I have four kids ages 7 and under. People always ask if I had a set of twins in there. Nope! It’s just been a solid seven years of pregnant, nursing, weaning, crawling, toddling rambunctiousness. My kids – all boys – were born back-to-back-to-back-to-back all approximately two years apart. That means that we’ve been elbows deep in baby food for over six years. I know a LOT about feeding little kids. And I have the magic secret to getting a baby to love vegetables.
When I went off to college at UCLA, I knew that it would be the start of a whole new world of experiences. Sports were a big deal at school. Coming from a decidedly non-sports family, my first games were in the Rose Bowl where I cheered on this dude named Nate who lived on my dorm floor. Back in those days, my football tailgating bags were built from the ground up out of sheer necessity. Through trial and error, I learned what items I needed to get through a long day. Now that most stadium events have implemented a mandatory “see through” bag policy to speed up security lines, it’s more important than ever that items in that bag be compact and useful.
Our big boys started back to school last week. Second grade and kindergarten! To be honest, I was anxious after a couple of bumpy years. I’ve shared that we do sort of a “modified” schooling situation, pairing long stretches of independent study with a more traditional elementary school setting. This summer took us on a new homeschool adventure, with an educational consultant and lots of fun curriculum, but we ultimately decided to continue with the part-time classroom situation for at least another year. I was nervous that the kids wouldn’t want to head back.
To say that we have some BIG Minions fans in our household would be an understatement. We’ve dressed up as the characters for Halloween, our third son is nicknamed “Minion”, and they’re all over our kids’ favorite jammies! So when our dentist said we needed to motivate our kids to brush their teeth more consistently, I knew exactly what approach to take. A Minions toothbrush, all the Minion-y gear I could find to go along with it, and the new augmented reality brushing experience from Colgate on the Blippar app!
I’ll never forget the day that my oldest son’s preschool called me in to talk about addressing his “learning differences.” As an involved parent and a former teacher, I was acutely aware from infancy that he processed things differently than his peers. I was just surprised to hear someone else acknowledge it. Worry wasn’t top of mind during that conversation, when they suggested we have him assessed by the county for an IEP and start making minor adjustments to his day at the learning center.
I was relieved to be getting help.
My three-year-old is in a booster seat, and I don’t even know how this happened. Basically, I blinked, and now he’s a walking-talking-functional human being with independent thoughts and ideas. I’ve mentioned how buying clothes for him is a little weird because he’s huge for his age. The car seat situation is the same. He’s too big for most harness seats, but he’s still mentally immature and needing something SOLID that keeps him contained in one spot if he wiggles a bit. With our frequent travels, we also need something that can go from car-to-train-to-Uber without much fanfare.
I’m thirty-three years old. Three years ago, I had laser eye surgery to correct life-long nearsightedness. Before the surgery, I had no trouble seeing close up. Books, computers, cell phones and faces in conversation were easy. What caused me to squint were things like street signs, chalkboards and clocks across the room. The doc warned me that my vision may swing the other way after the surgery: based on my eyes and genetics, I’d likely have trouble seeing close up sooner than most people. Surgery could help me travel and navigate airports or roads, but soon I would probably find myself holding reading material and menus further away, struggling to make out words that were right in front of my face.
She was right.
I’m a Disney nut. My childhood memories are filled with Disneyland wonder – but I’m also a fairly independent traveler most of the time. My family likes to camp and go on road trips. I’ve always wondered if it was possible for someone like me to find the adventure I crave in a Disney vacation, sprinkled with some pixie dust. Now that we’ve taken a Disney cruise, visited Aulani, and spent lots of time at the Florida and California resorts, I feel qualified to compare the experiences.