Sunday, August 15, 2010


What's it mean to be a good Mom?  Or a good Dad?  What determines "Success"?  One of my most important parenting goals is to raise children who can go out into the world with confidence.

I had a great teacher of confidence and self-esteem - my Mom.  From my earliest memories, I remember that if I ever expressed any self-doubt, my Mom would reassure me and not let me put myself down.  As we drove down the road when I was 3 or so, I was reading the Speed Limit signs, Stop signs, etc.  My mom said something about me "reading".  I said "I can't read!"  She said, "Yes, you can!  You're reading the signs right now!" And I realized, sure enough, Mom was right.  That was the beginning of how my Mom taught me to have confidence.  From water-skiing at age seven, to entering spelling bees and track meets, taking gymnastics, and playing softball, any time I thought I couldn't do it, wasn't good enough, or that someone else was better, my mom would let me know that I could do anything I wanted to.  Somewhere along the way, it worked.  My sisters and I are all doing pretty well now.  Thanks MOM!

Taylor swimming at Papa and Grandma's House
As a parent, any time your child faces a challenge, you have a choice to make...
do you coddle them in case they fail and get hurt?  or do you encourage them and let them know that you have confidence in them to be successful?

Derek swimming at Papa and Grandma's house

In early life, these are usually physical challenges...  the first steps, first climbs, sitting in a big chair rather than the high chair, going down stairs, riding a tricycle, swimming, riding a bicycle with training wheels, doing a somersault.  Every single one of these is an opportunity to instill confidence in your child.  Mastering physical challenges in early childhood helps a child gain self-esteem that will translate across all of life's greater challenges.
Derek on the trampoline
Taylor at swimming lessons, June 2010
Derek hanging out on Papa's Ranger

Derek & Taylor in the airplane to Taylor's therapy appt

Taylor doing the Trampoline Bungee at A Grape Event, Hearts for Hearing fundraiser at Plymouth Valley Cellars

Little Miss Manners

Taylor's surgery was one year ago this week.  That was the scariest, most exciting day in my life.  If it's possible to feel a mix of accomplishment, dread, worry, elation, agony, and anticipation, all rolled up into one big ball of nerves, that was surgery day for me.  Taylor's Dad, on the other hand, was pretty calm, all things considered.  He does surgery for his profession, so it wasn't as intimidating for him as it was for me.

Some friends of ours have a surgery day coming up soon for their little guy.  They came to visit us recently and we tried to prepare them and reassure them of the good things in store for them and their son.  Thinking of how far we have come in this past year brings tears of joy to my eyes.  Sharing Taylor's successes with another family was so wonderful.  If we helped them in any way worry less, hurt less, or know that their son will have an amazing life, then we are thrilled to be able to do that.

These are some of Taylor's recent accomplishments:

Burp, saying "excuse me"  (She must have gotten that from her father.)

Sneeze, babysitter says "bless you", Taylor replies "thank you!"

At a drive-in restaurant, a guy walks by and she says "Who's that?"  followed by "Where's my Hot Dog?"

She is doing lots of requesting, mainly around food.  "Hot dog, apple juice, candy, drink"

Last night, she smelled my glass of wine and said "Mommy juice."  Exactly right and stay away, please!

There are also many questions.  "Where'd Daddy go?"  "Where's Derek"  "What's that?"

I'm waiting for the "Why"'s to begin.  No hurry there.  We're in a stage of "MINE"!  If Derek or any other child touches Taylor's food, toys, chair, shoes, etc. (on down the list), there are a flurry of MINE's that come out of her mouth.  Pretty typical of a 2-year old.

I have to admit that we as parents have been a little softer on Taylor than we were on Derek for that kind of behavior.  Let's face it... if she didn't hear until she was 15 months, we had to give her some catch-up time before we felt like she understood at her appropriate age level what we were saying.  Then, we went through a period of feeling glad she could say anything, even if it was "No" and "Mine" over and over again.   Now, Taylor Kay, I have to warn you -- Mommy and Daddy know you know what we're saying and and we are going to be tough critics from now on!!   Love, Your MOM and DAD (not softies)