Archives for posts with tag: preschooler

When you’re a parent to young children you hear time and time again “it flies by. They grow up so fast!” You hear it from family members, friends, heck even your own brain lets you know this. Not convinced that you tell yourself this? Go ahead and take a stroll down memory lane by perusing over old baby photos. You won’t believe how much things have changed without you even noticing. I did that recently. That chubby baby from 3 years ago is no more. Instead there is a near 4 year old little boy.

This week I didn’t need a stroll down photo memory lane. I had a moment at the grocery store where it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was checking out. We shop at Fresh Market and our location is small and quaint. Jackson was sitting on the bench across from my lane while I was waiting to pay for all of our food. He was playing on a phone my husband had recently restored for him. It is strictly for games and taking photos. Taking photos, his new obsession. He was clicking away and saying “Momma, I took a picture of my leg! My LEG!” Beaming with so much pride.

I just watched his little face as he concentrated on his task at hand. I lost my breath for a moment. He is a little boy. How he has changed from last fall! His legs are so long and thinned out. His body is rapidly losing that baby chub. Actually, it is all nearly gone. He still had his soccer gear on, which made him look even older.

Every day he is so engaged with life and with me. He has a million questions and things to show me. Lately I feel like every sentence starts with “momma look at this!” He doesn’t only request Disney Jr shows anymore. He has started wanting to watch shows on NickToons. Every once in a while he scolds me saying, “No I can do that myself!” Part of my heart aches a little each day as I notice how much he is growing, but part of me knows that all I can do is love and support him. I cannot stop it. I am certain I wouldn’t really want to stop it. I can’t keep him a baby forever. I have so much fun with him now. We do so many cool things together. I have always gone out of my way to do fun things with him. We started Gymboree classes at 7 weeks old. Now, though, he is very engaged in those things. Now he asks to go to certain places “Mom we haven’t been to the Children’s Museum in long weeks! This many!” He holds up a bunch of fingers.

Enjoying the fall weather yesterday

Enjoying the fall weather yesterday

Soon my world will be filled with baby moments again. I am pushing 38 weeks here. 38 weeks this Saturday! My world will actually be filled with little boy and baby moments simultaneously. The best of both worlds. Now when I go out and about and have our adventures I will have a little boy that understands our activities as well as that sweet babe discovering the world for the very first time. Only to slowly grow and change daily before my eyes. In 3 years I will be writing how I have officially left the baby world behind for good. Trudging full steam ahead into all things little boy world. But, let’s cross that bridge when we get there. For now, I am just basking in the loveliness that is being a momma to boys. To those sweet tender little men that love me with all their hearts and think I am just the bees knees, whether they are a baby or a little boy.

When I am out and about without Jackson, I often get the question “Is this your first baby?” I remember how much I would beam when I was asked that with Jackson. I would get giddy and excited to say yes to that question. It was all so exciting and new. I would be floating on cloud 9 thinking about all the possibilities impending motherhood would bring.

Obviously, this time around the answer is “No, this is my second baby. I have a 3 & 1/2 year old too!” I am so excited to meet Alexander. I cannot wait to kiss his face and his little baby feet. The feeling I get when asked that question this time around is a touch different. I would equate it with utter pride. I feel so proud to answer no to that question. It makes me feel empowered and strong. I have this sense come over me that feels as if I should say “I have done this once before and I am choosing to do it all over again. I feel strong. I am a strong, confident, content, happy mom.” Empowerment to the 2nd degree.

I don’t doubt that I can do this and handle having two boys running around. I understand we will have great days and bad days. Just having one child has taught me that. When it is a great day I always make sure to tell Jackson “I am having such a great day with you.” We get to say that a lot in this house. He says it too. We acknowledge our bad days as well. They happen. We move on though. Let’s have a better day tomorrow! Sleep will help!

I enjoy being a mom. I never hate it. I never feel totally defeated. Frustrated, angry in the moment, slightly annoyed, sure those emotions happen at times. I have a fast rebound rate though. I think I was born to be a mom. That is where this confidence over adding another to the mix comes from. I know I can do it. I believe in myself. I know I am strong and can multi task. This has been my favorite job ever. I know I can adjust my schedule to fit in the things I want to fit in. I prioritize things that I want to accomplish. Each person is different, so other parent’s priorities may be different than mine, but I think that is the key to parenting. You literally cannot do it all every single day, but you can try to do the things that matter most to you and your family.

While I may not get teenage girl giddy over questions about what number baby this is, I do get the feeling of “I am momma hear me roar. I got this.”

My sweethearts

My sweethearts

I have started and failed to finish several posts this week. It has been difficult for me to get into a good writing flow. They were all very long posts but they just didn’t seem right to me. They all were incomplete as well. I have had a lot on my mind but the words just won’t form correctly. Today, though, I am going to try a bit harder.

Yesterday evening I was thinking to myself that I would really enjoy it if I had a rainy day tomorrow. A day to just slow me down a little bit. A reason to stay inside, cuddled up with my sweetheart. A day where I could use the bad weather as an excuse to not run errands, go somewhere fun, walk to the park, or whatever ever else came up. 

For over a week I haven’t slept through the night. Last night was no exception. As I lay in bed I considered a walk to the park with Jackson today. No workout, take a rest day because I haven’t taken a rest day in over a week either. But a nice 1.5 mile walk and maybe some swimming. My brain was active as I lay in bed considering all the things I could do today. I finally decided to get myself up for the day, having stayed in bed a bit later knowing I didn’t plan on fitting in a workout. Alexander started slowing moving around, then kicking. It was time to start my day. 

Imagine my surprise as I waddled into my kitchen, not greeted by the usual beaming sunlight that radiates through the massive set of windows we have. I was greeted by grey sky, rain, clouds, and utter wetness outside. My heart skipped a beat. My rainy day! I hadn’t even checked the weather forecast yesterday. I had no idea rain was coming. I just wished it would, to force me to slow down a touch. As I sit here and write I am accompanied by the sounds of rain falling on my skylights. Heavy raindrops writing their own song. Jackson is still asleep. He likes to sleep late on rainy mornings. There is no sun radiating around the small space around his blackout blinds. 

I am not sure what we will do today. My dishes could be washed. I was too tired last night to wash the ones from dinner. Legos are already spread across my kitchen table. Except for the small area I am afforded for my meals and well my laptop I am typing on now. We have a ton of books we could read. I have a new big Ninja Turtles coloring/activity book we could make our marks on. Maybe we will do all of them. If he keeps sleeping much longer, there won’t be a nap today. Especially on a day where we don’t wear ourselves out playing outside or going on an adventure. 

As I sipped my coffee earlier, watching the rainy day, I couldn’t help but thank my Gma (that is what I called her a lot). I can’t help but feel like she may have had a hand in providing me with exactly what I needed this week. Forcing me to slow down a little, her girl who is always on the go. Thanks Gma, you did me a solid. 

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View from my kitchen

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

I should start this off with the fact that Jackson has been daytime potty trained since early this year. We started potty training in January. He took to it very quickly. His accidents were minimal. There were better days than others, but overall it wasn’t too tough for us to master! I really can’t complain about our potty training experience. We didn’t follow any kind of “method” or ways to do it in 3 days. We simply waited until he was ready. We rewarded him with small toys for successful moments. We eventually weaned that out and over half a year later here we are.

Sleep time potty training is another adventure. We haven’t pushed it, just like we didn’t push the initial potty training. We communicate with him and we have asked him how he feels about trying at night. He tried a few times here and there, a few successful sleep sessions and other accident ones. Totally fine. I tend to pick my battles with him. Eliminating nighttime diapers is not one I feel needs to be overly dramatic at this point. So, I go with the flow and keep our conversation open.

The last several days my husband decided to bring up that conversation again. Jackson insisted on giving it a shot! We haven’t had a totally dry night since, but he is really trying. He has told us he has gone on the potty once each night but had an accident later on. I always reassure him he doesn’t have to stay in bed if he wet it, he can come get mommy and I will help him. I also have told him if he wants help going he can come get me and I will be happy to help.

Friday night/Saturday morning he finally took me up on my offer. After an accident he came to find me. Around 1am. I heard a little voice say “mommy. mommy” It took a few moments to register that I wasn’t dreaming. He was crying and upset so I ushered him upstairs to help fix everything. My husband hopped out of bed and followed. I changed Jackson while Jason worked on the bedding. After all was dry, in his little tired voice, he asked “Can we read a book mommy?” Of course! We cuddled on his rocking chair and I read a book at 1am.

Unless he is sick he doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night anymore. He never comes to our room and crawls into bed with us. He loves his room and his bed. Even after transitioning to his big boy bed and then moving homes a couple months later we only had maybe two nights of him wanting us. I can’t help but totally love the other night. Even though I was a bit tired Saturday morning, being 30 weeks pregnant to start with, I am usually always a little tired! I loved that he found me when he needed me. He knew where to look and decided to remember what I had told him about if he needs me, I am there for him, even if it is nighttime.

I love my sleep, don’t get me wrong. Ha! But there is something about your little one needing you at 1am, and you being the one to comfort them, that just feels so special. I feel that it makes motherhood and fatherhood that much more sacred. No one else in the world is the one they want at that moment. That goes for a 3 & 1/2 year old or even a tiny newborn. You are their person. You are their home. You are the comfort. You are their warmth.

I have to admit that I am a little nervous about recurring sleepless nights come October. Mostly because this time I won’t have the same luxury of napping all day when the baby sleeps. I have a preschooler to care for too. But that little taste of being needed in the wee hours of the night helped to settle my heart about that. See, this time I am wiser. I know it doesn’t last forever. It may seem like it is lasting far too long, in that season. But at some point they grow. They are 3 & 1/2 and only come and find you when it is sickness or a bed wetting incident. They learn to sleep all on their own, every single night. That phase of your parenting fades away slowly over each day, night, week, month, and eventually years. You only have that for a short time.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be a day where I am crying to my husband that I really just need a nap and could he please entertain our sweet boys for an hour! Ha! No, we all need some sleep at some point. But my wiser parenting brain will be in the background reminding me how quickly it all changes. Sleep shall return and then I will savor the nights when a little voice makes it way to my side of the bed and whispers “mommy mommy I need you”

 

30 Weeks pregnant. Both of my little sweethearts!

30 Weeks pregnant. Both of my little sweethearts!

Being a mom is one of the most adventurous things I have ever done. I have traveled. I have gone all over. I have had adventures close to home. I have seen some crazy things living when living in downtown Chicago. But I will say being a mom is still the most adventurous thing I have done. Every day is something new. The moment you feel like you have everything figured out, things change. That doesn’t mean in a bad way either. Life is just always evolving when you have kids. Your kids are always evolving, growing, learning, and changing.

I LOVE to have adventures. I love doing things with Jackson and soon with Alexander as well. I do not think there is a week that goes by where Jack and I don’t leave the house and do something, anything, just enjoy the world. We stay busy on a regular basis. Last week alone we made a trip to the park, Navy Pier in downtown Chicago, a local fest, and a Chicago White Sox baseball game. Spending time with him is truly one of my favorite things to do. I miss him if I go to the grocery store by myself. He loves to help me and is a fantastic helper. I know I see a lot of sarcastic things out there saying something along the lines “you know you are a mom when going to the grocery store is a vacation” I don’t really follow that motto deep in my heart. Sure, there are moments where I need a breather, but give me 20 minutes by myself. Even quietly sitting on my couch, and I am usually able to reset.

We have had so many adventures together in the 3 and 1/2 years he has been my little partner in crime. I had so much fun downtown this week. He is getting to the age to finally understand the city. He was so observant. I have taken him down there before, all over. In fact, he has been to Navy Pier many times already. This time though, he had a million questions!

We went to the Dinosaur exhibit. It was a temporary thing going on. It was not our favorite part of the day. I don’t think it will be something we jump at going to next year if it comes back, but we made the best of it. Then moved on to other cool things at the Pier.

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As you can see in the top photo, he was not impressed! Ha! Mostly he didn’t want to stop for a quick photo. We really didn’t spend much time here. It wasn’t as cool as the commercial made it seem.

We went and ate our lunch. I was the only crazy (smart?) parent who packed her own lunch. There are so many restaurants to choose from that people usually eat at those places. We love our picnics though. I even offered to skip our packed lunch after he saw all the places to eat, and as always, he picked my lunch! Then we made our way to get some ice cream for Jackson. In a waffle cone! It was messy and delightful for him. I don’t eat ice cream, but I enjoy watching him eat that special treat once in a while. He loves it so much and the delight on a child’s face when the eat a big ice cream cone is something you can easily get lost in.

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We made our way to the carousel and HUGE ferris wheel. That ferris wheel is so big! I was proud of him for being brave enough to want to try it. He was so excited. We talked about how we could see all the different things over the city. He was pointing out different boats he saw zipping around Lake Michigan. I had to keep prepping him for the exit, because you have to get off while it was still moving. That was a little tricky for him but mostly because he was in his own world still wanting to observe everything. Ha! IMG_6692 IMG_6702 IMG_6695

 

Our plan was to next head to Build A Bear to make a Ninja Turtle. They recently started carrying them to promote the new movie. We saw the display when we arrived that morning. We made our way behind all the action and ended up walking through the Crystal Gardens. It was nearly empty and very quiet in there compared to the rest of the Pier and to the rest of our day! Jackson was enamored with what he called “the jungle!” He wanted to see the plants and wanted to see all the cool different water fountains they had. We were in there for quite a while. I know where we will eat lunch next time. They even had tables and chairs for meals set up and they were nearly all empty. He sat watching this one fountain for quite sometime. I asked if he wanted to take a photo with the cool fountain and he said yes. Then instructed me he wanted it like this:

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He is such an old soul. I had a hard time getting him out of there. He probably could have spent an hour in there. Next time, I know we will hang out in there a bit longer.

Eventually we made our way to Build A Bear and he made his Turtle. Raphael. He hasn’t slept without him since that night last week. He thinks it is the coolest thing ever. He has made animals there before, but again, something about 3 and 1/2 makes a difference. He gets it now. He is excited. He is inquisitive. He remembers.

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Our plan that day had been to just go to the Dinosaur adventure. I figured on a lunch break, then we would head back inside and keep doing fun Dinosaur things. My plan didn’t include many actual Navy Pier attractions. But, life is an adventure! I was so happy that we just went with the flow and ended up having a blast all day long. Doing all the cool things we wanted to do, even if the initial thing wasn’t as cool as we hoped.

I have been getting out and about with him since before he was a month old. I started mommy and me classes when he was 7 weeks old. I love keeping active and busy. I know things won’t change once Alexander comes along. We might get out the door a little slower at first, but I know we will still be getting out the door on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, Alexander will be born smack dab in the middle of Jackson’s fall soccer time!

What does this week hold for us? I am not sure yet. We might go to the park today. Possibly go see Planes tonight. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays are usually our adventure days. But today I have a Dr appointment and tomorrow night we have a Natural Childbirth class (I hope to write about that!) So Thursday will have to be our big day out, but what shall we do? All I know is, I will be spending time with that little man. Holding his hand and being adventurous together.

 

This month has brought so much joy with it! Mother’s Day was wonderful. My husband really went out of his way to make sure I felt special and appreciated. I was showered with 3 bouquets of flowers! One from each of my boys. I got several wonderful gifts, including a book with 50 reasons why Jacky loves me! Jason asked him all the questions and then filled out his 3 year old answers. It was easily the most precious thing ever.

We had our anatomy ultra sound, which confirmed the DNA results, we are definitely having another boy! His gender image was as clear as Jackson’s. I saw the penis before she even pointed it out. Everything else went well with that check up. My mom came with us and was able to get a real time sneak peak at her youngest grandchild. The kicker? He was waving at us. His little tiny hand waving back and forth near his face at one point. It was so sweet.

On the same day I reached 20 weeks, half way through, my sister in law was induced! The following morning at 3:03, my sweet pea niece was born. Oh my goodness! I am so in love with her. It is ridiculous. I have my boys at home, but to have a sweet little girl I get to spoil and send back to my brother and sister in law, oh that is just wonderful. I am over the moon with her. It is too funny because cause was born at 6lbs 3oz, and my child has literally never been that small outside of my uterus! I couldn’t believe how much of a difference a pound and a half and one inch makes in a newborn. I remember how little Jack was, but I could immediately tell she was so much smaller than he was. Babies are so incredible.

Jacky was a little afraid of her at first. He has never seen a baby that little. He didn’t want to hold her, but he was ok with touching her arm and face if someone else was holding her. When we got home we were looking at photos and he said “I love her!” They are going to be best friends! Our family is going to have three little cutie pies running around causing mischief. I cannot wait.

As far as this pregnancy, it is still far different than my first. My cravings are all healthy. I love limes, lemons, fruit, rice, more fruit, leafy greens, all natural almond butter, and so much water! It has been nice to not be craving junk 24/7. I move a lot as well. Having a 3 year old will do that to you. Life is different with a second pregnancy, but not bad. Just more to do and take care of. Less time to sit around eating and not moving! Ha! I will take it! On that note, today is a rest day. Mostly because My body is so sore from my workouts the past two mornings. But I will clean my home and move around.

20 weeks

20 weeks

This was yesterday morning. The middle of 20 weeks actually, but still in that half way point week. In all seriousness, I believe that 21 weeks will be the halfway point. Jacky was almost a week late. I have no misconceptions this time about my baby arriving on his actual due date. Ah, you learn so much the second time around! Two days ago also brought one more surprise. For the first time, we were able to feel Alexander kick by touching my belly! Jason was able to feel it as well. I know for certain we didn’t feel Jacky this early on. I know I was feeling movements, but Jason couldn’t feel them yet. I was totally shocked by it. Definitely happy, because it was an unexpected surprise!

I hope everyone is also having an awesome May! Here’s to the rest of the month being so wonderful.

It’s a few days into April here in the Chicagoland area. You wouldn’t think it though. It is still very cold and windy on a regular basis. I am not entirely sure summer will ever arrive for us. I am starting to accept that. (Ok, maybe not. I still long for warm sun and playing outside without shivering)

I am into my 2nd trimester. I have a 3 year old that is as active and hilarious as always. I also know what this second baby is as far as gender! We got our Panorama test results back earlier this week. My family is coming by on Sunday for us to tell them. I didn’t do anything cutesy with Jack and I decided I wanted to do something cutesy this time around. I am over the moon about what we are having!

My energy levels have been way up. As a matter of fact, today is my first “rest day” in over  a week! I have been running and doing Pilates. It feels great to not feel like total death on a regular basis. I feel slightly like my normal not pregnant self. Jack hasn’t asked me to “not be cranky anymore” in a while. So, he too has seen the improvement. I felt bad every time he said that to me, but hormones man, hormones. I always apologized to him and explained sometimes having a baby in my belly makes me cranky and it will get better.

The checkout girl at Whole Foods yesterday asked me if Jack was a “helper or a hinderance” as far as grocery shopping. He is a chatty kid and I always speak to him like he is an adult, so I answer his questions and have conversations with him. He was being his chatty self in line. Helping me put all the food on the belt. Talking about each item and asking me questions. I was answering them. Telling him no to more candy and reusable bags (the kid has probably 50.) The comment took me aback. Obviously he is my little helper. Even on days where I wish I could just do it all myself, I always think “one day I will want him to help and if I always deter him now, he may not be interested in helping at all” I wanted to tell her that. To give her my insights on how to parent, but I just smiled and said “he is my little helper!” I really try to avoid making him feel like he is in the way. I would certainly never tell a stranger, right in front of him, “oh, he hinders all of my errands. We never get anything done!” I am convinced that often, people do not think before they speak. I don’t think I would ever ask that of someone. And as a matter of fact on every other errand we have ever been on and someone sees his utter exuberance for life, they always say “You have a little helper on your hands!” They smile and usually tell me how cute he is.

My kid isn’t a hinderance. This second one won’t be either. Sure, sometimes it takes longer to get out the door than I would like. Sure, sometimes we have to stop in a public bathroom, which I hate because they are gross. Sure, sometimes he wants to put the jam on his toast and I am thinking we have to eat now so we can get out the door for school by 8:30. Sure, sometimes he spills food or drinks during dinner. But that is part of it all. That is part of childhood. That is part of parenting. That is part of this whole adventure together. It is my job to build him up, not tear him down. It is my job to teach him how to put the jam on his toast and to cheer him on as he does so. If he thinks I will scold him for those small unimportant mistakes, then what will he think when he makes a big one? I don’t want him to keep big things from me. I want him to know that he can come to me and sure, I may be upset, but I won’t hate him. I will help him. I will love him.

Don’t tell you kids they are a hinderance. Just don’t And certainly don’t ask someone that in front of their child.