Why We Need to Tell Our Kids They’re Special

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time telling your kids to stop fighting, stop coloring on the floor, stop being fresh, etc. I’m sure you can insert your own “stop”. When they don’t listen, that “stop” goes up by about four octaves along with your blood pressure. This scenario probably happens a few times a day so that by the end of the day you’re tired of hearing your own voice. You’re counting the minutes until bed time only to start the day and do the same thing all over again.


I was thinking about all of this the other night while my girls were peacefully watching “Caillou”. (See, he does come in handy for something.) Anyway, I was thinking about all the time I spend telling my kids “no” or “stop” or just let out a sigh in frustration to some annoying behavior that’s going on. Then, I thought about all the time I tell my kids I love them or tell them something positive. Sure I always tell them I love them when I drop them off for school and before bed. I always tell them they’ve done a good job when they bring home a piece of artwork or finish a hard puzzle at home.

But, how many times do I tell them how special they are “just because”?


Obviously not enough.

So, I’m making it my mommy mission to make sure they know.

That night, I took each of them on my lap and asked them if they knew how special they were. They nodded their head “yes”. But, I still told them again. I also told them how smart they are and just how wonderful overall. They needed to hear it. I needed to hear myself say it.

They smiled and gave me a hug.

Mission accomplished.

It’s so hard to get caught up in the craziness of each day that we sometimes forget how big the little things are. Things that may seem silly…like telling your kids how special they are. Kids need to hear those positive things, just as much, if not more than hearing what they’re doing wrong all the time.

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that they are just kids…kids who need to hear they’re special.




Monday’s Mommas: Pets, Parents, and How Children Cope Best

Hello and welcome to my new feature “Monday’s Mommas”. Each Monday I will spotlight one or two bloggers with a fabulous guest post.

I’m kicking off the series with a post by Janet S. Lopes. In this entry, she writes about kids, pets, and the lengths we’ll go for our kids. Surely a great read whether or not you have pets!

janetJanet is a wife and mother of two living in Connecticut.  She is an award-winning television journalist, photographer, and blogger.  You can check out her outdoor adventure blog, “The Trail Mix” on wfsb.com.


Pets, Parents, and How Children Cope Best 


Yep, that’s the name of my daughter’s hamster.  I can’t remember how she came up with it. Bella tried to change it a few times. But, those didn’t stick. This one did.  And for about a year, Babycakes was living the high life, as only a hamster could, until now.

Babycakes is a teddy bear hamster; cute, pudgy, and as my husband, Tom, notes, still a rodent.  Bella, who is 10, takes offense to that.  She feels it’s in an insult, tells her dad under no uncertain circumstances it is, and for the last year, tried to convince him otherwise.  Well, it may have finally paid off.

Because, like a vigilant hawk, Bella, just a few days ago, noticed something was amiss, “Mom, something is wrong with Babycakes.”

I looked at her, back at the hamster, saw nothing of concern, and tried to settle my daughter’s fears.

“She looks perfectly fine. She’s doing what hamsters do,” I said.

That was mistake number one.

Next day….same thing.

I took her from her multi-level cage (oh yes, only the best), checked her out, and dismissed her lethargic movements and bloated appearance.

“She’ll be fine,” I assured. “She’s just getting older and resting more.”

Mistake number two.

By this time, Bella is bursting at the seams, pleading with me constantly, finally, taking Babycakes from her ‘condo’ digs and sticking her in my face.

“See! Look at her again.  Can we take her to the vet?”

“What? Are you kidding? There aren’t many vets that take care of hamsters.  And, besides, it’s probably nothing,” I said.

Mistake number three.

And this…this is where the turnaround comes.  Before Bella went off with her sister for a weekend sleepover, she took me and my husband aside and quite seriously informed us, “Mom, Dad… you’ll have to watch out for Babycakes now.  Make sure she’s okay.”

And, like any other parent, we made our assurances, before we set out on our day.

Now, mind you, my husband and I were celebrating our anniversary.  So, we had big plans in mind.  We spent the day on the shore and hoped to catch some dinner and a movie.

But, before setting off again for the night, my daughter’s soft-spoken request kept whispering in my ears.

“Take care of her.”

So, I checked.  And, like Bella repeatedly told me, she was right. Something was wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. With most vet offices closed for business, I made Babycakes as comfortable as possible and set off to dinner with my husband.

But, the situation continued to gnaw at me.  And, while dining on some fine French food (as opposed to our normal French fries), I voiced my fears to Tom.

“What are we going to do about Babycakes?”

And, from the man who won’t even come near the tiny critter came, “We have to take her to the vet.”

So, now the race begins. As the appetizers head for our table, Tom is dialing up every emergency vet clinic in an hour radius.  No joke.  Now, we are seriously changing our nighttime plans, to pay a potential $100 emergency room visit to figure out what’s wrong with the little guy.

The transformation from doting husband to doting parent is instantaneous.  Yes, he feels bad for the hamster.  But, what is even clearer is that as a dad, he’s ever loyal to his daughter’s needs.

Despite the cost and inconvenience, we are both on page to do what’s right, save Babycakes’ life and make our own daughter proud of us.

But, it isn’t easy.  After a good hour of calls (in between the main course and with no

time for dessert), we are no closer to finding an on-call vet that could help us out.
But, this is our mission.  We are obsessed. One night’s search has now
turned into a full-fledged weekend offensive, to find someone.  Finally, with lots of phone consults, and an appointment in hand from a specialized vet, we make an early-morning visit.

And the news isn’t good.

“She’s much older now,” he said. “Her body is shutting down.  It’s time for a family discussion.”

The dreaded talk…the talk we already knew we had to prepare for.  But, there is no preparation.  Not for us, not for the kids, not even for the hamster.  But, it had to be done.

It wasn’t long before the tears flowed along with the questions, and everything in between.

But in that moment of sorrow and discomfort, what I found most remarkable, was that

we, the parents, became the very children we aimed to console. Whereas, Bella, the child,

became the caring and wise adult.

This, as I finally voiced a soft-spoken, “I’m sorry.”

Only to be met with her quiet strength.

“It’s okay.”






CA Restaurant Bans Noisy Kids

If your kids are noisy, don’t visit one California restaurant. It has banned kids! Forget strollers, high chairs, or booster seats…you won’t find them here. There’s a sign right in front just so there’s no confusion!

As a parent of two children, I know how hard it is to keep kids quiet and entertained while eating out. It’s really a game of chance…sometimes they’re good, other times, not so much. But, I also think you need to teach kids how to act out in public, not shun them. With that said, I personally wouldn’t take them to a four-star restaurant. If I’m paying that much money for a meal, I want to be able to thoroughly enjoy it!

What do you think about all of this?

There’s Milk in My Bed & It’s 4 a.m.

Kids are messy. Kids are noisy. Kids are…well…kids. Part of a being a parent is knowing to expect the unexpected. You just never know what’s going to happen. I never learned this lesson as much as I did at four o’clock this morning. Let me set the scene for you. My two-year-old was crying and yelling in her bed. Enter one child into mommy and daddy’s bed. The four-year-old hears the commotion. Enter child number two into mommy and daddy’s bed. Everyone falls asleep. Great. Then, some Gremlin must have poked my two-year-old. She started yelling for Caillou. We ignore it. She yells louder. Can you see why I have such a hateful attitude towards this character? Anyway, I proceed to put the TV on in hopes of calming her down and getting her back to sleep so everyone else can sleep again too.

Everything is going well. I’m drifting off. My husband is snoring. My four-year-old is sleeping. I don’t hear the two-year-old. I was wrong. She starts yelling for milk. We ignore it. She yells louder. I get up to get her milk. I don’t want you all to think she always gets what she wants, but when it’s four in the morning, sleep is the goal, not lesson teaching, so sue me!

She gets her milk. I go to the bathroom. I walk out and hear a “splat” followed by a cry…followed by another cry. I look at my two-year-old. Drops of milk are falling from her hair, dribbling down her face and all over her soaked pajamas. I start laughing. I wished I picked up my phone and snapped a picture. My daughter was so shocked and disgusted. It was classic. I guess someone didn’t put the lid on the sippy cup tight enough. What do you want from me? It was four in the morning and I did it with one eye open, without my glasses!

Then, my four-year-old starts to scream. “My Mickey Mouse jammies!! Mickey Mouse!!”

Girlfriend was flipping out because one of her favorite pairs of pj’s was now soaked with milk as well. Don’t cry over spilled milk child!

So, let’s recap…I have two milk-soaked children as well as a bed full of milk and two parents that don’t know if they should laugh some more or cry they are so tired. Did I mention it’s four in the morning? Yep…it is. So, we proceed to dry everyone ,change everyone and everything and regroup. This includes putting towels all over the bed so we can try to go back to sleep.  What a mess!

Once all is said and done, there’s more drama, tossing, turning, and re-locating, but everyone does get back to sleep.

So, what’s the morale of the story? Expect the unexpected…oh and, make sure you fasten that sippy cup lid!

“Mean Girls” Getting Younger & Younger

As a Mom, I’m always worried about my kids, especially when they are not with me. My oldest daughter will be spending more time away in the fall as she heads to Kindergarten . So, when I heard a bullying story involving 5-year-olds this morning, my ears immediately perked up. Apparently, the “mean girls” phenomenon is hitting girls younger and younger. Check out this clip from “Good Morning America” if you missed it today.

It’s so sad that things are like this these days.  Do you worry about bullying in school?

The Strangest & Most Annoying Thing

As a mom, I always dream of having my free time. I mean really, what mom doesn’t? After hours of puzzles, coloring, and Barbies, I just want time to myself to do what I want without hearing “mommy”. Read, write, watch TV, nap (yeah right)…whatever it is, I want to be able to just do what I want. So why do I sometimes feel lost when I actually get it? Let me tell you, it is the strangest and most annoying thing.

Recently, I hit the “mommy lottery”. My oldest daughter decided she wanted to sleepover her grandmother’s house “just because” and my younger daughter fell asleep uncharacteristically early. My husband was still at work.OMG, hours of free time! You would think I would have been doing my happy dance. I was…for a few minutes. Then, the strangest and most annoying thing happened…I didn’t know what to do with myself. Although I had a list of things on my “to do list”, I couldn’t figure out what I should be doing. In fact, I actually felt like the house was too quiet! How odd is that? I often pray for peace and quiet. Here it was staring me in the face and I still wasn’t happy.

There are plenty of times when I either leave the kids with grandma or drop them off and go do things and I am fine with that. I just think the tranquility of the house got to me because this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. The norm is noise, laughing, screaming…chaos. As much as I complain about it, it’s the way it’s supposed to be with two kids. It’s the way I’ve gotten used to things. So any interruption in the routine kinda weirds me out, I guess.

Eventually, I got some writing done that night and put some laundry away. I have to admit, the night felt so much longer with so much quietness. I was actually looking forward to the morning when my little one would be awake and her sister would be home.

Maybe it’s a case of “be careful what you wish for” or “motherhood changes everything”. Whatever it was, it really was the strangest and most annoying thing.

Thinking and Thanking

   Thanks. When was the last time you said it or was thankful for something (and I’m not talking about saying thanks when the guy behind the counter gives you your change) ? I’m talking about really being thankful for something. It seems as though we’re so busy working, talking, texting, facebooking, tweeting, etc., these days that we really don’t take time to just sit back, relax and realize what we really do have. I’m definitely included in this “we”.  Last weekend, I went out to breakfast with my husband and kids when a stranger made a comment that really stuck with me. My husband and I were looking at the menu, my little baby was asleep in her little carrier, and my two year old was deciding who she wanted to sit with, when a man passed by and said two little words…beautiful family. We both looked up and said thanks. As I was deciding whether I wanted eggs or french toast, I thought to myself, wow, I really do have a beautiful family. So, why did it take a complete stranger to make me really think about that? At times, you really don’t realize how fortunate you are and appreciate what you have, because you’re too busy wanting and complaining about what you don’t have that you don’t see what’s staring you in the face, 24/7.
   Sure I’m aware of my husband and kids because often I’m too busy complaining about something they’re doing or didn’t do. But, do I ever realize how I’m grateful I am to have them? No. I’m too worried about who didn’t clean the kitchen, who’s not going to bed on time, who’s spitting up, how many diapers I’ve changed in a day, hell, in an hour! I never stop and think about how lucky I am to have them and how some people would just die to have my family. There are so many couples who are struggling to have kids that they wouldn’t complain about diapers or getting up in the middle of the night. I guess you could say I just take it all for granted. The same could be said for my husband. Ladies, you know there are so many crackhead losers out there that it’s hard to find a good man, and when you do, you kinda just forget how good they are. You never say thanks for the little things, but you sure find the time and the words to complain about them. Funny how that works. It’s kinda like that Lenox crystal you get for your wedding. You love it when you get it, but then you put it on a shelf or in a closet and forget you have it.
  So after this post, will I never complain about the things that my kids and husband do that annoy me? Probably not. Okay, definitely not. But, will I try to take a deep breath and a step back and look beyond all that? Honestly, yes. As cliche as it may sound, you do need to take some time to smell the roses and appreciate how beautiful they really are. It’s sad that it takes some turkey and stuffing or some random guy at a diner to get you to think about what’s really important in life.