*Warning* Bare Breasts Ahead (Don’t Worry – Safe to Open)

Note: There will be no pictures of boobage in this blog post… sorry! But we are going to TALK boobage…

This weekend the GreenEs attended the BEST African dance festival and bazaar around, DanceAfrica. DanceAfrica is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Africa and the African diaspora.  The celebration features a massive street fair near the Brooklyn Academy of Music with vendors from around the world showcasing fashion, food, music and crafts. The highlight of the celebration is the performance at BAM featuring dance companies from around within Brooklyn, the United States and around the globe.

This year’s headliner was Afro-Brazilian dance troupe Balé Folclórico da Bahia, the only professional folk dance company in Brazil, AND THEY WERE AMAZING. The troupe of dancers, musicians, and singers performed a repertory based on Bahian folkloric dances of African origin: slave dances, capoeira, and samba.32124_DanceAfrica_613x463

Yesterday, we discussed the show with a family friend and one thing in particular came up – the women were bare chested for a few of the dance performances and we explored the following question:

Should there have been a warning of some kind for parents of small children that there would be partial nudity in the program?

We don’t think so but then again we are a family that nursed children exclusively for over a year and bare chests are frequent in our home. We don’t cringe when we see nursing mothers go uncovered which happens a lot in NYC parks and play areas. Also, we just viewed it as part of the cultural experience, but… we understood our friend’s point – not every parent or child would be ready for that moment.

How did our kids respond? Well, when Lady C saw the breasts there was zero reaction. But when one woman came out in a halter top she exclaimed, “I SEE HER BELLY BUTTON” – HA!

What do you think? Should the parents receive a warning? How would you feel as a parent if there was a performance with partial nudity and your children were with you?

Our Journey Through Occupational Therapy: THE DIAGNOSIS

Fidgety.

    Uncoordinated.

Muscle Weakness.

            Lack of Body Awareness.

Sensory Sensitive.

                     Sensory Seeking.

These were some of the words that we heard from Lady C’s school occupational therapist last fall that has led us on the path of occupational therapy, something that neither of us had heard about until last year when we decided to enroll our left handed daughter into a handwriting class. If you are like us and need a little primer – here’s what we first found on Wikipedia about occupational therapy:

Occupational therapy (OT) is the use of assessment and treatment to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental, or cognitive disorder. Occupational therapists also focus much of their work on identifying and eliminating environmental barriers to independence and participation in daily activities

From an early age we noticed that Lady C held her body with little core control, ran a little slower and awkwardly, had trouble balancing on one leg… little things and it is something we always made her Pre-K teacher and now kindergarten teacher aware of and we discussed it. At first, we thought we might be focusing on it too much because on the reading, vocabulary and social skills spectrum, Lady C was off the charts, independently reading at the age of two and holding conversations with grown ups very early – perhaps we wanted her to excel at physical development and motor skills too quickly.

But – it’s something we’ve monitored closely and for the past few weeks, she has been engaged in occupational therapy once a week in order to help her build body awareness, build muscle strength, improve motor skills and continue to improve her handwriting skills. In addition to occupational therapy, we’ve also gotten her more engaged in activities that build strength: karate, ballet and gymnastics.

It has been humbling and overwhelming to realize that your child needs help and that you have to ask for it.  There is so much to learn and deciding to blog about this was not easy because it admits out loud that something needs to be “fixed”.  Coming from a generation where a fidgety and uncoordinated child would just be marked as clumsy and distracted, most of the time the “solution” was … THEY WILL JUST GROW OUT OF IT.  Now, occupational therapy is a growing field and early intervention at childhood is being used more and more these days to help with body awareness issues and motor skills development… so we are navigating the mines and plan to share what we are going through in case it helps others. Perhaps, we will get some help too! We hope so…

We plan to share the high and lows, our “sensory diet plan” and how it’s going and we hope that if there are others out there with children in occupational therapy or thinking about doing it – that we can engage in a dialogue and conversation through this series of blogs.

More to come! If there are particular questions you have or things you want addressed please let us know in the comments.

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Oops…my bad!

We teach our kids a lot of lessons:

  • How to tie your shoes laces.
  • How to eat properly at the table.
  • The value of play and exercise.
  • What is the proper way to be a Jets fan.

One of the most important lessons that we teach our children is taking responsibility for your actions. In our house, Lady C ALWAYS has a reason why the thing that just happened “wasn’t her fault”:

 “You stopped me before I could do the right thing.”

“I didn’t mean to but Grandma made me do it.”

“I thought you said to do it.”

“So-and-so did it so I can’t be blamed for my actions.”

Just a few weeks ago, I stopped her from spouting one of her many excuses and said,

Just own up to it and say I’m sorry. Don’t blame someone else for your actions!

Good advice…so I thought.

Until recently, when I realized that I wasn’t following myself!

I had done something wrong (as we husbands are prone to do) and immediately I started spewing a bunch of excuses (you know: the tools of the weak and incompetent, used to build monuments of nothingness? Yeah…those!). All of a sudden I heard the words that I had told my daughter coming from my wife’s mouth… to me. Jarring. In that moment, I realized a few things:

Sometimes we need to listen to our own advice/lessons. Children can make you revisit the basics of human behavior because they’re at the starting blocks of their life. The lessons they’re learning should still be important to us but we forget sometimes.

Watch your actions: you’re kids are watching. I know we hear that all the time but most of the time we’re talking about really bad stuff like drinking, smoking, or domestic violence. It applies to bad habits like making excuses too. Now, I don’t know that Lady C sees that from me and copies it, but now I will be conscious of it.

Be easy on your kids: they’re still learning. Sometimes I get frustrated that I have to say the same thing over and over again. After a while you should get this, right? Well clearly, some things stay with us all of our life and we have to keep working on it. If I’m still hammering away at it, it stands to reason that it’s an even more difficult concept for a kid to grasp!

Have you ever had to take a step back and take your own advice? What did that look like for you?

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Top 5 Reasons Parents Should Travel Without Their Kids

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Refreshed and happy parents!

The grown up Greenes just got back from vacation… like real vacation, not a trip (which is what you do when you travel with your children) and boy are we recharged and feeling goooooooot (that’s good, with a cherry on top). Before we had kidlets, the Greenes were traveling fools! The traveling did not stop once we had children – both of them have passports and have traveled abroad already – but now our travel is more dominated with separate travel for conferences or travel with the children. We love traveling with our children – it’s fun and it’s a great way to show children different parts of the globe but… it’s no vacation. Even with all the babysitting amenities available… it’s not the same. We decided, after a two year hiatus to travel for more than one day, together, without kids… and it was a VACATION. We earned it – we deserved it – our relationship deserved it.

We understand that not everyone can travel without their kids because of childcare issues but if you are one of those parents that don’t want to travel for emotional or attachment issues, let us help you out with the top 5 reasons parents should travel without their kids sometimes.

No. 5 “Travel lite”

We can’t remember packing so light and so easily. When you are traveling with children, particularly an infant you tend to pack a LOT. And you have to check luggage… and pay for that checked luggage. And you have to drag that luggage around. First World Problem but annoying. When you travel WITHOUT kids … You can pack one tiny itty bitty bag! It was so freeing! Don’t need diapers or wipes or sippy cups or their favorite snack in case they reject the other food… bathing suit, check… uh, yea – done packing!!!

No. 4 “Kiddie Confidence”

It is actually a good thing for children to feel safe and secure with AND without their parents around. It can give them the sound mind that other trustworthy grown ups in their lives can be a source of fun for them. When we went away we had the awesome experience of having multiple caregivers who all chipped in to help. Both grandmothers, a god mother and a family friend who happened to be having a sleepover that weekend all helped us to have a great experience and make our children comfortable too. Give it a try!

No. 3 “Sleep When You Want”

We are pretty strict parents about sleeping and have sleep trained both of our children. When on trips with the kids, one of the toughest parts is that one or both of us needs to call it an early night so that we can get the kids to bed. Lady C (currently 5 years old) can adapt to staying up late for special occasions but Lady H (the toddler) is a grump when she’s not in bed by 7pm… it’s put a cramp on when we eat and when we retire to the bed and who stays behind. And we also wake up too early. Kids don’t understand sleeping in for vacation. When the kids are not with you – you can stay out and got to bed when you want and wake up when you want!! Granted, on this vacation, we probably still went to bed earlier than most but dammit – that was OUR CHOICE. We also slept *gasp* on the beach… in a hammock… This hammock…

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Doesn’t that look relaxing??? Reading a book… in a hammock…

No. 2 “Romance Rekindled”

The strain kids put on romance cannot be overshadowed. Once you have children it is very easy to forget about you and your mate and what makes you go vavavoom. It’s not just the physical – it’s the long walks, the candle light dinners, standing in the rain or swimming in the water and just kissing for no reason other than that you can pay attention to each other. When you travel with the kids, at times it can be exhausting so it ends up being more like you are traveling with your co-parent as opposed to your hot and sexy spouse. On this particular vacation… well, we rekindled!!! *Dancing*

And… the number 1 reason to travel without the kids…. I think we said it before and will say it again… IT’S A VACATION!

You can do what you want, when you want, how you want… or do NOTHING AT ALL. You can lay on a beach and not get buried in the sand, unless you are into that. You can drink grown up drinks and it does not matter if you have a headache in the morning. You can sleep in late. You can read a 900 page historical fiction epic trilogy that you’ve been meaning to start (shout out to Ken Follett)… and you can miss your kids just a little and go back home and snuggle them and plan for your next adventure with them. You will miss them, they will miss you but it’s worth it for you, for them, for your marriage and for your sanity.

SO – sound off any parents out there traveling without their kids? Anyone hesitant to do so and still not convinced… Discuss in the comments below!

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