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Connections and play dates with @coveyapp

The holidays are marketed as being all about friendships and joy, but all the fun that appears on those glittering Instagram feeds can often ring hollow.  The holidays have their way of making you feel alone and isolated.  A family friend, Sarah, and other motivated Pittsburgh moms realized the importance of connections between parents in fostering friendships between children. The Covey app is especially helpful as the holiday madness winds down, and everyone starts getting back into the rhythm of normal life.  The focus of Covey is twofold– setting up convenient playdates between children, and also creating friendships between parents.

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Covey is a smartphone app that parents can use to connect with parents and parenting communities. There is a special section for each parenting community. Within that section, there is an open forum where you can post privately without sharing to your other social media accounts. You can use these communities as resources for your parenting questions or simply share your photos & stories.

Covey values positive, productive interactions.  There are built in community guidelines used to ensure supportive interactions in the app. It is somewhat structured like a dating app–You can introduce yourself to other parents by completing a profile with your interests, parenting style, and kid info. Then you can find other parents based on that very same info. The app will become more and more searchable, so you can look for, say, all {moms, dads} who are members of One Mother To Another that have experience with toddlers and are located near Brooklyn, NY.

When you find other parents like you in your area, you can use Covey to easily coordinate playdates and get-togethers. You can also use the app as a resource for family-friendly activities in your area, or become the local resource for family-friendly activities.

As you may know if you’ve read this blog for a while, I do not do advertising. Covey is not paying me anything or offering me anything for me to post about them.  I believe that the app is a positive thing and know that Sarah and her colleagues have worked very hard at it, and I believe Covey is worth checking out.

You can download the app from http://www.coveymom.com

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As Little Peanut turns into Bigger Peanut.

As Little Peanut turns into Bigger Peanut.

Today is Baby Beez’s 5th Birthday. We had a good day, which involved breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and a trip to the playground.

I kind of feel like a CHAMP because we all made it to age 5 intact.  Raising a kid is a bumpy road, but I think we’ve done OK. Even though she can be kind of a MANIAC sometimes, she’s all-around a good, intelligent, sweet and witty kid.  Here are some of her “greatest hits.”
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We are so incredibly blessed with this little peanut. She’s smart, she’s healthy, she’s an all around good kid. I can never claim to be a perfect parent, but Mr. Beez and I do the best we can.

I’m not one of those parents that gets weepy as my kid gets older. Every new day and new milestone brings me joy.  I love how she gets bigger, and we can do new fun things together.  To celebrate her 5th birthday, she and I made Rice Krispie Treats together to bring to her class. I’m not really the kid-activities type, and I love it as she gets bigger and we can do more things together that I like to do.  Next up on the horizon– roller skating, pottery painting, glassblowing, paintballing, WHO KNOWS?

Happy birthday, peanut. Here’s to many more! xoxoxo

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What a sucker.

What a sucker.

Before Baby Beez was born, I would joke that my kid was not gonna be one of those spoiled kids. My kid was gonna have 2 toys: a stick and a rock. And maybe, if she was extra good, she’d get a rusty tin can to kick around.

But once she arrived, she was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. So yes, she was spoiled. Also, I am a total sucker for making her happy, so I basically trip over my own feet in a rush to buy whatever it is she likes. Just to see her smile.

This week, especially after seeing my credit card statement from our Disneyworld vacation, it really struck home what a sucker I am. Sure, she enjoyed Disney and toys and what have you. But there’s a LOT of stuff that this kid loves just as much that is free or virtually free. Prime example: The playground. Going to the playground is probably her favorite activity in the universe. And that costs $0. (Or, more accurately, it costs the tax money I’m already paying anyway.)

Other free/nearly free entertainment that this kid LOVES:

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Playing with sticks.


My crack about the stick and rock was prescient, because DUDE THIS KID LOVES STICKS AND ROCKS. She doesn’t swing them around too wildly, mostly she pretends they are wands, and picks them up and keeps exchanging them up for bigger and better sticks.

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Going to the library.


We are incredibly lucky to have a magnificent library system in Pittsburgh. There are constantly activities and programs for all ages (yesterday, we went to a Japanese cultural program for little kids), and they have a massive collection of books, cds, dvds, etc. Basically, anything you could want, they have it. The kid’s room is not a typical quiet reading area. There’s a train set, toys, computers, etc. Even before I had a kid, the Main Branch of the Carnegie Library was one of my favorite places in the city. With all it offers for little monsters, I love it even more.

Running around Statutes

Running around Statutes

Baby Beez loves Dippy the Dinosaur, but she pretty much loves running in circles around any statute. Yesterday she ran around Dippy’s legs, and yelled to anyone who came close by that you should stay away from Dippy’s butt or he’ll pee on you. Because yeah, she’s 4. That’s what 4 y.o.’s do. Anyway, it was a good way to [try to] get her to burn off energy. And it cost zero dollars.

Chasing Squirrels

Chasing Squirrels

You probably can’t see it, but there’s a squirrel in the tree. Whenever this kid sees squirrels or birds, she’s like “MOM IT’S MY BEST FRIEND, I’M GONNA CATCH IT!” I guess that’s what happens when you’re an only child, you feel like you have to chase down and physically restrain all your friends. I’m perfectly fine with letting her run after small city-dwelling animals, but Baby Beez is in a phase where she flat out ignores me when I yell at her to stop running, which leads to the panic that she’s gonna keep running and bolt out into the street. She’s small and fast and argues with me when I try to explain the threat of moving vehicles. So yeah. There’s potential in this activity, but it needs some work.

At the Car Wash

At the Car Wash

Some kids are terrified by the car wash. Not mine. She gets super excited and narrates the whole process. LOOK IT IS THE SOAP! NOW IT IS SPRAYING DOWN THE CAR! This activity technically cost money, but I did need to wash my car anyway, so it’s an added bonus that it’s also fun for the kid.

Other free activities this kid loves: The playground. The playground at the mall. Running around in open spaces. Did I mention playgrounds? Also sticks. And playgrounds.

What are your kid’s favorite free activities?

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This apple fell far from her tree.

In fourth grade, I had a conversation on the bus on the way to school. We were talking about bad words. One kid asked me “Do you know what the VERY WORST of the bad words is?” I said I knew…but when they sought confirmation I couldn’t come up with anything shocking enough to even rattle them.

Finally, one kid announced “The WORST bad word is f**k.”

“Huh?…that’s not even a word.” I huffed. It didn’t even sound bad. It sounded like nonsense to me.

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This weekend, I was trying to back out of the tiny single lane alleyway that leads to our garage. Yet again, some jerk blocked it with his car, and left the vehicle unmanned, so there wasn’t even anyone to scream at.

I started yelling in the car about “THAT F****G VAN!” Steam, pouring from my enraged ears.

A tiny voice piped up from the backseat, “What’s the f*****g van?”

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My parents got me through to 4th grade without me even hearing the f-bomb. And here I’ve got my 3 year old dropping it.

#ParentingFail.

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Sometimes, even just for a brief little tiny moment, I feel like I’ve got it together.

It takes somewhere around 2 hours for me to get everything together and get out the door in the morning. This looks like an immense amount of time written down, but it makes sense, considering it involves: getting myself showered, dressed & makeup on, packing lunch for me & Mr. Beez, making breakfast for me & Baby Beez, sometimes throwing dinner in the crockpot, getting the birds fed and watered, getting Baby Beez dressed and wrangled and OMG KID STOP TAKING EVERYTHING APART AND WHINING AND SCREAMING. So yeah, a lot happens in those two hours.

For pretty much every weekday morning since Thanksgiving, those two hours have consisted of alternating whining, yowling and shrieking from Baby Beez. I throw in an exasperated plea to tell me WHAT on earth is so terrible, because I’ll probably fix it for you if you just tell me WHAT is so terrible, but that always goes unheeded. This morning set off pretty much the same way with the toddler drama.

Then I made it to work and in the course of the day I felt pretty proud of myself. I was focused, I was gettin’ stuff DONE. I even had to make a run out to pack up our birds and take them to be boarded for the next 10 days, or as I like to call it “Deliver them to Oh-How-I-Wish-It-Were-Summer Camp.” Tomorrow starts a construction project in the house that involves stuff getting smashed and drilled and sprayed, and the featherbeasts cannot be here for that. I expected that getting the birds into their respective carriers would be the Trauma of the Century for our little Ricky, but he ended up behaving very nicely, not biting me, and even sitting on my hand for a minute and pretending that he does not hate me.

I bite.

I bite.

Even with that detour this afternoon, I got back to the office and I was killin’ it. Mr. Beez had an evening obligation tonight, so it was just Baby Beez and me. When I picked her up from daycare, the teacher announced “She didn’t nap today.”

Great.

I was bracing myself for an evening to mirror our morning. In the car ride home, Baby Beez asked for Cinnamon Toast Crunch & Scrambled Eggs for dinner. Sure kid, that’s fine. I won’t be winning any child nutrition prizes tonight, but that’s a dinner I can handle making, especially if it will keep her happy. Since I’m the “fun parent” (i.e. the idiot responsible for encouraging all that whining), I even let her watch her current Disney favorite (Hercules) at the table while she ate.

And she ate everything. And didn’t whine. And after eating, she played a little bit. And then I said it was time for a bath. And she went upstairs. And took a bath. Without whining. And then I said it’s time to brush your teeth. And we brushed teeth. Without whining. And then it was time to get in bed, and we read a Llama Llama book. All without whining. And I gave her a kiss and she closed her eyes and snuggled under the blanket.

And I went downstairs and ran a couple miles on the treadmill. And it felt good. Then I stretched and drank some water. And now I am writing all this down. And for once in recent memory, I feel just the tiniest tiniest bit like I’m not treading water. Like I’ve made it a couple paddles forward, and I’m going to be OK.

Now I will go upstairs and read my book.