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How to Handle Bullying

I have to admit, I don’t love the title of this post and went back and forth on what I should call it. Do I call it bullying? Do I title it, “How to handle when your kid is picked on”? I don’t think that, at this age, kids really understand bullying and would hate to ascribe particular motives to three-year-olds, but I struggled with an alternative title.

Basically, over the last year, we have dealt with some difficulties with Lion and a couple of classmates. Lion has some really good friends at his new daycare and transitioned much better than we thought he would. Now that he’s been there for a year, I can say that we are so grateful that his old daycare closed, because his new one offers so much more and he (and Panda) has thrived. But one thing that surprised me was the struggle he has had with a couple of classmates. I’m not talking about the typical arguments that children have, or a rare incident of biting or being pushed, but instead about a situation where Lion started to feel very uncomfortable at school.

To be honest, at first I didn’t even realize there was an issue because Lion often would complain that he didn’t want to go to school. He struggled a bit with separation anxiety (though those issues seemed to have cleared up significantly) despite having been in daycare since he was two-months old, so I chalked up his behavior to that. Mr. Dolphin seemed to sense that more was at play, though, because Lion became increasingly insistent that he did not want to go to school.  Mr. Dolphin finally asked, “Why don’t you want to go to school today?” And Lion responded that two other kids were tackling him, pushing him, and hitting him.

I felt a swirl of emotions and struggled a bit in figuring out what to do because I wanted to address the problem without overreacting, make sure that Lion felt safe, not put blame on anyone, while also using it as a learning experience. We have been raising our kids in the hopes that they will grow up with a servant’s heart and emphasize kindness, and I wanted Lion to be able to view other peoples’ actions with generosity while also knowing that he was allowed to stand up for himself.

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Very Hungry Caterpillar Second Birthday Party

Over Memorial Day weekend, we celebrated the girls’ second birthday with a party at our home. In these early years before the girls have too much of an opinion on party theme, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to pick one of my own! My biggest bonding time with the girls is our reading time, and I wanted to keep the party theme with a book that we all love reading together. Last year, I did their first birthday in the theme of the classic baby book Pat the Bunny, and this year I went for a classic toddler book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

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I went simple on the invitations and purchased them through zazzle.com. I was really impressed with how the invitations came out, and they allowed some easy customization which is important to me because I’ve found that most birthday invitations are usually templated for one child and I have two to consider and include in the card/invite.

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Five Friday Favorites – June 8, 2018

This summer is off to a GREAT start over at the Cupcake house! I’m excited to share a post soon about all that we’re up to now that the school year is out. My Five Friday Favorites will give you a little peek!

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1) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel– We don’t have cable, so we watch everything on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. Lately, Amazon has had my favorite shows! I just started watching this one and it is endearing, interesting, and full of laughs. Set in the 1950s, I love the fashion and all of the references to famous people in this time period. Mr. Cupcake isn’t really into it, so it’s something I’ve enjoyed by myself when Fitz is napping. Grab a glass of wine and some chocolate and gift yourself a little Mommy time!

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2) Today Will be Different by Maria Semple- I read the first book by this author a couple of years ago with my book club, and I was riveted! I was excited that my mom grabbed her second book for me, and just like her first book it’s already hooked me. Semple has a relatable style of writing but always throws in some good surprises.

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Upcoming Children’s Books

I buy books year round and we have a lot of favorite authors so its always fun to see what new ones are coming on the horizon.  Here are the ones we are looking forward to:

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Seeds and Trees (available June 12th) – I can’t wait for this book.  I loved the illustrations when I first saw it but the message inside about how words like seeds can take root and either blossom or harden and shrivel is such a special one I feel. I love stories like this which take a lesson and make them more grounded for children to grasp and see. The idea of watching words bloom or not bloom in regards to how we use them is so vital I think as we try to make sure our children understand how important it is that we watch how we speak and talk to our peers.

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Chomp Goes the Alligator (available September 4th) – Matthew Van Fleet, one of my favorite authors of fun interactive books, has another fun book on the way. To say we own almost every one of his books is probably accurate and I will be so sad when my kids all age out of his delightfully entertaining stories.  For now Fiona still is a big fan so we can hopefully add one more to the shelves before we age out.

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Happiness is not my job

As my 8 year old son was having a massive melt down he screamed at me, “You are supposed to make me happy and you just make me miserable.”

Although this is the moment in time that was critical to a revelation in my parenting, I might need to go back in time about 10 minutes. This interaction paints both my son and I in, well let’s just say, not the most flattering light. I am not proud of it but this is life and it is messy. So here we go.

10 minutes before – I say “Pick up this trail of shoes and socks you left as you came into the door.”   (I admit I did not say please and I probably had an already annoyed tone. I am human and this has got to be the 879th time I have said this exact same sentence)

9 minutes – Son rolls his eyes and grunts and he slowly picks up one sock and takes it to the laundry room. He returns and grabs a second sock and heads towards the laundry room. If there were a snail in the room, it would have been moving faster than this child.

8 minutes – I say “Are you serious? One sock at a time?  Come on we have to get unpacked and get homework done. Can you just pick it all up at the same time?”

7 minutes – Son screams that it’s so unfair that he always has to clean things up.

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A 7 month update and the start of sibling love

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Max has stepped up his big brother game. One of the sweetest moments this month was when Max carried his favorite book and chair to Zoe’s room and sat down to read her a bedtime story. He started off by shushing the audience then read in a whisper. For pages he didn’t know, he just said “and this is another page in the book”.

Zoe keeps getting better. She was smart to set the bar low, so now when she doesn’t cry the whole time we call her “better”. But one major improvement this month has been Zoe in the car. Approaching red lights no longer raises my anxiety levels. And I no longer have panic attacks if we are stuck in traffic. In fact, now when I see douchy drivers, my head tilts a little and I think “aww fussy baby”.

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Building (and Organizing) A LEGO Collection

Before Christmas, I mentioned that our kids (ages 3 and almost 2 at that point) were really into LEGO and I did a roundup of LEGO-related gifts. Lion received this awesome Fire Patrol LEGO Suitcase for his 3rd birthday in August and since then our LEGO collection has seriously exploded. While Panda isn’t quite as proficient at building as Lion, he loves minifigures. I love watching the kids play with LEGO pieces because it works their fine motor skills and teaches them to follow instructions (for sets) but also encourages imaginative building and play. Here are some tips on building and organizing a LEGO collection.

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Our growing LEGO collection.

Building a collection:

I’m a huge fan of buying used when possible, both for the cost-savings as well as for environmental reasons. I didn’t want to go exclusively with sets because I love the freedom of imagination. I was worried that with sets, the kids would only want to use them exactly as pictured and wouldn’t experience using their imagination to build whatever their minds could invent. As it turned out, the kids actually love modifying the sets we do have, but I’m glad we have a variety.

My first LEGO purchases were minifigures after seeing Panda play with them at a LEGO store when we visited California last November. He ran into the store and starting putting together minifigures and didn’t want to put it back when it was time to leave. Panda never reacts that way about toys, so I was a bit taken aback. I ended up purchasing a lot of random minifigures on eBay and he fell in love with them. He loves taking them apart and rearranging them, or stacking ten heads on one minifigure body.  The lot we purchased was $20 for 20 minifigures, which came with accessories and hats.

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