Dear Kindergarten Teacher,

In one week my daughter will be going to school for the first time. She is coming in with boatloads of knowledge, but up until now I have been her teacher.

She has a huge personality and an even bigger imagination. She already knows how to count to 100 and how to write her name. She knows her colors and shapes and can draw a semi-recognizable person. She can get herself dressed and brush her own teeth with no help whatsoever, and she knows to say please and thank you. She also knows the answers to tons of questions, such as what are clouds made of and how do bees help flowers grow.

I will always teach my daughter. That is not going to change. In the coming years I will teach her that she can’t always get what she wants, but that if she works really hard for something, it feels better than just having it handed to you. I will teach her to brush off mean comments and ignore people who bring her down rather than building her up. I will teach her that kindness goes a long way. I will teach her not to be selfish and that she doesn’t always have to be perfect. Later I will teach her not to give boys the power to break her heart (but hold her close when it happens anyway). I will teach her how to cook a meal, how to budget, and how to carefully pull a onesie over the head of a newborn baby. I will teach her how to say goodbye to loved ones. I will teach her how to take defeat with dignity and grace, and how to brush herself off and keep on going. I will teach her how to laugh at herself and how to learn from her mistakes. I will teach her that she can’t always win, but I will teach her how to celebrate with class when she does.

Now, after five years of mommy ad nauseum, you will also be teaching my daughter. It is scary for me to send her out in the world. There are evil people out there who might try to hurt her. There are influences out there who will try to undo some of the work I have put in. I trust you to teach her well. I trust you to nurture her mind, and to be kind.

If education were a long hallway, you would be there at the entrance ready to guide her down the first few feet. I hope and pray that you will greet her with a warm smile and lead her with enthusiasm. If you teach well, she could develop a lifelong love of learning.

Please look after her and understand that five years is long, but also so short. She has spent her life thus far entirely by my side. While I am ready to let her spread her wings, and to share her with the world, I need to know that she will have someone to guide her when I am not there, someone to teach her not only how to read and spell, but how to navigate when she is away from me. I am not asking you to do my job. I know that teachers are special people and do so much. I just ask that you take care of my little girl. She is special, just like every other child in your class.

A mother who is letting go (just a little)

© Gina Kowalski and The Adventures of Supermom, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gina Kowalski and The Adventures of Supermom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Baby Brother Blues

I just observed Christopher crawling over to Leah’s closed bedroom door, attempting to kick it open, and then when that didn’t work attempting to head-butt it open. When the door stayed shut he proceeded to put his face down on the floor and cry, throwing a little tantrum.

Leah heard him and opened the door. He looked up at her, and immediately turned off his tantrum and his whole body shook with excitement as he giggled.

One of my favorite things about motherhood, now that I have two, is how much they love one another.

Leah’s Magic Show

Leah: Mama, wanna see a magic trick?
Me: Yes!
Leah: I am going to make myself disappear! Close your eyes and no peeking!

I close my eyes and immediately hear the pitter patter of little footsteps, then the creak of a door, then a slam.

Leah (muffled): Abra Cadabra! Open your eyes!
Me: Oh my goodness! Where did my little girl go?

Spider Jail?

The other day I was getting the kids ready to leave the house when I went to get Leah and saw that the bathroom door was shut and locked. I was about to shrug, figuring she was doing her business, when she emerged from her bedroom.

“Leah,” I asked, “If you are out here, why is the bathroom door locked?”

“Oh,” she replied, “There’s a spider in there, so I locked him in.”

Yup, that’s my girl!

Christopher said “Mama” last week for the first time! When Leah was a baby and spoke that magic word for the first time, I literally screamed in joy. I wound up scaring the heck out of her and then she refused to say it again for months.

Christopher seemed to choose his time to say it deliberately. For weeks I have been telling him, “Say mama! Mamamama…” He would smile at me and then reply, “Dada!” Now more than ever I am convinced that he had it all figured out and was just waiting for the perfect moment.

It came while I was making dinner. He was in his bouncer and was fussing, but not enough for me to stop what I was doing and burn the food. Finally, in a very exasperated tone, he got my attention by declaring, “Ma ma!” I turned around and froze for a moment, collecting myself and resisting the urge to shriek with joy again.

Since then he has been proudly using his new favorite word, especially when he wants my attention. Last night was the first time that instead of crying or yelling when he woke up hungry, I awoke to the sound of him calling “Mama! Mamamamama! Mama!” I smiled and got out of bed rather enthusiastically for a mom at 3am, but really nothing can get me down when I hear my son calling for me.

I made a stop in the bathroom first, and that is when he took on his exasperated tone again and his call changed to, “Moooooom! Mom!”

Of all the titles I hold- wife, friend, daughter, sister, woman- Mama will forever be the BEST.

He Can Still Hear Me

I was very close to my grandfather (my “papa”) growing up and was devastated when he passed away when I was in high school. I am always telling Leah all about my papa and sharing my memories of him with her.

Today in the car she asked me, “Mommy, wasn’t your papa so funny?”

“Yes he was!” I responded. “I miss him so much.”

“Oh, mommy, didn’t you know that you can still talk to him even though he’s gone?”

“I can?” I asked, wondering what she meant.

“Yes, you can!” she said enthusiastically. “He can still hear you because he is in your heart forever.”

Sometimes it takes the innocence of a child who is loved to remind you that your loved ones can always be your loved ones, even long after they are gone. Thank you, my sweet girl.

I keep hearing things that really bother me lately. Of course there is all the hype of half the population thinking that breastfeeding is somehow gross, unnatural, or worse- sexual. My goodness, I can not understand that. Feeding our babies are what breasts are there for. If men find them attractive, well okay, added bonus! But that should not take away from the fact that they are meant to nourish infants.

I personally am not on any kind of crusade here. I don’t care if you breastfeed or give your child formula. I believe that formula is good and that a baby can and will get everything that he or she needs from it.

I have already posted about feeding my son in public and how I will feed whenever, and wherever he happens to be hungry. I will do that whether it bothers people or not. I am not trying to make a spectacle of myself, but I am using part of my body for which it was intended- to feed my baby. This post, however, is not about public nursing.

I keep hearing about people, even doctors, who seem to think that young infants “need” other food. I am all for giving your baby solids at 4-6 months. Chris has no interest in baby purees, but he loves pretty much anything I put into his mesh feeder. However, I know that he is not, and really can not, get the nutrients he needs to grow and be healthy. He is not eating enough solid food to do that, for one. Plus, he still gets everything he needs from my milk. The same goes for formula. They have stages for a reason, to meet the needs of your baby as they grow and their nutritional needs change. So, if your baby is not interested in baby food or solids before turning one, who cares?

I have heard that you need to get your baby to eat solid foods so that you, the mother, can have some freedom. Well, I don’t know about other mothers, but I did not become a parent so I can have freedom. I don’t think of myself as enslaved or employed by my children. It was my choice to have them!

I have also heard that you don’t want your child to become dependent on your milk. Ummm…aren’t babies supposed to be dependent on their mothers? Sure, it is our job to teach our children to be independent and responsible. To teach them that the world doesn’t revolve around them. But when children are just babies, the world does and SHOULD revolve around them. It is such a fleeting time, and if you are not prepared for your child to be your world, then maybe you should have waited. It’s okay for your child to be dependent on you, at least for a year. When they are two you will hear “I do it myself” constantly. Can’t you wait until then to be “free”?

Not to say it is even necessarily parents themselves that I hear these things from. It is mainly non-parents and/or men. People that think they know everything, but have no idea how wonderfully inside out your world turns when you become a mother.

I am just sick of being judged. You can’t win sometimes, but feeding your baby should not be one of those times. Whether you breastfeed or formula feed I urge you to feed your baby. To hold them and rock them and comfort them while it is still possible for them to be comforted by nothing more than the feel of your skin. Experiment with solids if your baby is ready and shows interest, but if he or she isn’t interested, know that it’s okay. Milk or formula is all your baby needs, contrary to popular belief.

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