Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Easy Craft: Tye-dye Coffee Filters!

I'm usually the last to know about everything so it doesn't surprise me that it took four years of being a Mom to learn about these nifty little things.  Have you seen these?  They are color dabbers and you can get them just about anywhere and I'm just now finding out about them:


There are lots of uses for these, but a favorite around our house is tye-dye coffee filters.  We took the coffee filters and folded them over a bunch of times and then used the dabbers to make different designs.  It was pretty good for strength and patience too, because we had to really press down to get the color to bleed all the way through the coffee filters.  As an aside, in case you're wondering, that is marker on Munchkin Girl's arms.  I'm not sure why, but she and Little Buddy thought it was funny to color on each other with markers.  This has nothing to do with the color dabbers so don't be afraid.


Then we opened them up and found the most beautiful result!



Normally Munchkin Girl gets bored with stuff eventually, but this time, she would have kept doing them all afternoon.  I finally had to put a stop to it before Daddy ran out of coffee filters. 




I'm sorry to repeat myself so often, but I wanted to say thank you again to all of you for your support on my book!  I have been humbled by the response and so thrilled that the book continues to rank high on Amazon in the categories of Motherhood and Babies and Toddlers!  If you haven't seen it yet, I hope you will take a minute to read the reviews...you can even download the first chapter on your Kindle before you buy it!

If you have ever asked yourself questions like, these, then this is the book for you!

  • Why do my kids drive me so crazy sometimes?
  • Why do they just want to watch TV all day long?
  • How am I ever supposed to get anything done when my kids won't stop pestering me?
In this book, I teamed up with former Kindergarten teacher, Susan Case, and we worked together to give a Mom's point of view and a teacher's point of view, so that we could give you activities that not only keep the kids busy, but also keep them motivated to learn and develop their natural curiosity. 



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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mommy Needs a Break! From Guilt, from Diapers, From Everything!


After my daughter's birthday party last week, I was completely exhausted and then we had to go to a wedding and two more birthday parties that weekend.  By Sunday night, I looked like death warmed over and I was seriously on edge.  Every time I heard crying of any kind, I had to resist pulling out my hair and screaming, "STOP IT!!!" 

Monday morning came too quickly and it was time to go back to work and I looked at my schedule and realized that I had an overnight trip planned for Tuesday.  I don't have to travel for work often, but every time I do, I am racked with guilt.  I worry that the kids won't sleep well, that they'll fight for the baby-sitter or my parents, or that Hubby will be awake all night before he has to go operate on humans the next day.  The irony is that they always do fine, but the list of why I worry goes on and on and it's all I can think about.  But then something funny happens...I get to my hotel and it hits me that I'm alone and can do whatever the heck I want and I am suddenly thrilled beyond belief.  Then I feel guilty again for being so happy to be alone so I punish myself by working all evening on my computer and going to bed early.
Intellectually I know that feeling guilty is a stupid waste of time.  I can't change the fact that I have to go out of town.  My worry doesn't help anyone and I know deep down that sometimes I lash out when I'm feeling guilty and it's no wonder.  There is well-documented evidence that guilt and depression are a bad idea:
So, knowing all this, I decided to embrace my out-of-town trip.  After my business meetings, I made an appointment to get my disgustingly scraggly hair cut.  I got a pedicure on my poor callused feet.  I rented The Bachelor Pad on my iPad and I watched the entire thing.  I ate cookies.  And I didn't feel one bit guilty about it.

The next day when it was time to go home, I noticed something very interesting.  I was absolutely thrilled to see my kids.  My irritation and exhaustion were gone.  We had a wonderful evening together and I realized that I had just learned a very important lesson in how to be a better Mom: take a break.  Not just from kids but from guilt.  Of course, my situation of being out of town is unique and rare, but we can all find a way to get a pedicure, read a book, get a massage, whatever makes us happy, because we work hard and our kids deserve a happy mommy.



I want to say thank you so much to all of you readers!!!  Because of you, my book keeps climbing in the ranks on Amazon and it feels so wonderful to know that we are helping some Moms out there!!  If you haven't checked into it yet, I would love it if you would.  It has a unique perspective because I co-wrote it with former Kindergarten teacher, Susan Case, and we bring you hundreds of ways to keep your kids busy and we even tackle this subject of Mommy Guilt!  I would love it if you would check it out!




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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Outer Space Crafts: A Review and Giveaway for Kiwi Crate


A few months ago we were walking to our mailbox and my daughter asked, "Mom, did anything come for me today?"

I laughed.  "Um, you're 4," I said.  "Nothing for you just yet."

Yet, I can't blame her.  I remember when I was a kid and on the rare chance that something came for me, I was thrilled beyond belief.  So, when I heard about a great little company called Kiwi Crate, I thought it would be a perfect gift for my daughter.  They package up craft kits and send them out once a month to their customers.  They literally send everything you would possibly need for these crafts, along with great instructions.  They even addressed it to my her, which I thought was such a nice touch and my daughter was shaking with excitement when we opened the box.

They have all kinds of kit choices, for girls and for boys, such as gardening crafts, space crafts, dinosaurs, colors, etc.  The one we got was the space kit and as it came with two different crafts.  First, we made really cool a solar system.  The great thing about this project was that we got to use sparkly paint!


Once you get everything painted, you hang it up on the mobile cardboard they provided, with the string they provided.  We still have it hanging up and the kids thing it is SUPER cool!

The next project was rockets...You basically get a bunch of long tubes and some paper and some decorations and follow the instructions to put them together and then voila!  You have rockets!  The kids blow on one end and the rocket flies off through the air.  This was really fun for them because they got to chase the rocket all over the room and they giggled with delight when they saw it fly.  I could see this being a PERFECT craft for a 5 year old boy's birthday party.  One caveat I will make is that this craft really isn't idea for kids below age 3.  Kiwi Crate recommends their crafts for kids ages 3-7 and I suggest you stick with that.  I tried let Little Buddy participate (age 2) and it just didn't work as well.

I really like the folks at Kiwi Crate and they have kindly offered to give one of my readers a free crate (a $20 value, enter below), contest ends July 31 at 12:01am. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note: Although this was a sponsored post and I received the product free of charge, all opinions are my own.


Lastly, have you seen my book yet?  If you need ways to keep your kids busy while you do the dishes or get a moment of peace, you should check it out!  We have literally hundreds of activities and the reviews on Amazon have been really great!



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Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Low-Maintenance Princess Party? Yeah right!


When I woke up yesterday morning, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.  Or maybe been out all night partying until 4am.  Yet I'd gone to bed by 9pm.  Why was I so exhausted?  Two words:  Princess Party.
Yes, I elected to have a princess party for my four year old, but I was determined to make it a low-maintenance birthday party.  There were going to be no bounce houses or rented ladies dressed up as princesses at our party (Not that there is anything wrong with that.  In fact, I felt certain my party wouldn't measure up to others who truly went all out, so I didn't even want to try.)  The only problem is that it turns out there is no such thing as a low-maintenance birthday party because you can't get around the fact that at a bare minimum, you still have to provide cake, food, gift bags, entertainment, and presents.  

First, the kids "helped" me get ready for the party.  I blew up the balloons and they stole them and batted them around the house.  Then they insisted on putting the crowns on and decorating pieces of paper, but that did keep them very busy while I got everything ready.  And I will admit that I enjoyed watching them play with the balloons so I even put on music for them and helped them bat the balloons around.

toddler batting baloons around




 

Everything  was finally ready.  We had 7 little crowns and 7 little wands all ready to be decorated with jewels, glittery letters, and stickers

preschooler party with princess theme




 

Seven little girls arrived at 4:00, all decked out in their favorite princess dress and I have to say that my little Munchkin Girl was in her element.  She was the quintessential hostess to her friends, making sure they each had a crown and a wand to decorate.  Keep in mind this was a "drop-off party" so all parents were gone and the seven little girls were left in our care.  My daughter grinned from ear to ear while her little friends used the glue, glittery letters, jewels and stickers that she helped me organize.  

Since I wanted this party to be low-maintenance, I planned on all this part taking quite awhile and I didn't plan much else, other than the cake and stuff.  I had set out a bunch of bowls with plenty of supplies so when they were all done by 4:20 with this project, we were a bit baffled.  Now what?  The party was scheduled to last until 5:30.  I started to feel a bit panicky, but luckily my Mom is an elementary PE teacher, so she stepped in.  Between 4:20 and 5:00, we played:
  • Hide and Go Seek
  • Favorite Animal Game: Each kid got to take a turn saying what their favorite animal was.  Then they demonstrated what that animal did, such as hopping (bunny), crawling on all fours (horses), etc. and then all the little girls had to follow.  They loved having turns with this!
  • Freeze Dancing (Play music until it stops and then everyone FREEZES!)
  • Fall down dancing (Similar to freeze dance, but when the music stops, they all fall down)
There is just nothing cuter than 7 little sweet girls running around in princess dresses, pretending to be unicorns.  My favorite part was when all six of them would hide in the same room, all in plain sight, and all giggling and waiting to be found.

Then we decided it was time for pizza and cookie cake, and luckily we killed time by also having them decorate the cookies.




 

Then we did the presents and voila!  It was 5:30!  Each little girl went home with a personalized crown on their head, a decorated wand, and a bag full of princess stickers.  Hubby and I were exhausted, and Munchkin Girl had never felt so special in all her life.  The problem was that I couldn't believe that I had to face this year after year.  Not only that, the following morning we had two birthday parties to attend, and they were both also princess parties and I didn't know how I would have the energy.

We arrived at the first one and I couldn't believe my eyes.  This woman had made a Barbie cake, something I've only ever seen in magazines...it had a real Barbie inside, and an intricate web of icing for Barbie's dress.  Not only that, a tent was outside, filled with balloons and decorated with streamers and what appeared to be wedding veils and they had stations set up for the girls to have their nails done, faces painted, and even make-up done.   The Mom seemed cool as a cucumber and I suddenly felt ashamed and embarrassed.  I was still completely exhausted from my own party the day before and I hadn't done any of this fancy stuff!  I commented to the grandmother how impressed I was with everything and she replied, "Well, she about kills herself doing it and everyone around her too!"  The Grandma rolled her eyes. 

"Really?"  I replied.  "She looks so calm!"

"Don't let her fool you honey.  It's all an act!" She winked at me and I felt much better because I felt certain that she would be just as tired as I was and I realized that there are no Super-Moms.  We're all just trying to do our best to make our little girls feel special but it isn't easy no matter how talented you are. 



If you liked this post, you will LOVE my new book (which is currently ranked#4 on Amazon in the category of Motherhood!).   If you have ever asked yourself questions like, these, then this is the book for you!
  • Why do my kids drive me so crazy sometimes?
  • Why do they just want to watch TV all day long?
  • How am I ever supposed to get anything done when my kids won't stop pestering me?
In this book, I teamed up with former Kindergarten teacher, Susan Case, and we worked together to give a Mom's point of view and a teacher's point of view, so that we could give you activities that not only keep the kids busy, but also keep them motivated to learn and develop their natural curiosity.  Here is what one of the reviews says on Amazon:

"This book seriously saved my sanity. I've read a bunch of parenting books but this is literally the only one that actually gave me real and specific advice and ideas for things to do with my daughter. I'm a stay-at-home mom to a 2-year old and I was at my wits end trying to come up with ideas of fun, easy, creative things to do with her that will keep her busy and occupied and help her learn. I wasn't very good at following through on ideas that I heard about from friends or read in other books or online because they seemed too complicated (aka: messy!) but this book broke it down and made it so simple. I highly recommend it!"






 
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yes, We Watch TV Sometimes and I'm Not Ashamed!

Fun Activity for Your Preschoolers: Painting on a Tree
The other day I let the kids play by themselves in Munchkin Girl's room, which is risky, I know.  But at almost 4 and 2, they are really starting to play well together and I want to encourage that, so when the begged me to go to her room to "play", of course I agreed.  I was pretty shocked actually.  They did great and I could hear them up there, discussing things and having a great time.  Mostly Munchkin Girl bossed her brother around and delegated room-cleaning to him, but he happily agreed and kept saying, "Okay, sure."

Then after about 20 minutes, I suddenly heard, "Nooooo!!  That's MYYYYYYY fox!!!  Mommy help!!!!"

I went running and found them wrestling around on the floor, fighting over some stupid stuffed fox.  I broke it up but then I noticed that look in Little Buddy's eyes.  It was a look that said, "I have now tasted what it's like to irritate my sister and I'm ready for more.  I want to make trouble."

At that point, it was almost nap time and I quickly decided that if I didn't want more stitches or knocked out teeth (yep, those both happened recently, feel free to read about it!), TV was a great solution.  Yes, I'm not ashamed to admit that when it's nap time and the kids are wound up, I think TV is a wonderful way to calm them down, especially if it's a show that is nice and soothing.  So one of our favorites is Little Bear.  It's on Nick Jr. and he is always playing outside with his friends and using his imagination to come up with songs, games, etc.  In fact, sometimes I wish I could live with Little Bear.  Life would be much simpler.

Photo courtesy of epguides.com

I know experts say you shouldn't let your kids watch TV, but I would like to tell the experts this...one day when Munchkin Girl suggested that we paint outside, I was inspired.  There was one episode where Little Bear was painting on a tree so I got out a few simple materials.  I love using old egg cartons for paint holders because then I can just throw them away without washing them.  Then all I needed was some construction paper, paint brushes, and a few large thumb-tacks:

how to paint with toddlers without making a huge mess

The kids were really excited about this.  They just loved acting out something Little Bear has done and an added bonus is that it really eased my guilt they are using creativity and benefiting from their TV-watching!  Now, as someone who almost got kicked out of art class in 5th grade, I have admit that I was very proud that day to look out at my little artists! (Oh, and yes, Munchkin Girl is in her PJs...this was first thing in the morning and I never said I was a perfect Mom!)

painting with kids


Surprisingly, Little Buddy (2) stuck with this longer than his big sister.  He went through several pieces of paper and I was shocked that his attention span has improved so much in the past few months!  I guess imitating his friend, Little Bear, paid off!

combining nature and art for little kids



If you liked this post, you will LOVE my new book (which is currently ranked#5 on Amazon in the category of Motherhood!).  Here is one of the reviews on Amazon so please consider buying your own copy!


5.0 out of 5 stars This Book is a Life-saver! July 10, 2012
By DD
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This book seriously saved my sanity. I've read a bunch of parenting books but this is literally the only one that actually gave me real and specific advice and ideas for things to do with my daughter. I'm a stay-at-home mom to a 2-year old and I was at my wits end trying to come up with ideas of fun, easy, creative things to do with her that will keep her busy and occupied and help her learn. I wasn't very good at following through on ideas that I heard about from friends or read in other books or online because they seemed too complicated (aka: messy!) but this book broke it down and made it so simple. I highly recommend it!








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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fun ABC Activity for Your Preschooler

Fun ABC Activity for Your Preschooler

My daughter, who will be four next week, has never been a huge fan of learning her letters.  She would much rather carry her dolls around, ride her bike, or go outside and look for ants and caterpillars.  I haven't worried about this too much because I know she's smart enough, and I know that when she's outside watching a bug crawl across the deck, she's learning, but in her own way.   
In fact, the panel of experts over at Scholastic.com,  say, "Try not to place so much emphasis on the alphabet that it takes the away from doing other things, such as simply talking to him so that he hears many different words and reading to him so that he hears and sees the beauty of written language."
I was a bit relieved to read this article because when I've been to parties, I've seen two year olds running around naming letters off people's shirts.  Munchkin Girl has never done that.  Or anything like it.  The experts also say, "When you do focus on the alphabet, make sure that your son is learning letters in meaningful ways and not just engaged in isolated memory tasks."

We have really taken this advice to heart.  We don't work on letters every day or even every week, but over the last 6 months I have been slowly but surely introducing activities that are fun and are centered around learning letters.  We've used home-made puff paint to write letters.  We've worked on letters with real paint, and even used Christmas sprinkles to learn letters. And I have seen my daughter's interest really increase.  

So last week after Little Buddy went to bed, she asked me, "Mommy, can we do some letters?".  I jumped at the opportunity. 

The first time we did this, I cut up small pieces of colored construction paper, and I wrote names in glue, and then she used left-over sprinkles from Christmas to make the words come to life.  
Only this time, I decided to mix it up a bit.  This time, we did just one letter at a time instead of entire words.  

little kid having fun learning the alphabet

I was pretty surprised to see that she really is starting to get a good grasp of the letters.  When we started this entire process, she was about 3 and a half and she literally only knew the letter A.  I think she's up to knowing about 10-15 letters now and is really beginning to be interested.  Once we got a bunch of letters done, we started organizing them into words.  I sounded them out for her and her job was to find the letter we needed.
For example, I put the "a" and the "t" next to each other and I told her that if we added an "h" to the front, that would spell hhhh-aaaa-tttt.  She scrambled to find the "h" and giggled with delight when I showed her how it worked.  Then we changed the "h" out for an "f" to spell "fat" and then we changed the "f" out for a "b" to spell "bat".
little kid learning the letters
We moved around the table, spelling words and then moving the letters around to make new words.  This kept us busy for at least an hour and we really had a good time.  

But now we haven't done letters in about a week and I don't feel one bit badly about it!  She got some pet snails in the meantime and for now that is far more interesting to her!


If you liked this post, you will LOVE my new book (which is currently ranked#2 in the category of Motherhood!).  My co-author and former Kindergarten teacher, Susan Case, gives dozens of ideas on how to introduce letters in meaningful ways and we have an entire chapter on preparing your child for Kindergarten.  We worked together to give a Mom's point of view and a teacher's point of view, so that we could give you activities that not only keep the kids busy, but also keep them motivated to learn and develop their natural curiosity. 











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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why Kids Brains Need to Be Nourished and How to Do it

Why Kids Brains Need to Be Nourished and How to Do It

My daughter was two when her little brother was born.  I was convinced that our transition would be smooth and easy.  She'd always been an easy toddler and an independent girl.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  She became whiny and needy and I found myself yelling at her and then feeling so bad after I yelled.  She was just a little girl at the time and really didn't know any better, but a Mom can only take so much.
When I suddenly found myself trying to cook dinner with one hand while my newborn cried and my toddler clung to my leg, I knew something needed to change. 

It turns out that my daughter just needed more meaningful time with me.  She needed to be challenged and complimented for something she had truly accomplished.  In other words, I wasn't nourishing my daughter's active mind so when I suddenly wasn't giving her my full attention, she started acting out.  I always figured that my daughter would start learning what she needed to know when she got to Kindergarten.  What I didn't know is that only 25% of the human brain is developed at birth and a lot of the neurons are connected and formed before the age of five.

Yet I know what you're thinking.  How can I possibly find the time to teach my kid when I barely have time for the laundry, the cooking and taking care all the day to day house stuff?  Well I'm here to tell you, that if you do this right, you will end up with MORE free time.  I promise.  Even if you don't care about connecting neurons, you will care about this: once I brought home some basic stuff from Hobby Lobby, like sand, funnels, buttons, colored rice, Pom Poms, etc. and started spending thirty solid minutes with her each day, she became a new kid.  Suddenly she wasn't clinging to me every day.  She was challenged and felt loved and connected with me during this time and suddenly she had the confidence to play alone again.

I want to share with you that after months and months and months of hard work, waking up at 4 am to write, my book is finally ready!  I have teamed up with former Kindergarten teacher and author, Susan Case, to write a book called, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble, and Motivated to Learn.  This book is written in a unique way: from the perspective of both a mom and a teacher.  Not only do you get my "Mom" view, you also get advice from a Teacher.  Each chapter introduces a problem that I have actually faced in my real life.  Susan Case is a former Kindergarten teacher who offers advice after each scenario and educates the reader on skills that young children should be working on, such as fine motor and sensory skills.  At the end of each chapter, we introduce dozens of games and activities that we have developed for you to do with your small children, including photos and detailed instructions.  If you've been a reader of my blog, you will understand what the book can offer to you.  We have compiled some of the ideas from my blog, along with dozens of new ideas and put them into an easy-to-read format.  You will understand how each activity can truly benefit both you and your child.  This book is not about fancy projects that are difficult and time-consuming.  It's about having fun with your kids and helping them learn so you can have a more peaceful house-hold.  Not every Mom is a crafting genius so the book also gives practical advice on what you should buy and how to organize your supplies and the activities are generally inexpensive and easy.    
The goals of this book are simple: to give you more free time, smarter and happier children, and most of all, to allow you to enjoy and make the most of the early years with your children because kids really do grow up fast. The book is available in both paperback ($9.99) and on Kindle and iBooks ($3.99)
Chapter Titles:
Chapter One: Keeping Kids Busy With Sensory Activities
Chapter Two: Keeping Kids Busy With Fine Motor Activities
Chapter Three: Crafts and Art Projects
Chapter Four: Playing Inside
Chapter Five: Playing Outside
Chapter Six: Nurturing Yourself So You Can Nurture Your Children
Chapter Seven: Enjoying Your Kids to Fullest by Developing Wonderful Behavior
Chapter Eight: How to Prepare Your Children for Kindergarten
Chapter Nine: Helping Your Child Learn to Read
Chapter Ten: Helping Your Child Learn Math and Science
Chapter Eleven: Summary and Resources
 





I would really love it if you would buy my book!!  :-)  Seriously, I really do think it can help Moms.  We've gotten some great feedback so far and the reviews on Amazon have been really solid if you want some other opinions before you buy.  Plus, my co-author, Susan Case, is a wonderful resource and you will learn so much from her comments in the book.  And if you do, PLEASE come back and tell me what you think!  I can't thank you all enough for your support.  It's been so fun to get comments over this past year and know that I am helping some Moms out there, just like me! 


 



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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

20+ Ways to Make Caterpillars With Your Little Ones

20 Ways to Make and Teach Your Preschoolers About Caterpillars
I've been a Mom now for four years and sometimes the things I don't know amazes me.  For example, I only found out about squeezable applesauce about six months ago.  Little portable applesauce packages that don't need to be refrigerated!?!?  I don't know where I was living for the first 3.5 years of Munchkin Girls' life, but clearly I missed out.

A similar thing happened not too long ago when someone mentioned the author Eric Carle.  Now clearly, as a Mom and a blogger, I should know this person.  Everyone is always talking about him.  Yet I didn't and as usual I felt worried that I was depriving my kids of an important and education opportunity that would likely stunt them for life.  Harvard was clearly out of the question if I didn't do something fast (Don't worry.  If you're new to my site, you will realize that I'm mostly being sarcastic).  Still, I rushed out to Barnes and Noble that day and bought The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

I proudly presented it to my kids and started reading in my most animated voice.  Now I'm going to admit something that will make most Mom bloggers cringe....My kids really weren't interested.  Their eyes glazed over and they wandered off for something more fun to do.  I'm not sure what that means.  I was pretty surprised because most days we read at least 10 books.  They usually adore book.  They just don't seem to like Eric Carle books.  They seem really smart in other ways, but they will never be appraising fine art, because from what I have heard, Eric Carle is truly the fine art of kids books.

To be honest, ever since we introduced the magnifying glass, my kids are much more interested in this book.  Why?  Because it came with 10 little fake bugs that they carry around the house to scare people.  And they also like to look for bugs and caterpillars outside.


caterpillar trapped by little kid for science fun

Still they do really love to make caterpillar crafts so the other day we got out some beads and pipe cleaners.  First, I strung one bead around the end and secured it for Munchkin Girl:



Then she spent thirty happy minutes stringing the pipe cleaner with the beads

little kid making a caterpillar with beads and a pipe cleaner


kids activities including making caterpillars


In the end, she really loved her little caterpillars almost as much as her outdoor caterpillar friends.  I felt like it was time well-spent because she worked on her hand strength as she laced the beads, which will help her later when it is time to learn to write.  Not only that, after we spent this quality time together, she wandered off for an hour and played happily with her dolls.  I have found that after we do a project, she feels fulfilled and it really allows her to open up her imagination and feel secure enough to play alone, giving me some much-needed time to pay bills, do laundry or whatever I need to do.  To find more simple ways to keep your kids buys in productive ways, check out my new book, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn.



Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Worst $700 I Ever Spent

Let's play a little game.  See this mouth?  How old would you expect this child to be?  Five?  Six?  Even Seven?


Nope, this is my three year old.  Let me tell you what happened and then I'll tell you about how the money comes in.  A few weeks ago, I was changing Little Buddy's diaper (poopy of course) when and Munchkin Girl was in the other room, looking out the front window, hoping her little friends were going to be coming out to play.  I heard her fussing in there.   Not crying, just almost like whining.

"What's wrong?" I yelled.  "What are you fussing about in there?"

She came running in and honestly I expected something stupid.  Like a dead fly on the floor or a hair in her mouth.  Instead, her front tooth was sticking straight out all weird.  She reached up and I yelled, "No!!  Don't pull!!"

Yet my three year old yanked her own tooth out, right before my very eyes.  Blood started gushing and I was elbow deep in a poopy diaper so you can only imagine the mass chaos that ensued.

Somehow she had knocked her tooth against the front door while looking out the window.  Don't ask.  I'm as confused as you are about what happened.  Anyway, we had the tooth fairy come.  We told her how cute looks and how grown up she is.  We went to the dentist.  He took X-rays and assured us that there was no permanent damage, but that it would likely take 3-4 years for the permanent tooth to come in.  He did say that we could have a fake tooth made.  He made it sound super easy...no anesthesia, nothing permanent, just quick and painless!  

At first we didn't even consider it, but she kept looking up at me with sad eyes, and saying, "Mommy?  I can't chew my food very well.  I want my tooth back."  So I finally talked to her about it.  I explained that the doctor could make her a new tooth but it would take awhile and might hurt just a little bit. She agreed that it would be worth it and was so thrilled that ran around yelling for days, "Guess what?!?  I'm getting a new tooth!!"   

It wasn't a bad process to have it made, but then it came time to check out.  As I've said before, I'm a bit of a dingbat.  I started to walk out without paying or anything.  I figured insurance would cover everything and they would bill us later for the difference.

"Ma'am?" they yelled.  "We need to charge your card.  That comes to $350."

"I'm sorry?" I sputtered.  "That wasn't my understanding."

"Oh yes, you pay the other half when the tooth comes in a few weeks."

I about peed my pants.  $700 for a new tooth??!?!?  The dentist didn't mention that part.  He made it sound sooo easy.

Fast forward again to two weeks later when the tooth finally arrived.  Of course, by now Munchkin Girl is used to her missing tooth and she's telling me that she doesn't need a new one anymore.  I figure she'll be happy when she sees the new one in her mouth and we head out for the dentist.  We arrive and it is the scariest-looking contraption I've ever seen.  Wires wrap around the back teeth and then a long wire goes along the back of the rest of her teeth to keep in the fake tooth.  She looks terrified and I don't blame her.

I whisper in her ear that I'll buy her a new doll and a cookie if she's brave.  She lays down, but clings to my hand.  They struggle with getting stupid thing in her mouth and when it's done, she's like a caged animal.  She's squirming and screaming, "Take it out!  I don't want a new doll or a cookie!  Just take it out!!"  That's when I knew she meant business.  Since when does she not want a new doll?  Or a cookie for crying out loud?!? I've never seen her like this.

Now, what's a Mom to do?  I've already spent $700 on the stupid thing.  Yet, the only reason I even did it is because she said she wanted it.  I honestly don't care.  I think she looks kind of cute with a missing tooth.  Yet now I'm torturing her and traumatizing her and she'll probably hate the dentist for life and frankly it doesn't look that good anyway.  The color doesn't even match. 

"Let's take it out," I said softly.  "We're not putting it in.  We'll call you if we change our mind."

And that's how I spent $700 on a fake tooth that is now sitting permanently at the dentist's office instead of in my daughter's mouth.  Yet I know with 100% certainty that I made the right decision.  Sometimes you just gotta trust your gut, even if everyone, the nurses, the dentist, everyone, thinks you're crazy.  Plus, it makes a great story.  And she looks cute as a button with her missing tooth...and just think how fun it will be when her new tooth comes in!  It should only take about four years.

Of course, if I had to do over again, I would ask more questions.  But you live and learn, right?



Don't forget to check out my new book!  It will seriously help you save your sanity.  If you have ever tried to cook dinner while your kid clings to your leg and cries, this is the book for you!  It was released in July, 2012 and was co-written by me and Susan Case, a Kindergarten Teacher.  We worked together to give a Mom's point of view and a teacher's point of view, so that we could give you activities that not only keep the kids busy, but also keep them motivated to learn and develop their natural curiosity.  Kids behave better when they are given challenging projects to work on, which will in turn give you more free time to do the things you really need to do, like washing dishes, paying bills, and relaxing so that you can be a better Mom!


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