Posts tagged childhood

Too little or too much?

Brinley is at the age where she is old enough to sign up for team sports and other activities.  We’ve dabbled in dance class which she absolutely loves and she plays soccer and T-ball in the yard all the time.  Most sports and activities start up in the fall when school is back in session but registration for these things is going on NOW.   There’s no doubt that she’ll take ballet in the fall, but is that enough?  Should she also play a sport?  If so, which one?  Do I let her choose or do I sign her up for the one(s) that I think she’ll like and do well at?

I don’t want to overdo it with scheduling activities for her because she’s still so young and I want her to have plenty of time to be a kid and play with her toys and enjoy the freedom of choosing what to do and when.  But I also don’t want her to miss out on anything or to be late in starting certain sports or activities when other kids may already be doing them.  I’m looking for that perfect happy medium but I’m just not sure what it is.  And it’s probably different for every kid/family and that’s what makes it so difficult to decide.

It seems I’m always hearing about parents who over schedule their children with activities.  They’re in swimming, gymnastics, dance, soccer, T-ball, piano lessons AND Girl Scouts on top of going to school.  To me that just seems like too much.  It doesn’t leave any room for spur of the moment plans during the week or time for visits to friends and family or even time to just play at home.  And can the kid really get good at all of those things at once?  I agree that it’s good to expose your kids to many different activities so that they know what is available to them, but how many of those things should they participate in at once?

Brinley will go to school three days a week in the fall.  We’ll sign her up for ballet which will be 45 minutes per week and I’ve decided to sign her up for soccer.  When I initially asked her about soccer she was very excited, but each time that I bring it up with her, she changes her mind.  I’m not going to un-register her, we’ll just see what happens in the fall.  Maybe she’ll love it, maybe she won’t.  When soccer season is over, we’ll look for another activity to replace it and maybe add something else.  I just don’t want to be a slave to my four year old’s (I can’t believe she’s almost 4!) schedule and have to be driving around everywhere all the time.  I also think it’s unfair to Nora (younger siblings) to be carted around all day to their older siblings’ activities.

What’s your take on all of this?  Is it better for the kids to do more and keep busy or just stick with two or three things and have some freedom?  What is your happy medium?  What activities has your four year old loved?

I scream, you scream…

“Run, run, run as fast as you can

Here comes the music of the Ice Cream Man.

Hurry, hurry, hurry he’s coming down the street

I have some money for an ice cream treat!”

Brinley came home from school one day a few weeks ago singing this little tune over and over and over again.  At first I thought maybe she had made it up but it turns out that she learned it at school.  Very fitting since it happened to be about a bazillion degrees that day.

I have some really fond childhood memories involving the ice cream truck.  We had one in our neighborhood that stopped on the corner every single day when the weather was above 70-ish degrees.  I remember hearing the tinkly music and running inside with my brother and neighborhood kids to beg my mom, or any other grown up, for some money for the ice cream truck.  I consider myself very lucky because more often than not my parents happily handed over their pocket change so that we could get a treat.

There is an ice cream truck in our new neighborhood.  We heard that unmistakable music ringing in the air the first week we moved in.  I wasn’t sure Brinley would know what the music was or what it was coming from because we’d only experienced the ice cream truck a few times and it had been over a year since she last saw one.  Well, to my surprise she knew exactly what it was and started jumping up and down yelling, “ice cream man, ice cream man!”  All of my childhood memories came back to me and Scott ran inside to get some money.  What was shocking was that those screwballs that used to cost us 50 cents were now two dollars!!  A simple popsicle is $1.50 and an ice cream sandwich is $2.00.  Yikes!  Of course we got her an ice cream, a Dora face with gumball eyes.

The bad part – the ice cream truck strolls through the neighborhood around 4:30pm.  About an hour or so before dinner time.  Oh and the fact that if we let her get ice cream even a few times a week Scott is going to have to get another job so that we can afford it!  We definitely don’t indulge her daily even though she asks.  She understands that it’s a special treat which is good.  But the smile on her face when she hears that tinkly music coming through the neighborhood really brings me back.

Now I know how my mother felt.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying that how you acted when you were a child will come back to haunt you in parenthood.  Well that could not be more true for me right now.  I never imagined that my three and a half year old could fall victim to a toy or clothing fad.  But boy was I wrong!  I keep having flashbacks to my childhood where I was demanding these:

Image from The 80's Museum

and these:

Any fellow child of the 80′s should recognize both of these famous trends.  I was, to put it lightly, obsessed with the plastic charm necklaces.  And the jelly bracelets (which I am just now learning signal “sexual intent” based on the color), I know that I had enough to go up and down both of my arms at the same time.  So I am not sure why it came as such a surprise to me when my three and a half year old daughter demanded that she have Silly Bandz.

For those of you who don’t know (lucky!!), Silly Bandz are basically plastic bands in that come in various shapes (animals, princess, rock band, cowboy, baseball, etc) that you wear as bracelets.  The slogan is “collect ‘em, trade ‘em, wear ‘em” and they’re being marketed as the “Hottest New Fashion Accessory”.

Anywho, somehow my daughter learned of these magnificent things and HAD TO HAVE them.  I had no idea what she was talking about when she first brought it up but I let her explain it to me and then we went to try to find them.  I wasn’t sure where to look or how much they would cost.  Yesterday we were at the mall and I tried going in to Claire’s figuring that they sell lots of brightly colored plastic jewelry.  I went in, asked the teenaged girl behind the counter and was answered with, “Ha!  Good luck finding them.  We can’t keep them on the racks!”  Ummm, ok.  Now what?  I tried, eeek, Spencer’s.  (I’m not proud that I brought my two young kids into that store, but it was a desperate measure.)  Again, no luck.  So, I told Brinley not to worry and that I was sure that we’d find her some Silly Bandz somewhere (though I highly doubted it would happen that day).  We went along with our shopping which brought us into the Hallmark Gold Crown Store.  Brinley darted ahead of me and started yelling, “SILLY BANDZ!”  There they were, a huge rack of them in all different shapes and colors.  She quickly grabbed about five packs of them and said, “Ok mom, I’m ready to go!”

I took the packs from her and my jaw nearly landed on the floor when I saw the price tag.  FIVE BUCKS for a pack of plastic animal shaped bands?  I told her that she could pick out one pack for today and we could talk about ways that she could earn additional packs.  We left the store and she had the biggest smile on her face.  She proudly put all 24 bands shaped like zoo animals on her wrist and kept going through them naming each animal.  She stopped at least 3 women as we were shopping to show off her prize.  It was really cute.

I’m sure this is just the first of many fashion fad/trends that she will become sucked in by but I really can’t believe that it’s starting at three and a half.  Do your kids have these things?  How do you handle their demands for trendy items?

Sibling rivalry

For eight years of my life, I was the baby.  The second born.  The first girl.  I have an older brother.  He’s two and a half years older than me.  I’m sure he was not thrilled when I came along, and I can’t blame him.  We didn’t really get along well as kids, but what brother/sister siblings do?  I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we were responsible for the term “sibling rivalry”.  I don’t think I would have had a problem getting along with him if he had been a little bit nicer to me.  But to say that he was mean to me, is an understatement.  He was downright cruel.  He gave me rides down flights of stairs in cardboard boxes, cut the hair off of all my Barbies, ripped the heads off of my Cabbage Patch Kids and threw them up into trees, left me swinging in a tire swing that he knew I couldn’t get out of alone, and called me every mean and nasty name he could think of.  I was his scapegoat for everything, or at least he tried to make it that way.  My parents and grandparents never believed him when he tried to blame me for things, and why would they? He was always causing trouble.

I never understood why my brother hated me so much until my sister was born.  Like I said, I was the baby for eight years.  The spoiled little princess.  In comparison to my brother, I could do no wrong.  But the she came along and my life was forever changed.  At first I was thrilled to have a baby in the house.  It was like having a real live doll around.  But then she started to invade.  We had to share a room which meant she was always getting into my things.  I tried to keep her out and she would cry and then my mom would get mad at me, me the one who never got in trouble.  She tried to play with my dolls and “help” with my artwork.  When I had friends over to play she wanted to play with us.  I remember yelling, “Get her out of here!” and slamming the door.  I began to realize why my brother had been plotting to kill me (not really, I don’t think) all of these years.

I have some great stories about my childhood that will pop up here and there on this blog.  Be sure to check back often for them.  Oh, and you’ll be happy to know that, as adults, I get along amazingly well with both my brother and my sister.  I found it in my heart, somehow, to forgive my brother for all of the evil things he did to me as a child.  And luckily, my sister was able to forgive me as well.

Where did you fall in the birth order?  How did it affect your life?

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