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How to have real conversations with your preschooler about tough issues.

Disclaimer: This post tackles some heavy subjects that you may or may not agree with politically, religiously, or socially. The purpose is not to pass judgment, but to simply open up the channels of communication with your child to spur a rational discussion. This post is sponsored by #GoodToKnow, but the opinions are all my own.

Doesn’t it feel like the children of today have more “worries” than we ever did as a child? In hindsight, I fully remember walking to the 7-11 near my house as a small child to purchase treats. I remember finally being deemed “old enough” to responsibly cross the busy street outside my neighborhood solo. I remember giggling with neighborhood friends over the sketchy bum that (literally) lived inside a giant tree in the abandoned lot next to said 7-11. I remember solo play, away from the watchful eyes of my parents. Some may say that it was a different world back then (and I agree that, in some respects, it was!) and that “bad” things didn’t happen as often as they do now. Maybe they did. Maybe they didn’t. All I know is that I wouldn’t have traded the experience of independent play for anything in the world. It was what I needed, and my mom was smart enough to recognize that and raise me to have these experiences safely.
As much as I try to be the mother that my mom was (is), I often times find myself having to have different discussions with Vivien than what I got at her age. I mean, let’s be serious, I fully remember my dad bringing our first TV that worked with a legit remote control (rather than the dial knob) into the house – yet my 4-year-old can unlock my smart phone and Kindle, pull up the Netflix app, log in to her own individualized profile, and select what show she would like to watch - all by herself. This past weekend, she told me to “post my selfie to facebook for all my friends to see.”


As much as we may fight it (or embrace it!) it really is a different world. 


The other day, we were running an errand as a family and we had to make a pit-stop to grab some cash at the Rite-Aid near my house. As you may know, we live in Colorado, where retail marijuana was legalized back in 2012 and retail sales began in January of 2014. Now don’t stop reading, because I promise you, this post won’t suddenly take a political turn for the worse. Directly next to the Rite-Aid, a brand new cannabis store is under construction, and I turned and made a comment to Eli about the progress of the “pot shop” and how quickly it was coming to fruition.
Later that night, it got me thinking about how to broach the subject of responsible retail marijuana use with my child in the future. While neither my husband nor I personally partake in marijuana, it is very likely that my kids will be faced with it sometime in the future, in some aspect. I know that Eli and I both enjoy alcoholic drinks (extremely responsibly) either with dinner, or socially, while sometimes in the presence of the kids, and retail marijuana could potentially become as widespread and common as it is to see Daddy holding a beer at a Super Bowl party.
Just think: no generation since the prohibition days have been privy to witness a substance go from being illegal, to legal. That’s mind boggling to me, and comes hand in hand with so many additional responsibilities or “talking points” to teach children how to be responsible, even at a young age. I want to be prepared to talk to my child about anything, and I know that the day is very near when she asks me what store is next to Rite-Aid. You see, she’s obsessed with recognizing logos. Homegirl can proudly spot a Chick-Fil-A from miles away. She begs me to stop the car at every single Target bullseye we pass (and let’s be honest here, I usually oblige with that one.) She knows we go grocery shopping at Sprouts, and that she gets new (ridiculous looking) cat leggings at H&M.


So that night, I went home and mentally made a list of talking points of how I’d like to broach the subject once it comes up. (I also have a mental list on “where babies come from” along with a slew of other topics.)

1. Share relevant facts and discuss how it relates to them:

  • Right now, the retail sale of recreational marijuana is legal in only four states: Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. While laws about consumption may vary from state to state, both states recognize it as a substance that is reserved for those 21 years of age and over, and it is illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, or partake in it under the age of 21. Now how do I broach that point to my child? Simply discussing that it’s an “adult” substance will suffice if you’re having a talk with a smaller child. The older the child gets, the more this point can be embellished upon. You can even use it as a teachable moment on discussing democracy, and voting, and how something once illegal became legal based on that state’s majority vote.

2. Avoid using blanket terms:

  • Kids are very literal. Avoid using blanket terms such as “bad” or anything else that they may construe differently than what you intended. Communicate with your child what the shop on the corner sells, just as easily as you’d do if they asked you what the liquor store down the street sells. (Did you know that in Colorado, you have to actually buy alcohol from the liquor store? Coming from California where you could find anything you want at your local drugstore, it was a weird adjustment for me.)

3. Keep the communication line open for the future, and evolve your discussion as they age:

  • If you flippantly tell your small child that “pot is bad” and change the subject quickly, they may not feel comfortable asking you questions about the subject in the future. Strive to have an open conversation about it, that leaves them comfortable to approach you with more questions in the future.

While I realize that opinions about the subject mentioned here may differ, the fact of the matter is simple: retail marijuana is a legal substance in the state in which we currently reside, and being prepared to handle this topic calmly and respectfully is important.

One of the best ways to keeps kids from using retail marijuana is for parents to educate themselves enough to have a factual, yet open and honest conversation with their children. GoodToKnowColorado.com/Talk is full of useful information for adults to do just that, such as tips and tools to start talking to kids about marijuana so they can make healthy choices themselves. With holiday break right around the corner, it’s a great time to have an open and honest conversation.

The points I mentioned above can/should ideally be used for any topic that your child may question, whether it be religion, or sex or drugs. Am I alone in wanting to be prepared for how to handle these topics as they arise?

 

If you’ve had a similar discussion with your child, I’d love to hear any tips or tricks; or please tell me in the comment section if you’d change or add anything to my mental (now technically, written) list above.


Sharing is Caring (especially in SeptemBEAR)

Lately my children have been going through a super amazing phase. And I say that with 100% sarcastic undertones.

Sibling fighting.

I’m here to tell you that it’s real, and it’s real painful. It typically stems from one of the kids wanting the toy the other is holding, and they then take it upon themselves to simply take it from the other. It usually ends in a brawl, with the little one letting out a mad, high pitched scream and retaliating by hitting his sister, thus leading to her waterworks show. Really, it’s an eventful thing that I wish I wasn’t privy to. Ever.

I’ve been stressing the importance of sharing and caring with your sibling so many times I feel like a broken record. My “solution” this past summer has been to keep busy, and keep the kids out of the house and out of the Fight Club (aka: the playroom) I’ve bought books that emphasize sharing with your sibling, and we’ve watched children’s shows with that as the theme as well- but unfortunately, nothing seems to be working all the time.

My own siblings are quite a bit older than me, so I guess I just never experienced this type of fighting/arguing first-hand. The only thing that has recently started helping the situation is doing exercises constantly with sharing. We’ve taken turns, and instead of fighting over toys, we’ve used them to resolve conflict. For example, sometimes our toys are “sad” when they get fought over. Or a certain stuffed animal has to have a “time out” until both kids can agree to share nicely.

Our Snuggle Bears came at the perfect time, and I loved introducing it as both the kid’s bear, and having Vivien (typically the instigator) turn around and share it nicely with William. So, in a sense, the Snuggle Share Bear is helping us resolve conflicts (and it’s super cute, to boot!)

Did you know that September 9th is National Teddy Bear Day?

#ShareABear is a movement to show the world that something as small as gifting a teddy bear can brighten one’s day! Snuggle Bear will be making the world a softer place by personally donating 5,000 teddy bears to people who need them most. Since Snuggle Bear can only spread the teddy bear magic so far, everyone’s help is needed! Snuggle is asking fans to share their favorite teddy bear memories through photos, stories, and videos the entire month of SeptemBEAR.

 


A post about the furbabies + 101 ways to use Huggies® Wipes

Friends, I don’t spend a ton of time talking about our *first* children on this blog. But those of you who know my family, know that we are “blessed” with two mutts. We adopted Pixie back in 2009 as a puppy, and Puck as an “adolescent” in 2010. They came before the babies, and lived with us in California. Being that I started this here little blog in 2010 as a wedding blog, and it quickly morphed into a pregnancy/parenting blog a sheer three months after we were wed, the dogs have always kind of taken backseat here. Well that’s about to stop, right here and right now.

I don’t want to put up a front though- my dogs drive me C-R-A-Z-Y. They are loud, super spazztic, complete idiots, and I’m convinced that Vivien spends 85% of her day telling the dogs to “Shup! You’re too barky!” But, they are family. And family has unconditional love. (Unless a certain member does an unmentionable on the floor. Then family has rage.)

When we moved to Colorado, I quickly began cursing whenever it would snow or rain, because the dogs would come in from the backyard and would track their muddy, annoying, paw prints all over my hardwood floor. With two small dogs that are hyperactive, that’s a lot of footprints. And I had to mop them. Every time.

Recently though, we read a tip online about using baby wipes to wipe the dirt off the dogs feet before they come indoors (or, in our case, on the mat we keep strategically placed by the back door.) I started doing this a couple weeks ago, and, let me tell you, what a life saving tip! It saves me from having to keep a gross towel outside like I used to have to do, and I can simply do a few wipes of their feet when they come in the house, and voila! No more footprints.

My favorite wipes to get the job done are Huggies ® Simply Clean Wipes, because they are New and Improved with Triple-Clean Layers, and clean better than the other national brand’s sensitive wipes. They are extremely wet wipes compared to other brands, making them perfect for paw-cleaning. I stash them in the diaper bag (obviously) and now on the little table by my back door, just in case the dogs get into a messy situation.

Huggies® Wipes are a great way to clean up any family’s mess, not just baby’s! Huggies® has 101+ ways to use their wipes! Check out this video to see the many uses and purposes! Maybe you’ll find a lifesaving tip- just like I did!

Whether you use Huggies® Wipes for playtime, mealtime, or exploring, there is a package made especially for you, with fun designs or patterns to appeal to any trendy parent- dogs or human!

Tell me, what do you use baby wipes for?



All images are copyright The Memoirs of Megan and Memoirs Photography.

 

 


Princess play, all day, everyday

Vivien hit her love for princesses around the time she turned two, and she was all about Elsa. As she’s gotten older, her love for princesses has grown, and she is familiar with most of them, and requests to watch them all the time. While she does watch her favorite movies about once a week, I’ve been trying to encourage her to use pretend play as her way to “connect” with the princesses. One of her all time faves has always been Cinderella.

Vivien loves playing dress up, and always has the most hysterical imagination when it comes to pretend play. The other day, we kicked it up a notch with this absolutely stunning Cinderella Costume from Costume Express.

We love using costumes because they open up more possibilities for imaginative play, and kids have been proven to learn and grow using imaginative play. We may not be able to spend all day long pretending we are princesses heading off to the royal ball (#littlebrotherprobs) but I feel like this one-on-one time gives me great bonding experiences with her, and will hopefully teach her how to be an empowered girl (and then woman.)

The Cinderella Costume from Costume Express is seriously stunning. It doesn’t feel like a cheap costume that will be ruined after a few play sessions. She absolutely adores her Cinderella Costume and asks to play in it daily. The costume is durable, and you can tell that Costume Express prides themselves on creating quality costumes.

The puff sleeves are stuffed so they won’t ever flop over, and the back features a high quality zipper. The satin dress and intricate details really make this Cinderella costume stand apart from any other brands. Details like quilting, intricate layering and even accessories such as a choker and headpiece allow this costume to sparkle and shine, and your daughter will love it, and beg to play in it every single day.

Costume Express offers great prices with their costumes, and since they are made with such good quality, they will actually stand the test of time, saving you money in the long run. They also have hassle-free returns, and tons of options of characters available, so you’re sure to find a costume that is perfect for your child.

Costumes don’t have to only be worn at Halloween (though it certainly can be!) and can be enjoyed throughout the entire year with your child for hours of fun and (cheap!) entertainment.

 

Connect with Costume Express:


Disclaimer: I received product in exchange for my honest review. No additional monetary compensation was provided, and I do not recommend items that I do not love and test myself. All photos are property and copyright of The Memoirs of Megan and Memoirs Photography.
 

 


Vivien’s Fairy Photoshoot & Promo

Last week, I had the pleasure of taking Vivien for a special girl’s day to visit a local Denver photographer who specializes in Priceless Heirloom Fairy Portraits, and I simply had to share my experience with you all, in hopes that, if you’re local in the Denver Metro Area, you’ll check out Paul Maynard Photography.

Paul has been specializing in Heirloom Fairy Portraits since 2009, and his passion for his work and creating the ultimate magical experience for little girls is truly evident in every single one of his amazing photographs. He has a passion for photography that guides his life, and is super admirable (especially since I am an aspiring photographer myself.) He takes pride in his work, and has created a totally unique experience for kids to transform into a magical fairy in a photo session. When we arrived at Vivien’s fairy session, he completely took over and guided Vivien into morphing, physically and emotionally, into a fairy princess.

He had a welcoming home studio, and a wide variety of outfits and wings and crowns available, and Vivien was able to choose which outfit she wanted and what color wings she wanted to sport for her session. (She obviously chose pink, because, #girlprobs)

Paul has an enchanted forest, and Vivien was able to pose, while Paul facilitated the session completely and prompted some of the most stunning, magical and adorable photos I’ve ever seen.

But enough of my yapping. The proof is in the photo. And I cannot be more thrilled with the image that I chose as her “best and final.”

Isn’t it stunning?!

When I got home and showed her the image, she was overjoyed. You guys, a week later she still talks about her fairy photoshoot, multiple times a day. She loved taking the app and showing it to her Daddy, and often asks to look at her fairy photo on my phone and is seriously enthralled by it, and constantly says, “don’t I look beautiful as a fairy princess?”

This isn’t just any photo session. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that your children will adore for ages, and you will have some gorgeous artwork to adorn your walls forever. The entire experience was special, and was treated as so.

To make things even better, and to sweeten the deal more, Paul Maynard Photography is hosting his annual Fairy Fundraiser benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities Denver. Sessions throughout July and August are offered at a discounted price (and you also receive a free 8×10 gift print!) and your child is then entered into the fundraiser automatically. Online voting to be featured into the calendar begins in September, and all profits raised from the online voting benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Denver. Last year, $17,000 was raised, and this year’s goal is $50,000!

Paul Maynard Photography is currently in phase one of this fundraiser, but only sessions in July and August 2015 are eligible for the model search, so if you’re interested, hurry up and book now! (Click here to book your session!)

The free 8×10 photo is on order, and I am so excited to frame it and put it in Vivien’s bedroom for her to admire every single day, and remember her special day where she became a fairy princess.

I can’t wait to see my local friend’s fairy photos pop up on my facebook page! Also, boy moms have no fear! Paul Maynard also has awesome photo sessions available for boys that feature them as a knight in armor, slaying a huge mystical dragon! I’m so excited to take William to do it once he’s old enough! (Plus how cool would it be to have a boy featured in the calendar?)

Explore & Connect with Paul Maynard Photography:

http://www.PaulMaynard.com
http://www.pinterest.com/paulmaynard/
http://instagram.com/paulmaynard
http://twitter.com/PaulMaynard
http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulmaynardphotography/
http://www.facebook.com/PaulMaynardPhotography


Disclaimer: I was provided the session fee waived in return for my honest review. All opinions stated are 100% my own, and I don’t post anything on my blog that I don’t love myself.