Tuesday, July 31, 2007

feeling "bad mommy!"

Some days I fell like there's no way to win in parenting. Daniel is high-energy and high-spirited. He's excitable and imaginative, and he hasn't yet learned there even is a line between "fun" and "too far."
Which means I feel like I spend most of my time these days disciplining him. "Don't call names" means ANY name - not just those ending in "head" (stupidhead). "Don't run inside" means in the house, in the store, in school.... And we won't even get into the teaching of patience "no, dinner is not done yet." and in five minutes "no, dinner is still not done yet." Do not tell me dinner is "yuck" after I went to the trouble of cooking it - before you even taste it! Do not repeat yourself five times or more just because I haven't gotten you that drink yet. I heard you the first time, but I can't always drop what I'm doing and attend to you RIGHT NOW - nor should I be expected to.
So those are a few of the issues I'm trying to teach, without feeling like I'm getting anywhere. I guess the next twelve years are going to be like this, but I'd better find a reserve store of hope in the meantime!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Camping it up with the kids

I live to tell about my adventurous night with seven rising first graders in the tent in our backyard. Faith has been looking forward to her "Midsummer Night's Dream" sleepover party since she left school in May. Although none of the girls had much experience spending the night away from family, we managed to make it with only one little one going home. The worst part of it all, was the muggy night Friday. After low humidity early in the week, it was pretty brutal. We kept a small fan running in the tent, but by about 4 a.m. I could do without it. My only regret was not taking the camera out into the tent when I went to sleep. When I absolutely had to get up for a nature call at 7 a.m., the half dozen girls were precious in their various sleep shapes. A couple of heads popped up when I got up, but they sleepily went back down. My plan was to return with the camera, but by the time I got out of the bathroom, all of them were in a single file parade out of the tent and into the house. We managed to take a couple of shots back in the tent, including all of them piled onto my cot. This might turn out to be an annual tradition for Faith. The hardest thing was not being able to accommodate everyone considering our limited tent space. While there were a few girls not able to make it, the magic 7 number proved to be a good one for us. Everyone got along and seemed to have a fun time. I'm just glad I had the rest of the weekend to get some sleep.

- Liz Fabian

School supplies

We have to start thinking "back to school" a little early because Daniel's new glasses take some time to come in. But that gets me thinking about other things kids should have besided paper and pencils.
Eye exams. Yeah, this one's dear to my heart, but it's so important! If your child can't see well, they aren't going to pay attention to the board. If close-in vision is the problem, or dyslexia, you're not going to be raising a reader. So get 'em checked, at least once every couple of years.
Physicals. Young athletes already have to go through this, but I think taking healthy kids to the doctor instills a lifeling habit. Annual checkups are so important for adults - especially women's cancer screenings - that is just seems like the thing to do. I usually take Daniel around his birthday, just so I remember to do it.
A homework plan. We've been trying to get Daniel used to the idea of homework - using handwriting practice as "homework." But when we do get into school mode, we already have established a place for him to work and a regular time. He's got pencils and crayons and we can see him clearly to supervise.
So think about more than paper and notebook in your back-to-school prep. It'll pay off.
Oh, and look for back-to-school sections coming up in the Telegraph and the Houston Peach.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

mommy's ears are bleeding

After a rotten week highlighted by a three-day migraine and fever, I gave Daniel a break this weekend. He had a friend over at the house yesterday and today I blog from Monkey Joe's. That haven of child-fun with a decible level somewhere above a Meatllica concert. Perhaps not the best chaser for all those migraine meds, huh?

Friday, July 27, 2007

guest blogger

To make his baby brother more real for my son, I took my 7-year-old to the doctor's office with me so he could listen to the heartbeat. Our appointment was a 10:30 and when we got there, I had to drink the stuff for the glucose test. It is an orange flavored syrupy drink that made me sick to my stomach for the next couple hours. During the next hour (when we sat in the waiting room), I was thinking, how nice it was to have a child old enough to amuse himself, color for a while, read a book, etc. And now I'm starting all over.
We finally got to see the doctor and he let Nicholas use the heartbeat "meter" thingie (I'm sure there is a technical name for it) and he got to press it against my stomach. He's now my little doctor in training. He thought it was pretty cool. Then the even COOLER thing was seeing mom get her blood drawn. I told him I wasn't responsible if he passed out from watching. He admitted later that it did make him light-headed to watch.
So now its only 2 1/2 more months until D-day and I will see the doctor every two weeks. And the anticipation builds not only for myself but for all of my friends and family. And especially Nicholas who can't wait to see what this squirmy thing looks like out of mommy's belly!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Getting crafty in the summer

While Faith is beginning to be a little contrary when I make suggestions, we reached common ground at the craft table this week. The latest edition of The Telegraph's Southern Style magazine included a couple of projects to work on with children. Writer Cindy O'Donnell inspired us to fashion our own glow-in-the-dark butterflies out of water bottles. While the article included instructions for lightning bugs, Faith didn't like the Cootie-like tongue, so we ventured on to colorful butterflies and we improvised on the design. While I had intended to put forth a set pattern to keep us both on track, I let her creative juices flow a little as she did almost all of the wings. Her scissor skills are coming along and we managed to turn out some pretty cute little creatures. The test will come when we put glow sticks inside the plastic bottle and hang them in the trees for her night party this weekend. I admit I was dreading the project as I thought she would buck me at every turn, but I was pleasantly surprised. Plus the craft got her away from the television for an hour! Plus, I'm sure her friends will be impressed that she created and designed her little butterfly friends.

Liz Fabian

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Twae Kwon Dwo

Yes, I know there are extra "w"s in the word above. But that's how Daniel pronounces his new hobby. Today was his second class, and he loves it!
I took home lessons from the Museum of Aviation auction and raffle, hoping martial arts would instill a little coordination and a dollpo of discipline. After all, the first thing a "tiny tiger" has to learn is to sit and stand still, and come to attention. Sounds like just the ticket to avoid a few phone calls from the teacher. And good Lord, could someone tech my semi-blind child to walk without tripping, to look where he's going, and to run without bumping into things? So I have high hopes for his new lessons, and the fact that he likes them has me positively giddy.

me, too

I know exactly what Liz is going through, and that's reassuring to me. One of the reasons I like blogging about Daniel's and my misadventures is that I get responses from moms who understand what I'm talking about.
In my case, I've been so worried about Daniel starting Kindergarten that a new, grown-up habit snuck up on me. I'm no longer "mommy" or "mama." I've graduated to "mom." Oh, my.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Growing pains

Someone has stolen my daughter and replaced her with a tween version. She disappears into the back bedroom and when I come through the door, the television immediately goes black. It's a scary feeling thinking she might be watching something inappropriate.
By turning the television back on, I've discovered her secret channel is Disney. She's graduated from the little kid shows and is now all about teen programming, which we've previously frowned upon. "Zack and Cody" are her two new best friends. I'm not sure who they are. All I know is that they are twin boys. It racks my nerves to consider that I really don't know much about any of these shows. I feel very irresponsible. I saw a little bit of "Hannah Montana" one day and it seemed fairly harmless. But I still wonder. Sometimes Faith squeals with laughter as she's watching. She rushes through supper to get back to the television. I'm not thrilled at all about this new habit, so I've had a little talk with her about my concerns. It must be sinking in somewhat as I heard her trying to convince my husband the show she was watching was OK. "Dad I can watch this," she said. The kids aren't talking mean to their parents or anything." I might be over-reacting, but there is plenty of junk on television. I didn't even like her watching Caillou on PBS because of his whiny attitude. I realize I can't protect her from all the smut of the world, but I hope I can at least help her recognize bad behavior when she sees it.
- Liz Fabian

Friday, July 20, 2007


I have been apalled at the deterioration of Daniel's handwriting since he finished preschool and stopped daily practice. I tried for a while to get him to do "homework" while I cooked dinner, but he was more interested in helping me cook.
His optometrist suggested I start him on some mazes. "It doesn't matter whether he completes the maze or does it correctly." Dr. Simmons said. The practice of drawing between two existing lines will help keep his eyes tracking together, will improve his eye-hand coordination and will make his handwriting neater.
So I found www.billybear4kids.com - and a bunch of printable mazes for the elementary school set. Check it out, and let me know what you think: Do your kids backslide noticably during the summer? Or do you get them to practice skills such as handwriting so they are ready when school starts again?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

No "Easy-Bake"

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's a lesson Hasbro might learn now that it's recalling a million Easy-Bake ovens. The new pink and purple models that look like a range oven do not use light bulbs, but heating elements. The new design allows children to put their fingers inside the oven and get caught. The unit does have a spatula device that is supposed to be used, but serious accidents have happened. The company first issued a repair program that included a part that could be placed over the oven opening. Since implementing the part in February, there have been nearly 250 reports of kids getting their fingers caught, including 77 burns and more than a dozen of them serious. One 5-eyar-old girl even had part of her finger amputated as a result of her burn. Because this is a design issue, consumers are asked to take the ovens away from children and contact Hasbro. The company can be reached toll-free at (800) 601-8418 , or at the firm’s Web site at www.easybake.com. Oven owners will be given vouchers for another Hasbro toy. Children should already know ovens are NOT toys. Although I can see how these injuries could happen, I wonder whether these children were being supervised. I can remember using my own Easy-Bake as a child. It was a yellow model that cooked with a light bulb. Although I have a vivid memory of baking unsupervised, I knew that the oven was hot. Most toddlers learn the "Owee Hot" lesson early in life, so I can't imagine why youngsters wouldn't realize that touching was off limits. It's a hard lesson to learn the hard way.
- Liz Fabian

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monkey see, monkey do

My last post brought something else to mind. "Children learn what they live." In Daniel's case, I never realized he knew how to do a sit-up just from watching me exercise. Then we were at my grandmother's and he flopped down and pulled a couple crunches. oookaaay.
But he has a passion for all the things I do. Cooking, gardening, reading. If only it could translate to cleaning up his room!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Harry Potter happiness

I read somewhere that "experts" don't think the Harry Potter series makes kids read any more than they would otherwise. Kids just read the HP books and stop, the story claimed. What?!?
In my view, seven books is better than no books read. And really, Harry Potter opened up the world for Eragon and other sci-fi/fantasy novels - at least in my house. The kids who wait up until midnight to get those books first aren't going to stop reading with one book - and I'd be willing to bet they pass their books on to younger siblings. Daniel has become a reader because he sees me and his dad reading all the time. And you'd better bet I'm reading the Harry Potter series.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Horsing around at camp

For kids who are "hot to trot," there is a horse camp in Macon. Faith attended a couple of times with her cousin in recent weeks. Holly Anderson, owner of Sun Valley Arabians, and Lisa Harrelson, (our cousin-in-law), are teaching youngsters how to ride both Western and English saddles at 6401 Fulton Mill Road. Children also learn hands-on grooming techniques and horse etiquette. They have two more all-day camps this month - July 13th and July 20th. Campers arrive at 9 a.m. and can be picked up at 5 p.m., although early drop off and late pickup can be arranged, Lisa says. The day of activities includes a picnic lunch, swimming and arts and crafts. The tuition is $65 for the day, which may seem a little high for a one-day camp, but a horse enthusiast tells me private riding lessons run about $30 per half-hour. Although I haven't been to the camp, Faith has had fun both times she went and came home all tired out. Anyone interested in signing up can call Holly at 788-9357 or Lisa at 447-0940.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cinema sequels of my childhood

Going to the movies is like turning back the clock. While taking Faith to see Ratatouille this week, we saw previews for "Underdog." The coming attraction provided another opportunity for me to deliver a "when-I-was-a-child" anecdote. In this case, I told Faith that "Underdog" was a cartoon when I was little. The new film with a real beagle and a lot of help from computer animation looks like a winner. I predict a resurgence of the beagle breed the world hasn't seen since Snoopy emerged from Charles Schulz' pen. It looks like Disney has another winner, but I'm only judging from the trailer. The movie debuts Aug. 3, so I guess we'll really see then. With the exception of Ratatouille, the films I've taken Faith to this summer are a throw-back to my childhood - Nancy Drew and Curious George. It's a nice feeling to resurrect the kid in me and so far Hollywood has been kind to my memory. While Faith and I enjoyed the rat flick, I was distracted by a cell phone toward the end of the movie. No, I didn't hear the ring. An alarming flash caught my attention like lightning out a window or a search light at the airport. One of the patrons sitting across the aisle had a Bluetooth in her ear that kept flashing. How annoying. I might have to invest in blinders before Underdog arrives.
- Liz Fabian

Monday, July 09, 2007

Bits of this post has been borrowed from babble.com (I certainly didn't call 1000 people). I found it interesting because I was sure, right up until the doc said "it's a boy" that Daniel Keith would be Katie Susanne. My husband, whose patriarchal side of the family has produced boys only for generations, was just as sure we'd be having a boy. Of course, now I am going to be able to choose the gender opf Daniel's sibling, and I want one just like him (yes, I have lost my marbles. If you find them, please keep them safe).
Apparently Americans have a distinct preference for one gender over another when it comes to babies, and the preference is definitely weighted towards boys.
1000 Americans were Gallup-polled recently and asked the question, "Suppose you could only have one child. Would you prefer that it be a boy or a girl?"
37% said: Boy, while only 28% said: Girl. I know, I know, that doesn't even approach 100%, does it? I'm bothered by that too. A full 26%, almost as many as wanted girls, said it doesn't matter, even though that wasn't an option as an answer. And 9% "didn't understand the question." Those are the ones I'm hoping will opt to NOT reproduce at all.
What does this say about our society? Apparently we're still into the "carry on the family name" mentality.
What about you? Boys? Girls? And why?


Sunday, July 08, 2007

marriage = commitment?

I was reading the Parade this morning and ran across an article about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, specifically how they aren't planning to get married. They want more kids together, but have both failed at marriage before and therefore don't plan to tie the knot. Parade disagreed with their choice.
So here's my question: Doesn't having kids together - and I don't just mean CREATING an child together but actually raising kids together - make a stronger bond than a wedding and the rings you wear? With the divorce rate somewhere around 50 percent, is marriage the symbol of commitment it once was? Or is it more a traditional value that we'd like to pass along to our kids? And I'll go ahead and cross that line - the gay and lesbian couples Chris and I know are no less committed to each other than we are, even though they can't get married.
For that matter, I know some male/female couples who raised children together before finally getting married. The reason they delayed getting hitched? The cost involved with a wedding, for one. Other couples I know were acutally brought together by the unexpected advent of a child and only got married after they were sure they weren't just "staying together for the kids." They have a strong marriage - now.
So what is marriage? And are couples who live together and raise children together any less committed to each other than those who plann a wedding together? Keep in mind that if Brangelina stay together for seven years, they're married in the eyes of the state anyway. And it's not like Angie's ever been a traditional girl.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Consignment sale news

You heard it here first (or maybe not).
Baby Country (behind Chick-fil-a on Watson Boulevard) is setting out all their winter clothes. That means they have a huge stopck of summer stuff on sale for $1. The owners said they plan to be done with the changeover on Wednesday, so go on by then for a look at the summer sale AND the winter lineup! I can't tell you how many brand-new items I picked up (you can tell if something's been washed).
ALSO - the Almost 2 New ladies are gearing up for their winter sale. It will be held at Trinity Church of the Nazarene on Hartley Bridge Road Friday, Aug. 24 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 25 from 7 a.m. to noon. As usual, Saturday is half-price day and Thursday nights consigners will get in for a preview sale. Now, if you've not gotten around to cleaning out your little one's closet, you've got plenty of time to give these ladies a call and sign up. E-mail jennifer.jordan@cox.net and get in on the action. They report their top consigner in the spring made $430! For me, that's Christmas shopping money!!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Still want that brother?

Daniel talks a lot about getting a new brother. He doesn't really understand that we're going through the adoption process, only that some time next year we'll "get" him a brother. In the meantime, I think a lot about how to introduce a child into our family. After all, I'm not having a baby, so we don't have the usuall anticipation time or even ballpark delivery date. Here are some things I've thought of:
We're in the process of cleaning Daniel's room. I'm taking out toys he's done with, setting some aside "for kids who don't have any toys." He found this idea pretty incredible and I realized I had some teaching to do. But he's a generous little bug, so I find I have to keep him from putting HIS favorite toys into the "for others" pile. Fortunately, I've found a lot of his toys have been well-loved, so I don't feel like many of our choices have been wasted. Some things, like his tricycle, I am secretly putting away for his new brother. If he had his way, he'd continue to ride it instead of that wobbly two-wheeler.
I have let him become more involved with his scrapbook. I put it together, but he gets to help pick out the pictures he wants in it, and we read it together afterward. The theory is I can cut down on jealousy as long as he is certain of his place in our hearts.
I read about a first-meeting gift exchange. When we settle on a child and are in the final stages, I'll buy age-appropriate gifts and wrap them. One for Daniel to give his new sibling, one for the boy to give to Daniel. That way they can right away start saying "my brother gave me this!"
Fortunately, my company also allows "maternity" leave in adoption cases. I'm hoping that, when the time comes, I'll take a few weeks off to just be there for both boys. After all, this could be the biggest thing that happens to all of us!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dependent's independence

Fourth of July eve marked a milestone in my motherhood. "Mom, would you like for me to get you a dish of ice cream?" was the question I thought was ushering in a new level of independence for my daughter. "Wow," I thought. "My daughter is waiting on me." When she found an insufficient amount of cool creamy confection in the kitchen, she said she'd go to the freezer in the utility room for more. She came back with two bowls of ice cream. My husband and I decided we could get used to this kind of service from the same girl who recently "forgot" how to make her bed. On the Fourth, Faith arranged her own craft on the kitchen table and proceeded to work quietly by herself as I baked a cake. Once the cake was done, I started teaching her to sew. She nearly mastered the straight stitch without my help and will venture on to curves and circles in the coming days before we try a real pattern. But by afternoon, she was clinging to my side at a pool party. Faith was too shy to talk to the grown-ups, too timid to go swimming alone or talk to another young girl about a year older. After Daddy grabbed her giggling self into the water from the pool steps, she swam right back to me and then plastered her wet self next to me on the side of the pool. She really wanted me to go in the water with her, but I was enjoying the company of other adults and didn't want to go swimming. I know Faith loves the water, so I didn't want to give in and baby her. It didn't take long before she and the little girl were buddies, swimming and eating together and having a great time. While I am looking forward to her self-sufficiency, I know I need to relish these times when she still wants Mom around.
-Liz Fabian