Tag:

girl mom

parenting misconceptions, parenting, tweens, toddlers

Learning how to talk to your tween in a tone, patience and understanding that is required is truly a learned skill. Middle school is the worst! As a parent, it’s really easy to feel like you can’t talk to your tween about anything but I’m telling you how to talk to your tween about everything. Actually, that is probably the best advice ever. Just keep talking and listening. Don’t forget the listening bit especially when it feels awkward

I’m a pretty outgoing person. Classic ENFP. and I come from a big Catholic family so there’s not much you can throw at me that will knock me on my rear end but middle school did. Middle school pretty much FUBARed me. Yep. I said it. It did. Tween and teen chat is something I am still working on because now, the ante is upped.

It’s all that awkwardness mixed with gangliness and those hormones. When I was a tween and teen, I felt like I was living in someone else’s body and like someone or something had taken over my brain and not just mine but all of my friends. It was like from one day to the next, you never knew who you were going to be or who your friends were going to be. 

Things were changing at a dizzying pace. It’s no wonder that I was so angsty. I was spinning out of control and I could not get a handle on it. I was at the mercy of biology and if I remember correctly, biology had it out for me. Worse still, my parents had no handle on teen chat and no idea how to talk to their tween about anything. We all suffered in silence, except for my occasional hormonal rage outburst.

One day I was a little girl and the next day I was trying to hide the ever growing hair on my legs (that my dad refused to let me shave). It felt like it took years for my boobs to come in. I mean seriously all I needed until I was 15 was an undershirt. Of course, I wore a training bra in hopes they’d get the hint and start to grow. The only purpose it served was for Jason and Mike, my former best basketball buddies, to perfect their bra strap snapping technique. I was stuck in status breast buds for like 5 years. Then they came in like gangbusters overnight. I definitely didn’t peak until college. 

But I got my period the summer before 8th grade. It would have read like a Judy Blume book had it not have happened in a McDonald’s bathroom with no warning whatsoever! Wtf!!’

But here I am again… going through puberty. Well, not me exactly but there is definitely puberty happening in my house. The thing is, I don’t want the traumatic experience of middle school to be my legacy so we’ve been trying to ease into it.I’ve been talking to my girls about everything since they were toddlers.  The more you know and all that ish. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and I think preparation makes everything easier, so we read ahead and I try to teach my girls about whats coming their way before it actually descends upon them like it did me in the bathroom at McDonalds. 

How to talk to your tween about everything. The art of teen chat.

Aside from talking about everything.all the time. My husband teases me that my girls are going to start refusing to get in the car with me because it always seems like we have the most “teachable moments” in the car. You know, when they are trapped. For example, the other day, I was taking my 12-year-old to the doctor for a viral infection. This prompted her to ask me if I had missed my yearly gynecological appointment that she knew I had last week. Bingo, teen chat moment! Teachable moments for the win.

I explained that I had to cancel because I started my period and that would just be rude. Then, I gave her an impromptu explanation about what happens at a gynecological visit because it dawned on me that many women don’t like going. I figured if she knew what she’ll be in for, it would alleviate some of the stress when the time comes to go. I explained that they are doctors and it’s just another body part and it’s necessary to be proactive in our advocacy for our own health.

Which turned into the conversation about sex and that when the time comes that she is ready, I would hope that she comes to me so we can discuss it (without judgment) and she can be prepared and safe. I explained HPV and how most birth control only prevents pregnancy, you need condoms to prevent the spread of STDs. I went on to tell her that HPV is usually undiagnosed but can cause infertility so condoms should always be on hand.

I talk to my tween about everything because if I don’t someone else will.

Then that segued into a conversation about the different types of birth control that are available to women. I may or may not have told her about the time when the patch made my entire ass break out in a rash because I ( like she) am allergic to Band-Aids. I also, may or may not have told her how the Nuva Ring popped out because…cervical fluid and she may have died on the spot laughing. But that’s how we roll. The more you know. Teen chat is not so hard if you just be yourself, know your child and follow the cues.

Anyways, not everyone is as comfortable talking to their children about all of this so thank goodness there are so many tools to help parents these days. We use Amaze.org for the videos and love the American Girl books for written reference.

Here are some of our favorite American Girl books that we use at our house.

American Girl: The Care and Keeping of You 1 The Body Book for Younger Girls*

American Girl: The Care and Keeping of You 2 The Body Book for Older Girls*

American Girl: The Care and Keeping of Us A Sharing Collection for Girls and Their Moms

American Girl: Friends making them and Keeping them*

American Girl: Stand Up for yourself and your friends*

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Worry*

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Money*

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Babysitting*

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Manners*

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Boys*

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Drama, Rumors, & Secrets*

And for the first-time ever, American Girl is taking its expertise on puberty and adolescence and extending it to boys and their parents with a new title: Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys. If you have a son, this is the perfect book. Guy Stuff tackles everything boys need to know about their developing bodies and minds from healthy eating, bad breath and shaving to pubic changes, moodiness and expressing emotions.

Written by Dr. Cara Natterson, board-certified pediatrician, NY Times bestselling author of AG’s Care and Keeping of You series, and mom of 12-year-old son and 14-year-old girl, tackles every subject in a down-to-earth and approachable manner will help spark conversations between parents and their sons, including those most reluctant to talk about what they’re going through.

Now, I know this is a hard time to be a mom or dad to a child in the in-between years. Just remember, while you are trying to figure them out and this new stage of parenthood, they are trying to figure out this new stage of life, living in a new body with hormones and thoughts they never had before. It’s hard for everyone concerned but it doesn’t have to be horrible. It doesn’t have to be.
Through the generosity of American Girl, I am providing the * marked books in the Smart Girl’s Guide Series listed above and the new Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys to one lucky reader. It won’t completely eliminate the awkwardness we all feel in the tween years but it will definitely help make those conversations easier and make your tween feel more comfortable in their own skin by explaining some of what’s going on with them right now. Spoiler alert: It’s all normal. Enter below for your chance to win.

  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided some of the books in this series by American Girl to review but we already owned a few of them and all opinions about how to speak to your tween about everything are my own.

4 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I received the included Carter’s clothes as compensation but all opinions are mine.

As I lay here in the sun poolside, it’s hard to imagine that it’s already time to get the girls ready to go back to school. How can it be? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were celebrating the last day of school? Why do the summers keep flying by quicker the older my children get?

When the girls were little, a year felt like an eternity. Back in those days, I was so exhausted and overwhelmed, I wasn’t 100% sure that I was going to survive the year. Then, it passed and with each passing year, I got a little more sleep, they got a little easier and right at the time you really start to enjoy spending time talking to your little ones and being with them, the summers decide to go by at lightning speed. Not cool, time. Slow down.

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

Anyways, my point is time speeds up when we least want it to and it doesn’t seem to care that I’m gripping on for dear life, pulling back while life’s propelling my babies forward. I loosen my grip but then they catapult away in every direction. So I grab hold at my first chance. This push and pull of parenting, like the ebb and flow of the surf against the shore. There’s a lot of bending and growing, the goal is to not break but to grow stronger through our intertwinement.

As the girls get older, we seem to be getting closer. My mom tells me that I’m “lucky” that my girls are “so good”. I tell her, “No, I’ve put in 12 years of hard time to get to this point.” Parenting has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with showing up every single day and being present. It’s hard work but it’s worth it and anyone who tells you it isn’t is either a liar or completely missing the point.

 

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

As my girls get older, we actually have fun hanging out together; talking, sharing and keeping secrets, laughing and loving like there is no tomorrow. They are honestly two of my favorite people.

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

One of our favorite things to do together is spend the day shopping and trying clothes on. This was a favorite pastime of my sisters and me in our teens. We could shop for hours without ever spending a dime. It was the time together that was important. It may sound cliché, but there truly is something kind of magical and wonderfully bonding about girls creating fashionable outfits together. It’s more than just spending money on clothes, it’s about the conversations, the honesty and the intimacy of sharing your personal style with someone else. It’s sharing a part of your soul and in the process, making memories.

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

 

My girls have to wear uniforms to school and that leaves them feeling a bit fashionably and creatively stifled so shopping together for casual clothes is something they look forward to every single year. It transcends the act of shopping for clothing and the bonding experience, it is their chance to showcase who they are. Their casual clothes allow them the freedom to express who they are on the inside.

This week my sister and her son came to visit and we did something we haven’t had the chance to do in a really long time, we went shopping together. We had a blast loading our arms full of the latest Carter’s styles and mixing and matching different pieces and having a little fashion show.

Kohls, Back-to-school, school, shopping, sale, Carters

 

The kids were giggling and laughing and having so much fun together and, in that moment, my sister and I were those two teenagers again; hanging out in the dressing room, trying to find the cutest outfit for the roller dome, or the football game or whatever party we were going to.

In those moments, we all grew closer as we posed the kids and they made goofy faces. It was simple, nothing planned or fancy, just a couple sisters shopping for back-to-school with their children but those little moments, they are when the unforgettable glimpses of forever family begin to shine through. In those snapshots of hysterical laughing and smiling until your cheeks hurt, that’s when the bond is sealed and the love grows.

If you are looking for some seriously cute back-to-school fashion for boys and girls, look no further. Kohl’s Carter’s Department has you covered because August 4 thru August 20, 2017, Carter’s Playwear is 40%-50% off. Check out the Carter’s selection.

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

Affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.

There is a 40% – 50% off Carter’s Playwear sale from 8/4 – 8/20. Shoppers can also use the BTS10 code to get $10 off $50 spent on the back to school categories (which includes Carter’s clothing).

$10 off $50 spent  – Sales Date: 8/4 – 8/20 (Promo code: BTS10)

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
tips for raising healthy daughters, heart health

Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with the Healthy For Good initiative of the American Heart Association. The views, opinions and positions expressed within this post belong to The Truth and do not necessarily represent those of The American Heart Association unless explicitly stated.

Food is something that I’ve always had a strained relationship with. Kind of like that bad boyfriend you just can’t quit. Let me rephrase it, it’s not the quitting part that I’ve had the problem with, it’s the walking away in a healthy way.

As many of you know, I have a past with eating disorders. It started when I was 12, the same age my oldest daughter is now, and it lasted actively until I was 25-years-old — though anyone who has ever survived disordered eating will tell you, much like alcoholism, it’s a lifelong disease but unlike alcohol, you can’t quit food and that has always been the trick.

I won’t spend a lot of time explaining my past with anorexia and bulimia because I’ve done that already. If you are interested, you can read all about my eating disorders here and my body dysmorphic disorder here. I just wanted you to know where I’m coming from now. We are all products of our past, after all.

As I said, I have daughters; my oldest is 12 and my youngest is 10 and one of my biggest fears since becoming a mom is that they’d inherit my predisposition to eating disorders. So, I decided years ago that I needed to shift my thinking from dieting and restricting to eating healthy, moving more and controlling my portions. For better or worse, we are our children’s first role models. They see and hear everything we do, even the words we don’t speak. These little people are smarter than we usually give them credit for.

But how does a woman who has spent her entire adult life, since she was 12-years-old, having a love/hate relationship with food and her own body teach two little girls to be healthy?

It’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s something I work on every single day. I have become very aware of just how disordered I was through this journey of motherhood but it’s also made me more mindful of what kind of relationship with food that I want to model for my girls.

My eating disorders have made it so that I have a better handle on what to say and not say, do and not do, in relation to food and body image with my girls. I’d like to think, if anything good could possibly ever come from eating disorders, it was that they made me better equipped to raise strong, positive self-image, self-loving, confident and healthy girls and that almost makes what I went through worth it.

Here are my tips for raising healthy daughters.

So how do I do it? How do I model healthy eating habits for two little girls on the precipice of becoming women? Carefully and thoughtfully. We try to keep red meat to once a week or less. I’ve always fed the girls a variety of foods that included lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Those are the staples but I have also taught my girls that everything is okay in moderation. There can be no absolutes because always and never just end in disappointment and fall short.

It’s my responsibility to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle that includes free will, informed food choices, living actively and drinking plenty of water. No one says that has to be boring. My girls love infused waters. I want being healthy to be a way of life for them, not a chore so we look for activities that they enjoy doing. It doesn’t matter so much what you are doing, just that you are moving. Food is fuel for the body and our bodies really are a temple. But we only get one, so we’ve got to take care of it.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re foodies in this house. We love a good meal full of different colors, textures and flavors. We love to try new foods, the more exotic the better. In fact, we implemented a rule when the girls were still toddlers that you try everything at least twice and if you hate it, well, then you try it again at a later date. This has made for children who are very food adventurous which helps to integrate a variety of healthy foods rather than them always wanting chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese but hey, like I said that’s okay too, in moderation.

One of our favorite things to do, and we’ve done this since the kids were small, is to cook together. Both girls love to help us cook. I found out a long time ago that even if there is something that they don’t really like, if they help cook it, they will eat it. Somehow, their hard work seems to magically make it infinitely more appetizing to them. Plus, it gives us the chance to experiment with new recipes and flavors. For instance, why not throw some fruit on the grill?

These are just a few simple tips for raising healthy daughters.

The biggest thing I do and it really is so simple, if you don’t want your family to eat certain things, don’t buy them. Why not do a pantry audit and add healthy staples to your shopping list. If unhealthy foods aren’t in the house, they’re harder to put into your body. If you don’t want pop and chicken nuggets to be a part of your kid’s regular diet, then don’t let it be an available option. This will eliminate you having to police what your children eat.

I don’t ever want to tell my children not to eat something because I think the natural assumption when you tell someone not to eat something is that they don’t need it. And, speaking from experience, especially coming from a parent, thinking they think you are anything less than perfect is soul crushing. Not that any of us think we are truly perfect but we all believe, at least our parents believe we are.

The key is trying to be mindful and purposeful in what we eat most of the time. Sure, sometimes we want a pizza night or some frozen custard but I really try to make that the exception more than the rule.

If you are like me, you are always looking for good resources to keep your family healthy. The American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good website is a great resource full of healthy living content. It offers an extensive suite of recipes, videos, and editorial/infographic health content. Healthy For Good focuses on the following 4 pillars.

 

  • EAT SMART (smart shopping, cooking, and label reading)
  • ADD COLOR (eating healthier by adding colorful fruits and vegetables to your meals)
  • MOVE MORE (becoming more active)
  • BE WELL (whole body health; including mindfulness, stress reduction, wellness)

Did you know that June is National Fresh Fruit and Veggie Month? What could be a more perfect time to get some fresh inspiration from the American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good Eat Smart and Add Color pillars? I say eat the rainbow! Variety is the spice of life and it’s healthier too.

The AHA’s ultimate goal is to help people navigate barriers so they can create and maintain behavior change. They don’t just tell you what to do, they show you!

Why not join the Healthy For Good movement for amazing weekly tips, recipes and motivation (scroll down here www.heart.org/HealthyForGood and click “join the movement.” I did! What are you waiting for?

What are your best tips for raising healthy daughters or sons?

1 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
theater, broadway, mamma mia

Mamma Mia, last week was crazy and chaotic but absolutely fabulous. I had been at Mom 2.0 Summit, arrived home on a jet plane on Saturday, celebrated Mother’s Day on Sunday and then on Monday, our wedding anniversary, we celebrated by taking the girls on a little road trip to go see the Mamma Mia farewell tour. I was exhausted almost to the newborn standard but it was totally worth it.

theater, broadway, mamma mia

See, I have been waiting to see Mamma Mia on stage for 8 years.

Since that one time Bella, then 4-years-old, told me that “slipping through my fingers” was “our” song while we were watching the movie. Yes, we watched Mamma Mia a lot in those days. It was during the horrible commuter years. The girls and I loved that movie because it was fun and about the mother/daughter relationship at a time when it was just us most of the time.

Anyways, if you have ever heard ABBA’s “Slipping through my Fingers,” you already know that this song can bring any parent to her knees. It was especially hard back then when I was looking at my 4-year-old and knowing that soon she would be leaving me, well, in 14 years or so. Still, her little face looking up at me with those eyes and her sweet face; I still can’t listen to that song without tearing up.

Childhood is fleeting. It just keeps moving on, whether we want it to or not. Believe me, I’ve tried to speed it up and slow it down many times but it never works. When it comes to time and parenting, we are all helpless suckers just trying not to blink and miss a single second. Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture and save it from the funny tricks of time.

The point is Mamma Mia has had a very special place in my heart for a really long time. Bella has been begging me to take her to see this production for years but I was just never sure they were old enough. I know my girls like musicals and theater (hello, have we forgotten the Moulin Rouge 5th birthday party?) but I also know that Gabi has fallen asleep during almost the last half an hour of every production we’ve ever been to because she’s still really young.

theater, broadway, mamma mia

But when the opportunity to see it came, I knew we had to take it. How could I not? It is the farewell tour and there was no way that I was going to miss experiencing Mamma Mia live with my girls. We had to drive almost 2 hours on a school night and missed a couple classes but OMG, it was so worth it. This is a memory that we will never ever forget. Every time we hear the music, we will be back in that theater, the four of us, singing at the top of our lungs like fools. Dancing, singing, incredibly happy fools. I will never forget this anniversary or that night!

theater, broadway, mamma mia

In case you have never seen or heard the story Mamma Mia, it’s about a mother (Donna), her daughter (Sophie) and 3 possible fathers. The entire situation comes to a head when Sophie is preparing to get married at the ripe old age of 20. Talk about a wild walk down the aisle.

Over 54 million people all around the world have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that make Mamma Mia the ultimate feel-good show. The sunny, funny tale unfolds on a Greek Island Paradise. On the eve of Sophie’s wedding, her quest to discover the identity of her father brings 3 men from her mother’s past back to the island that they last visited 20 years ago with Donna.

theater, broadway, mamma miaThe story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship from a good time to the time of their lives. It truly does transport you to a magical moment and if you get the chance, I highly suggest you see Mamma Mia before it’s gone. Chances are it’s probably coming to a city near you soon.

The cast of Mamma Mia was so vibrant and perfectly cast. Betsy Padamonsky, as Donna, took the character to a new level. Her voice was pitch perfect and her big, beautiful personality shone through. Really all of the cast was stellar but I must give a shout out to Lizzie Markson, Cashelle Butler and Sarah Smith. These ladies brought the characters to life in a way that few can. We enjoyed every single second of the show and would love to see it a million times more.

I’m so happy we got to experience Mamma Mia together and before it’s gone. We will never forget it. And yes, I cried when I heard, “Slipping through my fingers.” I sat there in the theater between my two girls, holding their hands while they held my heart.

They aren’t that 1 and 4-year-old anymore. They are growing up so fast and that fact is not lost on me. I know they are slipping through my fingers. It’s like trying to catch sand or water but we will always have this moment, sitting in the theater together listening to this song on a warm night in May when nothing else mattered but being there with them.

I’ll probably never be able to listen to that song without crying and I am totally okay with that because that means I got to love in a huge, amazing way for that Mamma Mia will always have a special place in this mamma’s heart.

theater, broadway, mamma mia

Official Website | Facebook | Google+ | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | YouTube

Disclosure: I was provided tickets to experience Mamma Mia on stage but all opinions and genuine love of theater are my own. 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Have you watched Dirty Dancing the movie? Who hasn’t, right? But did you know that there is a Dirty Dancing Broadway tour? I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who knows me that our family is theater lovers. There is nothing quite as spectacular as a live production.

The original is one of the quintessential movies of my generation. There was something about the Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Garner dynamic that was so unbelievable but at the same time exactly what every teen girl/woman secretly hoped for; that they’d get the hot guy not just because he wanted to throw her in the back of his car and have his way with her but because he fell in love with her personality and that made her the most beautiful girl in the world. Doesn’t every woman want to be sexy but respected?

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Just in case you are not familiar with the story, here is the premise for Dirty Dancing:

The story takes place in the summer of 1963, 17-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman is about to learn some major life lessons and a thing or two about dancing. On holiday in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents, ‘Baby’ shows little interest in the resort activities and instead discovers her own entertainment when she stumbles upon the staff quarters when an all-night dance party is in full swing.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Mesmerized by the raunchy dance moves and the pounding rhythms, ‘Baby’ can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle the resort dance instructor. ‘Baby’s’ life is about to change forever as she is thrown in at the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady both on-stage and off with breathtaking consequences.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

These two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. It will be the “time of their lives”.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

Even if you never saw Dirty Dancing, you can tell that the story is everything.

Dirty Dancing is an iconic love story on steroids with the best.soundtrack.ever! Honestly, Dirty Dancing was my best friend’s favorite movie and every time you spent the night (which was basically every weekend of our adolescents) we watched this movie.

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

I watch all of the movies from the 80’s with my daughters and its just as much fun now as when I watched them with my best friend back when I was a tween. So, imagine my delight when I found out that not only is there a live Broadway tour of Dirty Dancing but it is touring and coming to a theater near me (and probably you too!)

Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing the Broadway Tour, theater, Broadway, kids and the arts 

You heard me right! Dirty Dancing is back!

Exploding with heart-pounding music, breathtaking emotion, and sensationally sexy dancing. It’s been seen by millions worldwide and features 35 hit songs, including “Hungry Eyes, “Hey Baby”, “Do You Love Me?” and the the infamous, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”

We’re taking our girls to see it and we can’t wait! I have read amazing reviews and I can’t wait to see how they bring the story to life on stage in live theater. I’ll make sure to share my review with you after we see it so you can get the skinny on whether or not you should go see it in a city near you.

If you’ve seen Dirty Dancing on stage or even if you haven’t, I’d love to hear your thoughts on a stage adaptation.

 

Disclosure: I was provided tickets to experience Dirty Dancing on stage but all opinions and genuine love of theater are my own. 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
lying, What to do when you catch a child lying, tween, mom, how to talk to your tween about sex, mother/daughter

Have you been struggling with how to talk to your tween about sex? Me, too. At what age did you have “the talk”? I mean we’ve talked about puberty. In fact, we’ve talked puberty to death. It’s old news. They both know so much about the inner workings of the female reproductive system that they could probably teach a class. But we’ve not quite made the leap to …you put the penis in the vagina and do that thang. I’ve been mulling this idea over for years, waiting for the right moment. I just haven’t been ready to see the innocence disappear from her eyes.

I told my tween that she and I would have “the talk” before she turns 12. In a culture where Teen Mom is a show that makes celebrities, I want my daughter to know babies are a lot or work and where those babies come from. She wants nothing to do with that conversation. Boys are not even on her radar yet. She is still pretty happy with unicorns, slumber parties and playing with dolls but I don’t want her getting misinformation about sex from other kids. I promised myself I’d talk to my tween about sex before she was 12 and now, I have less than a month, people.

Fool that I am, I made plans. The universe laughed at me and then life intervened. Now, I’m binge-reading all the articles on how to talk to your tween about sex because a teachable moment has arisen. No, before any of you have a stroke, it has nothing to do with her and sex. It’s more of a collateral damage situation.

But how to talk to your tween about sex is not an easy thing to figure out. It has to be the perfect balance of honesty, openness and availability.

The conversation has to be had with every child and no nervous giggling or embarrassment is allowed on the parents part. We have to be a source of information and comfort. They have to believe we know what we’re talking about and not be afraid to ask questions.

Last Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, I’m sure you know where this is going, and let’s just say the Big Guy and I were feeling particularly amorous. Him and all his damn romantic gestures. Anyways, apparently, we actually made some noise. We usually use our inside voices because, you know, KIDS! (TMI, I’m sorry.)

My 11-year-old had the misfortune of getting up to pee at the wrong time and now, we all need therapy. It’s all giving me flashbacks to the time when she was a toddler and she caught us “wrestling”. If these kids would JUST STAY IN THEIR BEDS. (Sidebar, just say no to co-sleeping this is what got us to where we are today. I jest, sorta.)

The thing is the tween is very mature in many ways but very immature in other ways. She’s at that age where she’s beginning to look like a young woman but her brain is not quite there yet. She’s caught somewhere between working her eye roll and still coming in for snuggles and mama cuddles on the regular.

Either way, you’ve got to figure out how to talk to your tween about sex sooner or later.

Anyways, to be clear, I was not howling at the moon or anything like that but when you are a kid and you hear anything coming from your parents’ bedroom other than snoring, you are instantly disgusted. We had no idea any of this took place until the following morning. We thought they were asleep.

All I know was that she got up on Wednesday morning particularly annoyed for no particular reason, as far as I was aware. I just took it for regular tween behavior. Honestly, one minute she’s being all tweeny and the next she is playing American Girl dolls with her little sister. I can’t keep up. She is a fantastic kid. She’s just a bit moody these days. I get it. I’ve been there. I am sympathetic.

But after school, I asked her point blank how her day was. Her answer was,

“It would have been fine if I had gotten more than 3 hours of sleep last night!”

I volleyed back with my standard,

“Well if you went to sleep at your bedtime instead of staying up messing around on your tablet or playing Barbies, you wouldn’t be so exhausted and grouchy.”

Big mistake.

To which she responded,

“No, mom I only got 3-hours of sleep because of you and dad!”

And with that, her lip curled and I could see the disgust. Suddenly, I felt like I was in that commercial back in the 70’s where the kid does the really shitty behavior, I think it was drugs or something, and says, “I learned it from you, dad!” It was that bam! You are to blame.

My next question, the one I wish I had never asked, “What is that supposed to mean? How is this our fault?” I was a little annoyed because I am not, in fact, to blame for everything.

The answer I didn’t want to hear,

“Well, I had to pee and when I got up I heard your “weird noises” coming from the bedroom AND my sleep pillow and FIFI were held hostage in there! How am I supposed to sleep without them and after hearing THAT!!!!!”

There it was. Firstly, I was a little embarrassed that she heard anything so I did what any sane mom would do, I told her that it was her dad. My second thought was, “Oh no, we traumatized her!” I finally did it. I irrevocably damaged my kid. I have to start saving for the therapy.

Then, I thought to myself, this “tween” who pushes me and pulls me back so much on a daily basis that I don’t know if I’m coming or going had purposely left her snuggle pillow and lovey in my room so that she could sneak in there in the middle of the night to sleep. Oh yeah, she still does that occasionally. I’m not complaining but she does bear some responsibility in all of this.I’m not going to lie. I was pretty embarrassed. I don’t get embarrassed but we were both red in the face. Then I sucked it up and said,

“Hey, I know it was uncomfortable to hear whatever you heard but we’re married and we love each other. This is what people who are married and in love do to share physical intimacy. It’s completely natural!”

Then I decided to add, “Besides, isn’t it better to hear “that” than your father and I screaming how much we hate each other behind those doors?”

To which she agreed. Then she looked at her little sister, her voice went down near a whisper and she said,

“But I didn’t want to hear you DOING.IT!”

Then, I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

My response, “Firstly, we never saying “doing it” ever again. It’s called “making love.””

Because hearing my 11-year-old say “doing it” in reference to her father and I, skeeved me out. Of course, hearing myself say, “making love” out loud was nearly as creepy. So we decided to just agree that when the bedroom door is shut, we’re probably together not sleeping. I told her if it really bothered her, I could buy her ear plugs. She was mortified but swiftly answered,

“Yes, please!”

Boundaries were set.

If the bedroom door is shut, stay out. I considered getting one of those old license plates that said, “If the bedroom’s a rockin, don’t bother knockin” and hanging it on our door but I thought it was probably still too soon for that joke.

We still have to have “the talk” but I’m pretty sure she knows what’s going on. I also feel like I need to add a disclaimer to our talk that when she has sex for the first time, what she heard will probably not be what will be happening because, you know, teenage boys are bumbling idiots.

But what am I going to do, tell her to sleep with older men if she wants it to be worth her time? Nope, I’ll just let her suffer through crappy first-time sex like the rest of us besides, after all that eye rolling shade she’s been throwing my way lately, an awkward first time when she’s at college is just what the doctor ordered. Shhh, don’t tell me otherwise. College is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Anyways, I’ve still got to have this talk but now, it feels super weird because I feel like she’s going to relate the entire thing to her father and me. And EWWWW!

What would you do? What’s your best advice on how to talk to your tween about sex?

35 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts

Feeling a little wicked this morning. Something just has my heart nostalgic for quieter times. We are caught up in the storm and chaos of everyday life. Somehow, it seems like the world just spins a little faster once school starts back. I thought things were crazy when the Big Guy and I were dating back in college. We were firing on all cylinders or so I thought. I had no idea what having children and a life together would really mean. It’s truly a beautiful mess and I love it but some days, it is a bit overwhelming so I love when we get the chance to experience something amazing and outside of ourselves together.

Hands touch, eyes meet, sudden silence, sudden heat Hearts leap in a giddy world. He could be that boy but I’m not that girl.  Don’t dream too far. Don’t lose sight of who you are. Don’t remember that rush of joy. He could be that boy. I’m not that girl. Every so often we long to steal to the land of what might have been but that doesn’t soften the ache we feel when reality sets back in. Blithe smile, lithe limb. She who’s winsome, she wins him. Gold hair with a gentle curl, that’s the girl he chose and heaven knows, I’m not that girl.  Don’t wish, don’t start. Wishing only wounds the heart. I wasn’t born for the rose and pearl. There’s a girl I know; he loves her so. I’m not that girl.

This is the lyrics from one of our favorite songs from Wicked, I’m Not That girl and now it’s a memory we will always share because we experienced it together. You know those special moments that happen when you least expect it.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts, theater

Wicked Emerald City Tour

There are people, places and things in life that magically transport us to another time. Most of my fondest memories can be inextricably linked to lyrics to songs, lines in movies or the way I felt the first time I read powerful words movingly strung together on a page. And now, all of these beautiful moments intertwine with my daughters and there is new joy and perspective seeing life through their fresh eyes.

 

theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts

 

One of my fondest memories as a child was watching The Wizard of Oz with my own mother, every year on Thanksgiving. Our family tradition had nothing to do with Black Friday shopping or things at all; it was about a warm, fuzzy feeling that permeated our togetherness like the lingering scent of a beautiful woman or the reassuring voice of a mother to her child in the middle of the night. Our tradition included football on the television while the food cooked, family sitting around the table sharing what they were most thankful for and then just when we are about to fall into a tryptophan induced turkey coma we’d settle down on top of one another vying for the best seat in the living room, next to my mom, and we’d, almost in a dream, watch this amazing movie. We were entranced for that entire hour and 52 minutes. It was magical.

 

theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts

 

When I was pregnant, I knew this would be a tradition that I wanted to continue with my own children. It was going to be just as magical as when I was a child. Then while I was pregnant with my first daughter in 2004, I read Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the the West by Gregory Maguire. I was hooked. It changed my entire perspective of a favorite childhood movie. I wanted my girls to know this story. I needed my girls to know the “whole story”.

 

theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts

 

By the way, 12 years later, I have 2 beautiful daughters who love the theater as much as I do. We’ve spent our years cuddled in front of the big screen watching my old favorite, The Wizard of Oz but I promised myself that one day I would take them to see this amazing musical that was inspired by the Wicked novel. We play the soundtrack on repeat on most morning drives to school; all of us singing at the tops of our lungs.

 

Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts

 

Last year, I was in New York for business and I knew I had to see Wicked on Broadway.  It was my first time actually getting to see the production. I bought whatever ticket I could find available and I went. It was more mesmerizing and magical than I could have ever imagined. It was absolutely amazing and I am not just using that term lightly. It exceeded every expectation I ever had. I left the Gershwin theater hopeful and inspired and knowing that I had to bring my family back. I didn’t even bother with souvenirs because that was almost too cruel. But when and how? We live in Indiana.

 

theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts

 

A few months ago, I saw that Wicked was touring and I was absolutely over the moon because one of the stops was near me; only a short 1.5-hour drive. I had to make it happen. It’s just one of those situations where you know that you have to do this with your family; like watching the inauguration of the first African-American president or voting for the first woman president or seeing the Grand Canyon or the Aurora Borealis in person. It’s a gift to my children; a memory that they will never forget.

 

theater, kids and the arts, Broadway, Wicked, Broadway, Theater League, Children and the arts

 

So last Thursday, we took a little road trip on a school night and made our little girls’ dreams to see Wicked come true. Wicked is playing at the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend, Indiana until Sunday, September 18th. If you are in the area, you should definitely get tickets and go see this amazing production.

But even if you are not, it’s touring all over the country and I’m sure Wicked is coming to a city near you.

If you live near the New York City area you can catch it at the Gershwin. It will be something you will never forget. Wicked has taken up residence in our hearts and we will never forget the night we all saw it together, not for as long as we live.

Wicked… You’ll be with me, like a handprint on my heart! Because we knew you, we have been changed for good.

 

Disclosure: I was provided media passes to the Wicked performance but the genuine love and adoration that I feel for this production are completely my own.

 

2 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

Today, I wrote a love letter to my daughter on her 7th birthday. My Gabi, my last baby turns 7-years-old. She is sort of amazing. I look at her and I can’t believe how much she has changed in 7 short years. She is nowhere near the chubby, 8 pounds 6 ounces, full head of black curly hair baby that I delivered who looked up with those giant big blue eyes and melted my heart. She stopped me in my tracks. That baby girl took my breath away and stole my heart forever. My love for my girls is immeasurable. Every year I try to quantify it for them in some way in a post, a love letter to my child, but it always falls short because how can you express the true meaning of to the moon and back plus infinity with all that I am or will ever be? It’s the kind of all-consuming love that hurts.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to my Five year-old

Today, the tall, waif-thin little girl with scraped knees and long flowing strawberry blonde hair with those same big blue eyes that make my heart happy is constantly changing. The freckles that kiss the tops of her cheeks beg me to kiss them and commit them to memory because at this moment, I know, she is changing, evolving, every single second. I breathe in deep and I inhale this moment, this child that she is right this minute. This same child who runs hot and cold at all times, the one who is so passionate about her convictions that sometimes she gets in her own way. How I adore her verve for life.

This is my love letter for your 7th year.

Gabs,

You came into my world and have been my happiness ever since. Your smiles soothe me, your tears tear me down and your sadness destroys me. Your laughter is contagious and infectious and can heal the world. On this 7th anniversary of the day you were born, my beautiful, amazing girl, I wish you a lifetime of the same wholehearted, all in love that you give to others.

 

Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

You are moody and broody and artistic and funny and vibrant and in total living Technicolor. You are a rainbow and a unicorn and all that the world has to offer that is good. You are shy and that scares me because the thought of you feeling unsure breaks my heart because I can’t fix this for you. But I am here, for today and for always, to hold your hand, to wipe away the tears and yes, to kick anyone’s ass my mama bear heart needs to. You drive me crazy with your independence when it’s in direct opposition to my plan but, inside, I am so proud of you for standing your ground.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to My Tween

I love that you stick up for what you believe in and for the underdog. I love your stubbornness and your follow through. I love that your heart compels you to get involved when you see a homeless person, sick person or a sad child. I love you for being exactly who you are and I would never change a thing about that. You are the perfect you in every way.

 

Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

 

I celebrate you and all that you have become today and I celebrate the day that I met one of the most amazing people that I’ve ever known. I wish you a lifetime of love and acceptance of yourself, I want you to see and love yourself the way I see you; perfect, just the way you are.

 

Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

Happiest 7th Birthday, my sweet baby girl, with the giant heart. Mommy loves you to the moon and back plus infinity and beyond. Oops, gotta go kiss someone, it’s her birth minute.

XOXO

When was the last time you wrote a real, handwritten love letter?

4 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting

When my family and I traveled to Orlando, Florida recently, we had the pleasure of attending Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba at Disney World. We love taking our girls to the theater and letting them enjoy cultural events while they are still young enough to really enjoy the magic because of the infinite possibilities of their imaginations and let them develop a love for the arts naturally.We’ve been taking them to the ballet and the Chicago Shakespeare theater for years; next stop, Broadway. La Nouba tells the fascinating story of the boundless and festive journey of the imagination. The Big Guy and I first saw La Nouba on our honeymoon in 1999. Since then, the Cirque du Soleil and, more specifically, La Nouba have held a special place in our heart. So, imagine how excited we were to share it with our daughters?

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

In case you are unfamiliar with Cirque du Soleil, it is a version of the circus that is humane, uses no animals and captivates the audience, young and old alike, with acrobatic feats that defy the imagination and music that makes your feel like the whole thing is a wonderful, magical dream. Dazzling costumes, dramatic lighting, bizarre choreography and ethereal operatic music set the stage for clownish observations, a human puppet and a host of amazing acrobats that all bend and weave together to create one of the most exciting and engaging shows under the soleil.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

A door opens and the two worlds collide. Enter the attic of make-believe, where the mundane meets the marvelous. Dreams and nightmares intertwine. La Nouba which calls on both individual and collective memory, is an unforgettable journey into a world at once threatening and exhilarating, frightening and familiar. La Nouba beckons to us, challenges us to uncover passions we thought we had lost long ago; to frolic in our childhood dreams and enter a place where the extraordinary transforms and overcomes the ordinary.

 

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

We took our daughters, ages 6 and 9 at the time, and they both were enthralled with the performers. My 6-year-old LOVED the Titan, especially when he performed on the trampolines and the little girls doing the Diabolos act. In fact, she made me buy her her very own set and plays with them almost daily. My 9-year-old was smitten with the Green Bird and the dancers. The Big Guy finds the power track/ trampoline act to be the big show stopper. Me, I must confess, I am mesmerized by the aerial ballet in silk. The show definitely has something for everyone and I could go on for days talking about La Nouba but as a picture is worth a 1000 words, a production like La Nouba leaves me speechless. La Nouba is something that has to be experienced to be believed and to fully enjoy it.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

Next time you are at Disney World, and I know you will be if you have kids, if you are on the fence on whether or not to take your children to see La Nouba, I am here to tell you that it will be something they will never forget.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting

Have you been to a Cirque du Soleil production? What was your favorite act or character?

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

If you’ve seen La Nouba, what was your favorite part of the show?

Photo Cirque du Soleil

Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets for review purposes, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. I’ve been in love with La Nouba since the first time I saw it on my honeymoon in 1999.

2 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail

Gabs

 

I love the way you cup my face and kiss me when you are trying to make a sincere apology
I love the way you summons me from across the house only to tell me “Mommy! Close the doah , Me need PIRACY” when you’re taking a poop
I love the way you still say “Me” versus”I”. I really don’t care what anyone thinks. I wouldn’t mind if you said it your whole life through
I love that you are sarcastic at 3-years-old. Not jaded, just so above and over it all.
I love your unapologetic attitude.
I love your sense of style; rain boots ( the more colorful the better) a hooded pullover and a pair of bootie shorts on any given day of the year and about 13 hair clips and a couple self made crooked pony tails with about a handful of flavored chap stick to polish your look.
I love the way no matter what happens to you, its always your sisters fault..even if she isn’t even here!
I love the way you bite your lip just before you fall asleep ( just like Mommy did does)
I love the way when we first had you, you strongly resembled a sumo wrestler ( I wasn’t quite sure you were ours except for the fact you never left my room) but now you are a long, lean version of my little kid self.

 

I love the way when we get back from dropping Bella off from school, you wrap your legs and arms around me tight and always want me to carry you in like a little monkey from the car. I adore it!
I love the way when you are falling asleep, just before you completely crash, you move your lips in some imaginary conversation and practice your Karate kid crane style.
It’s also pretty funny that you like to sleep with your feet by your sister’s head..I’m pretty sure you do that on purpose to be an asshole but it is really cute to watch.
I love the way you run to your sister and give her the world’s biggest squeeze when we pick her up from school. Every drop off is like sending her off to war and every pick up is like she made it home in one piece.
I love that you want to do everything your sister does, even if you are too little.
I love your fearlessness and bravery.
I love that I am your “Mommy” and no one else seems quite good enough to you.
I love the way you randomly shake your bootie and try to get your sister to do the same.
I love that you announce to everyone…”I Faaahhhhh-ted!”
I love the way you always put your shoes on the wrong foot, the first time!
I love that when you are really tired you say ” Me want my Daddy!”
I love the way you air kiss me from across any room, no matter where we are or who is listening
There is so much about you that I love that I could write a book about it. You are my sunshine.

 

Bella

 

I love your big giant heart.
I love that you love big and do everything in a big way.
I love your flamboyance ( Satine from Moulin Rouge as a Birthday party theme at 5?)
I love your willingness and openness to new experiences and people.
I love how you came into this world and made me a better person for all time.
I love the way you always want to be all girlied up!
I love the way you say say “Shua” for “Sure”.
I love that you are timid but so brave.
I love that you befriend the little guy just so they won’t be alone.
I love that you are so unaware of your beauty.

 

I love your passion for life.
I love the way you walk around the house with my high heels and purses pretending to be me ; it makes me feel like I am someone worth being!
I love the way you snuggle with me, even though you are probably starting to think I am a dork:)
I love the way you say my name like I am the most important person in the world.
I love that to you I am the most important person in the world.
I love the way you think about what you say ” My Mom is way cuter than me!” (OMG..complete lie but so sweet of her to say. Even more, I love that she believes it!)
I love that you made me a Mommy and let me have the honor of knowing you.
I love the way your Daddy is your rock.
I love that you tell me I am your best friend ( I pray that never changes)
I love the way you light up when you dance ballet.
I love the way you watch over your sister.
I love that although you may not look like me exactly, you have my personality to a t!
I love that when I get excited about something that’s going on in my life, you get it and join right in on the celebration.
I love the way you hold my hand when I walk you to school.

 

 

I love the way you talk in your sleep about the things of the day.
I love our “Peace out/I love  you” sign.
I love the crazy songs we make up and sing together.
I love the way you harmonize and sing with your uncle while he plays the guitar or piano; I love the way you accompany your Grandpa when he plays Happy Birthday at all family birthday parties.
I love the way you draw pictures of you and I together holding hands.
I love all the girly things we do together; manis/pedis/facials, slumber party/ pizza night.
I love the way you are so blissfully unmarred by the world and exist in pure naivete.
I love that when you get hurt and I ask if you are going to live , you always answer ” Just always only with you Mommy!”
I love that you tell me that I am the best Mommy in the world.
I love how when you do something cute or crazy, you immediately ask “Are you going to BLOG about this?”
I love that when we have been separated ,for any amount of time, you run and scream my name and hug my neck like I’m returning home from a lon
g journey and nothing has ever made you happier!
I love how you look so sweet and peaceful when you sleep and I can still see that baby they first placed into my arms.
You are my heart. I love you to the moon and back 27 million times!



My Girls,How do I love thee? There are infinite reasons to count!

13 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More