Archives for posts with tag: growing up


My oldest son is finishing up Kindergarten next week. I have been having an internal struggle with this stage of life we are leaving behind. The idea of First Grade seems harder for me to accept than Kindergarten was. There is still something that makes them feel so little while they are in Kindergarten. It is their toe dip into the big world of education. With First Grade looming in the wings, I cannot help but feel that there is one last piece of babyhood I am quickly losing my grip on.

My son will not be having a Kindergarten graduation ceremony. It is just how things worked out at his school this year. I am a little sad about that. I have even toyed with the idea of staging my own at home. (I am only half joking) I am sure I can find a cap and gown on Amazon in a pinch. I am not above doing something silly like that!

Recently, I overheard some people talking about how they find no value in any childhood graduation ceremonies. They even went to far as to say High School graduation is unimportant. I could not disagree with them more. I find value in celebrating these kinds of events. I cherish those moments. I am not a perfect parent and I never pretend to be. We all have our moments. When it comes down to it though, I cherish these important moments of my children’s lives. I go out of my way to create happy moments together.

We try our hardest to use positive reinforcement with our boys. I said we try. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we end up yelling. Every parent loses their patience once in a while. However, we value the concept and practice of positive reinforcement. This morning we cheered on our toddler who cleaned up a mess he created yesterday. He got high-fives and a ton of praise. Despite the fact that he was being straight up destructive when he threw my container of ear plugs around my bedroom. His face was a big cheesy grin when he heard us praise his clean up job. As a parent, you learn when to let go of the lesson and bring on the encouragement. It can be a balancing act, but you adapt. When you think about it, staging small graduation ceremonies for Preschool, Kindergarten, Middle School, and then the big one in High School, creates the ultimate method of positive reinforcement. You are creating happy and celebratory memories. You are encouraging them to work hard and follow through.

Childhood memories have value later in life. Close your eyes and think back to your happiest childhood memory. Maybe it was a family vacation, maybe a certain holiday, maybe it was a normal day that ended up being so silly and fun, maybe it was a graduation ceremony. The examples are endless. There is even a chance you had a hard time picking just one happy childhood memory. The Wall Street Journal examined the importance of childhood memories. The research determined that when children are able to recall childhood memories, they learn to cope better and have an easier time adjusting later in life. It helps them to develop their own sense of self. This allows them to reflect on their lives and see if they have stayed the same as a person or if they have changed and grown. When they recall happy memories, for example, a large happy life event that involves their family (think Kindergarten graduation ceremony), they learn to value family moments. The reason all of these internal changes occur is because children learn from their recalled memories as they mature.

There is a point in having a graduation ceremony for a child. There is lifelong value in that. Sure, it is not the only way to promote healthy, happy, and positive memories. There are so many opportunities in childhood for happiness. It is one way though. One which should not be scoffed at. How miserable are you as a person to scoff at a happy little afternoon for a child? When we value creating happy moments for our children, we are preparing them for a lifetime of living and learning.

I will do my best to make my son’s last day of Kindergarten memorable, even without a structured graduation ceremony. I always have him hold up signs on his first and last day of school. I started in pre-school. I already have my supplies to make next week’s sign. We will do something fun after I pick him up. He can choose dinner that night. I am not above having a box of goodies for him to open when he walks back through our door a First Grader. I am so proud of him for working so hard this year! Kids work hard in school. Their brains are growing, synapses firing, they create and absorb new knowledge! That is something to celebrate and encourage. What value is there in making a child feel like the work they accomplished is stupid and a waste of time? None, there is none. What will create a better world? Lifting up these tiny humans who will one day be in charge. Lifting them up high and celebrating their lives, happiness, joy, and success will only make our world a better and brighter place.

If I had my way, I would throw my children a graduation every year. I cannot wait to see how they both grow over the next school year, even if a piece of me is sad to watch my babies grow. I cannot wait to be a part of the happy childhood memories that will shape their adult selves.


I have seven days. Seven days until I have a Kindergartener. Seven days until I drive him to his new school, hug him goodbye while I try not to cry, and send him on his way to begin his official school career. I say official, because he did go to a twos program and then preschool and then pre k. It was different there though. It was only two days a week. I got constant daily updates. I could keep him home whenever I wanted. Vacations, illness, he needed a break. There were no rules. We kind of lived life as we pleased.

Now begins his official journey of education. We will have to plan things around school. Five days a week I will have to send him off for a few hours. If we want to take a random last minute vacation (which tends to be our MO), we will have to take school into consideration.

Five days a week I will scramble in the morning to get us out the door by a very certain time. Another leisure I had before. I always aimed for a certain time, but at his school, there wasn’t a mandatory start time. I am sure some mornings will be smooth sailing and some mornings will be insanity. I have no false hopes that it will be consistent. Life with children is nothing if not rather inconsistent and unpredictable at times.

Five days a week I will come home to a slightly quieter home. His baby brother is a lot different when he is on his own. When he gets the rare chance to feel like an only for a few hours. He isn’t better or worse, he is just different. It is as if he understands he has some mom time to himself. We have two classes we are signed up for to pass some of the morning time. To get to play together and have fun. The ways I used to take big brother to different toddler classes. Five days a week I will have an only child for a little while.

Five days a week I will wonder what he is learning. I will wonder if he is adjusting well. I will wonder if he is being well behaved and kind. I will wonder if other children are being kind to him.

Five days a week I will let other people care for and teach my son. The tiny human that grew in my body. The tiny human who thrived on the milk my body produced for over a year. The tiny human who grew into a chubby toddler. The tiny human whose toddler chub melted away into a tall and long preschooler. The tiny human who has begun to define his ability to be opinionated and in charge. (This is said in such nice terms. In the midst of an opinionated moment, I don’t always feel so sunshiny).

Five days a week I will pick up this young growing boy from his class. Sun, rain, snow, or any weather in between (it can be all of the above in the same day in Chicago). Baby brother in tow, chattering away as he is wont to do these days. Hopefully I get to listen to this Kindergartener’s chattering stories on the drive home. Asking questions I hope he has answers to. Sometimes he says he doesn’t remember what he did five minutes before. I will be clinging to every bit of information he decides to pass along. I will try to get him to tell me his five favorite things of the day. A tradition I started in preschool. It elicited more information than just asking him “what did you do today?”

I have seven days until I begin to live in a world of five days. Today he has had moments of driving me crazy. I love him dearly. He wants to do what he wants to do though and sometimes that isn’t what needs to be done. Then we sat down for a snack. I had a few moments of peace prior to that while he picked up his toys. It allowed me to reset. I just watched him practice his Taekwondo forms for no reason other than he loves it. He showed me a booby trap he made out of a snap bracelet. I have seven days until I have five days of missing out on these moments of happiness. I have seven days until I have five days of him sharing these silly little pieces of himself with other people in the world. While I am across town, doing whatever I am doing in those hours, a gymnastics class or a mom/tot dance class, or a trip to Target, or just picking up around the kitchen while the toddler plays, he will be sharing the unique and amazing things about himself with other people. And I have no choice but to accept and be ok with that.

I have seven days until I have to let go for five days a week for the rest of his childhood education. I have seven days until I have to choke back tears until I get into my SUV and sit there for a moment. I better start practicing.



I have been rather nostalgic lately. There are a couple reasons. Jackson will be turning 4 in three weeks. I have been looking back at his baby photos comparing how he and Alex look as infants. Both of those together have supercharged my mommy emotions. I simply cannot believe how much Jackson has grown. I don’t even remember when his face stopped being so pudgy, round, and baby-ish. Did he just wake up that way one morning? Or did that sweet baby chub slip through my fingers one hour at a time like tiny grains of sand?

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My heart melts looking over these old photos. I truly cannot place how he grew. I cannot believe he is nearly 4. That he is this little boy who likes to arrange his toys and then ask me to take photos of them. He is going to be really good at whatever field he chooses one day because he spends 99% of his time debating me and trying to strike up deals. “That’s a good deal mommy.” Which, is debatable! Ha! He is a very passionate person. Whether he is loving on me or angry at me. Passion seeps through his pours. He gives his all to whatever he is feeling. He tells me I am beautiful. The most beautifulest mommy in the world. He loves to sing and dance. Then he likes to switch it up to “shooting guns” and ninja skills. He recently started getting into fashion. He has been picking out awesome shoes and shirts that do not have characters on them.

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His fingers are still pudgy, but they are much bigger. His feet are still adorable, but they actually get dirty and stinky. His face is still round with squishy cheeks, but it doesn’t have the look of a baby. It has the look of a little boy.

He loves to help me. If it is cooking, helping with Alexander, picking up things that are not his, shopping, everything. Well, everything except cleaning up his own toys. That he hates with that passion I mentioned. He tears up at ASPCA commercials, sad shows or movies, or anything that evokes a sad emotion. His empathy is boundless.

I look back on him being a baby and I understand those moments a lot more. His personality has always been similar to how it is now. Sometimes he doesn’t like to try new things. It freaks him out. I used to get so frustrated at infant and toddler mommy/me classes. He was so frustrated and I never understood why. That is just him. Change and people he doesn’t know well trying to touch him isn’t his cup of tea. I can now reason with him regarding trying some new things. But looking back, it all makes sense. It just takes him a long time to warm up to certain situations. As I parent him now, I have that voice in my head reminding me of that. I have to give things time with him.

I am sitting in the kitchen with him as I write this. He is watching Octonauts. His mouth is slightly open, eyes are wide, and he occasionally smiles at what they say. He keeps catching me staring at him. He asked me for a snack. He didn’t finish his lunch carrots. We just struck a deal, he has to finish all of them, then he can have a snack. Always a deal to be made.

I know he is only 4 but I already feel the time slipping through my fingers. I fully understand how fast it goes. I think it took birthing Alexander for me to realize this. I am now elbows deep in all things infant again. That phase had faded out a long time ago. I hadn’t noticed one hour, one day, one week, one month at a time. No. It just was business as usual. I was raising a little boy. I am afraid of what I will be feeling 4 years from today. How will 8 year old Jackson be? Even typing that sentence made my heart drop. One day he WILL be 8 years old. 8 years away from that tiny little babe I birthed during Snowmageddon! Terrifying.

Alexander is our last child. I think this fact has made me hyper aware to time racing forward while I try to hang on. I don’t want Alexander to stop being this squishy little babe (he could go ahead and sleep through the night though!) I don’t want Jackson to age another 4 years and be an 8 year old BOY!


I want to hit pause. I want their faces to stay round, soft, creamy, and so squishy. One day I will kiss those cheeks and there will be stubble on them. Stubble. Ok, I have to slow down now. I am getting way ahead of myself.

For now, I will have to keep on kissing those cheeks and staring in wonder at those chubby little fingers. And requesting big passionate hugs from my little passionate guy.

I am a bookworm. I have been since before I learned how to read. I have vivid memories of my mom reading to me when I was a little girl. After learning how to read, I couldn’t put books down. I would spend hours in the library deciding on which books to check out next. It was always torture that I could only take a few at a time. My grandma would take me to the library with her and we would spend hours? there. To me it seemed like hours. I am not sure how long it was in actual time. As a child though, I was in that magical wonderful place for what seemed like an eternity. In college I spent a lot of time studying in the library. If I had time in between classes I would head there to read, study, work on things, or just be there.

I have worked to pass that on to Jackson and soon Alexander. Their book collection is extensive. I even have a book box where I add new books all the time and Jackson gets to pick a new book rather often. Last night I decided to grab two new books that I wanted to read to him. One of them is titled If I Could Keep You Little.

I bought this book a while ago. I read it in the store and cried. The premise is a mom who would love to keep her child little but knows she would then miss out on all the great things they did as they grew. I think this is my number one struggle as a mom. The idea that one day my boys will leave the nest. That one day I will have to let them go play outside in the big world without my hand a few inches away. I try to not be a total helicopter parent. I don’t hover constantly, especially in our home. I let Jackson play on his own. But outside, in the big scary world? He is only 3 & 1/2. I am not ready to let him wander. I don’t have to be ready quite yet, but one day I will.

The tantrums and arguing back can be hard. The bad days where we all don’t seem to sync up can be rough. But that is not the hardest part for me. With those moments I have about a 2 second rebound rate. I never feel defeated or that it drags out to the next day or even the next moment. Sometimes I can reset with just 20 minutes. It is the letting go that I know I will struggle with more and more as my boys grow.

Having a new baby on the way 4 years after we were expecting Jackson has proved that. I have seen now how much I have let go over the past 3 & 1/2 years. Much to my surprise. Things changed a little every single day. I do it, but it doesn’t mean that it was easy. To be honest, I usually still feed Jackson dinner. He can do it. He prefers me to help him. Much to my husband’s eye rolls. But one day he won’t want mommy to scoop his food and feed him. I will probably be trying to convince him to sit down and eat with us! Those are the kinds of things I think about. While I am saying “But Jackson, you are a big boy, you can feed yourself, right? You do it at breakfast and lunch!” In my head I am just perfectly fine with scooping that pasta into his mouth for him.

I made it through the book this time without crying. I didn’t even choke up when I read it to him. I even was able to point out similarities in his life and watched a big smile beam across his sweet soft face. My lap has less room these days. My belly is getting big. Less than 2 months to go until I have two boys squirming for space. But each day we cuddle on Jackson’s old rocking chair and we read books. We adjust every day to that growing belly. I suppose that is what parenting is. Every day you adjust to the changes just a touch. You have to wiggle something over to make room for something new and different. Some new skill, ability, task, thought, need, or want. Sometimes it happens without you even realizing it. When did my belly get so round? When did Jackson have to learn to sit differently on my lap? It wasn’t in one fell swoop. We grew together.

How I long to keep my boys little. Even looking back on infant photos of Jackson, which I have done more and more lately, I wonder, how did he grow into this boy? As we tucked him in and he had to show me one last fancy trick before being snuggled under his blankets I just watched his face. The book fresh in my mind. He used to be this squishy little infant, with a personality, but certainly not this specific personality. When did he grow into this little boy and leave that squishy infant behind? When did I stop using onesies? When did my world revolve around themed tshirts and pajamas? Spiderman adorned my sweetheart from head to toe last night. No more sweet baby blue footie pjs for him. He used to fit into all the clothing I have purchased for Alexander. Now, you couldn’t get a foot in some of those.

But, like that book tells me, if I kept him in those, I would miss out on him calling to me as I left “Mommy one more hug and kiss. Hugs and kisses are my favorite.” They are mine too sweet boy, whether you’re a newborn or a grown man. They will always be my favorite, in every stage you pass through.

Our growing family

Our growing family

My last couple of posts have been fitness related. But there has been a lot going on with Jack. I feel each day gets busier and busier because he is so very mobile. He has started talking a bit as well. Yesterday I got to hear him say “mama mama mama mama” all day. He is not just babbling when he says that word either. He says it loud and clear when he wants my attention or wants me to pick him up or any other need he has from me. Mama was actually his first clear word. Over the weekend I went to get him in the morning. As soon as he saw he me he began saying mama mama mama and reaching for me. I was over the moon and elated. I was not expecting it! He babbles baba, dada, gaga, etc as he goes about his business.And he seems to be starting to say dada in reference to Jason as well. Yesterday it really sounded like it when Jason held him.

He has begun to say “ball.” Playing with a ball is his favorite activity, so it is no surprise that ball would be one of his first words. He can throw and catch a ball. It is rather hilarious.

On Sunday he will turn 10 months. I again am dreading this approaching date. I remember early on how I was always so excited for him to turn the next month old. Now I wish it would slow down. His first year is nearly over! OVER! He is nearly a toddler. Jason refuses to call him an infant or baby anymore. He calls him a toddler already. His theory is that he sits up, crawls, pulls up, stands,

walks around his table or along the couch or entertainment center, and is talking. So in Jason’s book that means he is a big boy toddler. In my book he is still my little baby. I refuse to even entertain the idea that he is a toddler until after his first birthday.

I will say I enjoy this time with him. He is so fun and sweet. He loves to play and games are now a two way street. He is so interactive. I can roll the ball to him, he laughs, catches it, and throws or rolls it back. If I clap, he will clap too. I point at him, he will point back. It goes on and on the things he responds to. Sometimes I feel like a child again because I get to play with one all day. It is very fun. Sometimes it is hard work, but the fun times help you to move past any of the harder times.

He is understanding the lessons I am teaching him. He knows when I am trying to reprimand something he did. I don’t yell or anything, but I get a stern voice when telling him no about something and then I get a loving reassuring voice and I explain why I said no. He may not grasp this concept entirely but he knows the different tones and I believe he understands when I say no. I think the positive reinforcement after is so important. Yesterday our cat Lili walked past him and stopped in front of him. He reached out to pet her. I have been teaching him the word “gentle” for months, especially around the kitties. So from across the room I said “Gentle Jackson, gentle” He stopped, looked up at me, then looked back at her and gently ran his hand across her body. After he was done he looked up at me with this look of “did I do it right momma?” I then reassured him he did a great job by telling him so. He was so happy with himself he smiled and clapped. He knows what is going on! So smart. He wanted that positive reinforcement. And he acted accordingly. It just amazes me how much he is learning each day. I can get lost in his development sometimes. I am always in awe of him.

my big guy!

Children are so amazing and such a wonder. I am holding on to these last two months and so many days in his first year. I love each stage but I will no doubt miss the baby stage eventually. Although, if he continues to be as cuddly as he always has been with me I think that will help. Usually whenever he wakes up whether it is in the morning or after a nap he is very quiet and not ready to play (a trait he got from his dad) He wants to sit on my lap and snuggle and watch tv or read a book. He needs a good 15 minutes of this before he starts moving and reaching for the floor to play. I do not mind having to sit around with him and snuggle. I don’t care how much I have to do, I savor those moments of snuggle time each day.