Henry and Harry

May 9, 2018 § 2 Comments

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I’m back after a long blog hiatus because of two of my favourite things: Harry Potter and Henry.

This morning at breakfast, Henry asked me if Dumbledore was a “good guy”. He had been playing a LEGO Harry Potter video game at his friend’s house on the weekend. Also, at Henry’s age, he and his friends are very into “good guys” and “bad guys”. I said, yes, he’s a good guy and a great wizard in the books. Henry asked who the bad guy was, so I reminded him about Voldemort. (We haven’t read the books yet, but of course, I love to tell him anything he wants to know about Harry Potter whenever he asks ;) )

Henry’s next question was a good one and proof that kindergarteners can really make you think sometimes: why is Voldemort bad?

In school this year, Henry’s really paying attention to the other kids’ behaviours and trying some of it on for himself, experimenting with what behaviour gets what kind of reaction, but in the end, Nick and I like to remind him that we like Henry the best, and he’s back to himself shortly after. He tries to tell me that some kids are bad, but I like to ask him questions about why he thinks his classmate was acting that way. Were they sad or tired or grumpy? Maybe they were having a bad day. Can he remember a time he felt like that?

So I was faced with this question about Voldemort that I’ve never really stopped to think about before, despite being a huge Harry Potter fan. In a movie or book you just accept that the villains are the villains and the heroes are the heroes. But I wanted to give an empathetic answer, so I told him how Voldemort had no parents and no friends and maybe that just made him a sad and angry person. Then I told him how Harry actually told Voldemort how he felt sorry for him because he will never know love or friendship in the big fight scene at the end of The Order of the Phoenix. It sounds so cheesy, but it really is what life is all about and Henry got it immediately. He teared up and came to me for a hug.

Four year olds ask the best questions sometimes. And I cannot wait to read these books full of great life lessons to Henry and Charlie.

Charlie’s First Two Weeks

July 24, 2017 § Leave a comment

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We have officially been a family of four for two weeks now! We already love Charlie so much that it seems like he’s been here for a lot longer, although we are still regaining our footing and figuring things out with this big change. The two biggest things we’re adjusting to are Henry’s new role as a big brother and the fact that we are pretty much bursting out of our apartment! _DSC7934

Henry has been used to having my full attention for his whole life since I work from home and he only has a babysitter part time so he’s had his ups and downs. Whenever I can, I make sure to put Charlie down or hand him to Nick so that I can just sit on the floor and play with Henry for as long as possible, giving him my full attention. I still do bedtimes with him too, which seems to really help. Despite the good and bad days, we are proud of how welcoming he’s been with Charlie. He just wants to hug him ALL THE TIME – sometimes a little too enthusiastically ;)

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Charlie spends most of his time sleeping, eating, and as Henry likes to make sure to point out, pooping. He’s already gone from his birth weight of 7 lbs 14 oz to over 8 lbs 8 oz (as of last Tuesday)!

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Charlie’s already been going out and about with us and has also met a few close friends like Unckie Paul!

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My parents came to visit this past weekend to meet Charlie and visit us all. _DSC7932_DSC7948

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They also took Henry to our amazing neighbourhood toy store and told Henry he could pick out one thing, whatever he wanted! Of course he chose an enormous and loud, but pretty cool truck crane.

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Nick has been working from home for the past two weeks and will be home with us for another two weeks. With no family living around us plus Henry’s big adjustment to our new addition, it’s so helpful that he’s doing this. If it weren’t for my amazing husband and awesome sitter, I don’t know what I’d do!

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The sleep deprivation isn’t as bad as it was with Henry, mostly because between already having a kid who goes through good and bad stages of sleeping, plus not sleeping well during the last trimester of my pregnancy anyways, I am kind of used to bad sleeps at this point. Also, as a second-time parent, I know that everything is a phase and in just a few months, things will get a lot better. Also getting up three or four times a night would be a lot harder without that cute face to look at!

Welcome, Charlie Wolfe!

July 15, 2017 § 1 Comment

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Introducing Charles Wolfe Storch, 7 lbs 14 oz, born Monday July 10 at 6:30pm!

After my friend Julia – my pregnancy partner/good friend who was due just 10 days after me – gave birth to her son on Saturday within hours of having her water broken, I knew I was over being pregnant. I was ready to meet Charlie and get this whole birth ordeal over with. Sunday morning and afternoon, Nick, Henry & I spent at two birthday parties in the hot sun, wrangling our excited kid. I was 5 days past my due date at that point and definitely exerted myself a bit in the heat, but by dinnertime, I was finally starting to feel contractions!

Around 9:30pm, I was suspecting that my water broke after a contraction. Getting ready to have a baby when you already have a 3 1/2 year-old is so different than your first time around. This meant that we had to have Henry’s babysitter on-call and ready to come over when my contractions were close enough together to go to the hospital, which also required a tricky balance of giving her enough notice to come over, but not going to the hospital too early and being sent home. We had also hired Aimee to be our doula again so Sunday night consisted of communicating with my midwife, doula, and babysitter in addition to giving my parents a heads up so they could think about booking their flights to come visit. It was a lot of texting! In any case, by 11:00 pm Henry was asleep in his room, but our sitter Valerie and her 10 year-old son Caylan, plus Aimee’s back up doula, then eventually also Aimee were all over while I was dealing with contractions. It’s a good thing we have a big sectional couch because Valerie, Caylan, and Aimee ended up sleeping over on the couch, waiting for me to get to the point of being ready to head to the hospital.

Of course, in that type of pressure, I never did. As soon as I heard Henry wake up early in the morning, my contractions had stopped altogether. (Apparently this is a common occurrence with moms when it’s not their first baby and they have other kids to worry about.) My midwife did call to let me know that because I thought my water broke the night before, I had to head down to the hospital around 10am to check it out. This actually worked out perfectly because I just needed to get out of my crowded apartment (thankfully Valerie took Henry with her to drop off Caylan at his soccer camp) and concentrate on going into labour.

I arrived at triage in the hospital and they ran the tests to see if my water had broken, which were inconclusive. I was still having contractions, but only when I’d move – sitting and lying down were not doing me any good. The doctors wanted to put me on an IV in bed on pitocin which I refused, and thankfully my awesome midwife called me directly on my cell after speaking with the hospital. She recommended we go get lunch and go for a walk for 2 hours, then come back, which seemed like a much better option than what the hospital wanted!

Nick, Aimee, and I got egg & cheese bagels, iced coffee, and walked around Fort Greene Park for two hours. Thank goodness there was a hilly park right beside the hospital – a much better place to deal with increasingly strong contractions than a busy Brooklyn sidewalk! By the time we returned at 2pm, I was 5 cm dilated, almost fully effaced, and Charlie was very low. Before Aimee arrived, my drug-free birth spirit was a little broken and I was just so tired I thought I’d have to get the epidural this time. By the time we were back at the hospital and things were happening, plus with Aimee’s great communication and encouragement, I was back on track. After all, with Henry I gave birth without an epidural, but on pitocin to make my contractions worse – if I wasn’t on pitocin, it wasn’t going to be quite as bad.

Well things were intense and I did so much yelling that my throat was sore by the end of it, but Charlie was born at 6:30 pm that day! Despite a bit of a scare of his heart rate dropping and the umbilical cord being wrapped around his arm on the way out, everything went well. My midwife on call, Beth, doula Aimee, and the nurse on staff were awesome and it was nice to have just those three people, plus Nick, in the room.

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We spent two nights recovering in the hospital and came home on Wednesday afternoon so Henry could finally meet Charlie. He had been telling everyone he’d run into that his brother was on the way! Charlie “got Henry a gift” – a truck he’d has his eye on – and when Henry got back with Valerie, Henry didn’t even know what he should be more excited about. Finally meeting his new little brother was an adorably special moment and although we’re still adjusting to our new situation, we’re so happy to be a new family of four.

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[Read about Henry’s birth story here.]

[Charlie’s middle name is a family name to pay homage to my awesome grandparents.]

Christmas 2016

January 5, 2017 § Leave a comment

I wanted to break the blog silence by writing about our Christmas!

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As usual, we drove up to Canada for about 5 days. This was our fourth road trip to Ontario with Henry and he’s really a champ about the long drives. He insists he never wants to fly on a plane again – only drive! (The above photo is actually a rare moment when we actually had to put Storybots on a phone to keep him going.)

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We drove all the way to Niagara Falls, Ontario the first day and stayed in a falls view room at the Marriott that night. It was freezing there, but beautiful!

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Because we drove about 9 hours the first day, we had just under two hours left to drive to my parents’ house in Woodstock the next day. It was very snowy.

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We settled in quickly with a jam session with Grandpa in the basement and later on, helping Grandma shovel snow off the deck.

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The rest of the visit was great, including many visits from family members and even dinner out to a Woodstock fish & chips favourite.

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Grandma also helped Henry build an enormous “tractor trailer” with 26 wheels out of old coffee boxes. He just realized yesterday that we hadn’t brought it home, but that will give him something to look forward next visit.

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What made this trip better than those in the past was that Henry happily slept in his own little bed beside ours! Here he is, watching two Spiderman videos before lights out.

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On Christmas Day, my sister’s family The Martins came over which bumped our kid count to 6!

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Things got a bit crazy by the end of the day, but they all had so much fun. A special shout out to my Mom who made such a delicious dinner while dodging children all day!

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…also to the Dads who policed the kids’ table full of 2 and 3 year-olds. (My brother-in-law is literally a policeman after all!)

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The next day, we said goodbye to my parents, grandparents, and Aunt Deb who lives next door, and drove two hours to my sister’s new house in Port Perry. The weather was not great, but their house is beautiful!

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Henry was thrilled to play with his cousins – jumping on beds with Ben and playing in the playroom with Jillian – before getting in the car to begin our long journey back home.

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Thanks for another great visit, Canada, see you soon!

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The Babes & Babies of Toronto

March 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

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This weekend, I flew to Toronto to see my friends and meet two of their new babies!

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When I arrived Friday evening, I took the new Union Pearson Express train to Bloor station and headed over to Sarah, Phil & Alice’s place. I enjoyed it much more than a cab – cheaper, cleaner, and free wifi with elevated views of the city in the distance around the airport!

When I arrived at Sarah’s, I had hugs for Julia, Blake, and Sarah, then grabbed Alice for a selfie. She’s even more adorable in person!

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After eating pizza at Sarah’s, I went home with Julia and Blake. Julia and I had a good old fashioned sleepover and shared a bed like little kids. Eventually Blake even joined us ;)

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The next morning we went to La Cubana for brunch and were met by Sarah, Alice, Amy, and Karen.

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What? She has a mouse hat too? Oh for goodness sake.

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After we ate, we walked down past some cute Roncesvalles shops and arrived at Jana and Mike’s to meet Leo.

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So adorably new and cute with amazing surfer baby hair!

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Afterwards I met my sister at the hotel we were treating ourselves to that night. After lounging/catching up/charging our phones for a while, we took the subway to dinner at Burdock to meet Sarah, Phil, Alice, Julia, Karen, and Amy for dinner.

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Jenn also fell under Alice’s spell (it’s not hard to).

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The next morning, my brother Ryan and his wife Suzanne came to meet us at the hotel for breakfast.

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Then Jenn and I had to visit Lululemon for some very last-minute yoga pants shopping before both heading home.

“Where were your boys in all this?” you may ask. These photos will answer your question.

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Yeah, we all had a pretty great weekend.

Great Wolf Lodge

January 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

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To add a little spice to a mundane winter, we booked a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos for the weekend!

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The drive is super short compared to our previous road trips to Canada – in 2 hours, we can get from Brooklyn to the Pocono Mountains and stop at Wendy’s on the way for lunch. Henry can also get a much-needed nap in.

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Of course, we did take a chance on traveling this weekend. “Snowmaggedon 2016” was predicted to dump a ton of snow on the North East, but we had already put down a huge deposit on this trip, so we decided to see it through. It worked out that when we arrived on Friday afternoon, it was really quiet.

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Henry got to run around and check out all the shops and activities.

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He loved the arcade!

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Helping dad win basketball games…

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Driving the ice cream truck… P1040319

Playing whack-a-mole…

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And throwing balls at clowns.

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We also hit up their massive waterpark. As much as I hate waterparks, this one was seriously impressive. Henry loved the little kiddie pools with their little fountains that sprayed up. I wish I took some photos in there, but I didn’t. You’ll just have to imagine his face.

We woke up Saturday morning to THIS.

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If nothing else, Henry enjoyed watching the three snowplows that worked the parking lot nonstop for 15 hours.

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Oh, did I mention their buffets were awesome?

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And Henry loved the singing animatronic animal shows in the lobby. They were pretty much the only thing that could keep him sitting still and keep his attention the whole weekend.

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We were happy and lucky to get home without any delays today. We had a great time and are looking forward to taking Henry again when he’s a bit older – maybe even with his cousins next time! (Hint hint, Jenn!)

Happy 2nd birthday, Henry!

November 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

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This past weekend, we got to celebrate Halloween and Henry’s second birthday!

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Grandpa Storch made a special trip from Pennsylvania to celebrate with us and our little monkey. P1040156

Since Henry’s still a bit young for trick-or-treating (plus he doesn’t like candy), we spent the afternoon at Social Pants‘ Halloween party at Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park. They did a great job! We saw so many amazing costumes!

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Including Henry’s Curious George, which we weren’t sure if he’d actually wear, but was a very good sport about putting it on for a few hours.

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On Sunday, we had an apartment full of people for Henry’s birthday party.

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Since all of his invited two year olds buddies besides little Zack couldn’t make it, it ended up being mostly adults, plus Henry’s BFF, 8 year old Caylan, and 2 month old Eloise. It was a nice balance though – very manageable! P1040187

Henry handled being serenaded with the birthday song from about 20 people very well and enjoyed eating just the strawberry from the top of his birthday cupcake.

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This gift-giving event was the most prosperous to date in Henry’s short life. Our apartment is officially covered in trucks of all types and sizes! Here he is, eating his dinner after the party with his new bulldozer.

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Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate, and loved ones who made that extra effort to send Henry their best wishes in the mail. We love you! Here’s to our third year of #DailyHank!

Birthday Weekend!

October 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

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As some of you may know by now, Nick and I have birthdays two days apart. This makes for some good celebrations – kind of like a mini Christmas! We were secretly hoping Henry would be born sooner so he could be part of the festivities too, but it’s probably best he got his own month.

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This year, since Henry’s a full fledged toddler, we decided to do something he’d enjoy too so we drove to Terhune Orchards in Princeton, New Jersey on Friday.

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This cute little farm has an apple orchard, pumpkin patches, a corn maze, animals, hay bales to play on, and tractors you can sit on and pretend to ride.

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Henry LOVED the trucks and farm machinery (obviously), but also thought the sheep, goats, chickens, ponies, and geese were hilarious and cute.

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There was a jungle gym tractor.

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As well as some old tractors made for kids to “ride”.

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So proud!

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While Nick and I took turns popping into the farm fresh store to buy apple cider, apple cider donuts, a bushel of apples, and pumpkin nut bread, Henry took it upon himself to rearrange their pallets of pumpkins.

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Then a tractor drove by!

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Henry has eaten two or three apples a day since we visited the farm, and every time he eats one, he has to remind you where it came from. We will be apple picking again soon!

On Saturday evening, Nick and I had Henry’s beloved sitter Valerie come over early so we could go out for dinner and go see The Martian.

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(Henry gets art.)

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For Nick’s birthday on Sunday, I brought him home a Dough “donut cake” after morning Mysore which we all enjoyed. What a delicious birthday weekend!

Road Trip to Canada

September 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

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I don’t know if you noticed, but we were away in Canada at my parents’ comfy cottage last week! Here’s some photos and commentary if you’re interested in our first road trip with Henry…

After renting a car from Laguardia airport, we left our apartment Friday morning to do the first half of the 10 hour drive. Henry hadn’t been in a car since December and was pretty much horrified at the thought of getting into his car seat. After much encouragement from us and even our doorman, we gave him some cheezies to munch on and he gave into a nap.

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We stopped in Syracuse for the night and met up with our friend Matt, who took us to the State Fair that evening. Henry got to see goats, llamas, pigs, and chickens, and run around the bright lights and giant stuffed animals. He was very excited about the blimp floating over the fair and got to eat salty, deep-fried chicken fingers (probably much more delicious than the multigrain breaded organic kind from home ;)).

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We left our hotel Saturday morning and arrived in Oshawa for my twin niece & nephew’s first birthday party that afternoon. It worked out very well that we got to see my sister’s family before heading to my parents’ and Henry got to enjoy running around with other kids (and toy cars) before spending another 1.5 hours in the car. P1030849

Henry seemed to settle into the cottage faster than ever once we arrived, even playing us some guitar and enjoying our applause.

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Since we were on vacation, we let Henry stay up late and in turn, he’d sleep later than usual in the mornings. One day, he even slept until 10:00! (He was up for an hour and a half in the middle of the night, BUT STILL.)

Our days at the cottage were glorious. Grandpa cuddles…

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Enjoying a new selection of toy cars and tiny plastic animals… P1030853

Feeding chipmunks and blue jays peanuts…

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Visits from family…

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Cousin craziness…

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Serious sandbox time…

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Visiting Fenelon Falls’ beach and ice cream shops…

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Boat rides…

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And one day, my dad arranged for us to visit the local fire hall. Having a grandpa on city council has its benefits!

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A huge thank you to my parents for taking care of us for a week! And thanks to all my family who came for a visit. It was so great to see you!

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Now to plan our Christmas road trip…

Playground Politics

July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’ve been dreaming of a simpler time – last summer when all Henry could do at the playground was swing.

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These days, he’s big, mobile, and curious enough to do pretty much everything, though never while unsupervised. I can’t say the same for some of the parents of kids around here though. Every day at any number of the playgrounds we frequent (and we have three within a 10 minute walk) it’s a lesson in sharing, patience, and that some kids are adorable and wonderful and others… less so.

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Since private outdoor space is rare around here, everyone heads to the playground. And now that school’s out, all of our spots are swarming with kids. This is great because Henry gets to see so many other kids every day. We’ve been fortunate to meet some kids around his age who are very sweet and pretty much in the same boat as Henry when it comes to sharing and playing together, meaning they’ll come up to Henry who is playing with a toy and want it, then I’ll offer them the spare toy I always bring for this situation and they’ll play alongside each other. But then there’s the unsupervised 3 and 4 year olds who will actually stalk around us until they get a chance to grab Henry’s toy when he’s not looking or it’s slightly out of reach and run away with it. There’s also the older kids who declare a portion of the playground “theirs” and that Henry can’t play with them or go up onto their structure. And then there’s the kids who zoom around the park on their scooters, knocking toddlers over with parents nowhere to be seen and then talking back to the parents of said toddlers.

I however, am always around and will always be in Henry’s corner to make sure he’s safe and happy (no matter how exhausting it all is).

I am curious – is this a common scenario where you live? How do you handle these situations with your kids? Do you let your little guys do their own thing or do you stick close by them too? How do you control your reflexes to grab 6 year olds on scooters when they’re headed straight towards your 20 month old? (I have yelled.) Any opinions welcome!

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