Dear Holly: Your 3 Day Long Virus with a 106 Degree Temperature

1 year, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

While getting tubes put in your ears a couple months ago definitely has helped prevent you getting more ear infections, it doesn’t prevent you from getting sick beyond that. So the weekend before last, you woke up in the middle of the night with a 106 degree temperature!

It definitely was scary for Mommy and me, but the nurse on the phone advised us to give you a bath to cool you down, along with pain reliever/fever reducer. When Mommy took you to the doctor the next morning, we learned that you simply had a virus that would end in 3 days; no prescription medicine would help cure it any faster.

Nonna and Papa were already planning on coming up to our house for most of the week because your brother’s school was on Fall Break. But because of your condition, they rushed up early by a few days to help take care of you; as Mommy and I still had to go to work.

You definitely needed extra cuddle time with Nonna as your body was fighting off the virus, and she was happy to oblige. And your naps were much longer as well; 3 hour naps compared to your usual 45 hour naps.

But as the doctor had predicted, your fever went away and your energy returned. The pictures starting streaming in from Nonna, as she sent them through Facebook Messenger.

I saw you playing with Papa and going on a stroller ride with Nonna.

You eventually even went to the park and wanted to go play in the creek with your brother. Too bad you didn’t have rain boots on!

We are so grateful that you are okay now and that Nonna and Papa were able to rush to the rescue! Thank God our little girl is okay.

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Jack: Your Fall Break with Nonna and Papa at Our House

6 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

I never had a Fall Break when I was a kid! Only Christmas Break, Spring Break, and Summer Break. But lucky for you, because you get nearly an entire week off in October. Of course, when both your parents work full time, it’s not like you get to just hang out at the house and enjoy it…

Unless we can convince Nonna and Papa to drive nearly 3 hours to our house and spend a week spending time with you and your sister. Fortunately, it didn’t take much convincing.

You obviously had a lot of fun with them! You got to build a wooden model car. You got to race down in the hill in our cul-de-sac.

And you got to go to Olive Garden, which is one of your favorite restaurants. Your sister apparently agrees with you and was grateful to learn about the place; as she just couldn’t get her fill of bread sticks there.

Even leading up to Nonna and Papa’s arrival, you were already anticipating that meal: “We get to go to Olive Garden, right?”

In hindsight, I think I’ve figure out why you like that place so much, in addition to the bread sticks: You get to play video games at the table, while you wait for the food to arrive.

I’m so glad you got to enjoy your Fall Break with family, even if it couldn’t be Mommy and me. Fortunately for our family of four, we often take little road trips throughout the year: In 2017, we’ve travelled to Destin, Florida in May, to Louisville, Kentucky in June, and Boone, North Carolina in September.

So even if we can’t spend your school holiday breaks together, we at least are able to spend quality time together as a family through the year.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Personal Decision to Wear a Screen-Printed Necktie Long-Sleeve T-Shirt for Your School Picture, as Opposed to One of the Fancy Dress Shirts Nonna Bought You

6 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

At the end of the summer, Nonna lucked out and was able to buy a collection of brand-new dress shirts for you from a store that was going out of business back in Fort Payne, Alabama where I grew up. Several of these shirts were originally worth around $60, but she got them for much, much cheaper.

I had just recently explained to you that when you get older, like around 6th grade, you’re going to want to transition to wearing more shirts like this. It’s just part of that more mature transition into Junior High. But that’s still 5 years from now.

Naturally, Mommy brought them all out of your closet the night before Picture Day at school, so you could decide which one you’d wear for your photo. You were curious about the idea of wearing a bowtie; the one you wore from exactly a year ago when we were in San Diego for your Uncle Jake’s wedding.

But there was hesitation on your part. Apparently, there was part of the discussion I had missed prior to walking into your bedroom that night.

Then I saw Mommy reach back in the closet for one more option.

I watched your blue eyes grow big once she pulled out a black long-sleeve t-shirt with a screen-printed image of a necktie; it was a one she ordered online from Crazy 8.

“What you do you think, Daddy?” Mommy asked me.

My response was instant:

“Even though we’ve got much nicer shirts for him, if he finds his current identity in this fake necktie shirt, I say let the kid be happy.”

So last Thursday morning before you left for school, I snapped a picture of you in that shirt.

Hey, there are will be plenty of opportunities for you to wearing your classy, Southern dress shirts from Nonna. Picture Day just wasn’t one of them.

At least not this year.

Love,

Daddy

How Primrose Teaches Children 6 Executive Function Skills to Use in School and at Home

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Primrose Schools; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

I am a Primrose parent, so I see firsthand how my son Jack has learned, and applies at home, the 6 executive function skills that Primrose Schools focuses on in their curriculum: Adaptability, Teamwork, Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Self-Control, and Memory.

Immediately my mind goes back to last weekend. We had driven 2 and a half hours to Alabama, where I grew up, so we could attend my hometown’s annual Boom Days event. Jack loved it so much last year, being able to ride a pony, play in a giant inflatable maze, roll around inside a giant inflatable ball, and buy a souvenir from one of the local shops.

Understandably, he was quite excited about attending the event this year as well. However, it ended up raining all afternoon, and unfortunately, we were unable to attend the outdoor event. I was bracing myself for his reaction, as I expected it to be quite negative and emotional- but I was wrong.

Instead, he was completely content with learning we would have to go with a “Plan B”. We spent the rest of the afternoon at his Aunt Dana and Uncle Andrew’s house. While the rain may have stopped him from our original plans, it didn’t stop him from having fun as he and his cousins used their imaginations to play inside instead.

Jack showed 2 of the 6 executive functions: Self-Control and Adaptability.

I can easily think of another example of how my son applies a couple more of the executive function skills in his day-to-day routine.

Jack has a baby sister, Holly, who is only 17 months old. On a daily basis, Jack exercises Teamwork and Problem Solving skills, as my wife and I depend on his help with his little sister. We have grown to depend on him to help entertain his sister while we get dinner ready, to help carry her bottles in and out of the car, and to quickly assist in fetching whatever item that my wife needs, like a Kleenex or a diaper, when we are all getting ready in the morning.

Children who attend Primrose Schools have these executive function skills taught to them at such a young age. So naturally, there is less of a learning curve as Jack grows and matures each year. It is clear that Primrose Schools is the go-to source for early education and childhood development content; not only in the classroom, but at home as well. I know this because I personally see it every day in my son’s behavioral decisions.

If you’d like to learn more parenting and education tips from Primrose, I want to invite you to subscribe to Primrose’s newsletter for a chance to win a Primrose Prize Pack consisting of a $250 Barnes & Noble gift card and 5 children’s books. 10 winners will be chosen! Enter here.

Thanks for learning about Primrose’s 6 executive function skills today.

 

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Dear Holly: Practicing Your Soccer Moves on the Field, During Your Brother’s Game

1 year, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

This past Saturday was a very special soccer game for your brother, as not only did he get to play as goalie for the first time, but also, Nonna and Papa were in town from Alabama to see it as well.

We all sat right there on the edge of the field near the goal, nearly as close as we could without being on the field. You loved being able to walk from Mommy, to me, to Nonna, and to Papa.

And then you saw your brother’s red soccer ball that he had brought with him.

The smile on your face seemed to translate as, “Well if Jack can do this, so can I. How hard could it be?”

So you began kicking the ball over the line, onto the very edge of the field. As one of us adults would then move the ball off the field, you would sure enough find your way back in the game.

Fortunately, each time this occurred, all the players actually playing the game happened to be on the other side of the field.

I think it’s safe to say that you are finding your brother’s soccer games to be pretty fascinating. So while I could easily see you getting into dance classes when you get older, it already makes perfect sense to me that would also play soccer.

And based on the way I’ve seen you kick the ball back to me in our living room and on the back porch, I have to say… you actually have some kicking skills!

I suppose for the last few soccer games this season, you will continue practicing your soccer moves during Jack’s games. Give it a few more years, and that’ll be you out there on the field!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your Monster Feet Slippers

1 year, 5 months.   

Dear Holly,

Grandma got you some fun bedtime slippers to wear with your pajamas. They turn your cute little feet into huge monster feet!

For the past couple of weeks, Mommy has been trying to get you wear them while she reads you a bedtime story. You have been quite skeptical, only leaving them on for a few seconds each night.

But perhaps that is changing, now that you are really getting into shoes. Even when we’re not about to go outside, you still walk over to the closet and insist on picking out a pair of shoes for me to help put on you.

It’s a normal thing for you to be playing with your toys in the living room, while wearing your pink Nike running shoes; not because you need them, but because you are a shoes girl!

I think in your mind, you’re not fully dressed until you are wearing shoes, even if you’re just hanging out at the house with us.

You are forming your identity. It’s becoming obvious that shoes are a part of who you are.

So, even if the “shoes” are actually funny monster feet during your bedtime story… you are recognizing, they are still shoes!

This past weekend you decided to go public with your monster shoes. And by public, I mean that you decided to walk out of your bedroom during story time and show your brother and me.

I’m not quite sure if you fully realize that the monster shoes are meant to be silly, but as you strolled around upstairs in them, you proudly showed them off.

Your fashion show was met by us praising you for how cute you looked in them.

Yeah, you are going to be a shoes girl… even if they turn you into a fury monster!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Semi-Biographical (?) Portraits of Your Family Members

6 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

Sunday evening as Mommy was preparing dinner as I was helping Holly play with her toys, you snuck away to the kitchen table. You eventually surfaced to hand-deliver drawings to the three of us.

You had drawn a picture for Mommy, for Holly, and for me. I immediately saw some inspiration from Pokemon characters mixed with the Mr. Man book characters.

The one you gave you sister showed a cute little person with a pink crown.

The one you gave Mommy showed a person crying.

And the one you gave me showed a person so mad that his hair was on fire and smoke was coming out of ears.

Naturally, I immediately asked you, after thanking you for giving them to us, “Are these pictures of us?”
You insisted they weren’t. But I am thinking there’s a little bit of a Freudian slip in there…

I can easily understand how you wanted to show your acceptance of your sister as the sweet little girl she is.

As for Mommy’s character crying, as she’s just not one to cry, perhaps it symbolizes her need for my emotional support from me; as the husband and father. On a daily basis, you subconsciously observe me carefully listening to Mommy unpack her thoughts from the day.

Whereas for me, I typically don’t have much to say about my day when I get home. Instead, there are times when I walk through the front door after working all day and driving an hour to get home, to find that you and your sister are restless, tired, and hungry.

That puts me into a position where I am managing two young kids while Mommy tries to get dinner made.

So while I would love to be as care-free as Jack Johnson all the time, perhaps by default, I ultimately adopt the character of the mad and angry boss.

Again, I could be looking way too much into why you decided to draw these pictures for us, individually; then directly hand them to us.

You’re a clever kid who has a healthy sense of awareness. I think you made this drawings as a way of categorizing the members of your family.

Love,

Daddy