From his earliest days of playground exploration, my son would be in constant contact with other children. Whether it was an angry push, an enthusiastic hug, or just a curious touch, he never kept his hands to himself.
He’s only one, I told myself. He’ll grow out of it.
My son grew older and more agile. He could climb and jump and keep up with kids three times his age. He still pushed. He still hit. He still tackled kids he loved.
Organized activities, like story time or music class were a nightmare.
One parenting joy is the ability to bitch about the difficulty of raising a (insert age of child here). New parents struggle to stay sane while caring for a helpless, poop-machine. Toddler parents contend with tantrums, crayon murals and picky eating. School-age kids bring constant questions and whining. And, the adolescent years? Yeah, not even gonna touch that.
Seems almost every stage of parenthood has its challenges. So, is there an age when things are not so bad, or even great?
After nearly five years of completely unscientific research, I have concluded the period between four and six months is the most pleasant age for children.
I was in awe of swim staff the moment I put my toe in the lake at summer camp. I was 10 years old, a fair swimmer, with aspirations of one day becoming good enough to work there as a lifeguard. The swim staff was strict, and often downright mean, but everyone respected the waterfront.
In all my years as a camper, and subsequent years as a lifeguard, I never witnessed a serious water emergency. An impressive feat, considering the thousands of campers, staff and visitors who swam, splashed and played in that upstate New York lake.
While drownings and other horrible accidents are often the result of sheer bad luck, and I am not one to point blame at anyone, I believe the reason my camp had such an impressive record, was because the waterfront staff created a culture of safety.
Though my lifeguard days are behind me, I still use what I learned then to help keep my kids safe now.
I have few loves in life, my husband, my kids, and, of course, my Netflix. Give me a night with Francis Underwood or the ladies of Litchfield any day. And, while those shows are fantastic, they don’t always reflect the everyday mundane reality of parenthood. Just like I offered some parenting-inspired tweaks to some popular network programs, I thought Netflix could use some of its own.
1. Orange Is The New Food My Kid Won’t Eat
Will it be oranges or will it be mashed potatoes? Tune in to each episode of this riveting drama to find out which food your child now hates.
We have all seen the videos of the toddler, ripping open the brand new, expensive toy, only to cast it aside and play with the box for hours. Whether it’s a cardboard box or some old newspaper, kids can turn almost anything into a plaything. For parents on a budget, parents looking for ways to engage their children’s creative thinking or parents just tired of the same old toys cluttering their living rooms, there are a ton of options that can be found beyond the “toy aisle.” In fact, most of these items can be purchased at your local hardware or dollar store or supermarket or even lying around your house.
“I want to get a bunk bed,” my four-year-old exclaimed, out of nowhere, one morning during breakfast.
“Huh?” I thought. I must have misheard him.
Let me back up for a moment here to explain that while my oldest technically has his own room and own place to sleep (a hand-me-down toddler bed), he spends the majority of his nights sleeping with me. I don’t have a strong stance for or against co-sleeping, but I am pro-let-everyone-get-some-rest-so-mommy-doesn’t-go-insane.
This story describes handling a medical situation involving a child ingesting a foreign object. Some language might be offensive to some readers. Also, every child and situation is different. Please consult your doctor if you need medical advice.
“Mama, I swallowed a penny!” So began the series of events leading to me kneeling beside my toilet searching for the coin my four-year-old ingested.
How I managed to make it through two kids and more than four years of parenting before either of them swallowed a foreign object is nothing short of a miracle. I never fully baby-proofed my home and my little ones are always getting into precarious situations. I’d like to think I did a decent job of enforcing certain rules like, staying away from the stove and crawling backwards down the stairs until walking has been mastered. I am humble enough to admit keeping my kids safe is equal parts quick reflexes and just plain good luck. Continue reading →