“Momma! Look at all dese nature treasures!”
Ellie is what I like to call my wildflower. She’s dreamy and imaginative and can frequently be found wandering around in circles, getting lost in her own world. She’s the type that will go out into the backyard and start singing softly to the flowers (or, more accurately, the “flowlers”). She’ll pick a handful of her favorites and rest them gingerly in the window of her playhouse. When I heard about Tinkergarten, I just knew I had to sign her up.
Designed to allow kids from 18-months to 8-years old explore and learn with nature as their classroom, Tinkergarten is a great alternative to typical kids classes. Free flowing and laid back, you don’t have to worry about kids not being attentive or getting distracted by an army of ants marching along a log—that type of exploration is completely encouraged by Tinkgergarten leaders.
It’s really easy to turn these local adventure posts into mind-numbing love fests. Because I want to express my love. I do. But I also want to give you reality. Full-on gushes are just not reality. There is no afternoon with kids that goes by without a meltdown of some sort. That doesn’t mean the place is shitty. It doesn’t mean the kids are shitty, either. It just means we’re normal human beings, not robots going through the motions.
Our trip to Muscoot Farm in Katonah couldn’t be a better example of this. There was pouting. There was whining. There was arguing. But we still had fun.
A couple of weeks ago I saw that the Wolf Conservancy was going to be there. Knowing that my nephew is a big time wolf freak (and I mean that in the most loving way possible), I immediately contacted my sister and we decided to meet there to get our wolf on, as one does.
Ellie was borderline petrified, but decided that wearing her red poncho (which includes a hood, naturally) might help her defeat any granny-like wolf nemeses. She was scared in more of an excited way, letting the drama build a bit in anticipation of some sort of epic tale.
Insanity has been ruling the show over here lately. After the jam-packed craziness that was March (tons of work, birthdays, an end of winter mini-getaway), spring break really finished me off in the Completely Thrown for a Loop department. I am now one hundred percent certain that spring break for the younger set exists solely to light a fire under the asses of procrastinating parents (like yours truly) and make sure they get summer plans lined up—stat.
Because sweet Jesus that was a long week.
I actually got really upset and whined to my husband that I don’t want to be one of those people who count down the days until school starts again. He assured me that at one point or another everyone is one of those people. This may be one of the few things he’s right about. 😉
Luckily, the week wasn’t all whining and the girls working their hardest to drive each other (and me) insane. There were play dates and movie dates and manicure dates. And there were tickets to Disney Live!: Three Classic Fairy Tales.
It happens every time. As we draw closer to my daughters’ birthdays that Pinterest party pull grabs hold of me and lures me in. I search the specific themes my girls have mentioned some interest in, wanting to push them towards the one that I can come up with the most picture perfect decor and desserts and games and favors for.
It’s so stupid.
When did kid’s parties become more about moms throwing elaborate mini-weddings to show how creative and impressive they are instead of reflecting what the kid actually wants?
This year I tried to slap myself out of it, at least a little. Ellie has been talking about a tea party since we went to Kathleen’s Tea Room this summer and she relished every last second of drinking hot cocoa out of her very own, very fancy tea cup. My eyes most definitely lit up at the possibilities that could be found in a tea party.
As her birthday drew closer she threw another element into the mix, deciding she didn’t want just any old tea party. She wanted a Zumba tea party. This was a wrench I was not quite prepared for. How exactly does one throw a proper Zumba tea party? What the hell is a Zumba tea party?
Instead of taking it and running with it, I consulted the only expert on the subject in existence: my daughter. She wanted tea cups and she wanted to do Zumba just like she does at her classes with Tanya at Intrigue.
So, we booked a party at Intrigue Dance and Fitness—and it was seriously the best decision ever.
I really want to love fall. I really, really do. And, I mean, there are pieces of it that I love. The smell in the air, the crispness, sweater weather, the coziness of burning fall spice candles and snuggling under a blanket, the leaves.
My problem with fall is that I know what comes right after it. Bare branches, the loss of greenery, numbing temperatures, snow. Part of me feels like loving fall just encourages winter to get here more quickly.
I realize that’s crazy. But it doesn’t stop me from believing it.
In an effort to be less mean to fall and to love on it a little harder without associating it with seasonal affective disorder—and to soak up all of the mild days we can before we’re locked inside, hermetically sealed until a stupid groundhog tells us what’s up—I decided to take the girls down to one of our favorite places: the Peekskill Riverfront.
Last week my sister and I decided to take a little drive over the Hudson River to bring the kids to Bear Mountain. With scenic trails, plenty of rocks to climb, little trailside museums and a zoo which houses injured or orphaned animals that couldn’t survive in the wild, it was the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.
Last week I met my mother-in-law in Manhattan to take the girls to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So much potential for learning at a major cultural institution, right?
Yeeeeeah, that sounds nice and all and while it is true, I learned way more in the Life Lessons department than I soaked up in the art history department. For instance…
1. Plans are stupid.
Duh. I mean, I should have known this. Kids + plans = a regular laugh riot.
When Sam’s birthday rolled around last month, I decided we were way better off gifting her an experience than giving her more stuff. She’s got so much stuff. I knew that anything she wanted would come from family members and the friends who came to her birthday party, so we decided to plan a special family day instead of getting a ton of things for her to unwrap.
When my brother-in-law’s girlfriend mentioned a puppet show in Central Park, I knew I had to look into it. Samantha watched Labyrinth with my husband recently and loved all of the behind-the-scenes footage that showed how the puppeteers worked all of the puppets. Add that to the fact that a puppet show isn’t too old for a three year old to enjoy and I thought we might just be in business.
And I have to say, we had a pretty awesome day.