New Adventures

I’m game for trying almost anything, especially if it’s an activity for my kids.   This past week, I read an article in Parents Magazine about this nationwide group called Hike it Baby.  It’s basically a group of parents who get together on different days and go hiking.  At the end of the article, I was given a website where I could go and find local groups.   I went there, found one, joined the Facebook page, introduced myself and agreed to go on our first hike with the group today.

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Starting our hike.

My boys love being outdoors and I love finding a way to mix in exercise with our day-to-day routines since I’m having a terrible time losing weight.   We’ve hiked on numerous occasions at Paris Mountain, and the boys are constantly asking me to go again.   Thanks to this overbearing heat, we haven’t been able to make it out to hike during the summer.  Well, I won’t blame it just on the heat…I do worry about snakes as well.  YUCK!

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I packed us up this morning and we headed out to Lake Conestee Nature Park in Southern Greenville County.   We were told to meet at the playground, but when we arrived I must say my stomach began to turn.  Perhaps it was the smoothie I made this morning (my husband and I are on a cleanse.  Stay tuned for a blog on that), or just the oppressive humidity, but really it was the immense number of moms who were already there.

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Checking out the river.

When I was younger, I enjoyed talking.   I enjoy talking now, but just with people I know.  I’m not very good at meeting new people, nor am I very good at chit chat, also known as small talk.   For the sake of my children, I try very hard in this arena, but alas I’m just a colossal failure and I knew today would be a tough one.

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Henry was hoping to climb over and that I wouldn’t catch him. Little stinker!

We quickly gave a round robin, welcome where we introduced ourselves and our kids.   First thing I noticed was all the moms and their baby packs.  Davey was the oldest one there, and I’m pretty sure Henry was the second oldest.   I know the group is called Hike it Baby, but I thought that also included toddlers and preschoolers.   This should have been my sign to pack it up or go off on our own, but since I’d already introduced us, I knew it would look shamefully bad for me to leave.

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They liked being the leaders of the pack.

The leader of the group took us down the path and yet another sign that this was not to be a good event seemed to flash in front of me.  My children were not interested in staying with the group.  Nope.  My little rays of sunshine (sarcasm for those of you who DON’T know my children) decided to run.   I wasn’t going to have any casual conversation with any of the other moms.  Nope.  I turned around to catch a glance of the moms and they all seemed to be paired off talking about the latest organic diaper or homemade food little junior was eating.  I was the odd mom out.  I’m pretty used to that.

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Some of the wetlands in the park.

Even with all of this, I decided to stick it out, but to say that we proceeded at an excruciatingly slow pace is an understatement.  We walked a mile in 41 minutes, 27 seconds.   That’s my pace for a 4 mile run and the pace for my kids to hike 3 miles.   Then again, we don’t stroll and talk.  We take our hiking a bit more seriously.   I had hoped for this to be my opportunity to get in some exercise, but I don’t even think I burned 30 calories, much less got my heart rate up.

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Henry decided he could go it alone.

We finished up the hike, with me meeting ZERO parents, and climbed back in our car.   The boys had fun and they want to do it again.  Me?  I’m game for that.  The preserve was beautiful, the hike not too strenuous, and there’s 400 acres to explore.   I just think we’ll go it alone the next time or perhaps with just one other friend.

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I’m sure the group is wonderful, especially for those who are more outgoing than me and have children who don’t run around like wild banshees.   They’re offering up the opportunity to hike a portion of Table Rock on Thursday and I think we may still do that and if it comes down to it, we’ll just go off on our own.

DSC_0219Davey is learning how to pose for photos from Aunt Erin.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about a Hike it Baby group near you, then google the name and find your closest location.

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The Proper Speech

I spend a good portion of my time with both of my boys discussing the importance of speaking appropriately. I correct my three year old on a daily basis, but I do so in a learning and encouraging way. I wouldn’t dare degrade either one of my boys.

Specifically with Davey, I’ve discussed the use of double negatives and subject/verb agreement. I encounter a lot of parents and non-parents who question the fact that I’m already attempting to teach this to my boys at such a young age. I joke around about it and will shrug it off with the usual answer, “I have an English degree”, but really it’s more than that. It’s important to speak properly.

Currently, Davey is having an issue with stuttering. It’s not really an issue, but at times when he gets excited, it takes him quite a while to get things out. I tell him to take a deep breath, slow down, and let his words flow. In most cases, that works.

The reason I’m writing this blog is because for a while I worried about Davey and his speech. I worried that he wouldn’t speak at all for a while, or that his speech would be incomprehensible. I read books on helping your child speak correctly, but for the most part it was just investment of my time with him.

I read to him a lot, always have. I speak to him, not at him, and I’ve never used baby talk with him. Now that he’s gotten older, I engage him in conversations about his day. I ask him what he’s doing. Yesterday, I specifically told him to NOT dump all of his blocks out of the bin, but to instead get them out one at a time. While I was upstairs, I heard the sound of hundreds of blocks hitting the hardwood floor and I knew he’d dumped them all out. I wasn’t upset, but I did want a reason for this. This was our conversation:

Me: Davey, didn’t I tell you to not dump out all of your blocks?
Davey: Yes, you did, Mommy.
Me: So, why did you dump them all out?
Davey: Because the blocks on the bottom were lonely. They missed their friends on top.

It’s a creative answer, but also a very well spoken answer. He didn’t stutter and he used the correct grammar.

I remind myself daily to make sure that I’m spending the same amount of time with Henry. Being a 2nd time mom with him, means I don’t stress the small stuff quite so much. He’s 11 months old. He’s making all of the appropriate sounds, saying “mama”, “dada”, “no”, “go”, and “bye”. He’s doing well.

For those of you; however, who may worry about your child’s speech, Parents Magazine, offers up an insightful article. The link is below.

http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/speech-delays/understanding-speech-delays/?socsrc=pmmtw

Leaning Back

I received my January issue of Parents Magazine in the mail today.   For the first time in what has seemed like a while, I was able to immediately sit down and start perusing through the pages.   Of course, it helped that this issue seems to be a lot smaller than the others (meaning I felt like I could QUICKLY make my way through the magazine).  

I came across an article that caught my attention because it had a subtitle that was meaningful to me.   It’s something that my husband and I have discussed as recently as Monday night when it comes to parenting (not raising) Davey.   He’s hit the Terrible Twos, well he’s actually be in this stage for a while, but for some reason it seems like it’s getting worse.   Maybe it’s just my perspective because I can’t be as active with him as I once was (final days of pregnancy #2 impeding my abilities).  He’s become more temperamental and impatient, even screaming when he doesn’t get his way.   He lies on the floor and kicks his feet, has started hitting (mostly me, which we’re working to curb), and is becoming quite defiant.   So what gives?   I think this article summed a lot of it up.   It’s titled, “Why We Need to Lean Back (from our kids)”. 

We seem to be running ourselves ragged parenting our children.   I know I am and I’m only raising one at this point.   This article suggests that perhaps it’s time for me to be less hands-on, something my husband discussed with me on Monday night.   The article talks about the pressures parents feel to invest every amount of energy into our children and their futures.   I know I’m guilty of that!  Being a stay-at-home mom makes it a lot harder on mothers, or at least that’s how I feel.  We’re trying to compensate for variables that other children who go to school/daycare may receive.   

I’m constantly racked with guilt about if I’m doing enough where raising Davey is concerned.  I have some mothers and friends who pass judgment on the fact that I chose to be a stay-at-home mom.   Some believe I’m causing irreparable harm to my son because he’s not socializing on a day-to-day basis with other children.  It’s forced me to seek out activities outside of the home for him.   From the moment I became a SAHM, Davey and I were enjoying story time at our local library.   He was 4 months old at that point, but I was eager to make sure that I was still giving him enough social interaction.   I was still eager to make sure that since I had chosen to no longer have a career outside the home, that I would turn raising my son into a career.   I made myself be hands on.   Actually, I think I guilted myself into being hands on and from that moment forward I’ve become the mom that seems to micromanage every waking moment of his life.   I can’t do that anymore especially with Henry on the way in two days. 

Is it too late to right the ship?  I don’t think so, but I’ve decided to do more “leaning back” and let Davey decide what he wants to do.   I still find ways to structure his day, even if he we’re unable to really go out of the house.   I still allow him to have an hour of television time (perhaps more if I’m sick – and I know I’ll get some judgments from other moms here), but what used to be is no more.   Instead of telling him we’re going to read a book, I turn the television off and I sit down and read a book, sometimes an adult book, which spurs him to bring books to me so that I can read to him.   He even sits on his own little couch and reads some of his books (since we’ve read them so many times and he knows them by heart).

When I want to do crafts with him, I go to the kitchen table and pull out the crayons and paper and I start coloring.   If he wants to join me, he does; otherwise, he does his on activity.   When he plays outside, or with his basketball goal, or his Matchbox cars, I use that opportunity to do some of my chores, like laundry and dishes.  It’s only been a couple of days, but already it seems like there’s a difference in his attitude.  The fact that I was inhibiting his independence, I believe, was really forcing him to rebel.  

My mother worked out of the home and my brother and I went to daycare.   She or my dad picked us up after work.  My mother cooked dinner, my dad played with us, we ate dinner as a family, and then we did our own thing.   My brother and I learned to amuse ourselves, to be self-sufficient, and to solve our own problems.   For so long, I’ve felt that I owed my son more than what my parents gave to me, but what I really owe him is my unconditional love and support.  

He’s a good kid, a smart kid, but with a mama who might be just a bit too involved in every challenge my son faces.  I wish I had started this approach sooner than just 2 days ago, seeing as how my attention will DEFINITELY be divided in 2 more days, but better late than never.   And oh, by the way, since I decided to “lean back” with Davey, he’s figured out how to pedal his tricyle all on his own.   It’s something I’ve worked on since this summer.   Maybe this will help in the potty training arena as well!