Tag Archives: Anna

Let your kids find their own friendships, or interfere?

A theme that keeps resonating for me is how I project my own childhood experiences onto my children.

It’s obvious that Anna is well liked by her peers, but she hasn’t really made any good close friends. She seems mostly fine with it, and I struggle to not try to force her in to relationships.

I just read this blog post from a woman who was confronted as an adult by this other woman who claims that she had been excluded by her as they were growing up. The author remembers her mom trying to force her to be friends with “Nadia,” and always being annoyed that she had be be around her when she really didn’t even like her that much. Nadia, on the other hand, considered this woman her friend, and was so hurt that she wasn’t included all the time.

It really struck me that I have to let my kids develop their own relationships. In fact, earlier in the school year there was a dear little girl who was wanting to play with Anna at school. Our families are friends, but Anna didn’t seem to want to be with her at school. I couldn’t understand it, and talked to her about it a little. We talked about how it might hurt that girl’s feelings, but I was also concerned for Anna, wanting her to have “best friend.” Here was this girl ready and willing to play that role, and Anna didn’t want it.

I didn’t try to force it, though. Despite my urge to. Eventually, it seems to have worked itself out. The girls are friends, certainly.

But what is it that makes Eric able to walk on a playground and immediately find some kids to play with, and Anna is usually the loner? I know she wants to play with the other kids, but maybe she doesn’t know how to initiate the engagement?

I’m not sure if I should try to help her, or just let it happen the way it happens.

This weekend, we were at a birthday party that was like a big playdate. Super fun! Anna was running around with two girls, and I thought – “good! she’s made some friends!” But then I saw the two girls run one way, and Anna came  dejectedly over to me and said, “Well that’s not very convenient!”

Once I got my snicker under control over her vocabulary, I asked her what was inconvenient. Apparently, the girls had decided to go outside on the teeter-totter, and obviously there was only room for two. I suggested that Anna ask the girls to take turns with her so she could be included, which she thought was a good idea.

But I just don’t know how much to interfere, and what kinds of tools I should be giving Anna for dealing with these types of situations, or tools for making friends. Or maybe I shouldn’t do any more than I am. I don’t know. I’m fairly certain that forcing friendships won’t actually result in friendships, but how much can we expect kids to be inclusive so nobody is left out?

Any advice for me?


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Kangol Kid

I bought the most amazing hat many years ago. I just loved it, but I asked if there were any that didn’t have the logo on it. I’m just not a big logo-on-my-forehead kind of gal. The haberdasher looked at me funny, and said, “Miss, most people buy this brand of hat because of the logo.”

I said, “Whatevs,” and splurged on the hat anyway, because I loved it so much. It was fuzzy! It was white! It totally showcased my eyes! I swear it made me skinnier, too!

Someone stole that thing right off my desk at work one day. So. Not. Cool.

Fortunately, I have a very kind little brother and some friends, who all went in on a replacement hat for me. I wore it for several years, but it’s been kind of languishing in the winter gear bag for a few years.

Until now…

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No-Mess Art for Anna!

Anna is so creative, she can’t resist a pen, crayon, scissors, paper, glitter… seriously, whatever she can get her hands on, she’ll make in to some form of artistic expression.

This can be charming, when she’s re-arranging flowers and sticks and pine cones in the yard to make funny faces. It can also be frustrating, when there are scraps of paper and glitter all over the house. Ask Brian about Anna’s constant art projects, and he’ll sigh heavily, roll his eyes, and bemoan the water color paints left out and the sticky brushes he had to clean up before dinner.

Don’t get me wrong, we both love that she is so artistic. But the mess gets to be a little much to take at times.

I was offered a Nomad Play™ iPad paintbrush to review with the kids, and I jumped at the chance because it seems like such a great way to encourage artistic expression without the actual paint. It’s a paintbrush stylus for iPads or other tablets, but the shape and size are designed for children.

Cute, right? There are a number of doodle and art apps for iPads and smart phones, but this stylus paintbrush keeps the fingerprints off the screen. A quality lost on the children, but appealing to me! Of these apps, iDoodle2lite is Anna’s favorite because she can create different shapes, then color them in. You can see other apps at www.nomadbrush.com, but we tried several and this was her favorite.

Anna's latest creation

Nomad Brush is offering one of my readers a free Nomad Play™ brush ($18 value)! Leave a comment on this page, then head here to enter the contest. The giveaway ends Thursday at midnight, so the winner can receive it in time for Christmas. Yay for that!

Now if only someone would invent an app that solved Anna’s need to cut paper into tiny bits and leave them all over the house…


I was given a Nomad Play™ brush to review hand over to my children. All opinions are my own that of my children.


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Princess Pool Party

I’ve tried to avoid the trap of giant kid birthday parties for as long as I could. Dinner parties with family and close friends seemed more reasonable and fun for the adults, but I was finally busted by Anna: “Why haven’t I ever had a birthday party with anyone other than our family?”

Darn it.

She vacillated between wanting a “Rainbow Party” and a “Princess Pool Party.” She finally settled on Princess Pool Party, because who can turn down swimming in December?

We booked the party room and pool at East Portland Community Center. The package includes a party room adjacent to the pool for one hour, then swimming for as long as you want until the pool closes. Sweet! We booked the room from 1:30-2:30, so we’d have the longest possible time of open swim (the pool closes at 5).

Anna invited our neighbor friends (at least the ones close to her age), all the girls from her Kindergarten class, and a few friends from pre-school. To play on the Princess Pool Party theme, we had a mermaid cake, decorate-your-own-crown craft, plus beach balls that we took in the pool. Anna wore her new Disney Cinderella dress over her swim suit. I love the dichotomy!

She declared the birthday party a success! I just hope I don’t have to top it next year…

{click on a photo for a slideshow}


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Happy Birthday, Anna!

My first baby turns six today!

She was 2 weeks overdue, so boy was I ready. I kept saying, “Baby, come out! It’s time!” I should have guess then how stubborn and independent she would be! Everything in her time…

As my dad said, "Babies now come with hats!"

Anna meeting her Daddy. She was a bit irate at having to come out, but she was transfixed by Brian. She probably recognized his voice.

New family! My eyes were actually protruding from my head from the pushing during labor. Brian called it, "Optical Poptitude"

Anna sharing a moment with my mom.

I spent so many weeks being impatient for this baby, but those hours and days just blur up until the day before Anna came. I bought and decorated the Christmas tree that day before, thinking, “Surely if I start this big project, the baby will start to come so I won’t be able to finish it.” Nope, I got the tree up and decorated, all the presents wrapped. Nothing more to do but wait. At about 12:30 a.m. on December 11, Brian said,
“Honey, just go to bed!”

“But I don’t to wake up and have it be one more day that the baby hasn’t come yet.”

“But if the baby is coming, you’ll need your sleep. So come to bed.”

Brian always makes so much sense. At about 2 am, I got up to go to the bathroom, and my water broke! We headed off to the hospital, slept a bit, and called our parents at around 9.

“WE’LL BE RIGHT THERE!” from my parents, who were more than just a little bit excited to be welcoming their first grandchild.

By noon or so, I still wasn’t having contractions, so my options were induce labor or go for a walk to try to bring on labor. Funny how walking either intensifies the contractions or makes them go away altogether. In this case, they intensified. All the miles of walking I did with Dayl in the weeks leading up to this… not so much.

I was so glad the walking worked this time because I had heard horror stories of how much harder labor is if you’re induced. I was hoping to do the whole thing without drugs, and inducing most likely would derail that effort. During the months I was pregnant, several people told me, “Why do it without drugs? It’s not like you get a medal!” But I really wanted to try. I truly believe that whatever is best for the baby is the right choice, and no mother should be judged for how the birth goes down. Unless she vodkas her way through labor – I think I could be judge-y over that choice. But I digress…

After my walk, labor officially started about 2 pm. YUP, THAT’S A CONTRACTION. All those Braxton-Hicks faker contractions seemed like a joke once I felt a real contraction. ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS? I thought my cervix was being ripped out of my body with a jagged knife.

Nurse: “Now would be a good time to talk about giving you something for the pain.”

I explained that I would like to see how far I could go without drugs, so she offered different positions, and the ball. I found the ball to be a horrible idea. How can I relax into the contractions when I’m using muscles to balance on a ball??

I thought I was relaxing, but my midwife Kelly came in and touched my leg, my arm, and said, “Relax this. Now relax this.” It’s surprising how much easier the contractions were when I was truly relaxed.

We finally ended up in a tub, which was amazing. Being in the warm water, with my Mama stroking my forehead and Brian holding my hand, cut the intensity of contractions by about 30%. Getting out of the water was not my favorite part, but labor had progressed enough that they wanted to get me back to the room.

There’s a dark moment when I had gotten out of the tub, and the pain was so intense that I couldn’t breathe. I was in transition, and it was hell. I didn’t ask for drugs, because I remembered what my friend Katherine had said: “You can handle anything for one minute.” Everything was black in between contractions, and searing white pain during the contractions. Brian leaned his face within three inches of mine, and whispered, “Let’s try a breathing exercise from the class.” We had laughed at the goofy counting fingers breathing exercises, but Brian had the good sense to pull one out right when I needed it. He totally got me through that hardest part by distracting me. I’ll never forget how he knew just what I needed at the moment I needed it most.

After six hours of labor, it was time to push. The pushing officially lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes before Anna was born, but it could have been three minutes or it could have been another six hours.

A screaming baby was placed on my belly, and all of us – Brian, my parents, and Brian’s mom, along with the nurses and midwife – were happily ooh-ing and ahh-ing, “Hi Baby! Beautiful Baby!” Finally my Dad said, “Hey, what is it?” A quick check revealed a girl, to which I replied, “Hi, Anna!”

Happy Birth Day to my beautiful daughter!



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Pinkalicios {Wordless Wednesday}


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Why did I wait so long?

I’ve been threatening to cut Anna’s hair for a long time, but I didn’t really want to do it. Her hair was so beautiful, but finally out of desperation, I decided to chop it off. 

David at The National Beauty of course did such a wonderful job. You don’t expect someone who is so talented and fabulous to also be good with kids, but he was so sweet and patient with Anna. Dreamy!

Here is my little girl getting her hair chopped:

The "Before" pic...

Funny how the girl who screams whenever her hair is touched seemed to like having David comb her hair!

The blow out. Not something she's let me recreate.

The "After" pic: so cute!

Celebratory lunch at Jake's Grill post-cut

Her hair is even cute when David hasn't styled it!

And shorter hair is so much more convenient for this type of activity...

...and this type of activity!

So now that I see how cute Anna is with her new hair cut… and now that mornings are that much easier without all the screaming and crying and pleading… why did I wait so long to cut her hair off?

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