As with so many other things related to parenting, I often find myself making comparisons to others...which (as with anything related to parenting) is never that useful.
The other day at swim lessons, I was talking to a native of Germany who is raising her children in both German and English. Most of the time, she speaks to them in German and I've noticed that her son usually responds in kind. I should be speaking to Elliot in Spanish all the time, I thought.
But, her situation is not mine. She is a native speaker. Her husband lived in Germany long enough to be fluent in the language. So, why was I suddenly feeling that my somewhat random approach to moving back and forth between languages is inadequate?
Just an hour later, my mood changed completely. I met a native of Honduras and we started speaking Spanish when I told her that Elliot attends a Spanish immersion preschool. "He speaks Spanish?" she asked me in amazement. Her son, it seems, always requests to be spoken to in English.
"Yes, he does," I said proudly. And I'll have to admit: I felt a little bit superior. My son speaks better Spanish than yours does! And it's not even my native language!
Of course, I quickly realized that this feeling was pretty childish. And short-lived.
You must speak to your child in the target language all of the time said a favorite blog on bilingual parenting. Oh, no! I don't do that...for several reasons.
Daddy doesn't speak much Spanish, so it would require a lot of translation. It would feel forced for me to speak all the time in a non-native language. Finally (and perhaps this is just laziness), I don't really have the vocabulary to give details of how asphalt is made and other topics of interest to a preschooler...although I do now use a lot of words I've learned by looking them up on my iPhone app!
So, how much Spanish is enough? My answer is a solid: I don't know. I've recently made an effort to speak more...and I've noticed Elliot's use of Spanish has also increased. We read and listen to music in Spanish. He attends a Spanish immersion preschool a few days a week. And, I'm always on the lookout for more Spanish-speaking friends.
I really don't know if I'm doing all that I could be. But, all in all, I'm quite pleased that my son is growing up speaking two languages.
This post will be part of the Raising Multilingual Children Blogging Carnival, coming soon to All Done Monkey.
But lately, the time he enters our room is getting earlier and earlier. 6:00 or 6:30 has suddenly morphed into 5:00, 3:30, 1:20. For a while, we didn't do anything about it. In our lazy, half-asleep state, we just let Elliot fall back to sleep in our bed. In a way (again despite the seemingly constant motion), I really like the idea of the three of us being in bed together.
On the other hand, I've always thought the idea of a "family bed" to be somewhat silly. After all, a couple's bed is sort of a sanctuary, and I'd imagine most kids would enjoy having their own special place.
Beyond that, I've noticed that Elliot is starting to be afraid of things: unexpected noises, not knowing where I am in the house, etc. I certainly don't want him to be afraid of his own bed...scared of being in his very own special truck-themed bedroom all by himself.
That's why, when Elliot's face suddenly appeared at my side of the bed (always my side of the bed!) at 1:20 the other morning, I told him it was the middle of the night and not yet morning cuddle time. I took him back to his bed and made sure he was comfortable and cozy before returning to my room.
This is one of the many areas in which what I thought I'd do before Elliot was a reality and what I'm actually doing are somewhat different. Before, co-sleeping was a definite "never." Now, I'll "never say never," but at the same time, I don't want to make it a habit.
After all, it's bad enough sharing a bed with a snorer. I don't need a kicker in there, also!
Today is a pretty big day for Hallows Haven. The book is being released in July but the cover reveal is happening all over the web thanks to Tasty Book Tours.
A little about Hallows Haven, written by me and Nicole Madison:
It is a YA Paranormal series and it is suitable for any age.
Captain of the cheerleading team, 16 year old Gwen Valiente has it all–the best of friends, a loving home, and a bright future. Little does she know that the people she loves the most have been keeping secrets–life-altering secrets.
When strange things start to happen to Gwen, she is thrust into a magickal new realm called Hallows Haven. Leaving the ordinary behind, she discovers that she can do things beyond her wildest dreams. As Hallows Haven begins to feel more like home, Gwen wonders how she ever felt satisfied with everyday life in Michigan.
Too late, Gwen realizes that even in this realm full of light and magick, danger lurks. Someone close to her is not what he seems and someone will do anything to draw her out of Hallows Haven and into the darkness. Even worse, some of that darkness may already exist within her, threatening her chance to make Hallows Haven her permanent home.
Have Gwen’s loved ones continued to keep dangerous secrets? Can Gwen resist the call of darkness?
The book is the first in a trilogy. The 2nd one, Dragons Realm, will be coming out in October!
You can “like” Hallows Haven on FB: Hallows Haven
Add us to your shelves on Goodreads here
I wrote a novel.
Actually, I wrote two novels.
Both of them will be released this month. I’m self-publishing, skipping the middleman. It’s the way to go, in my opinion. I like the control it gives the author. What can I say, I’m controlling. Well, at least that is what my kids tell me. And since they are teenagers and know everything, they must be right.
I’d like to tell you a quick story, though. It all began about two years ago when I was dealing with Bank of America. Remember that? Well, I’ll tell you this, I’ll never forget. But I digress…
Somehow, through my story, I connected with a woman named Nicole Andrews Moore. She was going through all sorts of issues with BofA too. We briefly commiserated over Facebook but that was about it. Not much interaction aside from liking each others status updates.
Then, last February, she messaged me on Facebook. Apparently, she was a writer…I did NOT know that then. Apparently, she wanted to hook up and write a book together. I explained that I really only wrote Paranormal, the rest of the stuff wasn’t something I dabbled in…romance, intrigue, espionage, murder…unless it had vampires, witches, demons…I just couldn’t relate. Maybe there is something wrong with me?
She had this brilliant idea…we’d write a Paranormal Romance together. I was like…cool, I could handle that. As long as the Paranormal outweighed the Romance. Because I’m so NOT a romantic, I wouldn’t even know where to go with that if a conversation had to be written.
Or so I thought.
But then, I started writing Hallows Haven and put the idea of writing with Nicole on the back burner. I hadn’t heard from her and I knew she was busy writing what she writes so I didn’t press the issue.
Until. She messaged me on Facebook again. Let’s do it, she said. And I said…OK. Let’s.
So we did.
We planned an entire series called Dark Redemption. Four books. All before Christmas 2013. Yeah. I know. Cray-cray, right?
Well today, the final words were placed on the document, Dark Dawn was finished.
And it’s being unleashed. June 10th. That’s this coming up Tuesday.
I’m going to be a published author. And I owe much of it to a virtual stranger, someone I haven’t even spoken to on the phone. This woman who, for whatever reason decided she wanted to write a book…which turned into a series…with ME.
I can not express my gratitude. I don’t have the words. And just saying thank you from the bottom of my heart just doesn’t have the impact I’d like to make.
But it’s how I feel.
So, this month, Dark Dawn will be released on June 10th. Followed by Hallows Haven on June 24th. And then all their subsequent books.
This is a dream. Surreal. Because even since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer. And then, I never pursued it. And then I forgot about it. Until, of course, I started blogging again. Which led to short stories of fiction. Which led to…
I’m a writer.
Even if not a single copy of these books ever sell, I have an ISBN number which means…
I’m a writer. Published.
And I just don’t even know where to put this excitement I’m feeling.
I have a couple words about Dark Dawn…
We are doing two versions…MA and NA (new adult). New adult is a new-ish genre that is for the 18-23 year old set. So…both versions will have sex in it but the NA is a little more tame than the actual adult version. The rest of the book…exactly the same. I just thought I should mention that so…if you are interested in reading the book when it comes out on Tuesday, just make sure you know which one you are buying. When the book is released on Tuesday June 10…OMG…I will post all the buy links for you! Because you know what? This is a not-to-be-missed series. Not even kidding.
Yeah. So this is really happening. I know it to be true, the pinch I gave myself actually hurt.
So, to Nicole Andrews Moore. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. As stupid as that sounds. Writing this book with you has been a pleasure and an honor. I look forward to the rest of the series and beyond.
"Thanks," I reply, stifling a giggle at Elliot's praise of my attempts to play his toy saxophone. While out of context and kind of funny, his comments make me happy. That's because Elliot is repeating what he's hearing each week from his instructor at swim lessons...where he's been doing surprisingly well!
I say "surprisingly" based on past pool attempts, like the "playtime for polliwog" class he took in the winter. While the other polliwogs cavorted, Elliot spent most of his time clinging to me on the side of the pool. So, it was with trepidation that I signed him up for "fish 1" after a few private lessons to get him more in the swing of things.
What a difference those individual lessons -- or a little bit of time -- have made! Elliot eagerly takes his turn making scooper arms, kicking and blowing bubbles. When it's not his turn, he sits on the side of the pool wiggling his feet and looking absolutely adorable in his green goggles and bathing suit, his wet hair sticking up on one side. I wave at him from across the pool and my baby waves back, a proud smile on his face.
He should be proud. He's gone from barely getting into the water to completely submerging his face. He allows the teacher to place her hand under his chin while he kicks to the count of 10 in a back float position. And when it's the other kid's turn (in this group class that ended up with only two kids!), Elliot helps with the counting.
I couldn't be happier with Elliot's progress in the pool. After all, swimming is such an important life skill. And, almost as important, playing in the pool is a lot of fun.
I looked from her to his other teacher. Both looked silly (as I'm sure I did) squeezed onto child-sized metal chairs for our conference in the "orange room." But, both teachers were very serious about what was being said. Apparently at school, Elliot acts completely different than he often does at home.
At home, he often chooses not to respond to questions, which is maddening. At school, he's a good listener and always responds appropriately.
At school, he does well with transitions. With me, moving Elliot from one activity or place to another is often a battle, even with time-based warnings.
While at preschool, Elliot follows directions. Lately at home, he acts as though directions are optional, even when I give him choices or threaten to take things away.
It's not like Elliot always misbehaves at home. But, he does have his moments. And lately, we've had a string of rough days after he's refused to nap and then turned into his evil alter ego: Crabby Appleton. So, it was interesting (and I guess, reassuring) to see the looks of shock on Elliot's teachers' faces as I told them about how my baby sometimes acts at home.
Of course, I'm happy to hear that Elliot is so well-behaved at school. I was also delighted to hear that he's forming more friendships and speaking more Spanish. And, as I've heard other parents say, I'd rather he acted like a brat at home than at school.
However, this too may change. One of his teachers told me to be aware that as he becomes one of the "older" kids next year, he's likely to act a bit more rebellious at school. I'm hoping this means he turns into a "model son" at home:-)
Despite his confused word choice, he was correct: when he has a good attitude, he gets privileges that are taken away when he's a whiny, hitting, stubborn-for-no-reason boy. And on that particular day, his attitude couldn't have been better.
He was so sweet when I arrived at school for the belated Mother's Day party, sitting on my lap and asking me kind of fruit I wanted. His response to many of my suggestions was an enthusiastic "that's a great idea." And almost anything I asked him to do was met with a prompt "of course" (which is a funny thing for a preschooler to say, and even funnier when it's pronounced "kerse.")
Throughout the day, I told him how much more fun he was to be around when he was a nice boy. Elliot even agreed with me that he liked being nice more than being whiny or mean.
My son's super-sweet streak went on for two or three days...and then ended as suddenly as it began. That's not to say he went from angel to devil. But, he went back to more of his usual sometimes sweet/sometimes stubborn/sometimes silly/sometimes slightly mean behavior.
Frankly, that's more of what I expect from a three-and-a-half year-old. But, it's nice to know that he can have really good days. And, it's reassuring to know that he's actually listening to me (while pretending he's not) when I tell him that his ability to watch videos is linked to his behavior.
Disclosure: I was monetarily compensated for this post but, as I always say, you can expect the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth from me. Money doesn’t sway me. It’s how I roll.
I was the first kid in my 5th grade class to get braces. I was excited to get them…for some reason. But that excitement deflated quickly after they were on for less than a minute. My mouth was in pain. And the wires? They dug into my cheeks making them raw and bloody, despite the provided wax.
I hated them.
But, I wore them until I was in 7th grade.
I was taunted with the typical “metal mouth” and “brace-face” teases. It didn’t hurt my feelings, there was nothing untrue about the insults. I had a mouth FULL of metal braces that left me feeling gawky and unattractive. It was bad enough I was already starting to go through puberty, the added ugliness didn’t make me feel any better about myself.
4 out of 5 of my kids had braces. Sort of recently. My youngest is the last metal-mouth victim. Sadly, he is not an Invisalign candidate, he has too much work that needs to be done.
How did I NOT know about Invisalign when my other three kids were going through this braces phase is beyond me. Perhaps it wasn’t suggested, I don’t know.
I recently hosted an Invisalign Party at my house. Sadly, most of my pictures turned out awful but these below…fair. OK, I’m not a photographer, I’m a writer. What can I tell you.
I had 13 local bloggers here, most of whom I didn’t know. But now I do. And that was AWESOME! Also, Dr. Scott Tyler from a local Orthodontic practice came and spoke to us about the benefits of Invisalign. And, I have to tell you, this product sounds awesome.
It’s this little plastic plate places over the teeth that straightens them as effectively as braces. The wearer, however, has to be mature enough to be proactive. Because it is a removable product…take them out when eating and drinking anything but water, the patient has to remember to put it back in.
The cost of Invisalign is pretty comparable to regular orthodontics, which was shocking. I figured because it’s such a new process, it would be more expensive. Au contraire.
Had Invisalign been around back when I was a mouth full of metal, I would have BEGGED my parents to spare me the brace face and allow me to use Invisalign. I know that, had I known about Invisalign when my older kids were getting braces, I would have probably opted for this for them.
So, if your teens are in need of braces, check out Invisalign for them. They’ll thank you for it.
Here are a couple photos of the bloggers:
Another disclosure because it is required: Monetary compensation for a post of all my own opinions. It’s a sweet deal.
In my mind, I'd been sort of idealizing this park, wishing we had something similar near our new house. But today, as Elliot excitedly ran toward the fire engine, I had a realization: everything was much smaller than I'd remembered.
I know, of course, that nothing in the park has shrunk. I realize, of course, that Elliot has grown. But, I didn't really realize how much until I saw my big boy in this familiar setting.
He easily reached the fire truck bell I used to have to pick him up to clang. The lone metal slide, seemingly a remnant from the 70s, no longer seemed like a height from which he might inadvertently fall. The play structures all seemed smaller -- and closer together -- than they had in the past. I thought back to how I'd worried so much that he'd run off and get lost, which now seemed fairly impossible...even though he now runs a lot faster than he used to.
It's amazing how much my perspective changed in the 10 months or so since we last visited the park. While I once thought that living by a park was an absolute necessity, I can now see a day when Elliot will be too big for the play structures.
Fortunately, that day is still a few years off.
Hi. Listen, I have a headache so I’m going to keep this short and sweet, if you don’t mind. Hm, where should I start? OK, how’s this…
Once upon a time, some guy suggested, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.” Now, I’m known to get quotes misquoted and I apologize but, that’s the gist of what was said. And this other time, someone said, “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” A little to the left, please.
I could continue with messed up quotes but like I said earlier, I have a bit of a headache. The change in weather really screws with my sinuses.
What’s my point, you’re wondering. Well, hang on. I’m about to get there.
Oh, my dear PR people, we’ve been over this a million times. You’ve got to start working WITH us bloggers. And by WITH US…I mean WITH US. Not this whole, “Dear Blogger, BRAND X has this really great product that I think your readers will be interested in. Do me a favor, share the info I’m attaching. And I can send you more info if you’d like. Thanks so much bye.” I’m inundated with those types of emails. I mean, my inbox is cluttered and I just don’t even know what to do with them anymore.
I wanna help you. I really do. I’m all about helping others because it’s the nice thing to do. But, I’m also about reciprocity. If I keep doing these favors and sharing your info…how are you going to help me? Are you going to give me a shout-out somewhere so that I might gain more followers? Are you going to eventually offer something more than a High Res image or more emails filled with more information to share?
I’m not a greedy person. Honestly.
I fully believe in karma and paying it forward. Which is why I’m not going to help you out anymore. Because I’m starting to think you’re greedy and selfish. And quite frankly, I don’t roll that way.
When you are pitching us bloggers, how about offering to do a favor in return? I’m not talking financial although, some say you should be paying us. Say the brand you are representing has a million Facebook followers? Offer to pimp us out on their page. We like being pimped, trust me. Or Twitter. Or on their blog. Or SOMETHING.
I know that I usually respond to pitches from brands that I would love to work with like this, “Thanks for reaching out. Would you like to do a product review/giveaway?” type thing. I have no problem asking for what I want. It’s how I roll. But…99.9% of the time, the response I get is “I don’t have any products for you to review but I’ll be happy to send you a high res image.” If you want us to review a product, a high res image will not suffice, I’m sorry to say. I’ll be happy to talk about the quality of the image but as for the product, ah…no.
Let’s start discussing how we can work TOGETHER in a way that works for both of us. I know that we can find a way to create a mutually beneficial relationship.
Since we are all living in the same space, doesn’t it make sense to decorate it together?
I’m only happy to help you. Are you happy to help me, too?
I’d love to hear your ideas, my PR people friends. Don’t you think it’s possible to find a way to help each other out?
A concerned blogger who would like to save your pitches from the delete button