Category Archives: Birthday

Turning four, my boy? Here’s a sure sign you’re getting old

I had just turned 30 when I received my first letter from the AARP (the American nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the interests of its members, all over the age of 50). The letters have stopped now but I still get their email messages once in a while. I can’t imagine the influx of snail mail and emails I’ll be getting the day I actually turn 50. Not that I try to think too much about that either, by the way.

My youngest recently turned four and is very proud of his accomplishment. He walks around telling everyone he’s “four years old and a big boy.” A few days ago I took him to Panda Express for a quick lunch after preschool since we had to run some errands before picking up his brother at school.

Of course, no Chinese meal would be complete without fortune cookies. My son picked up his and this is what his fortune said:

Fortune cookie: happy when old

Fortune cookie: happy when old

Wow, this beats getting an AARP letter any day! Of course, my son asked what “senior years” meant. So I explained his fortune said, when you’re an old man, you’ll be happy. His answer? I’m a boy, not a man! I guess he’s got a few years before acquiring a sense of long-term vision…

Now there’s an ongoing joke to make Chinese cookie fortunes funnier and you may know it already. You just add “in bed” at the end of the fortune as you read it. It looks like my boy will have some good times when he’s an old man!

Have you ever had any fortunes that seemed completely inappropriate for your situation? Or some really great ones you’ve kept? I keep all of the fortunes telling me I’m going to be rich. You know me, I don’t want to jinx it.

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WordPress weekly photo challenge: Indulge

My youngest turned four this past weekend. He’s officially a little man who can “do it all by himself,” as he likes to say. As for me, I feel the past four years just ran by me like a bullet train. Fortunately I have a good memory and lots of digital photos to go with it. Watching another being grow up day by day into a wonderful little person is one of my most fulfilling rewards as a parent.

I knew this weekend would be one of indulgence. Birthday presents, birthday party, birthday cake… But I think the picture below captures what indulgence is to little children. My son got a few new Playmobil toys (his older brother was very eager to try them out) and inside the box was a small flyer of more Playmobil toys.

It took my kids just a few minutes to drop all of the new birthday toys and contemplate together what new Playmobil toys they’d like to get. Children really know how to indulge!

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Indulge

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Indulge

 How do your kids like to indulge?

Please sit down and eat!

Jumping boys by Madaise - Flicker Creative Commons license

Jumping boys by Madaise - Flicker Creative Commons license

Please sit down and eat. I must repeat this sentence 20 to 30 times a day. And no, this is not an overstatement on my part. Every meal at our house starts with the same prompt: “please sit down and eat”. After the kids have gotten up a few times, it turns into “come here and sit down to eat”. It’s all downhill from there and I usually end up barking “SIT DOWN ALREADY!”. And we’re not even halfway through the meal.

I have a problem. A meal eating problem. A serious and exhausting problem. My kids won’t sit down to eat. If they’re hungry, they’ll cooperate and get to the table when prompted. Their buttocks will touch the seat of the chair for just a few minutes when they decide to take off with some mind of their own. I swear the buttocks control their bodies, because my kids will walk aimlessly around the room until I remind them to come back to the table. It was never a problem while we used high chairs and boosters we could strap the kids in. But let’s be realistic, no five-year-old will fall for this trick again!

I’ve mostly solved this problem at dinnertime. We don’t have cable TV so the kids can’t plop themselves in front of the idiot box hours on end. Instead they get to watch DVDs during dinner. Curious George, Elmo, Blue’s Clues and Charlie & Lola help them stay seated long enough to eat their meal. I usually sit down with them and have dinner too, and we get to discuss the video we’re watching. I know all the experts advise children to not eat and watch TV at the same time, but they clearly don’t have to feed my kids every night. I draw the line of video watching at dinner, so breakfast and lunch are still no-sitting zones.

I’m not sure what my kids’ problem is. My youngest is often the hungry one so he’ll sit down promptly. His temporary state of hunger will entice him to make a dent in his meal but as he gets satisfied, he’ll often get up to “get something”. If my oldest could survive without ever eating anything, he probably wouldn’t put any food in his mouth, except to enjoy the taste of it. Although he’s an adventurous eater and likes good food, he’s rarely inspired enough to sit down for more than a few minutes. Unless I remind him he’s supposed to eat, he’ll go through the whole meal without putting a forkful in his mouth.

I’ve tried it all, the easy way, the hard way. I’ve put the food away when they weren’t interested, ending up with hungry, cranky, whiney kids an hour later. I’ve allowed toys and books at the table if it will help them stay in their seats. Unfortunately they always want something else to play with, something else to read… I can read books to them during the meal, but it means I don’t get to eat. And clearly my conversation topics are not interesting enough to keep them at the table long enough.

So I turn to you, parents of younger and older children. Have you experienced the “ants-in-the-pants” behavior at the dining table? How have you dealt with it? What has worked for you? Thank you so much for sharing your successful parenting tips.

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www Wednesdays – July 20, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

Alright, I think I’ve got everything ready for my son’s birthday family celebration tonight. The Spider-Man cake turned out OK, and you’ll get to see a photo soon. Today is WWW Wednesdays so I wanted to give an update on what my kids and I have been reading.

The talented Mr Ripley by Patricia HighsmithMy bookshelf

– What I’m currently reading
I’m about halfway through The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. Wow, what an interesting novel about a sociopath character. Even though Highsmith chose the third-person narrative, she really makes the reader realize what’s going on in Ripley’s mind. Fascinating, and very scary.

– What I recently finished reading
I finally finished The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This novel offers such an interesting, different twist on the common love story. I kept reading wondering where this was going, and now that I’m done, I’m sad to say goodbye to the characters. Impressive feat for a first-time author. The only thing I didn’t like about the book is its length. I felt some parts didn’t add much to the story and could have been edited out to make for a shorter, more powerful book. Overall I recommend this novel to anyone looking to read a great story.

– What I think I’ll read next
Oh my gosh, I just got Tina Fey’s BOSSYPANTS from the library!!! I’ve heard from several people how hilarious (i.e. laugh out loud) this book is, so I can’t wait to dig into it!

My kids’ bookshelf

Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann– What they’re currently reading
I told you last week we had started reading some Lisa Wheeler books. I think my favorite so far are:
Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum
Ugly Pie (which is actually delicious pie)
Old Cricket (because you don’t become an old cricket by being a dumb bug…)
Dino basketball (the woman can write in rhymes using words like stegosaurus and triceratops, she’s quite talented)

– What they recently finished reading
Actually my kids are still asking to read these books but I sooooooo want to take them back to the library because I can’t stand them. The “least” worst of the series is Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann, but the sequels Goldilicious and Purplicious are simply ATROCIOUS. The computer-generated illustrations are not that good, the text is average and could use a lot of editing. Apart from an interesting premise for Pinkalicious, the stories in the other books are booooooring. But my kids really like the books, so I’m trying to be nice by reading them a few more times.

– What I think they’ll read next
I requested several books by John Ligthgow (yes, the actor). He’s been writing children’s books for the past ten years or so and I’d like to see if they’re any good.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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