That is the question, at least for families with a stay-at-home parent. And it’s not a simple answer. Parenting hardly ever involves simple answers, beyond meeting the most basic needs. It will probably take me a few posts to say all I want to say, all that I think parents might want to know or hear, but here goes…
I shared the first part of this list 15 Worthwhile Toys for the Early Years a few weeks back, because the toy industry, children’s movies/TV and related products, Pottery Barn Kids, Target (both of which I LOVE!), educational products, etc. can be SO damn cute and manipulative, much like our little ones… and then bam! Or “CRUNCH!” Or “OW!” You’ve stepped on one of thousands of toys or supplies… no matter how much your munchkins actually help put them all away.
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!
“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.
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.
November is here. Along with the holiday music and all the planning we busy ourselves with (who is hosting what and when, coordinating adorable outfits, travel plans, conniving to get people the most perfect gifts, food shopping, gift buying…is your head spinning like a dreidel yet?!?), November causes us to pause and reflect on all we are grateful for. As parents and educators, our thoughts also turn to being intentional with how we model and teach gratitude to our children.
Of course, children won’t learn to be grateful from one day, week, or even month of thanksgiving, but we can use this time to reflect on what we are doing right, what we might do better, and put some of our ideas into action.
Let’s face it. They won’t always let us do this.
As I was crafting our Halloween costumes for this year and envisioning years of such wonder, I realized that someday my three amores will have an opinion about their costumes and it probably won’t be coordinated and so innocent. Still, with the tips of my fingers burned off from hot glue gunning eyes and fuzz, I imagined that as they get older I’ll nag them to select a costume with plenty of time for me to create it for them.
Then to my horror, a little nagging voice admitted that some day they might decide to make or buy it themselves. Scary, right? I told my husband when that day comes, it will be the beginning of the end. He said “of your sanity?”. (Sweet man, you are lying to at least one of us.) I replied, “No! Of their childhood!”
Even if time is short, with some help from Amazon, Primary.com, the Goodwill store, a raid of your own closets, and a bit of easy crafting, you can still look adorable and coordinated while your sweet little ones will still let you! Felt and hot glue will be your best friends!