Halloween has come and gone, and that means we're moving right into what many consider to be the happiest (and often busiest) time of year — the holidays. Thanksgiving is just a week away,...
Toddlers could teach us all a thing or two about forgiveness. You bump your squirming toddler's head as you're trying to wrestle him/her into the car seat. You inadvertently knock over the leaning tower of DVD boxes he/she has decided is a construction project. You eat the last of the Goldfish during naptime. Whatever the offense may be, you are quickly forgiven (after about 40 seconds of crying, of course). It's as if toddlers have a wisdom beyond their years — they realize that whatever you did to upset them can't come close to how much they love you. So they just move on.
When I think back on summers as a kid, I remember lazy days by the pool, concerts in the park behind my grandparents' house, jars of fireflies with carefully punctured lids. Time was unstructured and seemed to move slower than the rush of the school year. As a mom, this is how I want my son to experience summer. And yet, lately it seems like every news story or social media post about summer is filled with terrifying warnings about ticks, sun poisoning, dehydration, drowning... the list goes on and on. It is almost enough to make me want to hunker down in our apartment all summer (with the air conditioner on, of course).
You know one of your son's friends can't eat gluten, dairy, or peanuts, so you buy a box of gluten-free brownie mix. You prepare it according to the 'dairy alternative' recipe. But there's a problem. That sponge you used to wash the mixing bowl? It cleaned peanut butter off a breakfast plate this morning. That wooden spoon you used to mix the batter? It mixed wheat flour last night and might have small traces of gluten (even after washing). Yes, some kids are that sensitive.
I know our son won't remember our travels from these early days of his life. I do hope that maybe these experiences in some way help him internalize that the world is so much more than our street here in Boston. Even if it doesn't do that for him quite yet, it is good for me to remember that there is life outside nap schedules and 'Daniel Tiger.'
This week we celebrate National Library Week. As a voracious reader and former teacher, I have long appreciated my local library. Once I became a mom, this appreciation reached a whole new level. Love? Devotion? I'm not quite sure the word... all I know is I owe a debt of gratitude to that charming little building around the corner that I will never be able to repay.
"Kids notice EVERYTHING. Yes, they listen to what we tell them (usually). Yes, they internalize certain behaviors through routine and repetition. But the reality is, they gain so much of their knowledge about the world through observation. And if what they observe is adults constantly staring at screens, they will internalize that message: Being a grown-up means staring at a screen all day."
I see you over there stifling a yawn during toddler story hour. I see you guzzling another cup of coffee during playgroup. I see you struggling to muster the energy to chase that little girl of yours (who might just rival the Energizer Bunny) around the gym. I see you — and I get it.
There is something truly magical about gathering around the table with family and friends to share a meal. Of course, these holiday meals can also be a source of stress, especially if you are the one hosting. If you are welcoming holiday guests into your home this year, chances are at least one of your friends or family members will have some food allergies. How can you make sure everyone feels welcome at your table... without also stressing yourself out?
Halloween will soon be upon us, and even if you're not a teacher or a parent of a child with food allergies, chances are there is someone in your neighborhood who will appear at your door with an allergy. So what can you do to make sure all kids can enjoy the holiday AND stay safe?
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