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Maya has started calling me “Mom”. Just mom, not mama or mommy, just mom. I don’t think I’m ready to be just “mom”. But, if there is one thing I’ve learned in my almost 4 years as a parent it’s that it isn’t about what I’m ready for, it’s all about what she is ready for.

When did she become a full blown kid?

I remember those early days of talking when I couldn’t wait for Maya to say “mama”, and then for her to say it and know she was referring to me. It was music to my ears. Then she made the transition to using “mommy” and I loved it, it made me feel so special to have this sweet little girl calling me “mommy”.

This transition to “mom” feels different. It feels like a reminder that she isn’t a baby or a toddler anymore, she is a kid. The other morning she came in the bathroom while I was having a shower and said “Hey, Mom, where’s Dad?” It was like a completely different child had walked into the bathroom. I was so used to having her say “Mommy, where is dada?” that I was taken aback for a moment. Who dropped this 13 year old off at my house and what did they do with my not quite 4 year old!

I think it is going to take a little getting used to, this new title of mine. In the meantime I’ll relish in those moments when “mommy” or “mama” still slip back into her vocabulary because I’m not ready to me just “mom” quite yet.

There is nothing quite like living through the imagination of a child. Seeing the world through eyes that are not yet tainted with limitations.  Seeing a world where anything, truly anything, is possible.

Maya is full on into imagination mode.  And, I”m loving it.  The games and adventures she creates for herself everyday are priceless. Sometimes I find myself standing quietly in the dining room trying not to let her know I’m there just so I can peak through the doorway into the family room and just watch her imagination run wild.  Sometimes I sit down next to her and become part of the little world she has created.  The world outside seems like a brighter, nicer, more joyful place in those moments.

Some days she uses her imagination to create stories. She’ll either pick up one of her books and create a story to go along with the pictures or she’ll even pick up one of my novels, study the cover and then “read” through the pages and pages of no pictures creating a story as she goes along.  Some days it is endless parties, tea parties, birthday parties, any kind of party you can imagine. She’ll take her my little ponies, her princesses, her stuffed sesame street guys and arrange them all and then serve them tea or have them dance.  Some days she’ll pretend she is camping. Some days she’ll be all about families and she’ll create little families that have fun and take care of each other. She always tells me who is who.  Yesterday Eeyore was the daddy, her big Minnie Mouse was the mommy and her little Minnie Mouse was the Maya!

Every day is different when you use your imagination. Each morning when Maya wakes up and comes into the family room she enters a different imaginary world.  I love watching as the world unfolds and the days adventures begin.

3 year olds may be little people but they sure do have big imaginations.

If you had asked me earlier this week how I thought Maya’s first trip to the dentist was going to go I probably won’t have had a very positive answer for you.  After Monday’s fiasco at gymnastics class I certainly didn’t have high hopes that things were going to go smoothly, especially when she found out she would have to go back for her cleaning and visit with the dentist by herself.

I had been talking it up all week, trying to get her excited.  The dentist sent her a little book a couple of weeks ago that talks all about what to expect at her very first appointment (they even personalized the story with her name, love this dentist!!).  So, we’ve been looking through this book and learning all about the dentist this week.  Yesterday and this morning when I asked her if she was excited about going to the dentist (or the doctor for your teeth as she calls it) she said yes.  Of course, she had no idea they were going to try to take her back by herself, but I still let myself get a little hopeful.

Let me tell you, Maya did absolutely amazing. I couldn’t have dreamed of it going any better.  When they called her back the dental assistant was super friendly with her and talked about what was going to happen.  She told her that she had to come back by herself to get her teeth cleaned but that I would come back a little bit later.  She clung to me and cried and didn’t want to go.  I passed her off to the dental assistant and told her I would see her really soon, and off they went.  The dental assistant assured me that almost all kids settle down as soon as they get back to the exam room and they would keep me posted.

I sat and waited, trying to be patient, trying not to think about what might have been going on back in the exam room.  A few minutes after they took her back another dental assistant came out to the waiting room and called me.  My heart sank, I thought immediately that they were going to tell me she wasn’t settling down and that I needed to go back with her.  That isn’t what she said at all. Instead she was there to tell me that my child who screamed through a 60 minute gymnastics class just 4 days ago was actually sitting nicely in the dental chair getting her teeth brushed, no tears, just smiles!!  I was flabbergasted and oh so proud of my sweet girl.

Once her appointment was over they called me back so I could talk to the dentist.  Everything went great.  As soon as she found out she was going to get to pick out her very own princess tooth brush the tears stopped.  She cooperated with everything they wanted to do except the x-rays (but I was told that is pretty common and they usually get them at the second appointment).  Her teeth and gums look fantastic.  We were sent on our way with instructions to keep up the good work and a little bag of goodies including an adorable necklace, a picture of her first visit and her princess tooth brush.  In 6 months time we’ll do it all over again.

I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of her.  In a million years I never would have imagined we would have left that dentist’s office with smiles all around and a little girl excited to go back next time.  Wonders never cease.

In the fall I was looking for an activity for Maya and decided on a gymnastics class at The Little Gym.  For the past several months we’ve been heading out every Monday morning for her gym class. She loves it, well most of it. She still won’t go into the class on her own so I have to sit with her for the first 10-15 minutes.  But, she is making progress and since she loves the class I’m okay with having to take my shoes off and sit on the floor until she’s comfortable.

Yesterday was the big grand finale class of this semester.  Her little class put on a “show”.  Basically, a demonstration of all the skills they’ve learned since the class started.  They showed off the different jumps they’ve learned, their balance beam skills, high bar skills and tumbling skills.  Watching these tiny little people, especially my little person, the tiniest one in the class, was so fun (and funny).  The whole show ended with each child being called up to receive their achievement medal.  Too cute.

Although the show started off on a rough note for Maya, she refused to participate until about half way through, she ended up having a great time and we got some great pictures of her performing her mad gymnastics skills.

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The next semester starts next week. I can’t wait to see what she learns this time.  I’m hoping that she’ll be willing to go into the class all by herself (fingers crossed).

Cold and flu season is upon us.  No one likes being sick, and no parents likes to see their child suffer from an illness.  Though it is probably impossible to keep your child free and clear of all viruses, it is possible to help keep the cold and flu bugs away at least some of the time.  There are steps you can take, things you can do, things you can teach your child to do, that will help keep them healthy during this cold and flu season.

Viruses spread easily and quickly among children. Between the tendency for children to constantly put their hands in their mouth and a tendency to forget about the coughing and sneezing into your elbow rules it isn’t any wonder germs make their way around a group of children so easily. Kids share toys, food and inevitably germs.  Here are a few things you can do to help your child avoid cold and flu bugs this season:

  • Talk to your child’s doctor about getting a flu vaccine this season.  Flu vaccines are effective at preventing the spread of the flu.
  • Teach your child to wash their hands frequently.  Clean hands are less likely to spread germs and contract germs.
  • Teach your child to sneeze or cough into the crease of their elbow to help avoid getting germs on their hands that they then spread to others.  A child who is used to this rule will likely encourage their friends to do the same.
  • Encourage your child to keep his or her hands of their face, and especially out of their mouth.
  • Encourage your child to be active.   A healthy, active child is far less likely to get sick.
  • Encourage good sleep habits.  A well rested person is better able to fight and avoid cold and flu bugs.
  • Provide your child with a healthy diet.  Encourage healthy meals and snacks.

The more active and well rested your child is the better chance they have of avoiding the cold and flu bugs that will inevitably go around their classroom this year.  Teaching your child good habits for washing their hands and avoiding putting their hands on their face or mouth is a great way to further help your child avoid the bugs this season. If you have questions about the flu vaccine or steps you can take to help your child avoid the cold and flu this season talk to your child’s doctor.

Happy cold and flu season. Here’s hoping you and your family can avoid as many bugs as possible this winter.