Friday, June 7, 2019

What bedtime looks like in our home... And some thoughts on growing...

Bedtime in our home has always been chaotic... I used to have this image of me sitting on the foot of the bed, reading a story, and giving a goodnight kiss, as I exited the bedroom with the child still awake... And sure, my son sometimes does this... But my 8 year old daughter, is more like a Gremlin being sprayed with water...

Going to sleep and staying asleep, has never been her thing. She was very colicky as an infant and never slept longer than minutes at a clip -before she would wake back up crying, inconsolably.

She stopped napping by 18 months old and only dropped under dire need. She also never slept in the car, but she also didn't cry either - so, that kind of cancelled each other out...

She has never slept alone since birth...

And, at first, I did it all... I paced the house with her in my arms during her 12 hours of colic spells. I read 30 stories a night and rocked her to sleep, singing every nursery rhyme song in the beat of my steps... I laid countless hours besides her and then, crawled out of her room like I was escaping a laser ridden bank vault, trying so desperately not to be seen (or felt)... But like clockwork, she'd always open her eyes, whether I laid there for 5 minutes or 5 hours... I even opened my bed to her, where she only fell asleep as long as a part of her body was touching you - Even then, she would occasionally wake to make sure you were still there...

I did it all, because I do not believe in crying it out... I will never be on board with the thought of a child crying desperately for their parent, while they stand motionless outside the door, waiting to break the baby, like a trainer does to a horse...


And, when did a child wanting to be with their parents become a bad thing? Why are we conditioned to separate ourselves, like society expects us to?

And, after 6.5 hours away at school, she misses her mom -Just as much as I miss her... Besides, she's only just a child...

I also did it all, because I know one day, this will all be over with...

And while I sometimes felt like I'd give a kidney to just have her sleep in her own bed, I knew deep down, this was all only temporary...


On my social media sites I've written countless times about how unfair childhood is to parents...

There is so much growth and development that occurs during those first 10-12 years of life... So much neediness - which that neediness then changes from needs to wants, but both are just as demanding (first, they're begging for juice. Then, they're begging for a ride to a friend's house)... You are pulled in so many directions, you're not even sure which side is up. And, everyone is telling you to enjoy every moment because, it ends so quickly - and it does. It truly does...

And, that's the problem...

One minute you're drowning, praying to cling onto that life raft that just seems a bit out of reach... 

And then, all of the sudden, you reach it.

It's such a short time in our lives, but it's bombarded with so much chaos and mental anguish that it's rare we can actually enjoy it all...

And then, it's over... And, they no longer view you as the most important person in their lives -You are no longer their pivotal person who decides their fate. You no longer are required to dress them, bathe them, and feed them. They no longer want to hear bedtime stories, they don't want to talk to you right before bed (for an hour), they go to sleep without saying good night, or you fall asleep before them...

And, you're left wishing they'd bombard you with 40 questions in 3 seconds. Or, randomly say your name in rapid succession, while you're on the phone, just to say, "I love you." Or, beg to sleep next to you every night - instead of sleeping away in a lonely dorm room...

See, the growth of childhood is a task that no one prepares you for. Everyone talks about infancy and toddlers, and you only hear about the snippiness of teens... But no one talks about the changes parents go through, during this process... None of us were ready for the push/pull we received or will receive. No one discusses, how some days, you'll feel like you're barely holding on, then somewhere along the line, you blinked and it's over...

I write this, on the foot of my daughter's bed. I can hear her softly sleeping, while our kitten lies just above her head on the JoJo pillow. The room is quiet, except for the whirling sound of the fan. Her white Christmas lights are draped over her white lace curtains, which glow the room brightly... This is
 the 4th night in a row that she has fallen asleep in here and stayed in here until, the wee hours of the morning... I have been able to stand up, walk out, trip over a JoJo Siwa microphone and hit my body against the wall, and she still hasn't woken up. 

This week has helped reinforce, that this is all temporary. I already see her roots digging a little further past the fence and beginning to sprout in the neighbors yard - Further and further away from me... And as fast as her extracurricular activities are weeding away our weeks, she is almost double digits. And eventually, will have a life of her own...


I won't be staying hours at theater and for dance. I won't be hovering in the background during her events. And, she won't need me to stay with her, when she goes to a friend's house.

So, tonight, I take it day by day and readjust that image, which was once so clear in my mind... Because the only thing that is guaranteed in this life is, that life is constantly changing.


And with change, brings growth... But not just for my child, but also for me..


**I want to thank you all, who are reading this... Thank you for sticking with me... I took a hiatus for a little bit, due to my daughter's singing, acting, and dancing, that has been consuming our lives. I haven't been able to sit in one place long enough to collect my thoughts, let alone, blog frequently. However, I have stayed up on my social media - because, that is just way easier to post and go... And, I also did a few "video rants" on my Facebook page - because again, that is much easier for me to just talk, instead of formulating thoughts into words on paper.
Dance recital is this weekend. Then, we switch over to our summer drop in schedule. And, we're into the summer theatre program, which isn't as intensive as a musical, but still takes up our weekends -That ends, middle of July...
So, I'm hoping to write a little more frequently. 
With that, I'd like to have each of my platforms for different things... 

My blog, to reflect on my feelings with parenthood and my experiences fighting against childism as a respectful parent.
My Facebook, to use as an education site - Posting memes, videos, and having conversations and debates (link here - The Happy Days).
My Instagram, to post photos with positive captions. And use my insta-stories as a vlog (link here - the_happy_days)
My Twitter, to post funny phrases and sayings (link here - The_Happy_Days)... 
(Also, each of these pages can be found on the right side column of my blog - in, non mobile version). 

Thank you for reading... 
And I look forward to hearing from you all!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The time my daughter humbled me...

We arrived home from dance class late on a Monday night, in mid February. My daughter, still riding the excitement of being at her favorite place, skipped through the house and disappeared into her bedroom.

I proceeded into the kitchen to fix a snack for both my children, before homework was to begin... Suddenly, a robo text came through my phone to notify us that school was cancelled for the next day (due to snow) - my birthday.

Within a few minutes, my daughter came back out of her room with her backpack purse draped over her back. She bubbily asked if I could take her to Dollar General because, she wanted to buy me a present for my birthday...

Since having children, my birthday isn't the frontliner anymore... We don't make a huge deal with presents or a party. Instead, we just have a small dinner with my family and parents... But, my children ALWAYS make me cards, which is my most favorite thing in the whole world and something, I look forward to each year - and my daughter is always the one who helps her little brother put it all together.

So, when my daughter mentioned a present, I immediately tried to deter her from doing it. I didn't want her to spend her own allowance money on me - Instead, I could think of a thousand other things, she could spend her money on.

But then, she hugged me and told me, I'm the most important person in the world to her and I do everything for the family and no one ever does anything for me. 

(Which isn't true because, just being able to be a parent to my children is the best thing I could ever have... And also, my daughter is one of the most helpful 8 year old that I know)…

I literally teared up, because that was one of the nicest things someone has said to me in a long time... And, as much as the practical side of me wanted to continue to deter her from doing this, I realized, this is something she really wanted to do...

So, I had to let her...

*But, I did throw out a nonchalant price cap of $5.00 into the air -which of course, she seemed fine with -haha*

We arrived at Dollar General and she wanted to shop the aisles by herself - of course, so I couldn't see what she was buying. The helicopter parent in me immediately had visions of Law and Order episodes or some other Dick Wolf series. But thankfully, we were the only ones in the store and we know the sales clerk from shopping there frequently. 

So, she wandered the aisles and we shouted back and forth over the partitions, like a bunch of weridos…

20 minutes later, she found the item... 
And, made her way to the checkout counter, where she talked to the woman about how excited she was to be buying her mama a birthday present - Then, proceeded to tell her all the time that I put into being a mom to her and her brother... 

I stood off to the side, sneaking my head over the sales rack, to watch her every move...



In the end, I was humbled by this experience... We live a modest life and I'm not a materialistic person, at all. I'd sell everything in a heartbeat and move to a smaller home, if it meant I could continue my lifestyle and be with my children all the time.

My children aren't raised where they're expected to get things. They are always with me when I go shopping and they never ask, if I could buy them something... They do get allowance money and know how to budget. And, they never hesitate to say, "here mama, take my money to buy ___ for the house." Which, I always praise them for offering, but never accept. Also, I've always taught them giving feels so much better than getting. Hence, why it was hard for me to accept her buying the gift in the first place...

But, allowing her to give to me, was worth it -all the way.

It was a moment that I didn't even know I needed.

Because, there are a lot of days that blur into one another. Some days, I feel like I'm just purely surviving. Other days, I just want to start all over again. And like all moms, I'm smothered in mom guilt...

At least I know, in the midst of everything, I'm doing something right...

I know that somewhere in the mix, they're learning responsibilities and how to be kind to others. They appreciate the world around them for what it is and look to see what they could give back, instead of trying to see what the world will give them...

And some times, us mamas need that revelation every once in awhile.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Hating cosleep, but loving it at the same time...

The hours seemed to pass at an alarming rate -basically, just your typical weekday... The outside was darkening like lights being put on a dimmer and the air suddenly shifted from spring-like temperatures to winter, all within 5 hours... 

I always feel like I'm rushing through the moments to access every faucet that needs to be achieved, in a very short window. And those hours from, coming home from school to bed time, disappear faster than cupcakes do from my home...

Baths were had, homework was completed, and stories were read.

I sat on the edge of each of my children's bed, holding their hands and stroking their heads until they fell asleep.

I quietly left their rooms, like I was maneuvering myself through a bank vault with red laser security beams covering the floor beneath my feet.
(My old 1930s hardwood floors aren't forgiving with sound - and of course, EVERYTHING sounds louder at night).

I grabbed my cup of sleeptime tea off the counter and nestled next to my husband on the couch - very excited to begin this week's episode of, Manifest. 
*Since becoming a mother, TV shows have become the new, "bar night," to me.

About 20 minutes into the show, I hear giggling... I paused the TV two times to listen carefully. But both times, the air was quiet. Then, the same thing happened again - To prove I wasn't going crazy and hearing phantom sounds of children giggling (because come on, is there really anything scarier at night?), I got up to make my rounds around our home.

My son wasn't in his room, so I quickly ventured down to my daughter's room... Outside her door, I stood motionless, listening to both of my children giggling, while playing Roblox on their kindles.

I'm not strict about much, but I am strict about bedtimes during the school year. Because, sleep helps with everything from stress, moodiness, and preventing illnesses... So naturally, my first thought was to bust through the door and break up their party. But, the longer I stood out there, I realized how hard it must be for a child during the school week. How, for 6.5 hours, they are in a controlled environment with 100% structure - only to come home at 4:00 pm, do homework, eat dinner, get baths, and get ready for bed. And, redo the whole thing over again the next day...

There is very little time for them to just, be.

Very little time for them to play a video game or to read a book for pleasure, instead of turning it into a comprehensive task for A.R. There's little time for my daughter to write her stories or even practice her vocal songs. Or, my son to write his beloved comic books... And, very little time for my son and daughter to just play the two of them, like they've had for so many years prior.

Also, our weekends are filled with theatre rehearsals and out-of-state day trips to vocal lessons...

It seems we've reached a point in our lives where just sitting, is being taken for granted.

So, before I opened the door, I let all the memories flood into me. I held onto them for the moment, with my body stiff and fists clenched, like my life depended on it... I used them as a reminder, that things around here are changing. That, the days no longer belong to us, the way they used to. That, my children are aging and coming into their own and their interests are evolving. And simply, my daughter is getting older and wants to become a professional singer and performer, and we're taking the steps to get her to where she needs to be.

And, as much as her passion and dedication is there, she still needs balance of work and play...

So, I quietly walked away from her door... I let them be.

And, I sat down next to my husband, while we continued to watch, Manifest and The Kids Are Alright, until we were tired.

Their giggling increased, as the night progressed. And, I'd hear them occasionally run out of her room to check and see if we knew they were there. I think even they were surprised I was letting them stay awake later on a school night. But, not to press their luck, they fled back into her bedroom, just in case...

Their antics reminded me of when they were younger... what seems like a lifetime ago now...

When 10:00 pm rolled around, I finally knocked on her door and called it a night... But, at this point, I saved them the trouble of waking up later and sauntering into my bed.

Instead, we all went upstairs together. 

And, the four of us squeezed into my king size bed. A bed that once felt so big, it used to scare me when they were little. Now, I feel like I need to be bungeed to the side of the wall because, I teeter on the edge.

And that's where the night concluded...

With the four of us now giggling about how much smaller the king size bed seems to feel now, as opposed to even a year ago. How my son kept pushing my husband away and complaining that he was too close to him. And about how they kept rotating because, both wanted to be next to my husband and I, at the same time... But, as their tiredness grew, they eventually didn't want to be next to each other anymore. 

And, I laid in the silence... 
...Looking at these two big kids...

Grateful they had more hours to be kids, without the confinement of organized structure...

Because, so much seems to be changing, but yet, so much still remains the same...
And for one, I still hate cosleeping, but love it at the same time. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Is Gaslighting, the new norm towards children?

I must say, I'm so proud of my daughter!

As all of you know, my parenting is about autonomy and childhood rights. I focus on child-centered parenting, where we're more of a team. Instead of the typical, us against them, mentality.

At school, during their outdoor recess, my daughter and a bunch of kids were running around playing tag - like kids do. My daughter, in her clumsy fashion, tripped and fell onto her face (by the way, that's inherited from my husband, not me -hahaha). She was bleeding from her mouth and the kids were kind enough to come over, to see how she was. Then, a teacher came over to see what the commotion was all about and immediately told my daughter, she was fine. 

Keep in mind, my daughter was not crying. She didn't even complain about anything -she didn't have a chance, as she was still on the ground. At that point, the teacher basically wanted to break up the commotion and get everyone back to where they were. She obviously didn't want to hear my daughter's thoughts or feelings on what just happened.


My daughter kindly asked to go to the nurse to get cleaned up. But the teacher just kept telling her, she was fine and she didn't need to go to the nurse. Then, guided her to go back and play...

But instead of blindly following, my daughter told her, "I am not fine. I am bleeding and would like to go to the nurse to get checked out." 
*I always tell my children, you can question anyone -even adults- as long as it's done respectfully. Just because someone is older than you, it doesn't mean they're always correct.

To which the teacher finally replied, "fine, just go in."

I always find school very hypocritical in that, they expect the world from the kids. They expect them to blindly follow, sit still, pay attention, raise their hands only when told, go to the bathroom only when allowed, be responsible for their own assignments, know how to put their hair in a ponytail perfectly, etc... But, they're not allowed to be responsible for their own feelings...

I'm passionate about not telling my children how they feel. They're people, with their own thoughts, feelings and opinions. I don't control them. I don't gaslight them, nor dominate them. -If my child gets hurt, I don't tell them they're fine. Instead, I cuddle them and tell them I understand it hurts and mama is here to help make it all better... I think a lot of people get caught up in the thought, that children need to be told they're fine all the time - regardless of how they actually feel. 
Because, I guess, they think children are incapable of understanding how they actually feel...

But what if they're not fine? 

Do we really want to send the message to our children that their feelings aren't justified?

Do we really want to diminish our children's feelings?

Suppressing feelings, will eventually end up making them unsure of when to speak up when bigger problems arise later on. If they're constantly told they're fine, how will they know when they're not fine?

I'm proud of her. 

I'm proud she actually voiced her concern and stood up to someone...

...It's just a shame that the person who was gaslighting her, happened to be a teacher - you know, the people who are supposed to be there to help you...

Thursday, January 10, 2019

My little boy, the 6 year old...

When I begun this parenting journey 8 years ago, I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't one of those people who had baby names picked out since I was a child. Or, had my whole life planned out before me... At that point, my husband and I were already together for 7 years and we traveled everywhere at the drop of a dime... 

We were ok with life...

Until one day, we weren't...

And like a light being switched on, we knew it was time for children. And that sudden yearning, initiated.

I never expected motherhood would change me the way that it had. I never expected to be this all natural, borderline crazy, hippie parent - considering, I still eat tasty cakes and pop tarts under a semi lit light, hidden away in a room, like I'm doing something wrong. 

I never expected to be this laid back, child led, parent either - because, I have a type A, control freak, personality.

After time, I found out that I make a much better person as a mother, than I never did, as just a woman.

As a mother, I feel complete. I feel confident and I'm finally comfortable in my own skin.

So, by the time my son was born, on this frigid day, 6 years ago, I passed through all the new mom jitters. I didn't experience the new blunders that we all did with our first (Like, trying to get the baby to sleep in the crib... Come on, who were we kidding?) Instead, I was ready and willing for my love to succumb to this beautiful new human. Without fear attached to it.


It was second nature.

My daughter was colic from the moment she was born. She cried as soon as she was delivered and continued well past 6 months old. She was my first, so I was awkward and helpless. However, when my son was born and placed ever so gently into my arms, he was calm. His serene eyes glanced up at me and he nuzzled his soft cheek into my bare chest. He fit perfectly against my body. He was my son, the remaining missing piece to our little family.

With the memory of him being placed in my arms so vivid, it's hard to imagine that my last child is no longer a baby. When I close my eyes, I could still smell the new baby scent that radiated from his dark colored hair. I could remember how wonderfully he slept from day one and his abnormally large appetite that helped his already big frame grow even larger.

My little boy, such a sweet soft soul, he contains.


But this time, he didn't change my life - Instead, he added to it... 
He completed the final piece of the puzzle, that we didn't even know we were missing.

His wonderful sleeping ability and always pleasant nature was a welcomed change from his colicky older sister.

He's easily content and low maintenance... 
Nuturing and a complete cuddle bug.

He loves Minecraft and Superheroes.

And, he loves to talk... A lot... He loves asking questions and loves to learn something new... And LOVES math...

He loves to dress up in his superhero costumes and is so silly and funny...

He's his own person and we love him even more for that.

Being a mother, allows me the privilege to help guide my children through this chaotic life and help them to find out who they are -the same way they helped me. 

I'm grateful for all my opportunities with them and owe them everything, because they made me such a better person (a tired person, but a better person nonetheless)…

...Motherhood completed me...

Happy 6th birthday, my beautiful boy.




Monday, December 31, 2018

Who am I? Some resolutions...

As the year 2018 comes to a screeching halt, like everyone else, I'm left reflecting...
And a bit scatter-brained, kind of like a computer with several opened tabs, but reflecting nonetheless...

I'm left with a to-do list a mile long -with things I wanted to accomplish that just never manifested... It was either there wasn't enough time, not enough money, and some, just plain laziness.

But all in all, my year was pretty spectacular... It wasn't anything fancy or vibrant, but for me, it was satisfying on my own scale.

*Family vacations, day trips, watching my daughter perform, watching my son step out of his shell, personal fetes, and mainly, everyone being healthy and happy...

As for me personally? 

hmmm... Well, after a lot of self reflection, I find there is some things that I need to work on as I move forward...

I continue to put myself on the back burner, as usual. Something I struggle with a lot as a mom - I have yet to figure out how to balance being a person and a mom at the same time... And, I exhaust all my energy into my children, that my identity has been lost in the mix.

I also wanted to put more time into my blog, but instead, I ended up putting even less time into it this year.

So, if we were to talk resolutions... 

I want to continue to be an active, engaged mom. I wouldn't change anything on that front. But, I'd love to have a little more one on one time with my husband, outside of parenting. I also want to blog more and focus on creating a brand for myself (But, I have stopped typing about 20 times during this post just to answer questions, get drinks, snacks, and listen to my daughter talk about how cool her favorite new song is - so there's that)… 

I also have been considering changing up my blog a bit. See, right now, my writing only communicates one side of me. The serious mom, who is fighting for children's rights and documents events that demonstrate how to handle parenting peacefully... But, there is another side to me - a sarcastic, funny, and sometimes, inappropriate humor type person. I guess you can say, that is who I am, outside of being a mom. 

It's funny because, my parenting style doesn't quite fit into one bracket. In real life, I consider myself a multitude of personas (and sadly, that makes navigating mom groups very difficult). I am a peaceful parent, uschooler, respectful parent, free range, and ironically, a helicopter parent all wrapped up into one. I'm progressive, but still an early 80s child at heart... I kind of pick and choose from each style and combine them to make my own. But, I add a lot of humor and sarcasm -Like, that is the dominate of it all. And, that's the side my children display the most of, too.

So, when I do navigate mom groups, I mostly see parents are all one way, with no exceptions. Their children always seem to be perfect and quiet -and everyone seems to be so serious. Whereas, I have this really neat balance where my children are really great kids, but they're funny. They're loud, talkative, and wild. But, sweet and loving. And, I'm rarely serious... 

So, my thought process was, to continue writing about what I already do. But, focus more on the ability to blend parenting styles. So, you don't have to be an all or nothing type parent. You can totally be a peaceful parent, but be humorous as well. You can be an attachment parent, but dislike cosleeping like it's the early centuries and the plague is on the rise (I hate cosleeping -but my 8 year old daughter still doesn't sleep through the night). You can be an unschooler, but say no to your child. You can be a free range parent, but helicopter the same time.

I want to be less serious, some of the time...

And, labels are sometimes restricting... Also, they seem to continuously validate or score you as a parent -and who needs that constant hassle?

Being a parent, is just simply putting your children's needs ahead of your own, it doesn't mean you have to like it, you just got to do it - because, it's only for such a short time and sooner than you know it, it'll all be over with. And then, you can be whoever the heck you want to be after that...

In the 5 years of blogging, I bet my readers never knew any of that. I did try to do a mid week humor, but writing jokes without being able to physically animate them, is a lot harder than you'd think. Because, the true essence of me, is borderline obnoxious... As my friends say (and the people who were backstage with me at theatre), I learned how to whisper in an airport hanger with people using chainsaws...

So, I'm thinking, I might start doing a video mid week humor... That's an idea I've been toying around with -I do already post a lot of videos on my Instagram account, so check them out (the_happy_days).

I haven't figured it all out yet and I'd love some feedback...


But one thing for sure is, I do want to start doing more for me and create a space in which I feel accomplished outside of just being a mom -Although, just saying that out loud, sounds really scary... However, I do have to say, it will be hard to top, because being a mom has given me such a sense of accomplishment and confidence in my life.

It brought me to where I am today...

On the other hand, change is good... And growing is even better...

But, balance is the best of all.

And having balance, will be my new mantra of 2019...

I look forward to seeing what the new year will bring...

And, I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts as well...


**Here's a look back on some moments throughout our year -















Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Mid Week Humor: Sicknesses...

I feel like I missed a major component about having school age children in the home... Somewhere along the line, I didn't realize their impressive ability to just keep passing sicknesses back and forth among the entire household, every week, and apparently, for the entire year... 
Where was that, in the 'What to Expect' series???
The Happy Days Blog