Dear Holly: Hitting and Hugging Your Brother “Jackie” Within a 5 Second Time Frame

2 years.

Dear Holly,

You are really having fun these days as you are learning the art of forming short, yet complete, sentences. Over this past week especially, I have noticed you are even finding a comfort level when communicating with your family.

So now, whenever you’re hanging out and playing with your brother Jack, you love to call him by his nickname you gave him: Jackie.

“You coming, Jackie?”

“Let’s go, Jackie!”

“Hold you, Jackie?”

By the way, “hold you” is one of my favorite things you say these days.

It’s of course the result of Mommy and me asking you, “Do you want me to hold you?”, when we see you are getting tired walking outside in the cul-de-sac or at a store.

So when you want Mommy or me or pick you up, you just say, “Hold you?”

Most recently, my favorite story about you and Jack playing happened this past weekend when Mommy was working on dinner and I was working on the dishes.

You and your brother were playing, when all of the sudden, you just approached him and slapped him in the chest, declaring, “No!”

He had done nothing to earn this. He was being nice to you. It was completely random that you did that. It was so random.

But immediately, before Mommy or I could address the issue, you looked up at Jack and asked, “Hold you?”

I guess it’s just proof of how well the two of you play together.

Because Jack wasn’t upset that you hit him for no reason, anyway. But then you immediately, and softly, asked him to “hold you”, which meant you wanted him to hug you, he gladly obliged.

The logic is just hilarious to me:

Approach your brother who is being kind to you, angrily slap him in the chest while shouting “No!, then immediately and meekly ask him for a hug.

I love watching you learn to communicate and interact with other human beings.

Love,

Daddy

 

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3 Experiences to Share With Your Kids in Syracuse 

By guest blogger Eathen Smith, as part of the sponsored Hotel Planner campaign.

Syracuse is a well-known family-friendly destination located in Upstate New York. There is so much to discover here. The accessibility of the city is perfect for families with young kids seeking conveniently located hotels near attractions and places to visit. Syracuse has a diverse cultural mix, and families describe the mix of people and general atmosphere as warm and welcoming.

Green spaces and historic architecture complement the people. Children can experience wonder, creativity, learning, and just plain fun in a hassle-free and convenient environment. Experience a taste of what Syracuse has to offer by choosing some family-friendly ways to see the city.

Something Unique for Everyone at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Children have many opportunities to be connected to the wildlife and educational experiences offered by the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Elephants, penguins, tigers, and all kinds of marine life will delight kids of all ages. The zoo offers birthday parties with catering, crafts, games, and admission all included.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo also features many upcoming events such as Under the Sea Day. Ocean themed games and fun activities like a bouncing castle are all part of the fun. Conservation themed events are also held regularly during the year. Members are also offered a number of free or discounted events.

Family Friendly Festival and Events.

There are also many different festivals and events to put on the kid’s to-do list during the calendar year. Syracuse is named the City of Festivals for good reason. Family-friendly events such and the Great New York State Fair include rides, music, livestock competitions, and animals for all ages. The festival runs from the second last week of August through to early September. There are also Greek, Italian, Irish, and Scottish Festivals held yearly. A range of different kid-friendly activities and delicious foods for the whole family can be found at all the festivals mentioned.

Walking With Kid Convenience

Sensational Syracuse is responsible for the maintenance of over 1000 acres of open space including parks, swimming pools, and, ice rinks. For visitors on a tight schedule or budget, it is highly recommended to check out some of the convenient walking tours offered throughout the city.

The Onondaga Historical Association offers a map of the Syracuse Historic Walking Tour. Over 70 historical attractions are shown on the map and tours can be started or finished at any point. This is perfect for just choosing a few sights that are of interest to the children. There are plenty of hotels in Syracuse located in close proximity to the tour. Public transport or a taxi can do the rest.

Why choose Syracuse? It is easy, fun and perfect for all ages. Hotels are plentiful and can be found for every budget making it a convenient destination. It has the perfect mix of free and paid events sure to pique the interest of children of all ages. Festivals, attractions, history, green space, architecture, education, and lots of fun are all a possibility in Syracuse. 

Image via Flickr by vastateparkstaff

Dear Jack: Teaching Your Sister How to Use a Cardboard Box

7 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

It had been a particularly difficult night, with your sister waking up several times every couple of hours. I received little rest, as I got up each time to help get her back to sleep. So by the time Mommy left for work around 6:15 AM, I collapsed on the couch in the living room, as I trusted you to take care of your sister while I was out of commission.

When I woke up about an hour later, I was delighted to see that, in your creativity, you took it upon yourself to transform an Amazon shipping box in to a couple of helmets for both you and your sister to wear, in the boat you also constructed from the same box.

I am always so proud to see you take initiative to lead your sister in fun activities, which require no direction from me or Mommy. It’s important that you figure out on your own what to do with your time, without needing me as your entertainment supervisor all the time.

The look on your sister’s face, too, is just priceless. She obviously didn’t quite understand why the two of you had box helmets, but she gladly went along with it; just like the day before when the box actually arrived:

You convinced your sister to walk back and forth from the far end of the living room, to the far end of the kitchen, with both of your heads in the box. For good reason, it reminded me of the kind of horse costume where it takes two people to walk; one in the front and one in the back.

I’m just glad that because of your creativity with a shipping box, I was able to catch a solid hour of sleep, while getting confirmation you’re old enough to take care of your sister with your sleeping dad on the couch.

Love,

Daddy

Why You Should Put an Air Purifier in the Kids’ Room (By Guest Blogger, Angela Berry)

You may have lived without one (or several), your entire life, so chances are you don’t even know what you’re missing. Nonetheless, the quality of the air we breathe is, we must face it, not the best, and you are definitely all in dire need of a great air purifier. Now, while a grown-up’s body may be more resilient, children are more fragile little humans and for their sake, you need to protect and make your home the best it can be, so without further ado, let’s see how every kids’ room can benefit from an air purifier, and perhaps along the way you’ll realize you need one for your room as well.

The beloved pets

For most people, the thought of abandoning a pet once the babies come is virtually inconceivable, as it should be. Babies and pets can certainly coexist in the same space happily and actually be very beneficial for each other. Still, our beloved pets can bring about a certain number of issues. When you welcome an animal into your home, you also leave the door open for pet odors, urine stains, and skin dander. These odors can be upsetting and cause respiratory distress in those prone to allergies, and since you never know when a child can develop an allergy to something, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Of course, although an air purifier alone can’t fix everything, and keeping a clean home is paramount to your health, great air purifiers can do plenty to add to the state of your home and the air you breathe as well as eliminate these allergens from your home. Vacuum regularly, keep your home clean and call an air purifier for extra backup.

They serve as helpers with asthma

Your child’s developing body doesn’t work like yours does. Their metabolisms are immature and can’t always excrete chemicals as efficiently as an adult, which in turn makes them more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. Many children who suffer from asthma can be further aggravated by airborne particles and chemicals, and that’s where a great air purifier steps in. They clean the air, remove dust, destroy or prevent the formation of mold and certain kinds of bacteria. Therefore, they reduce allergen levels in your home, and help fight allergies and asthma.

A purifier a day keeps the illness away

As a parent, your number one priority is your kids’ health. Well, there are times when grown-ups, whether it’s you, or a friend or a relative who visits your home that brings the flu into your home. Airborne flu virus particles move from person to person through sneezing and coughing and failure to wash hands afterward. Bacteria thrive in warm, humid areas of the home and can cause serious illness to the young ones. So, even if the people carrying the virus are nowhere near the kids, it’s not guaranteed that the germs won’t find their way into their room. So, when there’s an air purifier present in your child’s room, the risk of these germs and subsequent illness will be significantly lowered and that will help keep your kids healthy.

You live in a less than perfect neighborhood

If you live in an urban area, that’s either close to the freeway or generally gets a lot of car traffic, you most definitely need to pollute-proof your kids’ room. As their main task is providing clean, safe air, that’s exactly what they’ll do. You can’t afford to keep your windows closed at all times, and a certain amount of polluted air is bound to creep from the street and into your home, so make sure you nip it in the bud.

You just moved to a brand new home

Buying a new place where you will form new and happy memories is a wonderful thing. However, there is a little-known fact that that ‘new house’ smell usually comes from pollutants such as formaldehyde which is a dangerous toxin that has been shown to cause health problems. An air purifier can help filter this toxic air and give everyone in the home a bit more confidence that they are breathing healthier air, and as much as it’s important for your health, it’s crucial for your children’s.

7 Intriguing Science Experiments for Your Kids (By Guest Blogger, Sandra Cobain, of Best for the Kids)

As we all know, getting our kids to take an interest in school and lessons and homework and all the rest is a complete nightmare. Going through my kid’s textbooks, dated from at least five years ago, all I could see was boring diagrams, tedious equations and faded pictures. It’s no wonder that kid’s these days play up in school because they find it so hard to engage in lessons.
One of biggest subjects my kids find it hard to get into is science. Whether it’s biology, physics or chemistry, the long words, meanings and just the overall concepts can be extremely difficult to explain, especially to a child. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case.

By putting the infographic below from BestForTheKids.com to good use, you will be able to stimulate your children’s minds, showing them how fun and exciting science can be with these seven simple experiments:

 

• The Fire-Proof Balloon
• The Straw Through the Potato Experiment
• The Water Defying Gravity Experiment
• The Egg & Toothpaste Experiment
• The Tea Bag Rocket Experiment
• The Turning Pennies Green Experiment
• The Making Fake Snow Experiment
These are all incredibly easy experiments that you can conduct in the comfort of your own home and they’re sure to leave your kids stunned and excited. Who knew science could be so fun? All these experiments are incredibly fun and will help you introduce your child to the wonderful world of science!
 

Infographic by BestForTheKids.com

Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Games

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Game

Dear Jack,

Whatever you’re into and at given moment, Holly is always eager to be invited to the action. She sees you as an important source of knowledge, based on your 6 years of life experience, along with your adventurous boyhood perspective.

Last Sunday, all it took was me finishing a bottle of nearly expired cold-pressed juice from Kroger, with the “Woo-Hoo!” sticker on it to celebrate the savings.

Before I could make it over the recycling bag in the pantry, you saw the potential: “Daddy, can I have that bottle?”

You began tossing it into the air, finding enjoyment as it would bounce on the hardwood floor each time it landed. It didn’t take long for Holly to crawl over from the living room and plant herself right into the middle of the action.

She also could was able to see the wonder of an empty bottle flying through the air.

I know you aren’t aware of this, but it’s little events like that when you teach your little sister about life. She is learning from you. She is taking those lessons seriously.

As her brother, there are certain unique things you are able to teach her that I just don’t have an eye for. It’s those kind of reindeer games that remind me that you and your sister live in a version of the world where excitement can be found in things like… garbage.

Her already playful spirit is only being enhanced by your daily influence. There is a reason she immediately stops what she’s doing whenever you walk by. There is a reason she has a reverence for your silliness.

Because to her, you can offer life lessons that only come from an only brother. While she definitely loves her Mommy and Daddy, she looks at you in a way like she looks at no one else.

You’re a really big deal to her.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Sister Appreciates Your Reindeer Game

Dear Holly: It Felt Wrong Being away from You for 3 Days

7 months.

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Dear Holly,

I went from Thursday morning until Sunday morning without you seeing you or your brother, as I was out in Los Angeles on what I would call a “side-business trip”. While I did have plenty of time to rest and relax while I was there, I was also constantly distracted by the fact that my sweet little baby girl was on the other side of the country.

Undoubtedly, I experienced a level of guilt because I knew that Mommy was left back in Tennessee to take care of you and your brother without my help. It’s not that Mommy couldn’t handle it, but the way our family dynamics work, she and I are both constantly either working our “real” jobs- or we are home, working our other job as we co-parent.

Usually I assign myself to you, while Mommy devotes her time between your mostly-independent brother and housework. So without me there, Mommy had a lot more work to do than usual.

So in addition to me truly missing my kids, I also knew I was leaving Mommy with a bigger burden; not that she ever complained or had a problem with it. Instead, she was nothing but supportive of my trip.

But as an involved modern dad, I am overly aware of my roles for our family. Therefore, I go to bed early and exhausted most nights. I don’t know any other way. And I just assume that’s how it is for all the other parents out there too.

I’m not special in that regard. I’m just like most other parents.

That’s why it felt wrong to be away. Because it goes against my wiring and against the culture of our family.

But then again, one of my roles is to help financially provide for my family while not forsaken my family in that pursuit. It’s a paradox, for sure.

All this is lost on you right now though. All you know is, you smile when Daddy walks through the door each day.

Love,

Daddy