Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Playdate at the Airport?

I don't know about your kids, but my kids love the airport. In addition to the excitement of the hustle and bustle, we have a beautiful, new airport here in Fort Myers. It has enormous windows that let in a ton of natural sunlight and give a great view of the runway.

We parked in the long-term parking lot so we could ride the shuttle bus up to the terminal. Major excitement for the kiddies!

Then we explored around the shops in the airport and discovered many interesting things, including these awesome chocolate sea shells. We even got to sample them!

The kids were then drawn to the enormous windows and played there for a good while, making up imaginary games and scenarios.

When everyone decided they were hungry we strolled over to Chili's Too for some lunch. The kids kept busy with the sugar packets while we waited for our food. What is it with children and sugar packets? Somehow we could not fit all of the sugar packets back into their containers....sorry about that, Ms.Waitress. We tried!

Afterward, we added to the excitement by riding the escalator down to the transportation floor. They kids always love those! Then, we hopped back onto the bus for one last spin around the airport. What a fun adventure! Does that give you any ideas for other creative play dates with your children?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Musical Chairs at Dinner?

It's no secret that my 3-year-old daughter is a challenge for me to parent. It's not that she's bad -- she is not ... in any way, shape or form -- it's just that she's motivated very differently than I am. (Can you tell from the picture what type of a personality we are dealing with here?)

Parenting her requires me to be very creative and PATIENT. It's exhausting and fun at the same time.

As with many children her age, dinnertime is a struggle. Almost every night, she winds up having a meltdown at the table -- just in time for Daddy to get home. "I swear, she wasn't like this all day," I say.

She cries and complains that she doesn't like what's on her plate, or it's too much, or she's too tired. You name it, there's a reason for her meltdown.

I've learned that I have two choices when this happens -- I can beg and plead with her until I get angry and send her to her room, or I can try to shift her energy from negative to positive.

It's easier said than done. Some nights I feel like I have nothing left to give. No creative juices left (because, the same trick never works twice, you know!).

Tonight, as she freaked out while I tried to entice her to eat, I declared that she must be sitting in the "crabby" chair.

"That's it!" I said. "No wonder you are crabby every time you sit down for dinner. You're sitting in the crabby chair!"

"Hey, let's play musical chairs so you don't have to be in the crabby chair anymore!"

"Everybody up!"

At this point, I am met by looks that say, "Are you serious?" from my husband and both children.

"Seriously! Everybody up," I say.

"Wahoo! Do Si Do! Around we go! Move your chair to the person on your right! Come on ya'll! Move those chairs!"

I was the lucky one to get the crabby chair next. After getting back settled down, I proceeded to demonstrate that it was, in fact, the chair that was causing the crabbiness. I made crabby faces and spoke in a crabby voice. I even pretended to throw a fit. The kids were in stitches! My husband must have thought I was crazy!

The bottom line? Alyssa ate her dinner in no time. It was probably a record. Seriously.

Unfortunately, this trick will probably not work again, but it was fun while it lasted!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jiminy Cricket Saves The Day

On the way home from summer camp one day, my 3-year-old had a major meltdown because the sandwich I brought her for lunch was not what she preferred. Although it was what she requested that morning. :)

It was a ham and cheese sandwich -- she was looking for PB&J. I was frustrated, to say the least. But, instead of arguing with her about it, I thought about what Paul might do in this situation. While Alyssa's wacky demands through me through a loop, Paul is usually very creative with them.

I was driving, mind you, so there were some limitations on what I could do. Anyway, I don't know where this came from, but I took one hand off the steering wheel and put two fingers up over my shoulder. I pretended they were Jiminy Cricket.

"Hello Alyssa. What's wrong?" Jiminy said in his best Jiminy voice.
"I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich," said Alyssa.
"OK. No problem. Close your eyes. Imagine Never Neverland."
"I am," she said excitedly
"Imagine a big rainbow across the whole sky."
"I am!"
"Imagine Tinkerbell and mermaids and pixie dust."
"I am!"
"OK. We're going to count to three, and when you open your eyes, your sandwich will be peanut butter and jelly. Ready?"
"I am!"
"OK, Alyssa. Here we go! One. Two. Three. Poof! Now open your eyes and take a bite!"
"Yummmmm," says Alyssa!

Voila! She was on her way to eating her sandwich. Jiminy had to come out a couple of more times on the way home to talk to her, but we made it with very few tears! Whew! Crisis averted. Good moods preserved! And many thanks to my creative hubby for helping me be a better mommy!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Making Memories out of Everyday Life

While on vacation this weekend, my sister presented my mother and I with a book called "Cold Tangerines." We're going to do a virtual book club! How cool is that?

I am so excited about the book -- it's tagline is "celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life." Coincidentally, the tagline of my blog is "On a Quest to Make Memories out of Every Day." So I can see already that this book is going to jive with my way of thinking.

I already started the book and am loving it! The biggest point I took from the first chapter was that we should not sit here waiting for life to be what we want it to be. We need to appreciate every moment of every day for what it is and work to make it what we want it to be.

We need to eliminate phrases like, "Life will be better when ... (insert your mantra here)." Mine would be something like. "Life will be better when my kids are a little more grown up and aren't so demanding of me."

If we sit here waiting for life to be better, we will be missing the life that is passing us by.

Here's the most inspiring quote for me:
"The Heisman Trophy winner knows...that his big moment was not when they gave him the trophy. It was the thousand times he went to practice instead of going back to bed. It was the miles run on rainy days, the healthy meals when a burger sounded like heaven. That big moment represented and rested on a foundation of moments that had come before it."
Wow. How true is that? If we all keep pushing and working hard, who knows what "big moments" we might have. More to come later!