A world of pure imagination …

Her big brown eyes darted at me and grew larger with surprise. Her smile was priceless. That was the moment after I told my toddler daughter that our living room floor was an ocean and there was a shark, so she’d better jump on the couch boat for safety.

She grabbed my hand and jumped up with me onto the couch. She stared at the flood and laughed. When her eyes met mine, I felt I could read her thoughts. It’s like I blew her mind that I could see something that wasn’t really there and she knew it was all for fun.

To all of you, I just seem plain bat-crap crazy. But to my kid, I am amazing, silly and adventurous.

Since she was conceived, I’ve been singing silly songs that I’ve proudly made up on my own. My favorite is my version of R&B singer Kellis’ “Milkshake” song, which I can’t really detail the lyrics for this family/newspaper blog. But I’ll give you a hint: Breast-feeding!

It’s been fun coming up with ways to make my kids laugh and have “our” time. When I want to sweep or mop, I turn on the radio and dance while moving around the house. I put a washcloth under my daughter’s feet and teach her to scoot along to the music while she is inadvertently cleaning my kitchen floor. Pure genius.

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Keeping up with the Kid-monsterians

I used to be a little embarrassed that my 3-year-old daughter can’t seem to sit still. Ever.

She smiles for what seems like 24-7. She likes to wave at everyone, say hello, play with everything, run around. She makes friends easy, and she scares off some of the timid tots. She’s the queen of our neighborhood. Even older kids are drawn to her aura.

Some people find high energy to be a good quality in a child; others not so much. To me, her energy is pretty normal for a kid. A parent just really needs to be patient and let go and be fun too.

Another mom asked me what to do for her high-energy child. My answer: keep your child active. Run that little sucker all over until he/she crashes for their nap.

My daughter will take a nap for an hour or two, if I do it right. We swim, kick a ball in the yard, walk around the neighborhood a few times. When grocery shopping, I’ll have her pick up non-breakable items and place them into the basket. She is overjoyed to help.

Ah, to have her energy all day!! Right?

It is a trade off. I get a lot of exercise with her and she helps pump me up for my night.

Today, she tried to copy me during my aerobic workout in the living room. She made it much more fun than if I had done it on my own. She makes me laugh. She’s a blast.

I say that as my eyes begin to droop during my last few moments on the clock at work.

Is it bedtime yet?! Ha!

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Random website fun

Love it! I gave my son his first foods the past few weeks. His green bean face was priceless. Like a piggie, he ate it anyway. Ha!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/babies-experiencing-things-for-the-first-time

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Senior moments

For the holidays, and even on random days when we can, our little family heads over the hills to visit grandpa, who is in an independent care facility.

Grandpa has a tough time hearing … and seeing … and, well, even remembering who we are sometimes. It’s expected. He’s lived a long and adventurous life. He has amazing stories and we really enjoy our visits. But after we arrive at his building, getting to him sometimes is a challenge.

Once we pull up to the facility and park our car, we see a few of the residents there peek out the window, roll their wheelchairs or hobble their walkers outside to get a better look.
Like a bunch of zombies, they all come shuffling toward us.

At first, it sort of freaked me out, and my mind flashed back to that scary scene in the movie “Poltergeist,” when all the dead church people were surrounding the little girl because they were drawn to her life force.

I have a nurse friend who used to ask me to bring my dog in to her work to brighten up some of the lonely senior citizens who lived there.

“Some of them never have any visitors, and they get real excited to see other people and animals come in, even if it’s just for 10 minutes,” she informed me.

Kids offer the same joy.

I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they see a child and even more when it prompts them to recall a special moment in their own lives to share. So, while we are there to visit grandpa, I make sure to take a little extra time and compassion for his neighbors – the kids see it and understand why, too.
(just for fun)
\"The Simpson\'s\" visit grandpa

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2010/feb/18/old-people-loneliness-isolation-children

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Man among men

I’m a tad late: Happy Father’s Day!

Mother’s and Father’s Days are sometimes touchy for people, because they might not have had the best or any parents.

For Father’s Day, though, we should see it as a day to celebrate the real men in our lives, not just our dads, but any man who has made a positive impact on a child’s life.

There are a lot of men – even some who don’t have their own kids and families — who put other people’s kids and families before themselves.

Same goes for women and Mother’s Day.

I must say though, that I am seeing a lot of good fathers in Stockton and elsewhere. It really makes me smile when I see parents playing with their kids and being an instrumental part of young people’s lives.

So, Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers, soon-to-be fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers, teachers and friends — and to all the single moms out there who are doing double duty. I hope you had a great day and felt completely loved and appreciated, you deserve it!

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Hair today …

Just when I thought I was winning the war on the terror-ible threes, our cute little monster daughter through us a curveball. Well, she through one at the hubs. (I’d like to think this wouldn’t have happened on my watch, and I have to admit, I’m glad it happened on his!)

While he was bathing our son, she decided – I don’t know how or why – to go into the kitchen, open a drawer and pull out a pair of heavy-duty scissors.

Yes, she cut her hair. And actually, I was surprised that it doesn’t look all that bad actually. My babysitter is a licensed beautician and was impressed by her cut. It’s like a small mullet or some sort of choppy, sort of side swept bangs. Ugh, please don’t tell me she’s going emo.

I know so many kids who have done this either to themselves, or dolls, or other kids or the dog. I understand that this is just one of those things kids do. The hair, it’ll grow back. Hubs said he couldn’t help but be shocked and laugh a little. She was so excited over what she had done and seemed very proud. Hubs said he just explained to her that scissors are not to be used unless mommy and daddy are there; dangerous … yadda yadda.

Thank the sweet Lord above, she didn’t injure herself physically. However, I now have a photo of which I can use to torment her for life. Love it!

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Attention, please

I’ve created a monster. She’s bold, strong, confident and … wait, those are good characteristics for a female, right? Not when she’s 3, me thinks! I’m really seeing the “terrible 3’s” but, haha, I am coming out on top. Ok, today I did. I showed her who’s boss. Or maybe she just made me think I am for now. She’s crafty like that.

Now that I have two kids, and one of them is at a pivotal age of no longer a baby but not quite yet a child, it’s been important more than ever to A: Watch what I say and B: Have patience.

When I’m taking care of the needs of my son, I make sure I don’t blame him when my daughter needs my attention. I try to keep it simple and respond with, “I need to take care of something else first and then I’ll be right there to help you,” instead of “Sorry, I’m feeding your brother right now.” I’ve been applying all I’ve read about having her help me when it comes to baby brother and that’s worked out great. She likes to help me throw away diapers and help burp him etc. She’s even fed him a little for me or has given him his pacifier while I took care of something else. So far so good. Well, Ok, I fooled her for a moment. She has caught on.

She ignored me when I approached her and asked a question. I tried to pull her onto my lap and she squirmed away angrily, “Go take care of brother,” she huffed.

I could see she was feeling like maybe she didn’t matter and I realized that for that particular day, I hadn’t really paid much attention to her as I should have.

She’s a good girl and can play by herself and such, but I could see she missed her buddy, me.

Before my second child, she was my world. We played and sang, made sandwiches together, exercised. These days, it’s been a little harder. For one, my energy is zapped. Another, I’ve been feeling rushed to get in everything I need to do around the home and for my infant son, that I’ve made those chores, chores and not fun. I’ve been taking care of those things on my own and not allowing her to help sometimes.

Her grumpiness caught me by surprise and I felt a little guilty. I turned it around. I organized some mommy-daughter time. I painted her nails and we colored in a coloring book. I taught her a hand game and, well, gave her my time — some genuine time.

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I scream

Parenting already has its challenges, such as when your kid wants something that you don’t want them to have, and it doesn’t help that the odds always seem to be against you.

For example: You don’t want your kid to eat a bunch of junk food. That’s being a good parent by sticking to that goal as much as possible, right? What doesn’t help:

1. Grandparents, aka my mother, “Oh, she can have a little candy before dinner.” WTH! When I was kid, a candy bar was maybe a four-time-a-year thing. Christmas. Valentine’s Day. Easter. Halloween. Yep, that’s about it. And you got cake and ice cream for your birthday. The kid is looking at her like she’s amazing. Thanks a lot, MOTHER!

2. Grocery stores. You’re trying to get the cart that’s already full of kids filled with whatever you need and to get out of that store as quickly as possible. You never know when you’ll hear “bathroom” – of course they already went at home, but they somehow manage to need to pee right after you loaded the cart with your cold items. Plus, it’s bad enough to try to keep the dang squirmers in the cart or near the cart without having to give the evil look. You finally make it to the checkout, the final and most annoying hurdle because that’s where the candy is. Not just a few, it’s the whole freakin’ Wonka factory on each stand. Candy that glows, candies in the shape of popular characters, gum, ring-shaped ones, and some even have cookies, chips and soda.

3. AND, this one is the lowest of the low to me right now: The ice cream man – or one in particular. My daughter and I had already had a couple of treats during the day and it was near dinner time when we went out to the front yard to feed our cats. There he was slowly moving toward our home.

It was too late to pull her back into the house. The jingle had already wormed its way into her mind and cracked out her eyes. “Ice cream!” She pointed and shouted. Then started to run toward the sidewalk to greet the large blue truck.

“We had a treat already today, honey. We can get an ice cream tomorrow.”

The driver of the truck saw me. Our eyes met. I gave him a head shake and put up my hand to politely let him know we were not interested in his evil, sugary wares. That was that. Or so I thought.

My daughter was about to come into the house until she noticed he was still there and then, he began waving at her.

“Mommy, ice cream,” she squealed and giggled, getting pumped up even more than before.

I couldn’t believe it. The guy was just sitting there. In front of my house! I thought, “OK, maybe he mistakenly thought I wanted to make a purchase.”

I shooed at him.

He didn’t move and the jingling music seemed as loud as ever. That’s when Mommyzilla came out.

“Get out of here!” I yelled angrily, at least twice, and shooed at him more vigorously, my eyebrows furrowed ferociously. He got the point, because homeboy took off after that.

Yeah, that’s right, buddy.

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Full of …

I hate these diaper commercials that tout that their absorbency and quality last for as long as 12 hours. Um, yuck. Who in their right mind would leave their kid in a diaper for 12 hours?! I think that kind of crap, no pun intended, is deserving of a SUPER bad parent award.

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The name game

I recently visited with my former colleague, friend and fellow super mom Jennifer Torres Siders. She is off doing her thing and still writing from time to time for The Record. Her blog is adorable, BTW, and makes me want to vomit it’s so cute. Seriously, she is a beautiful writer and storyteller. We share in the same mommy woes and celebrations as she too has just given birth; another sweet little girl. Our kids are the same age, so you’d think we planned our pregnancies together! Nope. It just worked out that way.

She’s chosen some really thoughtful names for her children, or so I thought. She and her hubs seemed so relaxed about it that you’d think they just threw darts and went with whatever. One of her blog entries details the going about in naming her girls. Cute story. It was interesting to me because of how natural the process seemed for the both of us.

Some people spend months pouring over names and playing with words to find the perfect moniker for their spawn, and some use a family name or carry on a traditional.

My husband is the third, and knowing we were having a son, we did consider naming him the fourth. It wasn’t important to the hubs, even though he is the only direct living male on that side of his bloodline. I am sure this might have disappointed some family.

In choosing a name, we went for something that would go with our ridiculously hard to say last name, which is pronounced Tell-desk-key.

We like strong, classic names. Obviously something trendy or hipster would not work. I can’t imagine an Atticus Teldeschi. Although, the hubs did toy with the idea of naming our son after his great grandfather Amadeo. Too bad it is ruined by bringing to mind the 1980s tune “Rock Me Amadeus.” Hilarious.

I was certain for a long time that I would name my son Gabriel. I felt a connection with the name – strong, yet poetic. I envisioned the name of my kids would be a part of their personality. I also liked that it wasn’t that popular.

In the end, we didn’t go with Gabriel. Another strong name kept coming to me during my pregnancy, and the hubs loved it.

The middle name, however, was the stickler. Maybe we use Amadeo as middle? No. Gabriel? No, it didn’t flow. Nothing seemed right. Then, it hit us: Isaiah. It was a good flow. How to spell it was a dilemma.

Hubs liked the spelling Isiah, as in Isiah Thomas, the retired pro basketball player. (There is an Isaiah Thomas who plays professional basketball.) I couldn’t “misspell” the name on the birth certificate. So, I didn’t, and I confessed to the hubs later. He was cool with it — he couldn’t remember the spelling anyway. Who knows, maybe our son and daughter will grow up hating their name and will change it. For now, they’ve got what we gave them.

Anyway, that’s a story behind our new kid’s name. I am certain we’ll have more children (don’t read into that). We may have a Gabriel yet, or maybe not …

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    Jo Ann Kirby

    I am a working mom who is married with three children in school. Trying to balance family, work, church, fitness and all of our kids' activities is an adventure! Read Full

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