Sunday, April 26, 2009

Down on the Farm

The past few weeks have been very busy (for lack of a better word) for me at my work. I've been going in early and have had to stay late to get my projects done, which has of course taken away some of my precious time with my family.

I struggle very much with being a working mother. My family is my No. 1 priority, although I know that some disagree with this by the sheer fact that I work. I've received some harsh criticism from other mothers for this. There are many, many days when I wish I could just trade in my corporate business cards for a set of those trendy, cute mommy cards. A very large part of me wishes I was not a working mother. But the reality is that me working works best for my family. And so I try to balance as best as I can.

Because of my preoccupation with work as of late, I wanted to take some time out for the little man. I wanted to spend some time with just him - to put the laundry, dishes and all of those other little things aside and just enjoy some time with the little man.

And so I did.

Our community has a wonderful farmstead for children. There are endless opportunities and fun around every corner. The little man and I had a grand day of sunshine, fun and time together. We laughed a lot, explored a lot and did a lot. It gave us a great chance to spend some quality time together and forget about all of the other little worries/responsibilites in life. I wish every day could be like that with the little man.

Just me and the little man. And the farm.

Monday, April 20, 2009


As a Generation Xer, there were many toys that defined my childhood - Care Bears, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Walkmans, Atari, Nintendo, etc.

However, there is one toy that brought both boys and girls together. One toy that, even today, I think the now grown-up children of my generation can still unanimously agree was probably the most awesome toy of our childhood. A toy that children spent their summers on, begged Santa for and was the pride and joy of both boys and girls across America.

The Big Wheel.

While I have been able to share my favorite books and some toys from my childhood with the little man, I was in my own state of shock and awe on the night before Easter. After tucking the little man into bed, Nana and Grandpa brought up little man's Easter present from them so that daddy could put it together.

We knew they were planning on getting him a tricycle or big-wheel-esque toy, but both my husband and were in complete shock to see the very same Big Wheel sitting before us that we had once loved so much as children.

It was the same Big Wheel. From the yellow handle bars, to the red body and the big black plastic wheel. It was a Big Wheel. Our Big Wheel.

We were amazed that not only did they still make official Big Wheels, but that they still made the original.

We laughed and reminisced about our Big Wheel days. And then we laughed little man's soon-to-be Big Wheel days. Days when he would just climb on his Big Wheel and cruise, just like we had. Racing down the steepest hill in the neighborhood with his friends. Seeing how far it could go in the mud. Wearing the black plastic wheels thin. The sound of the big plastic wheels against the concrete driveway.

Making his own childhood memories.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Landing Strip

Do you know what this is?

It appeared in our house this weekend. Being as it is a small, foam airplane and we have a 3-year-old, some people may just assume it is a common child's toy.
But it's where we found it that sparked the mystery ...

Apparently, we have a landing strip in our house.

I suspect the mystery may have something to do with this ...

When we sold our small, ranch starter-home 2 years ago, we searched high and low for our larger, family home. We immediately fell in love with our current house, which includes a small balcony off of our master bedroom that looks directly into our foyer.

We were warned by everyone, including our Realtor, that the little man (then just 1) would soon be launching toys from said balcony.

But the warnings were not needed - it was the first thing that popped into both me and my husband's minds when we first walked into the house.

So when I walked down the stairs and spied the small red airplane atop the coat closet, I had my suspicions.

And I think my suspicions may be correct.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Plate

Sorry for the lag in posts, the husband and I took an extended weekend to visit friends in Washington, D.C. Little man enjoyed the time with Nana, where they apparently took in the zoo, the Easter Bunny and an airplane museum. Meanwhile we thoroughly enjoyed a weekend of grown-up dinners, conversation and sight-seeing.

The day before we left on our trip, we were going about our usual evening routine of going through the mail, digging through the pantry to see what we could find for the night's dinner and the general "How was your day?" conversations.

Little man had helped his teacher pick up the toys and tidy up the room that afternoon before leaving. As such, he was allowed to pick a "treasure."

He choose Smarties.

When we got home, he immediately wanted to open up his treasure and eat it. I unwrapped the candies and put them into a bowl for him. He toddled out to the living room to eat his reward.

We have a strict, yet simple dinner policy at our house for little man: he eats what we make for dinner (no short-orders at our kitchen) and if he makes a "happy plate" (eats a good dinner and clears his plate) then - and only then - he may have dessert. This used to be more of a battle, but as of late it seems as if we have succeeded in getting this message through to him. Or, more simply put, little man has discovered his love for jellybeans by far outweighs any food aversions. And he knows to get jelly beans, he must make a happy plate.

Before long, little man was back in the kitchen, standing by my side, empty bowl in hand. I was not surprised that the candies had disappeared so fast.

Little man stood next to me, smiling and holding up his plate.

"Are you all done?" I asked him.

"I make a happy plate," little man said.

I laughed. "You most certainly did," I said. "You ate the Smarties all up."

Little man stood silent, just looking at me.

"Momma ..." little man started.

"What buddy?" I asked him. I could tell he wanted something, but did not know what.

"But I made a happy plate," little man said.

I was confused.

"Yes, yes you did," I replied.

"I get jellybeans now," little man said with a smile on his face.

Then I understood - he had eaten all of his smarties. He had made a happy plate. His reward for happy plates was jellybeans.

And we had never, ever clarified to him that happy plates only applied to actual meals.

He had beat us at our own game.

And he knew it.

However, I will admit, I was a wee bit impressed with this maneuver.

I could have taken the time to clarify the rules. To change them on him and deny him his jellybeans all because I was the mommy, and I said so.

But I had to give it to the little guy - he was a smartie himself.

So I did all that I could do.

I reached into the jellybean bowl, took out two jellybeans and put them into little man's hand.

"Good job, buddy," I said. "You made a happy plate."