Nurturing creativity in your children

nurturing creativity in babies and children

Thank you to Kimmy from the blog Making Mondays for the inspiration for this post!

From day one, babies are naturally curious and respond to colors, textures, music, and interaction. If nurtured, their creative mind will develop and flourish. This is an excellent tool parents can harness to help their children grow into creative and happy, well-rounded adults.

In my opinion, nurturing creativity is one of the greatest qualities a parent can have. I like to think of myself as a creative dad and encourage my 17 month old Josie to explore every chance I get.

When Josie and I play we have so much fun. As a parent, to create this fun creative environment for your child, you must put many of your adult feelings, worries, and apprehensions on hold to let the child back in.

Imagine you’re doing the activity your baby is experiencing for the first time yourself. Pretend you’re watching that color light toy for the first time with your baby, reading that book, grasping that ball, or splashing around in the tub. The more excited and childlike you seem, the more your fun and the more creativity your baby will experience.

By being childlike, I mean trying your best to have a childlike sense of exploration, of wonder. Some ways you can harness this thought in your mind is to think back to the firsts in your adult life and how exciting and fun it was. For instance, you first time driving a car, your first kiss, your first paycheck, etc. It’s important to remember how these new experiences felt because as parents the older we get the harder it gets to be childlike.

One way for guaranteed fun for parent and child is finger painting! Finger painting is an excellent activity for all ages. You can even make baby friendly finger paint by mixing one part flour, one part water, and the food colors of your choice. Prep the area so the mess can be contained and you have created a whole new world for your baby. This is so much more fun than just crayons and paper!

Whatever activities you choose for your children, make sure many of them stimulate their creative brain. Play and creativity is essential to healthy brain growth and it’s important to nurture this for your growing child. [1] By learning how to harness creative thought, there’s no limits to what they can achieve 🙂

Image Source

[1] The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds, Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD MSEd. 2007

When a man becomes a father

when a man becomes a father

Time stops.
The nurse hands you,
your creation.

A life so perfect,
so small in your arms,
so helpless.

This baby needs you,
her eyes gently see you,
her father, her one and only.

I really wanted to reflect on the past year and a half becoming a father for the first time. It’s been a whirlwind of emotion and a whole lot of work!

Yes, becoming a father has been the hardest job of my life so far but has been the most worthwhile. Together, my beautiful wife and I make a great team. When one of us is exhausted, we take a time out and the other takes over.

Our beautiful daughter Josie is an absolute joy, the light of my life, and the reason I was put on this earth! Everyone, and I’m really not exaggerating, everyone says such a happy baby she is. We are truly blessed.

This past year and a half have brought a great deal of challenges. Josie was so sick off and on. She was born with jaundice and we had to keep her on a light bed for the first 2 weeks, no fun. To make it worse, right after she recovered from that she got pneumonia and was sick as a dog. In her first year she had 4 ear infections back to back and had to get ear tubes along with countless colds and now has pneumonia again.

While this seemed like a lot of illnesses to us, we know babies can get sick so often and we are truly blessed that she is as healthy as she is. Some children are not as lucky.

Ms. Josie also had many positive milestones. She was able to sleep through the night starting at 4 months. She could also use the toilet at three months! My wife learned about “elimination communication” which basically means you pay attention to the baby’s signals before they poop and then put them on the toilet. People were amazed by this and so were we! Sadly however, she has stopped going on the toilet after she learned how to crawl and wouldn’t sit still.

We also tried cloth diapers. At first we were going so thrifty we bought some really cheap ones from china on eBay. I do not recommend them. They didn’t fit right and leaked all the time. Eventually we realized we had to invest in better diapers so we got Bumgenius and they worked way better. They were more expensive but we got them used and saved a lot. Ultimately, after she turned one year old we switched to disposables. The reason was because she was going more at one time and less frequently so it was becoming impractical to run such small wash loads and they weren’t getting very clean anymore.

My wife breastfed until Josie turned 10 months when we switched to formula and eventually cows milk at 12 months. She did well on the transition and I discovered that giving her a bottle was a bonding moment for daddy and baby 🙂

Josie an I have bonded so much over the last year and a half it’s amazing. One of her first words was “Da Da” and I even created songs for her. I also had fun reading to her, acting out stories, and watching her grow. She has grown and developed a personality which is really fun to watch.

Josie is the light of our lives and is the light that has helped our marriage continue to burn bright despite some setbacks. We know the best gift we can give Josie is two parents that love each other. This will make her feel secure and loved as she grows to be a young girl and eventually a young woman.

Josie May was born April 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm (read my blog post about the birth)

Open letter to single parents

I'm a single parent, what's your superpower?

Dear all single parents out there,

You Rock! I can’t say thank you enough for what you do everyday! You are remarkable individuals and deserve so much respect for doing it all on your own. Here are just some off the amazing things single parents take on without complaint:

1. They often become the sole provider for the family.
2. They are jugglers and balance work and the many other tasks involved in running a family.
3. If possible, they maintain good relations with the ex and arrange visitations civilly.
4. They sometimes have to jump through hoops just to get child support to feed their kids.
5. They learn how to date again as a single person with children.
6. They make their children feel safe and secure through all these traumatic changes.
7. They deal with the guilt from the absence of the other parent and how this affects the kids.
8. They go to college on top of it all and are constantly trying to make a better life for their kids.

I was raised by a single mother, and while she humbly denies it to this day, she was the most positive force in my life growing up. She provided sustenance for my mind, body, and soul. There was always food on the table and love in her heart.

My mom did so many sweet things for us. Even though there was five of us, she gave each one of us individual attention. She used to sit in bed with one of us and then when we fell asleep she would go to the next. She wouldn’t play favorites and loved us equally. She put her children first, even above her marriage and relationships.

Without my mother, I know my life would have taken a much different path. My mother taught me how to understand my emotions and encouraged me to share them. She also taught me to treat others equally and how to respect one another.

She is a nurse, a caregiver, and cared for us like no one else could all by herself. Like most single parents, she was one woman who did the work of two parents. She says herself this probably made her a little crazy but by doing this she made us feel like a complete family and not a broken one.

Single parents take on so much and rarely get the appreciation they deserve. They deal with countless financial, emotional, and relationship issues. Thank you so very much to all the single parents. You make the difference in your children’s lives!

Thoughts from a man: Don’t make fun of a pregnant woman’s belly

Thoughts from a man: Don't make fun of a pregnant woman's belly

Image Source

Okay, so you’re probably wondering how a man knows anything about having a pregnant belly. Well, let me tell you what happened today and you be the judge 🙂

So, I have this friend, let’s call her Beth (not her real name). Beth is in her late 30s and is 4 months pregnant with her third child. She is clearly showing baby bump now. I’ll explain why that’s relevant to the story in the next paragraphs.

Occasionally Beth likes to go for an ice cream. Today she told me about earlier in the week. I wasn’t there, but she told me about when she went to get a treat at her favorite spot. Beth tells me that immediately as she enters the restaurant she sees the two men behind the counter snickering and laughing to each other.

The men who clearly look over 30 years old, covered it up but were clearly laughing at her pregnant belly. Before they took her order she could see them mouthing the words “Whoa, damn she is pregnant!” as they chuckled.

These man boys then quickly ceased their antics and tried to take her order oblivious to the fact that she saw what they did. Beth was disgusted, but she was late for work so she just paid for her ice cream and was on her way.

Beth is strong minded and might not have gone there again but she was craving the same ice cream treat again today. She thought maybe those immature man boys would not be scheduled that day and took her chances.

As she entered the restaurant for the second time that week, to her dismay it was them again. Those two stupid men that looked way too old to be working at an ice cream restaurant. They started snickering again as she walked in and under their breath she again saw the guy from before mouth the words “Damn, she is back for more!”

Again, she was offended but didn’t have the energy to say anything. Just as she thought to turn and leave they offered to take her order. Grudgingly she accepted and ordered an ice cream treat from them again. She was soon on her way.

That was today, she told me about these so-called men. I was infuriated that they would treat a pregnant woman in such an appalling way. I said to her it’s men like these that give the rest of us a bad name, they don’t even deserve the title of men, their a stupid boy in a man’s body with no sense of decency.

Beth said she was upset but didn’t say anything because it was not uncommon. To my surprise this was the third time she had experienced men ridiculing her pregnant belly this week! On Monday while she was walking by a garden a construction worker snickered to his co-worker and said a similar nasty thing about her being pregnant. She asked me, “what did I do to deserve this?” I said she didn’t deserve it. She wondered if she had a sign on her head telling men to mess with her this week.

Beth kept her sense of humor and laughed it off, but I wasn’t laughing. She is a friend and it hurt me that she was hurt in this way. I could tell it affected her a lot and understandably made her not want to go to that ice cream restaurant again.

I simply had to do something. When I had some free time I marched down to the same ice cream stand to talk to the manager. I told them my name and her first name only and when she came in. I wanted to respect her privacy but still voiced my concern that two of the employees there were disrespecting her and making fun of her pregnant belly.

The manager was understanding. He didn’t match the description she gave me of the two man boys and he apologized profusely. He said that he was proud of his workers and was appalled that this happened.

He asked if she would feel comfortable coming in to talk to the manager. I explained that she was insulted and embarrassed and she didn’t want to say anything but I was speaking for her. He understood and took down my information. He assured me that he would talk to the employees working at the time and make sure it didn’t happen again.

I never did tell Beth I did this but it made me feel good. I wanted to talk about it here because women, correct me if I’m wrong but this kind of treatment to pregnant women is common and unacceptable. Those weren’t men behind the ice cream stand, they were scum to do this, but at least now they’ll know that if they do it again they won’t even be able to keep a job selling ice cream.

Da Da

baby saying first words Da Da

My 16 month old daughter Josie can say a few words now. I love to hear her utter any words, but I especially love it when she says “Da Da.”

When Josie says “Da Da” she says it so sweetly, almost a whisper with a smile. This warms my heart. We go back and forth.

She says “Da Da” with a smile.

I reply with “Jo Jo”

Then she says “Da Da” again and we go back and forth 5 or 6 times.

She also seems to associate Da Da with anything she likes. It was one of the first words she said. Sometimes when she’s playing she’ll say it to the toys.

When were at the park she’ll say it when she first sees the swing sets and slides. Other times she just starts saying it over and over for no apparent reason.

Hey, I’m ok with being compared to those things, they’re fun and I try my best to be a fun daddy.

Josie is growing so fast,

But one thing is for sure,

She’ll always be my Jo Jo

and I her Da Da! 🙂

National Parents Day

In honor of all the wonderful parents out there, and be sure to check out the talent parent that wrote this 🙂

Mommy's Working On It

Today is National Parents Day.
I know you’re just as excited as I am!
A whole day to celebrate you as a parent!! (Oh yeah and also those people who raised you…you know… You’re parents. Don’t forget them)

To be honest, before today I knew nothing of this holiday.

I always knew I wanted to be a parent but in my heart it scared me to death. How was I going to be a successful parent when my childhood was less than perfect?

During my pregnancy I had several panic attacks about motherhood. What if I was awful at it? What if I was the worlds worst parent? What if my husband and I didn’t see eye to eye and couldn’t parent cohesively? These and many more thoughts were my fears.

Today, only 10 months into parenthood I have peace in my heart that I will be the best parent…

View original post 360 more words