One of the great things about summertime is the abundance of toddler-friendly programs available in my area. From junior swimming lessons to nature tours to farm outings, these programs offer little kids and their parents a chance to get out, have fun, expand their horizons, and maybe even meet new friends.
Unfortunately, my son and I cannot take part in any of these, because they’re only available during the week. Like many families, both my husband and I work full-time, and our ability to take part in such activities is limited to weekends alone. Yet the vast majority, if not all, of these programs are not offered on Saturdays or Sundays, which leaves families like ours out in the cold.
Back in the spring, I tried signing my 2.5-year-old son up for swim lessons. My efforts, however, were only met with frustration when I learned that there were no local weekend swim classes for children my son’s age. (Actually, there was one program–an expensive one–that consisted of two classes per week on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. When I inquired about the possibility of only coming for the Saturday classes, I was told that I’d still need to pay for the full program, which includes the Wednesday classes. In other words, pay full price and only get half the lessons–no, thank you.) Read the rest of this entry →
When my daughter was 2 years old, she requested ballet lessons. I promptly put her off. The world of ballet, in all of its pink, graceful, waif-like glory, is decidedly not my thing. I didn’t want it to be hers either.
The mere mention of the B-word triggers painful memories of a brief period in my childhood when I shoved my awkward pre-pubescent body into pink tights and a matching leotard and stumbled and suffered through a class in which I was at least a head taller and 15 pounds heavier than every other girl in the room. I was not slender or graceful, and my blunt bob was not nearly long enough to put into a bun. It would be the first in a long string of experiences in which I felt like the outsider, and I didn’t want to experience that again, even vicariously through my child.
After six months–a lifetime for a 2-year-old– of requests, I decided to give it a go. Surely it was a phase, I told myself, surely we’d be in bejeweled soccer cleats within a few months. Read the rest of this entry →
My sister has five children. All of them are heavily involved in team sports, and thriving–great physical shape, good grades, active social lives, and high self-esteem.
She’s utterly convinced that team sports are crucial to self-esteem building, and that I’d better get my kid started with one–NOW–before he falls hopelessly behind.
First of all, HE’S FIVE. There are lots of reasons to do team sports, but there are even more reasons to build garages for all your BOB trucks. Or put on goggles and swim across the living room. He’s FIVE.
“And what are your kids doing for the summer?” smiling friends and strangers alike ask regarding my three children, ages Just-Turned-13, Almost-9, and 5.
The smiles fade a bit, to be replaced by a somewhat puzzled expression when I proudly, answer, “Nothing!”
In New York City, home of IQ testing for 4-year-olds, enrichment classes in subjects ranging from Mandarin to Art Appreciation to My First Splitting of the Atom, and multiple websites to help keep track of Junior’s incredibly busy schedule, nothing is somewhat of a capital offense (if not outright child-abuse). Read the rest of this entry →
“Have a great time being Dance Mom!” my 12-year-old son chirped mischievously as I set off with my 8-year-old on his first day of rehearsal for Giselle with the American Ballet Theater at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center.
My younger son has been taking dance classes for almost a year now, so when another mom told me about the casting call for background Village Boys in Giselle, we thought we’d give it a shot.
My feeling was it would be a one-of-a-kind, priceless experience. How often, after all, does the average child–or adult, for that matter–get to be on stage at the Met, standing within a few feet of some of the world’s greatest dancers and getting a view even a front-row ticket couldn’t buy? Add to that the chance to work in a professional environment, surrounded by gifted, extremely dedicated and hard-working people, and have the same level of professionalism and hard work expected from you in return, and I figured, yes, that’s worth a week of my life. (And if he failed, well, you know how I feel about failure.) Read the rest of this entry →
You want to engage your kids in the seder. But it’s almost here and you haven’t quite figured out how to make that happen yet. Never fear. Here are a few easy, low-effort ways to make the seder more entertaining for the preschool/younger kid set.
1. EVERY YEAR, I WRITE THE BOOK! Sit your kids down and ask them to dictate the story of Passover to you. Write what they say down word for word, including ‘um’ and ‘you know’ and run-on sentences. DO NOT HELP THEM: the ‘blooper’ characteristic of this is what makes it so wonderful. Once they have done so, pick out a few elements of their stories out and ask them to make a drawing to match (“Can you draw the Red Sea splitting in half for me?”). Then put the text you’ve written together with their drawings, and make a cover saying, “Kid 1 and Kid 2 Passover Story, 2012.” If you are really ambitious, you can make color copies to hand out at the seder. If not, just pass this one around. Trust me, it will be a keepsake.
2. WORK HARD, RELAX RIGHT. Get some pillowcases and markers, and let the kids go to town on them, with Passover-related or abstract art work. Then put pillows in them for people’s seats so they can chillax in freedom-lovin’ style. Offer the pillowcases as a ‘souvenir’ if you find them too, um, aesthetically challenging. Hint: Let these artworks dry before putting them on seder chairs.