the mamabird diaries
I remember when my oldest daughter was 4 years old, she asked me, “Can I go play in the backyard?”
She was referring to our balcony. In downtown Manhattan. A place where it’s actually illegal to climb trees.
And that’s when I sort of had an epiphany. I adore New York City but I wanted my kids to be able to play outside. You know, without bumping into our illegal balcony grill.
So we forged ahead to the suburbs where food is much less desirable but climbing trees is aplenty. As long as we give our kids time to actually do it. The truth is – it’s easy to get sucked into an array of organized activities like Mandarin Basketball and Knitting Hats for Polar Bears with Recycled Materials. (I think those are real activities.)
But children can’t just knit hats for polar bears. Obviously. They need time to just play.
Like the ole days when hair was feathered, we all drank Tab and thick gold chains were super hot. (That’s the 70′s in case you’re still super young with smooth, porcelain skin.)
Studies show play is an essential part of early childhood development. But the average amount of time that kids spend outside is down. Way down. Our recesses have been shortened (my own daughters’ have a 15 minute school recess!) and fewer kids have access to outdoor play spaces.
And summer is the perfect time to get children off the iTechnology, send them outside and let them explore their world. They can move, climb, build, skip, laugh, make up games, play in the mud, insist they are bored, realize you don’t care and then do more climbing, building and laughing.
Even if you aren’t comfortable sending them off on their bikes for 6 hours like the Lewis & Clark of the suburbs, you can still let them do this in your backyard or neighborhood playground.
Kids are ridiculously creative if we just let them… be.
I mean, I left my daughters upstairs for 6 minutes the other day and they had rearranged the furniture, gathered every doll and stuffed animal they could find and set up an entire imaginary school. My gosh, can you imagine if I left them for 7 minutes?
So here are some super great reasons to let your children get out and play…
– You don’t have to yell — “FOR THE LAST TIME, PUT ON YOUR CLEATS. WE ARE LATE FOR SOCCER TO SALSA MUSIC CLASS AGAIN!!!!!”
– Not nearly as messy as playing indoors (like no heavy furniture rearranging).
– When you tell them to go outside and play, you can crack open a Fresca, kick your feet up and feel confident that you are a parenting rock star.
Still not convinced? Well, take a look at this compelling video put together by Playworld Systems about the importance of unstructured play…
This post is sponsored by Playworld Systems. All ideas are my own. See you outside.
Hey! It’s Cash. I wanted to let you guys know that I took my first few steps! For realz. That’s how I talk now, “For Realz.” Yesterday I was a baby and now I have this street lingo. The kids grow up so fast, don’t they?
Basically my mom totally shamed me into my first few steps. The woman literally said to me, “Prince George is already walking!”
I was like, “Yes, but the kid also has a castle. So I’m not sure we are comparing apples to apples here.”
But then I saw a big spread in People magazine on Prince George while I was grocery shopping with my mother (which she likes to refer to as our special quality time). At check-out, I tend to peruse the magazines which some people might describe as destroying the magazines but we all enjoy literature in our own ways.
Anyway, there he was – Prince George and his fancy shmancy toddling.
And I was mad. Like madder than when Daddy told me I had had enough blueberries even though I had only one carton and I knew there were more in that fridge. It’s not like it’s crack dad. It’s fruit. You are supposed to have 6 to 8 servings a day.
So like any 14 month old, I turned my anger into healthy motivation and took my first few steps. And you should have seen my parents. They went crazy for it. Whoa guys. I’m your 5th kid. Easy does it. I didn’t just complete an Iron Man. It was a couple steps from the couch to your arms. But I could not calm them down. Here’s one of 57 videos they took…
My mom was probably just excited because my Memphis cousins are always outdoing us in the developmental milestones and we are seeing them next week. My mother said by then I should be Irish step dancing but I think she is being highly optimistic.
Plus with all her energy focused on the devastating news of the Ryan Gosling/ Eva Mendes baby, she has no time to teach me any step dancing routines.
I’ve been a little depressed about it myself because I honestly always envisioned Eva and I together. I cried about it for three straight nights which my mom attributed to teething but it was all Eva. We obviously can’t be together now due to the age difference but when I’m older. Like when I’m 20 and she’s…. 60. Oh wait, never mind. That might not work.
Anyway, I’m turning into a real wild monkey these days. Mom put in all these baby locks and gates but my pursuit of a nice bowl of toilet water can not be stopped. Getting into the recycle bin is pretty high on my bucket list too.
I gotta run. I hear my mom and she just said something like, “Who was playing with dirt on the white rug?”
I’m totally blaming it on my brother Chase.
P.S. If you missed my first guest post, here it is.
2. Wondering why someone just created the word’s fastest hot tub (like you can actually drive it) but no one has created a machine for children that applies sunscreen and removes lice at the same time.
3. That I will be forced to hold my pee for 3 hours (despite taking others to the bathroom) because it seems too overwhelming and exhausting to figure out how to put my baby down and pee too.
4. That I will deeply long for naps.
5. That I will be asked a lot of questions about how things are built. I finally had to explain to my kid that I am not an engineer. He now has a lot of questions about engineers.
6. That my child will ask if I am still pregnant. I’m not.
7. That my child will ask me why I am wearing pajamas at the grocery store. I will explain they are formal yoga pants. I will swear my kid just said, “If that’s what you want to tell yourself” under her breath but I can’t confirm this.
8. That my baby can cry all night long and in the morning I will rush him to the pediatrician’s office and the doctor will confirm that it is absolutely nothing. Probably a gas bubble. Maybe teething.
9. That I will pay for entire season of soccer and my daughter will not place one cleat on the field.
10. That I will pay for entire session of swimming and another daughter will not place one foot in the pool.
11. That siblings can argue about absolutely anything. Like who gets to go first, even though they can’t remember first for what.
12. That I will be willing to pay almost any amount of money for direct flights to avoid a layover with 5 children.
13. That Junie B. Jones would get herself into so much dang trouble.
14. That I will yell at my children to stop yelling.
15. That people will keep telling me that I will blink and my kids will be grown. I know this is true but I also have not yet developed my Stop Time Super Powers so I don’t know what they want me do about it.
I just had to break some news to my 9-year-old daughter Dylan. She has to read 3 books and complete a thick summer packet of work before 4th grade starts. She obviously thinks this is a serious injustice and is currently consulting an attorney to review her options.
It’s all about preventing summer learning loss. Now I thought summer learning loss was about moms losing brain functioning because all their children are now spending their days raiding the kitchen and talking nonstop but apparently it has something to do with kids forgetting a bunch of stuff they learned all year long and starting the next year behind.
Dylan’s 7-year-old sister Summer wasn’t assigned any specific work but I thought I’d get her doing some summer reading as well. (You know, in between episodes of Hannah Montana and her intermittently screaming, “I hear the ice cream truck!! I hear the ice cream truck!!). That way Dylan won’t feel like she is in this all alone.
So I signed Summer up for this new site, Zoobean, that pulls together recommendations for books, apps and education resources for your specific child (up to age 8). The idea is to promote literacy and get kids excited about reading and learning.
This site was featured on Shark Tank (which is much more impressive than being featured on the now canceled I Wanna Marry Prince Harry) and snagged Mark Cuban as an investor so obviously they have something cool going on.
Once you log on to Zoobean, you quickly build your child’s profile (including reading level, age and interests). Then a personal expert gets in touch with you to learn more about your child.
Every week, you get a recommended app and/or book to your child’s SmartList. You can even contact your personal expert with questions about things like having a child who is a reluctant reader or who is oddly obsessed with some subject (like dolphins or Niles from One Direction).
Just don’t contact your personal expert with questions like – “Who buried my cell phone in the plants in the living room?” because they are educators and librarians and aren’t really trained to deal with that kind of thing.
I already got two recommendations for Summer… a series called Gooney Bird Greene which Summer says is very funny. And an app called Neomad Interactive Comic, a futuristic sci-fi adventure based on real characters, places and stories.
These are not your typical recommendations that you’ve already heard of – these are books and apps that are outside the box and chosen specifically for your kid.
They also have these recommended kits where you find resources for delving more deeply into certain topics like transportation, rainbows, divorce and loving yourself. (By the way, if I ever write a self help book – it’s totally going to be called Rainbows, Divorce and Loving Yourself.)
Want to try this out with me? A yearly membership is $25 and with the coupon code, EXPERTBIRD, you get $10 off. So that’s only $15 for the entire year! Whoa baby, that’s a good deal. They also have another home service option, where you can get a book delivered to you each month plus a whole bunch of other stuff. That’s $9.99 a month. If you go that direction, use the coupon code, HOMEBIRD for 20% off.
You can check out the pricing and redeem coupon codes by pushing this magical button below…
If you try it out, let me know what you think!
Meanwhile, I’m going to try to get Dylan off the phone with her attorney. Wish me luck.
This is a sponsored post. All ideas are my own.
I never know what to wear in Florida. First of all, you would not believe the amount of people wearing jeans in 90 degree weather with 100% I’mSeriouslySuffocating humidity. It’s like they are pretending it’s not hot.
I want to scream out and say, “I see you in those jeans over there! I see the sweat dripping down your neck. Why do you hate shorts so much?!!” (Honestly, I do wear jeans in the Florida winter but it’s totally acceptable that time of year because it drops down to 83 degrees.)
And then there is the issue of “casual” attire. In South Florida, you don’t wear casual clothes to a casual luncheon. Apparently, a casual luncheon is a blouse/cute pants or a dress and wedge heels. Except if you meet for lunch at the gym. Then you can wear workout wear. Whether or not you have worked out.
Then this weekend I found out about appropriate attire for a shiva call. A shiva call is when you visit a family who is mourning the death of a loved one. It’s a Jewish tradition for the family to sit shiva for a certain number of days while friends come to pay their respects and bring baked goods.
You must bring baked goods. I don’t know why. You don’t bring alcohol. Or flowers. Or Belgian chocolates. Just baked goods.
So a friend of ours here in Florida lost his 97-year-old grandmother who lived a very long, beautiful life. The family was sitting shiva so we made plans to go over yesterday afternoon and pay our respects.
Me: What should we wear?
Rick: Casual. I’m wearing shorts.
Me: Are you sure that’s appropriate?
Rick: Yes. It’s Florida.
This was my opportunity to realize that my husband had no idea what he was talking about. But did I seize this opportunity? Did I say, “I don’t think so. This is a shiva call. We need to dress up a bit and not show up like the surfer family?” No, I did not.
Did I think to myself, “It’s far better to be overdressed than underdressed for any occasion?” No, I did not.
Did I remember the time my husband told me that at his parents beach house, “Everyone is totally casual all the time” and then I had a pair of cut-offs to wear when everyone got dressed up to go out to dinner. No, I did not.
I simply said… “Ok.”
And I wore this…
And when we arrived, I looked around at everyone’s far more appropriate, more formal non-shorts attire and turned and stared with desperate, pleading eyes at my husband that must have conveyed my discontent because Rick just said, “I’m sorry.”
And then my friend came up to us and said (and I swear this is the truth), “Did you guys just come from the beach?”
Well, at least we remembered the baked goods.