Holding Onto A Belief in Faeries

 

It finally happened. After months of anticipation, complaints to the dentist, and impatient aggravation while listening to her friends tell stories of the riches they had received, my daughter finally lost her first tooth a few weeks ago.

It was a relief to all. There was no real concern about her oral maturity but I had gotten tired of listening to her whine about it. She had convinced herself sometime last winter that her tooth was loose, refusing to believe otherwise despite all evidence to the contrary. A day of celebration  and endless picture taking ended with a successful extraction of the cast off skeletal remains from under her pillow, two dollars carefully inserted in it’s place. Another rite of childhood had been passed.

 

still believing?

 

We didn’t have to wait nearly as long for the second tooth. We should have, but we didn’t. Instead I woke up to be greeted by a bloody faced ghoul, the gap in the center of her nightmarish grin now twice as wide. She claimed  to have not used any foreign objects to facilitate it’s removal but I could swear that tooth wasn’t loose the day before. I’m since moved my toolbox to a higher shelf in the basement.

Two more dollars were placed under her pillow, eventually added to a small Frozen purse that alarmingly may now have more money in it than my own wallet. My concerns that her original chompers might outlast her belief in the Tooth Fairy alleviated.

 

 

It’s a belief that I’ll confess to having conflicting feelings about. Last Christmas I had to come up with some very elaborate ( OK, overly elaborate ) stories about Santa Claus and the tools that he uses to deliver toys and fight the forces of evil in order to satisfy her questions. There was sadness, melancholy about how quickly childhood innocence fades, but also a little bit of pride. I secretly liked the fact that my five year old was intelligent enough to begin wondering about the reality of a jolly old fat guy flying around the entire world in a single sleigh over the course of a night.

Now, obviously fairies make a lot more sense than St Nick. Along with ghosts, dragons, extra-terrestrials, and non-obnoxious Yankees fans, I’m not willing to completely discount their existence just because I’ve never personally seen one and I don’t want her to either.

I would have liked to have seen a bit more skepticism on her part though, at least some attempt at a rudimentary trap set. I can understand not wanting to upset a little creature that is gong to be bringing you money, but I can’t help but wonder where the line is between believing in magic and just being gullible.

 

 

Fueling Her Need For Speed With NASCAR and Acceleration Nation

 

 

My daughter loves to race.  It doesn’t matter if she’s in the pool, on her bike, or going upstairs to brush her teeth, she wants to be first. It’s the easiest way she’s found to satisfy her unending competitiveness. I’m not proud, but it’s been an effective way to get dinner finished more nights than I’d care to admit.

She’s especially fond of racing cars. She’s constantly yelling at me from the back seat if we get passed on the highway and I’ts become a challenge to avoid tripping over the variety of tracks that are spread throughout the living room. She’s excited about the growing size of her toy car collection, I’m excited that cartoons have now been replaced by NASCAR races every weekend.

 

 

NASCAR has recently introduced a new way to encourage this new love of motor sports, the NASCAR Acceleration Nation website and app, available on both Android and I Phone. There is info on races, details about cars and educational videos about the science of speed. Her two favorite features are the ability to read more about her favorite diver, Danica Patrick naturally, and the racing games that I’ll admit to playing quite often myself.

 

Acceleration Nation

 

The app is FREE and can be downloaded here

The Acceleration Nation home page for Mac or PC can be found here

 

There is also this fantastic giveaway, a first prize of $400,  second of $150, and third of $75 NASCAR gift cards, open to residents of the US and Canada, eighteen and over. The contest ends on September 8th.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It’s always fun to find new activities that we can share together, things to bond over. I’ve been surprised by how much a mutual love of sports has been a part of that. Kids twelve and under are always free to all NASCAR INFINITY and Camping World Truck races. I think we may have something new to add to our list next summer.

 

 

NASCAR® and it’s marks, including NASCAR AccelerationNationTM, are trademarks of the National Association for Stock Car Racing,Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their perspective owners.

I was provided compensation for this post, but as always all opinions are my own

 

 

All Siblings Argue

 

There are a lot of benefits to having children eleven and a half years apart. There’s the live-in babysitter now of course, the extra set of hands during those hectic early years. Having one child reasonably self sufficient makes it a lot easier to care for the one that isn’t. Very rarely are they both throwing tantrums simultaneously.

One would think that there wouldn’t be anything for siblings with this size of an age gap to fight about. There is no need to share or dispute ownership of toys, clothing, or mutual friends. No future conflicts over automobile borrowing or boys that they both like on the horizon.

One would think that, but somehow it turns out that this isn’t exactly the case.

 

all siblings fight
when there’s only one string cheese left

 

Kayla, the teenager, seems to think that her little sister is spoiled, getting away with whatever she wants. Her response to this is to offer her services as disciplinarian, nagging in the same manner that she ironically accuses us of doing to her. Alaina, the first grader, doesn’t seem much inclined to listen to her sister, ignoring the chain of command and channeling her frustration at never being in charge into instigation.

They argue over the television. Kayla has a small one in her room but, reasonably, thinks that she should have access to the big screen and DVR from time to time. Alaina, also reasonably, feels that since she doesn’t have that option or her sister’s proclivity to stay hidden in her room anyway that the living room should be a place for her to watch “her shows.” With football season fast approaching both are going to start being disappointed quite often.

Not as reasonably, they argue over food. I would never think of cooking something as nutritional insufficient as chicken nuggets, at least not more than three times a week, but if I were to do so it’s imperative that an even number is distributed. At the grocery store Alaina will count every item being placed in the carriage to make sure that nobody is getting more things that they like than she. The only reason snacks and leftovers aren’t labeled with their names is that I won’t allow it. Sampling something from either’s plate is an incitement to riot.

There is also a surprising amount of underlying jealousy and resentment that occasionally pops up and leads to bickering, usually about the two things are almost impossible to distribute evenly : time and attention. One on one time with each consists of vastly different things.

The unfortunate truth, a reality that we try to make Kayla understand, is that she can be left alone while I’m at the park or hiking with her sister. Alaina can’t be left alone while the teen and I are at the movies or chowing down on chicken wings.  The result is that the youngest gets to do more things, the oldest better and more expensive things. They both feel they are getting the short end of the stick. I find one more thing to wonder if I’m balancing right.

All siblings argue. Hell, any two people in the same house will argue, as any married couple will attest. What has been equally surprising is how much two sisters with eleven and a half years of age difference will bond, the love they share for each other. I often find myself standing out of sight, listening to them talk and laugh, straining to hear the whispered secrets that all sisters share.

I listen, I smile, and I make sure to eat that fifteenth chicken nugget.

 

All Siblings Argue
sisters forever

 

 

 

 

An Unexpected Run

 

Even before it became another relic of the “things I used to do”, my mountain bike was in pretty rough shape, fifteen years of hard riding and more crashes than I’d care to admit taking it’s toll. After another eight years or so collecting dust and spiderwebs in a corner of the garage investing in a new one was something that I’d been considering.

The time table for that upgrade may have been accelerated greatly by the events of today. Parenting wins are easy to write about, the biggest challenge finding a tone that doesn’t make the reader feel as if you are bragging to them. The fails are harder, a reluctance to acknowledge that from time to time things are going to go much differently than we had planned, reminders that the difference between a funny story and a tragic one is often more influenced by luck than by anything that we may have done.

 

One of the things that we succeeded in crossing off my summer “to do” list was getting my daughter comfortable on her bicycle. The training wheels are long gone and a gravel road with minimal traffic behind our house has proven to be the perfect training ground. Little by little she has been increasing her distances traveled, ten, twenty, sometimes thirty yards at a time.

With the basics conquered and a desire to encourage her further, we packed up and headed to a nearby river trail that we often walk. We arrived, she took a few skips to gather momentum, and off she went.

It was the last time I saw her for over an hour.

 

An Unexpected Run
about 30 seconds before panic

 

The first half a mile of the path is inclined, her bike is already too small for her to fully extend her legs and she knew I was on foot. It never occurred to me to tell her to periodically stop and wait for me, that there was any chance that once mobile she would pedal for two miles before needing a break, stopping to celebrate how well she was doing, or simply look  back over her shoulder.

I have no idea how far she went or what the other joggers and bicyclists may have thought as they passed a six year old on a tiny Snow White bicycle by herself in the middle of the woods. It’s possible they just assumed she belonged to the sweaty fat guy with the wide eyes and red face puffing by them as fast as he could. I didn’t have the spare breath to ask them, too afraid that I would start vomiting if I stopped to inquire.

When finally I reached her, visions of finding a bleeding, crumpled mess as I rounded each corner, she was standing outside of a dog park, an intersecting road impeding her progress before my heart and lungs gave out completely.

When I finally got up off the grass she was given some strongly worded instructions for the ride back, an out of control, white knuckled, breakneck race that required all of her attention simply to hold on. She never did look back.

 

An Unexpected Run
very proud of herself

 

Her helmet, knee and elbow pads, and some more adequate means of transportation for myself will be brought along on our next adventure.

 

 

Destroy the Box : Why You Shouldn’t Let Labels Define You

 

                 Guest post from bestselling author Nicholas Britton

 

 

It seems our society has become obsessed with labels. We have to come up with a label for everything and everyone. If something doesn’t fit into a category, people will spend hours upon hours creating an explanation for it or creating a new category because everything needs to fit in a box.

I went to school to be a teacher. While working in preschool, I saw people try to label kids as young as infants with every label you could think of by teachers and parents who were looking for answers.

If you listen to kids talk at school, from elementary and beyond, they label each other by how they look, their intelligence levels, their interests and skills, pretty much anything you can think of. Adults do it too. Introverts vs extroverts. INTJ, ENTP, and the other 14 MBTI personality types, depressed, bipolar, obese, skinny, average, athletic, straight, gay, black, brown, white, you name it. Basically everything needs to be explained by a label.

Very early in my life I had to see a speech language pathologist (SLP) because my Individualized Education Plan (IEP) stated that I needed help. Several years later I was told that I had ADHD and my IEP followed me to high school. I then graduated from high school, ( the whole time being in Special Education (SPED) calsses, and planned to enroll in the United States Army.

I soon found out that these acronyms which defined me my whole life were going to prevent me from achieving some of my dreams. I was able to get a BA and BS from a very prestigious military academy, but decided to get a M.Ed in ECE and SPED to learn more about these acronyms and labels.

We all have labels. Some may be “accurate,” “justifiable” or “understandable”. Others may be completely bogus, forced or inaccurate. Labels are everywhere. Some are scientific, political, and researched based. Others are adjectives that people use to put someone into a category, true or not. For some reason we need labels to explain everything.

The problem with society’s overuse of labels is that we begin to believe we are what we are labelled and a self fulfilling prophecy kicks in. I have seen it in kids, teenagers, and adults. Somebody is called dumb as a child, they begin to believe it and they give up. Another person is told they can’t do something because of their gender, race or age and they give up, belief in this label so powerful it controls them. We’ve all been there. Unfortunately some labels are so harsh and controlling, they cost lives, they cost dreams and they cost relationships.

I spent over twenty years of my life allowing acronyms to control my life. To either motivate or derail me from accomplishing what I wanted. The moment that we stop allowing acronyms to control us is when we begin to learn and know freedom. As I stated in my two books, life can be solved with two words, made up of 22 letters and no acronyms. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

If I had listened to others and the labels that they gave me throughout my life, I couldn’t imagine my life would be this exciting and fulfilling. That I wouldn’t have reached my full potential or happiness. Somehow I was fortunate enough to figure this out and work every day to destroy every box that others have tried to place me in.

I encourage and challenge others to do the same, especially those put into boxes similar to the ones I was placed in. Boxes that tell you that you can’t be someone or do something that you want to do. Boxes that limit your potential. Boxes that can devalue or degrade you.

No one needs these. Smash them. Destroy them. Create your own life however you want it. Don’t let someone dictate how your story turns out. Write your own story and make sure to include your own happy ending.

 

About Nick Britton

Nick Britton has served multiple positions in his career, however, being a preschool teacher was one of the greatest. He has written two bestselling books, “Children Know Success. Do you?” & “Lessons from the Little Ones.” He has several professional publications, hosts weekly networking events, and has given public speaking engagements in multiple regions of the country. He can be reached on twitter @njbritton or via email at info@nickbritton.com.

 

 

My Random Musings

Adventures with girls, from preschool to proms