I would softly whisper the song while rocking her to sleep. We still sing it today, only now, she knows the words. Often, she will ask me to hold her like a baby while we sing it together, which makes her giggle, and me stare at her in awe. As soon as the tune began, she locked eyes with me, and gave me a smile. The smile was to tell me “Mom, this is our song”. Immediately, I was greeted with fond memories of when she was my little baby, and how much she has grown over the past five years. What next? You guessed it, the water works came.

Moment #3 After the performance, everyone is quiet. The teachers hand out the graduation caps, and the parents laugh as the children try to place the caps on straight. Some of the caps are backwards, some are covering eyes, and most are crooked. It’s all too funny. Finally, after a little help from the teachers, the children have their hats on straight, and look soooo grown up. I can’t explain it, but again you feel overwhelmed with joy, and it’s just preschool!

Now for the funny parts. As you’re reflecting, pondering their future, and trying not to be that crying mom, your little one is thinking about how many graduation cookies he/she can score, and how quickly the ceremony will be over (case and point below). So in-between the teary moments, you will also be giggling the entire time. It’s a roller coaster that even the least emotional parent will ride, to some degree.

A_yawning

{Yawning and flashing everyone her Superhero undies.}

Audrey_hat

{Twirling her tassel like a bored teenager.}

Jack-staring

{Little brother admiring big sissy. He thinks she is the coolest!}

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Our silly, spirited, smart, and beautiful graduate! Ready for life’s next adventure. We couldn’t be more proud. To all you mommy’s and daddy’s..children rock your world in so many ways, and they own your heart. So don’t be shocked, when you find that even the earliest of milestones, makes you feel a little teary. You could have never told me pre-parenthood, that I would have cried at a preschool graduation, even my own daughter’s. 

Technology and our kids

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Here’s a topic we’ve all engaged in – Technology and our kids. How much do we expose them? Developmentally, is it hurting or helping them? With technology being so plentiful, do we “the parents”, use it as a crutch? What is acceptable and what’s not? iPad versus TV, is one better than the other? As a parent of two young toddlers, I ask myself these questions all the time. It’s impossible not to worry, it’s what we do. But, we also overthink EVERYTHING!

Here is my take on technology. Plain and simple. It’s fabulous. I use it! I love it! Sometimes, I need it! Phew, I said it. When my daughter was 16 months old, she knew her entire alphabet. If I held up a letter on the iPhone, she could tell me exactly what letter I was holding up. Can I take credit for that? No. She was able to spell out words like C-A-T, and D-O-G, and associate the noises they make. Can I take credit for that? Okay, maybe a little. My 2-year-old son likes taking short films, and selfies of himself (already changing the filter). He navigates my phone all too well, but I find it amazing how his developing mind figures it all out. Our children are growing up in different times than we did, I say embrace it. But, like so many things in life, moderation is the key.

I love traveling, playing, and engaging with my kids, it’s my role to expose them to all this world can offer, but I’m more than a mom. I’m also a wife and caretaker who cooks, cleans, crafts, pays bills, enjoys “wine time” with her husband, and most recently writes this blog to fulfill the part of me that desires to be creative, and hopefully make a name for herself. So, thankfully, when I’m in the middle of cooking dinner or trying to pay a few bills, I can utilize one of the apps in my toolbox, like ABC Starfall, which helped teach my daughter the alphabet. Of course, it’s important that my children play with toys, read books, climb trees, and use their wild imaginations, but I happily incorporate today’s technology. It’s the world we live in. So, on that note, I wanted to share a list of iPad/iPhone apps, TV shows, and anything technology-related that I believe to be great learning tools for children. Most recently, we signed up for ABC Mouse, which runs about $8 a month, and we love what the program offers. If you live in the Bay area, check out Steve & Kate’s camp which offers many programs, some of which are tech based, like creating your own movie. Review the below suggestions, and decide what might work for your family.

iphone/ipad Apps

For the 2+ year old

  • Starfall ABC’s
  • Teach Me – Toddler
  • ABC Mouse
  • Potty time with Elmo
  • Moo Baa Lala
  • Peekaboo Barn

For the 4+ year old

  • Teach Me – Kindergarten
  • ABC Mouse
  • Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
  • Toca Boca Apps (kitchen, builders, lab)
  • Math Bingo
  • Music Superheroes
  • Spell with Pip

TV Shows

  • Little Einsteins
  • SuperWhy
  • Peg + Cat
  • Magic Schoolbus
  • Wildkratts

What I love most about technology, is how it can enhance your child’s love of learning. It’s interactive and visual. When my kids became obsessed with our solar system, nothing thrilled them more than exploring the various planets on the iPad. Or watching “real” astronauts float about in “real” spaceships on the iPad. Once exposed to the virtual outer space, they couldn’t wait to recreate their version of outer space using their imagination. Now, that’s technology at its best. Until next time…

First haircuts and why we obsess

Jack_Long

Ok, mom’s I’m discussing IT today. Why no one understands our obsession. Why we embrace baby mullets. Why some of our babies have comb overs. Why we don’t mind repeatedly explaining to strangers “No, she is actually a he.” Why she may only have one pigtail. Why we drive our husbands mad over this matter. Why we actually cry after their first haircut happens…

  • Because for the past year I’ve been praying to the hair gods for some growth.
  • Because regardless if you only have a hair patch, a comb over, an accidental mohawk, or an epic mullet, it’s something, it’s precious.. and I’m not cutting it. But, I won’t ever let it get as bad as this..
  • SrL9jCPBecause you have the most amazing curls, and I’m seriously afraid I will cut them all off
  • Because everyone keeps telling me to cut it, so I’m going to wait even longer.
  • Because your Dad pissed me off last weekend, so I’m going to reschedule the appointment I finally agreed to make. This is completely irrelevant of your hair whatsoever, but bought me more time.
  • Because I got fat, carried you for 9 months, and most importantly pushed you out of my vagina, therefore I have ALL control over when we cut your hair!
  • Because as soon as I cut it, you will immediately look older, and although I may secretly say in my head, “I should have done this months ago” I will still be crying over the entire experience. After all, you are and will always be my sweet precious baby.

For mom’s, the first haircut represents so much more than just trimming your head of hair. Not too long ago we felt you roll or kick in our bellies. We reveled in the special bond that only the two of us could feel. We remember EXACTLY what you looked like when you entered this world. Maybe you had thick dark hair, maybe you had none, but we remember. As you grew, we nourished you, watched your chubby rolls develop, and your first golden curls sprout. Your first haircut marks a major milestone in our hearts, it means you are getting older. It’s true, sometimes we want to freeze time, because we will never have yesterday back. Maybe that yesterday was the first time I was able to put your hair in teeny tiny pigtails. Those pigtails may have barely been sticking out, and might have looked silly, but they brought me more joy than you will ever know. Maybe, my son, you have been mistaken for a girl one too many times, but I just love the way your wavy hair falls across your forehead. One day, when you are all grown up, and we are reminiscing over your darling baby pictures, you may laugh at some of those earlier hair days, or even say, “What took you so long to give me a normal haircut?” I will smile and laugh with you, but I can promise you, those sweet baby pictures will have been some of my most cherished days.

Audrey_pigtails

Audrey_one_pt{Some of Audrey’s first pigtails}

Jack_funny{Jack’s early wisps of hair}

Audrey_cut{First big girl haircut}

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Audrey_Final{Am I wrong? Darling, but she looks older}

Jack_before_cut{Jack’s first big boy haircut. That smirk.}

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Jack_picking{Guess he wasn’t a fan of the mohawk}

Trendy Pea – Stella

Although it’s October, summer has still been going strong in San Francisco with a temperature of 92 degrees last weekend! So, before we move to fall wardrobe (yes please…I’m ready) let’s bid farewell to the heat with the adorable and super stylish, Stella. This little princess has one of the best wardrobe’s I’ve ever seen for a 4 year old. She has some major kid style! It doesn’t hurt that mom is always on trend as a lead colorist and blogger for diPietro Todd Salon on Filmore street in San Francisco. Let’s check out what this trendy pea is sharing today!

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The floral trend isn’t just for us big girls. You can still score this American Apparel skirt and tank. The Kendra Scott necklace is mom’s. Only this budding fashionista would be trusted to rock mom’s nice necklace. At my house, it’s best to stick to more kid friendly options. Especially, when your daughter decides to glue her jewelry to her artwork. Target, Old Navy, and Kohl’s often have great options for kids jewelry.

Stella_feetCan I have a pair of these, please! I’m obsessed with these Zara sandals that are no longer available. Similar pair here. If you love the leopard trend, these Elephantito leopard booties are adorable for fall. Shopping for next years spring and summer apparel NOW is a great tip for new mom’s. I know it sounds daunting with trying to finish back to school shopping for fall, but you get fantastic mark downs. If anything, focus on SHOES! Children are so hard on shoes, and I’ve found that well made (and often $$$) shoes truly last longer. I shop kid shoes twice a year, the end of summer and the end of winter, and always find great buys. Just size up for next season.

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Thank you to Miss Stella for sharing your style. Something tells me your future Instagram account will be full of trendsetting pics. Come back and visit me with your winter style very soon!

Transitioning Toddlers to Sharing a Room

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Living in San Francisco, space is definitely a hard commodity to come by. Our first apartment was maybe 900 square feet, but it was charming, and by far my favorite space that Michael and I have shared together. We were newlyweds in this apartment, sharing wine on the city view rooftop that Michael decorated with white twinkle lights. Many of my favorite pre-parenthood memories were in this home, enjoying food, wine, and conversation with family and friends. This apartment was home to our first-born, and was the only place that I’ve ever cried about when we left. Once we became pregnant with baby #2 we knew that we couldn’t possibly have both children sleeping in the dinning room/converted nursery. That being said, I’m not kidding when I say that it crossed my mind to have both kids sleep in the converted dinning room. Clearly, I was hormonal and pregnant because it was time to leave this fabulous place.

Fast forward to now, and we live in a much larger three bedroom space that I’m grateful for. When Jack was born, he slept in our room the first two months. Our initial plan was to have our kids share a room, but Jack was a light sleeper, and we had moved to a noisier part of San Francisco. We decided it would be better to have him sleep downstairs in the guest room where it would be quieter. At some point, we would move him upstairs into Audrey’s room. Well..we finally made the move! Holy heck am I CRAZY to do this now? It was always colder downstairs, and we wanted to free up our guest room, since it’s used so frequently, so I was ready for the challenge.

At first, the kids were jumping up and down and loving the interaction. Jack was pumped to have a buddy to talk with, and he wanted to keep the party going, but Audrey was ready to sleep. I swear this is a precursor for their teenage years, because Audrey is disciplined and wants her sleep, and Jack is ready to rage at all times..grrrrrreat! Anyhow, Audrey brilliantly decided to sing Jack a lullaby, it went something like this..

“Jack, go to bed, you’re hurting my ears, nighty night…nighty night. Jack, go to bed, Mom and Dad want to watch a show, and you’re hurting my ears…nighty night…nighty night. Jack shhhh..Jack shhh..Mickey can’t sleep!”

Mike and I were watching everything on the video cam and having ourselves a crack up over these shenanigans. After a bit, Jack would finally lay down, but Audrey decided she was very proud of her new song, and would start singing all over again which prompted Jack to pop back up. Jack was also proud that he could turn the light switch on and off (which I didn’t realize he was doing for a bit). So the circus cycle of up and down began. Once they finally fell asleep, it was good for about 3 hours, but that was short-lived! Jack woke every 2-3 hours yelling. As any mother, my ears are trained to hear a pin drop, so as soon as I heard screaming, I was sprinting down our hallway desperately trying to avoid running into the wall because I couldn’t see anything. Apparently, turning on the light wasn’t something that crossed my mind in the middle of the night. Obviously, Jack couldn’t tell me why he woke up yelling, but I’m assuming that it’s because he didn’t know where he was, and that he was exposed to more street noise being upstairs. What I feared the most was having him wake Audrey, which would’ve meant I’d be in a room with two screaming and exhausted toddlers in the middle of the night..which means I would have wanted to jump out the window or hide in the closet cursing at myself for thinking this was a good idea!

Luckily, Audrey can sleep through a freight train, and never woke to his screaming. Phew, crisis averted! After being up and down with Jack the first night, I reminded myself, over a strong cup of coffee, that “giving in” was not an option. Thankfully, I stuck it out, because we are one week into the transition and its going great. It took a few nights, but it’s paying off now. Toddlers sharing a room has it’s pros and cons, so it’s not for everyone, especially if you don’t need to. That being said, many situations require kids to share rooms so I say embrace it, and prepare yourself for the transition and a few sleepless nights (as if that’s not already happening for any mom with young kids).

Sleep_Same_Room_2

Pros

  • The kids are on the same bedtime routine now.
  • They love going to bed together, and often talk for a minute or two, which is sweet to watch on the video cam. Similarly, they love getting in each other’s bed in the morning and being silly (like pic above).
  • Audrey now sees her room as more of a “shared space”, which is good for her since we are still battling “sharing” at our house.
  • Most importantly, I think it’s a good way to capitalize on strengthening the bond between siblings. They are a TEAM now!

Cons

  • Because they are now a TEAM, it’s double the trouble when they decide to fight bedtime.
  • Be prepared for different wake up times. Jack has always been an early riser and has no “wake up” period. From the moment he opens his eyes he is already at level 10 craziness, so I have to rush getting him.
  • If a child is sick, then the other child hears the coughing or moving around.
  • As they get older it’s probably better for them to have separate spaces (especially siblings of opposite sex).

Tips for Transitioning Toddlers

  • Use a noise machine if you aren’t already, it cancels out so much
  • Transition when they are almost on the same sleep schedule. If not on the same sleep schedule then put the youngest down first, and explain to the older child that he/she gets to stay up a little later, but must be very quiet when going to bed. You can use a reward system here if needed.
  • If they are playing and talking past bedtime, let it go. So, they may be up 30 minutes past their bedtime, it’s fine. You don’t want to create the habit of needing to go in and quiet them down. They need to learn this on their own. By the end of the week the novelty wore off for our kids, and they only jumped around for 5 minutes.
  • Just as sleep training if you find that after several nights it’s just not working, give it a break, and try again in a month or two. Unless, they have to be in the same room, then I’d put one child down first, and quietly slip the other in later.

If this is going to happen in your world soon, good luck! I promise transitioning toddlers to sharing a room isn’t all that bad and the rewards are far greater. So far…