7 quick takes (Vol. 1)

7 quick takes Friday

1. Silvia is finally taking steps.  Several times she’s taken up to 4 steps!  This makes me so excited.  I was able to forgive her for waking up too early from her nap yesterday because I was having fun trying to get her to walk to me.

2. My little sister’s bachelorette party is this Saturday.  I’ve decided that I just need to come to grips with the fact that I’m not really a beer or wine person anymore.  It’s a secret I’ve kept for too long, even from myself.  But I do like mix drinks.  No idea what I’ll get on Saturday, but any suggestions?  Favorite mix drinks? 

3. It is so strange to see the differences in our children.  Silvia is saying more words than Leo was at this age.  When Joe was asking her if she wanted some ice she repeated it perfectly.  We were joking that she was already passing Leo in her pronunciation of it because he says “ite” for “ice”.  But then just to make sure, I asked Leo to say “ice” and he did so perfectly.  He knew what was at stake.

4. So after being called pack-rats and hoarders (lies) by Joe’s dad, we decided to “pick up” a bit.  Really though, it’s not thattt bad.  For the first time since we moved in, our attic is organized! and very walkable!  It’s so hot up there but I still like to walk around just to admire it.  Also, I’ve reorganized a couple closets (seems like they get a little chaotic again every few months!)  And I finally got around to spreading half a box of baking soda ( probably went overboard there) around Leo’s carpet and let it sit for a while before vacuuming it.   Toddlers and babies can really do some foul things to carpet…..

5.  Speaking of Joe’s dad; he also said our giant microwave (seriously, it’s like a 3 foot beast which we got for $5 at a garage sale) was ghetto because we had it sitting on the floor in the corner of our dining room.  Well I admit this was my doing.  I got into a little phase where I planned to give up the microwave and just use the toaster oven/regular oven.   I thought it’d be healthier and free up way more counter space.  I was pretty gung-ho about it at first but eventually got lazy.  So we’d have to carry our food from the kitchen to the dining room, squat down to press the buttons and check the time on it.  Our visitors thought it was bizarre.  It’s back on the counter top taking up roughly 10 feet of space.

7.  So I think the world really is trying to push us in the direction of smart phones.  I am one of those people who resist fancy phones.  I just got a non-flip phone for the first time a couple weeks ago.  But it sure don’t have that internet thingy on it.  Anyway, I was on my computer trying to figure out why the instagram website didn’t have a register button and I finally realized you need a SMART phone to use it.  Palm slap to the head.  Are there any other bloggers who have to upload photos from their camera to their computer and then their computer to their blog?  It’s a bit stone-age isn’t it?  Or am I the only one and ya’ll are like who is this grandma pretending to be a 26-year old?

Have a great weekend everyone and go see Jen for some more quick-takes.

Free-range kids

I swallowed the book Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy in 2 or 3 days.  I couldn’t put it down.  I highly recommend it!  I was recently talking to my father-in-law about wanting to give my kids freedom to try things and fail/succeed but that our world seems so unsafe now.  My father-in-law thought the statistics showed that this is not true.  I’ll admit I was skeptical of him, but when I read this book, I was convinced!  Now, I’ve relaxed a lot because I can put normal risks into their corresponding fear category and not worry so much about what all could go wrong.  For example, it is much more likely that our children will die in a car accident (sadly) than by the many other fears we contrive, like abduction (extremely rare) to suffocating on a plastic bag (very uncommon). Also, the book is very playful and makes fun of the ridiculous fears and the products that exist to try and assuage our fears.  It also gives lots of statistics.  Here is an excerpt:

“A lot of parents today are really bad at assessing risk.  They see no difference between letting their children walk to school and letting them walk through a firing range.  When they picture their kids riding their bikes to a birthday party, they see them dodging Mack trucks with brake problems.  To let their children play unsupervised in a park at age eight or ten or even thirteen seems about as responsible as throwing them in the shark tank at Sea World with their pockets full of meatballs.

Any risk is seen as too much risk.  And the only thing these parents don’t seem to realize is that the greatest risk of all just might be trying to raise a child who never encounters any risks.”

She also talks about letting go of our desire for control.  We want so badly to overcome our fears that we think the more we can control, the less we’ll have to fear something going wrong.  But control is an illusion because there are so many things out of our control that it is silly to keep our kids locked up in a box in order to protect them from the few things we may have some small control over.

So anyway, I’ll be documenting the types of free-range activities (or actually normal childhood activities that most everyone grew up doing anyway!)

1.  When I go to the library I let Leo (and sometimes Silvia) play in the children’s area while I search for a good book to read. The two libraries I’ve tried this at are small enough that I can go to the opposite side of the room and only be about 50 feet away. Close enough to hear when Silvia starts fussing or when Leo is having an issue with another child. Although I’m trying hard not to swoop in and mediate with him and the other child but to see if he can work it out. It has been a fun experiment! The kids are usually playing happily when I return and I get to peacefully choose a book. Plus, it’s just freeing to not have to worry about the kids being in my eyesight every moment I’m around them.

2. I started doing this before I read the book but now I’m calmer about it. Leo is a careful, cautious and fairly obedient 2 year old. I don’t have to worry too much about him to begin with. So I would let him play in the backyard by himself and I’d just peek out at him every few minutes. He loves transferring water and dirt to different containers or drawing with chalk or playing in the sandbox. Now if I leave him on the front porch I will “lock” the front gate so he can’t go into the street, but he then has free-range of the front and back yard. I left him outside while I put Silvia down for a nap and he was right where I left him when I checked on him. It beats making him come inside for the few minutes it takes to get her down.

I think this concept is much more natural than helicopter parenting, but I believe the reason for helicopter parenting is the disordered fear of risks. Every choice is a risk, but to give my children freedom is a risk worth taking in my opinion.
Summer 2013 039

Trying New Things

Yesterday, Joe got out of the house by 7:30am.  This is very early for me.  I’m pretty spoiled because Joe is in graduate school and has a flexible schedule, so he usually gets in to work by 9 or 9:30 and tries to be there about 8 or 9 hours.

Image So to fill up my morning with the kids, I put them in the bike trailer all by myself (a first) and rode them to the park.  I finally got Leo to go down the big slides by himself.  I had Silvia sit in my lap and told Leo to get behind me but me and Silvia got a little ahead of him on the ride down so I told him “Yay! you did it by yourself”  and after that he did it several more times by himself without me on it at all.  So exciting helping him to try new things.  I was setting Silvia near the tunnels and encouraging her to crawl through them by peeking my face in the holes.  Here are some pictures:

ImageImageImageImageAfter the park, Silvia took a nap and then we headed over to the downtown Farmer’s market so I could pick up meat, eggs, and some veggies for dinner.  I made a delicious Zucchini casserole with potatos, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, sausage and cheese. I love getting my staple food items from the Farmer’s market.  Fresh, healthy, natural.

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