Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Childhood Obesity--Whose Fault Is It?


Childhood obesity is a huge problem in this nation. But whose problem is it really? I do think it's sad that so many children are having an unhealthy start and most likely will have terrible health problems down the road. But I have to say this...with all the media fascination with it and every pediatrician giving you red flags on it, I would be surprised if I could find an adult who wasn't aware of the problem. So is it really my problem if the next-door neighbors children are not slender?

Are the schools to blame? So many children eat school lunch these days and the school lunch options are not really that healthy. That's why I prefer to send my children to school with a home-packed lunch. That's what I always had growing up. My mom packed all our lunches every day for years. It usually consisted of a sandwich of some kind on whole wheat bread, a piece of fruit, and a cookie. Occasionally we'd get a bag of sliced up carrots or something like that. Guess what? My mean old mom never even gave us anything to drink! We were forced to drink WATER out of the drinking fountain! How could she have been so cruel? I don't think the schools are to blame. I do know there are kids who rely on school lunch to eat a meal, but really, baking a loaf of bread doesn't cost all that much, and a few slices of whole wheat bread and an apple would be far more healthy than what is served in some school cafeterias, not to mention still quite cheap.

Are the fast food restaurants to blame? Or, to go a step further, the government for not regulating them enough? I think that's a bunch of nonsense. My husband works in fast food. He eats it every day. He shouldn't. Nobody should. I don't eat it very often. The children and I occasionally indulge when we visit him at work (maybe twice a month) and have some burgers and fries. My children drink water or milk when we are there, though, no soda. If we do frequent other fast food restaurants, it's usually on a drive-through basis and then we go home, so I couple their chicken nuggets with fresh fruit and veggies at home and milk or water to drink. When it comes to fast food, it is ENTIRELY the PARENTS' fault if their children are eating too much of it. These habits are formed when children are young and usually pretty solid by the time they are teens.

When I was a teen, I had the freedom of eating fast food whenever I wanted. I had access to a car almost 100% of the time and a job, so I had my own money. But I didn't want to waste my money on food when my mom prepared good, healthy meals at home for me for free, so I usually didn't. That's because she instilled in me the desire to eat healthy from a young age by always feeding me healthy food AND eating it herself. She always served healthy portions of food and didn't allow us to snack all day long. If we were hungry, she'd tell us to eat an apple. She fed us a healthy breakfast every day, made our lunches for school, and cooked dinner, usually from scratch. I have learned that it is cheaper to eat healthy, made-from-scratch meals than about anything processed.

This post was spurred by this news article that came out today about the government in one county in California banning the toys from kids meals at fast food restaurants. I just think it's so ridiculous.

Eat healthy. Teach your children to eat healthy. It really is that simple. Teach them to prefer healthy food over non-healthy food. My children always prefer milk or water to juice or soda to drink. They only drink milk at meals and only one cup. Then if they are thirsty other times of day, they drink water. Honestly, I think beverages contribute more to obesity than most other things. So many people all they drink all day long is anything but water. Guess what? Water has no calories and truly quenches your thirst! Amazing how that works.

I fight childhood obesity in my own home by feeding my children right. And not to sound heartless, but it is not my problem if my neighbors do not choose to eat healthy food and their children pay the price. It's sad. But it's not my problem.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Magic Land


Have you ever secretly wished that you could go to a place like Narnia? Or Wonderland? Or even Hogwarts?

I think I would want to go to Hogwarts. Narnia would probably be adventurous, but I'm too used to modern amenities, like toilets, to go without. Yep, spoiled, I know. Wonderland is just too weird.

Wouldn't it be fun to go to a school, a boarding school, where all you learn is magic? When I was a kid, I always thought just boarding school would be kind of fun. Not that I didn't like my home life, it was pretty great. I just thought boarding away at school would be adventurous, sort of like camp year-round. And then at a school like Hogwarts, where you get to learn magic.

Of course, there is the whole fighting-Voldemort part that wouldn't be so fun for me. I'm kind of a wimp. I think I'd be running scared and hiding if it were me facing a dark wizard like Voldemort. Then again, we face Satan's temptations every day, and he is pretty evil, so maybe I would be up to the task of fighting Lord Voldemort.

If you could go away to a magical place, where would you go?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Doing It All


I have been having thoughts on this subject for months now, but didn't have the nerve to write about it because I felt it was too big of a subject to tackle. But here I go.

Why do we as women think we have to do it all?

I recently read another blog post about doing it all.

I realize that developing our talents is important. That is true. But we have all those years of growing up to focus on that and only that. Once we become parents, developing our talents should take a huge backseat.

I get overwhelmed sometimes with the pressure of having to do it all. Especially in this age of technology where we can read about the lives of the people we know through blogs and Facebook and other technologies. I see that Sister So-and-so is baking all her meals from scratch while keeping her home spotlessly polished, she writes a highly trafficked blog and speaks at writing conventions, she also has her own little boutique business on the side, her six children are smiling and smart and seemingly perfect. She loves and adores her husband and he cherishes her, always bringing her flowers, or doing the dishes for her and taking care of the children while she keeps up with all her hobbies and talents.

Now there's nothing wrong with keeping up with talents and having hobbies and an occasional girls night out to keep sane. But sometimes I think that all these things we try to do creates an invisible competition and we feel that if we can't do everything sister so-and-so is doing, then we aren't good enough.

I think we need to be able to share our accomplishments and talk about them. But maybe we need to pause for a moment and just soak up our family life and focus only on that instead of everything else. Yes, talents are important. Yes, friendship is important. But our children are more important than any of those. Our marriage is even more important than our children. And God is the most important of all. It's hard to keep everything in perspective. At least it is for me. I feel a lot of outside pressure to be perfect, when really, as long as I'm being the best mom and wife I can be and doing it with the Spirit, I'm doing just what I should be doing and all that other stuff is fluff.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bullying--Where Are the Parents?

Phoebe Prince. She was a 15-year-old girl in Massachusetts who hanged herself after ceaseless bullying by a number of her peers. Her peers will stand trial in the coming weeks, maybe months, for a number of felony charges. If you read the article linked to above, you will find it really delves into what I wanted to talk about.

This is a dreary subject, but after reading the news accounts of this tragedy, I really began to ponder it. I believe this whole story and incident is quite tragic and very sad for her family. But who is really at fault here?

This is becoming a huge problem in our society--bullies who heckle and peck and are so relentlessly mean that the ones they bully feel they have no other choice but to somehow disappear. What does that say about the parents of these teens?

As the author of the article points out, the school, parents, bullies and society are all to blame. But I honestly think the most crucial influence in all of these are the parents of the bullies. The article states:

Here’s my question to all of you parents out there: Do you know your children well enough to know that they would never participate in acts of cruelty like this? Have you ever talked to them about bullying? The disintegration of the American family is a crucial issue in this whole mess. Many parents work, have obligations, hobbies and other commitments. Their kids are left to their own devices without any guidance or support to know what is, or is not, acceptable behavior.


And that is the truth of it--how well do you know your children? What are you teaching them and what standards are you really holding them to?

I have my own story to share of dealing with a bully. When I was 12 years old, in the sixth grade, there was a girl in my class who didn't like me. I will never know the reasons, she was nice to me in earlier grades and even again in later grades, but for some reason, that year, she was horrible. She spread vicious rumors about me, was downright mean to me, influenced her circle of friends to do it too.

One day I found some really nasty things written about me in a girls' bathroom stall. I recognized the handwriting as hers. I felt hurt, and I told my parents. This was after weeks of complaining to my parents about her abusive treatment, and them consoling me and telling me to ignore her, that she was wrong and just mean and I needed to take the high road. After this incident, my parents went over to talk with her parents. Most kids don't like that, but at this point, I was solidly behind their decision. The result?

Her parents were insistent that their "sweet daughter could never do anything like that." They refused to believe that she was capable of such meanness and let the matter drop. I don't remember how much more she bothered me, and by the time we started junior high the next year, she had moved on from bullying me to completely ignoring me. By the time we were in 9th grade, we had more interaction and she was even nice to me, so whatever threat I had posed to her before must have passed. I am glad that I had my parents to lean on and love me and teach me how to deal with such bullying in a graceful way, yet I am still appalled by the reaction of her parents. And I know that there are many parents out there who believe the same thing. Like their child can do no wrong!

Now, I love my children, but I also know, as they have so demonstrated from the time they have been really small, that they are capable of being mean and hurtful. Everyone is. That's why it's so important that we really know our children and recognize not just their potential, but also accept that they are human and make bad decisions sometimes.

I do feel very sorry for the parents of Phoebe Prince. How sad they must feel! They did try and do something about the problem but were not listened to. And I really do wonder where the parents of those other teens were in all this.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Cleaning


Yesterday I went through three huge bins of children's clothes. Clothes that my boys wore as babies, all three of them as well as clothes that my daughter wore as a baby. I was really just getting out the summer clothes and putting away the winter clothes, but my husband convinced me to purge and get rid of stuff that might not ever be worn again. By the time we have another baby, we will probably be able to get some new things.

So purge I did. Everything that was between 12 months and 3T for boys, I put into piles for my two brothers who each have a baby boy. Everything smaller than 12 months, if it looked really nice still, went into a pile to hopefully sell to a kids clothing shop here. Everything else went into a pile to donate to charity. For the girls clothes, all of it that my daughter couldn't wear anymore that I didn't want to keep in hopes of another daughter went into the two piles--one for the kids clothing store and one to charity. Most of her clothes were brand names and in really good condition--Old Navy, Baby Gap, Gymboree, Children's Place, etc.

I purged enough that out of the three huge bins, we now have one-and-a-half, and half of that is winter clothes that we just put away for our 5-year-old and 3-year-old to wear next year.

When we took the baskets full of clothes to the children's clothing store to hopefully sell, I was absolutely disappointed at how little they took. Most of it went back in a basket to go to charity. Tons of 0-12 month baby girl and boy clothes that were barely used and so cute! And some of it they wouldn't take because it was made in 2004 instead of 2005. Or they wouldn't take it because it is the wrong season, even though they stock all seasons on their shelves most of the time. I left feeling rejected and sad about the clothes that didn't make it, almost missing those clothes. The funny thing is that I put some really good clothes in the pile for charity too, but I don't feel that way about those. And they all went to charity, so why does it even matter to me?

Why is getting rid of clothing your children have worn as babies so difficult? I am not a sentimental person generally, so my feelings of loss surprised me. I know they are just clothes. But I guess where they have been means so much to me that it's hard to be rejected that way.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"The Power of a Praying Wife"

Recently, we've had some struggles in our marriage. I feel that I am mostly to blame. I have had unkind feelings toward my husband.

I was talking with a friend of mine who is not a member of my faith (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) but a fellow Christian of my struggles. She handed me this book:



Generally, I don't read very much non-LDS Christian literature. I try to stick to writings by the general authorities even more than just a published LDS author who writes on the subject. So I wasn't really that interested in reading the book. But, because of her sweet sincerity when she gave it to me and her love and compassion for me, I decided that it couldn't hurt to just read one little book about praying for your husband, even if it wasn't written from an LDS standpoint.

So I read it.

It is a thoughtfully written book. I have always been taught to pray; I have always been taught about the importance and the significance of marriage; I have always known of the seriousness of the marriage commitment and how divorce tears apart families and hurts those involved at very deep levels. I have never thought about any of this in the deep way this author presents it.

What a concept! Praying for your husband's every aspect of his well-being! His work, his finances, his affection, his temptations, his mind, his fears, his purpose, his trials, his integrity, and so on. Praying in great depth for each of these aspects throughout the month and then going and doing it again. And the author's testimony of the power of prayer in her marriage! I was truly moved.

I'm so glad my friend cared enough to try and help me out in her own way. I'm also finding that indeed my other Christian friends share many similar beliefs and have parts of truth. And I hope that these ideas will help me work through my bitterness and repair my marriage. Since it is mostly me that needs to change anyway.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Kitchen Table


There is something so powerful about spending mealtimes gathered around the table, eating together. You know, actually sitting down with the food in the center, the place settings and some conversation.

There is so much research out there about how the family meal such as this is so important to strengthen families, eliminate childhood obesity, and keep children on the right path. Why is that? Why does one 20-30 minute meal where everyone sits down together have such an impact?

We sat down to breakfast this morning (yes, I'm way old school--we eat together for breakfast every day) and it just felt so nice to have everyone there, talking to each other, sharing excitement about the upcoming events that day and all that.

We do a little thing at dinner where we each go around the table and share our "high" for the day and our "low" for the day. It's a great way to initiate conversation and to share our feelings with each other. Since the majority of us spend the majority of time at home, our highs and lows usually revolve around each other and that provides really good bonding time as well a chance to discuss things that aren't going very well (as manifested in some of the lows).

Have you ever noticed that when a bunch of girlfriends get together, their bonding time usually involves gossiping over food? It's no wonder that families can bond during mealtime like no other time.

I love our family meals. My own family kept doing them my whole childhood, even when I was a teenager. I hope I can keep it up the same way my mother did.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sharing a Bed


Another long night. We bought a new mattress yesterday. Our spring mattress we bought when we were first married nearly 9 years ago was totally shot. So we researched and shopped around and laid down on lots and lots of mattresses. We decided on memory foam. We took a little of our tax return and found a memory foam mattress from IKEA that cost around $500. We decided on it in a visit a few weeks before we had the cash, and then on Monday, we went to buy it. We tested all the mattresses again just to be sure we had picked the one we wanted. Not too firm, not too plush, just right.

They didn't have it on the floor. We checked again the next day. They still didn't have it out on the floor. Finally, yesterday, my husband went in while I was busy at a class with the kids and voila! They had it. He bought it. Took out our old mattress and got it all set up while I was gone.

I was excited when I got home and went straight to the bedroom, anxious to try it out. Plus I really needed a nap just then. Upon laying on it, I discovered that it was nothing like the floor model. It was HARD AS A ROCK!

Pause. Time for a little back story.

I haven't slept well since June 21, 2001. I actually always had sleep problems on and off before then, but since having to share, not only a room, but a bed with someone else, the problem has just compounded. It got even worse when the babies started coming.

How do you share a room and a bed with another person and actually sleep? It's probably because I always had my own room growing up--I have five brothers. I shared until I was about 7 or 8 and then my parents moved me to my own room. When I got to college, having a roommate was really hard for me. The noise, the mess, the late hours they kept. I never realized how that issue might affect a marriage.

Then I got married. I learned that I am not a cuddler. I don't like to have anyone near me when I sleep. Factor into the equation that my husband outweighs me by one-and-a-half times my weight and you get a very lopsided, uncomfortable bed. For me. He sleeps just fine.

We thought that it might help to get a memory foam mattress so there would be less movement from him. Our old mattress was so worn, we thought perhaps that was a factor in my inability to sleep.

Now I'm wondering if I will ever sleep again. We have a 90-day trial period with this mattress, but who's to guarantee that if toward the end of the 90 days, we decide to take it back, that another mattress will be any better? If they all start out this firm (memory foam, anyone?) and take 2-4 weeks to "break in", then no matter what mattress we get, I won't sleep for at least a month, and that is if the memory foam turns out to be as comfortable as I'd hoped. If not, sleep will simply elude me. Still.

I am all for twin beds in separate bedrooms with a Jack-and-Jill bathroom in between.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sleepy Dreams


I have very vivid dreams. Lately, my dreams have all involved something happening to my children. I had one dream a few weeks ago where one of my children wandered away from me in a mall (when do I ever go to the mall?) and I couldn't find him. While I was looking for him, two more of them wandered away. My other dreams are all similar--at a park or a restaurant.

I have concluded that this is a subconscious manifestation that I am worried about my ability to manage my children while out in public. There are four of them. They are ages 6, 5, 3, and 2. Whenever we go anywhere, be it a friend's house, a fast food place, a playground, the library, I have a very difficult time getting them to come when it's time to go. I think that my dreams relate to that. I have such a hard time with it, in fact, that recently, I've stopped taking them anywhere if I can avoid it. Even friend's houses, where they are contained to a small area and I have another adult to help me round them up. I just cannot get them to obey and come when called.

My dreams stress me out to the point that I don't sleep very well either. I wake up with a jolt, realize that my children are safe and sleeping peacefully in their beds, but then images of all the bad things that could happen to them in their disobedience keep popping in and out of my head and I can't get back to sleep. Then when I finally do, it's surface sleep, like I'm half aware that they are in their rooms snoozing and keeping half-awake to make sure that is where they really are.

How do I overcome this? I feel certain that if I could get my children to be more obedient, especially in public, that some of these sleepless dreams would go away and I would sleep more peacefully. But I am at a loss. I have tried talking to them, giving them consequences that matter, punishing, bribing, and now, not going anywhere. Nothing seems to work. What do I do?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pure Joy



How often do we, as adults, soak in life with the same pure joy as our children do? I know I don't nearly often enough, if ever!

The other day, someone complimented one of my children. "He is the happiest 5-year-old I have ever seen! Always smiling, always eager, always excited!" I'm guessing, though, that most kids are that way, at least mine are. They wake up every single morning at the crack of dawn just so excited to start the day. I wake up every morning wondering where the night has gone and wishing that I could sleep longer. I don't remember the last time I had that type of excitement for every day life.

I think I need to work on finding joy. My children do it naturally--they see and feel joy in everything around them. But I have to work for it. Sad, isn't it? That life can sometimes take that out of you when you probably felt it more easily as a child? For me, it's the stress and responsibility that comes with adulthood, and particularly, parenthood. I just need to take a step back and try and see the world through their eyes. Whenever I do that, even briefly, I can understand how they feel that joy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Homesick


I have always been one who believed in the whole "bloom where you're planted" philosophy. Whenever moving to a new place, it's best to start calling that place "home" right away and do everything you can to turn it into your home. I pretty much stick to that and try my hardest to make wherever I live my home.

But I have been so homesick for my last home lately. Re-reading some of my blog from last year, seeing all the fun we had running in sprinklers, swimming, visiting with my parents (who lived close), seeing my brothers come for visits to my parents and being able to see them because we lived close, all of that I miss so much!

Don't get me wrong, I like it here well enough. The landscape is pretty, the people are decent, there is lots to do. The kids have taken after-school classes in art and Spanish, husband and I are taking a ballroom dance class right now. I've been taking violin lessons. We've enjoyed the museums and the zoo. The different weather--the cold and snow--have been fun for the kids.

But I miss the place I used to call home. I miss the warmth, the never-ending sunshine. I miss the monsoons. I miss my parents and being able to stop by and see them, go out on a lunch date or dinner date with my mom on occasion, have the kids play at their grandparents' house. I miss the friends I had there, the church members with whom we were acquainted. Especially now that they are in warmer weather and spring is truly there for them--I read their blogs and all their outdoor day trips and park playdates and I sulk in the fact that where we live now, spring is trying really hard to come but winter keeps pushing it back.

It's the long-winter blues, I suppose. I just miss the sunshine and warmth and closeness I felt with those around me there. New friendships are wonderful, but they cannot replace the old.

I have an acquaintance who was telling me a sad story about her friend whose ex was coming to take the dog. I suggested that maybe she help her friend find another dog, but she said, "You can't just replace one dog with another and have it be the same." That is true, and new friendships can be comforting and wonderful, but it doesn't stop you from missing the old friends.

Ruthann, Lindsey, I miss you in particular. If you ever get a chance to come up here, please, please do! You have a place to stay, even with all your kids. And if I'm ever down there, don't be surprised to find me on your doorstep!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dreaming


What would it be like to be waited on hand and foot? To have all the food you can eat, whatever you want? To be able to get on a private jet and fly anywhere in the world whenever you want?

Sometimes, I really do wish that I could have that kind of life. Drive a fancy car. Not have children to cart around. Be free as a bird. Have so much money, I could do whatever I wanted, go wherever I wanted, eat whatever I wanted.

I bet a lot of people don't even think about that...eating whatever they want. But I have to watch my grocery budget carefully. Sometimes I want chocolate-covered strawberries, but the strawberries are too expensive and so are the chocolate chips, so I have to use self-control and remind myself that I don't need that small indulgence. Sometimes, I want to go out to eat a nice, juicy steak from a nice steakhouse, but I know that the money I could spend on that meal for just myself could feed my entire family of 6 for two meals.

Sometimes I just wonder what it would be like to be able to visit places like the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Europe, Australia. The only foreign place I've ever been was Mexico. It wasn't a vacation, it was a tour with a group of fellow college students. The final exam of an intensive study of Spanish--go to Mexico and apply in practice what we'd learned in the classroom. We spent our honeymoon in San Diego. We stayed in a Best Western that wasn't anywhere near the beach, we ate at regular restaurants that we eat at on occasion even now, and we didn't do anything spectacular. And it was only a few days--a Friday through a Monday.

I imagine myself in a huge fortress of a home that I don't even have to clean or keep the grounds--I can pay somebody to do that. If I'm married with children, my children get to participate in any activity they'd like because we have the money for it. I get to get my nails done and my hair done and shop for nice clothes whenever I want. We probably own lots of land and horses too. We have a pool and a poolhouse for guests to stay in when they visit.

I know, big, unrealistic dreams. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's nice to get lost in fantasy when reality is hard. Reality isn't bad. It's good--we have so much to be thankful for. But sometimes dreaming big is just fun to imagine.



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Always Alone

Today we went to lunch at McDonald's. I don't usually do this and if I ever stop for fast food, we do the drive through, get one gigantic thing of the chicken nuggets and share it at home with our own sides of fresh fruit and milk to drink. But we were out and about and nowhere near home, so we stopped and went in, the three little ones and me (my oldest was at school). We came in, sat by the play structure, ate our food, and then I let my little ones go play.

Then I looked around. I noticed that there were several other little ones there playing and of course, several other mothers. But they were all in clumps, two mothers at one table talking while their children played, three mothers over there doing the same thing.

And then I realized that is how it usually is. Whenever I do venture out, it seems everyone else is there with a friend but I am always alone.

Sometimes it would be nice to go out and meet some friends for a lunch date with the kids. I don't mind being along, but sometimes, having someone to talk to while the kids play for 30 minutes would be so much more fun for me.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Good Day


I don't know if was due to the magic spell cast by General Conference or what, but I had a fabulous day.

It was a huge surprise to me, too, because I woke up at 1 a.m. to pee (I have the world's smallest, weakest bladder, I'm not kidding--I must have to go about 5 times every night) and I could NOT get back to sleep. My mind was racing with everything that I had to get done today, then it turned into everything I have to get done this next week, then it turned into everything that was wrong with my life. I cried some, I watched a little bit of George Lopez from 2-3 a.m., I went the bathroom about 8 times, I even got online and uploaded a video to my last blog post and played some dumb games on Facebook. At about 4 a.m., I tried getting back into bed, but then DH was snoring and the earplugs were no help, so I went down to the couch. I was there until about 5 a.m., when I thought I heard the first waking child get up, so I went back upstairs. There was no child, but since I was upstairs, I decided to try and sleep. I still could not sleep, so when child #1 showed up at 5:30 a.m., I kicked DH and child #1 out of the bedroom and finally fell asleep. Then I dreamed that DH came to wake me up at 9 a.m., which would have made me miss picking up my bountiful basket at the co-op, and I woke up at 6:30 thinking I had missed it.

So you'd think that wouldn't be such a good start to the day.

But, I got up at 7, showered and got ready like it was a normal day. We had breakfast and got the kids ready and then we ALL went to the co-op to pick up the produce (including 8 pounds of strawberries!), then grocery shopping and then home in time for the first session of conference. I stayed awake by cleaning the kitchen and putting things away. Then I finally cut out the sash part of my daughter's dress pattern (finished the rest of the dress on Tuesday) and ironed the edges for that. After the session, we had lunch, put kids down for naps, and then DH and I watched T.V. while we stuffed Easter eggs and the older kids watched a movie downstairs. After that, it was the second session of conference, which I stayed awake through by finishing the sash and dress and then making a whole bunch of strawberry jam.

I did all this in a happy mood all day with the worst pounding headache in my whole head that I've ever had in my life!

After the session, DH went to work and I made dinner, including homemade biscuits, and then we did bathtime and bedtime. Now the kids are in bed (sort of--I hear one of them crying AGAIN), and I am writing this down to remember that I had a good day that started on a bad note. Nobody was grumpy all day long, not even me.

Must have been General Conference's magic mist.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Little Light Reading


My 3-year-old is flipping through the phone book right now. It's not a book of many pictures, so I'm wondering how it has kept him interested for nearly 20 minutes! I find it fascinating the things that can sometimes capture my children's interests, if even for a small moment.

The phone book.
Taking all the DVDs out of their cases.
Pulling all the plastic lids out of the kitchen drawer.
Putting all the plastic lids back into the kitchen drawer.
Sticking all the bow hair clips on a towel or sheet.
Pairing all the shoes in the closet.

There are many, many more, but my mind is blank now, after being interrupted by another of my children for the umpteenth time. Happens every time I try to write when they're awake (sometimes when they're asleep too!).

Any interesting, uh, activities that capture your little ones' undivided attention for an unusually long period of time?

video

(she kept busy spinning for a LONG time, but when I pulled out the camera, she stopped)

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