themed thursday: road trip activities & games! (part 3)

keeping kids content, quiet and busy is an important part of the SANITY piece for parents road tripping with kids, to preserve your sanity even further, you could consider a service like Comfort Drive where a safe driver will ensure you safely get to your destination whilst taking care of your kids. It is super important to plan ahead a bit and to know what kinds of activities will keep your kids happy, especially for those long hauls! if you know that you are going to be going for a long drive, then think about what sort of vehicle you should take as well. is your normal car good enough for the journey? or would you do better if you invested in something like a motorhome for your family? at least this way you get all the space that you need, and you won’t even have to worry about finding a room to stay in? sounds good right? if this is something that interests you then don’t forget you’ll need to get insurance for it (check out Staveley Head for more information on this). getting a motorhome might just make your road trip with your family a lot easier!

we don’t have DVD players in our car (by choice) and don’t have tablets, so we rely on the kids to entertain themselves and each other.


  • felt boards are super fun and a wonderful way to get the kids’ imaginations going. they are basically story boards for kids to create worlds with, where all sorts of adventures can take place.


  • last year i used cookie sheets as the board, this year i stumbled upon these adorable magnet boards at chapters. they come with magnets, but we will bring along our super, awesome 3D dinosaur magnets, which you can learn how to make HERE.
  • i also found a bag of magnet letters at value village for 99 cents.

these are the magnets i made last year for a road trip. kids LOVED them and they are still in circulation!
we made other magnets as well, which are still in use on our fridge! CLICK HERE and it will take you to how to make these awesome toys!


  • i love the idea of pictorial scavenger hunts. since my kids will be 3 and 5 years old, they won’t be able to read a long list of words. but, one with pictures is right up their alley! here’s one by the bird feed NYC, which is great, so i will use their concept, but will gear the lists towards our trip more, using specific road signs i know we will see, wildlife, sites and things. the kids can work together, which i love!
[ source ]


  • what’s a road trip without family sing-a-longs? here’s a few very fun songs that my boys really love, “old mcdonald had a farm“, “ABC“, “the wheels on the bus“, “the ants go marching “, “
  • we do also have a stack of CD’s, MP3’s and sirius radio to choose from for when we need to give our vocal chords a rest. i love to mix it up as well, playing classical, bluegrass or top 40, but sometimes it’s also good to just drive in silence.


  • my kids, especially bear, loves to play eye-spy when in the car. we still play the colour instead of the spelling version of the game! counting games are also great! sometimes we just count all the red cars we see, or all the transport trucks and so on.
  • other classic faves are (found HERE at MSN): 20 questions, license plate bingo, word chain and more!
  • older kids may like mad-libs.

  • each boy brings his fave stuffed animal.
  • we bring about 10 books and just cycle through them. sometimes along the way i will buy a new book as a souvenir for the kids.
  • markers, paper, colouring books, activity books and a few stickers.
  • small toys like cars, animals, people so the kids can create little imaginary worlds.
  • buckets n’ shovels.
  • deck of cards, UNO, other small travel sized games.

here’s what our dudes looked like last summer on our trip to the canadian maritimes. each had a plastic basket for toys at arms reach, a bin of books in the middle and it worked great.


  • and parents, don’t forget to pack some extra creativity, flexibility and patience. keeping kids peaceful in the back can be tricky at times, and sometimes when the volume of the screaming increases, it’s worth it to stop and get out for a bit. i realize this makes the trip longer, but that’s where being flexible comes into play.
  • on our longer stretches of driving, we actually would start after dinner. kids would play, have stories and would eventually fall asleep and we would drive until midnight or so. until we found a motel. it was a great way to make good time!
  • before getting in the car to drive we made sure the kids had a chance to run some beans out. whether at a motel or camp site. and we made sure the first leg of driving was short, as it’s not a very fun way to start the day. but, truth be told, maintaining any real schedule was impossible. all bedtimes and nap times flew out the window and we just had to let the kids sleep when they were tired!

what are some of your family’s favourite songs and games to play?

xo, mama lola

connecting with nature.

it’s a cool, rainy day here and we are taking cover inside. lion is happy playing with his cars, so i am happy to sit and write.

weather doesn’t always deter us from going outside, though. I try to teach the kids that being outside regardless of the temperature or what’s falling form the sky, can be really fun! I want to invest in some new outdoor garden furniture so that they can spend more time in the garden, simply doing whatever they would usually do indoors, like colouring or reading. Then at least they’re getting some fresh air and appreciating more natural surroundings. We’ve got great gear for all possible weather experiences and the kids are usually game to go outside. in fact throwing on rubber boots, rain pants and a rain coat is considered exciting!

all weather comes with it’s own pro’s and con’s. too much of anything is exhausting, unpleasant and possibly even dangerous. after our long winter (we’ve even had snow twice this may!) we are ready to strip down and frolic without all the layers of warmth!

recently we went on a great hike. i love that both kids are at an age where they will walk on their own without any carriers or equipment. we brought a knapsack with snacks and water, and a change of undies and shorts for lion. although, he is completely toilet trained, he still mastering things like peeing on a tree, which during our hike he failed miserably.

i enjoy hiking with my kids. there are moments when we see something interesting, like strange fungi growing on trees that provides a window for a wonderful conversation about how and why the fungi is growing there. we heard frogs in the marsh, so we stood in silence listening to the noises, and our stillness then allowed us to hear a range of other sounds.

my children, all children thrive in nature. it doesn’t have to be a lot or for long periods of time, but by providing kids opportunities to connect with nature is so vital in their development. i blogged about a book a few years ago that really made an impression on me; “last child in the woods” by richard louv. the book discusses the importance of nature in children’s lives and the growing deficit of the natural world in their daily experiences. you don’t have to go to the woods or on a long hike to witness the wonder of nature, all you need is a tree or a patch grass, and the life you can discover there is incredible. all you have to do is look, and teach children to look; to stop and to observe and use their senses to connect with the natural environment that surrounds them.

as people we tend separate ourselves from the natural world, creating boundaries between us and other living creatures. but, we are in fact a part of the environment we live in, even though we drive cars and live in houses and eat processed foods. the growing disconnect between humans and nature is frightening to see. that’s why dear hubby and i try to connect our kids to their environment, their food, the worms in our garden and the frogs during a hike.

being in nature is good for our physical health, our spiritual health, our emotional health and our mental health. Mother nature has a way of healing and calming us down and grounding us even in the most heightened of emotion. Nature comes in many forms, we can see it, feel it, even taste it, making us feel more intune with what is around us. Stress can take over a massive part of our lives if we let it consume us, luckily there are natural ways to help ourselves so we never stray too far from the path. Herbal remedies have become a staple in so many people’s lives to help them day-to-day, medical marijuana has been lauded by thousands, the same with its other form – CBD, but there is one that may not be as linked but can still have positive effects, and that is Shrooms. Click here to see how this is possible and can potentially be used for your own adult mental health. I have a lot to look into myself and research, I’m hoping that with my own mental health, I too, can find positives in every day.

xo, mama lola

rewards chart, it’s our first time.

i’ve mentioned here before how we have been having a hard time with bear lately. his day to day behaviour is exhausting to live with. his negativity, his sassy mouth and the potty mouth are the top concerns we have. so after talking to another mama, i decided to make him a rewards chart. we’ve never made one for our kids, not even for potty training, so i thought it was worth a try.

one day as bear and i walked home from school just the two of us, we had a chat : mom to son. i started off by saying he and i were in a rut and that we had bad habits in place for clear, honest communication. our response to each other was always the same, we were snappy and grumpy, just cuz. i admitted to having my own bad habits and i asked bear if he was willing to work together to change things up.
he said yes.
then i told him about the chart and that if he succeeded in filling it in with stickers, then we would go to the toy store and buy a wee toy. bear helped make the chart; he numbered the days and then helped decide what the categories should be. he wanted everything to have it’s own row, but i had to contain it all. not sure i did a great job, but so far it seems to be keeping us on the right track.

i’m not super excited about admitting that i am bribing my kid to behave, but i think that incentive can work effectively when used appropriately. and really, it’s about changing behaviour and hopefully by the end of this week, we’ll have both taken a turn for the better.

it’s a huge chart with 100 squares, but on the weekend some of the categories are not applicable (hang up back up, take out lunch bag etc), and we’ve given him a few “allowed oops'”, because we all make mistakes and forget or are tired. i’m not looking for perfect behaviour, but i am hoping for an effort towards courtesy, kindness and positivity.

i don’t have a chart for myself and alas, do not receive any stickers for my efforts. but, i do see the change in him and that’s all the reward i need. kids really do reflect back what they see and feel from us, the parents. they copy and mimic us in ways that is so surprising. i see and hear myself (and dear hubby) in the kids; sometimes i cringe in shame, other times i jump up with pride and think “wow, we are doing something right!”

this whole parenting gig is tricky and, as the kids get older it gets much more challenging intellectually and emotionally. sleep deprivation and battles with getting babes to sleep or to nurse, all seem so easy somehow in comparison. but, i suppose i now have the skills and confidence to deal with sleep issues, but i cannot say the same about dealing with a 5 year old who talks back with great sass in his tone. if you happen to be in the same boat as me, it’s best to contact specialists like Gwinnett Sleep, who might be able to help you with your sleep deprivation at least.

having said that, at the end of the day, i am grateful for whatever battles come my way. i am proud to be my kids’ äiti (mum) and happy to take each day as they come. as long as i get to drink my coffee as well!

happy days ahead!

xo, mama lola

the death of a child.

losing a child is a pain i hope i never have to endure.
the thought alone is…

on friday night dear hubby and i went to a movie for date night. we saw “the place beyond the pines”. a movie that deals with all kinds of pain, sorrow and heartache. as a mama, it is very difficult for me to watch some things on the big screen these days. all i do is imagine those situations, horrors as a part of my life. then on saturday night we watched “the greatest” at home on netflix. the movie deals with struggling, mourning parents who are left to deal with the various consequences after their sons tragic death. this movie was even more heartbreaking than i could imagine. so much so, that i refused to even consider what i may feel if i was that mother, if i lost an eighteen year old son. i should have been an teary, bleary eyed sobbing mess, but the suffering this mother felt was too much for me to even consider. you see, she lost her eldest son, but her younger son was alive and needing his family. 
too close to home for me.

filling two evenings with pain and loss, even though fictional was heavy for my heart. if you know me well, you know i take things on easily and have a hard time shaking feelings off. the thought of losing one of my boys is so incomprehensible. mother’s lose their children every day all over the world, and if i actually thought about all of that pain, i would be stuck in this chair forever debilitated by the sorrow. 

but, i did almost lose my littlest boy. and, honestly i have not actually dealt with that fear or pain. i have shoved those feelings into a box to be kept stashed in the far corners of my heart. it is not like me to ignore my feelings and not get a handle on them, but this, my wee lion almost dying at birth is too much for me to even think about. as i type, i am stiffening up and i feel my defences kicking into gear protecting my heart from the agony that could have been. luckily for me, i didn’t even know he was in danger until he was stabilized. my sweet, dear hubby is the one who knew and felt the danger of death.

death is unavoidable. it is all around us.
but, a parent, a mother losing a child is the kind of pain i hope i never have to endure. 
and, to all of the parents who have lived through that, i watch you in awe. 
your strength silences me.

i hope this post does not leave you with a heavy heart, but instead inspires you to recognize the beauty that is family and life. i know i will be slobbering some extra sloppy kisses on my boys today and tucking them both into bed with me tonight!

xo, mama lola

a mother’s guilt, a bear’s meltdown.

it is hump day and, boy, are we feeling the midweek burn-out.

this morning was such a terrible start to the day, especially for my sweet bear. he woke up angry, because he started growling about everything as soon as he opened up his eyes. the growl was deeper and louder, than the usual morning antics.

it all started, because he didn’t want to wear his jeans. isn’t that the way these things always start? so, i told him he could get another pair of pants from his dresser, but the ones he wanted were in the laundry. of course they were! then as the complaints about the jeans continued, his voice got louder, the screams screechier and the tears flowed even heavier. i was downstairs trying to get his lunch made, lion was eating his breakfast and bear was melting down upstairs. at exactly 7:44am, i knew he was going to be late for school, because he was still in his undies and he hadn’t had breakfast, and school starts at 8:35am.

i phoned dear hubby at work thinking if bear talked to his dad in private maybe that would help, but he actually just escalated. so, i did the only thing i could do. i went upstairs and held him as he screamed at full volume into my ear. i whispered sweet nothings into his ear refusing to let him go. he did eventually, slowly, calm down from that super extreme place where his anxiety takes him. i did get a bowl of granola into him and some apple chunks, before we headed to school in the pissing rain.

at school, we had to go to the office, sign in, change into inside shoes and then trek down to the gym for the anti-bullying assembly. that’s where his class was. there his teacher saw us and came to greet my bear and escort him into the fun and join his friends.
i was left in the hallway with my lion, with a massive lump in my throat and an ache in my heart. i felt as though i was abandoning my guy in his time of need, in a time when he was feeling vulnerable and unsure of his world. i felt overwhelmed with guilt (as usual) and i felt an increased worry about this anxiety. so did what i always do in these situations, and i came home and cried. i know that my worrying about his anxiety is probably causing me anxiety, and i just don’t know how to manage it. i know people who use cannabis products like cbd, or thc products from somewhere like Area 52 to help relieve their symptoms, but i know i have to get my little bear sorted before i can work on myself… so i chose to cry it out.

look at this adorable guy with his swift scooter and awesome helmet! i love him so.

that was a few hours ago now, and i still upset by the whole thing.
it is so hard for me to shake things off. because this mornings meltdown is about something more than just jeans, it’s about anxiety. and that part of the equation is still unknown to us, and will for quite some time, even though we are in the process of accessing help. the wheels always move so slowly.

for now, we are trying to move onwards and upwards.

xo, mama lola

anxiety mine or his :: part DEUX

my bear is now five.
this is where we were last year : part ONE!
and, i am still worrying about his anxiety. it seems to be getting worse on one hand and levelling off on another. his erratic meltdowns are sometimes easy to predict, but sometimes not. but when he does have a break down, it is louder, more extreme and it’s harder to bring him back down. I know from my own experiences with anxiety that he is going through a difficult phase. I have been inclined to use CBD oil UK sourced from Blessed CBD for my own anxiety in the past and I know of a few people who opted to use a metal smoking pipe as a way of getting their dose of medical marijuana (legally) to help manage the symptoms of anxiety effectively. However, I feel this is something that Bear needs to work through without treatment for the time being. as attachment parents, we are very touchy parents. I try to show my love and support by touching the boys often and with meaning. when the kids are upset they are welcome to cuddle in our laps, come sleep with us at night and i try to encourage them to speak openly about their feelings.
but, it’s hard.

here’s what i do know.
bear’s a super sensitive guy. he is sensitive to stimulus, sounds, smells and especially change. he struggles greatly in transitions; when one activity is ending and another one is beginning. i realize that a lot of kids hate transitions, but i sense that bear’s reaction is a bit extreme.

here’s a good example of why i think it’s more than regular kid power struggles or what have you. so, on sunday dear hubby and i decided we would go for a family skate downtown, since it’s still cold enough, so we midas well take advantage of the weather. it was 10am when we started to get the guys moving and by moving i mean, getting them dressed into warm layers. immediately, bear started saying that he didn’t want to go, but we just kept encouraging him to get dressed, get his teeth brushed, because we hoped that once at the rink he would be happy skate.
well, that just got him escalated even more. his volume increased to full blown screams, crying and then physically he was thrashing and kicking as dear hubby tried to hold him. this chaos went on for over half an hour. eventually, i got myself and lion ready and the two of us sat in the car waiting for bear and dear hubby. then at around 11am we arrived at the skating rink. we drove, because of the uncertain nature of bear’s emotional state and it’s only about a 2 minute excursion.

anyhow, long story short. i skated alone, dear hubby went around the rink with lion once, and bear cried and screamed while running next to the rink. it was so awful. embarrassing yes, but awful because here’s my kid who just cannot stop. stop being stubborn, stop and catch his breath, or stop and ______. it feels as though we need to figure out what the missing piece is for him; why can’t he just participate, why does he cry when his friends are at our house, why does he fight back so fiercely?

when we are in these heightened states of emotion (and although it starts with bear, we are all emotionally triggered by him) it feels so extreme. and, as some of you regular readers know, we are in these heightened states pretty often. do i even have to mention summers camps last year… oh, what a disaster they both were! but, as much as i want to help bear i also feel like i have to protect lion in all of this as well. it’s not fair to him that he has to suffer when his brother is panicking, and lion does suffer. we often don’t do things outside the house, because I am worried about how to bear might react.

so, i do think my child suffers from some level of anxiety. and, this week dear hubby and I are going to make some phone calls to see what we can do for him. it’s time. his emotional well being is at stake here and watching him crumble into himself like that is heartbreaking. yes, kids fight with their parents and push boundaries, but the level and frequency at which bear expresses his rawness to me feel too frequent. I know a lot of people with anxiety may choose to visit a dispensary (if the use of medical marijuana is legal) and as there are many benefits that the use of marijuana is said to have on people’s health, I can see why this may be an option. With this being said, I want to get a professional opinion before i make a decision like this.

maybe i’m over reacting.
let’s hope i am.
maybe i just need new parenting tools.
but, i need to know. i need to find out if this is something we need to worry about.

lion’s first skate ever. he barely moved his feet, he mostly enjoyed the ride!

happy hump day folks!

xo, mama lola

television: we all love to hate it!

whether or not to let the kids watch tv, that was one of the questions we tackled when our first wee one was our only wee-wee one. we haven’t had cable in many, many years and when bear was a baby we had a tiny tv, which was perfect for all those friends reruns we could watch thanks to our powerful rabbit ears! we never let bear watch tv or encouraged it, for that matter.

[ we had just moved into our house, everything was still chaotic. ]
[ i used to plonk lion with bear to watch tv, so i could vacuum a room quickly.
not that i condone babies watching tv.]

it wasn’t until i was looking and feeling like a beached whale during my pregnancy with lion, that i really started to let 2.5 year old bear watch stuff. i needed the break, he had given up napping and so i would put on treehouse on my laptop, so that i could sit and nod off for a few z’s. he loved “toopy & binoo” and would eventually fall asleep watching those guys. we then go into the habit of getting DVD’s from the library, which introduced us to a whole new world of shows and characters. it worked well for us. as parents we held on tight to the control of what and when and how much he would watch.

Even though we hadn’t had cable in years, I do sometimes wish that we could’ve provided bear with more choice of things to watch. And, seeing as Nickelodeon had 611 thousand viewers in 2019, according to these favourite tv show statistics, it would’ve opened his eyes to more wonders and imaginations. But, he seemed to enjoy what was already in front of him so we just decided to continue with it.

that was the summer bear became obsessed with “bob the builder”. i actually think it’s one of the better kids shows. our kids are not allowed to watch a few of the popular shows, like “caillou”. he’s a brat and rude to his mother, no thanks! and “max and ruby” where the boy always comes in and saves the day and rescues the girl. no thanks! and, don’t get me going on dora, who yells so much or thomas who uses language that I don’t believe is acceptable for wee ears. then there are the shows that my kids just wont watch, because they are still too scary!

[ bear asleep in front of the laptop, as usual, watching something. ]

I am fully aware of how much screen time bear and lion take in. some weeks they watch a handful of hours, other weeks way too much. but, I have to let it go and not feel too guilty, because on those weeks that i let them watch more, I am probably sick and looking for an easy break!

For us, the biggest concerns surrounding television watching has been the advertising. There is so much advertising directed at kids out there, that by removing commercial television from our home, we felt we were protecting our kids and ourselves. Of course, there’s much less chance of advertisements online with streaming services in canada which is why they’re sometimes better than cable televison. Not only are they cheaper, there is also much more selection, especially for kids. Due to our decision to avoid cable television, our kids have never asked for a toy, because they were never enticed by the visions of colourful commercials. they have never asked to go to certain fastfood restaurants, like mc donalds, who are some of the biggest offenders of directing advertising at kids! (in fact, our kids have no idea mc donald’s even exists, they’ve never been there!)

[ there’s lion with his buddy watching television. this kid NEVER falls asleep watching a show! ]

last fall, we purchased a big ol’ shiny flat screen that hangs on the wall and the kids watch netflix on it. i felt like i had given into mainstream pressures of keeping up with the jones’ and initially felt quite uncomfortable with the huge screen in our living room. but, i got over it! i brought perspective into my life again, reminding myself that the kids are watching commercial free shows, and we as the parents, control what they watch and when. So, it’s not like they have free rein over what they watch and when. Although, they like to think they do. But with every person who binge-watches a boxset, the inevitable is always bound to happen – running out of things to watch. Luckily, our friends have pointed us in the direction of a company like Humax Direct to see if we can find a TV service that’s right for us. They’ve recently bought a YouView box from there, and they’ve said it’s the best thing they’ve ever done because there are so many programs, both for kids and adults to watch, without ever running out of choice. And with our new flat screen tv, this could come in good use. But we’re still weighing up the pros and cons. We have to think about our children’s watching habits after all.

the kids are only allowed to watch tv in the afternoons, after nap or after school depending on the day. sometimes on the weekends we will have a family movie night and watch a movie after dinner. the kids are not permitted to watch anything in the mornings, especially before school or before bed. it just works for us to keep things consistent and regimented. plus, the more time the kids spend in front of the tv, the less time they are interacting with each other or with us. and that human interaction really is so important for kids.

but, as technology changes, so do our rules around screen time. i am curious what other parents do, especially now that kids have their own computers, have access to ipads or other tablets, play games on their parents smart phones or just want to sit back and watch a show on tv. what are your limits in your home?

happy tv watching!

xo, mama lola

my new [zen] journey.

mothering, parenting, fathering, caring whatever you call it, whatever it looks like to you, is tough stuff!

i’ve been quite open about my constant, internal battles as a mama. i’ve shared my struggles with the ever present weight of my own mother’s guilt, my feelings of total and complete inadequacy, my ever present worries about not being enough to my kids and then there’s the whole regrets boat that i’ve jumped aboard!

but this year, 2013, was or i mean is going to be one of change for me. things have already shifted, but to make big changes, one has to be patient and that’s where i’m at. you can read more about my new year’s resolutions HERE and my soul searching thoughts HERE.

a friend of mine recommended a fantastic book after reading one of my recent new year posts. it’s by karen maezen miller and it’s called Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood. check out her blog HERE. (and, WOW mamaA, talk about being exactly what i need right now.)

this book is hitting all of my struggles bang on. BANG ON. karen describes the yes common, but the deeply personal pains it takes to be a mama. the way all of our pre-existing boundaries and expectations are being pushed and twisted and morphed into something unexpected and unknown. the way us mother’s are placed on opposing sides of this mamahood thing just by the philosophy we choose to follow, creating negative competition when we should be supporting each other. the way, even after newborns grow into infancy and infants into toddlers, our role and job as a mother never goes away, there is no option to quit.

it’s the kind of book i should have purchased for myself, because all i want to do is sit there with a highlighter and mark the things i feel are true to me. 

who can’t relate to this:

“Exhaustion made me brittle. A silent rage billowed and foamed against the sudden loss of everything mine- my body, my time, my space and, my life. “

“… but where exactly does this thing called a mistake take place? Only in our mind- our judging, critical, labelling mind. The mind that provides the nonstop narrative to our lives: “There you go again. Can’t get it right. You’ll never do it. Big mistake.”

i am not a religious person, but i did relate to the spiritual aspect of this book. i should mention that karen is a zen teacher. she has studied buddhism and meditation, and shares those teachings in this book. the calm, wise words she speaks are very profound. the clarity with which  i read this book, says to me that my struggles that attribute to my children and my mothering are not really about either of those things. 
my struggles come from within me. 
they are about me and nobody else.

and that’s why, like i’ve written before, i am on a mission to introduce more self care into my life. take time for myself and slowly make myself a priority in my life and my family’s life. 

i highly, highly recommend this book to all mother’s (and father’s or caregivers). the advice and knowledge karen shares is relevant, practical and given in such unpatronizing way that it is easy to hear. this is a book for parents in all stages of their journey. i will now have to hit the local bookstore and buy my own copy so i can highlight the bits that spoke most to me.

*the pictures are of tulips given to me by a dear old friend who came to visit. they brought such life and positive energy into our daily drudgery! thanks, hon!

xo, mama lola

lion in the sun.

this space has become very saturated with bear and and all of his school stuff recently. 

i don’t want to send the wrong message that i favour my bear and that i have forgotten all ablout  my lion, because, that would be ridiculous! lion and his needs have been at the forefront of the school decisions right next to bear’s. one reason we chose to only send bear to school three days a week instead of the typical five, was because we wanted to nurture the relationship between the boys. in the summer i would lay in bed at night wondering how our littlest guy would cope with his big bro at school all day, every day, gone. i honestly worried he would fall into a bit of a depression.
dramatic? perhaps.
but, again, since we can keep bear home we midas well. the benefits are enumerable for all of us. 

i could have sent my lion to preschool this fall, but instead i chose to keep him at home with me, because he and i have never really spent much time alone, just the two of us. with dear hubby at work and bear at school all day, it is the perfect time to clock in some valuable one on one time with my wee guy. now at two lion is seriously asserting his own wants and needs, and has an opinion about everything (just like his mama). by spending more focused time with him, i think it’ll help curb some of the screaming and tattling that takes over in the evening around here.

i will look into community programs and see what we will do. maybe swimming, maybe a reading group, maybe an art class. whatever we do decide to do, i am so excited for us to spend time as duo! 

he’s excited too, he just doesn’t know it yet!  

how do you divide yourself amongst your kids? how do you find balance?

xo, mama lola

bear started kindergarten today.

today was a big day for our family.

my eldest started school. they have a new system, where they don’t just throw the JK’s into the school and see who sins or swims, instead, they stagger the start days. that means, today bear went on from 12pm until 2pm to meet his teacher, see his classroom and make some new friends. dear hubby, lion and i walked to school with him. as we were walking i was holding back tears, biting my lip and trying desperately to ignore the urge to turn around and run back home with my bear tightly in my arms.

[ leaving the house with a pouty bear and tired lion.]

we arrived at the school to a small group of waiting families. then bear’s teacher called him and some other JK’s to go into her room. so, in we went and almost immediately we were told to quickly say good-bye and leave.
i felt so flustered and tried to give him a kiss; i don’t even remember if i told him i loved him. and then we left, leaving him behind. i rushed out of the school with tears welling up in my eyes, trying to wipe them away without smearing my mascara every where. why i put that stuff on… anyway, i only allowed myself to cry a few little sobs before we walked home. lion fell asleep in the stroller and the three of us we spent a quiet afternoon at home without our bear.

[ a quick good-bye. ]

the house felt empty without bear. he’s not a particularly loud kid, but he has big presence here. he holds his own and makes himself known.
my heart ached as i looked at baby pictures of him, wondering where my little bear had gone. how did four and a half years fly by like that? gone, i swear all i did was blink and swoosh, gone. time has this magic of disappearing into thin air.

the two hours at school passed quickly enough. back at school we met his teacher, madameC, who is lovely. she is friendly and soft, and her demeanour seems like an ideal match for my guy. she remembered bear from the visit the kids had in the spring, the one where he grabbed my leg and cried and wouldn’t let go. today madameC told me with a gentle smile that he didn’t cry at all and that he seemed quite calm. that is reassuring. something i needed to hear.

bear himself was delighted to show us his cubby for his shoes and the corner he tucked his bookbag into. he proudly presented me with the art he had done and excitedly explained that they had even gone outside. as i listened to him, i was honestly so happy for him and so proud, especially since going to JK is a big deal for my anxious little guy. but, and i hate to admit this, deep down inside i was sad that his life was going on without me; that he doesn’t need me quite so much any more; that he’s growing up. 

i know it sounds silly, and possibly laughable. 
but, as a stay-at-home-mama, letting go of my child and entrusting him to someone else is a big deal. that’s one of the reasons we’re only sending him for three days a week instead of the full five. luckily bear’s teacher madameC and the school principal seem unphased and supportive of our own schedule. i am not willing to completely give him up to the system. others can judge me all they want, but kids are in school all day, five days a week for over a decade. i want to spend as much time with my kids as possible, while i can. 

[ looking confident and proud in front of the kindergarten playground. ]

[ walking home.]

maybe it’s selfish, maybe it’s self-less, depends who you ask, i suppose.
but, i know what’s best for my kids.

xo, mama lola
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