A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.


The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles tagged with: child development

It turns out that TV isn’t the wonder drug
Monday, 4 Jan, 2010 – 22:06 | 2 Comments
It turns out that TV isn’t the wonder drug

The warnings have been around for years, but they were easily ignored because they were couched in terms of “we think” and “possibly.”
Children might take longer to learn to talk if they spend a lot …

It’s not Big Guy’s fault he’s a sexist
Tuesday, 5 May, 2009 – 23:52 | 2 Comments
It’s not Big Guy’s fault he’s a sexist

Suddenly, it’s crystal clear why Big Guy declared recently that when he grows up and becomes a pilot, Dad will be his air marshal and I’ll serve the snacks. No word on what role Boots …

He’s not scatterbrained – he’s 3
Thursday, 26 Mar, 2009 – 1:12 | Comments Off
He’s not scatterbrained – he’s 3

Maybe Boots is not just on a mission to explode my head and make Big Guy late for school every morning when he wails “I can’t remember my shoes.”
Turns out he’s not just being whiny …

A bear’s well-earned retirement
Wednesday, 25 Mar, 2009 – 11:37 | Comments Off
A bear’s well-earned retirement

Big Guy probably had been pondering the move since Bear’s disastrous visit to kindergarten but, just like his mom who left for lunch one day in a clunker and came back to the office with …

When a friend abandons you
Friday, 20 Mar, 2009 – 11:39 | Comments Off
When a friend abandons you

From the second he started  kindergarten, Big Guy gravitated toward Best Buddy.
By the end of the first day, they already knew each other’s names – an accomplishment when you’re not quite 5 and faced with …

Learning that the world doesn’t love Bear
Wednesday, 11 Feb, 2009 – 11:36 | One Comment
Learning that the world doesn’t love Bear

It was supposed to be a glorious day for Bear, his chance to venture into the glorious world of kindergarten.
He’d been with Big Guy for years at preschool until El’s beastily behavior caused the teachers …

Learning that it’s OK to disagree
Monday, 12 Jan, 2009 – 11:40 | Comments Off
Learning that it’s OK to disagree

Big Guy and I seem to have a pattern in our relationship: All of our important conversations take place either as he’s falling asleep or over milk and cookies.
While I don’t recommend pillow talk as …

Oh no! Not the M word!
Wednesday, 17 Dec, 2008 – 11:12 | One Comment
Oh no! Not the M word!

Tiny hands formed a death grip on the door frame as Boots wailed piteously.
“Noooooooo! Don’t wanna go!” he wept, his face contorted with anguish.
Was he headed to the doctor for shots? No.
Going to a strange …

9to5to9: Thomas, we’re counting on you
Tuesday, 18 Nov, 2008 – 23:34 | 2 Comments
9to5to9: Thomas, we’re counting on you

James plus Thomas equals Percy.
Edward plus Henry equals James.
Toby plus Thomas equals Duck.
And that’s as far as we’ve made it in number recognition, because we don’t have any Thomas and Friends engines beyond eight. OK, …

Deciding Little Guy’s fate at the age of 3
Thursday, 13 Nov, 2008 – 23:21 | Comments Off
Deciding Little Guy’s fate at the age of 3

It started just after Big Guy snagged the impressive scholarly honor of Math Master, recognizing his ability to count and write numbers up to 30.
If it’d been just one clod who said it, I wouldn’t …

Pay for play – innocent or evil?
Saturday, 8 Nov, 2008 – 17:40 | Comments Off
Pay for play – innocent or evil?

I was naive enough last season to be shocked the first time I saw it: A Dad reeling off dollar bills after a soccer game, one for each goal his son had scored.
I mentioned it …

Conquering fears and soaring to new heights while Mommy panics
Monday, 2 Jun, 2008 – 5:52 | Comments Off

It took Big Guy four years, nine months and 17 days, but he finally managed to scare the living crap out of me.

He’s been through three surgeries, the first when he was just shy of three months old. I had no choice but to handle it – I couldn’t fall apart when he needed me.

He was near anaphylactic shock from eating egg at 10 months. I had to keep it together – his life depended on quick action.

But now, in the safety of our back yard, watching him swinging so high he’s almost parallel to the ground at the top of his ascent stops my heart.

It’s perfectly safe. He’s going to be fine. I bite my tongue while my brain screams, “For God’s sake, slow it down before you fall out of there and bash your head in!”

Part of my freak-out is because there’s nothing I can do. With the surgeries and allergy issues, I knew my role. Stay calm, get help and comfort him.

This time, it’s him and the swing, soaring to dizzying heights and loving every giant swoop. There’s nothing I could or should do to stop it.

10 months late, Little Guy hits the Terrible Twos
Monday, 2 Jun, 2008 – 5:23 | Comments Off

Missing: One sweet kid, answers to the name of Little Guy.

There’s someone hanging out at the house who looks a lot like him sometimes – can work those baby blues hard enough to melt your heart, and if that doesn’t do it, he’ll throw in a 1,000 megawatt grin. But the attitude’s changed.

Maybe the last haircut, which took him from borderline Goldilocks to a tough-guy buzz, did it. Perhaps it’s too much pirate play – he can “grrrrrrrr” with the best of them. Or perhaps he’s simply been having a huge laugh at my expense all these months, making me think I was going to skate on the Terrible Twos this time.

I know better now.

Today, the kid who used to greet every morning with a beatific smile pounced into my bed bright and early with a shriek. “Want orangine cones! Want orangine cones!”

I broke the news that there were no scones, orange or otherwise. He quickly switched gears. “Wanna watch Thomas! Wanna watch Thomas!” he wailed. Thomas isn’t on the TV in here, I said. More wails, followed by an alternating chorus of “Mommy, huggy” and “Mommy, no huggy” when I reached for him.

Your brother taught you that, didn’t he?

It stinks to be 2
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 20:58 | Comments Off

Three weeks into my career as a soccer mom, I was ready to call it quits. I’d had enough of the constant complaining at practice. The incessant crying during the games had flat worn me out. Forget the fact that we’d already invested $100. I just wanted out.

The problem wasn’t Big Guy. He’s taken to soccer quite well – even ran toward the right goal for most of the game Saturday.

I’m talking about Little Guy, who was crushed to the depths of his little soul because Big Guy could play and he wasn’t allowed.

To make it even worse, there’s a player on Big Guy’s team with the same first name as Little Guy. And for three solid weeks, every time a coach yelled, “hey, Little

Adieu, Diana
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 20:27 | Comments Off

As quickly as she came, she disappeared.

Diana, Big Guy’s pink-haired sister/wife protectress, is gone. She’s left to play with the boy next door. “I don’t need to play with her anymore, Mommy,” Big Guy told me when I asked where she was.

At least she didn’t get exiled to the Acre Wood with the Doo-Dahs. Life can be tough in the forest for a chick who always wears pink stiletto boots.

But that’s as it should be, with both Diana and the Doo-Dahs. Less than two weeks after we met her, she took off.

That’s the pattern with imaginary friends, the experts say. They serve their purpose, then move on.

Children work through their problems and conquer their fears through make-believe, psychologist and author Sal Severe says.

In Big Guy’s case, nightmares

Diana, the Doo-Dahs and other imaginary folk
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 20:23 | Comments Off

Originally published July 2, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

She always wears a pink shirt and either pink or black boots. She works in a restaurant, and sometimes she lives with us. She has pink hair.

Her name is Diana, and she’s Big Guy’s sister.

Maybe his wife, too. “I’m going to get married with her,” he told me solemnly yesterday.

Insert favorite West Virginia joke here.

Sister, wife, whatever. We’ll sort that out later. I’m just happy he’s settled on someone. For a while, he had an imaginary kindergarten teacher, sister and grandma, and I had to be all three. I felt like Sybil.

Now, this might freak out some parents. I’ve heard of moms and dads being concerned that their kids were maladjusted or weren’t getting enough stimulation.

I, however, am all for it. Especially now that I

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 20:01 | Comments Off

I used to drive my high school chemistry nuts. “You always want to know why,” he would say. “I could give you the chemical equation for water, and you’d want to know why.”

I had no clue at the time why that was so annoying. But now that I’m living with a human question mark, I understand.

I’m glad Big Guy is curious. Really, I am. I just wish life were more like those government press conferences, where reporters have a few minutes at the end to get in their questions and that’s it. And only one question per person, please.

I used to think all his questions were asked with the sole goal of driving me mad. But then I began to notice patterns and purpose behind the rapid-fire barrage of “why?” He’s not trying to make my head explode! He’s trying to accomplish something.

Sometimes, I’m still convinced he’s just trying to make me nuts. Most of the rest of the time, though, his questions fall mainly in six categories: the grouse, the quaintly curious, the show off, the stumpers, the “where did that come from” and the epiphany.

Look who’s talking!
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:22 | Comments Off

For me, the most exciting stage of development is speech.

Sure, walking is a big thing, but a toddler still seems like a baby, strolling around with that chubby little diaper-butted waddle.

Once they’re talking, though, they stop being your baby and turn into a tiny person. A person who can clearly communicate wants, needs and moods, which can be good and bad.

Little Guy has been a pretty good communicator all along. He was only about eight months old when he started pointing and grunting at the fruit bowl on the kitchen table. Primitive, but he made his point.

But now he’s turning into quite a blabbermouth.

No surprise there. My grandfather was a blabbermouth, my dad is a blabbermouth, my brother is a blabbermouth, Big Guy is a blabbermouth and, while not in their league, I can hold my own.

With that gene pool, no wonder Little Guy chatters incessantly. Problem is, I have no clue what he’s saying 90 percent of the time. When he starts his excited mile-a-minute blabbing, I just nod and reply with an enthusiastic “I know,” praying I haven’t just agreed to buy him a pony.