Whether it’s ideas for how Star Wars can inspire STEM learning to why it’s important to have kids help plan the family vacay, the National Geographic Family Field Guide is the place to be. Communicating with parents is super important at National Geographic in order to further the company’s core values, and sometimes kids devour the witty, respectful content so fast that parents can get left behind. No longer!
Those kids – you know the ones. No – not the ones who already know how to program a computer at age 4, but the ones who could redecorate your house with Pinterest-perfect fluency over a long weekend. If you have crafty, talented kids in your midst, you’ll want to check out our gifts for crafty kids.
I’m ready for the election to come to a close. I want my vote to count, my opinion to matter, and to have political discussions with rational people. I am not one to force my opinions on others. Frequently I ask people with different opinions to explain their stance to me. I ask not with an agenda of undermining or changing their beliefs. I ask with the goal of learning a new point of view.
She is beautiful. She doesn’t know it, not yet—but she is starting to become self-aware. When I looked into her face, she wouldn’t meet my eyes as she allocuted and apologized, in that soft voice. I absently noted that her eyebrows were growing in, heavy and awkward. The arch seemed wrong. I realized that it was something she had done herself, probably from a video on YouTube, or one of the many sites she visits on her phone and her tablet. She doesn’t have limits on her screen time, she never has.
My daughter just started preschool and all I can think about is how fast time flies. As parents, I guess we don’t really see the time passing us by until the day we watch our babies walk…out the door for their first day of university.
“Wait..what do you mean you don’t need your blankie anymore?!”
But enough projecting, sometimes it’s all we can do to keep up with their learning pace, so when my three and a half year old started correcting me in our dialogue, I realized that it might be time to get her into preschool.
So much has changed in the school system since my time, and (as a writer and a self-proclaimed anglophile/English history fanatic) I was really sad to hear about the phasing out of cursive writing in schools. Handwriting is an art, perhaps, but it also serves a very basic and necessary function: communication. Once cursive is gone, it won’t be long before the almighty type will begin to chip away at all the options for putting pen to paper. But I will be here to set the example for my child—when she’s ready, she’ll learn it from me.
I don’t know about you—but my body is definitely not the same since I gave birth. Sparing the gory details, let’s just say that some parts are not where they once were. So, for that reason (among many others), I was blown away by watching the Olympic champions competing in Rio de Janeiro this year…who also happen to be moms.
“How do they do it?” I ask myself. These moms prove that women aren’t past their prime after producing life, instead they highlight how powerful moms are by competing and excelling in the Olympic games. I figure, perhaps it’s because of how powerful we have to be every single day. I mean, let’s be real: women who can withstand childbirth can break records in any endeavour we set our minds to. We can achieve all of our goals and make our dreams come true, because we’ve already faced the greatest challenge: kids.
“I want your phone,” declares my two-year-old after breakfast.
“No,” I respond.
“I want your phone,” she reiterates. Again, she’s met with a resounding no. She decides to move on.
“I want your tablet,” she counters, hoping to get a rise out of me. Even more so, she asks hoping that I give her something to stop her requests.
Smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and other expensive toys have dominated our children’s lives in the past few years and the anticipated costs of raising children will continue to rise as their “toys” become increasingly luxurious.
But how do you make the children more responsible? How do you help them understand the value of their (and your) things?
You make them pay.
I grew up in the water and for me, swimming is just like walking. It comes naturally—or I always assumed it did. As a child I took lessons at the local club, where the instructors threw me in the deep end, shouting that there were alligators under the grates. I’m sure the throwing in was done ‘safely’, but it was terrifying and to this day my heart rate goes up when I swim over filters and grates in the bottom of the pool. After that particular set of lessons, my mother apologized, she enrolled me at the public pool and I learned to swim in a fun, safe, encouraging environment.
There’s more to me than being a mom. Or at least, there used to be. I had a kick-ass job in which I got to travel the world and into dangerous countries. I have been to Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Oman, Russia, Colombia, and further afield. I’ve lived long periods of time in France and Germany. I speak French quite well. I know how to shoot guns and how to (basically) survive in the woods. (I wouldn’t really want to test those skills, but I’d like to think if the Zombie Apocalypse ever came upon us, I could kick ass and take names with the best of them.)
But I might have been the only person in my life who cared about those things. My new mom-centric world consisted of helping my son complete his 30 Day FREE Coding Challenge, getting snacks and more snacks for my daughter, teaching my youngest how to swim, separating and referee-ing arguments, monitoring screen time (and did I say getting snacks?) These somewhat mundane tasks, added to housework, meal prep, and so forth, left me with little time for me. For remembering who I was and exploring who I would or could still be.
My toddler and I were playing on the floor just inside the door. We saw you through the glass window above the knocker and thought you saw us too. I smiled and you turned away so quickly, I guessed you were in a reverie or on the clock. Perhaps the sunlight was too strong outside, I thought.
My son was enthralled to see a piece of paper suddenly appear through the door. He grabbed it and spent several minutes trying to return it to the other side, but the protective shutter wouldn’t allow it to flap both ways. Returning to the shoe mountain he had been working on, the flyer sat forgotten on the slot ledge.
So it’s National Lipstick Day, which really just means that some of the style magazines I follow on Facebook are posting pics of beautiful models with gorgeous lips done up in the decadent shades of the summer. When suddenly I realized that I haven’t worn lipstick for a really, really long time. And here’s why…
Lipstick doesn’t go with baby barf
I figure, if I don’t have time to wash chunks of baby food out of my hair, and if, let’s be honest, I haven’t even noticed that there’s a poo smudge on my forearm, I probably don’t have the wherewithal to apply lipstick on my mouth to look more beautiful.
I did not want to get up this morning. My hand shot out from under the sheets to slap my alarm with lightning fast reflexes while the rest of me grumbled and groaned, pleading with the universe for just five more minutes. I wrestled with the snooze button a few more times before I finally dragged myself out of the bed. As soon as my feet hit the floor, my dog hopped up, literally wiggling with joy, and ran to the door; ready to start her day. She ran outside and stood for a moment, breathing in the cool, crisp air. I watched her bounce through the grass, eager to do her business then come back inside. She trotted in and ran right to me, pushing her body into mine so I would scratch her behind her ear–her favourite spot. Putting breakfast into her bowl, she gulped it down, not leaving a single crumb, not worried about calories.
Suddenly I realized–she is happy all the time. She doesn’t mope if she doesn’t get her way, she doesn’t pout or whine. She isn’t constantly looking for more, she is content the way she is. It hit me: maybe dogs also figure out life seven times faster than we do.