Monthly Archives: April 2011

CompetiMoms and What Kids Should Know

Ok this blog is mostly Cady and Hadley and what they are doing but sometimes I feel the need to get things off my chest here. Something has been weighing heavy on me for quite a while now.

Before having children, I envisioned this great support system of fellow moms that would encourage, commiserate and comfort each other. I imagined fellow moms to be my allies. And luckily I have found several women who fall into this category. I can always trust that they will talk me down on my worst parenting days and be happy for the little things that only other moms can understand.They will make me feel like my child is completely normal and my parenting skills are up to par, even when I question both those things. I am pretty sure I couldn’t be the parent I am without them in certain ways.

Unfortunately, I have encountered a completely other type of mom: The “CompetiMom.” These moms are pretty much the exact opposite. For whatever reason, they want their kid to be better. If your kid doesn’t hit a milestone or meet a standard when theirs did, then obviously something is wrong with you as a parent or with your child. If your child hits a milestone before theirs they have to tout that they are superior because “who cares about that milestone” or they aren’t “rushing their child to grow up.”  They feed their child better food. They buy their kid more expensive clothes. They always have some sort of benchmark that they meet every time and most others fall short of. There is one way for a child to do things and only at one certain pace. Their child is some piece in a race and they will always get to the end first.

And it isn’t as if I just recently discovered CompetiMoms. I noticed the trend basically from the very beginning of my tenure as a mother. I have recently, however, had a nasty run in with some and my friends have encountered the same. It seems like a growing phenomenon. I’ve had someone I considered a friend flat out tell me one of my kids was doing something developmentally wrong, completely unsolicited. As much as I know that she is not anywhere close to being behind developmentally and that her “issues” are a totally normal part of being a child, it still isn’t something a mom wants to hear. I am completely realistic and realize that my kids are not perfect, and I would never want them to be. But I don’t need some other person telling me that. I promise, I see it enough everyday.

I do realize that I post about milestones in the monthly posts. But I have said over and over again, that I don’t write this blog for anyone other than myself. I want to remember what the girls were doing right at this point in time. It is a way to keep our family in the loop as well. Several have told me that they feel more a part of the girls lives because they are able to read this blog. So if any post of mine ever made another mom feel less about themselves as mother or about their children, that has never been my intention. I really have only wanted to keep a log of what my children are like and share our lives with our friends and family.

Ok wow this has turned out longer than I intended, but if you are still reading (yay for you!) I wanted to share an article a friend turned me on to yesterday. A Magical Childhood is a really great resource for parents. Alicia wrote an article that I’d like to post an excerpt of (with her permission). I highly suggest reading the whole thing here.

What should a 4 year old know?
I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. “What should a 4 year old know?” she asked.

Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed. One mom posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only 3. A few posted URL’s to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.

It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn’t. We are such a competitive culture that even our preschoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn’t be a race.

So here, I offer my list of what a 4 year old should know.

  • She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
  • He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
  • She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
  • He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
  • She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.


But more important, here’s what parents need to know.

  • That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.
  • That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.
  • That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
  • That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.
  • That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay! Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US.

    They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.”

I hope this doesn’t come across as preachy, again not my intention. I’ve just really needed the opportunity to get this off my chest and share some really wise words that I truly believe in from someone who says it way better than I ever could. Thanks Alicia, for allowing me to share your words, but importantly for writing them. And seriously, if you have made it this far you should let me know and I will send you a thank you note or something. You’re obviously a trooper.

I’m stepping off the soapbox now and will return soon with cute pics or videos of the girls.

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Crazy Hand Hadley

Today at Kindermusik I noticed an interesting quirk of Hadley’s. She has a crazy hand. But only when she is holding on to an object. She can’t seem to keep it still when there is something in her hand. I thought it might just be a fluke at Kindermusik, but then I noticed it while she was playing after we got home. So I tested out my theory and sure enough. So, of course, I got a video of it.

Oh and by the way, I don’t just toss my kid anywhere on the floor. She has a perfectly good play mat that she just rolls right off of and then she just hangs out in the middle of the floor.

Two Years Ago Today: Pool Videos

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These are the months of the year

This is a song Cady learned at school. It features some of the lesser known months of the year such as Make and Novemby. LOL

This song gets stuck in my head very easily. I believe it might for Cady as well since she sings it almost constantly.

Two Years Ago Today: Pool Time

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Easter Egg Hunt

Saturday, we met up with a couple of friends at a local Easter Egg Hunt

These girls look so sweet and demure

But in reality they are really three of the silliest (Seriously, this picture makes me laugh every time I look at it)

They did some serious egg hunting

It was so serious that Cady just sat down to gather the eggs around her

There was a petting zoo and face painting and fun things like that, but it was too hot and everyone was suffering from allergies. So we left as soon as we were through with the eggs.

And thanks to Ashlee for capturing these pics. My silly camera had some battery issues, but luckily I can always count on a good friend to provide camera back up.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

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Cady’s Easter Party

On Tuesday, Cady’s class had a special Easter party and Easter egg hunt. I always love getting to see her in that element. Plus, a room full of 3 year old’s is pretty entertaining.

The kid’s get a special treat of McDonald’s Happy Meals on these days.

Hadley is really into faces and hair right now. If one of these things gets within arm’s reach she is grabbing on. I think I had just removed a handful of Cady hair from one of those chubby little fists.

After lunch, the kiddos headed out of the classroom to hunt some eggs

Two of Cady’s classmates have younger siblings that were there. The Little’s hung out together 😉

We walked out with Logan and his mom and baby brother. Cady and Logan are just so sweet together. They love to hold hands.

Such a cute couple! I just don’t think she could have picked a cuter or sweeter little boy for her first “boyfriend”

2 Years Ago: The Thumbkin Trauma

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Happy Easter

Love Hadley and Cady

One Year Ago Today: Cady’s New Moves

Two Years Ago Today: These Boots Were Made For

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Let’s go out the movies

I got to do something with Cady that I have been looking forward to for so long. I took her to see her first movie in a the theater!

We have this really great place locally where they serve a meal and drinks along with your movie. It is a really cool concept and we love when we get to go there.

On weekends they offer a 9am matinee called Flapjacks and a Flick. It was perfect.

We decided to see Rio. Cady had seen the ads a couple of time and seemed interested. Jason stayed home with Hadley while my girl and I had a movie date.

I think there were only 3 other families in the theater with us, so that was very nice. Cady ordered pancakes and I had french toast. Our food got delivered and the movie started.

It was so cute. Cady loved it. I, of course, couldn’t post about this without having a pic for you guys. No, I didn’t have the big camera in the movie with me. But I had to snap a quick pic with my cell. I’m not sure she blinked for the first 20 minutes or so.

This is definitely something we will be doing again. It has been so important for us to give Cady her own one-on-one time since Hadley’s arrival. And for now this is her own special thing to do with Mommy or Daddy.

One Year Ago Today: Kindermusik

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5 Months

Happy 5 Months Hadley Elizabeth!

Aah! 5 months already! This is going way too fast. She is getting to be so big. As you can tell by her pictures she is sitting up really well. I still wouldn’t trust her to sit on the floor by herself, but she is so close. I think she is going to love being able to sit be herself. I know I am going to love not having to haul her around in that crazy baby carrier. We bought Cady a new car seat that will get her through until she is done with car seats and boosters completely. So as soon as Hadley is able to sit in carts and things like that, the baby carrier is out and we will be putting the Britax in the car for her. I’m ready.

I think this sweet girl’s eyes are officially going to be blue. I’ve been giving them time to change (and I know they still could), but I do think they are likely to stay this way. I love that I have a beautiful brown eyed girl and a sweet little blue eyed girl too. It only makes sense that Cady looks so much like Jason and has his brown eyes and Hadley resembles me so much and has my blue eyes (although hers a darker blue).

She is still growing well. She is in size 4 diapers. I want to say that Cady was in size 4 when she was close to 2 years old. So Hadley is still a good sized girl. Her clothes are from 6-12 months. And I actually put something on her a week or so ago that was 18 months. My sweet pork chop.

She is sleeping very well. She is completely out of the sleep sack. She isn’t waking at any point in the night. She does wake up around 5am, but I don’t know I could go 10 hours without eating. I can’t complain at all.

We started Kindermusik this past month and she is loving it. It does happen to fall during her morning nap (like she actually has a schedule. HA!), but one thing that can be said about this girl is that she is adaptable. She really has to be a go-with-the-flow kind of gal because all our schedules pretty much revolved around Cady’s. Hadley catches a nap when and where she can.

Comparison pics:

Hadley

Cady

We love you Hadley Elizabeth!

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Easter Bunny 2011

We visited the Easter Bunny last week. It went well. I *might* have been a bit disappointed about that. I’m sick and love torturing my kids apparently. Oh well. If I can’t have a hilarious Easter Bunny pic at least I have a cute one.

Oh I am sad the bunny covered up Hadley’s shirt. You would think with a snazzy vest like that he would get the importance of an outfit.

Two Years Ago Today: Bluebonnet Pictures

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6 years ago…

I stood in front of all my family and friends and promised my life to my husband

We were very young at the time (22 and 24). I was even younger when I decided he was the man I would marry. I was 17 and I knew from almost the very beginning. I don’t think it would work for most people, nor do I recommend for most people. But for us it does. I am glad we have gotten to grow up together and make this life together. And every year, on our Anniversary, I think I could not find a way to love him anymore than I do. And for the next year, we grow together, face challenges together, and basically have fun together and I realize at the next anniversary that I do indeed love him more than I did a year prior.

Jason, it has been an unbelievable 6 years and I can’t wait for the next 60. I love you.

One Year Ago Today: True

Two Years Ago Today: 4 years Ago…

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