You never really know what kind of parent you’re going to be. I worried from the very beginning about the type of mom I would be. Would I be too easy going? Would my kids listen? Am I capable of providing my children with a life that wouldn’t require therapy some 15-20 years down the line? Parenting is a constant merry go round of one worry or the other and no one can quite prep you for just how it feels. But the one thing I didn’t expect to worry about as much as I do? Leaving them.
It’s not like separation anxiety is a new topic in the parenting community. If you google it you can find tons of articles and sites dedicated to how to deal with separation anxiety through all ages of infancy and adolescence. But what happens when the shoe is on the other foot? I know I can’t be the only mom out there whose heart beats a little faster when it’s time for me to leave my kids. My anxiety is not that bad, I’m not talk about a regular day to do basis in which I leave and go to work. However, I have been blessed with many opportunities to travel recently and it never fails, a few days before it’s time to go the voices in my head go crazy and the dread creeps in.
We took our Christmas pictures last Tuesday and I was honestly dreading it. RJ is at the age (13 months) where stranger anxiety is REAL and I just knew he was going to act a PLUM FOOL all up in the studio. Thankfully it went amazingly and we got some great shots! I figured id share with you some of the things I did to prep him for our family shoot.
1. As with everything toddler-related. Timing is everything. RJ took a GOOD nap about an hour before we were going to leave the house. I knew he’d be in a MUCH better mood if he wasn’t tired/cranky on top of being in a new environment. SO once the yawning started, I didn’t even try to fight unscheduled nap time.
2. Take group pictures first. Because chances are if you just walk into the studio and plop them down to take solo pics you aren’t going to get any good shots. I literally had to fight the grip this kid had on me. He was not going anywhere for like the first 15 minutes.
3. Have someone you know take the pictures/DIY it. We used a Groupon for JCP portraits but if you have the equipment and the eye you can take your portraits right at home! Being in a familiar environment will definitely ease some of the stress your toddler may feel and you have unlimited access to their favorite toys/books/whatever makes them happy! If you have a relative/familiar friend that’s into photography the same concept applies!
4. Practice makes perfect! I probably harassed RJ all week telling him to say cheese lol so when we were actually at the studio (and he was over the fear of standing up alone) he knew what I was talking about. He still didn’t smile AS hard, but he wasn’t screaming his head off so I’ll take it as a win. Plus I got some hilarious cheesy faces during the whole prep period
5. Just go with it. Nothing stresses your child out more than YOUR stress. So make sure you’re in the right state of mind to help them feel completely comfortable. Things aren’t going to be 100% perfect and at the end of the day everyone will understand because ummmm….. toddlers! And your pictures will be super cute either way!
Enjoy the craziness of toddlerhood before you have moody hormonal teenagers who won’t appreciate family portrait time LOL.
*groupon link is a referral link*
Have I already mentioned this year has flown by? Like seriously… Halloween is less than two weeks away and that is UNBELIEVABLE to me. I don’t think I mentioned it in my October Goals post but I can’t wait to take RJ out for Halloween this year. This is his 2nd Halloween but his first “big boy” one and I am super excited to put him in a costume, take him out and take a gazillion pictures of him.
With all of that in mind, I have been thinking about ways to keep him safe this year (and years to come) with all the craziness that goes on during the holiday. I don’t want him to be trampled by big kids, or get lost, or anything really because well… NYC. I am a super super cautious parent (read: helicopter mom) and his safety is my number one concern. So I sought out a couple of other momma bloggers to help me compile this list:
Trick or Treating Safety:
- Trick or Treat in an area that’s familiar. It will give you one less thing to feel uncomfortable about (i.e. Your neighborhood, a job, only families houses.)
- Stay indoors with little ones ESPECIALLY if it’s cold outside. Lots of malls/shopping centers participate in the Halloween festivities.
- Church. I know this isn’t an alternative for everyone but a lot of churches understand that our kids are well…… kids and have activities, candy and a “party” for them where kids can still dress up and have fun.
- Trick or treat in groups/with other parents. The more eyes to watch the better.
- WALK on the sidewalk and cross at the corners. Most drivers are mindful because of the amount of kids out, but better safe than sorry!
- Only visit well lit houses. If the light isnt on, they probably aren’t expecting visitors.
- Avoid animals you aren’t familiar with.
- Never ever enter anyone’s home!
- Stay warm! In NYC the weather can be 70 during the day and 40 at night on Halloween so layering is important!
- Be seen! Wear bright colors during the day and/or utilize glow in the dark options at night (i.e. Glow sticks, mini flashlights,reflective tape)
- Watch out for Jack-o-Lanterns! (I’ve never even thought of this previously to be honest). Kids costumes are highly flammable so be mindful of any lit jack-o-lanterns or candles.
- If your child’s mask does not fit, wait until they are at the door to wear it. Wearing it all night obstructs vision and prevents proper ventilation. Face paint is a great hassle-free alternative.
- Wear comfortable shoes!
- Do not allow your child to eat any candy without checking it.
- Unwrapped/tampered with candy and fruit is automatically dumped.
- Avoid eating homemade treats from strangers.
- No binge eating! Monitor your child’s candy intake once they are home and everything is inspected.
What is your ULTIMATE safety tip for Halloween? Here’s what a few other mommas had to say…
When my girls were small we would take them only to neighbors homes that we knew and to the mall. There was music and activities and they were able to get candy from store staff who were usually also dressed up. Being here in Maryland the weather can be hit or miss, so being indoors also kept them warm. (Kymberly, Well Fit Curves)
Watching like a hawk at all times. Not letting my two much farther thsn arms length away. (They’re only 3 and 1). Not letting anyone touch them or their hair or costume. Taking all the candy asap once we get home. Doling out only what I approve of in small amounts throughout the following weeks. There will be no candy binging. And teaching my older one not to run off with anyone, even if they know the neighbor. (Danielle, OKDani)
My sister works at Progressive and that’s the only place we trick or treat…she knows mostly everyone, its a family environment and we go during the day. I still check the candy but in my mind I feel a lot better than going in the neighborhood. And sometimes we go to our church too. But no matter where I am I keep a close eye on my kids. And make sure no one is giving them candy without my knowledge. (Carissa, The Green Eyed Lady)
Staying with your parents is very important, traveling with other parents, wearing bright colors and lights if you are going trick or treating! A good thing that we have done before is celebrate at church, the alternative to Halloween, where children play games, socialize, and pray and all activities take place at church. (Toiia, Mother of the World)