Disney on Ice

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This past Sunday I took my daughter to Disney on Ice along with my sister (aside from being Emma’s aunt, she is also her Godmother). I was in charge of the tickets, so as soon as we entered the Barclays center I took them out of my purse to have them ready. From the entrance to the security check point – probably 10 feet – I lost the tickets. I have no idea how or at what point that happened… How is that even possible???

My sister was visibly upset (it was also her birthday) and was telling me that we should leave because someone must have already taken our tickets… I was obviously upset and frustrated as well because I couldn’t believe I had lost them. To make matters worse, in the security checkpoint I was told that I couldn’t bring any food inside (I had brought milk, fruits and crackers for Emma), so this added on to the frustration – I hate throwing out food and getting rid of it was taking additional time.

I had pepped up Emma so much about the show that there was no way we were leaving without watching it, so we found a solution – we were able to get the tickets printed in the booth by showing an I.D. and the receipt of purchase through the phone. No one had claimed them yet! I was definitely relieved and happy. I don’t think I would have forgiven myself for at least a week if we wouldn’t have been able to watch the show (I was still looking for the tickets when we left). We missed the first 15 minutes of the show but we were at least able to watch it.

I must admit, I went to watch the show with low expectations and mostly for Emma – As an adult, sometimes things that are great for a child are not too amusing for us – However, this was not the case with Disney on ice, it actually was a terrific show. My daughter was very entertained and so was I. She was in awe as she watched the characters “sing” and skate, and all the props were amazing. She was especially excited about Minnie Mouse and even though she didn’t know all of the Disney characters, she enjoyed the entire show. She even enjoyed the part where The Incredibles performed, even though they scare her (I only know this because we have a DVD at home with a preview of The Incredibles movie and every time she sees it she runs to her room and tells me she is scared). After their performance, I asked her if she liked it and she said yes so I dared to ask if she wanted to watch the movie, she said no… When the show was over Emma didn’t want to leave. She was impatiently waiting for more characters to come out so I had to tell her that they went back home to Disney World.

I know that she will ask to go there soon…

So, aside from my mini mental coma, we had a great time.

Ticket = $75
Popcorn = $12
Snow cone = $15

Emma being in awe, super excited and having a great time= PRICELESS

*Although it is definitely something that will only be done once in a while, as it is pricey.

P.S. Before having Emma I was on top of everything – I still try to be, as it is my personality. However, although I want to be on top of everything, the likelihood that I actually am is around 50%. When I first had Emma, I suffered from a self-diagnosed minor “memory loss” – I say this because I suddenly forgot how to spell certain words, how to do certain things and so on. And honestly, I feel like I am still working on getting it back…Although I prioritize, make lists and try to be organized, I am really a mess – at least I feel like it. This little mishap further reassured me of my need to “get it together.”
Am I the only one?

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Inspiration

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After having Emma, I got so tangled up trying to be the best mom I could be that I put some of my goals in the back burner. As a result, every so often I feel a little bad that I haven’t pursued other things I love to do. Mommyhood was definitely my calling, but I have yet to pursue my creative/artistic aspirations, which have only gotten more intense after becoming a mom. They are constantly present – I always have little thoughts invading my mind and reminding me that there is more I want to do in life. I just can’t manage to find the time since Emma is my first and foremost priority, and the fact that I haven’t really been that proactive with my goals makes me feel like I haven’t accomplished much….

However, I felt a little better about myself the other night when I read this quote in a restaurant while having dinner with good friends – “Your example will inspire others.” Sometimes I get so caught up in what I haven’t done yet that I forget about what I do on a regular basis. Regardless of what I have accomplished (or not), my daily actions can serve as inspiration to others. Everything and anything you do can inspire others; it can spark an idea, serve as encouragement or a little push, make you feel better about yourself, etc… I know that I am constantly inspired by others, my daughter especially, and the majority of people that inspire me are completely unaware of the effect they have on me.

I hope that my example can inspire Emma to be a better and wiser human being; and as a parent, I think that that will likely be my biggest accomplishment.

Parenting

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There is a lot of pressure being a parent now a days. With all the technology and easy access to information, I always feel the need to know/learn every little thing I can that will benefit my daughter. In a way, this is great, because I am aware of the products I shouldn’t get for my child, what food is better for her, whether she is developing properly and I can have access to new ways to spark her curiosity. However, this can also be overwhelming. It is impossible to know it all, at least it is for me –  I barely find the time to take a proper shower, let alone make sure I know EVERYTHING about what’s best for raising Emma. Besides, there is always a plethora of conclusions and opinions, and it takes a lot of reading and time to be able to accurately make up your mind.  Fortunately, I have a lot of mom friends, whose judgment I trust. So if they give something to their child, I know it is good, and that helps me narrow down my choices. I have also learned to prioritize, I know what I deem of most value to Emma and that is what I will mostly focus on and research about.

Raising a child has also become some sort of competition among parents and I notice some parents constantly brag about their child or compare children unknowingly and unintentionally. I know at some point I’ve done it and I only realize it once I hear the words coming out of my mouth. I really try hard not to, but  living in New York, everything feels like a rat race, including raising your child. Likely because there is an abundance of opportunities and choices – what daycare, pre-school and school your child attends, what extra curricular activities/classes they go to, what experiences they are exposed to and so on.

Most of the time when I see a parent that has a toddler, they tell me everything their child has accomplished, what activities they are involved in, how much they know and are extremely curious to see where my child stands/what she knows. As a parent, you are extremely elated over the smallest things your child does and the questioning among parents is a way to measure how your child is developing. But sometimes the over sharing becomes bragging, and really, children develop differently and the majority of them will catch up and level out once they go to school. In my eyes, Emma knows enough and she is developing into quite a little troublemaker.

Seeing how children develop now a days and how brilliant they all seem to be, it makes me question – Am I doing as much as I can for my daughter? Am I exposing her to enough things? Am I teaching her enough?  And then I remember, she is only 2 …. I love her a lot and I show it and tell her all the time. Yes, we argue sometimes as she is becoming her own little person, but we spend a lot of time together and  I always have her interests in mind (well, what I genuinely think are her interests) and ultimately, I think that’s what matters most.

Living with a Toddler/ A Day with a Toddler

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Living with a toddler requires a lot of PATIENCE, energy and creativity. Sometimes I am at a loss of things to do or how to react to her tantrums, but as a mom, you always figure it out (you have to). I must admit that her tantrums are improving, either that, or I am getting much better at handling them. She now either takes a shower everyday (although only with me) or lets me wash her up in the sink. At this point I think it is fine – I have given up on battling for this. As long as she is clean, I don’t really feel the need to protest how she prefers to be cleaned. I also give her a bath once a week and she hates me washing her hair, but she is beginning to accept it. And that to me is progress (I do a little cheer in my head every time anything gets accomplished).

My day with Emma consists of a lot of love with tons of arguing/fighting. And when I say arguing/fighting I mean I talk to her about why we need to do certain things and ask her to do certain things but she refuses to do them or ignores me, so I have to be firm and stand my ground and she obviously hates it. So she will cry or argue with me, or both, at which point I don’t have a clue what she is trying to tell me.  It gets pretty exhausting.

This is my usual day-

6:30 a.m. – Time to wake up. I am half asleep and barely functioning. Lately Emma has been waking up throughout the night, I really thought (hoped) those days were over.  If she climbed in our bed in the middle of the night, she might still be grabbing onto my arm hairs. Yes, that’s her thing. She has to grab them and pull them to go to sleep. I have unsuccessfully tried to get her to go to sleep without that habit. If I am lucky enough and she is in deep sleep or has let go of my hairs I wake up and take a shower. Otherwise, I have to carefully let loose.

7 a.m. – she wakes up and refuses to go to the potty or shower. We argue. If my husband hasn’t gone to work yet, he helps out and does the arguing for me while I get ready, until she finally concedes.

7:10 – 7:30 a.m. – We eat breakfast and don’t argue for 10 minutes! She loves her breakfast. This ends once it’s time to brush our teeth. She refuses to brush them so I usually have to brush them while she is “crying.” Lately, she also has had a runny nose and since she doesn’t know how to blow her nose yet, I have to suck out her buggers with a rubber suction-bulb syringe. She hates it, and yup, you guessed it, that’s another “fight.”

7:40 a.m. – We are running out of the house to catch the bus. She refuses to walk so I have to carry her…

8:30 a.m. – Running from her daycare to catch the train

9:00 a.m. – Running from the train to get to work “on time”

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Work…..

5 – 5:15 p.m.– Run to catch the train to pick up Emma

5:40 p.m. – Run from the train to the daycare to pick-up Emma. If I have enough time, I will speed walk.

6:00 p.m.  – Wait for the bus (she wants me to go to every store she sees, so this might take longer. We fight and argue if I choose not to go to a store – she always wants something and it’s hard to say NO)

6:30 – 7 p.m. – Get home… Fight to get her in the house – she wants to stay outside but its freezing. Although, lately she has been pretty good about it.

7 p.m. – Eat dinner, play, talk, read – Great time.

8 p.m. – Get ready for bed – Brush teeth (fight), put PJ’s on – she says she doesn’t want to but I tell her it’s so that she is more comfortable. Go to the potty (fight), turn off the lights (tantrum), put her to sleep (tantrum).

8:30 p.m. – She stops screaming and crying and then proceeds to tell me everything about her day, that she wants more milk, more water, needs to blow her nose, etc… anything to avoid going to sleep. I talk to her about school the next day, that she has to get a good night’s sleep, that mommy is tired, that we will play tomorrow, etc… It never works, I always have to leave the room until she is tell me “ok mommy, ok, I’ll go to sleep” so then I go and accompany until she falls asleep. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.

Ok, so I am a little dramatic, but it pretty much sums up what my day consist of. As a mom, I love spending every second I can with my daughter, and that is really what I take away from the day –  my time spent with her but that certainly doesn’t take away the exhaustion I feel at the end of the day… Yes, I am the mother of a 2 year old.

Raising Emma – Children Movies

I love my daughter more than words can describe and I love to spend time with her, but lately I’ve been lacking sleep and thus, energy. So when I finally get home after picking her up from daycare and working a full day, I am exhausted, and so is she – although somehow she manages to come up with a lot of energy. I really wish I had her stamina…

Since we only have around 2 hours together before bedtime, I like to spend one on one time with her so I don’t like to turn on the TV. However, lately, I’ve slacked a little – I’ve been putting movies for her, and although we watch them together, it’s not the same. Don’t get me wrong, she has watched movies before but lately it has become an everyday thing. It gives me some time to heat up her food and mine and organize a little. At times I feel a little guilty about it and then others, not so much… She definitely enjoys watching the movies and I enjoy them just as much, if not more than her (Yes, I am still a kid at heart) –  I just don’t want it to become a routine.

By now, we have watched a couple of animated/children movies and there are a lot of things that I now realize are not really suitable for a 2-year-old. There is a lot of explaining and omitting that I have to do and she definitely understands and enjoys movies the most when I get a chance to explain to her what is happening. She can certainly see and hear what is going on but sometimes there are situations that she hasn’t experienced, so she needs me to tell her why people/animals/characters react the way they do, or do they things they do. I don’t do this throughout the entire movie, only when she asks me or when she looks confused or scared.

Movies I have watched with Emma/ Children movies –

Rio – She LOVES this movie. There are lots of colors, animals and music.

Monsters University – She is obsessed with it, and I mean obsessed. She asks me to let her watch it every single day. Although now she wants me to skip the part of the librarian (In the movie she throws the kids/monsters out of the library if they make noise) – She finds her scary and told me she doesn’t like her.

How to train your dragon  – the only reason we got this for her was because she loves dragons. She ignored it at first but now loves it.

Ratatouille – She really liked it and wanted to see it again, especially after we found a mouse in the house…. Which we caught the next day. She doesn’t know.

Finding Nemo – She gets a little scared of the barracuda at the beginning of the movie so I skip that scene, but she likes the rest.

Lion King – She loves animals, and likes the movie, but there are a lot of sad moments in the movie. However, there are also great scenes in the movie and the music is phenomenal. It is one of my favorites and we will definitely revisit later.

Tangled – I thought this was a pretty good movie, but Emma, not so much. She is definitely not a princess kind of girl, at least not when it comes to movies. It was hard for me to explain the concept that the baby was abducted by an evil lady and raised by her – Either way, she could care less. She kept on asking me about the baby until she finally got the fact that Rapunzel was the baby – all grown up. She didn’t pay much attention to it.

Frozen (Emma’s first movie in the theatre) – It was pretty good. She loved the snowman the most.

Toy Story 3 – I love it, she thinks it’s ok.

The Emperor’s New Groove – She really enjoyed this movie, especially because we would get up and dance every time there was music.

The Princess and the Frog – she liked the frogs, crocodiles and bugs but could care less about the princess. When the frogs transformed back to humans, she asked me where the frogs went.

Despicable Me 1 & 2 – She liked them both, but I think I enjoyed them more than her… She obviously likes the minions.

Up – She liked it but hasn’t asked to watch it again.

Happy Feet – She really likes it, but looses interest in it after the first 45 minutes.

Hunchback of Notre Dame – We started it together but I quickly turned it off after realizing how horrific it really is –  I finished watching it by myself later on… I used to love this movie as a child and I am not sure why? The plot is pretty much about a genocide against the Gypsies. Yes, at the end of the movie the gypsies win, but it is a loaded movie and definitely tough for a kid to understand.

I will try to hide the movies this week so she doesn’t ask to see them again and then maybe we can make Friday or Sunday our movie day.

Suggestions?

Pregnancy

My sister is 3 months pregnant and I can’t help but feel excited for her! I am definitely looking forward to meeting this new member of the family and I am fully aware of the fact that the family dynamics (when it comes to grandparents, aunts & uncles) will drastically change for Emma since everyone’s attention will no longer only revolve around her. In fact, it will likely revolve around the new baby for at least the first 3 months.

My sister’s pregnancy brings back memories of my own pregnancy and the first months of parenting and there are several things I felt would have been helpful to know and hear directly from someone else who went through the same thing.

For the mothers:

– Your hormones are crazy and your behavior will be unpredictable. You will be surprised at how strongly you will begin to feel about certain things, especially things you didn’t even care about before. This is normal.

– Set realistic expectations for yourself and your husband – As mothers we always want the best for our child and we want to be prepared and have everything ready, but sometimes that might not happen and accepting this will make it a lot easier

– Morning sickness – Carry crackers, fruits and a bag with you at all times. I had it for 5 months and felt sickly every day. I thought I would never enjoy my pregnancy but it gets better, I promise. Ginger didn’t work for me, the smell of it made me nauseous. I carried crackers and a bag with me everywhere I went.

– Rest. Don’t feel guilty for sleeping too much or for being tired all the time, your body is carrying another human being and is preparing you for mommyhood. Rest up, it is well deserved and much-needed.

– Show appreciation for everything your husband/partner does for you.

For the fathers:

– While pregnant, women tend to overreact to things, your job is to stay calm and lighten up the situation. You can (but really shouldn’t) tell us we are wrong, if we really are, and it must be done in a pleasant, non-offensive way.

– Please keep the compliments coming and keep being romantic. Yes, we are pregnant and are carrying your child, but we are still women and continue to be your wife/partner so don’t let pregnancy be a deterrent.

– Help out in everything you can. Every little thing counts, even the minor things. Make sure the baby has the necessary essentials (bed/bassinet, car seat, clothes, diapers, first aid kit, creams, towels, wipes, bottles, etc). Also, make sure you work out everything with the insurance that is covering the medical expenses, and arrange for all the payments that need to be made to cover all the Doctor visits and hospital.

– Don’t ever try to compete or compare about who is more tired or who has to do more. You have no idea what is going on in a pregnant woman’s body, let alone her head. And once the baby is born, don’t even bother. Just know that you are a team and there is no sense in competing, just get things done.

– Be extremely appreciative to your wife/partner for everything she is going through and everything she does.

Suggestions –

Take a vacation/break together. This will be the last time (in a long time) you take some time together without a little one. It will reinforce your relationship.

Toddler behavior – Terrible Two’s

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My daughter is 2 years old and yea, there is definitely something about her turning two that changed her behavior. She is very testy and has become an amazing performer when it comes to dry crying. I try not to complain and remain positive about her new attitude – if you’ve watched or read “The Secret”, what you put out there is what you get. However, I also need to acknowledge the facts, and to be honest, she is in her terrible two’s. Lately whenever I need to shower her, change her, brush her teeth or do anything that needs to get done to get out of the house or go to bed, she refuses to do it. I always try talking it out with her (which worked before) or wagering with her, but now I am at a loss… I have to be firm, which makes her cry (for real), and just get it done while she is having a tantrum… This makes it very difficult and obviously not something I look forward to – Like any parent, I hate seeing my child cry. I am working on this and below are suggestions that I found that I will try out this week –

Mothering.com – http://www.mothering.com/community/t/356729/my-toddler-refuses-to-take-a-bath-shower

What to Expect – http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/behavior/resisting-bath-time.aspx

I will start a new routine. Maybe she dislikes the fact that I shower her right after she uses the potty. I will also attempt to give her more choices – her favorite word is NO, so we will see how that works out. She also hates to have her hair washed, but I will work on that after she actually takes a shower/bath.

I found a great article on parenting.com that gives a better understanding to the causes of a toddler tantrum and how to address it when it happens. http://www.parenting.com/article/toddler-temper-tantrums?page=0,1