Friday, February 26, 2010

Discipling your kids when they are tired

I need a little help here. There are times when I just drop the discipline all together and focus on getting my kids to bed, and then there are times, like tonight when I just cannot give in. I had to work from 2pm-7pm so we had our babysitter watching the kids. She is very good. She takes them out and plays with them. They seemed so very happy. I walked in and they continued to be happy until about 10 minutes after our babysitter left. I know they do this because it is ME. I get that. They like to do this to mom. But, I also knew that my daughter was very tired. And, understandably so. We have been on the road now since Feb 7th. We have been living in a small one bedroom hotel suite. All four of us in one room. Taking that into consideration, I knew I needed to get the kids into bed early. So I focused on getting there PJ's on. That actually went very smoothly. It seemed to go downhill when they asked me for a treat and I pulled out my jellybeans. I gave them each 3 and my daughter lost it. She wasn't happy with jellybeans as her treat and nothing seemed to please her. She was inconsolable and, you know what, I was not happy with her. Instead of sending her straight to bed, I used a very relaxed tone and gave her 2 more chances to take her jellybeans before taking them away. We then went in and tried to brush teeth and she wouldn't do it. I calmly gave her 3 chances to brush her teeth or she was going to lose sweets for all of the following day. She opted not to brush her teeth and so we went in to the bedroom. All the while, she was crying hysterically. After attempting to read to my son, who was being so very good, I gave in and listened to her request. She had been begging to brush her teeth. I didn't want to do it because I felt like she needed to understand the consequences of her actions and decisions but then I thought of how tired she was and changed my mind. We brushed teeth and then she asked for her jellybeans. I said no way and she continued to cry. She is now sleeping and I am okay with giving her another chance but welcome anyone's thoughts on this subject. Do you think an overtired kid can really make a good decision? I bet your answer is going to be yes...but would you have done the same thing as me? How about the fact that all of this was because of some damn jellybeans!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My kids and Mascots

At the 2010 Olympic Games, there are 4 mascots. They are Quatchi, Sumi, Miga and MukMuk. It was almost immediate. My daughter took one look at Miga and fell in love. She new that Miga was her girl. And just the same, my son fell for Quatchi as if they had known each other for years. And, from what I have seen, they are not alone. I find that very interesting. Because, after talking to several kids this morning as I was hanging with the REAL Miga and Quatchi, I found that kids of all ages were quite taken by the mascots. It was actually very cute--the whole idea of a dressed up person in a mascot uniform. They are not allowed to talk and they are not allowed to show their real faces. But when they walk out as their characters, I immediately smile. And, kids in a mile radius seem to come running.

My kids are split on the whole mascot thing. My daughter is very shy and although every ounce of her being wanted to run up to Miga and give her a huge squeeze, she just couldn't do it. She was too shy and Miga was just a little to real. My son, on the other hand, couldn't be stopped. One look at Quatchi and he was out of his stroller and right by the furry dude's side. He knows their names and couldn't stop repeating them while smiling as wide as possible. I find it facsinating that not only a little kid finds joy in meeting a mascot but adults do as well. Maybe it is their cute little dances or their interesting ways of using gestures instead of words. Either way, according to my kiddos, they just might be more popular than Lindsey Vonn at these Olympic Games.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Keeping up with the Olympic crowd

Every Olympics that I have attended seems to have one or two items that are “the thing” to get. Here in Vancouver, it seems to be the Lucky Looney—which is a coin for those who don’t know and the “red mittens”. Finally, I scored the red mittens today. The funny thing is that I saw an entire wall full of them in the Official Olympic Store when I first arrived in Whistler. I remember thinking..."Hmm, these are cute. And, they are super reasonable...only $10." Boy, is hind-sight 20/20 or what. I could have bought up about 20 pairs if I wanted. But when the games began and they became all the rage, they were quickly gone and I had no clue if anymore would be coming in. I actually did a little feature on the "hot" souvenirs and they were the top items. I thought I might have an in as to if and when more red mittens might hit the stores. I went in and asked the sales clerk what she could tell me about another shipment. She smiled and said they would probably be in in a few days. Somehow, I remembered to stop in on Thursday and then again today. Today was just a coincidence. I had about an hour off and was walking to meet up with my hubby and kids when I saw a bunch of people holding red mittens. This was the first time I had been in with the masses when it came to a frenzy. Women were literally pushing and shoving to get to the mittens. REALLY!!??!! I stepped back for a second and began to I really this person? The one who has to have the IT item? And then I dug in and grabbed out 4 pairs gently. In all, I have 4 adult pairs and 2 kiddo pairs. I am just trying to keep up with the masses and bring home the cool items. Right now, I have some pretty sweet pins, a few mascot key chains and several red mittens. Life is good and my hands are cozy!

Oh, yeah, and if you are reading this on Monday morning, Feb. 22, tune into Rachael Ray today to catch my feature.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Separating your space when you are in REALLY small quarters.

I am not complaining at all, but we are staying in a one bedroom hotel room suite that is about 600 square feet. There are four of us living in this wonderful pad…my daughter, my son and my hubby. We are here for most of the month of Febuary. This is not our first experience with living in tight quarters and we learned a lot from the first time. Here are some tips if this ever happens to you.

Everyone must eat their meals at the table. No getting up and down and running around with gooey, sticky hands. When you are finished you get down. If you get down before you are finished you get one chance to get back up and eat, otherwise you are finished. Everyone’s hands and face must be cleaned before getting down and running around. We are, after all, in a hotel room which I would not want to completely demolish.

Being organized saves a lot of lost items and time looking for them. Try and put all the dirty clothes in one place and put the clean clothes away. This also saves some time and keeps you from washing the same things that you just washed the last time.

Giving each child their own private spot to keep their toys helps make life easier for you and for them. Its amazing how they will go to their own spots and entertain themselves for quite some time. It also helps keep things organized as they know where to put their things away.

Getting them outside to burn off that childhood energy when you can is one of the most beneficial things of all. Having access to a park or a pool where they can get out and move around—essentially wear themselves out is oh, so important.

I would also like to say that things are just going to be somewhat messy and that is just the way it is. So, don't get too stressed out about that.

We are managing in our 600 square feet, but I must say that I feel very fortunate to not have to be this confined all the time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Best Olympic Meal

The prefect Olympic snack.

Stir Fry—this is the perfect snack and meal. It is fast, contains all the right foods and really hits the spot. When I was swimming, I would come home from practice at night and be starving to say the least! I would hope and pray that dinner would be ready the minute I walked in the door. Stir Fry was—actually still is—one of my favorites. All you need to do is make some rice, and stir fry lots of veggies with some chicken, beef or shrimp in a big pan. It doesn’t take at all long to cook and is so yummy. You can make a big batch of it and have it the next day too. It fills you up without filling you out! I used to eat so much rice. I would have a huge plate of rice with almost everything I ate, so adding some veggies and some protein to it seemed like the easiest thing to do. I could also have the leftovers for a snack during the day—especially on the weekends. It was all about getting enough to eat in those days of 2 hour workouts everyday after school and 1 hour workouts before school. If you have never competed in a sport while growing up, you need to know how hungry your child can be when they come home from practice at 6-7 PM after a day a school and participating in their sport. I know first hand that I was ravenous. I tell you these things so that you know that Stir Fry is fast, easy, nutritious and really fills a body up.

While we are here at the Olympics in Whistler, I am working a lot so when I get home there is not much time to make dinner and the kids are usually hungry. If I wait too long, they start eating a lot of junk and then they don't want their dinner. So I turn to Stir Fry as a perfect choice--fast, easy and they love it. If there are any leftovers, they can have them for lunch the next day. This is a great meal for athletes and pre/post-athletes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Real Olympic Spirit

When I was a little kid, I did dream about winning a gold medal. My vision was pretty simple…I constantly replayed the medal ceremonies of both Mary Lou Retton and Tracy Caulkins. It would give me the chills, just thinking about it. I will never forget when Mary Lou "stuck" her landing for the vault to win the overall! Her smile was absolutely unforgettable. As an 11 year old, that seemed like a fairy tale. I didn't dream about myself in that position all that much. The idea of being an Olympian is what motivated me. The idea of wearing my USA swim cap and walk in the Opening ceremonies. I loved the thought of representing my country. That made me feel very proud! Being here at the games now makes me feel that way again. It is amazing how emotional I still get when I watch the Opening ceremonies or when I see these wonderful athletes compete. There are times when I am walking down the stroll here in the Whistler Village and I find myself with a huge smile on my face because I feel so lucky to be here to witness the action. That feeling is what I call "the Olympic spirit". And I think I caught it. For a solid 17 days, there will be so much action day and night. Every where we go, we will see the rings and hear the live feed. It is all over the village. Already medals have been handed out and athletes are beginning to fulfill their dreams. Gold, silver and bronze medals will be handed out…but it goes way beyond that. Just to compete here is, for many, the icing on the cake and I LOVE that. Sure, many will be bummed if they don't bring home a medal but there will be several athletes that consider making the games the ultimate achievement. I know one thing, my family will be cheering for everyone…and maybe even a little bit louder for those who are pulling up the rear! Go Olympians…be proud!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Finding the right childcare on the road.

The kids, hubby and I are in Whistler for the Olympic Games. I knew we were all coming out here about 6 months before so I had plenty of time to check out possible child care options. The organization of our schedule was the most difficult part of the equation as I was not sure what time my husband and I would need help. I started by asking around, particularly within my husband's circles to see if anyone knew of a great babysitter in Whistler. I didn't think it would be hard to find someone, who knew someone, who knew someone…you know, somebody who could vouch for the sitter. I must have asked about 30 people before I finally found a name of a sitter. In the end, we ended up going with a nanny service that was recommended by several people, BABYSITTING WHISTLER. When I phoned the service, a very nice and well informed woman answered all of my questions. I asked her about their policies for hiring, what kind of background checks were made and their payment policy. Although all of her answers were right on target, I was pretty concerned with the whole thing….you know, another country, the biggest event of the year and the fact that I had never met nor knew anyone who had met the person watching our kids. YIKES. I guess this is when I become a nervous parent. And yet, I knew that my hands were going to be tied. I will be working LIVE television at the games…I can't say, "Be back in an hour." Luckily, my husband could make the transition easy for everyone. He stuck around for the first hour and a half after the babysitter arrived. He helped acquaint her to all of the necessary items she might need…diapers, snacks, clothes, blankies, etc. In general, our kids are pretty cool around babysitters. There have only been a few times when they have completely freaked out when I have left. And most times, if they do cry, they are done about 5 minutes after I leave. The really great thing about our nanny is that she gets them outside and burns off some energy right away. The first day, she took them to park and the gondola and the second day she took them to the pool. It makes me feel good knowing that she is getting them outside of our little one bedroom suite. And, she has done about 10 different art projects…our hotel room looks like a mini museum! I don't want to jinx things but so far, no tears have been shed and everyone is having an Olympic good time.

Monday, February 8, 2010

We not only survived, we smiled the whole way!

We really lucked out. Or shall I say, I really lucked out. We arrived at the airport to discover we were sharing the plane with a ton of my hubby's friends who were either on the Olympic team or have a connection to the Games. Yay!!! I saw two of our friends and immediately smiled thinking, "they have kids...they know what I am going through." Sure enough, they did and they helped big time. They took turns carrying my car seat and a few bags. My arms were thankful. I do have to say, all throughout the airport, I had very sympathetic looks passed my way. I would simply try to smile back as if I was not concerned in the least. Meanwhile, everyone knew my state as I was completely drenched just after security. Once on the plane, the flight attendant suggested that I sit next to my son and have my daughter sit across the aisle. Hmmm. I wasn't sure how this was going to go over. It started off well since the flight attendant offered up a "surprise" if she sat there. Then, it got even better. The gentleman she was sitting next to was the head coach for the French short track speed skating team. He was so sweet to her! He held her drink, flipped the pages of her book and helped her play with her magnetic game. By the end of our trip, she was resting her feet on his leg and snuggling up next to his shoulder. My son was very sweet and even with his gigantic snow boots on, only kicked the seat in front of him 4 times. Luckily the gentleman in front of him, an Olympian from Norway, was super understanding and very nice. So nice that he gave both the kids Norwegian Olympic pins. The only problem with the entire day of travel came at customs when my son thought it would be funny to run away from me throughout the line. I got a lot of angry faces when this happened and a few stern comments when it happened the second time. But when we made it through the customs door and out into "daddyland", my crew was beyond thrilled! Getting to see daddy was a the icing on the cake for all of us....especially a worn out and sweaty mommy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Me, My kids and my 6 carry-ons!

I do this every time. I try to consolidate all the snacks and the toys into one little bag but it never works. Suddenly, at the 11th hour I discover 40 more things the kids will "need" during our month long stay in Whistler, BC. Yeah, like they really need it. But, I do want the experience to be great and that includes the flight.
I always pack as if we are going to be stuck in the airport for 2 days. Is that crazy? I bring way too many diapers and snacks. But, I do this for my own sanity. One time, I brought the minimum amount of diapers and, yes, I was caught in a "poopy" situation with no way to get out of it. This trip is going to be hilarious, if you can look at it that way. I am traveling to Vancouver by myself with a 2 and almost 4 year old. The flight isn't that long..only 2 hours and change. But the airplane is small therefore, the kids will be sitting on one side of the plane and I will be on the other. I am imagining that an aisle apart can, at times, feel like an ocean. So, to try and keep meltdowns to a minimum, I have little computers, coloring books and crayons, dvd's and the player and, of course...the ole stand-by, CANDY!! When all else fails, I give them candy. I put on a little extra deodorant this morning to be really prepared. So, if you see me with all my bags, looking like I am heading into war, you will know what they are for and why I look so focused. May the Games begin, literally!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Little boys and Little girls...lots of differences.

Let me start by saying that not all little girls and not all little boys are the same. This is my own experience and many other moms have agreed. I had a daughter first who was sweet and observant. When she learned to sit up, I could sit her in front of her toys and she would entertain herself long enough for me to gulp down a large cup of coffee and some toast. I would sit off in the distance and watch her. It was heaven.

When she learned to crawl and walk, if she found something, she would hand it to me instead of putting it in her mouth.(that is not a girl thing....just a very cautious thing) She was an early talker. Chatting up a storm and trying to tell her stories while spouting her ABC's. She loves her dolls and is very meticulous with her baby set-up. She will care for her babies all day long. And when we had our son, she suddenly had her real life baby to care for. She was so sweet to him from the very beginning. She would kiss him without request and hug him just because.

But soon, the baby began to grow and he began to get into everything. And I mean EVERYTHING! Every drawer, cupboard, case, box....anything and everything at his respective level was fair game. And, unlike my daughter, he stayed on one toy for about a milisecond then went to the next. He was/is a mile a minute. And everything went into his mouth. He had no fear. He would undo an entire roll of toilet paper and stuff into the toilet. Or, to change things up, he would lead the roll of toilet paper about the house. He was an early crawler and an early walker but he waited awhile to talk.

Now, we call him parrot cause he repeats everything we say and he is Mr Chatty Cathy. He jumped out of his crib at 16 months, so we put in the crib tent...problem solved. Then, a few months ago, I walked into his room and found him standing up on the crib rail. He looked at me and said, "Mom, watch, I jump!" Yeah, my daughter would never have done that.

I learned the biggest difference between the boys and the girls when my son was super little. I learned this watching my niece and a friend's son. They each took turns dancing with this huge feather. My niece grabbed it and did gentle swaying and twirling moves with it. Then she handed it over to the fella and he immediately used it as a sword...killing everything in sight with incredible force. Hilarious!

I do have to say that my daughter is very protective of her little bro, similar to the way I would hope an older brother would be. We were at a McDonald's Playland during our drive home from California at Christmas. There were several kids at the particular play area and as they both started to go up one tunnel, I noticed there were several bigger boys making lots of noise at the top. I quickly grabbed my daughter and said, "Take care of Spider at the top. Don't let anyone hurt him." Next thing I know, I see Skye at the top with her arms around Spider, hugging him, yelling to all the boys, "Don't you hurt my brother!!" over and over again. It was adorable. Maybe her brother is starting to rub off on her.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A 4 year old and her first joke.

My daughter is almost 4. You would know that in the first 5 minutes as she says that all the time. She turns 4 on April 21st and I feel like she IS turning into such a big girl.

I don't know how it came about as I was in my son's room at the time but somewhere between brushing teeth and bed, my hubby taught my daughter her first joke. She thought it was hilarious and couldn't stop laughing when my husband was telling it, so she learned it herself. She took it very seriously, learning every word. I don't think she gets what she is saying...or even gets that it doesn't really mean anything but she LOVES that she is telling a joke. She loves it so much, in fact, that she wants to tell it all the time. It makes me laugh only because she gets so excited about the opportunity.

Then, I really thought about it. Telling a joke is a great exercise for a kid. Especially for a shy little girl like my daughter. My mom was worried about how shy I was when I was her age, so she enrolled me in our community acting class. All I remember is playing "Little Red Riding Hood"....and not very well! But when a kid tells a joke, they are using their memory skills, their listening skills and their verbal skills...not to mention the fact they get a great deal of confidence from a laughing audience. My daughter's face lights up when we laugh at the end of her joke. She feels a huge sense of accomplishment from delivering us a dose of happy and it shows.

So, keep um clean but enjoy the art of joke telling with your is really fun. Oh yeah, and here is her joke....
"Why did the chicken cross the road?" (Why?) "To get to the other side." Which has now turned into... "Why did the princess cross the road?" (why?) "To get to the other castle."