On the Sidelines

My husband surprised the boys and me today by taking us to the local roller skating rink.  The Don on his birthday received roller skates as a present from the hubby and ever since he put them on and tried to roller skate in the house, he wants to keep skating even if it’ll go past his bedtime. Although my husband and The Don were excited to skate, I on the other hand was not.  It meant that I would be tending to Bambino while husband and The Don had fun because the truth is that I don’t know how to roller skate. Never had a chance to learn as a kid. For the people who just reading my blog for the first time, my parents sheltered my sister and I to the point that didn’t do anything fun including roller skating.

So my husband and The Don took to the skating rink while I sat on the sidelines with Bambino.  I was excited for The Don to learn to roller skate with his father and I was impressed by my husband’s roller skating skills for a thirty two year old man. 

The Don and Husband roller skating

The Don was doing very well at balancing himself with the trainer bars.  The confidence in this kid is astonishing.  My husband was having fun too; probably more funny than The Don.  I video taped and took pictures of them all the while wishing that I could just get up and put on some skates and try to roller skate. Honestly, I was hurt that I wasn’t offered to try to learn to skate with them; at least the boys could sit out and watched Bambino while I tried.  But it’s like being on a sports team. If you’re not good at the sport, you can’t be the starter and you can’t train a rookie if you never played the game.  So I chalked the exclusion up to a father and son moment and let them have their moment.  Although Bambino is seven months, he was getting into watching other people skate by bouncing up and down to the hip hop music getting his groove on. Bambino was going to have his fun regardless if he could roller skate or not.

The Don and my husband also had fun playing video games and basketball shoot them up machine at the roller skating rink.  The rink also had a mini roller coaster that people, mostly for the kids to ride on. 

The Don watching dad roller skate
The Don and Hubby on mini roller coaster

 

The Don and Hubby playing a motorcycle game
 
 
Although my parents thought they were protecting us by sheltering my sister and me, I missed a lot of fun in my childhood.  Seeing how The Don and my husband enjoying themselves today makes me realized how much fun I missed and it makes me angry that my parents denied the childhood that I never got to enjoyed. But I do realize something. Just because I was denied my childhood by my parents doesn’t mean that I have to deny myself the fun I could have on my own as an adult.  I don’t want to relive my childhood through The Don, I want to be apart of his childhood by joining in on the fun.  Watching The Don and my husband skate today makes me eager to learn how to skate even more.  So when Bambino turns three, I won’t be on the sidelines watching the family skate and taking pictures and video taping; I get to join the team and be one of the starting line up.  I do remember that I have a set of roller blades that my sister gave me a few years back.  All I need are some knee pads and a helmet and I’m good to go.  It’s time to learn to skate! No more standing on the sidelines, it’s time to be part of the team. 
 
 

Don’t Let Anyone Touch My Kid!

What would you do when a caretaker, whether it’s a grandparent or sitter do something that you don’t agree with or makes you uncomfortable in regards to your child?  That’s right, you say something!  Well, I had one of those moments with my mother in law.  My mother in law is a sweet woman.  She sees the good in everyone and everything.  She would talk to anyone and would have a conversation for hours and to her it’s like she made a new best friend.  I like that she is a free spirited person grew up in the hippie era, everyone was wild and free and everybody loves everybody.  When she watches The Don, she gives him room to explore and breath without hounding over him.  It’s a different take on life than when I was growing up where I was sheltered and my parents were paranoid.  My mother in law is lax sometimes too relax with The Don and the people that are around him.  I don’t want to be a parent who is overly protective and paranoid like my parents but I don’t want to be relaxed in a sense that I believe everyone is harmless and you shouldn’t be cautious.  I want to be the parent that’s in between.  But this situation at the park yesterday afternoon really gave me the creeps.

 

This picture is showing The Don holding hands with an unknown man and I guess a woman that he knows that was in the park when my mother in law was there.  Looking at this picture, The Don seems uncomfortable holding this mans hand.  The Don usually is nervous when he puts his fingers in his mouth seen in the picture. When my mother in law sent this picture to me, I flipped out.  ‘How could she let this man that she just met at the park hold my son’s hand?‘ 

When she brought him home, I asked her,

Me:” Who was the guy holding The Don’s hand?” 

MIL:”Oh, he was at the park. He’s harmless.” 

Me:” You let a stranger hold my son’s hand?” 

MIL: “He’s not a stranger, I know him.  He has a wife and a daughter and I was there with him.” 

Me:” You don’t know this guy. You had a conversation with him at the park so you don’t know him. I’m trying to teach The Don about strangers and don’t go with strangers.  You’re teaching him that it’s ok to hold a strangers hand if you just met him.” 

MIL: “Would it be better if he knows its ok since I’m with him?” 

Me:” What if you’re not there?  You telling him it ok to hold hands and go with a stranger.  He’s going to think its ok because grandmamma taught him that.” 

MIL: “Well, you don’t teach him that it’s ok to go with strangers. What was I suppose to do I wanted to take a picture and I didn’t want The Don to run in the street so I had him hold his hand.”

I don’t know what’s worse this strange guy holding The Don hand or she taking pictures of strangers she just met.  

Me: “I can’t believe you don’t understand how this upsets me.  Now I’m concerned because I’ll think every time you’re with him, you’ll allow a stranger to touch him.” 

MIL: “If it bothers you that much, although I don’t see anything wrong with what I did, I won’t do it anymore.”

Me: “Thank you.” 

See, I felt that I shouldn’t have to explain myself to her and I figure it was common sense that you don’t allow strangers near your grandchild I don’t care how long the conversation you had with this person male or female. My mother in law was good about respecting my wishes from now on to not let strangers touch my son.  But now I wonder how many times have she let this happen? 

I told my husband what happen, he didn’t seem that concerned. 

HUS:”I don’t know what the context was and I wasn’t there.”  

This isn’t a surprise because he would never say that his mother did anything wrong. 

Me:” So it’s ok that she let a stranger hold your son’s hand?  That doesn’t bother you?” 

HUS: “I’m not saying its ok; I’m just saying that I wasn’t there.” 

Sometimes I feel that my husband would never agree with me in my concerns when it comes to something his mother does that I feel will put our children in danger. 

His responds is usually, ‘She raised me.’  But I have to remind him that he also had two older brothers looking after him as well. Who’s looking after The Don? 

I said, “She teaching him that it’s ok to let a stranger hold his hand or if the stranger offer their hand its ok to take it.” 

HUS: “You don’t want to be too lax but I don’t want my mother to say stay away from my grandchild because his mother doesn’t want anyone near him.” 

Me: “I’m not saying that she has to stop being herself, she has to be cautious when it comes to the kids.” 

My husband and mother in law are the same when it comes to situations like this.  I think they are both too lax when it comes to the kids.  I think I had every right to express my concern over my son and it doesn’t matter if it was my mother or his….they are my children.

This is why I’m teaching The Don about expressing himself and learning to say no to people if he’s not comfortable doing something he doesn’t want to do and not go with strangers.  In the picture above, The Don looked uncomfortable and my mother in law told him to hold this man hand.  I have to make it clear to my mother in law that if The Don or Bambino when he’s old enough doesn’t want to do something or it makes them uncomfortable don’t make them do it. My boys will need to speak up and say no matter who it is.  If that person makes them do something that they are uncomfortable doing, then they need to come to me and let me know.  I’m going to do my due diligence in making sure both my boys know it’s ok to say no to any and everyone and not feel guilty.  Children are impressionable and if they feel uncomfortable doing something and a parent, grandparent, sitter, aunts, uncles etc says they need to do something, guess what?  The child will do it to please the adult even at their own discomfort. If I can’t make my mother in law or my husband understand, then I will teach my boys to understand that they have to do what makes them comfortable and to SPEAK UP!

Parents, don’t be afraid to speak up when it concerns your children’s welfare because it’s your mother, father, mother in law, father in law, aunt, uncle etc. Your children need to know that they can come to you if they have an issue and not be worried that you won’t defend them because it’s grandma/grandpa or Aunt Sally or Uncle Lou.  If your motherly instinct tells you something wrong or something makes you uncomfortable, you better listen to it. It’s not about hurting the family members feelings it’s about doing what you feel is best for your child.  Justifying the behavior wouldn’t make the behavior acceptable, you’re delaying the inevitable.  Protect your children.  You are their first line of defense.

 

The Baby Who Would Not Roll Over

Bambino is seven months now and hasn’t or should I say isn’t interested in rolling over.  Nope, not one bit interested.  I think Bambino was four or five months when I attempt to try to have him roll over.  You see, The Don was three in a half months when he started rolling over.  At first he hesitated but after a few attempt, The Don got it and wasn’t afraid to roll over.  Bambino on the other hand, when I tried to have him roll over during tummy time, he would stiffen up and his body would get heavy and it would be hard for me to roll him over.  So I tried to roll him quickly so he wouldn’t have time to think about it, this worked with The Don, nope that didn’t work.  I think it freaked him out because the roll went so fast.  So I tried to roll him slowly by pulling his arm or leg over just enough so he can finish the roll himself.  That didn’t work too well either because he would stiffen his body up.  I would have to tell him to relax over and over again to at least get one roll out of him.

             Bambino refusing to roll over
At this point when he wants to sit up, he has to wait until my husband or I sit him up either on the floor or in his crib.  When he takes a tumble and he usually would tumble backwards, Bambino would cry and gets upset that he couldn’t sit back up. He would kick his legs down and move his arms up and down as if doing this would automatically push himself up like a car getting cranked up by a car jack and he would magically sit up.  I would tell him that you would have to roll over and use your arms to push yourself up to sit up.  The babe isn’t buying it.  I would roll his stiffen body up and show him how to roll slightly on his side and use his arm to push himself up to a sitting position.   

Bambino recently started to pull himself up from his crib.  He’s getting so good at it that every time I put him in a sitting position he would pull himself up.  If it was The Don doing this, I would be a little worried because he knew how to roll himself over and pull himself up so we had to lower the crib as quickly as possible so he wouldn’t climb over.  Bambino on the other hand, I’m not worried that he would fall out because, you guest it, he doesn’t know how to roll over to sit up unless assisted.  My fear would be that in the morning when he wakes that he decides to sit up and pull up and if he falls I’m not there to catch him.

Also, Bambino started to crawl in circle which mean sometime in the next month or so he’ll be crawling.  The Don started crawling in circles first too before he crawled so that’s who I have to go by at the time being.  Once I sit him up he’s good on his own to sit and play by himself.  He can turn his body around to grab things behind him and can reach forward effortlessly.  What concern me is that does he realize that he is missing a lesson and understand the value of rolling over?  Does he not understand that in order to sit up by yourself, you have to roll over?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m getting through to him.  It’s crazy, he’s very persistent and determines to stand, crawl, and walk but when it comes to rolling over, and it’s a no go.  It’s like Bambino marches to the beat of a different drum which is good in some incidents but that tells me that he’s going to be stubborn because he wants to do it his way. Bambino would lie on his back as long as necessary until someone picks him up to sit him up instead of trying to roll over.  My husband thinks he can’t roll over because he’s top heavy, otherwise too chunky to roll over.  I think that he’s too stubborn to realize that he needs to roll over. I don’t know what’s worse to think, that he’s too chunky or too stubborn to roll over? I guess whenever he gets tired of lying on his back and waiting for mommy and daddy to pick him up, he would eventually roll over…but not today.

 

Year Three is Scaring the S@$! out of me!

Man, I thought year two with The Don was bad; year three is scaring the shit out of me!  Year two with The Don was the year of the No’s and the temper tantrums but he wasn’t physically capable to out run me.  In year three however, he’s running abilities are quiet impeccable.  So impeccable that in one blink of an eye he can disappear like that.  This is what is scaring the shit out of me.  It’s not the defiance, or the talking back, or the frustrating temper tantrums; it’s the disappearing act, it’s the bold beyond belief act, it’s the noting can hurt or stop me act that I’m afraid of.

I can understand why the kid thinks he’s untouchable.  Ever since he was born, he was loved and protected by mommy and daddy.  When he visits his grandparents, he felt love and protected there too.  When the family went out, everybody commented how cute he was and they seem to love his smile.  When he was one years old, the big kids at the park had to look out for him because he was too small to handle himself.  Even at two year old, people were kind and sweet to him because he was small and cute and had a great smile.  Now all this love and attention he’s been getting for the past two years has been building up his confidence and with his physical agility, he thinks he’s invincible.  Nothing can stop The Don even mommy and daddy.  But The Don doesn’t know what we know about the dangerous that are lurking around the corner.  He doesn’t know that not everyone loves him and is looking out for him.  He has no concept of danger or fear to the point where he knows that he has to be careful in the street or with strangers.  The world revolves around him and everyone is here to protect and love him.  The world is his oyster and he’s here to claim the pearls.

There were times that the family was out and my husband and I was focusing on putting Bambino in the shopping cart that we looked around and saw The Don touching other cars or running away from us.  There were times when I’m crossing the street with The Don that he tried to pull his hand away from mine because he wanted to get to the grassy sidewalk and I had to tell him “Hold mama hand until we finish crossing the street.”  On his birthday my mother in law, my husband and I went to Valley Green to feed the duck and geese.  My mother in law gave him some oyster crackers to feed the ducks.  There is a small four foot cliff that you stand on with rocks at the bottom and then it’s the water.  The Don was near my mother in law and he was about to throw the crackers when I ran up to him and caught him just in time because he was going too close to the edge of the cliff. He got upset that I pulled him back and tried to get away to feed the ducks again. He wasn’t aware of the danger of falling on the rocks below.  He thought I was trying to stop him from feeding the ducks. My mother in law and I had to explain to him the dangers below but he didn’t understand.  When we went to the Please Touch Museum, he wanted to go back to the water works.  My husband told him we’ll go up to the water work but didn’t tell him he had to wait for us.  The Don left the play area we were in and started going up the ramp to get to the water works.  I shouted for him to come back, but he ignored me.  I ran very fast almost knocking people over and gripped my son by his arm and told him, “Get over here! Don’t run away from mama when she’s calling you.”  I’m glad it wasn’t outside in an amusement park or something similar.  He would have got lost and I would be freaking out.

These are just a few examples of what is scaring the shit out of me when it comes to The Don.  I see that this is the year where I have to be over him more to guide him.  I’m teaching him about “tricky people”.  I’m telling him not to go with anyone unless mommy and daddy say it’s ok.  I’m teaching him about personal space.  I’m teaching him about his private parts and good touch and bad touches.  I’m teaching him to look both ways before crossing the street.  I’m teaching him it’s ok to tell someone no if he’s not comfortable with them. Can’t you see I’m going in to panic mode right now? The Don is so vulnerable and naïve that he could get himself hurt or killed if he wasn’t guided in the right direction.  My husband says that kids are idiots.  I know where he’s coming from but I think it’s more that they are ignorant to the world.  I thought that my job as a mother was hard back then when I was just changing diapers, dealing with teething, and getting him to nap.  Teaching The Don how to survive in the world is where the real work begins.

The Importance of Personal Space

When I brought Bambino home from the hospital, The Don was curious about his new baby brother.  The one thing that he was the most curious of is when I breastfed him.  The Don would come over to the couch and would watch Bambino suck on my nipple.  Then The Don would lean closer and put his head on the nursing pillow, then he started to get too close as if he wanted to suck my nipple.  I told him to give me space when I’m nursing.  Almost every time I would nurse Bambino, The Don comes over and I would tell him, “When mama is nursing, what does she need?” 

The Don would respond, “Space.” 

I would tell him, “That’s right.  Now go over there and play with your toys.”

When my son would come over while I was nursing his little brother and watch or try to nurse himself, it made me uncomfortable.  Although he may have been curious to see what was going on, The Don was in my personal space and he needed to know what that means.  I also think it’s important to teach him about his own personal space and how important it is for someone to respect that.  It’s my opinion all children need to know what their person space entails and to let people whether other children or adults if they are violating their personal space.

What I’m teaching The Don now is showing him what his personal space is.  I tell him anything within arms length is his personal space.  If you don’t want anyone in his personal space, you can push them away or walk away or run the other direction.  I want him to know its ok to tell someone including family members no without feeling guilty because it’s his body and he is in control of it.  I tell him if someone makes you uncomfortable I don’t care who it is to let mommy and daddy know.

This led me to teach The Don about his private parts.  Private parts are a very important element when discussing personal space in my opinion. From the moment he discovered that he had a penis, I wasn’t ashamed to call it what it was, a penis.  When he started to understand that mommy anatomy was different from his, I talk to him about how no one should touch his penis or butt except for him.  After his shower, I would tell him to dry off his penis so he knows that he touches it. Just recently, I started showing him how to wash his own penis so he knows that no one should touch his penis but him.  Sometimes he would come out of the shower and dry himself off and say, “No one touch my penis or butt!” I remember one time The Don was curious and grabbed my shorts and put his hands down and touched my vagina.  I told him that’s mommy’s private parts and you should not touch just like no one should touch your penis because it’s your private parts. When I said that, his mouth made a frown like he knew that was a bad thing to do. I think he understands. 

Sometimes children sense something bad with someone whether it’s your friend, father, mother, sister, brother or any person you come in contact with as a scary person.  Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean the scariness doesn’t exist.  Follow your children’s instinct even if you think they are being difficult.  They may be difficult for a reason. Teach your children about their anatomy and use the correct name for them.  Teach them about personal space and let them know its ok to say no if they don’t want a hug, or kiss, or tickle from someone and not feel guilty about it.  Parents see the child’s actions as being rude and they force the child on the person that will cause them the most physical, emotional, and mental abuse that they will suffer from for the rest of their lives.   It’s very important to me to teach both of my sons about personal space and private parts before some else who have bad intentions will.  It’s better to be safe than sorry and it’s better for my children to be rude to someone whether it’s family, friend, associate, or stranger then hearing from them years later that they have been abused by that person and I could have prevented it. That would be a guilt trip that I could never live with. 

Mom and Dad Loved You More!

Growing up, I thought that my parents loved my sister more than me.  I thought this because they were harder on me than my sister.  I thought my sister had it easier because it seem like my parents were lax as far as the things that she got a way with.  I thought to myself, “If it was me that did that, they would be all over me.”  I thought my sister had more freedom than me.  If my class was going on a trip out of town, I couldn’t go.  But a few years later, my sister’s class had a trip out of town my parents let her go.  I could not understand why that they were so cautious over my activities but was lenient with her. If I needed anything from my parents, I would have to earn it, wait to get it or get nothing at all.  My sister needed anything, it was given to her.  I was sure that she was my parent’s favorite and I was the black sheep of the family.  I told myself if I had more than one child that I would not treat them any differently that I would not show any favoritism to one or the other.  After having a second child though, I started to see things a little differently when parenting a second child.

With my oldest son, I see myself being harder on him even as a baby.  I made sure that he hit every milestone that I know he could hit.  Thank goodness he is a faster learner because I’m sure we would be butting heads by now.  I made sure he had his vitamins every day, he was on schedule breast feeding until he was four months old and I made sure that he had his bath everyday.   I was particular in his nap and bedtime schedule and if anyone interrupted it they would catch hell from me.  In his toddler stage I made sure that he went to the potty every hour and a half to two hours, I made sure that he got outside to play so he can socialize (which isn’t too much of a bad thing), I made sure that if he pick something up that he put it back exactly the way he found it. Now in his preschool stage when he starts talking back or doing something he’s not suppose to, I would yell at him to go to his room without finding out way he’s acting that way. I make sure that he sits at the table properly.  I make sure he puts his toys away before going to bed every night. I made sure that he says “Please and Thank yous”. It seems like I’m more impatient with him and I expect more out of him because maybe I expect more from myself and I needed to get it right.

With my second son, I can see a difference in my parenting.  I don’t push so much with him as far as milestones.  At this point going on seven months old, he hasn’t crawled yet.  My oldest son started commando crawling at five months.  My second son doesn’t roll over.  Heck he doesn’t like it.  My oldest son rolled over at three and a half months.  Am I’m pushing him as hard as I did my first son into hitting these milestones?  Nope, not really.  I say to myself, “When he gets tired of lying on his back, he’ll roll over and crawl.  He just not ready yet.”  Would I have said that to my oldest? Probably not.  He probably would keep practicing every chance he got until he learn to crawl which I probably did that to him anyway.  My second son demand fed, didn’t need to put him on a schedule like my first son. As far as nap scheduling and making sure that the baby isn’t waken up prematurely?  What nap schedule?  I figure he would sleep eventually in the day and he’s pretty much set in his night schedule so I don’t have to worry about premature wake ups.  It’s not that I don’t want my second son to succeed like my first son, it’s just not that big of a deal. It seem like I’m more understanding and patient when he comes to my second son.  I knew what cry meant what and I knew that every cry wasn’t an emergency.  I knew if his nose was stuffy.  I knew when he was cold.  I knew when he tired.  When he would wake up in the middle of the night although I was tired and exhausted, I would let him play for awhile until he or I got tired and I would put him to bed.    I think I cuddled with my second son more than my first because I was afraid of spoiling him. 

All these things I do for my second son isn’t because I love him more, it’s because I become an experienced parent.  I grew more confident in my ability to parent because I survived the first child and he turning out fine so far. Everything I experienced with my first son, my son second is going through the same things.  I know what’s going to happen and I know how to handle it.  Looking back at certain time that I was hard on my oldest trying to make him perfect and if my second son is going through the same milestones, I tend to ease up a little bit. I feel guilty of being hard on my first son so it look like I let things slide with my second.

My parents claim that they don’t have a favorite child and maybe they are right.  It’s not that my parents favored my sister more, it’s that they trust themselves and gained confidence as parents to let go a little more.  It seems like the first born is the “test baby” to learn from for the second child on.  To see if what didn’t work for the first child, the parent won’t try for the second.  Parenting gets easier after the first child and it seem like the parent care more for the second child and that’s not true.  Parents aren’t afraid of making mistakes on the second child like they are with the first. So if you’re the oldest child like me and you feel that you’re parents favored your younger sibling than you, it may not be true.  It’s just that they know that the second child won’t die if they put dirt in there mouths or jump off the couch and break their legs, or run around the house and injuring themselves to the point of hospitalization.  It just sucks that the oldest have to test that theory and have to pave the way for our younger siblings to have the freedoms that they have today. To the people who are the younger sibling: You’re welcome.


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The Don’s Third Birthday

Yesterday, our family celebrated The Don’s third birthday.  Oh, and we celebrated Father’s Day with my husband but it’s not about him tee hee.  Truth be told, I would be a mother if it wasn’t for my husband and we wouldn’t have this funny, silly, loving, helpful, person we call The Don in our lives. 

We started our celebration of The Don’s/Father’s Day by going to the Please Touch museum.  We went on his first and second birthdays but he didn’t seem to grasp the concept of the Please Touch Museum until now.  It was great seeing he excited about going on the stationary Septa bus, or picking up balls with the digger arms, or pretending to drive the dump trucks and ambulance. I was impressed that The Don helped out a fellow kid when he had trouble playing with the air pressure room with the floating ball area when the boy didn’t know how to turn it on.  The Don pushes the button for him.  What The Don really liked was the carousel and playing with the water works.  It’s something about playing with the water that really captivates him. I think we should consider swimming lesson for him.

It seems like at the age of three, their little minds grasp the concept of birthdays and it’s great that he finally understands why we are happy to celebrate his birthday.  If it wasn’t for him, we won’t be a mommy or daddy.  Out of every temper tantrum, screaming, and yelling from him, there is always a big smile and a hug from The Don.  It’s just amazing that my once little baby is three now.  He has grown into a very funny and sweet little boy.  He’s a big kid now.  My how time flies. I think I’m doing alright.  We’re doing alright.

 The Don on carousel