Since my son has just recently started kindergarten, I am really enjoying preparing his lunches and after school snacks. I try to put something fun or really yummy in his lunch every day. Sometimes I bake for purely therapeutic reasons. Last Friday, after his meltdown when I dropped him off at school, I decided to bake a yummy chocolate cake to welcome him home and celebrate his first week at school. I had just enough cocoa to for the cake and frosting, and I could almost taste the sweet, chocolatey goodness of my perfect chocolate cake. Sadly, it didn’t turn out as well as I’d imagined…

Turns out I forgot to add flour!! So after taking a couple of days to lick my wounds and scrape the bottom of my oven, I tried again. This time, I bought cool Spongebob cupcake liners and made some chocolate cupcakes that actually turned out yummy! And they’re the perfect size to stick in a lunchbox!

Here’s a tip: If your cupcakes have soft frosting like mine do, stick them in the freezer for half an hour, then wrap them individually, using freezer paper. Lable and date them, and leave them in the freezer. On they way out the door in the morning, pop a frozen cupcake in your child’s lunchbox. The cupcake will thaw during the morning, but the frosting should stay cold enough that it won’t be too messy when lunch time rolls around. Thanks to my husband’s grandma, Alma, for this tip!

1stDayofSchool021.jpg picture by mamamcmann

Last week, I wrote about my son’s first day of kindergarten. It went so well! So did the day after that! Then…the bottom dropped out. That third day of kindergarten, as we were lining up in front of the school, my son started to blink rapidly and look sideways, like he does when he’s upset. Then, when we got into the classroom, his eyes welled up with tears. I stayed for 15 minutes, and his nose was running when I left. I helped him wipe it, hugged him, and said goodbye. According to him and the teacher, he was only upset for about a minute after I left. That night, he swore it was just “:bad luck”, and that he’d be fine the next day. That’s not exactly what happened.

That next day, he started to cry even before we left home! He was teary-eyed all the way to school, and I had to call his dad at work, who talked him into getting out of the van and into school. When we got into the classroom, he proceeded to stick to me like Velcro, and beg me to take him home. The longer I stayed, the more upset he got; I ended up leaving, almost in tears myself! He tried to run out of the room with me!! His teacher held him, and I waited outside the classroom to make sure he was okay. After what seemed like forever (actually three minutes), he calmed down. It almost broke my heart to leave that day!

Today, he didn’t cause a huge scene like he did Friday, but he did cry when I left, and ask me to stay. I had to be strong, hug him, and assure him that it was much better for him if I left quickly. He says he likes school, so I don’t understand why he gets upset when I leave in the mornings. He’s never been much of a mommy’s boy; daddy has always been “the last word” as far as he’s concerned.

I hope things get better soon. I don’t know how long my heart can take this.

My little boy started school yesterday! I was so nervous and anxious for weeks before the big event, and I’m happy to report that my worries were totally unfounded. He was nervous when we got to the school, and clung tightly to his daddy’s hand, but then he sat down at his desk–which just happened to be by his good friend–and started to play. His teacher is an old pro, and she had the wonderful idea to put little containers of playdoh at each desk. The kids immediately rushed to open the containers and begin playing. I had been worried that he’d be sad or might even cry when we left, but that wasn’t the case. We hung around for a short while, to make sure he was okay, and by the time we gave him his hugs and left, he was focusing so hard on playing that he basically ignored us! Not at all how I expected things to go, but so much better!!

And my little girl exceeded my expectations, too! She had expressed feelings of sadness that her older brother was going to school and she wasn’t. Well, yesterday when it was time to leave, she didn’t sob when we had to leave her brother; she was just slightly miffed that she didn’t get any playdoh!! By the time we’d left the building, she was okay, and for the rest of the day, she revelled in having Mommy’s and Daddy’s undivided attention. We went to the store and bought her some of her own playdoh, and she spent most of the day at the kitchen table in her underwear, playing with it:

We went and picked up my big boy after school, and he was one of the last ones out of the building. He was the only one not bursting with enthusiasm. He was quietly happy and said he’d had a good day and wanted to go back tomorrow. His favorite part of the day was going down the slide at recess. The lucky kid gets three recesses!! I couldn’t get much more out of him, but he said he didn’t have a least favorite part of the day. He seems pretty serious about this whole school thing. I think he’ll be a quiet, serious student like I always was. I’m so proud of my big boy!!!

Thanks for visiting my not-so-wordless Wednesday. For more, hopefully shorter, Wednesday fun, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

After reading that title, I’ll understand if you’re confused! It’s not as strange as it sounds…at least I don’t think it is.

My son is suddenly obsessed with monsters, thanks in part to his favorite show, Monsterquest on the History channel, where they tell the legends of creatures like Bigfoot and mutant canines. Then, they try to capture a photo or live specimen, which hasn’t happened so far. My son is six, though, and loves the mysterious aspect of these creatures and is proud to know more about BigFoot than any other six-year-old around!!

He’s especially fascinated by mutants, ever since watching the mutant canine Monsterquest. Now, any time we see an animal or bug that he can’t immediately identify, he says, “Well, I guess it’s a mutant!” Once he makes up his mind that something is a mutant, there is absolutely no way to get him to change his mind! So now, locusts are no longer locusts; they’re mutant bugs! And barn swallows aren’t called barn swallows around my house. They’re mutant birds! It’s actually pretty funny, and I’m not going to spoil his fun by insisting that these creatures are just run-of-the-mill, ordinary bugs and animals. He’ll figure it out soon enough. In the meantime, he’s really enjoying discovering all the “mutants” around us!

Things I Love Thursday is a great idea I just discovered today. To join in on the fun, check out The Diaper Diaries.

Sometimes when my mom comes to visit, she helps me out by washing dishes. Last time, she asked my daughter if she’d like to help. The answer was a resounding YES!!

Since then, every time I wash dishes, she helps! And she doesn’t just ask, “Can I help, Mommy?” She expects to help! She sees me standing at the sink and goes, “Are you WASHING DISHES?!!?” Then, before waiting for my answer, she drags a chair out of the dining room and climbs up! You gotta love a two-year-old’s enthusiasm!

She actually does a pretty darn good job, and her companionship makes a once-dreaded chore much more enjoyable for me! Here she is, scolding me for taking pictures while she is trying to do the dishes:

Check out 5 Minutes for Mom for more Tackle it Tuesday.

Yesterday, hubby took off work so we could get HI-DEF T.V!! It’s amazing, but that’s another story….

The Dish Network guy was at our house at 8 a.m. and left at  9, so we had all day to bum around with no plans. We ended up driving half an hour to a very cool waterpark. We’ve been there once before and loved it, so the kids were just itching to go back! I didn’t get any pictures because I don’t trust myself to keep the camera and my daughter from going under the water!! I did, however, do a bit of people-watching, and came up with this (hopefully) fun list of do’s and don’t’s, for your reading pleasure.

Do wear sunscreen. All that water around you will attract sunlight. It’s like sitting in a box of tin foil for a few hours!

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen in a weird place! Somehow, I ended up with a sunburn on one leg and one arm! And hubby sunburned his scalp! Guess that’s what we get for waiting to put sunscreen on at poolside. We had to rush to keep the kids from running off and jumping in the deep end.

Do have fun with your kids. Let loose and enjoy yourself! Kids are only little for such a short while, and if you’re stiff and embarassed, or too cool to play with them in public, you’ll regret it sooner or later (I vote for sooner).

Don’t count on lifeguards to babysit! I can’t count the number of parents who were doing just that! It was unbelievable to me how many parents would just sit there while their toddlers wandered off! One lady was actually hanging on to her kid and pushing him in a swim ring, but wasn’t watching him. As she pushed, his face went in the water several times, and he’d come up spluttering and spitting, which his mom never noticed!! If you’re going to the pool to have family time, then spend time with your kids! If you’re there to sunbathe and gab with your friends, then leave the kids with someone who will actually keep an eye on them! (Can you tell I got a little irritated? ;) )

Do Score Some Sexy Shades. There were lots of hip mamas who looked really great there. If they had the tired mommy bags underneath those dark glasses, I’ll never know. Next time, I’m going to bring glasses.

Don’t Stumble Around Blind. This is another reason to bring glasses! The brightness of the water didn’t bother me, but hubby-and several other adults I noticed-were squinting and rubbing their eyes a lot. Maybe that’s why some of them were’nt watching their kids: they couldn’t see anything!

Do Try to Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin. Since I started writing my Peekaboo Picks column, I notice women and what they’re wearing much more than I used to. The mommies who looked the best were the ones who stood up tall and didn’t seem self-conscious. They weren’t always-or even usually-the skinniest or chic-est, just the most self-confident. Remember that next time you pull on your bathing suit!

Don’t Be Overly Confident. Self-confidence is great, but all the self-confidence in the world isn’t an excuse to stuff yourself into a suit that’s two sizes (or more) too small! I don’t mean to sound snotty, but I was honestly surprised by how many women-mothers included-were wearing totally inappropriate and ill-fitting swimsuits! If your body bulges six inches out the sides or back, it’s time to buy a larger suit, honey!

Do Find a Way to Include Nap Time. I saw the coolest thing at the waterpark yesterday! A good mama brought a collapsible rocking chair and rocked her toddler all through nap time! I wanted to go up to  her and applaud her, but I didn’t want to wake the little one, especially since she’d thought so far ahead and was probably working hard to keep her asleep!!

Don’t Overdo it. If you’re not as lucky or smart as that rocking chair mama (and I admit I wasn’t), watch your kids (especially toddlers) for signs of over-tiredness. A day at the waterpark isn’t any fun if you stay too long, causing your kid to turn into a smaller, nastier, less-green version of the Incredible Hulk!

I hope you enjoyed my waterpark do’s and don’t’s! If you have any comments or additional tips, I’d love to hear them!


Check out 5 Minutes for Mom for More Wordless Wednesday.

My daughter is full of energy, and experiences each emotion to its fullest. When she’s happy, she bounces off the walls, screams and laughs. When she’s sad, it’s as if the world has ended! She sobs, screams, stamps her feet, even throws herself on the floor!! She’s always been this way, and I suspect she always will be, although I hope that with a bit of maturity she’ll learn more appropriate ways to handle disappointment. Although these fits of temper and agony get old very quickly, I always try to comfort her. I don’t think she’s trying to be a brat; she just feels every emotion to its absolute fullest.

Recently, she’s started saying something that always gets to me. When she’s very upset, she’ll come up to me and say, “Mommy! Do something to make me feel better!” Sometimes, she says this at very inopportune times, like when I have 1000 words to write in an hour! But it melts my heart, and it’s good to know that she knows she can count on me to make her feel better every time. She doesn’t just know it…she expects it!

My son will be starting kindergarten in three weeks! Where has the time gone??!? It seems like just yesterday that I was coming home with a tiny baby boy, terrified and elated at the same time. My heart aches but also swells with pride when I think about how fast he has grown. It it common for mothers to be so torn between to extreme feelings? I dread his first day of school, but at the same time, I know how excited he is, and how much he will learn and grow through his school experiences, and I can’t help but be excited for him.

He had his first eye exam on Saturday, and found out that he has to get glasses. We chose to visit the Opthamologist at Wal-Mart, so I could keep Little Sis busy while Dadd went in the back room with Big Brother. When the exam was done, Little Sis and I went to meet “the boysies” as she calls them. My swet little boy was in tears, after hearing that he’d have to wear glasses! Such a sensitive soul!! We let him pick the coolest glasses available, and did our best to reassure him that he looked super hunky (which he did). I think he’s feeling better now.

Then, yesterday, after hanging on to his old car seat for so long, we convinced him to let us remove the straps so that he could use it as a booster seat. He actually cried! I guess it was too much growing up in two days! It was too much for me too. To make my heartache even more bittersweet, my not-so-little boy turns six on Wednesday!!!

Someday, we’ll get a scanner, and I can show off pics of what a beautiful baby he was. Here’s a photo of him two years ago (look at those chubby cheeks!):

Does every mother experience this intense mixture of happy and sad when her first baby goes off to school???

Sometimes, the best way to encourage creativity is to simply watch your children, take their cues, and participate fully in whatever they’re doing. My son’s most current favorite game is the perfect example. He dug out an old Backgammon case and spent a couple of hours drawing and cutting out the most detailed monster pictures he’s ever drawn (they’re friendly monsters). Then, asked me to write down several characteristics of each moster. For example, the Fish-Type monster can swim in water or lava, and its teeth are sharper than diamonds! The non-strength type (aka, Wimpy) can only lift something as large as a pedometer (you know…those thingies you clip to your waistband to count steps). One of the monsters eats great white sharks!

Now my son keeps all of his monsters in the case for whenever he wants to play monster store. Sometimes, that means just sitting and drawing new monsters. At other times, he wants me to be his customer. I play the ignorant mother who is buying a monster for the first time, and he loves it when I’m amazed by his monsters’ super powers! He takes his moster store everywhere, carrying it like a briefcase, and we’ve already had tons of fun playing with it! I’m confident that the traveling monster store will be around for a long time! This incredibly fun and creative game was completely his idea; I’ve only enjoyed the ride, and participated whenever and however he wanted me to.

Kids love old cases and containers. Think twice before throwing away that well-worn briefcase, suitcase, or duffle bag. Instead, let your child play with it awhile. You’ll be surprised how much love and excitement your child will show for this “new” toy. And you, as a parent, will have a front-row seat to watch your child’s creativity blossom! Prepare for the most fun adventures ever!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.