The dinner wars

Where did September go??? It feels like I blinked and the month has already gone by. I’ve adjusted well to back to work and as a family, we’re settling into a new routine. Of course, this new routine isn’t without its own share of bumps.

Bean has decided that she no longer wants to nap. Ok, fine. The problem is that she still needs to nap. This girl sails through her day on energy reserves, only to fall apart in the car on the way home from school every day. Every. Single. Day. My commute home, which used to be filled with chatter about Bean’s day, is now an exercise in mindful breathing (while still focusing on the road) and trying to stay calm despite the screaming threenager in the back seat. I try to help, but she seems to lose it over the littlest things and, like any typical threenager, fails to grasp what is logical and what is just plain crazy. (For example, today she was convinced that I knew what class she would be in next year and screamed “YES YOU DO! YOU DO KNOW!!!” at me for ten minutes. I tried humouring her by randomly picking a teacher at her school, but she saw right through that ploy and wouldn’t have any of it.) Then we arrive home where I am treated to even more screaming as I try to get dinner ready to eat. Then she resists going to sleep with the art of a stubborn mule, while I usually pass out, only to be woken up at 10pm when Hubby gets home.

 

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Photo: “Tantrum” by Simon Kellogg

 

Today’s pre-dinner breakdown was so ridiculous I had to laugh. We were having pasta, easy enough, right? As I’m draining the pasta Bean insists she wants to eat some. Here’s how this went down:
Bean: I want some pasta.
Me: Ok, it just needs to cool a bit. Do you want your pasta in a bowl or on a plate?
Bean: No. I just want some pasta.
Me: Ok, let me put a piece on a fork for you.
Bean: I don’t want a fork, I want to eat it with my hands.
Me: Ok, take this one. (I offer her a piece of pasta on the wooden spoon I’d been stirring the pot with.)
Bean: No, I don’t want a spoon. I don’t want anything! I just want to eat with my hands! (Her voice is starting to get louder and whiny.)
Me:  Ok, I’ll just put a few pieces of plain pasta on your placemat and you can eat them with your hands.
Bean: Don’t put it on my placement! It will be dirty!
Me: Ok, I’ll eat the pasta from your placemat then.
Bean: Don’t eat it! I want to eat it! I’m hungry.
Me: I hear you; you’re hungry. Do you want your pasta in a bowl or on a plate?
Bean: NO! I DON’T WANT ANYTHING. I WANT TO EAT THE PASTA OFF OF MY DRESS! (I might have made a rather surprised face at that comment…)
Me: I see. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll put some plain pasta on your dress for you to eat.
Bean: I DON’T WANT TO SIT DOWN!!! I JUST WANT TO EAT THE PASTA OFF OF MY DRESS WITH MY FINGERS! (complete with fists punching the air and foot stomping)

Some days I just want to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. (I feel like I need to interject to say that we have never let Bean eat off of her clothes before, but some times you need to pick your battles, and I decided that plain pasta on a dress was not battle-worthy.)

I’m lucky that Bean is a good eater (normally), but the overtired threenager I have to bring home every day is an ongoing exercise in patience. I have learned that I don’t have time to make anything fancy or elaborate for dinner during the week, and that if it takes longer than 30 minutes from start-to-table, then it’s not an option. Anything make-ahead is fantastic in theory… except that it would involve me not falling asleep while putting the girls to bed, haha. With the onset of fall I can get back to casseroles and homemade soups (prepared on the weekend of course, and then frozen and reheated when needed). And of course, my darling husband cooks dinner a few times a week too, which is also a huge help.

If you have any great quick dinner recipes that you want to share, I would be more than happy to try them out! Wishing all of you a happy, tantrum-free dinner!

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The Back-to-work Blues or Happy Dance?

Hard to believe, but the year is up and my maternity leave has come to an end. (My apologies for not having posted in a while, but the return to work has been crazy hectic! I wrote this post 2 weeks ago and only now have had the time to edit it… :S ) I had mixed feelings about going back to work… sad to be away from my girls, but happy to have a break from them too. Wanting to stay home but wanting to return to my career. I don’t think I have ever been so conflicted about a decision before… and this is coming from the girl who tried on 50 wedding dresses before her bridesmaids said “enough is enough, just pick one!” I’m still not sure I picked the right dress, but I definitely picked the right man, and in the end, that’s all that really matters. 🙂

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After a week (and a short one at that!) of back at work, I’m still conflicted. I enjoy the fact that I can have adult conversation on a daily basis and that I can go pee without an entourage, but I think I spent my first two days at work constantly thinking about and missing my girls. I have a photo of them on my desk, along with a foam purple unicorn that Bean made, and I smile every time I see them. It was a fairly easy first week back, so I can’t complain, and I am slowly readjusting to the working world — remembering where things are kept and how to do x, y and z.

However, this past week, my parents have been staying with us to help ease my transition — and thank heaven for that! They have dropped the girls off at school every day (and also gotten them ready in the morning), not to mention keeping the house clean, organizing the chaos that passes for storage in our unfinished basement and making dinner. I am so grateful for all of their help! However, it has given me the illusion that I can do it all! The thought of trying to corral two kids out the door in the morning and still make it into work on time scares me a little. Not to mention racing out of work to get the kids before the dreaded “late” fees begin ($2/minute in case you were wondering), making it home in time to make dinner, feed the kids, bathe them, and get them into bed before they lose it from being overtired and the metaphorical poo hits the fan (6pm for El, 7 for Bean).

Three weeks in: I am proud to say that I have managed to make it into work AND pick the kids up on time, somehow get dinner on the table and the kids into bed. (Admittedly with help most evenings…) Yes, I fall asleep with the kids on a daily basis, but I’m finding peace with my decision, and that makes this momma happy. Wishing you all peace with whatever major decisions you’re facing!

Cupcake surprise

One last vacation story: On Saturday, the kids were up at the crack of dawn (and in the summer, that equals mighty early in my books), and by 9am were driving me a little crazy as they had decided that they were utterly incapable of doing something unless I was no further away than 12 inches. (Which might have been doable if they had wanted to go in the same direction…) Despite having been up for several hours, I still looked like I’d rolled out of bed a few moments before (minus the well-rested look. I don’t even think my body knows what that looks like anymore…) I needed to shower and was trying to finagle 5 minutes alone to do that. Hubby offered to take the kids for a walk. Perfect. Thank you. 20 minutes is all I need and I will be ready to go when you get back.

So off they go on their walk while I shower, get dressed, make a tea, drink said cup of tea, clean up the toys and other kiddie paraphernalia, read another chapter in my book, and begin to wonder where they got to… They came back an hour later, Bean traipsing into the house with a paper bag proudly clutched in her hand. “Mummy! We got a dairy-free cupcake that you and I can share!” Yummm. I won’t say no to that.

Hubby and El enter the house too and the kids present me with a gift they purchased on their walk: a cupcake apron. Too cute! I want to put it on and start making cupcakes straight away, except that we’re renting the house and don’t have any flour, sugar, etc. Hugs all around! Is this why your walk took so long?

“Well…” Hubby starts to reply. Apparently Bean was running around on the nearby greenbelt and he remembered that he had forgotten her water bottle back at the house. Rather then go back for it and interrupt my alone-time, they went down to the main street to a bakery he remembered seeing the other day to buy a bottle of water. Except that the bakery was a bit further away than he remembered. Then once they were there, Bean’s eyes grew wide as she saw all of the cupcakes, and he couldn’t say no when the owner said they had vegan ones (for our dairy-allergy kid). Then he realized that he couldn’t just get her a cupcake, so he got one for me too, along with another dozen (we were having lunch with family that day — otherwise I doubt he would have bought so many! (That would be something I would do, haha.)). And then they spied what is now my new apron… ❤

Hubby admitted that the cupcakes might be a little squished though, as the stroller basket wasn’t big enough to hold the box level and the bakery happened to be out of bags. We didn’t open the box until it was time for dessert. A little squished might be an understatement… of the dozen, there were maybe 3 that were relatively unharmed. Half of them had tipped upside-down on top of the other half and were all squished on the one side of the box. It was rather comical. I wish I’d thought to take a picture, but at the time, I was too busy laughing about it. (Sidebar: While telling Hubby about this post, he informed me that he had managed to snap a quick pick of the sugary mess, so photo credits to him today!) One of the cousins was assigned the role of “try to make sense of this” and deftly separated them with a knife, actually managing to keep the separate flavours separate. They might not have been pretty after their ride in the stroller, but boy oh boy, were they ever tasty!!! And really, who cares what it looks like, as long as it tastes great.

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The cupcakes after a slightly bumpy ride in the stroller basket.

The diaper rash blues

So far, the vacation is absolutely wonderful! (Ok, so there was that incident with the nail polish, followed by a 3-hour-drive in torrential downpours, but all-in-all, things are going great!) Our rental house is just what we need, Bean is thrilled to be sharing a room with her sister, and I am loving having Hubby around.

Unfortunately though, poor El has developed the worst diaper rash I’ve ever seen. The poor girl bleeds when I wipe her, cries when I dot her with the diaper rash cream, and generally fusses if you make her sit for more than 15 minutes. I look at Hubby. The best cure for this is diaper-free time. Are you in? He agrees to help out, and we take turns walking El around the rental house with no bottoms on. She is thrilled! Fresh air on her bum, plus a chance to do some assisted walking… it just doesn’t get better than this! (Unless, of course, she could somehow do it with my boob in her mouth. (And for the engineers in my family, this is NOT me asking for you to find a way to make that possible.))

We try to give her as much diaper-free time as we can (obviously, only when we’re at the house… I don’t think the museum staff would appreciate it all that much, haha.) With Hubby, she loves it and races around grasping his fingers in each of her little hands. With me, she takes the opportunity to pee on the floor. Every. Single. Time. Thank goodness the vacation house has hardwood floors! She pees, we clean it up, then we give her a rinse in the tub. I feel like the rinse in the tub is defeating the whole diaper-free idea, since it’s adding moisture to her skin, but what can you do. It’s less painful than wipes and she does love her baths.

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Day 2 of horrible diaper rash happens to be Friday: beach day! Yay! We take the girls to the beach and while Hubby plays with Bean in the water, I decide to give El some much-needed diaper-free time. I’m walking her around on the sand (because, let’s face it, I would rather she pee on the sand than on our beach blanket), and although initially she was rather quite resistant to the feeling of the sand under her bare feet, she has since warmed up to the idea and is loving it! She stops for a moment when we’re facing the water, so I look up to see Bean & Hubby heading back towards us. Must be time for our picnic lunch. El spies them and takes a few steps towards them. Hubby’s thrilled about her having some diaper-free time, but casually says “Watch where you walk her, eh? I don’t want her to step in that.” I look where he’s pointing and see what appears to be a small log of rather colourful soft poo. That wasn’t there a moment ago. I pick El up, and flipping her over for a quick check confirm that yes, my kid just pooed on the beach.

I clean up El’s bum and then pick up the poo. (The colours due to the steamed vegetables she had with dinner last night.) For whatever reason, this marked a turning point for her rash. All afternoon on the beach, she doesn’t so much as pee for Hubby (whilst I play in the water with Bean), and by that evening, her horrible diaper rash has downgraded to just a normal one, and is almost gone by the next morning, hopefully never to return again. Now, if only I could find a way to bottle fresh-air-on-the-beach-while-walking-on-the-sand as a diaper-rash cream… I just know it could be a best-seller. 😉

Let the vacation begin!

This year’s vacation started off with the usual rush-around-and-try-to-pack-while-the-kids-are-demanding-all-of-my-attention-RIGHT-NOW. I’ll spare you the details, but we made it out of the house (finally!) and stopped in for a night at my parents’ house to break up the drive.

It was a short visit, complete with a horrid bedtime (read: it took so long to put the girls to bed that everyone else went to sleep before I could get them down and I was so exhausted at that point that I just went to bed too), but the next morning my parents were all-hands-on-deck to help us get on our way. I wanted to paint my toenails (while I had reinforcements to watch the kids) and thought that I would use a coral colour my mum has that happens to match my sandals. Bean asks if she can watch.
– Sure thing sweetie.
– You are going to look so beautiful after your nails are painted Mummy.
– (Swoon! Totally happy I said yes.) Ok, just wait here, I need to get one more thing.

I leave the bathroom to grab my basecoat and come back just in time to see Bean opening the coral nail polish. “What’s this Mummy?” Nooooooooo! The nail polish drips off of the brush onto her (mostly) white dress. You’ve got to be kidding me. I close up the bottle before more drips fall and strip her down to try and minimize the damage. As Bean’s helping me to blot the dress (and her thighs — it soaked through) with nail-polish remover, I notice that she’s jiggling around.
– Bean, do you have to pee?
She sits on the toilet to pee but (for some strange reason) leans slightly backward and the pee shoots out, going between the toilet seat and the rim of the bowl, onto her underpants, the outside of the toilet and the floor. You have got to be kidding me. I couldn’t have done that if I’d tried! 

I tell Bean to stay on the toilet and I head downstairs for cleaning supplies. I ask my mum to google how to get nail polish out of a cotton dress. An eyebrow raises in a question. Bean got curious about the nail polish. Oh, and she accidently peed on the floor while sitting on the toilet. With that, I disappear with some paper towels and the Lysol. I clean up the pee and give Bean a quick bath (and a clean outfit) before turning my attention to the dress. “Blot reverse with acetone, rinse, repeat.” So I do. Several times. It’s faded, but I wouldn’t call it removed. Then I used stain remover and (later) put it through the laundry. A bit more faded but the spot is still there. Oh well… it’s not super noticeable, since there are orange flowers on the white dress… the coral stain sort of blends in with the pattern if you aren’t looking for it.

By the time I finish all that, El’s up from her morning nap, ready for a breastfeed, and my toes remain unpainted. Maybe bedtime tonight will be better and I will have 5 minutes to actually beautify my toes.

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Author’s note: Vacation was last week (not this week), but I had a (more-or-less) device-free week (aside from Google maps & taking photos), so you’ll get the updates this week instead. (You can expect more than one post… hopefully it’ll make up for not posting in a few weeks!) Also, a HUGE thank you to my parents. This post is more about how much mess Bean managed to make in a 10-minute time period (and the hour it took me to clean it up) than their help, but I wanted to give them a shout out for all of their help on that crazy rainy morning. You two are awesome!

Tell the Truth Day… so here goes nothing

Apparently today (Friday July 7th) is Tell the Truth Day. It’s also Global Forgiveness Day, Chocolate Day, and Strawberry Sundae Day. Now there’s a day I can get behind; There isn’t a single special label on today that I would trade! And although it’s already evening, it’s never too late to celebrate!

Tell the truth day. Here’s a truth for you: I got rear-ended yesterday. I wasn’t going to blog about it (no sense stressing out my family — Don’t worry mum, we’re all OK. So’s the car.), but seeing as how it’s Tell the Truth Day I figured I might as well own up to it. (Besides, if you don’t hear it from me, Bean will be sure to tell you “Somebody hit mummy’s car.”… Those of you with preschoolers know that there’s no such thing as a secret with them!) I was driving home yesterday after having lunch with some colleagues when the car in front of me suddenly braked. From 70+ km/h to 0. I slam on the brakes too and thankfully manage to stop without hitting the car in front of me. Praise God. Then a quick check in my rearview reveals the car behind me slamming on the brakes. I hear his tires squeal on the pavement (I didn’t even know that was a thing outside of the movies…) and brace for impact. Thankfully it was a small bump and it didn’t careen my car into the stopped vehicle in front of me. We pull over and get out of the car. The other driver, D, was super considerate. As he was walking to the back of my car he sees the kids in my backseat and is instantly concerned. Are the kids ok? (Yes.) We check out the back of my car, and although I’m in a cute little sundress, I’m down on the pavement with him, checking under the back bumper and making sure my car is OK. Neither of us see anything amiss. (It turns out that D is a bit of a car guy, and I have some knowledge about what to look for.) His car looks fine too. Thank goodness! I get his information anyways, but hopefully won’t need to use it.

Global Forgiveness Day. This one’s easy for me. I forgive D for rear-ending me. (And on the off chance that a certain car enthusiast is reading this mummy blog, thank you D for being so kind, considerate, and even-tempered in less-than-ideal circumstances.)forgiveness-1767432_960_720

Chocolate Day. The kids didn’t nap well today (there’s another truth for you!). Well, El napped for two 30-minute spurts (instead of her usual two 1.5 hour naps) and Bean, despite telling me that she was tired, didn’t nap at all. So to reward myself once they were both finally in bed for the night and asleep, I had a piece of chocolate. Nice, dark chocolate with caramel bits in it. Yumm. (Lindt caramel and sea salt, in case you were wondering.) I don’t need an excuse to have chocolate, but I feel like on chocolate day it’s worth having an extra piece. lindt chocolate - 2350244803_77dd91c7bb_b

Strawberry Sundae Day. The one elusive special part of today that I am unable to celebrate. To be honest, chocolate sundaes are more my thing, but I DO love fresh strawberries, and the thought of adding some fresh Ontario strawberries to a hot-fudge sundae almost makes me want to walk the 10 minutes to DQ… mmmm. Except that Hubby is at the gym and I can’t leave the girls alone, let alone actually eat the ice cream. Sigh. (We suspect that El has a dairy allergy, and since I’m breastfeeding, that means no dairy for me. I have fallen in love with coconut “ice cream”, but a quick check in the freezer reveals that we’re all out of it. Zut.*) Maybe another piece of chocolate will satisfy me. (*Zut roughly translates as Shoot.)

Wishing all of you a happy, truthful, forgiving, chocolatey, strawberry-sundae day.

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Canada Day Fun for Little Ones

With Canada Day just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to find ways to celebrate this special day with the little ones in our life who might not be able to stay awake late enough for fireworks (or who might be afraid of them).

Here are a few of my favourite ideas, along with links so that you can make them too!

  1. Canada Day Moose snack! (from CBC) If you have a peanut allergy in your house, you could easily substitute nut-free butter instead. I don’t have a maple-leaf-shaped cookie cutter, but I don’t see any reason why I can’t turn apple slices into “grass” for the moose to walk on. Especially if you use granny smith apples. (Or the grass can be red, haha. Your toddlers/preschoolers probably won’t care.)

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    Photo source: CBC’s moose snack

  2. Fingerpaint Flag (Today’s Parent) This is too cute! Bean loves it when I let her make handprint or fingerprint crafts, and I know that she will have so much fun making this flag!

  3. Read a book together. Here are some of our favourite Canada-themed books: Canada books
  4. Play a Canada-themed memory-card game together. Here’s a link to one that is related to First Nations and Inuit from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
  5. Colour some Canada-themed pictures together. Here’s a link to some great free printables from Activity Village: Canada Day Colouring Pages
  6. Have a Canada-Day themed Scavenger hunt. Here’s the original idea from Canadian Living, but I would adapt this for toddlers & preschoolers. Unless you’re hiding red-and-white rocks in your garden, I would make a list of what you hid or at the very least how many items there are. That way, you’ll be able to track down any missing ones. Here are some ideas of things to hide: red-and-white rocks (which requires collecting and painting them first), strawberries (although you might want to put them in something before hiding them… or offer a washing station for the kids once they’ve found a berry!), Canada-Day stickers or temporary tattoos.
  7. Make a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to Canada. (We will definitely be doing this at our house!) White icing and red sprinkles (or whipped cream and fresh strawberries!) will make it festive without too much work.

Happy 150th Birthday Canada! Wishing you all a wonderful celebration.

Cheers to men who help to share the mental load!

Interested in a good laugh? If you haven’t already seen it (it’s making the rounds), check out this amusing comic from Emma about why us mommas seem to be so tired all the time :

 

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You should’ve asked” comic by Emma (click title to read full comic)

 

At first read, I thought that this comic was an amusing insight into the brain of several mommas I know (myself included). The part about how it takes 2 hours to clean off the table makes me laugh….  that is SO me!!! (My husband likes to remind me on occasion that I am not good at multi-tasking… we both know that I’m much more efficient if I just do one thing at a time. Unfortunately, life with 2 small kids doesn’t always permit that.)

However, when I started reading the comments below the comic, I was somewhat horrified at the amount of people who seemed to think that this was a personal attack on them. I don’t recommend reading the comments at the end of Emma’s comic… it’ll get your back up and turn a light-hearted laughable comic into a jumping point for major arguments and negative energy. Just skip the comments. But read the comic. 🙂

One thing I will say is that this comic definitely hits the nail on the head (so to speak) about the mental strain of being a mum. However, at the same time, I know that my husband has a lot of stuff on his mind too. True, he still doesn’t know where to find clean pajamas in the nursery (they’ve been in the same drawer for over 3 years now), or which sheets go on our bed (queen-sized) and which are for the guest bed (a double), but I don’t mind. He’s man enough to ask me where things are, or which are the sheets for our bed, or where we keep the sugar. And yes, sometimes it frustrates me that he still doesn’t know where the baby’s washcloths are kept, but on the flip side, at least he recognises that she needs a bath and is willing to clean her. I might be the one with the mental load of almost everything related to the kids (doctor’s check ups, school events, homework, nap schedule, etc.), the laundry, the contents of our cupboards, and the “where things belong” category, but he’s got his own mental load to bear. He keeps on top of the lawn maintenance, most of the grocery shopping, and at least half of the dinners each week. Not to mention whatever mental load he’s got for work (which is huge!).

I know that I’m lucky to have such a great husband. I think that a lot of you do too. So the next time your husband asks “Honey, where do we keep the …” for the umpteenth-time, help the man out and answer his question. After all, he is trying to help.

 

 

“I love my Daddy.”

This past weekend was full of celebratory Fathers’ Day stuff, and so I didn’t actually have time to write anything until today (haha, story of my life!) I thought that in honour of my wonderful husband, I would summarize why he’s so great through the eyes of our 3-year old (Bean). Without further ado, here are 7 reasons why Bean loves her Daddy.

  1. “Daddy’s a good cooker.” (Direct quote! It’s true, he’s a whiz in the kitchen and prepares some pretty tasty meals!)
  2. “Daddy is better at giving sh-baths.” (Yes, that’s a made-up word. I don’t even really know what it means, which is probably why “Daddy” is better at them. From what I understand, it’s a cross between a bath and a shower and somehow also involves washing the wall. On purpose. Quite frankly, as long as she gets clean, I don’t really mind.)
  3. “Daddy goes running with me.” Bean needs to run. Probably almost as much as a puppy… (I’m picturing a cute little boxer puppy who can run off-leash, whole-hog for an hour on a farm, only to get back home and need to go for another walk ten minutes later.) (Shout out to Pipps!) And she is fast. I’m not just saying that in a proud-momma-kind-of-way. My uncle took her out for a run a few weeks ago and came back drenched in sweat. That is NOT what I was expecting. You need to sign her up for track and field. Hubby laces up and gets a work-out in while running sprints with her on the local school’s track. Most people think we must be out-of-shape when we talk about getting a cardio work-out in while running with our 3-year-old. I know better and love that Hubby is willing to run with her.
  4. Daddy jungle gym. This is a game where Hubby lets Bean crawl all over him, as if he were a living jungle gym; sometimes she even swings off of his arms. He rearranges his limbs to make it challenging for her. She loves it.
  5. “Daddy and Bean like silly songs…” It’s the first line in a silly song Hubby made up to sing with Bean. It involves making all sorts of silly sounds, so of course, she loves it!
  6. The story about Mr. Potato. Hubby makes up stories for Bean while she sits on the toilet. There’s one about Mr. Potato and where sweet potatoes came from (entirely fictional), one about Mr. Fox (which ends with the singing of What does the fox say? by Ylvis), and one about Mr. Fry (and how he discovered that he was French, haha).
  7. “Daddy makes me apples AND pears at breakfast.” Ok, so it’s not always apples and pears, but when he’s around for breakfast, there’s always 2 kinds of fruit on her plate (sometimes more). When I make breakfast and only serve up apple slices along with her oatmeal, you can be sure I’ll hear about how Daddy gives her both. I love that he finds the time to make it happen.

Sending lots of love to Hubby today (and every day!).

 

Fathers Day gift 2017

This is the gift that Bean made for Fathers’ Day. I take no credit for it; she made it at preschool. All the same, I love it. What a great idea!

 

Book Banter: The 5 Love Languages of Children

Welcome to a new section I’m incorporating into my blog: Book Banter. In this semi-regular (translation: when I have something to write about) series, I’m going to discuss books related to parenting. No formal reviews, nothing stuffy… just me, chatting about a book I recently read that relates to parenting (and, inadvertently, my life). Hope you like it!

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Photo source here (Indigo)

This “week” (month?) we’re talking about the book The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. I casually mentioned the book over coffee with one of my girlfriends and her first response was “What’s a love language?” (Glad you weren’t the only one thinking that? 😛 ) Basically, the authors explain the different ways we understand love, stating that “Every child has a primary language of love, a way in which he or she understands a parent’s love best.” (Chapman, 9) By loving your child through their primary love language, we ensure that they know they are loved, which, in turn, helps them to “grow into a giving, loving, responsible adult.” (9) Of course, the authors also recommend loving your child through all 5 love languages (even as you focus on their primary one), which will subsequently help them to speak all 5 love languages themselves later in life (109-10).

So what are the 5 languages? Physical touch (ex. hugs & kisses); Words of Affirmation (words expressing your love for them, either spoken or written); Quality Time (spending time with them); Gifts (can be “made, found, or purchased” (86), includes gifts that are both needs and wants); and Acts of Service (doing something for them (ex. making them a special breakfast (105)), or helping them to do something (ex. study for a test (106)).

The authors advise that “With an infant, you must express love in all five languages” (111) and that even “Young children are just beginning to learn how to receive and express love in the various languages. This means that they will experiment with actions and responses that are satisfying to them” and may change their dominant love language from one month to the next (111). They also warn that as they grow, a child’s love language may change; particularly as a teenager. (112)

I can confirm the changing love language of young ‘uns…. A month ago I would have proclaimed that Bean was definitely NOT a physical touch love language kid. (Her version of “snuggling” was to lie down close together without touching.) However, this past week she’s started experimenting with that love language. Over the weekend, she offered to brush my hair (heavenly!) and then just this morning, mid-breakfast she announced “Snuggle time!” and curled up into me for a little snuggle (a real one!) in between bites of toast. I’m only too happy to oblige, but considering the only time in the past few years that she’s been snuggly is when she’s either sick or has had a bad dream, you can understand my surprise.

Back to the book: I like that the authors offer suggestions on how to express your love for your children in each of the 5 languages (conveniently organized in a section at the back of each love-language-specific chapter). They also offer advice on how to discipline with the 5 love languages, which might just have some surprising insight for you. There’s even a chapter at the end of the book dealing with the challenges posed by single-parent families. There are other books in the collection if you’re interested (one is specifically about teenagers, if you happen to have one, … and no, I don’t think threenagers count, haha.).

The bottom line for me? Since the book is geared towards parents of children 5 and older, I think that I will get a LOT more out of the book if I re-read it again in a few years. Until then, it’s given me a great overview of the 5 love languages, along with some food for thought.

 

References from:

Chapman, Gary, and Ross Campbell. The 5 Love Languages of Children. 1997. Northfield Publishing, Chicago, 2016.