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Parenting in a Powerless Home

10 Nov

It’s hard to fathom that almost 2 weeks have passed Hurricane Sandy rolled through my area on Long Island and devastated it.  It’s even harder to comprehend that we lived without any power for 12 days, with it thankfully returning yesterday.  We had hot water and our gas stove and very limited use of a generator (limited because we need gas to run it and gas is extremely difficult to obtain in these parts) but it was still really challenging managing with 3 little monkeys.

Hurricane Watching

Despite what we had going against us, we were very grateful that our home and cars are intact and more importantly that we are all safe and sound.  Its unreal that the kids have only been to school just 2 days during all this time (issues with no power, no gas and trees down everywhere).  But amazingly, the kids kept themselves so busy. Here are some things I’ve learned:

1-Kids don’t need TV/computer/video games/etc.

The first hour or two without power they were asking to use the computer and TV but shortly after the addiction was broken.  Now, they aren’t even really interested.  They are very happy playing cards (see below), playing with some long ignored toys, etc.

2-Kids love playing cards.

I mean love love love it!  Our favorites are go fish, war and slap jack and they really can go for hours.  They are trying to get the hang of solitaire.

3-Bubble baths by candlelight provide 30 minutes of fun.

My big kids are almost 7 and generally I know I am pushing it bathing them all together.  But under the extenuating circumstances it was easier to throw them all in the together, and they loved it!  They made up all sorts of games and did impersonations with the bubbles with lot of laughter.

4-Kids adapt easily.

While my husband and I were stressed to the max worrying about keeping everyone warm and fed and safe, the kids  demonstrated amazing resilience.  They moved about with their flashlights/lanterns and complained minimally (that is about the circumstances…they continued to complain about one another!).

5-A routine is important.

I’ve always been a fan of schedules. It’s the only way I could manage caring for twin infants and then three babies.  I’ve learned kids do better when they know what to expect.  That didn’t change without electricity.  Though I could barely keep the days straight, we tried to keep some normalcy in our lives.  At breakfast I would lay out the plan of the day and we’d talk about what we want to accomplish.  Just getting out some days was an accomplishment with the gas shortage, snow conditions, downed power lines…insane!


6-Kids are happy to eat from a can.

While I’ve been eating Halloween candy and chips and dying to be kickboxing (I’m not alone in the hurricane weight gain it seems…check out this article) the kids have been thrilled with the meals without electricity.  My husband, with his Italian roots, is appalled at how much the kids love Chef Boyardee.  And when I say love, I mean that our power has returned and they are asking for it for lunch telling me it’s the best thing I “make” them!  (Meanwhile, if I never eat pizza again I will be okay…had it 9 times over the last 12 days…)

Have anything to add?

I’ve learned so much about what I need to keep stocked during a crisis, but I’ll save that for another post. :)

It’s Saturday and I’m happy, lighted, and warm…hope you are too!

 

On My Baby Turning 4…Today!

25 May

Someone please give me a verbal slap.  I’m being a completely ridiculous mush.

I’m remembering walking into the hospital 4 years ago today.  It was about 7 a.m.  We had loaded up the then 18 month old twins into the car so my husband could drop me off at the hospital.  I had seen my doctor the day before; he told me to come in the next morning as I was dilated, and, it was the Friday before Memorial day weekend :)

I was forlorn as I walked into the giant hospital doors, having just had to say goodbye to my clueless twins for the next 48 hours…the longest I had ever been apart from them.  Before I went to the check in area I darted into the bathroom for a colossal cry.  I was overwhelmed with fear (about how I would manage 3 babies), guilt (about how the twins would not be getting the same attention from me that they had always had), anxiety and sadness (for the same reasons).  It’s with shame that I admit that none of the feelings in that moment were of joy.

(When I pulled it semi together it was then it also hit me…holy sh*t another labor is imminent…again!)

Life before the little one is now blurry.  Within minutes of her arrival, we were acutely aware of what had been missing in our family.  She barged into our world full of fire and red hair (throwing my back out for 3 weeks in the process!)  and carved out her rightful spot as baby in our family of five.

And today she turns 4 years old.  Didn’t I just write about her turning 3? !  I’m having a hard time with it.  This article explains it as being linked to knowing that she is going to be my last child.

Can anyone relate?

Mother’s Day Memories

7 May

I was present at my son’s mother’s day brunch on Thursday and my daughter’s mother’s day tea on Friday.  Here is my son’s artwork.

It says,

My mom is speshl.  She take me to good lunches.  She lets me buy taz (toys) and iscrem (ice cream).  I love you.

He read me a story and gave me a plant in a hand painted flower-pot with this message:

I’m growing like a flower, with all your love and care.  All your hugs and kisses, make the good times that we share.  I’m growing like a flower, we know that this is true.  So I made this in kindergarten to say, “I LOVE YOU!”

It was just the two of us with no sisters in sight and I know he enjoyed his rare special mom time.

In my daughter’s class, the moms were treated to special sashes, hats,a personalized book of artwork about mom and a cute video presentation.  The music playing was “You are the Sunshine of My Life”.  I felt myself getting choked up as I remembered singing that to my baby twins, everyday, during their meal times.


Those were some demanding times. I felt like a triage (the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care) nurse.  And then becoming pregnant when they were just 9 months old…

But there I go wandering away from my topic.  I find this happening more and more now that I’m middle-aged!

I mentioned that my daughter presented me with a book during our mother’s day event.

On one of the pages there are two princesses and she writes,

I like having privit tim (private time) with my mommy.

I’m truly seeing them grow up right in front of me now.  I’m hearing from them that they need more alone time with me, so that’s what I’m going to do.

I’ve already had such wonderful mother’s day festivities so tomorrow is going to be low-key.  Can you tell I’m exhausted?!

What are your plans?

Here’s a nice article:

Why do we insist on judging mothers? (theglobeandmail.com)

Start Today and Be Grateful

25 Mar

I was going to write about a doctor’s appointment I had today, but then I saw this article:

Brooklyn parents in a race against time as both diagnosed with advanced cancer within a week.

And now I can’t think about anything else.

So.

Give your children and loved ones big hugs today.  We all have gripes and complaints that can be all-consuming.  It’s hard not to get caught up in negativity sometimes.  But right now in this moment, make an effort to stop and to appreciate your wonderful life.  Say thank you even.

Here is what I am grateful for right at this moment:

  • My 3-year-old decked out in her Cinderella costume, giggling.
  • My 5-year-old kissing me awake this morning at 6 a.m. to tell me I look “cute”.
  • My husband’s beautiful x-ray of his repaired neck.
  • My son wanting to hold my hand as we walked to the bus stop this morning.
  • The sun shining.
  • A friend thanking me this morning with a hug.
  • My daughter shouting “that looks just like mommy!” when she saw Kendra Wilkinson on Dancing With the Stars :) (okay I know but really I AM grateful that she sees her mom like that!)

In all seriousness there is power in gratitude.  Start now.

What are you thankful for?

(And check out this book if you need more inspiration.)

New Book: My First Day of Kindergarten by Kristin J. Minuto

24 Mar

Do you have a child approaching kindergarten?

If so, you should definitely check out one of the books we’ve been reading lately,  My First Day of Kindergarten.  My kids were amazed (and it surprised me how excited it got them) that I know the author, Kristen Minuto, a very sweet mother (and teacher) from my town.  It makes reading the book so much more exciting for us and my daughter has even exclaimed, “I really love how she writes!”… I’m not kidding!

My kindergarteners are pretty mesmerized when I read it, as they draw comparisons between their classes and routines and the ones they are hearing about as they follow a little boy through his first day of school.

It’s really a bright, colorful and adorable book that I would absolutely recommend.  We actually started reading books like this as my kids entered nursery school.  I know we’ll be getting a lot of use out of this book as we start talking about kindergarten with my 3-year-old.  You can check out My First Day of Kindergarten here or here.  And speaking of adorable, here is my son’s artistic representation of it from his homework journal :)

Don’t forget how important it is to read to your kids!  What children’s books are you reading these days?

Do You Play?

20 Jan

I feel bad that I don’t play with my kids enough.  One of the benefits of having 3 and so close in age is that they really entertain one another.  Actually they do a good job playing individually also.

I’m the mom who gets hung up with the laundry, or the dishes or whatever and I don’t take that moment to leave it for later when my child asks to play.  I really hate that about myself and I plan to work on it.

In addition to delighting your children, turns out there are so many more benefits to playing…that it may be the key to happiness, as detailed in this article.

My getting hung up with the household tasks is apparently typical of most of us grownups.  We are all so caught up with being productive that we aren’t experiencing the joy of being spontaneous and just letting loose!  Most of us walk around with our noses in our smart phones unaware of what’s happening around us.

Actually I shouldn’t say we are all guilty.  I know my husband, for one, is pretty good at playing.  Whether it’s with the kids, or with his hockey teammates, he knows how to enjoy himself. I see him radiating with happiness when he comes home from playing hockey at night when it’s 10 degrees out (albeit he’s also got a few more aches and pains too:)).

Do you play?

 

Being Tired, Being Sick

11 Jan

Tickle my butt…inside!

That request just came from my son.

But really what’s on my mind is that I’m starting to get depressed from lack of sleep!  Every night for the past several I’ve been up with someone.  The kids have been coughing for weeks and weeks and nothing from antibiotics to over the counter meds seems to be working.

And then there’s the fact that my husband is sick too and you know that’s always worse than all the kids combined.  But of course, he’s sick like no one else.

And isn’t it great for dads when they’re sick? They get a day off from work and stay in bed, moaning, all day.  Let’s see what do I do when I’m sick….hmm…oh right, the same thing I do everyday.  Like a couple of weeks ago when  I had food poisoning and I took the kids to the bus, got them from the bus, took the little one to story time (and kept praying that I wouldn’t barf on the rug among all the other kids and babies).  But hey my husband did do me the favor of coming home from work early so I did get 3 hours by myself to lay in my bed and pray for death rest.

This winter has been rough illness wise.  It kind of seems like it gets worse each year.  I read an interesting article about fevers, how they are a symptom of our bodies working correctly yet they incite so much worry in parents.  I’m actually one of those parents as I am still traumatized from witnessing my daughter have a febrile seizure.  Anyone with fever over here gets medicated immediately.

Okay I’ve rambled myself  to more sleepiness so I gotta get back to getting ready for a foot of snow tonight…can’t wait :)

Big Bad Santa

14 Dec

Santa is really too accessible don’t you think?  I mean, there he is at every holiday party, all sprawled out in the center of the mall, outside stores and let’s not forget visiting nursery school.  And when you have children who are Santaphobic, this time of year is not easy!

Today Santa visited my little one’s nursery school class.  Now I know my kids aren’t the only ones freaked by him, so why must the school torture my daughter (and me) by his presence? I guess I could have kept her home today like my wise friend, but I selfishly needed the 1 hour of freedom as we embark on her 3 week school vacation!

She really wanted nothing to do with him.  And I wouldn’t think about forcing the issue.  But when the teacher suggested I go up with her, the little one decided it would be acceptable if I told Santa what she wants…(but she still wouldn’t even look at him!)

Hi Santa…Little one would like a unicorn pillow pet please!

As the most unfestive mom on the planet, or at least in that classroom, it wasn’t easy!

You know it wasn’t always this way.  Little one used to love Santa.  When they first met she was just 7 months old and very much resembling Conan O’Brien.

(I’m sorry but if that isn’t the cutest Santa picture ever, then what is?)

So now my girls want nothing to do with him.  My favorite part of an article I read:

Analyzed or not, the forced Santa Claus issue ultimately serves no beneficial purpose. Parents, imagine yourself in your child’s place, especially if you’re a woman: Imagine being forced to sit in a giant man’s lap — a man who gives you the total creeps, a man with a straggly beard and funny look in his eyes, and you’re convinced he’ll do whatever he wants with your body, and nobody is around to rescue you. Fighting him off is not an option because he’s three feet taller and 150 pounds heavier than you.

How would you feel?

How Your Experiences Change Your Sperm and Eggs

1 Nov

Life experiences can cause permanent changes in sperm and eggs that may be carried on for generations.

This article in Newsweek is really interesting as it details this discovery.

Bottom line…hold off on your unhealthy behavior until after you have kids!

 

Parade Particulars

29 Oct

The kids were standing next to my bed tapping my face around 6 this a.m…..dying to get their costumes on…

I’m so genuinely happy that the school parades are over.  I had about 2 hours of aggravation prior to them.  Wanting to wear short sleeves (it is 50 degrees out), zipper breaking, costume changing in addition to the dismay I was feeling having to miss the twins parading (but her dad went) so I could be there at the little one’s.

Nonetheless, within 45 minutes, all 3 had paraded successfully.

SO, we have the policeman

The stapled wings fairy (who was almost a witch)

and the grumpy monkey (who disrobed during her parade)

I’m often standing around at these things feeling alone in my disdain.  The moms seem to be brimming with excitement.  I just don’t have a lot of holiday enthusiasm and I don’t get why they all have to be so overdone in school.  My little one sat there and pleaded that she was tired and wanted to go inside.  The twins went on a long parade and my husband said they were dragging.  Isn’t trick or treating enough excitement for kids?!  It was when I was a kid.  I don’t even remember wearing my costume to school.

Like this article says, it just makes the already busy existence for parents even more chaotic and I guess I’m feeling it!

So what are your thoughts about Halloween?  Anyone a hater like me?!

Have a happy!

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