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Heather's Parenting Journal

Entry Two ~ May 5, 2006
~ My Son's Growing Wings

IsabellaLife is just rolling along over here. We've all been healthy, thank goodness, and dad's cancer surgery is set up for next week. I can't wait to have that behind us too.

Isabella has recently been sleeping through the night! She goes down about 8 or 9 PM and does not wake to eat until 5 AM, and then goes back down once again until the other kids wake up. I can see a pattern starting to develop during the day also. She likes to take her first nap about an hour after waking up. Then she likes a good afternoon nap, and finally a short nap during dinner. I can't offer any 'good' advice on how she began sleeping through the night. I did not do anything different. Of the 3 other kids, 2 of them woke up every 4 hours until almost a year old. So I feel your pain, if you have a child still waking you up. Part of it must just be in the baby and not what you actually do. I could be that or just a sympathy vote in my corner and Isabella knows I'm a better mother with sleep.

SydneyEaster was a lot of fun. The kids hunted for Easter eggs and their baskets first thing in the morning. Then all 6 of us managed to shower or take a bath, dress up, and head to church. I was amazed we were not late. After church we had my parents, my cousin, and another friend for dinner. The kids went on another Easter egg hunt in the back yard. Then had our famous Easter treasure hunt. The treasure hunt was actually something my mom started with me long ago and now I've passed it on to them. The clues are fun to make. Depending on the age, you design clues that will bring them to other parts of the house to find additional clues. For instance, "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jumped over the candlestick.: The clue next clue would be hidden in a candlestick in the house. There is also a prize at the end. My kids just beg for the hunt and they have now convinced me that Easter is not enough treasure hunt. They will also have a treasure hunt at their birthday parties.

AlexI've always considered myself a mom of very young children. But, I have to admit one of them is beginning to try to grow some wings. My soon to be 7 year old has recently been permitted to go down the cul-de-sac to play with his friends alone. He is thriving on his extra 'big' boy freedom and begs to go daily. This is a new change to me. I'm not used to someone actually wanting to be gone. Just last year he would happily play in the backyard, which is all fenced in. Lately, we have a pattern of getting off the bus and begging to ride his bike to the cul-de-sac. Then I say, "no, come in and get a snack first." Then he huffs, rolls his eyes, and tells me I'm mean. WHAT? What did I say? Anyway, I just feel a little torn. We don't actually live in the cul-de-sac, but are the house at the very end. This area has at least 16 houses, so it is not a short 4-house cul-de-sac area, and it is stocked full of kids Alex's age. But, the reason I am torn is because he is not yet 7, and I am allowing him to go play alone. Of course he is playing with other 6, 7, and 8 year olds and their mothers are watching them. But, I can't. When he gets off the bus, I have Isabella and Sydney still napping. Since the cul-de-sac is so big, me sitting in the front so I can be near the sleeping kids, does not do justice for 'watching' duty because the 'fun zone' is the circle part of the cul-de-sack which is 8 or so houses away. So, I feel bad that I keep sending my son down the street for other moms to watch. I know they know I have a baby, and I have made sure to talk to them about telling me if there are ever any problems, but still feel uncomfortable. I don't want them to feel like he is intruding on them either. His birthday is next week and I want to have a party here so those kids he plays with can come here for a change. Then maybe my husband and I could get to know their parents and the kids could have some fun. Anyway, it is something I will have to continue to work on . . . on my part. This 'growing of the wings' is hard. That must be why the oldest in the family always thinks that they had it the hardest growing up and his siblings get away with anything. It is so hard on you as a parent to begin to allow the freedom and not be a nervous wreck that they will get hurt. You want to shelter and yet not shelter too much. It is a fine line that we all have to evaluate per situation and per child.

Well, as I am typing this, my son (the soon to be 7 year old) has opened the living room window and allowed our 95 pound Golden Retriever to jump in and out the window. I was alerted to this scene by all the giggling and calling of his name, "Lego, come here . . . jump." They are all in on it. Don't worry, the screens are not in the windows yet and the living room is on the first floor, but still, I think a dog jumping in and out of my living room window to the deck is something to get off the computer and go take care of now. (And yes, I typed this 'after the fact' and did not wait to stop this before I was done typing - but I thought it was funny enough to be included) See, it is that kind of behavior that concerns me when he goes alone to the cul-de-sac. I don't want him to be that bad boy down there. But, from what I've heard he seems to save all that behavior for me. He is one of a very small few that have not even gotten in trouble at school for talking or anything yet.

Maria and DaddyI just bought the very best stranger safety video ever, Stranger Safety by Julie Clark (Baby Einstein) and John Walsh (America's Most Wanted). My kids are hooked. I could actually see the light turn on in my son's head on what to do with strangers. Even my 3 1/2 year old, Maria, gets it. I have actually seen a difference in my kids out in public and at home when the door rings. They actually 'know' what to do, don't question, and don't forget. I'm completely impressed. The video is not scary, and had a wonderful superhero character teaching all the lessons. They give the kids good advice and teach it at their level. I've called many of my friends to let them know about this video. I just can't speak highly enough of it.

Soccer season is back in swing, and school is winding down. Before we know it summer will be here. May has a lot in store for our family. I wish all of you a safe May and will talk to you in June.

Parent tip: Pack a simple picnic lunch and grab a blanket. Put it in the car and call the kids. Go to the Local Park and just play. Let go of the laundry and the housework . . . trust me it will wait, and just have fun 'in the moment.' Pick acorns, look at flowers, and send them on a scavenger hunt. These are the days the kids will remember. The day when mom packed us in the car, drove us to the park, and we ate on a blanket under the big tree. Enjoy spring!

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