My most recent gig in public ed was supervising and coaching other Early Childhood Educators to ensure the highest program quality, which we measure by our ability to build a strong foundation for future success in life, school, and the community. Ultimately this encompasses the whole child and ranges from social emotional, cognitive, language, literacy, and physical development, and also mathematical thinking, scientific inquiry, and so on… the job is a big one. But, our number one duty everyday is to keep children safe. Safety has to be first, so that they can learn, grow, thrive, and develop.
If you’re like me, you like keeping money in your pocket/bank, you don’t like your house being overrun by toys, and basically you hate wasting time and money on anything your children will outgrow or lose interest in within the lifespan of a housefly. (They don’t live long folks.)
As the twins (now 1 years old!) have really begun playing more independently, jointly, and with things, I’ve lost myself in thought about toys. I’ve been pretty picky about toys, so thankfully, I am fairly happy with the amount of and type of toys in my house, for the most part. But let’s face it: not all toys are created equally. Some toys stand the test of time and parent/teacher sanity, and some don’t.
First confession: I don’t know where this post will take me. And, be warned that it may be a hard read, but I need to get this out, before the details blur anymore in my memory and mommy brain.
I have wanted to write about this, but haven’t been sure how or when. I first started drafting something on December 5, 2017, when I first admitted to myself deep down that my poor sweet dog, Buck, was approaching his end. That week was emotionally exhausting, knowing and dreading, but also wanting to remember and cherish his last few days with us.
Around our house, the New Year brought with it some sniffles, allergies, more teething for the twins (it’s like never-ending!), major nostalgia of being super pregnant a year ago and realizing my babies are about to turn ONE (EEK!), and also some real clumsiness on the part of this momma. To put it short, y’all, I’ve been a HOT mess! Meanwhile, for the rest of my family, the New Year brought some record COLD temps and/or snowfall where they live.
I am grateful for being a mom of 3 under 3 in a part of the country that is afflicted with boring, predictably 70 degree weather. Except for a few days ago as I drafted this, of course. That day, I turned the heat on and wore my coat. But anyway, I also feel like our big boy is missing out on experiencing real winter and snow, something he actually lived through for his first 2 winters, though he has no recollection of it. My life is full of conflict, I know.
My two year old is usually a really good kid, ESPECIALLY for being two. But take away our home environment, especially all his toys, add loved ones he doesn’t get to see regularly, mix in some *new* toys that he is expected to share with twin babies, sprinkle it with holiday excitement, and you’ve got a recipe for meltdowns, regression, and basically a tiny jerk. (Am I a bad mom for saying that?)
There are few things cuter than baby hands or feet. I can’t get enough of the way those little toes curl or the way those little hands clap with glee or manipulate things around them. Ok, except for the hair grabbing, poking me in the eye, or trying to pull off parts of my body like a nose or nipple… yikes! But seriously, those sweet toes and fingers are the cutest torture devices that exist.
Because they’ll grow way too fast and because messy play is so much fun, why not create some keepsake crafts to decorate with during the holiday season, using those adorable hands and feet!
It’s always magical to see children learning from a young age to appreciate and celebrate their heritage as well as the diverse heritage of others. I’m one of those people who loves the word diverse, y mas en español, diverso, porque todo suena mejor en español. I can’t help but mention here that I recently had a conversation with a man who shuddered as I described my high school alma mater as diverse. He claimed that “diverse” is a word that democrats have stolen and made dirty… don’t get me started on that. So I just want to say it again: (Dear Sir) I LOVE THE WORD “DIVERSE”!
“I don’t want to be generous,” he said as we stood in a Target aisle full of toys.
“I know, love. Being generous is hard…”
“It’s TOO hard mommy,” he interjected.
“… but it will make other people SO happy.”
“It will make other people so happy?” he said with puzzled big brown eyes, head tilted to the side.
As teachers, sometimes our hands are tied by school or district policies when it comes to exposing our little learners to cultural or religious holidays. I was always glad to be allowed to teach holidays, as long as these were taught in an all-inclusive way that made children aware of the diverse ways and days people celebrate but didn’t promote one over another.
We have made it to my favorite time of the year: The Christmas and Advent season! I recognize and respect the diversity of holidays and ways people celebrate them, but for me, it’s Christmas and there are a lot of family Christmas traditions that make me all warm and gooey inside.