Thursday, December 24, 2009


At this moment, my 2 adorable kids are sitting together on the couch, snuggled up together. They are "reading" books together, which mostly consists of Ben describing all the pictures to Molly, with Molly making supportive comments back after each page.

Ex: Ben: "See Molly, the train is running down the track so fast and it's brakes aren't working so the driver is trying to get it to slow down."
Molly: "Yea Ben, choo choo fast!"

Ben: "Now the train fell off the tracks, and the driver is calling for the break down train so they can put the train back up on the tracks."
Molly: "Oh, I see!"

Ben: "Look, Molly, Olivia has her mouth open."
Molly: "Mouse (mouth) open Ben!"

But the best part of this moment is that...they are completely entertaining each other, without ANY help from me at all! Heavenly!!! They are playing well and constructively, and I am blogging:) Amazing!!

They have finally gotten to the stage where, at times, they will really play well together for sustained periods of time. It's not often, and it's not usually long, but it is finally every day.

They mostly like to play "babies" and pretend to be infants, play running/dancing games, and occasionally will get out an actual game, and play their own version of it.

It has been so delightful to see them reach this stage, and it is SO wonderful to see their relationship develop.

But, as a random parenting thought, I also have to add that I believe the only reason these moments are popping up every day for us now is that we don't do t.v. here for children under 2. Since Molly isn't 2 yet, this means that the television is never on the the day time...ever.

We aren't a t.v.-free house, Ben watches a show most days while Molly naps, and Aaron and I definitely watch when the kids are in bed. But our "family" hours are all t.v. free.

This was a commitment I made to myself when I was deciding who I wanted to be as a parent, over 4 years ago. And, to be honest, I didn't know if I could do it. It seemed unbelievably difficult. I knew LOTS of amazing mothers, and none of them had done it. My own childhood had plenty of t.v. in it. I didn't think that it would be hard to have it off in general play time, but I wondered how would I ever get ANYTHING done in the day with a toddler in the house. How would I shower? How would I get a random, but necessary chore done?

Well, now that Molly is only 7 weeks from the 2-yr mark, and we have no infants in the house, or planned for that matter:), I can officially announce that it has been WAY WAY easier than I ever expected!!!

Honestly! I think it is as simple as: it was never a part of my routine, or a tool in my arsenal to use with crabby kids, so I just never missed it. And, instead, I feel so much pride in knowing that I stuck to my parenting philosophy on this one, and so my joy each time I see them playing independently with each other, or even playing well alone.

The only time they need to play independently is when I am, doing dishes, on the phone, whatever. But these are the exact times that I would think to use t.v. if it were an option. So, while there are PLENTY of times that I am pulling my hair out trying to get them to play well together and also get a chore done, I think that, by keeping the "boob tube" off, I have been inadvertntly forcing them to use that time constructively without my help. It has been a WONDERFUL pay off!

It has definitely had it's moments of frustration, and showering is always a crap shoot, but I have loved it, and strongly encouraqe anyone wishing to unplug from the t.v. a bit to go for it. Our grandmothers got by just fine without it...we can too!! You don't have to go cold turkey...just back off one regular time, and leave the rest. Your kids will come around because, well, they will have to, and you will all survive:)

*And, come Feb 24th, when Molly is 2-years and 1-day old, I will still try to keep it off in general, because we just aren't used to having it on, so why start??! But I also will be showering in peace!!!! :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thanks, GiGi and Margok!!

First, let me apologize for not blogging well lately. My goal is one story/post a week, but we have been having computer troubles lately, so I haven't been able to keep up. I am currently using Aaron's work laptop, but can't add pics or anything fun, so it's hard to get some of the stories put together. Aaron and I are buying a new computer for Christmas this year as our present to each other, so that should get us back up and running soon.

For now, though, I have to say a HUGE THANK YOU!!!! to Aaron's sister Gretchen (GiGi) and brother-in-law Martin (Margok)!!!

They offered to come stay here at our house with our kids for us for a weekend and let us go away, as a thank you to us for the help we gave them back in March preparing for their wedding.

So we finally got all the scheduling to work, and this weekend was the big weekend.!!!

First of all, it sounds like the kids had a ton of fun all weekend, and slept well, and generally did just fine without us for 2 nights. And G and M didn't look nearly as tired and ready for a break as I worried they might when we arrived home. They actually looked like they were just fine, though probably very much looking forward to a night's sleep without a toddler in the room:)

And as for us, we had a WONDERFUL weekend! Though we did honestly miss the kids much, it was so rejuvenating to have a weekend of just the 2 of us. It has been over 4 years since we had a full weekend to ourselves, and over 2 years since we had a full night to ourselves, so we were ready for the time together.

We didn't even go anywhere, really. We just got a room at the downtown Drury Hotel right by the St. Louis Arch, and stayed close to home. We spent a lot of time resting, reading, chatting, and just generally doing what I suppose other people our age who don't have kids are doing on weekends. We even went to a movie Saturday afternoon, just because we were free! We saw "Up In The Air", the new movie out that is partly set here in St. Louis, and we really enjoyed it. It was so great to not have to get a babysitter, and then hurry home afterwards. And then later we went on a great walk around the Arch grounds, bundled up in our coats, but loving the fresh air and the scenery.

It was such a wonderful time, but one of the things that we were struck by the most was how easy it was for us to just be together again without the kids. It's been so long that there might have been the worry that we have stopped having things to talk about, but that wasn't the case at all! We just felt exactly like ourselves, but without other people to dress/feed/care for/etc. It was surreal and nice all at the same time.

So, I'll end with recommending this for all of you out there with little ones. For people with kids who aren't yet approaching 2 yrs old yet, maybe you will have to wait a bit longer, but for the rest of us, we need to remember to take some time out and focus on the union that brought two adults together, and the created the place for children anyway. We're going to try to do it once a year or so, and hopefully you all will too! :)