He’s Still My Baby Boy

Usually he’s busy asserting his independence.  Although he’s 5, he reads at a second-grade level and his father and I can no longer use spelling as a secret code.  And yet, today, as he languished in bed with a high fever, JavaBoy seemed more like my baby boy again than the boy who has been losing teeth and growing legs longer than his pants.

He needed his Mommy today.

I hated watching how pathetic he looked, at times complaining about how hot he was and other times feeling chilled.  Too sick to be interested in food — much different from the child who says, “I’m hungry” practically every 10 minutes including yesterday.

As I snuggled up next to him in bed, and scratched his head and buried my nose in his hair, I almost felt like I caught a whiff of that scent babies have — a scent JavaBoy lost long ago now that he’s a Big Boy.  But I remembered all those nights that I held him in my arms, rocking him or just snuggling him at night, worrying about the things new moms worry about, while taking in that baby smell.

We play a game, where I sometimes try to scoop him up, long legs and all, and I say, “Ohhh, where did my baby JavaBoy go?  Where did he go?  Can I smoosh you all up back into a baby and stick you back in my tummy?”  He finds this quite hysterical because of course this is quite ridiculous — the thought of him ever being that small seems so very silly.  And yet he knows he’ll always be my baby boy.

I look at him tonight, fever temporarily quashed with Tylenol, but fitful in his sleep, and I realize that Moms still worry, even when they aren’t new moms anymore.

Love Books? Head to the National Mall on Saturday

A late-breaking entry to the Fall Fun Guide:

Library of Congress National Book Festival
Saturday, September 26 from 10am to 5:30pm

Join PBS Parents and PBS Parents Supersisters  at 9am for a “pre” Book Festival meetup at the
PBS KIDS Raising Readers Pavilion.

You will have a chance to meet Elmo and Chris from SESAME STREET, Steve Songs, PBS KIDS favorite characters Clifford, WordGirl and many others.

The PBS KIDS Raising Readers Pavilion will be located in the middle of the Book Festival on the National Mall, near 10th St. and the Smithsonian Castle.

Fall Fun Guide Is Here!

2008 10 17_Great Country Farms peanuts and pumpkins_0025Fall began yesterday and the Fall Gun Guide is now officially up!  Just like its Summer companion, the Fall Fun Guide is filled with classes and events for kids and families.  Some are free, some are not, but somewhere in the guide there should be something for everyone.  I am always looking for new things to add to the guide, so please contact me if you know of something that you think should be on there.  And please check the guide frequently.  The Fall Fun Guide is “younger” than the Summer Fun Guide, so it is still maturing and is not quite as far-reaching yet — it has lots of room to grow!

It includes a list of children’s consignment sales (coming up – My Child’s Closet and Catholic Consignments), pumpkin patches and corn mazes, a list of activities by dates, classes and events, day and weekend trips, and so much more!

Go check it out and then tell all your friends about it!

Oh — and start letting me know about events you think should be included in the HOLIDAY FUN GUIDE!!

Does Your Family Know How to Have Fun?

bop-itWhen’s the last time your family really sat in close proximity with all screens (TV, computer, cell phone, etc.) off, and had a really good time together?  Are you looking at your watch… or are you looking at a calendar?  Or can you not remember it at all?

Every summer we go on a trip to a huge beach house with several families and though I love the sea and the sand, one of the things I most look forward to is playing games together in the evenings.  It’s actually the adults who play, after the children are asleep, but it won’t be long until the kids will be old enough to join in.  These evenings remind me of countless rounds of Parcheesi, Monopoly, Yahtzee and card games my family played while growing up.  I can’t remember a Thanksgiving that didn’t end with a rousing game of some sort.

It’s these simple pleasures, these unplugged moments that are the inspiration for National Family Game Night on September 23, sponsored by Hasbro Games.  Of course they have a reason to encourage game play, but in an age when the economy is tight and technology sometimes makes us forget to look at each other, isn’t the idea of spending a night of old-fashioned fun a bit appealing?

Whether you just dust off some games you already own, or decide to go out and purchase some new ones — consider indulging in National Family Game Night this Wednesday and then turning it into a regular habit.  If you want to go all out, Hasbro even has some tips for planning game night  on their web site.

We actually held ours a little early — we tried two new games, Bop It! and Connect 4X4.  Bop It! is this crazy little device that issues commands to press a button (bop it!), twist a knob, pull a knob, or yell into a microphone, in a rapidfire succession in a random pattern.  We are clearly a very uncoordinated family and this generated tons of laughter!  Connect 4×4 is an updated version of Connect 4 where there are two grids side by side and you can get your 4-in-a-row in all the traditional ways but also by weaving between the two grids.  This was a HUGE hit with the kids.   They are already clamoring for another game night and I’m happy to indulge them!

In every situation where I have played games with people — whether my own family, as part of a team-building exercise at a business retreat, with a group of grown-up friends — I have found that the after-effects last far longer than the game itself.  People always seem to feel more closely bonded, more patient about listening to each other, more interested in working through things.  Which makes me wonder, during these times, what would happen in this nation if we dumped a truckful of Bop Its outside the US Capitol building?  (Oh no, I fear this post could take a dreadful turn for the worse… perhaps I should’ve suggested Cranium?) 

I was at a retreat of local business leaders and when asked to “dream blue skies” about things to change in the county, one thing each round table came back with was that we don’t have enough fun as a society.  How sad is that?   We all agreed our county had terrific parks and recreation centers, and yet people were feeling like there was never any time for fun.  The barrier wasn’t access to fun, it was prioritizing fun.  CHOOSING to have fun.

Will you choose to have fun?  Whether this Wednesday or another night, will you participate in some form of a game night in the near future? 


Bop It! photo is from the Hasbro Games web site.

Giving Up the Pacifier? Pray for Strength!

I had to laugh when I realized what the topic at JuiceBox Jungle was this week — giving up the pacifier.

More parenting videos on JuiceBoxJungle

It was almost exactly a year ago that we went through this very battle in our own household and wrote a post on our private family site. I honestly didn’t think we were going to get through this part of childhood, so for your amusement, I’m sharing my angst-ridden post of a year ago to our family:

Pray for us all. Last night we threw away every last pacifier we could find (“foo-foo” in JavaGirl-speak). It’s going to be a hard week. The devil-voice already came out of our sweet girl, demanding, “I WANT FOO-FOO NOW!” while we were at the 4H Fair. It was not a pretty sight. Heads turned as people looked for the growly voice and couldn’t believe it came from the cute pony-tailed girl dressed in pink.

After trying the “only for naps and bedtime” technique and the “snip a little bit off the end each day” technique it became apparent that our daughter is a foo-foo addict. And despite the fact I have straight teeth even thought I was a hard-core thumbsucker, our little girl is not so genetically lucky. So the foo-foos have to go. It’s a hard parenting decision to make. Last night I had a nightmare that we came home from a friend’s house only to find our daughter had stolen all of their younger daughter’s pacifiers. Are we sentencing our daughter to a life of pacifier crime in the name of straight teeth? I’m half afraid that in a few days she’ll start snatching them out of the mouths of poor, unsuspecting infants when we go out in public, like some crazed detoxing drug addict looking for a fix.

And there’s the toe-sucking thing to worry about. JavaGirl is still capable of sticking her big toe in her mouth. Not something to brag about on the playground, let me tell you. Just a couple of weeks ago I found her sitting on the family room sofa, just sucking on her big toe. Oy. Please tell me this is not what she’ll start doing with no foo-foos around.

I’m wracked with parenting guilt. It’s worse than the usual parenting guilt b/c it was such a big thing GETTING her to suck on her pacifier b/c of her suck/swallow and failure to thrive issue — it was actually part of her feeding therapy. So whereas JavaBoy wasn’t really overly dependent on his pacifier and just sort of dropped it on his own so easily that I’m not exactly sure when he did it — I just know he did it somewhere between ages 9 months and 10 months b/c that’s when they disappeared in photos, it was a HUGE thing when JavaGirl could manage to keep hers in her mouth and it provided her great relief from her acid reflux and still provides her a lot of sensory relief so I feel like a horrible mother taking it from her, but then when I look at her gappy smile, I feel like a horrible mother not taking it from her.

I may have to become a thumb-sucker again until this whole pacifier weaning thing is over. I can’t take the stress.

A year later, I can assure you that JavaGirl neither sucks on a foo-foo nor her big toe and she does not lead a life of crime. Her dentist is thrilled with her teeth and I have found many other reasons for feeling like a horrible mother, but do not regret throwing out her pacifiers last year. It was so worth it. The week was hard, yes, but I had forgotten about it until JBJ reminded me! So if you are going through this now, all I can say is — pray for strength! You can — and will — get through it!