Tag Archives: boys

Sometimes I Wonder How They'll Make It To Adulthood

a man jumping off a cliffBoys. They’re going to be the death of me yet. Or maybe themselves. I don’t know.

We have a concrete retaining wall that juts out from the back of the house, directly underneath the sliding glass door that still doesn’t lead out to a deck. (Maybe next year it will.) Since the wall is exposed, it’s a prime stunt spot for the boys. One side of it has earth up to nearly the top, but on the other side there’s a 3 or 4 foot drop depending on where you are along the wall.

I suppose if I were a boy, jumping off a wall would be attractive to me too.

But I’m not a boy.

I’m a mom, and I happen to be a mom who suffered a massive knee injury 9 months ago. So the reality of what a split second accident can do to your life is still pretty fresh. My anxiety might have something to do with the brace I’m still using to try and rehab the knee. But every time I see them jumping near that wall I just shudder.

If you have boys, then you’re familiar with what happens whenever they start performing stunts. As soon as the trick is perfected, they come up with a twist. And not just any twist. It has to be harder and more impressive than what they did first. The one-upmanship continues from there, and it doesn’t take long for creativity and bravado to turn into sheer foolishness. Ever watched America’s Funniest Home Videos? I’ve not done a formal study but I bet the vast majority of males who make it on that show got there by one-upping themselves right into disaster.

We’ve made it twelve and a half years into this parenting gig without many trips to the hospital (except for me. go figure), but the increasing intensity of their tricks has me thinking that won’t hold forever. This summer the big battle was getting the boys to wear helmets. Something that’s been required all their lives is suddenly up for negotiation? I don’t think so.

My appreciation for the mothers of all the stuntmen in the world deepens daily.

by AmyL

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Starting School, Is It Ever Easy?

a hand holding a chicken nuggetThe first day of school can be pretty traumatic for parents and children alike. I would like to say that there is a special technique you can use to make it easy for everyone, but since all kids (and all parents) are different, all I can really do is to pat you on the back and say “there, there…”

My own kids are a fine example. They were raised and prepared for school in the same way, and reacted to it so differently.

My first son Chas cried a bit at first, then got a grip. He was never a big fan of school but resigned himself to fate.

Sam spent his first month screaming blue murder whenever I dropped him off, leaving me a quivering wreck every morning. He’d cling to the car seat, the gate, the school door, and me like his life depended on it. The teacher had to PEEL him off me every morning. I’d creep back, peek in at the window and the little wretch would be playing happily with his buddies, but that didn’t help me the next screaming morning! One day I said to him “Sam, I can’t take this any more. I understand that you need to cry if you are upset, and that is fine. But dude, this every-morning drama is too much for this mama. If you DON’T cry when I drop you to school this morning, I’ll take you to KFC when I pick you up.” Sam’s three-year-old eyes got as round as plates, and angels sang for him. He whispered, “…chicken nuggests???” and I nodded.

That morning, he waved me goodbye and skipped merrily into school, and never cried again. Huh.

When Max MY BAAAYBEEEE! started play school for the first time, I was all prepared for the tears, the creeping back, the talking it over, the extra hugs. I dropped him off the first day, steeled myself, and HE waved me cheerily goodbye and ran in to say hi to a whole new bunch of interesting people.

I wept all the way home. Am I qualified to advise anyone, therefore, on pre-school preparation? I think not!

But there are a few things you can do to make the first weeks of school easier in general:

• Talk about school, mention how much fun you had when you were little (even if you didn’t!) and take it lightly. Don’t treat it like a huge big deal.

• Routine matters. If your child is in a routine at home, this will help them to get used to eating, playing and putting things away on a schedule.

• Be sure your child can get dressed and undressed independently (including coats and shoes), use the toilet without help, and feed themselves. Help them to feel that they can cope, and encourage independence.

• It helps if your child has some concept of time. “I will see you after snack time” will make the day seem less long.

• Emphasise the things they may enjoy doing. Does your child love to play with clay? That’s a school thing!

• TELL THEM that you will collect them at the end of the school day. Sometimes they don’t realise this!

• Trust the school. They generally know what they are doing, and you can ask them for tips. Chances are, your child is perfectly happy once you are out of sight. Most schools will allow you to peek in later if you need reassurance!

• When you do collect them, mention the routine things you did, and what a nice day you had. Kids like to know that everything is okay while they are away from you. You don’t want your child worrying about you all day!

• Read to your child. This is the most important thing you can do to prepare them for school: Reading aloud to kids improves their listening skills, vocabulary and comprehension. Some kids learn to read simply by looking at your finger moving under the words and ALL kids find reading easier if they are read to. Make it part of your bedtime routine.

• And finally, if you can drop your child to school that first day without crying or clinging… give yourself a sticker for being a brave parent!

by Nan Sheppard

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5 Classic TV Shows for Boys

Cylon from original Battlestar GalacticaWith two 7-year-old and two 12-year-old boys, we’re definitely out of the “Dora the Explorer” phase of television watching. And forget about Sesame Street; I never could get the boys to sit down for that show. (Not that I’m complaining about boys avoiding television.) Happily, the boys all enjoy the documentary and science-based shows that you can find on Discovery Channel or The Learning Channel. Mythbusters, Destroy-Build-Destroy, and anything revolving around sharks can grab their attention for an hour.

When those aren’t available or when we want to watch a family show occasionally, there aren’t always family-friendly choices that appeal to boys. So we’ve turned to older shows from our own youth with some success. Sorry I don’t have a list for girls. Other than me and the dog, this is a girl-free zone. I am considering teaching the boys to sit through a chick flick without complaining, as this may be a necessary life skill. But for now, I’m leaving them off the hook.

The first show we dug up was Macgyver. Have you ever seen that show? It’s great because there is action and adventure with only mild violence and no gore. Because the Macgyver character won’t use guns, he has some pretty unique solutions to the dangerous situations he gets into. My boys find this very appealing, and many an evening has been spent enjoying the show. We got started on the old show kick when I found a DVD set of Macgyver’s first season at the store for twenty dollars.

After a couple of seasons of Macgyver, we tried renting the original Battle Star Galactica series. Something about those original Cylons is still spooky. And fun! Now that we see the show decades later, it is a little ummmmmm, corny. But it’s still lots of fun.

A huge hit around here is the original A Team series. With Netflix we can download the episodes via the Wii as part of our membership. Rarely does a week go by without at least one episode of A Team gracing our family room. I think we’ve made it up to season three already.

Recently, we introduced them to the original Dukes of Hazzard. The car chases alone make this show a definite hit. We’ve only watched a couple of episodes, so they’re still trying to understand the premise and we keep having to explain who is who (season 1 isn’t available so we had to start with season 2). I think though, that this will be a favorite.

Perhaps it’s my age, but it seems like finding shows that are just fun and not crude is getting more and more difficult. When we sit down for a family show, we don’t want to have to worry about language or lots of innuendo. We just want to have fun.

Speaking of fun, I didn’t tell you the fifth show we’ve tried. Anyone remember Buck Rogers in the 25th Century? What a lot of goofiness there! We’ve been having fun with that one too.

It’ll probably take us a few years to work our way through these series, and I’m thankful for that. It’ll give us time to come up with some more classics. I’m sure there are some great shows from the 1960’s that would entertain. What show would you choose to share with your kids?

by AmyL

Photo provided through the Fair Use Doctrine, some rights reserved

Routine, Routine, How I Love Thee.

baby in footie pajamas sleeping on a red carpetWhen my daughter was a baby, she suffered from Acid Reflux Disease.  She would scream for roughly 7-9 hours each day.  It was maddening.  I was a disaster.  As a new mom that knew nothing, I couldn’t believe this was what I had signed up for.  I was purely in survival mode.  For sixteen-weeks she ate when she wanted, slept (or not slept) when (and where and how) she wanted and basically ruled our lives like the tiniest little dictator.

When I had to return to work after four-months, she started daycare at an amazing center with a curriculum in place even for infants.  As ridiculous as it sounds, the curriculum included things like baby sign language, tummy time, baby yoga and teaching Spanish along side English when they learned new words.  I continue to be impressed with this center and the expanding knowledge of my now not-even-two-year-old.

When she started there, they explained to me that they’d feed her every three hours and that in the beginning she could nap whenever, but they’d attempt to put her on a two nap a day schedule; one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  I told them that she prefers to sleep on her belly – and they shook their heads.  That was against policy.  She’d have to learn to sleep on her back, swaddled.

“HA!”  I thought, “GOOD LUCK!  That kid will NEVER sleep on her back and she DETESTS that swaddle with the firey hate of one thousand suns.”

I also told them that I have to rock her to sleep and that she’d only ever fall asleep in my arms.  Again I was met with pitiful glances and shaking heads.  I was assured she’d fall asleep and stay asleep on her own.  On her back.  In a swaddle.


I left there freaking out about the disaster baby I’d be picking up later.  One that hadn’t napped all day.  As if my life as a working mother wasn’t already difficult enough, I was going to wind up picking up a monster at 6pm.

Within two weeks, my kid was a different kid.  I had started to emerge from the newborn haze.  We were really doing it!  She was eating every three hours.  She was falling asleep in the swaddle and staying asleep for good, 3-4 hours clips.  I was completely blown away.  That schedule was the best thing to ever happen to us.

Over the course of her short little life, she’s moved up a couple of classrooms and the schedule has changed.  At home we change right along with it.  I follow their lead.  They’ve led the move from crib to cot, from two naps to one, from snacks I sent to snacks they provide.

On the weekends or any days she does not attend the center, we keep her schedule exactly the same.  She eats at the same times; including snacks.  She naps at the same time.  Weather permitting, we play outside at the same times.  Our evening schedule is the same each night; dinner at 6, playtime from 6:30-7:30, bath at 7:45, in bed by 8:15.

The routine works.  She loves it.  We love it.  We’re all more sane because of it.  We do deviate from time to time and we make it through, but not without some kind of exhausted stress typically resulting in a meltdown.  Just tonight, we met friends for dinner and naturally, right around 8:15, my Toddler stands up in her chair, looks at me and says, “My wanna go home!  Go night-night!”

My response?

“Check please!”

I mean, really.  Who am I to argue?

Do your kids thrive on routine?  Are you a scheduled family or does a less rigid lifestyle fit you better?

by Pocklock

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Cycles, or What Goes Up Must Come Down

chess warriors on the board fightingI got up early this morning, my alarm dragging me out of a dream that I was doing laundry. Dreams like that just shouldn’t be allowed! I spent a happy hour or so answering emails in ‘work’ mode, writing out invoices and putting them into envelopes, writing to people and saying “Pleeeease get back to me on this, see previous email, must go to print next week, did you want that as a full-page sir?” I got most of the concentrating and serious stuff DONE before the rest of the family had cracked an eyelid.

Now the boys are up, playing chess. They have replaced all but the King and Queen with little plastic soldiers: Grey ‘Modern’ ones with guns, and green ‘Medieval’ ones with axes and bows and arrows. They keep forgetting which is which: “No, the snipers on one knee are Knights, not Rooks!”

“You are so cheating.”

“You are so losing.”

I’ve been thinking how BUSY we are sometimes, as parents and as families. And then at other times, life is so slow, so routine! It’s been so busy the last few weeks I thought “Oh no, we haven’t done any of our lazy summery stuff!” Building puzzles, painting, playing board games, lying around saying “Weee’rrre boooored” till suddenly you have a great idea? Nope, nope. It’s been action stations here.

And our weekend will be the hyped-up icing on the cake. We’re going to have summer FUN FUN FUN before coming back home to a slightly emptier house, slightly rainier weather, and a slightly more boring life… till next time.

It’s good to remember, when the chores and assignments are stacking up, that soon life will cycle down again and we’ll be all caught up and wishing something exciting would happen!

by Nan Sheppard

Photo graciously provided by the Author, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved