Tag Archives: kids activities

Soccer Mom in Training

7 Feb

Baby Beez is only 2 but already I’m struggling to figure out how many and which activities to involve her in.  I’m trying to balance between:

1. Giving her the opportunity to participate in things she enjoys.

2. Not overburdening my (or her) schedule.

3. Not missing the boat on her having the opportunity to develop talent in something she discovers to love and have talent for.

4.  Exposing her to certain activities and skills Mr. Beez and I think are important.

Again, she’s only 2. But the parenting trend seems to veer toward going on activities overload earlier and earlier.

We had her in swim lessons when she was an infant.  The purpose of this was primarily safety.  Although it’s obvious that children must always be watched around water, I also want her to be a strong swimmer.  We took some swim lessons, but they were boring (the teacher wasn’t very involved, it was parents just swimming with their kids and a teacher watched), so we quit for the time being. I need to either re-enroll her in swim lessons, or make a point to take her to the pool regularly once the weather is warm.

She’s now in gymnastics, which for a 2 year old really means “running around and jumping on things.”  It’s hardly structured, and she gets stubborn and difficult when I suggest she try something new, but she has a lot of fun burning off that energy.  I’m honestly not too big on chasing her around the room, so I’ll be glad when she graduates from “mommy and me” to just “me” classes.

Then there are things like dance.  I’m kind of anti-dance because I was and am terrible at dancing.  Now she loves to run around the house and twirl and say “I’m a ba-yeenah!” (ballerina).  So foolish overbearing mother me went online and found out that they start pre-ballet as early as 2.  Maybe dance classes would be something she’d enjoy?

Her gymnastics class is also right next to the Three Rivers Fencing Center, and she loves watching the fencing.  As we walk by the big window and watch the kids inside, she exclaims “Fencing! My turn!”  Clearly we’ve got several years before fencing is any kind of option, but it makes me wonder whether I should let her try any activity that catches her fancy, or whether I should restrict her to one or two activities at a time.

Personally, I don’t care what activity she is involved in.  I’m not living any unfulfilled dreams through her.  I just want her to have the opportunity to discover her talents, be happy, and both start an activity early enough and stay with it long enough that she can develop those talents.  I only have the time, energy and resources to let her try out so many things.  Should I promote music or dance or art or technology or sports? Should I let her quit an activity once she’s tired of it? Or should I insist she stick with it and develop skill? How do we figure out even what she’ll be good at and what she will like?

Wreck-It-Ralph

9 Nov

Baby Beez and I had a girls night at the movies tonight! She loves movies, but she’s still too small to sit still for long periods.  I want my kid to behave and not bother people, but we also can’t run for home every time she squirms.  I’m still trying to figure out what kind of kids behavior is OK, and what is not to be tolerated.  Before I had a kid, of course I knew exactly what every parent should do, and expected that any child that squeaked or moved or breathed loudly be whisked away.  Suffice it to say, that perspective has changed.  And although Baby Beez spent about half the movie walking up and down a section of the aisle, she was quiet and was not disturbing people, so I consider that a success. Anyway, to the movie!

Even though I’m not much into video games, I thought Wreck-it-Ralph sounded cute.  It’s the story of a video game “bad guy,” Wreck-it-Ralph, whose sole role in his game is to destroy everything.  Dissatisfied with always being the bad guy, he sets off to prove that he can accomplish things, and in the process he gets into some tussles, makes some friends, finds his true self, etc etc etc

FINALLY Disney starts breaking out of the Princess mold with Wreck-It-Ralph.  We’re not fully free of the stereotypes yet, but there were a lot of things that Wreck-it-Ralph does with depictions of gender, and especially girls/women, that demonstrated some solid movement in the right direction. In short:

-The toughest, most respected military leader character is a woman.

-The arcade where Wreck-it-Ralph and his fellow games are located is filled with eager girl AND boy gamers.  Indeed, when we first get a glimpse of the “Hero Duty” alien bug first person shooter game, it is a girl gamer doing the shooting.

-Although the “Sugar Rush” game is overwhelmingly pink and full of girly squeals, it’s at least a racing game, where the girl racers show themselves to be clever and aggressive.

-Sure, there’s a princess. But she’s not looking for a prince. And she actually rejects her crown, and declares her country a “Constitutional Democracy,” of which she is the President, not a monarch.

-I liked that the female leads are voiced by Jane Lynch and Sarah Silverman, both known for being tough, independent, and talented.  I usually cannot stand Sarah Silverman, but she was remarkably not obnoxious as the voice of Vanellope von Schweetz.

Wreck-It-Ralph is a fun and silly kids movie. Finally, Disney is moving away from the mold of “waiting for my prince to come,” and the results are impressive.

Family Outing to Idlewild Park

21 Sep

Baby Beez’ grandparents got her tickets to Idlewild Park for her birthday. Idlewild is a small amusement park in Ligonier, about an hour and a half drive from Pittsburgh. The park has been rated the “Best Kids Park in the World” by Amusement Today.  Since up until now I didn’t have a little kid in my life, I had never been to Idlewild before.  Somewhat to my disappointment, the park did not have rollercoasters or beer gardens, but that’s because it’s a park for kids (duh).
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Baby Beez loved it.  We only went for an afternoon, so she didn’t ride everything.  But we did ride the carousel multiple times, the train, and she rode the Turtle with daddy.  As I get older, I pathetically get more motion sick.  I love rides that go up and down and around, but I’m finding they make me increasingly dizzy and nauseous.  Pathetique.

I really wanted to go on the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood ride, but the park was only running 1 trolley that day, so it would have been a 30 minute wait.  A 30 minute wait with a 2 year old ain’t gonna happen, so we’ll save that for next year.

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The park is perfect for kids probably in kindergarten through 2nd grade.  There are TONS of rides for them to ride on their own.  Baby Beez couldn’t go on most of those rides because she is tiny and because we can’t trust her to actually stay seated.  Once a kid is old enough to have a little self control and follow directions, this place is perfect.

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Idlewild is much beloved for its Storybook Forest, where kids can walk through life size displays of nursery rhymes and classic kids stories.  Baby Beez had fun, but she had no idea what any of the things were.  We need to get on reading her some Old King Cole and Jack Sprat Would Eat No Fat.  As things stand, the only thing she would understand would be a Yo Gabba Gabba forest (which would be AMAZING by the way).

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This was a huge chair, and I thought it would be cute to take a picture of Baby Beez sitting on it. She did not agree.

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And this is The Little Engine That Could (with a terrifying face)….or according to Baby Beez, “Thomas.”

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And this is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen.

Despite the Jack In the Box from Hell, we had a really fun afternoon.  I’m excited to go back next year, when Baby Beez is a little bigger and can do more stuff.  In addition to rides, they have this huge jungle gym area with a massive ball pit that would be PERFECT to let kids run off all that energy that gets built up standing in line.  The other local amusement park– Kennywood– also has a nice kids area, but Kennywood is chock full of annoying teengers.  Idlewild was clogged with strollers but we only saw one teenager the whole afternoon. It was lovely.

Squonk Opera Roadshow in Schenley Plaza

27 Aug

We’ve been living it up with the Schenley Plaza free events this summer. First it was the Carnegie Library Reading Extravaganza (not a Plaza event, but it was in the same general area), then we visited Kids’ Day in the Plaza, and then we spent an evening enjoying a free Squonk Opera performance in the plaza. The night was beautiful and mild, and Baby Beez was in the mood for dancing.


BUST A MOVE

All of the performance was great, but my absolute favorite parts were one performer’s “peacock tail” made up of bicycle horns, and a piano that rotated upside down (then rightside up, and over and over) as the artist was playing. Squonk brings a whimsical, but not infantile, perspective to music. Congrats to Squonk Opera on their 20th Anniversary!

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(Please excuse the out of focus pictures.)

How to Train Your Dragon Spectacular

26 Aug

When I first saw the advertisements for Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon Spectacular, I thought it would be fun to take Baby Beez (who am I kidding, Baby Beez is a convenient excuse, but I’m the one who really wanted to go), but quickly put it out of my head because I’m still recovering from the massive money drain of vacation. Then Groupon ran a special, and I was sold. Ugh, I’m such a sucker for Groupons.

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It was totally totally cool. There were puppet dragons and costume dragons and giant smoke breathing animatronic dragons. They made really neat use of video projection. At one point there was this fantastic scene where Hiccup runs all over the place, diving and jumping and swinging off ropes and hanging off cliffs. The video is so spectacular that you totally forget you’re watching some guy wave his arms in front of a wall. (Of course I get terribly motion sick, so I ended up dizzy and a little queasy, but even so it was still awesome).

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Flash photography and video filming were not allowed, but the guys in the row in front of us did both anyway. And the Consol employee immediately in front of them said nothing! FOLLOW THE RULEZ, JERKS. Ugh, for serious. But even that, and the lack of coffee concessions for an 11am kids show (what WHAT?!) did not ruin my time. Not only was the show fabulous, but it was such a fun relief to get to take Baby Beez to an event where she could yell “MORE DRAGONS! MORE DRAGONS!” over and over, and it not disturb a soul. When we do go out with Baby Beez, we admittedly often make the mistake of trying to take her to events that she’s just not mature enough for. We have learned the hard way that baseball games are not toddler friendly. Most museums certainly aren’t toddler friendly. And even family friendly restaurants are a high stress debacle. It was nice to be at event where it was not a problem for her to be her crazy, squirmy self.

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Kids Days at Schenley Plaza

13 Aug

During my Sunday morning routine of reading a million different social media sites, I came across a tweet from I Heart PGH advertising Kids Days at Schenley Plaza. I’ve been meaning to take my carousel loving kid there for a ride, and this was a perfect opportunity to let her ride to her heart’s content for FREE!

We rode the elephant

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AND the dinosaur!

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Mother Goose told stories!

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We splashed in the fountain!

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and we even had a caricature drawn!

The next Kids Day is September 9. All the activities– face painting, caricatures, entertainment, and carousel rides– are free!