My Little Princess

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My daughter is growing up and I can’t help but love every minute of it  – yes, I miss a ton of things that she leaves behind as she grows, but I also love all the things she gains – like the things she comes up with and the things she says. Now she can actually have a conversation with me – Although more often than not, she digresses – just like mommy. She is becoming interested in activities and things that we both enjoy – like arts and crafts – and when I am in the kitchen she often offers to help (even though in reality it’s not really help at all)  but it’s the intention that counts.  She is singing songs – pretending she knows the words – and hugging and telling me she loves me often, and it can’t get better than that.

 

How do I know my daughter is growing?

1. She has moved on from Minnie mouse and is now obsessed with princesses.

2. She reverts things I say to her, for example, she now often says– “Mom I am asking you a question – are you listening?”

3. She corrects me – all the time – and I must admit, she is right 70 % of the time

4. She wants to do everything on her own – Finally!

5. She has a crush on a boy – I mean, she doesn’t even know it – but she talks about him every time I pick her up from school. Not sure I am looking forward to the teenage years…

 

She is turning 3 soon so I can’t wait to see what that age will bring – What are the best and most difficult moments of that stage?

Easter Photo

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I wanted to share this picture of my daughter and her cousin – Aden. They both look adorable. Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of my daughter on Easter (taken by my brother-in-law) as I took 0 pictures.

I remember when I took at least 10 pictures of Emma per day, so much so that I filled up an entire album with pictures of her from 0-3 months of age – I can’t believe that I now forget to take even 1 on special occasions such as Easter… What is wrong with me? I attribute Mommyhood as a contributor to my forgetfulness, but this is UNACCEPTABLE.

Besides, my husband and I bought ourselves a new camera for Christmas, which has so far only been used for Christmas eve and day and on our recent vacation. I need to work on using it more often and learn how to properly utilize all the features. Easter would have been the perfect opportunity to work on it but at this point any day will do.

Clearly, I tried to cut back on the pictures after realizing that I had over a 1,000 of Emma’s first year, which was a little overwhelming. However, at this point I have gone the other extreme – with almost none – Incredible! Photos serve as memories and they are always nice to look back on so I will work on getting to a middle ground – Photos on special occasions and/or cute moments and of course, on Emma’s request.

Mommies can’t get Sick

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It’s true, mommies are not allowed to get sick – Of course, we inevitably do get sick, but we need to go on pretending like we are not. It sucks sometimes, but the fact that we have no time to think about our sickness eliminates our need to linger on the aches, pains and/or fever, and that’s a good thing since it helps us “forget” that we are ill.

This past week was a tough one – because what’s worse than having a sick child? Getting sick along with them. Emma was unable to go to school for most of the week as she had a really high fever. She had to take antibiotics and only began to feel better by Friday, at which point I was getting sick. It was nice spending time together, although it would have been more productive had we not been sick; and even though Emma wasn’t feeling well, she still managed to have more energy than me… My house is undoubtedly a mess as I had to come up with ways to entertain Emma while still getting some “rest” – which only meant not having to run around as much. Fortunately, we are much better now and are looking forward for the Spring weather to stick around.

Activities I did with Emma while we were both sick –

1. Watched movies – No effort on my part aside from answering random questions.
2. Read books – It is always relaxing and a nice bonding time.
3. Played hide and seek – She hid and then ran to me once I finished counting!
4. Decorated Easter eggs
5. Colored – what 2-year-old doesn’t like to color?
6. Played with play-doh – a little messy…
7. Poked cardboard boxes – Emma likes to draw and make holes on boxes with a pen. I usually draw things and she tries to trace them by poking holes.
8. Played with stickers – she enjoyed putting them on my husband and I the most. She said she wanted to decorate us.
9. Pretty much let her do whatever she wanted – very, very messy!
10. Took long naps – it was amazing! I had given up on the idea that this was still possible!

Tantrum-free Weekend

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This weekend I did not have to endure any tantrums and yes, I spent the entirety of it with my daughter. Surprised? So was I.  Don’t get me wrong, Emma did cry here and there – fake cry – but she didn’t have a full-blown tantrum, and to me, that’s progress.

Saturday we had a long day ahead of us so I was clearly thinking of the worst but hoping for the best. In the morning she had ballet and it was her final class! (I am pretty happy considering the fact that we will no longer need to wake up at 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings) Afterwards, we stopped by Bed Bath and Beyond to get a gift and then went to the Noguchi museum for an art class. Emma fell asleep on the road and I was afraid of waking her up. Thankfully, she woke up calmly when I took her out of the car and once she noticed where she was, she was happy – tantrum averted!

After her art class, we went home, ate quickly and headed to one of my best friends’ bridal shower. I was skeptical about bringing Emma with me as I knew that it could potentially be disastrous but to the contrary, it was great. She slept on the way there – it was a 2 hour ride – woke up 30 minutes prior to us getting there and watched me sleep(my friend was giving us a ride)because of course, I couldn’t fall asleep beforehand as I was writing my card on the road – a typical day in the life of a mommy.

In the Bridal shower Emma found some friends and was with them almost the entire time – they were lovely – they played with her and gave her tons of attention. Emma had a great time and so did I. She spent time with me but also played independently (without mommy) and while it felt really nice having some time to chat with friends, it made me realize that she is growing up.

Yes, she is less dependent on me, which means that I now get to go to the bathroom alone – for the most part – but the fact that she is becoming less attached to me is a little hard to accept (Yep, mommyhood is full of contradictions). But that’s the give and take of motherhood, right? As you child grows, things change, and you need to quickly keep up with the pace and adapt to these changes. Like everyone tells me, before I know it (in the blink of an eye), Emma will be in College and although that seems plausible – as I sometimes look at her and remember not long ago she was a newborn – I try to enjoy each of her stages and accomplishments one day at a time. This week’s accomplishment – 2 days without a tantrum, and to me that was like two days in mommyhood heaven.

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Savings and Emma – 529 College Plan

Saving is really hard to come by these days. In fact, I pretty much have no savings. Considering the fact that we have debt, I don’t find it useful to save while accruing pretty much 0 interest when we have to pay off cards that charge us heavy interest. However, I do believe saving is important as it allows for better money management, especially when times are tough. Eventually I will have much more than I do now, I sort of have a plan, once the cards are paid off, as savings was kind of my thing when I was growing up. Regardless, I do want to teach Emma the importance of saving. Because of my own experience of paying for college, buying an apartment and starting a family, I want Emma to learn how essential it is so that she can be better off in the future and know how to better manage her money. She is still only two, so for now, we have a container where she stuffs as many coins as she can find. To our advantage, she still doesn’t know that bills are worth more, because I am sure that when she figures that out we will have no money in our wallets as she often likes to go through them…

One of my best friends forwarded me the article below from The New York Times about Savings for kids and whether you should open up a bank account for your child or not and the author concludes with a good point – It doesn’t matter how your child saves, piggy bank or an actual bank account – what really matters are the lessons they learn from their parents. Thus, once Emma a little older and actually understands the concept of money, I plan on talking to her about the value of money and how it can make a difference, how she can make a difference – work towards goals and plan accordingly.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/parenting/2014/04/03/the-case-against-savings-accounts-but-not-savings/?partner=rss&emc=rss

For now, I am looking for the best plan to get for Emma’s college – a big and overwhelming decision once you become a parent. Although I know firsthand the level of maturity and self-assurance you get from working and paying for college on your own, I don’t want Emma to feel limited in her college search, and so, I need to get a college plan for her. I read several articles about 529 plans and came across the article from Kiplinger listed below, which writes which plan is a better choice for you depending on the state you live in – pretty straight to the point. Basically, if the state you live in has an income-tax deduction for the contribution you make to the 529 plan, then you should go with your state’s college plan. If living in NY, then you should go with the state’s 529 college plan.

http://www.kiplinger.com/article/college/T002-C000-S001-the-best-529-college-savings-plans.html#oqvcpGcFYx2iVU2W.99
So, this will be the year that I open up Emma’s 529 College Savings Plan with the money she has received so far. I just have to figure out the monthly contribution amount we can afford.

Does anyone have any good/bad experience with 529 plans?

Friends

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I am so lucky to have the friends I do – I have the overachievers, I have the glass half full and also the glass half empty friends, I have the crazy ones and the mild ones, the bohemian ones and the meticulous ones, but what we all have in common is that we are hardworking, determined and strong-minded – A great example for my daughter – and best of all, we all accept each other’s flaws and learn from one another, which is why we all get along and why I think they are so amazing.

Being a working mom, it is hard to find the time to spend with friends since I try to spend as much time as I can with my daughter, so whenever I can do an activity that involves my daughter and my friends, I think it’s a fantastic plan! As such, when I plan outings with my daughter, I try to incorporate my friends, and they do the same. That way, Emma gets to spend time with other kids while I get to catch up. Fortunately, a lot of my friends have kids or nieces or nephews, or they love kids – which helps, because they assist when you need it and are not impatient or frustrated when Emma has one of her tantrums. In fact, they are less embarrassed than me.

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I make an effort to take Emma out for new experiences often, and this serves as the perfect opportunity to bring friends along. This past Sunday I took Emma to the New York Hall of Science. My friend came along with her 2 kids – no husbands allowed. Emma played with different sand textures and made a happy face with lights and batteries.
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She loved attaching the lights to the battery and seeing how they lit up, but what she loved the most was playing with all the different colored mini light bulbs (I don’t know the proper name, so that’s what I called them). She was constantly imitating whatever my friends’ daughter was doing – who is much older. But that is what Emma is into now, imitating whatever other kids are doing – good and bad… She had a great time and of course, cried once we got home, but knocked out right away (Thank God!) and best of all, I was able to nap along with her.

It is outings like these I love – seeing friends I don’t often get to see because of our busy schedules and my daughter having a blast.  It feels really good that Emma can share time and grow up with not only cousins, but my friends’ kids as well. Who knows? Maybe they will all continue to be friends throughout the years. For those friends of mine who don’t have kids yet, I hope Emma will set a good example for them and be their big sister and as we joke, may be their babysitter by then.

These are the top 5 reasons why you should plan an outing with your kid(s) and your friends:

1. They understand you and are not judgmental about your parenting skills and/or your toddler’s behavior – although may have some “constructive criticism”

2. They offer to help, and yes, you will take advantage

3. If going out with other kids, they will entertain each other. If not, your kid(s) will serve as entertainment.

4. You can trade parenting tips and be honest about the trial and errors of mommyhood.

5. You can multitask – spend time with your kid(s) and catch up with friends.

Although frankly, it is also essential to spend time with friends without any kids around, so you can stop being mom for a tiny bit and truly unload….

Life

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There are days when I feel like I am completely content with my life and others where I feel the innate need for change – Not in my family dynamics, but in my personal (career) path. You see, when I had Emma, my personal priorities shifted aside – by choice – but now that Emma is almost 3 and I am more in tune with the role of mommyhood, the workings of it, and what we can and cannot live without, I feel like I am ready to make some changes in other aspects of my life, keeping in mind that being Emma’s mom is still my #1 priority. Lately, that need for change has intensified – There are many things I want for my family and many things I want for myself and I know that they will eventually flow flawlessly together, but for now they won’t so I am trying to figure out the mechanics of it all so that everyone (including myself) is happy. Change is difficult and scary, but at times, necessary, and I think it is time for me to be bold enough to make some moves. I want to pursue my creativeness and embark on a new career path – I now know that it is essential for my soul. So fingers crossed, this year will be the year I pursue what I am passionate about, and what better inspiration and motivation to have than my daughter — EMMA.