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My grandson is having a friend over to their house for a sleepover on Saturday.  The boys are both 5.  It will be the first time a friend has stayed over without a parent there and it will be the first time the little boy will be away from home for the night.  It should be interesting.  I am sort of, not more than sort of, glad that I won’t be the one watching them that night.  I watched the little boy this afternoon while I was babysitting Anderson and Spencer.  He’s either a lot less immature than Anderson (and even than 2 year old Spencer) or he is borderline ADD.  I think it is the latter.  The good thing is that the boy’s family live here in the same mobile home park, just around the corner from my daughter’s house so if there is a problem, it is easy to get him home.

This all reminded me of the year my daughter, Tina, had her 6th birthday party.  She was in kindergarten.  She invited 6 girls over for dinner, cake, a movie, a sleepover, then breakfast before going to afternoon kindergarten the next day.  I knew all the parents except one set.  I spoke to them all on the phone and offered to have them come get their little girl just before lights out so they wouldn’t miss anything if they felt their daughter could not be away from home.  The all understood that and no one took me up on the offer.  All the parents said that if there was any problem, I should call them and they would come get their daughter.

The party was a blast but when it came to going to bed, one of the little girls began looking sad and sort of freaked out.  I asked what was wrong and stayed close to her for extra comfort and support.  She finally said she wanted to go home and see her mommy.  She had never been away from her parents for the night like that.  She was a little younger than the other girls, having just turned 5 (the others were all just about to turn 6).  I called her parents.  It wasn’t that late, maybe just before 10.  I explained what was going on and the mom said her daughter had to spend the night away from her sooner or later so she wasn’t coming to get her and if she cried, let her because she had to grow up.  Well, I understand the concept but I also think that was more than a little unfair to the rest of the girls who had to sleep and get up and go to school the next day, not to mention me!  I had to supervise them all and keep them happy and then get my son out the door for school by 8.  Well, as luck would have it, the little girl cried all night long.  Did I say ALL night LONG?  Yup.  All night.  I sat next to her and rubbed her back and cuddled with her when needed the whole night through.  I managed to keep her from keeping the others awake all night but she whimpered and sniffled all night long.  When I got her quiet and tried to leave to my own bed, she grabbed my arm and began to cry again.  So I was stuck.  The next morning, about 8, the mom called to check on the little girl.  When I told her how she had cried all night, she said she would come over and pick her up so she could sleep.  And she did.  She stopped by about 9 that morning and picked up her little girl and took her home and kept her home from school so she could sleep.  The rest of the girls, went on to have a fun Denny’s breakfast then to school, even though they had not slept well because of the other child’s crying.

Sometimes parents really amaze me.  Yes, there are different styles of parenting and no one way is correct or incorrect, however, in my opinion disturbing others for one’s own convenience really isn’t very considerate to others.

We’ll see how Saturday goes!

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This past year has been enlightening in terms of all things related to babies.  With my daughter’s pregnancy and the birth of the baby, I’ve gotten to see how so much has changed since I was pregnant and had my children.  It seems everything has changed.  No dairy til the age of one; the pediatrician put my kids on milk by the time they were six months old.  No meat until one; I think it was about the age of eight months when my kids were little.  The list goes on and on.

Today though, while looking online for ideas for a Christmas gift for the baby, who is now nine months old, I came across something I didn’t really expect.  There are so many electronic, computerized, super-duper toys on the market.  This I knew.  My daughter has already purchased a number of electronic activity toys for Anderson.  But what I noticed was that a lot of the toys my kids played with and enjoyed endlessly when they were the same age are still around!  They are simple, non-electronic, non-computerized, and not high tech at all.  They are baby driven exploratory toys!  And I also noticed that some of the toys available today are the same that were available when I was growing up.  One in particular is the Fisher Price Chatter Phone.  I didn’t have one but my youngest sister did.  I think it was in the very early 60’s.  It’s still around and as popular as it ever was.  Sure, there are digital toy phones and electronic toy cell phones available today but one of the top sellers continues to be the Chatter Phone.  Another is the Playskool Busy Poppin’ Pals, which my kids loved to play with.  It has basic knobs and buttons and switches to push, pull and press, each causing a different Poppin Pal to pop up.

It was reassuring to see that a lot of the same things kids have thrived on for generations are still around today.

Not sure what Anderson will get for Christmas but I know he’ll love all the hugs and kisses his grandma will shower him with.  You can’t get any more basic or genuine than that!

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I grew up without exposure to a lot of things: books, music (other than the mariachi music my parents listened to), art, theater, etc.    Until college, I had never been to the symphony, other than a field trip to the Young People’s Symphony when I was in sixth grade.  I had never been to any plays other than school plays.  I had never been to a concert of any kind.  I had never been to the ballet.

When I had my own kids, I wanted to expose them to as much culture as I could.  However, this proved to be difficult with three kids spread eight years apart.  I didn’t have a babysitter for them and their dad worked late almost every night.  He wasn’t one to go to plays or the theater so we couldn’t do it as a family.  I actually took the kids to a lot more cultural activities  after my divorce than I did before.

When my oldest daughter was about twelve, she wanted to go to see The Nutcracker.  I thought it was a good idea and so I got tickets for the three kids and myself to go.  Once I had the tickets, the other two kids didn’t want to go and Tina wanted to take a friend.  She picked one of my friends, Lori, to go with us.

After weeks of excitement, the night arrived and off we went to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium to see the Bolshoi  Ballet perform The Nutcracker.  It was cold and wet and dark as we headed south on the Glendale Freeway and merged onto the 134 East.  That’s when it happened.  My tire blew.  I managed to keep control of the car while on the bridge connected the two freeways but I had to bring the car to a stop and the only place to do so safely, because of my reduced speed, was  ON and island between lanes of traffic merging from the north bound Glendale Freeway to the East bound 134 and the lanes of the 134.  I couldn’t stop any place else.  I had to cross two lanes of traffic to get to the call box as those were the days before most of us regular people had cell phones.  Once the CHP dispatched AAA to the scene, I had to go back across those lanes of traffic to get to the rest of us.  Remember, it was raining so I couldn’t stand out in the rain.  Twenty minutes later, the tow arrived, changed my tire, and we were on our way.

Of course, we were late so we had to sit in the back row until the intermission when we were seated in out third row seats!  I’m not sure how much of the performance I was even aware of as I was still in a bit of shock from our little emergency but I do know that the girls had a great time.  After the ballet, we went to dinner then we were finally able to head home where I could wind down.  It was all worth it though.  I had succeeded in taking the girls out to a cultural event that they really enjoyed.

The things we go through for our kids!

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While commenting on a blog post the other week, I was reminded of the time my daughter would not cooperate with the dentist.  She was about five.  It was the year she began kindergarten.  I had taken her and her brother, who was about 8, to the dentist for a check up.  Tony cooperated beautifully.  Tina not so much.  It took a second then a third visit to get the x-ray film in her mouth.  On the third visit, I was the one that held the film in her mouth.  The technician gave me the little button to depress to take the picture because by then we had all figured out that she would only let me anywhere near her mouth.

The x-ray revealed that Tina had two cavities.  Her brother had one cavity and did a great job of letting the dentist work on his mouth.  We figured that would help to get Tina to cooperate.  We all made a big deal about Tony being so brave and he got a special treat (a trip to the toy store to pick out a much wanted toy) after the visit.

Then it came time for Tina’s appointment.  She went.  We sat in the waiting room and then were ushered back to the treatment room.  As soon as the dentist walked in, Tina curled up, sticking her head deep against her chest.  Nothing either then dentist or I did could get her to uncurl so he could work on her mouth.  The dentist let her play with his instruments and ask questions and brought toys in to the room for her.  Nothing worked.  Thirty minutes later, we left with no work having been done.  I made another appointment.  This time, the dentist gave me a prescription for a sedative to give to Tina when we left the house for the dentist’s office.  This sedative would take effect by the time of her appointment and the doctor would be able to fill her two cavities. Perfect plan.

The morning arrived.  Tina was very cooperative.  She took the cherry flavored sedative and we left the house for the dentist’s office.  When we got there, she was so sedated that she could not walk.  I had to carry her in, which was no easy feat.  Although she was only five, she weighed  about 65 pounds!  The doctor was ready and they took her in right away.  She was so out of it that it was funny.   She was half asleep.  The doctor and I looked at each other, relieved.  She would finally get her fillings done.  Tina was all sleepy and then smiley and happy and sleepy again.  As soon as the doctor pulled her cheek and raised the hypodermic to put her mouth to sleep, Tina slapped his hand and he ended up injecting his own hand, instantly numbing it.  So much for that visit.  He couldn’t do anything with a numb hand and was forced to cancel his next appointment, too.

Once at home, Tina’s dad and I had a long talk with her.  She promised she would let the dentist work on her mouth.    So we tried again.  This time, before we even left for the appointment, she refused to get in the car.  I didn’t want to waste the doctor’s time again so I called and rescheduled.  Then I issued an ultimatum.  Either she cooperated with the dentist to get her cavities filled or she would not be allowed to go trick-or-treating the following week.  She agreed.  When we got to the dentist for the next appointment, again she refused to open her mouth.  I reminded her about the trick-or-treating.  She said she would open her mouth.  She did but only long enough to bite down hard on the dentist’s hand!

That was the year that Tina missed trick-or-treating.  I tried and tried to give her another chance before Halloween.  The dentist even helped out saying that he would squeeze her in for an appointment if she agreed so she could get the work done before trick-or-treating.  Tina didn’t budge.   In the end, she just flat out refused and we were pretty tired of the whole thing so I followed through and she did not go trick-or-treating when her brother went.  She stayed home.

Eventually, once she turned 6 in January, she sort of grew up and agreed to let the dentist work on her mouth and she got the cavities filled.

Keeping her from trick-or-treating was one of the most difficult things I had done as a parent, to that point, but it had to be done.

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