Life in the ‘boro

Life without peanut butter?

I’m a peanut butter addict. We go through at least a jar or two a week.

Last month, we found out that Sawyer is allergic to eggs an peanut butter. Fortunately, it is a minor allergy, but it still meant a lot of changes for our family.

One thing that our allergist and pediatrician recommended was doing a bit of experimenting to see how much he could tolerate without having a reaction. (Sawyer’s reactions are mostly skin based, and we have an epi-pen on hand! Trust me, we’re being safe and acting under the supervision of doctors.)

We tried giving Sawyer a crumb of fried egg.

The rash on his bum was epic.

A crumb of a peanut/date bar… no reaction.

Photo Jun 17, 11 15 22 AM

We’re working with our team to regulate this stuff and know that it is going to continue to be a journey.

But what should I pack when we’re going out and about and can’t refrigerate stuff? Shakes are too messy for our 18-month old, and almond butter works sometimes…

That’s when I remembered what children in Denmark eat for lunch. (*I lived in Denmark for a semester in college, as did my dad. We’ve got a pretty strong love for the nation!)

The Danes give their kids really good bread, spread with grass-fed butter and topped with thin slices of chocolate. It’s basically the same thing as peanut butter and jelly.

On our latest trip to Davis Farm, I bought some baguettes, loaded up with butter and plads, and the results were two happy toddlers.

Phew.

Mom victory!

Advertisements

Apples Galore!

Since I started eating cleaner, I’ve developed a bit of an addiction.

Honeycrisp apples.

I love these gigantic, sweet, crunchy orbs. They’re better than bread in the morning, but still give me the sugar kick that I love at the start of the day.

So, when apple season hit New England, our family took to the local orchard, ready to fill our bags.

Patrick rolled his eyes at the enormous bag I purchased, assuring me that we wouldn’t eat them all before they spoiled.

(Ha! Little did he know they wouldn’t last two weeks!)

The day was perfection- sun, smiles, apples… What more could a girl ask for?

 

Any number of children have an attachment to a pacifier or a “lovie.”

Parenting booksdescribe this behavior as developmentally appropriate and even deem the thumb sucking I’ve witnessed in toddlers as totally normal.

Sawyer sucks his toe.

It’s not just any toe- it is the big toe on his right foot.

In the car, he’ll wiggle his feet free of shoes and socks, screaming in agony until they hit the floor of the car with a thud, and his toe is satisfactorally shoved into his mouth.

Changing his diaper has become a war; I’m jerking his foot out of his mouth to secure the adhesives to the sides. He screams and fusses until I let him have it back.

Do you think he’ll be a gymnast?

piRATe TIME

“There isn’t much of a line. We’ll be fine!” I assured him, squaring my shoulders and hitching Sawyer up on my hip.

After another round on the carosuel, Patrick was going to skip the next ride at Storyland to go grab an iced coffee. I squared my shoulders, hitching Sawyer up on my hip as Patrick headed of.

Jasper eagerly pulled my hand, rushing us towards the tiny cove. As we reached the front of the line, my confidence dwindled; it looked like we might have to wait.

“I can skoot over. No problem!” a middle aged dad smiled at me, raising an eyebrow at his teenaged daughter.

“Me too,” she agreed.

Jasper took a seat next to her, introducing himself. “My name is Jasper. J-A-S-P-E-R.”

I smiled at both of them with gratitude and settled in for the quiet ride.Jasper was thrilled to be “rowing” the pirate ship. As the ship departed from the cove, I took a few calming breaths, willing Sawyer to sit patiently on my lap for the 7 minutes that it takes for the ship to make the lap around the pond.

Image result for pirate ship storyland

“There’s Black Beards friend there in the cage! Arg!” our teenaged captain narrated.

I’d heard the speech a dozen times before on our trips to Storyland, and tuned out for a few minutes, enjoying the feel of the sun on my cheeks and Sawyer’s weight on my lap.

“Who knows a joke?” the captain proded the boat.

“I DO!” Jasper shouted, moving everyone in the boat to patient attention and pulling my heart to a stop.

It takes guts for anyone to speak in public, and here was my kid, calling attention to the 30 strangers on the boat. He was fearless.

But I knew what was coming next, and I began to sweat.

“Why did the monster get in the clock?” he fearlessly, timing the joke perfectly.

The boatload of passengers patiently waited in silence while Jasper waited the excited beat of a comedian.

“BECAUSE HE SCREWED IT!” he laughed.

My heart dropped at the uncomfortable entendre my four-year old had just shared with the people who were innocently taking their kids for a ride at Storyland.

Fortunately, they all joined Jasper in their laughter, and I shrank back into my seat, pretending that I wasn’t there.

Because he screwed it. 

Image result for the monster screwed the clock

 

 

Post Scriptum: Jasper’s been trying to tell the joke, “Why did the monster throw the clock… to see time fly!” but he’s mixing up the punch line of screwing (like with the screw driver) with throwing. At least this is the story that I’m sticking to. Because god knows my kid’s already sworn enough in public...

Blueberries for Independence

Sawyer and I love blueberries.

Photo Jul 04, 10 02 09 AM

So, when I found out that Harvey’s Farm was open despite the national holiday, I announced that our family would be there at opening.

Before we left, Jasper proudly announced that he didn’t like blueberries. With an eye roll, I assured him that he wouldn’t have to eat any.

We crunched down the gravel at 9:32, I was thrilled to find Jess at the register, smiling as always.

She handed us our buckets and directed us towards the sweetest parts of the patch. Fortunately, Jasper’s excitement was mounting.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t that interested in taking a family photo.

Photo Jul 04, 9 43 34 AM (1)

We wove our way through the rows, sampling a bite here and there and singing “curplink, curplank, curplunk!” in our best Blueberries for Sal interpretation.

We spent half an hour in the bushes, gleefully calling to one another.

Sawyer was a wonderful taste tester.

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our Nation’s Independence; we were supporting a local family business while having buckets of fun. (Sorry guys, I couldn’t resist that pun…)

Why Our Preschooler Isn’t Joining a Sports Team

Ours is a typical American suburb, and most kids on our block are signed up for sports teams. Four year-old kids play soccer, t-ball, and other activities- and they seem to love it. Image result for toddler soccer

Our little boys aren’t on sports teams. They aren’t for us.

It isn’t that we don’t believe in the importance of teamwork, following directions or being physically active. As parents, we just don’t think our kid needs to be on a sports team.

Instead of rushing off to practice and missing family dinner, we walk around the block, hike through the woods, play in the yard, and have wrestling matches in the living room. We have a ridiculously early dinner time so that Sawyer (who is only one year-old and demands an equally early bed time) can join us.

We never have to wake up early to rush off to a game on the weekends. We’re free to plan a spontaneous trip to the Children’s Museum or head off to Story Land every weekend if we’d like. We do things together as a family, and everyone gets to be a participant. (Well, Sawyer is still working on his participation. But he’s getting there!)

I’m a little sad that we don’t have that cute team photo, and that I won’t have memories of a herd of kids chasing after a soccer ball on Haskell Field to remember. Those kids are having fun, and Jasper doesn’t get to be a part of it.

Image result for toddler soccer

Friendships forged on the soccer field can last a lifetime… but the Tobiassons aren’t setting up those relationships.

Instead, we’re modeling life long fitness by hitting the gym as often as we can as parents, and play sports in the backyard with both boys. (Parent Brag: Jasper’s golf swing is looking pretty good!)

I’m not saying that our kids will never play sports. I’m just saying they aren’t going to- for years- because we aren’t ready to let go of the precious time we have with toddlers.

Right now,  our boys want to pig pile in the living room, whack pipes with rocks, and perfect the k-turn in the tractor.

For now, our family is committed to playing together.

 

Putting My Kids First- How We Changed Our Eating on Play Dates

While taking the boys on play dates and field trips, it can be hard to eat healthy. We have loads of day trips planned this summer, but the menus at places like Story Land and the Children’s Museum cater to the chicken nugget crowd.

Image result for story land menu

Play dates can be equally challenging. We don’t do fruit snacks or Lunchables… we’re working our way towards a sugar free diet, at the recommendation of our pediatrician.

The answer is the Isagenix smoothie.

We started this nutrition system over a year ago, and I’ve become a little obsessed. I make us each a smoothie with kefir, some fruit, veggies and Isagenix protein.  I blend them up and load them into a Yeti cup and they stay ice cold for the entire day.

Sawyer is sticking to pouches for now, as he hasn’t exactly mastered the art of the spoon.

I usually pack some veggie chips or crackers for the boys to share, just in case they want to snack later on in the day.

The difference that this has made in our lives is hard to explain. I’m filled with more energy, and just feel… better! I had no idea how indulging in pizza or burgers during a  play date was fueling my brain fog. Now, I’m able to stay happier throughout the day; my gut and my head are in a better place.

When I’m able to take the kids out for a day, I want to be able to enjoy them. Not just the pizza.

 

Summer’s Smashing Start

It was busier than we’d ever seen it.

The parking lot was overflowing with cars, and the line to get in snaked around the corner. We pulled our double stroller, loaded with kids, diapers, snacks and waters to the express line, pulling out our season passes.

Summer in 2017 officially began for our family with our first trip to Storyland.

We left on Saturday morning around 7am, and were riding our first round on the tractor four hours later.

Sawyer loved watching all of the people, and was happy to join us on any ride that we lugged him on.

Jasper ran from ride to ride, patiently waiting in line at the rides in a way that surprised me.

It was perfect.

 

 

Not a card, flower or even a brunch for my mother on Mother’s Day.

Families around America gathered for brunch last Sunday in celebration of Mother’s Day.

We skipped it.

As it turns out, Mother’s Day was founded in the 19th Century to help support mother’s who had lost children to illness and war; the founder’s life mission was to prevent milk contamination and lower infant mortality rates.

Anna Jarvis, the founder of the holiday, didn’t have any children. She spent her life perpetuating her own mother’s life work and said that for her, Mother’s Day “was a day where you’d go home to spend time with your mother and thank her for all that she did.” The day was quickly commercialized, to Jarvis’ horror. She could have cashed in on being a founder of this day, but instead organized protest after protest, refuting the fundraisers and flowers that became associated with the day. Giving up everything, Jarvis insisted that the day wasn’t about cards, but about generating awareness and honest appreciation for the sacrifices made by mothers for their children.

So, this year, I didn’t buy my mother a card.

I didn’t make her one, either.

I didn’t even buy her flowers.

Instead, we attended a workshop the week before Mother’s Day at Harvey’s Farm and built planters together. There was plenty of chatter and discussion about the best way to grow plants. My mom and I spent time together, talking and getting our hands dirty.

Because that’s what moms do.

On Sunday, it was raining and our plans were dashed. Patrick suggested that I take Jasper into Boston. I picked up the phone, and invited my mom to come along for a spur of the moment trip to the Children’s Museum.

We spent the afternoon watching Jasper fearlessly leap around the exhibits. (well, except for that cage climbing thing- that ended in tears.) We smiled as he laughed, and enjoyed a quiet lunch together- just the three of us.

I didn’t buy my mom flowers, a card, or brunch. Instead, we spent time together, and celebrated the love that we get to share.

Thanks, Mom.

And thanks to Jasper, who showed me in his toddler way that he loves me with all that he has in the precious time that we spent together last weekend.

The Truth About Fidget Toys

The new exciting toy that every kid wants isn’t an iPhone… it is a fidget toy.

For kids with ADD and autism, these little devices can have a positive impact in a student’s ability to focus in a classroom- there’s piles of research to prove it. Frankly, this isn’t a new or exciting idea. I’ve been handing out rubber bands and paperclips for a decade! Kids who struggle to focus in class can mindlessly manipulate these objects in their hands while bringing their main focus back to the point of instruction.

But like anything… they can become a problem.

Someone wrote an article about how these “spinning fidgets” can help kids focus in class. 

Image result for spinners help

They have become a plague.

Almost every kid in my classroom has one of these things. They spin them endlessly; on their noses, with friends, in pieces, upside down… it is basically the new “water bottle flip.”

The problem is that it isn’t just kids who have ADD and autism who are using these fidgets. Kids who’s brains focus on one thing at a time are bringing these things to school. All of their attention is on them. They play with them- because they are toys.

So, one of the teachers in our building created a poster with these rules:

The Fidget Rules

Fidget tools can help you concentrate, but only if they are used correctly.  These rules must be followed at all times so that the fidget tool will be useful. If these are not followed, the fidget tool will be taken away.

 You can hold it in your hand, feel it, move it, and/or spin it, but follow the Dos and Don’ts.

Dos

  1. YOU MUST BE LOOKING AT THE TEACHER
  2. YOU MUST BE LOOKING AT YOUR WORK
  3. YOU MUST BE DISCREET – Barely Noticeable

 

Don’ts

Don’t try to get your friends attention with it.

 Don’t share it with another student during class.

 Don’t make noise with the fidget.

 

We had a team meeting, and reviewed the rules. Then, when kids weren’t following the rules, I just started holding out my hand. They would then hand over the spinner and if they were nice about it, they could have it back at the end of class. If they were rude, (“WHAT? I wasn’t DOING anything? GOD!!”) I would keep it until the end of the day.

My favorite day was when I took one off of a kid’s nose.

Image result for fidget on nose

You know that this kid told his mom that buying this toy on Amazon would help him to focus. She had no idea that he would spend hours on youtube watching how to get the thing to spin on his nose.

Seriously- these things aren’t helping kids focus. They’re just another toy.

There are two kids on my team who benefit from the use of fidgets- they have elastics, and other devices that they’ve been quietly using for years. Those kids know how and why they need fidgets.

Please don’t give into the latest craze- it is impacting your kid’s ability to learn.