Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sarah's Got a New "Do"

When Sarah was a baby she did not have a lot of hair. I often envisioned the possibility of her having a cute little bob-like hair style Suri Cruise did when she was a toddler.

Sarah's hair also does not really grow that fast. For the longest time I wished for it to grow long so that I could be able to put it up in barrettes and in pony tails and pigtails.

Then, one day at school, for a holiday activity, the girls in Sarah's class were given headbands to wear as part of their costumes. She looked so adorable. It was then that she became hooked on headbands.

For those who know Sarah know that she rarely wears her headbands the right way, or for long. She often would wear them just at the crown of her head or over her eyes. Sometimes she would look like a flapper from the 40s with the headband over the sides of her hair angled on top. There are also times where Sarah decides she wants to wear many headbands at one time.

Eventually, over time, Sarah's hair started to grow. I was able to finally put it up in many different types of barrettes and hair ties. She looked so incredibly cute. The challenge was that the pieces would often either come out on their own, due to her fine hair, or by Sarah pulling them out. She just loves to have her hair be free flowing.

I have also noticed that Sarah is extra sensitive to her hair falling in her eyes. She is constantly pushing her hair away from her face. In fact, she has had bangs for quite some time since longer hair requires it being pinned back, which Sarah doesn't always favor.

On a separate note, Sarah has had a few haircuts since birth. They have always looked good but I have always questioned, do I really need to spend the money to do this when her hair is in the manner it is and that it has to be cut so often? So, I started to cut her bangs and leave the rest of her hair to grow. Not only did this save us some money, it gave Sarah and I a fun activity to enjoy together.

Her hair; however, never seems quite styled. It often is somewhat messy. It was suitable for Sarah's personality with it being free and no fuss.

So, after going to a birthday party recently, and seeing a little girl with a cute bob type hair cut and having Sarah's hair in barrettes and pigtails all day, looking completely disheveled, I decided it was time to try and cut it.

The next morning I asked Sarah if she wanted a haircut and she agreed. She was so excited. She loves it when I cut her bangs. This, however, was completely different territory than I was used to. For the kid that rarely sits still, it was a tougher job than I had anticipated. So, while I ended up cutting off more than I had hoped, because she kept moving, it looks like she now has a cute little pixie cut bob. It's a bit choppy and not so manicured. Then again, Sarah is such a free-spirited child that it suits her well. I am willing for it to grow just a bit longer but am excited I decided to take this chance. She looks so cute.

Change is good. It's so easy to get used to what works and what's comfortable. Sarah and I were both ready for change and the end result was something fun, new and easy. Sarah does not need barrettes or pony tail holders and doesn't pull her hair away from her eyes. She still loves headbands and they look even cuter on her now but with pizazz.

Maybe next time I might take Sarah to someone professional to clean up her hair from what I did. But, for an amateur, I think I did okay. It's only hair, right? It will grow back. Sarah's loving her new "do" and telling everyone all about it.

Here's to life at new lengths. Enjoy!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mommy Slept Nine Hours

Wow!

It's a rarity that I get to sleep as much as nine hours in a row without getting woken up by my energetic, "wakes up often at night" little girl.

And, it probably didn't hurt that I hit the sack early and prepared all of Sarah's food, and my belongings, for the following day. Sometimes I am just so tired mentally and physically from the day that I just wait until the next morning to cram in the "get ready for school" responsibilities.

I know. Not a good idea.

It also helped tremendously that I went to sleep with little stress in my mind knowing that outside of the snow that was expected to come, and my husband's help shoveling, I had nothing else to prepare for in the morning other than getting myself ready, Sarah too, and spending time with her having breakfast.

Before moving to the suburbs I always prepared Sarah's school meals the night before. I have fallen into the habit of waiting to the morning of to manage. While it doesn't take a lot of time, I do end up racing around to get it all completed that I start my day off somewhat frazzled.

Today, while still tired (I am making up for three years of lost sleep), I am more relaxed even despite a late school opening. This of course wouldn't be possible if my husband (who I adore very much) didn't get up to shovel, drop me off at the train and then take Sarah to school.

Therefore, I need to get back to my night time routine, if it means I can sleep more comfortably, and longer.

So, here's to me getting a fresh new start for Monday morning by preparing the night before and getting to bed early.

Here's to a good night's sleep for mommies and daddies everywhere.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Raising a Compassionate Child and Helper

I am such a lucky mommy.

Not only do I have a great child (what can I say, I am biased), I have a little girl who loves to help. She helps at home, enjoys helping at school and has also joined me in helping others who are in need by sharing her belongings.

Sarah has enjoyed helping me bake and set the table. She likes to tackle adult tasks like collecting leaves and shoveling snow, and even taking out the garbage and collecting the mail. Sarah has also taken an interest in something very near and dear to my heart, and that's volunteering, more so as far as sharing her belongings to provide to others who really could benefit.

Well before meeting Daniel and having Sarah I invested much of my free time to helping others through volunteer efforts of various kinds. Thinking back on them now brings a great smile to my face. I donated many piles of clothing, books, household items and more to places like Good Will and faith-based organizations. I have worked in soup kitchens, helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity and walked in many walk-a-thons and ridden numerous miles on my bicycle for health related causes that also involved fundraising thousands of dollars. I am most proud of the experiences I had working with children both as a way to expose them to new experiences, helping in hospitals to support therapists training children to crawl and play, and also in the maternity ward helping comfort moms, a place where I later delivered my precious Sarah.

One particular volunteering experience, which lasted many months, was one that brought the heaviest of heart experiences. I was living and working in New York City when the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place. I couldn't function and volunteering was my outlet to feel useful. I needed and wanted to help in any way I possibly could.

I love the gift of giving and intend very much to keep that as a part of my life. It's with great hope that I can help to raise Sarah with similar passion to want to help others. Raising children is hard work. Raising them to be loving and compassionate takes even greater work. And, I look forward to continuing to expose her the value of the selfless acts and teach her the importance of sharing, caring and helping.

As much as I want to believe that my child was born to be a helper I have come to realize that Daniel and I have played a significant role in helping her to foster this interest thus far.

I truly believe that if you live the life you want your children to emulate they will sometimes, hopefully, follow along in some of your passions and interests as well.

Very early on in Sarah's life, when the Haiti crisis took place there were many clothing and toy drives established to help send things to those in need who lost just about everything. It was then that I asked Sarah to help me pack up some of her toys, books and clothes that she was no longer playing with or wearing including blankets that she was not using as frequently as others she adored. Then, I explained that we would share them with children who are less fortunate than her and in greater need. While she likely had no idea of what we were doing, she seemed to agree and together we took her belongings to the donation site.

Further, one of Sarah's former teachers who was also her babysitter did a lot for her own family and community that involved collecting belongings to share around. Many times after cleaning out Sarah's closet of things that no longer fit or toys she outgrew, I would ask her, if it would be okay to donate them to others in need. Again, and this time a bit older, she obliged.

While, it's likely that Sarah still doesn't quite understand the concept of donating and sharing with others in need I will say that her passion for helping others is indeed present and one that Daniel and I intend to foster over time. I intend to continue to expose Sarah to opportunities where we can help others whether it's in sharing our things or physically helping others.

I look forward to the many experiences we will have together growing up with Sarah and building her interests in helping others and to do it together as a family, bringing us even closer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sarah and The Green Balloon


Recently, I was thinking about an experience Sarah and I had this past summer. "Why?" you ask I write about this now, you will see and understand as you read below.

Enjoy!!!

One calm and sunny summer afternoon Sarah was invited to join a friend's party. At the conclusion of the party she was offered to take home a few colorful balloons. I really only wanted her to take one as she didn't need three. But, it was a battle not worth fighting as it seemed innocent enough.

Nothing about these balloons seemed special in any way at the time.

I would be reminded later on, and over and over, the significance and importance of one of these particular balloons.

I then tied the balloons to the stroller and together Sarah and I walked hand-in-hand home.

As the weather was still very warm and the sun not yet set we agreed to make a pit stop by the local playground to meet up with other friends and play some more.

So, imagine this, playground, kids and balloons. It's no surprise that as soon as we arrived we were surrounded by a number of kids interested in the balloons. I was able to stave off a few kids at the beginning eyeing the balloons wishing to play with them. Shortly thereafter the children made their way back to the slides and playground toys. Even Sarah was in her own world enjoying her freedom roaming and playing and being with friends. She didn't seem to care about the balloons at all.

Or, at least so I thought.

It was only then, while Sarah was playing, that a little boy, a year younger than she, who I knew, and whose mom I was friendly with, approached me. He was crying. He really wanted a balloon. Thinking that there were still two remaining balloons, colors of which I do not remember, it seemed harmless and generous to share just one balloon.

Sarah wouldn't miss this balloon, green in color.

She likely wouldn't remember that there was even a third balloon, let alone it being green.

And, we all know that this is where I made my mistake. I should have asked Sarah if I could share her balloon with our friend instead of giving it away or at least let her be part of the process in sharing it. It's likely she would have said no and would have made a scene. I mean, come on. Do I really need to do this every time? The balloons weren't even really hers in the first place.

Boy was I wrong.

At the moment I started to pull off the balloon from the stroller, the green one, and share it with the little boy, Sarah turned her head, saw me hand him the balloon, watched him hold it and saw him let it fly into the sky.

She then let lose.

Sarah produced a sound louder than any I had heard in a while. She wailed. She screamed. She howled. She cried for that green balloon.

It took quite a while to console her. I was filled with guilt. I was frustrated because she had two remaining balloons. I was annoyed because this was becoming an embarrassing situation. I was a lot of things in that moment. I was also very sorry for taking something that was hers and giving it to someone else without her permission.

I tried my hardest to explain that we were sharing. She wouldn't hear of it. It was kind of hard to have a conversation like this with her when she was emotional and upset. What could I have expected? She was only two and a half.

I then tried to explain to Sarah that the green balloon was now in the sky with her grandpas and grandmas. She still wouldn't hear of it. Mind you, I have never had a conversation with Sarah about death or heaven or anything of the sort. She likely thought I was making something up to make her feel better. She was mad. She was upset. She was not listening. Nothing I could say could comfort her at this moment.

We headed home right away.

I tried much in that time to explain to her that she had grandparents who were no longer with us, up in the sky, and some of which she had been named after.

Every day for quite some time after that incident when Sarah and I would walk through that playground she looked up and would say "green balloon."

One day, out of the blue, Sarah stopped me in my tracks with something she said. Not sure if Sarah saw another green balloon, was triggered by something she experienced at that moment, or was indeed listening that day the green balloon flew away into the sky above that she remembered what I said. She told me that the green balloon was in the sky with her grandparents, who she then named specifically.

Both my husband and I lost our fathers years ago, well before Sarah was born. And, Daniel lost his mom suddenly as well. Trying to explain to a little kid about past relatives, people she was named after, loved ones no longer living I suspected would be too tough a concept for a kid her age to grasp.

I am not even so sure if Sarah really understands that some of her loved ones are gone as she never met them.

However, it was because of this green balloon, which meant nothing at the time, now means such a great deal to me, and to her.

It's when Sarah acknowledges the green balloon that I smile and think back on fond memories of my dad and other loved ones in the sky.

It's ironic how something so simple has been brought to life in more ways than one. And, that is why the green balloon needed to be shared and lifted into the sky. It is now where it belongs, in our hearts forever.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year - Welcome 2011!

Happy New Year everyone.

I am very excited for new beginnings. This is what I love about being Jewish and American. You sort of get two fresh starts every year. The world's New Year and the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah. Both of these holidays provide great opportunity for renewal.

This past Rosh Hashanah, as you may know from my previous blog posts, my world indeed changed significantly. I accepted a new job, which then led to us moving to a new city and home and, hence, a new journey began. So, for the past few months since it's been somewhat hectic getting all the pieces of our lives managed and put into place I haven't had much time to sit and contemplate and think about this coming year's goals and wishes.

So, I look at this year, 2011, as my next opportunity to establish new direction. It's also the year that I turn the big 4-0.

While I am not one to really commit to resolutions I am open to trying to see things from a fresher perspective, continue to build the path for my family already created and to find opportunities for my growth and learning, and to be sure to set aside much time for play with Sarah and Daniel, and for me as well. I especially look forward to getting my butt back into the gym and also on the dance floor.

Hey, Ricky Martin, if you are seeking a back-up dancer who can really shake it, let me know. I've got the goods and I intend to use them much this year and moving forward. And, for those of you that know me well know that the dance floor, whether it be a club or in my living room, is where I am most free and able to lose myself.

While this year will center much around my daughter, as she is an integral part of my life, I look forward to finding more much-needed time for me. And, this is not selfish. As parents, it's imperative that we find time for ourselves to let loose. It's good for us, our partners and our kids.

So, let's toast to a new year of life, love, happiness, good health and lots of dancing.

Happy New Year!!!

Halloween Candy for the Troops

While we all recover from over indulging in too much candy during Halloween, still the candy is in our homes staring at us willing us to...