Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So I was debating whether to even post about this because who wants to show the utterly beastly side of their own child, but in the interest of transparency, I figured what the hell. You, my loyal readers, won't judge me or my abilities as a parent (even though I definitely questioned myself this morning!). Here's what transpired:

We were getting ready for Caroline's Ballet Tea Party class at Kidville. Yes, they wear tutus, and yes, Caroline likes going, but it's really the cookies and juice at the end of class that pursuades her to put on her little black leotard and tights each week. But I digress. I was getting myself dressed in my bedroom. I turned to see Caroline taking advantage of the fleeting freedom of having the gate of the top of the steps temporarily open by trying to drag/ride her ladybug Wheely-bug down the stairs. Um, what?! Of course, I went right over to her and told her that Wheely-bugs aren't for stairs, and tried to take said bug away from her. And do you know what she did in response? The little bugger bit my left index finger! She hasrecently taken to occasionally biting walls, furniture, and her stuffed animals out of frustration, but never an actual human person - that's been too taboo, and she is far more demure around her little friends to ever try it on them. Apparently, she feels comfortable enough with me to conduct her little experiment on me. Grrr. As I told my mother later, we've crossed a threshold.

Not that I'm too concerned about her with her friends and classmates - just the other day I got to see a great example of how she tries to handle conflict with other kids when a little girl at the park tried to take away her Dora balloon. I was actually proud of her then - she used her words and wasn't at all physical. Oh, the joys of being the one she's closest to...

So, back at the homestead: of course, Caroline landed her little self in a rare (for her) time out, which "the experts" suggest should not extend past the child's age in terms of the number of minutes they are in there. But here's where the dilemma/guilt sets in: I just don't think that's effective enough for my kid. She's two, and spends well beyond two minutes screaming and snotting all over the place before beginning to calm down enough to reason with.

My feeling is this: until she is at the point where she's able to at least think about what I'm saying, she's not ready to be out of time out. This time, it lasted about 15 minutes. After the first 10 minutes (which seemed like an eternity), I went in because she sounded a bit calmer and I reminded her sternly, "No biting!" and explained to her that when you hurt someone, you say "I'm sorry" and give them a hug. She responded by playing around and laughing, which landed her back in time out (cue the screaming and snot). At this point, there was no salvaging getting out the door for ballet, which also had me silently cursing - now I had to fill another hour + of our day!

After another 5 minutes, I went back in, and apparently she got the point this time, and immediately said "Hug!" and said "I'm sorry, Mommy" (with a little prompting by me). A quick reminder of "No biting! Biting hurts!" and then we were on with our day, relatively unscathed and with a little life lesson thrown in for fun. When we walked past her Wheely-bug on the way to the elevator to go downstairs to the kitchen, my smart girl showed me she knew how to play my game - she rode the bug into my bedroom this time, instead of to the top of the stairs like the budding Evel Knievel she is. Score one for Mommy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Caroline and her good friend Madison catch a ride on a swing together!

Yesterday, we went to an awesome new park with a group of our little (and big) friends. It's not too far from where we live, in one of my friend's neighborhoods. The park is brand-new, with a fully wheelchair-accessible playground (complete with a rubberized surface!), swings for kids of all sizes and abilities, a picnic area, a Bank Shot basketball court where people in wheelchairs and on their feet can play together, tennis courts, and a dog park, as well as walking paths and open fields. It's truly a place where all people can go to have a fun day outside without feeling limited by any challenges they might face.

The coolest part is that it's dedicated to an amazing boy named Mattie Stepanek, whose life was sadly cut short by a rare form of muscular dystrophy. Though he didn't live to see adulthood, Mattie did more to make a positive mark on our world than most people who live to see eighty. Mattie spent his time here spreading a simple message of peace and friendship that only a child's eyes could see or voice could speak, much of which was compiled into several poetry books that he wrote. He inspired so many to live their lives to the fullest while focusing on what was most important, and although he was wise beyond his years, he had a way of sharing his message in a manner that all could understand.

When the park was dedicated this past Saturday, a statue of Mattie in his wheelchair - with his service dog standing at his side - was officially unveiled within a peace garden that's adjacent to the playground. The ceremony was attended by everyone from people in his family, to people who live in the area, to dignitaries and news crews, to Oprah Winfrey, who became a friend of Mattie's several years ago.

His mom, who also has muscular dystrophy, lives in a house across the street from the park. I couldn't stop myself from glancing over there from time to time when we visited the park yesterday, wondering what she thinks of having such an amazing place being named for her beloved son just outside her front door. Being a mother myself, I can only imagine that such a sight is all too bittersweet - a beautiful but painfully constant reminder that her child is no longer here with her.

When we arrived at the park and first went over to look at the statue, I got a bit teary-eyed myself - not because I knew Mattie personally, but because of the effect he has had on my own outlook on life by encouraging everyone to "always play after every storm." Caroline, meanwhile, just noticed that he looked like he was in "Mommy's wheelchair!" and wanted to pet his dog. Then we went off to play with our friends and take in the beautiful day, just as Mattie would have wanted all of us to do. How amazing is it that a simple day at the park could so easily be the most fitting tribute to such a special boy?

Monday, October 13, 2008


...I just think this is the most fabulous little gift for any beginning writer! I was looking around a really cute site this evening, The Silly Wagon, and stumbled across this stamper in the "Goodies" section. You can choose either an upper/lower case version, or just upper cases. I just love the fact that you can start getting kids to practice writing their names with some guidance but without having to sit there and draw out those little dotted letters yourself. They are great for signing thank-you notes after birthdays and as a take-along when you know you are going to have to wait somewhere. I'm thinking of picking one up just in time for pre-school next fall!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Looking to rid your camera of all those pictures you have yet to do anything with? Well, for the next 3 days you can head to Snapfish and purchase up to 50 4 x 6 prints for just a penny! Any prints thereafter are just .09 each. Enter the code FALLPENNY08 when you check out to take advantage of the offer. If you don't have an account with them yet, it's easy and free. I'm heading over to get prints from yesterday's little golfing adventure! Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


We are really lucky because our new home is in a neighborhood that's part of a country club, and a membership came with the purchase of our house - a major selling point, especially since we were adding quite a bit to Steve's commute to work every day! This afternoon, Steve got home a bit early, so we decided to take Caroline out to the putting green for the first time.
She used my left-handed Jack Nicklaus Golden Cub clubs, which I totally use all the time (NOT - although I definitely plan to try to get more into it so that I don't become a golf widow). They were actually almost short enough for her, since Steve had the clever idea to get me a set of kids' clubs a few years ago so that I could go to the driving range with him and hit right from my chair. Caroline had a great time trying to putt, rolling the balls back to Daddy when putted to her, and occasionally chucking them from one end of the green to the other. It was too cute, so I just had to post some pictures. Enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2008


I was reading an article on AOL this evening about another theory on how to reduce the risk of SIDS. The article, which cited information from a published report in October's Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, said that researchers have found a link to fan use in a baby's bedroom as helping to reduce the chance that the baby will succumb to SIDS.

The study used data collected through comprehensive questionnaires and interviews of both parents who had sadly lost a child to SIDS, as well as parents who had not. The bulk of the questions surrounded the condition of the baby's sleeping area, including whether or not a fan was consistently used during sleep. The number of interviewees in both categories were in the hundreds, and this was the first study conducted on this theory, so there's still alot of research to be done.

As I hope all my fabulous readers know, the best place to start in the prevention of SIDS is to place your baby on his or her back to sleep. However, the additional suggestion they are making sounds like an easy one to accommodate in a "can't hurt, might help" sort of a way. It's nice to know that there are so many doctors and researchers continuing to put such a great emphasis on this important issue. Just thought you'd want to know!