Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cultivating Confidence

Confidence isn't a trait I've thought much about in relation to my three-year-old. I imagined that would come into play more when he starts school or joins a sports team. But, then I saw this article on PBS Parents and something clicked. Without fully realizing it, I've been noticing some changes in J lately that basically boil down to confidence. (Read the article here.)

If you follow me on Twitter, you've seen the updates about what a boisterous, energetic and happy guy we have. He's articulate, very social, and wakes up most days asking where we are going to go.

Seeking a way to release some of this energy, I signed him up for a trial class at The Little Gym. He's always running, jumping, climbing, bouncing and dancing all over the house and the furniture, so I knew this was right up his alley. Surprisingly, though, he cried and clung to me for the first half of the class. It's the preschool class, so parents were supposed to sit outside and watch through the glass wall. I wasn't granted that luxury though, and spent 30 minutes on the floor of the gym with him clutching and clawing at my neck every time a teacher approached him and asked if he was ready to join in.

At about the halfway point, he shut off the waterworks just like that and said he was ready to do some climbing and jumping. I walked him over and, sure enough, he was more than ready to let loose! He ran and tumbled and danced his face red over the next half hour.

This is where that article comes in. One of the pointers is: Let Your Kids Grow in Their Own Time. The author goes on to say that nothing hurts confidence more than being pushed to do something you're not ready to do.

So, I guess I did a good thing by letting J sit with me, observe, and then make his own decision on when and if to join in. I didn't push him, but I didn't pack him up and leave either; I left the choices to him.

With that experience, I think both of us got a little boost to our self-confidence! He's been talking about gym class a lot and says he wants to go back. I had the encouragement of seeing one of my parental decisions being very successful. Which will give me the confidence to follow another piece of the article's advice: Trust Your Own Intuition.

I'll leave you with a little song from The Sound of Music that popped into my head as I was writing this:

I have confidence in sunshine,
I have confidence in rain.
I have confidence that Spring will come again;
Besides which, you see, I have confidence in me!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


A blogger I read and admire, Abigail Green of Diary of a New Mom, has tagged me with the "Sweet Friend" Award and asked me to post 10 Things That Make Me Happy. How could I refuse? A new year began 26 days ago and here is my first post! But, I think it's a perfect "first of the year" post.

1. My Family--I'd be crazy not to put my family at the top of my list. They are by far the biggest source of happiness in my life. Although I've posted my fair share of mama woes and toddler troubles, I've never experienced such happiness and awe as I do when I'm with J. My husband is happy and funny, a great partner; my parents live near and are supportive; my younger brothers, though they don't always "get" my life as a wife, mother, professional, are around and involved; AND, I have four living grandparents! Life has been good to me in the family department, and I do realize it often.

2. Reading--I've always been a reader, and although it's harder and harder these days to find the time, thankfully I still am. I just finished The Help, which I loved and will be recommending for quite some time. Currently, I'm reading two books for the two book groups I'm involved in: Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult and Teacher Man by Frank McCourt. (I bet you can guess which one is for the retirement community book group!)

Next on my to-read list is probably The Happiness Project, which fits in perfectly with this meme. The author summarizes it as "a memoir of the year I spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy". Check out her blog, which is one of the happiness experiments she conducted while writing the book. It's energizing and inspiring.

I love to write and talk about books, and I have another book giveaway (or two) coming up soon. Please stay tuned for those!

3. Nature--Nature was a big part of my upbringing. My parents "made" us spend lots of time outside, took us to metro parks all the time, and planned vacations around nature attractions and activities. I feel happy and enjoy myself when I'm outdoors. My mood is also strongly affected by the environment and the weather. (I probably have undiagnosed SAD, but how could you not?)

4. Concerts, Live Theatre, Performances--If we made more money we would be more frequent patrons of the arts, but as it is I think we do pretty well. Last week we took J to his first symphony, one geared towards kids, which he loved. In high school, I went on the Stratford trip, where we traveled to (ahem) Stratford-on-Avon, Canada for the annual Shakespeare Festival. That was a really amazing experience. A couple of my favorite concerts are U2 and David Gray.

5. Traveling--I've taken some great trips around the country, the highlights being a) honeymoon to Bar Harbor, Maine, home of Acadia National Park; b) a year into our marriage, C and I trekked across the country to the Southwest in a little stick shift Saturn--these were some amazing adventures, one of which was my profound desire to knock C over the edge of the Grand Canyon once we finally got there; and c) a high school road trip with my best friend, her brother and her uncle traveling throughout New England and into the amazing cities of Montreal and Toronto.

6. Music--All kinds. Lately, my favorite musical interests are J's. He's BIG on singing, making up songs, dancing, playing instruments and asking who we're listening to on the radio. I think he has some kind of music lessons in his future, which makes me very excited and happy, as I have no musical talents whatsoever!

7. Writing--A favorite past-time that's taken a back seat lately. The entries in the pregnancy journal are much shorter this time around! But, any kind of writing makes me happy, especially blogging and letter writing. And, the extra happy bonus about letter writing is getting mail in return!

8. Good Food--I'm just gonna be totally honest here: food makes me happy! Pregnant or not, I like good food!

9. Photography--I could probably add "wanna-be photographer" to my blog header. I'm not sure exactly how good I'd be at it, but it is something I enjoy. And, I can appreciate the qualities of good photography. Looking at photos makes me really happy. We have so many albums around the house that I often pick one up and flip through, however quickly, just for that warm fuzzy reminiscent feeling I get.

10. Friends--Last but not least, my friends make me happy. I hope you all know that! Whether you are close personal friends, blogger friends, Twitter friends, you all add happiness to my life. With that, I'll tag a few friends with this "Sweet Friend" award and encourage you to blog your own 10 things: