Happy 6th Birthday, B

And after a year long hiatus, I am back. Over the next few weeks, this blog will morph into a new site which will highlight the nonprofit sector, parenting, coaching and more. However in the meantime, I wanted to start back up with something personal.

8915715376_9c03eb685eHey B,
Happy 6th Birthday! It is amazing to think that 6 years ago you entered our lives as it feels like just yesterday. Every day since that moment has been an adventure and I am so glad to be on this journey with you. You have made my life fuller and more complete in ways that I never thought possible.

You are an amazing 6-year-old boy who loves to explore the world in front of you. You care deeply about thinking about how things need to be fair and you strive to make sure everyone around you is treated equally. Even this morning after your doctor’s appointment rather than just thinking about a sticker for yourself you asked about getting one for your sister.

B, as you are getting older, I want to tell you about someone that you are named after. Her name was Grace and she was my grandmother. She was a social worker (someone who takes care of others) and cared deeply about those around her, just like you do. She would have loved meeting you and how you are becoming such a little mensch (a good person) in taking care of your family and friends. She would have loved to see how you lit up last week delivering food bags to people from our synagogue and listening to you ask questions about each family. You truly embody the caring person that she was and I look forward to watching how you will continue to care for others around you.

You continue to impress me on a daily basis with what you are learning in kindergarten. From beginning to read to your love for science and how things work to writing a letter to the tooth fairy because you lost (yes, we never found it) another tooth, you have grown so much this year. Your endless questions about everything around you continue to keep me on my toes and help me see that I need to slow down in my own life and just enjoy life. Your creativity in your drawings and voices that you give your toys bring a smile to my face and your passion for musicals is fun to watch. You have already gone to your fourth play at the DCPA.

I cannot wait to see what this year brings for you. From your first soccer and baseball games to beginning first grade, I know that there will be many fun adventures this year that I get to share with you. Continue to dance funky and enjoy every moment.

I love you.

Love,
Daddy

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We Raised a Tattletale

While we are not experts in this whole parenting game, we thought we were doing a pretty good job.  I mean these little human beings we are in charge of don’t come with instructions (or as PFG boy says constructions).

Both PFG boy and PFG girl are growing (I never thought both of my children would even be on the charts) and learning new things on a daily basis.  They get three plus meals a day, baths on a regular basis, and are overall happy.  PFG boy loves to play with legos, play catch, and still give his toys voices.  PFG girl is feeding herself, crawling, and grasping her toys.

But for the last month, we have noticed something out of the ordinary.  PFG boy is a tattletale.  Not just any tattletale but the most peculiar tattletale we have ever seen.

He is a tattletale on himself.  And not just when he has done something wrong but when he has thought about doing something wrong.

“Mom, I almost hit someone.”

“Dad, I almost tripped over the dog.”

“Nanny, I almost stole a toy.”

“Ms. M., I almost spilled something.”

“Nonnie, I almost touched my sister’s hand.”

At this point, we are not sure whether to laugh or to be upset that we have raised a tattletale. Mrs. PFG has even started joking that if PFG boy commits a crime later in life, that we will know before the event ever takes place.

How would you handle this situation? Do your kids tattle on themselves? What funny things do your kids do or say?  

Happy 4th Birthday, PFG Boy

Photo Credit: the.serial.chiller via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: the.serial.chiller via Compfight cc

Dear PFG Boy,
Happy 4th Birthday!  Four years ago, you joined our family and changed our lives.  Each and every day since has been an adventure, a learning experience, and an amazing journey so far.

Your birth was at a time when we were going through lots of changes ourselves.  We had just moved into our first “family” home, Daddy was in the middle of applying for a new job, and Mommy was going through training to do the visual displays at her work.

PFG boy, you are full of energy, questions, and an amazing imagination.  From the time you wake up until you go to sleep, your mind is processing and learning amazing things.  The way that you give voices to your toys and can play on your own for hours on end shows your independence.  Yet, you also love to snuggle with Mommy, PFG girl, and me.

You love swim lessons, bike riding, playing on the playground, and hanging out with all of your cousins.  As for foods, maybe someday you will try something other than blueberry waffles for breakfast.  Other favorite foods of yours are pizza, chicken and french fries, noodles, and peanut butter and jelly.

Your memory is unlike anything we have ever seen.  You can remember conversations you had two weeks ago and run into our room after you wake up reminding us about the “promises” we made before you went to bed.  This has also made us be careful in what we say to you as you will continually remind us.  Even spelling things will have to go out the door soon as you are learning the letters at an amazing pace.

We are so excited to watch you continue to grow over this next year as you begin your last year of preschool, continue taking swim lessons, start playing a sport, and caring for your sister.  We look forward to watching you continue to use your imagination and are excited to play more and more games with you.

We love you so much and are excited for what this next year will bring!

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

Our #2 Problem

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

Rolling over, holding a bottle, laughing at peek-a-boo, and trying new foods.  Memorization, acknowledging letters, learning manners,  and taking pictures with his own camera.

Ah, the joys of being parents to a six month old and an almost four year old.

The growth of both PFG girl and PFG boy has been amazing over the last month.  Each day, it feels like they have both learned so much more and are different children than the day before.

But we have a problem… a #2 problem.  Well, maybe its not really a problem but more like an adventure.  An adventure that we would like to be over with.

You see, PFG boy has always been a quick learner.  A child who moved to his first big boy bed (actually a bunk bed) when he was just over a year and a half old.  A child who has an amazing memory and doesn’t forget a promise or an event that has taken place even three weeks ago.  A child who chooses to watch videos about toys (and how they work) on YouTube than an episode of a cartoon.

He is someone who doesn’t like when his cup or clothes might be wet or dirty.  So when we first started the fun adventure of potty training, we thought this would be easy because he doesn’t like to be wet or dirty.

He proved us right…

when it comes to peeing.

Over the year since he started potty training, he has not had an accident over night and only a handful of times during the day (usually when he is playing with toys or his friends and is “distracted.”)

But then there is #2.  The adventure that just won’t go away.  The adventure that we started six months before the birth of PFG girl because we didn’t want two kids in diapers.  The adventure that we have researched and tried different techniques to address.

child-adult toilet

BEMISNextStep Child/Adult Toilet Seat sold at Home Depot

The adventure where we purchased a new toilet seat which is a joint child and adult seat.  The adventure where we offered prizes each time he uses it.  The adventure where his grandparents have offered him an outing with them.  But nothing seems to work.  Nothing seems to motivate him.

For a child that needs his hands cleaned off between each bite of food and for a child who needs us to change his shirt if there is a stain, you would think that being dirty or having something on his skin would drive him crazy.  Yet it doesn’t.

And there doesn’t seem to be one right way from fellow parents or even our pediatrician.  For some, they say that he still has times.  For others, they never had the #2 problem.  It has been disheartening and painful to watch at times (he has very sensitive skin and gets rashes often) and our pediatrician said that her daughter wasn’t potty trained until 5 so we cannot rush the process.  Not very encouraging if you ask us.

So, last night we decided to try something new.  PFG wife made a behavioral and potty chart with activities that he can earn with the final activity being Disney World (we are going to Orlando in April).  He will now have the opportunity to earn things he likes to do with a big “adventure” at the end that we believe will motivate him.

It seems to have made a little bit of a difference already.  This morning for the first time in months, he sat on the toilet.  Not just for a minute but for a good five minutes.  Nothing happened but the little action of sitting there is a step in the right direction.  Will it work?  We have no idea but this is just another way for us to try and tackle our #2 problem.

What has worked for your child?  As PFG girl grows up, what can we do differently to avoid this “problem” in the future?  Share your own story with the PFG readers.

She Really Loves Him, Will It Last?

Sand Heart

Photo Credit: marie-ll via Compfight cc

The way she looks into his eyes and smiles, you can tell she really loves him.  He makes her laugh with his charming faces and silly games.

He drowns her with hugs and kisses and she loves every moment of it.  But will it really last?

Will she still love him when he does something to annoy her?  Will she still love him when they get into a fight?  Will she still laugh at him when he jokes about her?

Is this just a phase that they will both outgrow?  When he gets cooties will she still find him adorable?  Will she still love his hugs and kisses or be embarrassed?

Oh, the love and admiration of two…

siblings.

Right now the way that PFG boy makes PFG girl smile and laugh is a sight to be seen.  Even when he makes those silly faces that are gross, she still laughs and smiles at him.  Encouraging him to be silly and crazy.  Will this last?

Will she still love him when he steals her toys?  What about her?  Will he want to play with her when she is old enough to play with his friends?  Will he still want to give her hugs when they are in elementary school?  Or is this just a phase?

A phase that we all outgrow.  A phase where it is okay for siblings to show love.  When and why does our society shun this admiration for our siblings?  Or is it a case by case situation?

As a parent, I want my kids to share their laughter and share their tears.  I know that life moves fast but I hope their love for each other only continues to grow.  I hope that they will remain as close as they are today and that we foster their relationship so there is no competition.

But in the end, their relationship is only theirs.  There will be times where they drive each other crazy and say they “hate” the other sibling.  They will get into fights and will make up.  They will resent the other one and they will probably be compared at some point.  And hopefully they will come through it with a stronger love for each other.  That is all we can hope for.

As a parent, do your kids still love each other or has it changed as they get older?  Do you still “love” your siblings the way you did when you were younger?  How do you as a parent foster relationships between your kids to help them remain close?  Is there even anything you can do?

Hello… why are you up at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30?

Ah, the joys of parenthood.  From day one when you first bring home your baby, your lives completely change.  

You and your partner have welcomed to your lives this beautiful, peaceful human being and you have no idea what to do.  Yes, while you were in the hospital, you had the nurses help you and your baby wasn’t with you the entire time and yes when you get home, you may have friends or family members who share their parenting experiences with you and try to give you tips but now you have this newborn who cries when they are wet, tired, hungry, uncomfortable, or just because they are a baby.

And then as the time goes by, you think you have everything under  control.  Your child sleeps through the night, eats on a regular schedule, takes a nap, starts to show a personality, and you love every moment of it.  You love watching your child laugh, learn how to crawl, hold toys, hold their own bottle and you are so proud.  You have a genius on your hands.  For the next two years, there are hiccups along the way and some regressions but for the most part things are going well.

Bam!  Then last night happens and PFG boy decides to wake up at 1:30 a.m. where he wanders into our room and falls asleep in our bed for a half hour.  Everyone slowly falls asleep and things are okay for the next half hour.  Then you feel a kick and realize your head is no longer on the pillow and this 3.5 year old is making your queen size bed feel like it is a toddler bed.  

Mrs. PFG wakes up puts PFG boy back in his room and we all try to go back to sleep.  Then bam, like clockwork for the next two hours on the half hour, PFG boy is back in your room.  First it is that his throat hurts and he needs water.  Then, he wants to play.  Does it matter that it is 3:30 a.m.?  No, it is a good time to play.

After four times of putting him back in bed, Mrs. PFG has had enough.  I wake up for the 4:30 a.m. “time to get up” and try to lay with him in his bed.  

“No! Daddy get out.”

I leave the room after turning off the lights again and what do I hear 20 minutes later?  A deep cry.  Not a cry of pain but a deep passionate cry.  Not wanting him to wake up PFG girl, I go into his room ask him what is wrong and have him abruptly tell me, “No one will play with me.”

It is hard enough to reason with a 3.5 year old when your entire attention is on them but it is nearly impossible to reason when you are exhausted having been woken up every hour for the last five hours.  Rather than saying no, you climb into his bed, turn off the lights and say just ten more minutes.  This time, you aren’t going to take the risk of getting only 20 minutes of sleep in your own bed.  He is stuck with you.  He wanted to play with you and now he gets to play your game.  The game of sleep.

Ah, the joys of a child who just wants to play!

Have you ever thought, we got this under control.  Our child is sleeping through the night, they play by themselves, they eat a full meal and then bam, things go terribly wrong?  Share your story in the comment section.

He said “He Misses You”

Last night as I was driving home from a board meeting for an amazing organization that I am a board member for, I called Mrs. PFG who had tried calling me during the meeting.  I asked her why she called and she said that our son wanted to say goodnight to me and that “he misses you.”

Now for all of you parents out there, you understand how much this pulls at your heartstrings.  From the first day that you get to hold your newborn to watching them laugh for the first time, you know that this creature new human will have a piece of your heart forever.  However, life gets in the way of these moments and we forget to cherish these little moments where we are “wanted” by our children.

Last night was once again a reminder to me that parenting shouldn’t take a back seat to everything else going on in my life.  Over the last two weeks, I have woken up early to get to work six days and had evening programs or meetings four nights (and another late night tonight.)  While each of these events was important in both my professional and volunteer lives, at what cost was I missing spending time with my growing family?

A little over a year and a half ago, I had decided to leave being a youth director because I was missing out on milestones in my son’s life and knew I wanted to be at home at night to read to him, give him a bath, and be with my wife.  However, now looking back, did I just replace those late nights with other people’s kids with volunteer activities?  I would say no but there is still room for growth.  I need to continue thinking about the activities I am involved in and figure out the value versus the cost to my family.

As a mentor of mine recently told me, it isn’t important the extra five minutes you spend at work each day, it is important to spend that extra five minutes with your kids.

This weekend, I look forward to catching up on the missed time I have had with my son these last two weeks.  Maybe we will even go to his favorite place… the Denver Zoo. 

Has there ever been a time in your lives where parenting has taken a back seat to an event or your job?  How do you balance family life, work life, and community life?