Being an Only Child

This post is about my own personal experiences and feelings about being an only child.

I was about four I think when I realized that I didn’t have any brothers or sisters. At the time I played down the street at my babysitter’s house while my parents worked. The babysitter had two young children — a boy older than me and a girl younger than me. One day when we were talking about marriages and how you couldn’t marry your brother or sister, it dawned on me that there wasn’t anyone I couldn’t marry because I didn’t have a brother or sister. From that day on I started to notice other families when I was out with my parents or babysitter –families with multiple children running after a single parent, families with children tumbling out of mini vans, families that had noise and shouts and laughter following them everywhere they went. Family watching became a habit for me that still continues to this day I admit. When I went to my friend’s homes, there was always noise, chaos of toys and kids running all over the house; this was such a stark contrast from my own home where my mother and father would watch TV or read books, and I was left to my own devices for hours on end. When I was alone I rarely talked out loud, even when playing, because who was there to talk to? All my games were played silently in my head and thus the silence of my house stood out to me so much when I realized that other homes weren’t like mine.

I started to bug my parents, mostly my mother, about wanting a brother or sister. My parents would demure of course, and side step and dodge the questions. I was persistent. I started to try to find out how babies were made so that I could make my parents have a baby for me. Luckily for everyone (myself included), my conclusions at the tender age of five lead me to believe that babies came from kissing on the mouth, so for months I would constantly try to shove, push, and even try to trip my parents into one another. Clearly this got me nowhere.

I won’t lie in saying I wasn’t lonely growing up. I was. Being lonely and bored were the number one reason I wanted a sibling. My friends would tell me how lucky I was not to have a sibling, how annoying it was to have one and how they hated having to share their toys. I thought about how I would have loved to share my toys if only I had someone to share with. My situation was also compounded by the fact that my mother was deathly afraid of all animals big or small, leaving me with goldfish as the only real option for a pet.

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What We’re Really Doing

A few months ago, Mr. Cowboy and I registered Lil’ CB for Kindergarten. I actually managed not to cry… mostly because I was helping run the registration since it was at my school. Yep, in a little less than two months, Lil’ CB will be a Kindergartner and I’ll continue to teach Kindergarten at the same school. He definitely won’t be in my class, but it’ll be fun to be in the same grade together!

A while back, I wrote a series on what and how to prepare for Kindergarten. I promised and swore that we would not be purchasing workbooks in order to prepare Lil’ CB for Kindergarten. And we didn’t and I do think he is ready for the big K! Now that we are mere weeks, away, I thought I’d share what we really are doing to help our little cowboy as he prepares for his first year of full-day, big boy school!

The most important thing that we are trying to do is incorporate literacy activities daily while keeping them as genuine and authentic as possible. I outlined in a previous post about the reason why I’m not doing any formal reading lessons with Lil’ CB at home, and that is something I’m sticking by. There are a couple of easy, patterned books we have from school that we’ll sometimes read, but Lil’ CB chooses when to read them and we try to do it very casually so as not to stress him out and have him feel any unnecessary pressure. He loves books and he loves “reading,” and while I’m fairly certain he could learn to read one-on-one with me, I want him to take the lead on it until he is required to engage in reading lessons at school.

We continue to read lots and lots of books at home and visit the library every 2-3 weeks, returning with a fairly giant stack of books each time. Lil’ CB almost always has a book with him, too, wherever we go. Thankfully, he is so great about plopping down just about anywhere so long as he’s got a good book, and it’s made running errands so much easier!

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Target Blocks: Fun Foam Finds

I think we’re at a really fun stage in the Bear household right now. Both cubs are very enthusiastic when it comes to learning things – in Patrick’s case, he’s actually listening and trying to mimic my actions to the best of his ability then improving on my meager attempts at creative play. In Olivia’s case she’s more intent on destruction, much to the dismay of Patrick, and no amount of gentle redirecting can get her to alter from her decided path. Patrick tries to build while Olivia tries to effectively disassemble. I’m sure you can imagine the wonderful cacophony of noise at my household during those times.

Which is why I’m glad I stumbled across these blocks recently at the Target One Spot. Seriously, guys, I’m in love.

They come in packs of 18 and I’m still kicking myself for only buying two packs because they are fantastic. I love that I can give each kid a pile of them at opposite ends of the table and they’ll stay like that, mostly content for at least two point five seconds. Long enough for me to put my cold cup of coffee in the microwave and push the appropriate buttons. What makes them so wonderful? Well I’m glad you asked!

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Lactogenic banana bread

I adapted my low fat banana bread recipe to be a little more lactogenic based on what I’ve learned about possible substitutions, and I was really surprised that it was moist, and that it actually baked through (I’ve often made disaster quickbreads where the center never sets and remains gooey, especially when I’ve substituted applesauce for eggs, so this chia seed egg concoction is impressive). I would venture to say it’s slightly healthy and a good choice for anyone and not just nursing moms. I even let baby Winter have a few bites. The molasses actually made it quite sweet and moist, to the point where I really don’t think it needed the two squares of bakers chocolate I included… and I’m always the gal that throws chocolate into her baked goods. 

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Flying Solo with a 15 Month Old

Last month I took the plunge and took my toddler on a plane ride. She’s no stranger to air travel—this was her fifth plane trip in her short life—but it was the first time I didn’t have her dad to tag team during the adventure.

My plan going in was that less would be more. I was flying from Georgia to New Mexico and would be there for more than a week, so I wanted to pack everything we both needed into one carry-on sized suitcase (I hate paying extra checking in a bag, but that changed once I got to the airport). I also lucked out, because at my destination there would be a car seat and pack ‘n play waiting for us (two very large and bulky items that I didn’t have to worry about).

I waffled back and forth between what to take for our adventure in the airport and on the plane (specifically, I questioned if I wanted to lug a stroller with me), and this is what I eventually went with:

  • Umbrella stroller
  • Ergo Carrier (We use wraps and slings, too, but for an airport/airplane I like using the carrier that clips and goes on quickly)
  • Backpack (Inside I had my laptop and all of my personal things—wallet, phone, chap stick, etc.—new snacks and toys for her, and a few extra diapers and wipes in their own separate Ziploc)
  • Suitcase filled to the brim with everything the two of use would need for our trip. I left the diapers at home and only took “just enough” and bought diapers and wipes once I got to my destination.

I planned it out to get to the airport super early. It’s about a two-hour drive to the airport from where we live, and I knew Bunny would nap on the way there. Our flight departed right at the beginning of her bedtime, so I was hoping she would walk around a lot and burn off energy. My plan almost worked like a charm.

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Olive’s 2 1/2 Year Update

The last time I wrote an update for Olive was over a year ago when she was 20 months old, so I thought an update was due before she turns 3 in October!


After I weaned last December, Mr. Bee took over Olive’s bedtime and we transitioned her out of her crib (at 26 months), we started having a lot of bedtime battles. We actually had similar problems with Charlie at the same age (we transitioned him out of his crib at the same age when he wouldn’t stop climbing out). The same thing that worked for him worked for her — we leave her bedroom door wide open. If she comes out of her room, we close the door. I think being able to hear us outside makes her feel less alone and she’ll play with her toys, sing to herself, and eventually fall asleep by herself. Sometimes she’ll fall asleep in her doorway!

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Private Swimming Lessons for a 3 Year Old

I love swimming and was fortunate to grow up with a swimming pool where my sisters and I spent most of our summer days. I’ve always envisioned having a pool as an adult, but so far this is not a reality. In some respects, I know this is a blessing because watching children around a pool can be a full-time job. But swimming was a really big part of my childhood and is a very big summer activity where we live, so I’ve never questioned that my kids would have to learn to swim.

When Gemma was about 15 months old we enrolled in some mommy and me swim classes. It was a fun activity but I am not sure I’d qualify it as educational for a baby; I can’t say either way if she actually learned anything from it, but at least it was an introduction to water.

This year, at 3 years old, and with daily temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, I made a commitment that I had to get her swimming at least halfway decently. Now that I have baby Summer, I need some assurance that Gemma won’t be in danger if we want to go swimming at my parents’ or sister’s house and I am responsible for them both.

I arranged ten private lessons for her and the experience is something to definitely be shared. This was hard work–for both of us. The teacher was intense; she was congenial but firm and at three Gemma, had never experienced anything of this nature. The first lesson was hard. Gemma has a very stubborn and independent personality and her swim instructor had zero tolerance for her negotiation skills. Oftentimes, when she is feeling fearful, she tries to lesson the blow of something new by thinking outside the box. I think this is a great skill that applies in many situations but in this particular one, her instructor mistook it for defiance and made her swim more and more before moving on in the lesson. This type of negative reinforcement is not something that I practice in my parenting style so I felt very uncomfortable with it. Truth be told, we both wanted to quit after the first lesson.

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