From the Mommy Files…

Posts Tagged ‘parenting

Hey there! How’s it going?

Yesterday was the last day of school. Like you, I’ve been mired in all the end-of-the-year events, shopping for teacher gifts, etc. Plus, I’ve been working on an exciting new project, which I will share with you soon. I didn’t want you to think I had succumbed to a new malady, so I thought I’d better check in! 😉

Boo and Bebs enjoying the beach on California's Central Coast.

Boo and Bebs enjoying the beach on California’s Central Coast.


Like you, I like to read blogs. (Thanks for reading this one!) Some posts really resonate with me, and I share them on Facebook or Twitter. I thought it would be fun to share them here with you.

Here are my 3 favorite posts from this past week.

1. Saying These 8 Things To Your Kid Every Day Could Change Their Life

I came across this on Facebook, from The Breast Cancer Site. It really hit home. Recently, I have experienced a mindshift in my parenting. I’d been reciting mantras, reading affirmations, trying to motivate, inspire, uplift myself — and boost my confidence. I realized my kids needed this too. These are some great tips to help your kids feel good about themselves, gain confidence, security, and courage.

2. To Build (or Break) a Child’s Spirit

This one comes from Huffington Post Love Matters, by Rachel Macy Stafford. This post reminds us that what we say and how we say it can have a profound impact on our kids. We do get frustrated. Absolutely. No one likes to be yelled at — not even us. We aren’t bad people. Sometimes we make bad choices, and make mistakes, but that doesn’t make us bad people. We have to find ways to turn these incidents into lessons of what not to do, and how to do better. Even something as simple as spilling milk — I know, even when it’s the 100th time — can get our goat. I’ve realized that we need to be positive and use these as teaching moments. We can make they feel awful, or we can teach them that mistakes happen, and remind them they are loved, and they can do better. Sometimes easier said than done, but we all need the reminder sometimes.

Now something just for fun! 😉

3. Bohemian Momsody

This one’s from Scary Mommy. If you don’t subscribe to Scary Mommy, go now and do it! There’s some great stuff there, and some chuckles too. I’m sure we have all felt like this at one time or another. Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite posts this week? What are some of the other blogs that you follow?

By no means do I wish to dissuade anyone from the institution of marriage.

I think marriage is a wonderful thing. cake topper

It’s challenging, but it’s worth it.

Sometimes, we do make it harder than it has to be.

While I never expected the fairy tale, I didn’t expect it to be so hard.

I got pregnant very early in our marriage, so there was little time to really explore these new roles of husband and wife, how that affected our lives and who we were as individuals.

Fast track to parenthood –and without any help –led to much stress and strain on our marriage.

Our kids are now 6 and 4.

Has it gotten any easier?


The challenges are different and ever-changing.

So is this a rant or complaint about my husband?


This is a reality check.

As I ponder what has happened during our marriage –good and bad—I realized something very important.

Neither of us was raised with the tools to be a good spouse.

Think about this for a moment.

We are taught to be good people and kind to others, and yes, all that helps.

But, like many of you, we were not taught how to be a good husband or wife.

And that doesn’t mean cooking, sex or making a lot of money.

It’s about relationships.

It’s about respect.

It’s about listening.

It’s about being unselfish.

Putting someone else first, but NOT always putting yourself last.

You know what I’m talking about, Ladies.

That last one really hit home, yes?

We always put ourselves last.

We watched our mothers, aunts and grandmothers do this.

These women did not have the same opportunities that we do, or the same education or motivation to do anything outside the home.

But we all have an inner drive, a wish to accomplish something in our lives, to be a unique individual.

Sometimes, this gets squashed in marriage and parenthood, and it brings about feelings of resentment.

These feelings are not always recognized, but they are there.

What about communication?

This is vital.

I grew up in a house where children were to be “seen and not heard.”

We were supposed to be thankful for what we had, not complain, and just deal.

This did not serve me well in my dating years, and certainly not now in my married years.

It didn’t help me in my career, either.

I was conditioned to not ask for what I wanted or needed, to make do with what we had and to just deal with the way things were, as unhappy as they made me.

I’m still struggling with this as an adult.

Things get overwhelming and you fall back into old patterns.

Think about what is going on in your life, in your marriage.

Are you personally happy? Fulfilled? Motivated? Inspired?

Do you embrace the individual you are and not allow yourself to get lost in the everyday of marriage and parenthood?

Do you take time for yourself to work toward your own goals?

Do you observe couple time? (Not talking about sex, sorry. There will be more of that when you work toward these things!)

Think about how the lack of personal time and couple time affects your parenting.

We all could use a break.


We can break the cycle.

And enrich our own lives.

It’s not a fairy tale. There’s no automatic “Happily Ever After.”

It’s important for us to raise our children to be good spouses.

If they choose not to marry, these skills will also serve them well in their lives.

Think about what traits a “good spouse” has.

Next time, we’ll discuss some things we can do to help raise our kids to be good spouses.

I hope you’ll share your thoughts as well.

Recently, Boo explained to me how the world was created.

Interesting insight from the five year-old.

Check it out:

Boo: Mom, do you know how the world was created?

Mom: Tell me.

Boo: There was a very special girl in Heaven. Her name was Mary. God decided that she was special enough to be the mother of His son. So they got married.

Mom: They got married?

Boo: Let me finish! So they got married, and then the angel came to tell Mary she’d have a baby boy and she was supposed to name him Jesus.

Mom: Gabriel?

Boo: Good, Mommy. Soon after, Mary gave birth to Jesus, and she became Panayia (most holy), because she was the Queen of Heaven. Panayia was going to have the baby soon, so Joseph took her to his hometown so he could take care of her.

Mom: Why would Joseph take her? You said she was married to God. Wasn’t she married to Joseph?

Boo: Mom, you’ve mixed it up. Panayia was married to God. They had a baby together, so they were married.  But God traveled a lot for work, so their good friend Joseph helped them out, so Jesus would have someone to help him while God was away at work.

Mom: Interesting. So what happened to Joseph?

Boo: Joseph was their best friend, and like a good uncle, he taught Jesus many lessons.  When he got too old, he went to Heaven. Then when Jesus was big enough, God sent him some notes.

Mom: What kind of notes?

Boo: He sent notes on how to create things. First was the note about people. – how to make a man. And then God sent another note, on how to create girls. Another note showed Christouli (Jesus) how to create the trees, flowers, the animals, and everything on earth. Jesus was a good student.

Mom: And then what happened?

Boo: Jesus became the king, and he watches over us and takes care of us. We love him and we pray to him and he is part of our family too. We can’t live without Jesus. He even created bad people so we learn some lessons too. We have to be good, so we can go to His house in Heaven someday.

Mom: And God?

Boo: He’s in Heaven. He doesn’t work anymore. He’s retired.

So there you have it, the story of how the world was created.

The world according to Boo.

Fascinating how the minds of children work…

After my post the other day, I’ve received a few notes about what kids say, in their mispronunciation of words. I could just die laughing! (not a bad way to go…)

I’d thought I’d share a few and give you a chuckle for your day!

The kids at BooBoo’s preschool are getting ready for their end of the year program tomorrow. They’ll recite poems, sing and dance. The 3 year-olds have been working on memorizing and reciting their poems since the end of March. One little boy has a poem, that says phonetically in Greek, “Eimai naftaki…” which means, “I’m a little sailor.” This little boy keeps saying, “Eimai aftaki,” which means, I’m a little ear.”

This one was emailed to me the other day. Love it!

Many Greek Americans speak some “Greeklish,” meaning they have made English words sound Greek and they use them in regular conversation. A 4 year-old boy recently heard his grandfather talk about going to get something from the “besimo,” Greeklish for basement. The little boy promptly said, “Eeeeoooo! What is Papou going to get out of a beesino?” “Beesino” being the Greek word for your rear end.

LMAO! (pun intended)

Another mom wrote to me about the time she told her 3 year-old daughter, “We better plant this louloudi (Greek for flower) in the ground.” They planted the flower, and later, the little girl reported to her father how they spent their day. “Daddy, daddy!” She shouted. “We planted that floozy right in the ground!”


We could go on like this all day, but I’ll share one last one from BooBoo, an infinite source of inspiration. 😉 

Boo has become infatuated with the film “Fiddler on the Roof,” and loves to sing the song, “Matchmaker.” This morning, as we were driving to school she began to sing. “Matchmaker, matchmaker I’ll bring the veil, you bring the broom, summer and pale. Bring me a wing for I’m longing to be the envy in all I see. For Papa, make him a scholah, for Mama, make him witch or a king. For me, well, I wouldn’t fall down if he were as handsome as anything!”

I about pee’d in my pants with that one.

‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy!

Now back to your regularly scheduled day. Enjoy!

OK, you’re chuckling. Yes. It’s funny. What do they say, out of the mouths of babes? I have to remind myself that my daughter is only 3, and she isn’t trying to be cruel. However, we all pause a moment when we hear that our backside is, well, on the large side.  

One day I was giving my daughter a bath and she started asking questions. She asked why a girl in her preschool class is bigger than her. I told her that the girl is a little bit older, so she’s had more time to grow. She responded, “What if I drink more milk?” I told her to go for it.

The conversation continued. She asked me, did she have a little nose. I said yes. She asked did she have nice eyes, and I said yes. Then she said, “Do I have a little butt?” I said, “Yes, and it’s a cute little butt!” We both had a giggle.

I was rinsing her hair when the truck hit me. “Mommy, why is your butt big?” Huh? “What?” I asked. She said, “Mommy, you have a big butt!”  I was taken aback. I didn’t know what to say. “Thanks a lot!” I said and finished the bath quickly, without saying much. I was speechless. OK, so I am a little self-conscious of my body these days, what mother isn’t? So I didn’t even stop to think, did I have a “nice” big butt a la J.Lo, or was it a just big ole’ butt?

I put her to bed and my husband asked me why I was so quiet. “I don’t know,” was my response. “Don’t be upset with her,” he said. “She’s just a kid. In comparison, your butt is bigger than her butt. She’s not telling you that you’re fat.” OK, so like it does for many of us, the “you’re fat” played over and over in my mind, until the song “Baby Got Back” took over. After sulking for a bit, I went to look in the mirror.

Hmmm….Well, it ain’t what it used to be. I look, from this side, from the other side, from the back. You’ve done it too. It’s not that big. I’m still wearing a size 4, but sometimes they don’t fit as nicely as they used to. How did this happen?

“Baby Got Back” has stopped playing in my head, but “I’m Too Sexy” hasn’t started up yet either. Pregnancy really changes your body. I didn’t have a clue how much. I have to learn to like my post-pregnancy body. It’s never going to be what it was before. I weigh what I did pre-children. Things just aren’t, well, where they were before. It’s like gravity has attacked me. I’d heard of this phenomenon before. I just hoped it wouldn’t happen to me.

The time has come. It’s time to get back on a regular workout routine. I have to make this new body the best it can be, not so my little one doesn’t tell me that my butt is big, but rather so I can feel good about the new me. Hmmm…how long do you think it will take to get a flat stomach again? OK, how about flatter? Give me a couple of weeks, I’ll let you know. I’m going to get in shape. I’m hitting the gym. My hot babe status is about to be reclaimed. LOL. Summer’s coming.  I double dog dare me. And you too.

Keeping Traditions Alive – No Matter What

We’re Greek Orthodox, and recently, we celebrated the most important feast of the entire year – Easter. My husband and I began hosting holiday celebrations, because we like to entertain, but more importantly, to keep traditions alive. In my own family, I noticed that the traditions were slowly being left behind – it was as if we were forgetting where we came from. It’s a similar story in my husband’s family. I decided a long time ago, that it was my mission to keep the traditions alive – no matter what. OK, I can’t take all the credit. My beloved grandmother, also named Maria, came to me in a dream, shortly after her death. She said, since I was the only one who seemed to show any interest in our culture, it was up to me to keep it going. I took her words very seriously. She never, ever steered me wrong.

Now there is doing a traditional thing here or there, and there is going all out. Mind you, I cannot do things half way, so yes, I go all out. It’s that important. I can just hear you now – absolutely, I am crazy. With the 3 year-old and the 1 year-old underfoot – sometimes screaming because they’d rather play – I keep at it. Traditions are alive and well in this family.

My 3 year-old has now become my trusted helper. When she was a baby, the only way I could getting any sort of baking done was to put her in her high chair, give her some cookie cutters, spatula, measuring spoons and cups, etc., and let her “bake” too. When she was big enough, she wanted to do some actual baking herself. She loves to mix the ingredients. We use this as learning time as well. She counts how many cups or spoonfuls; we watch the clock to determine when to add the next ingredient. It’s also a time when I explain things to her about the holiday, and of course, about my beloved grandmother, whose recipes I use quite a bit. I tell her about our big family celebrations. As my cousins have married and attend holiday gatherings with in-laws, ours are getting smaller. I long for those big boisterous celebrations – especially at Easter.

This year we got the 1 year-old into the act. We put her in the high chair and gave her things so she could “bake” and then we let her taste-test after the cookies had cooled. She didn’t like this at Christmas, but she was very into it this holiday. Somehow she made the connection that you put things in the bowl and stir. I couldn’t believe it when I saw her stirring and there was milk and a cookie in the bowl!

Sure they get bored, and want to do other things sometimes, so I try not to overwhelm them. Now, mind you, the 3 year-old gets upset if she finds out that I made something without her! If you ask her, she can tell you why all the Easter eggs are colored red, and that it’s her godparents that send her a decorated candle to use during the candlelit Resurrection service at midnight on Easter Sunday. Sometimes I forget that she’s 3, though shortly thereafter, she usually reminds me!

It’s important to start from when they are very small, so it’s ingrained, so they grow up with it. When they are younger, they are more receptive. We feel the same about church. I didn’t grow up going to church much, since my father owned a restaurant and always worked, and my mom didn’t drive. When I got older and went to church alone, it took a while to get comfortable and learn about things. I’m still learning. I always want my kids to feel that comfort, to feel the warmth. The people at church are an extended family, and I want my children to know them. I want them to be around the church as much as possible, for Greek school and other activities, designed to help them learn about our religion and to grow spiritually.

For some, this model doesn’t work, but do I believe the closer we keep them to their roots, the greater the chance that we can perpetuate our cultures. Everyone should be proud of where they come from. We didn’t all just magically appear here. It makes us who we are. We all came from a proud culture. In a melting pot society, where we are often pressured to assimilate, it’s incumbent upon us to teach our children where they came from, who they are, and what their background is. If they are of multiple ethnicities, great – there’s so much more for then for them to discover. These things are all part of them and makes them who they are. And why not share your culture with friends? I love learning about other cultures. I’m fascinated by their traditions.

To me this is as important as feeding my children. I’m also nourishing their minds, hearts and souls. So if this means, I don’t sleep in the days leading up to a holiday; that the laundry piles up; that I get very stressed in the preparations; that sometimes I could pull my hair out…just bring me some Epsom salts to soak my feet in after the big party. No matter what – the celebrations will continue. I’m proud of where I come from; we all should be proud of and celebrate our roots. If we don’t keep the traditions alive, they’ll be lost forever.

I keep all this in mind, even as the 3 year-old sings the triumphant hymn, “Christ is Risen” – in Greek – 20 times in a row. She’s excited that she knows it and can sing with everyone. And I am proud. On to the next holiday!

Girls are supposed to be made of sugar and spice, right? Unfortunately, not all of them are. My 3 year-old began preschool this past January. She loves school. She attends every day in the morning. In fact, she recently asked if she could stay all day. She’s learning a lot and we are pleased.

A girl at school, who is 4, has decided that my daughter is going to be her “pet project.” Well, this girl bullies my daughter so much, that lately she tells me she is afraid to go to school because she doesn’t know what this girl will do.

It started early on. My daughter is very easy going, and she doesn’t tattle. She lets kids bother her and won’t say a word. And, being the new girl, she was an easy target. One day my daughter came home and said “Angela (not the girl’s real name) said she was going to throw me in the garbage can.” I told her not to pay attention to Angela, that Angela wasn’t much bigger than her and couldn’t possibly throw her in the garbage can. I also told her to tell the teacher whenever Angela bothered her. She refuses.

As time has gone on, my daughter has begun to choose her outfits and accessories, based on what is acceptable to “Angela.” She says she can’t wear a bow or headband because Angela will take it, or she’ll keep pulling off her head. WTF? Again, I told my daughter to bring all of this to the teacher’s attention when it occurs. Nope.

For one week, Angela and her sister were sick and not in school. My daughter was so happy. Actually, I think that was the week she requested to stay at school all day. As soon as “Angela” returned, she began to not want to go to school, or would insist that I come at recess time so Angela couldn’t bother her. I sat her down for a little chat. I explained to her, that sometimes people are not nice, and when they are not nice, we should stay away from them. There are plenty of other kids to play with, and I told her that if Angela wanted to play with her, to politely say no and walk away.

Every morning we’d drive to school and my daughter would ask if I was going to be around at school (since I volunteer sometimes), in case Angela was to bother her. When I’d say no, she would get upset.

One day last week, we’d arrived at school a bit early, and the kids gather with all the teachers in another room until it’s time for class to start. In front of her teacher and Angela’s teacher, I tried to get my daughter to say something about what Angela does. Finally she said, “I can’t wear the bow Mommy. Take it home, so Angela doesn’t take it or throw it.” The teacher quickly dismissed it as kids’ play. I thought, for now I’m going to let it go. I love the teacher and the program. In less than 3 months, my daughter has learned more than I ever imagined. I don’t think she’d just blow it off, but if the bullying is not observable to the teacher and the child being bullied doesn’t complain, then what can she do? Since my daughter provides a daily report – and she’s expressing fear of this girl –  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it or try to do something about it.

On Fridays, I help prepare hot lunch. This past week, I witnessed Miss Angela in all her glory. I was holding my 13 month-old, and a bunch of the kids came over to see her. I squatted down so they could be at eye level. Angela came over, looked me square in the eye, with more attitude than most people I know, and said to me, “You go stand over there. I’m going to play with the baby!” I looked at her and said “Excuse me?” to which she replied, “That’s what I said.” Well, I thought I was going to lose it. But I blew it off. She’s 4 for pete’s sake. I encouraged the other kids to come closer to play with the baby. Angela was getting visibly upset and started telling the kids to move out of the way – even pushing them – because she wanted to play with the baby and they better move.  When she got near the baby I stood up and told her that we were leaving. She gave me the dirtiest look. It gave me the feeling that no one has ever told her no or not done as she said. I left there thinking, her parents are so nice. Her sister is so sweet. How does this happen?

One day last week, my daughter told me she was afraid to go to school, because Angela would be there. This afternoon when I picked her up, her teacher told me that my daughter was crying a little at lunch time, and a little apprehensive about playing with the kids, but then the teacher asked one of the kids to take her by the hand, and she went to play without any problem. I told her that this morning she didn’t want to go to school, because she’s afraid of Angela. The teacher again dismissed it, and said that the girl was not a problem. I told her that the girl is bossy and I have witnessed it for myself. She insisted that it wasn’t a problem. I don’t agree. I don’t want my daughter to be afraid to go to school. And you can’t exactly approach a parent about their child, because we all feel that our kids are perfect. I don’t know about you, but mine certainly aren’t. They’re kids for crying out loud! They’re trying to figure it all out. They’re learning to be independent, and pushing the boundaries whenever possible. They want to see how much they can get away with, but it’s our job to put them back in reality. And I don’t mean with physical force.

At the same time, I have to figure out how to get her to stand up for herself. How do I get her to not be a bully herself? I guess we’ll have to keep working on this one. There’s no answer. Hey, where’s the instruction manual? I wish it were as easy as saying we won’t play with her, but she goes to the same school. We can’t avoid her. All the other kids this year are nice, but there’s bound to be a bully next year, or in an activity she goes to. It’s inevitable – we all have to deal with bullies.  Someday Angela will get bullied, and she won’t know what hit her. Hopefully, when the time comes, she will do the right thing.

As of Friday, our bully was behaving for most of the week, though this morning my daughter said she couldn’t wear a bow in her hair because Angela will pull it out. Then she told me she might play with her at recess. Come on! I don’t get it. Is she a glutton for punishment?

In yesterday’s Sunday insert in the Chicago Tribune, there was an article on bullying. We read it with enthusiasm. We’ve read the book Purplicious, which is mentioned in the article, but I think the moral of the story is a little lost at this age. I guess all I can do at this point, is to keep telling my daughter to stay away from the bully – do not go by her, do not try to play with her – and if she bothers her to tell the teacher immediately. And hope the bully will grow out of this stage quickly.

I can always remind myself that there are only six more weeks of school left.

Why can’t we all play nice?

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BooBoo BeDoux

Bebs LaRoux


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