By Meika Rouda
I have been struck by the duality of age recently. On the one side, I am watching my kids get older, and with each day there is something new: an inch to grow, a new word to learn, a bike to ride. On the other side I see my parents aging: saggy skin, muscles that don’t work they way they used to, dying friends. They are on opposite sides of the spectrum, one side ascending and the other descending. Yet they both greet each new day with delight, happy to be here, to be alive.
My parents are 78 and in wonderful shape physically and mentally, but time has chiseled its imprint on their bodies and they are slower, less energetic. They have ailments like chronic coughing and digestive problems. Nothing major but things that remind them they are approaching a later stage in life, where they have outlived many of their friends and other family members. I am grateful my parents are alive and they are not sick or struggling, that I get to see them often, that my children spend time with them and have gotten to know them. And yet it makes me sad to see them change, to know that maybe in the best case scenario there is only a good decade left before they leave us. To wonder what it will be like to not have parents anymore or worse perhaps, to lose the parent I know while they are still living. I am fearful of them having dementia and being captive in bodies that still work but minds that don’t.
I’m not ready for my parents to die. I have never known life without them. They are the people I call with good news and bad. The ones who I have leaned on many times in my life and have always comforted me, reassured me, supported me when I have needed it.
And now I am a parent and filling this role for my children. My children who too are aging and it is a joyful aging process, from babies to toddlers to kids.
I am in the middle, middle age, neither young nor old, bridging these two generations watching one decline and the other rise.
My dad has a saying that helps me keep it all in perspective. If you ask someone if they would like to live forever, most people would say yes. If you ask that same person if would they like to live forever but no new babies would be born, they all say no. If no new generations were to grace the earth in order for them to continue living, it would not be worth it. And that is what I see when I look at my children next to my parents. A full circle, a full life, another day to celebrate.
By: Rosy Barren
I recently had a baby. She is 3 weeks old. I burst into tears a couple days before she was born. I told my wife that I didn’t know if I could do it. I was afraid that I would get post-partum and do something awful to the baby. I was most afraid that I wouldn’t love her. Several of my friends have suffered some degree of depression with their newborn and I couldn’t bear the thought of going through those rocky emotions after having tried for almost three years to have her. I think I scared my better half; she talked me through it but recently told me that she was ready to protect our child from me if she needed to. I hated hearing that but I love her for saying it.
I don’t have post-partum, quite the opposite. I am obsessed with our child. I want to take her away with me to a small desert island and allow no one, possibly not even my wife, to touch her. I want her all to myself. I don’t like it when the grandparents come over. I’m afraid they are going to drop her, I worry that they aren’t holding her neck properly, I watch the clock until it is time for my daughter to nurse so that I can sweep her back in my arms and escape to the nursery. I sit in there longer than necessary, sometimes crying because I want everyone to leave me with her so that I can dote and coo and love her all to myself. My wife is the only person who I realize I have to curb these emotions with. I understand the importance of her bonding time with our child. But everyone else, with their lasagna and gifts and tips and wine, can simply leave me alone.
I have three months, three adoring, loving months, in which I get to do nothing but be with our daughter. I get to lose sleep over her and watch her as she gazes into the light, dance with her in the mornings and sing to her at nights, I want to enjoy every instant of my time with her, I want to make it last. I rock her at night, drowsy from waking every two to three hours and know that I will never get this time back.
I realize my emotions are extreme. There are many books on post-partum but who tells you how to deal with overbearing, protective, mama-bear syndrome? Who tells you how to stop tears of joy that sometimes last for hours –I’m not kidding –hours of which, if we have company, I hide and sob because I want her back in my arms where she should be because she’s mine. All mine. No one else’s. Mine!
THE NEXT FAMILY HOLIDAY GUIDE 2009
by: The Next Family and Out With Baby
- The Next Family introduces the first children’s CD for gay families “Warm Sun” by Susan Howard and produced by Seth Freeman. It is a kiddy CD for all types of families. With songs like “Daddy, Papa and Me” and “I’m Adopting A Brother”- it is truly for The Next Family. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for all of those urban parents and their friends. $10 – can be found on our products page.
For The Families On The Go
Music for Tots
As parents we all know how difficult it can be to keep track of your child’s bottles, clothes, shoes, lunch bags etc when you are out and about. Mabel’s Labels saves the day. With these handy labels you can be sure you come home with all the right belongings in place. We recommend the Camp School Pack for $34 or Sticky labels, clothing label pack for $18.50 – $21. Mabel’s Labels
Reisenthel Shopper XL
An extremely generous companion, there’s plenty of room for a big shop in there. And even if it’s storing other important items, the shopper XL won’t become a burden, but proves its worth as a true spatial prodigy. We can thus, certainly recommend it as a travel bag for longer journeys, or as a sports bag. A big bag is always a must for a parent. This fabulous bag can be purchased at Touch of Europe and the retail price is $29.99
Are you tired of using disposable lunch bags for sandwiches and snacks for the kids? You’ll never need -or want- to use a Ziplock bag again! LunchSkins Reusable Sandwich Bags are a colorful, high-quality alternative to plastic sandwich baggies for $8.95. They come in all kinds of colors and designs. This was only one of the highlights of their “reusables”- they have everything from grocery bags, to bottles to household items. Check out Reusable Bags
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then why can’t lunch can be the most fun and stylish?! Tote your lunch in style with this smart Lunch Tote. features an extra interior pocket for an ice pack or snack. This tote is water-resistant, durable and machine-washable, all cinda b’s are proudly made right here in the USA. Lunch’s do lunch! Price for this fantastic bag is $39 and from 12/1-12/31 you can get 10% off with this code- cbNEXT
To purchase go to Cinda b
Once little ones have mastered the hi-tech mechanics of the Alfi Kids Sino Monkey isoBottle, the leak-proof design with a pop-up cap with stopper and spout system offers continuous drinking, perfect for kids on the go. Made with a doubled-walled BPA-free stainless steel liner. $30.00. Alfi Carafes
- Tired of rushing to hit “off” when inappropriate mating scenes from Animal Planet pop up while channel surfing with the kids? The One for All Kid’s Universal Remote defaults to eight kid-friendly channels or can be custom programmed. It also has a compartment where you can put a fun pic of the kiddo. $19.99. Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics and Lowes.
- Kids Will Be Kids
Accept it: kids draw on walls. But now you can give them a designated draw zone with Wall Candy Arts Chalk Boards, removable and reusable stick-on chalk boards that won’t damage walls, available in fun animal shapes like elephants and giraffes. Kits from $18 to $60. Wallcandyarts.com
- Remember those old clay-mation Christmas TV specials as a kid? Watching them with the family was a holiday tradition, just like trimming the tree. And now you can share them with the next generation with The Original Christmas Classics Limited Keepsake Edition, including Frosty, Rudolph, Little Drummer Boy and Santa. $39.98. Available wherever DVDs are sold.
- I Gave At The IKEA
- Want to send pics to Granma and Gramps, but they just can figure out the computer? Give them Vizit Wi-Fi Photo Frame, and you can update their photos for them, using the same wireless network as cell phones. The frame also has the capability to forward, reply and print directly from the frame. $279.00. vizitme.com
- Some little hipsters are just too cool for school, but even the trendiest kiddie cat will dig the Pirate Skull Tee and other punkster styles for hip kids and tattooed mommas and papa rockers at Too Fast Clothing. $18.00. toofastonline.com.
- Boys Day Out
- Your little outdoorsman will stay toasty in his REI Boulder Ridge Vest, made of warm and breathable mid-weight fleece. The pockets and collar are lined with soft tricot for comfort and warmth, and a chin guard protects against zipper abrasion. Sizes for infant to 3T. $19.50. REI.
Give It A Twirl And A Shuffle
The Original Reversible Twirly Dress is made from super soft fabrics in vibrant prints consisting of 2 full circle skirts for maximum twirlage. And each side is completely different so you can flip it for a new mood. The perfect gift that’s great for any occasion, all year round. Beware – she won’t want to take it off. TwirlyGirl is proudly made in the USA and (http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/stores). They can also be purchased online at www.TwirlyGirlShop.com. Price: $70.00
Baby it’s cold outside…check out the shivers snowman and Rowdy Reindeer holiday collection in both tennis shoes and mary janes infant/toddler sizes 1-10. Shoes are each individually hand painted and are all machine washable. Available online at www.monkey-toes.com or by calling 720-231-8726. Price $31/pair
It will be a Charlie Brown Christmas they will remember with the Peanuts New Balance 574 running shoe for pre-schoolers, featuring a winter-themed snowflake design with Peanuts characters on the uppers and comics on the insoles. $52.99. NBwebexpress.com.
Create your own wooden family tree with these customized dolls. My wife and I even got customized cake toppers- talk about a cool wedding gift. Price ranges- $35.00 Goose Grease Shop
Start a family tradition of adding a special decoration to the tree each year, from Ornaments With Love, which offers more than 1,400 custom, personalized ornaments to give to loved ones. Choose from categories such as “family,” “couples,” “friends,” and “weddings” to celebrate your own alternative family configuration. $4.95 to $18.95. ornamentswithlove
For Kids Big Small
Create a “drive in” movie night at home with the EyeClops Mini Projector by JAKKS Pacific, a palm-size projector that can make a wall, ceiling or backyard tent into a 60-inch big screen to show movies, TV, video games and images from any multi-media device. Ages 8+. $99.99. Sold at toy stores nationwide.
Kids can carry out their covert operations and nocturnal maneuvers with EyeClops Night Vision 2.0 Goggles by JAKKS Pacific, with an action-styled hand held design and the power to see in complete darkness up to 50 feet. Ages 8+. $59.99. Sold at toy stores nationwide.
Just For Mom
For colder climates, the Mommy Mitten is the must-have weather accessory for baby strollers. The water-resistant fleece-lined hand warmer secures around the stroller handle bar to keep hands toasty, and a zipper pocket keeps pacifiers, keys and cell phones handy. $29.99. Womentorz.com
Don’t be sad when baby outgrows that sling or newborn front carrier, you can still get that warm closeness with baby on your back (or front) with Boba by NAP, Inc. , the first soft structured baby carrier to feature foot straps for baby’s legs, made for babies age 1 to 4 years. Made of organic materials. $99. bobacarrier.com
They Like To Move It
Get kids moving with Italtrike Outside Series Scooter A wide non-slip foot plate and convenient foot brake make the scooter safe and easy to use, even for small children. The plastic wheels have rubber tires and no spokes to protect from pinched feet. Powder-coat paint on the steel tubing frame won’t chip so your scooter looks good year after year. Ages 3 to 5. $69.99, Italitrike.com
Get the kids off the computer and engaged in a good old-fashioned interactive game with Cahootie, the timeless folded paper fortune-telling game with cool graphics and themes like “BFF” and “Sporty Girls.” Makes a great holiday gift for families, party favor or fun time-killer on a holiday road trip. $6.99. cahootie.com
Old Time Christmas
Give a kid an adorable plushy from IKEA and give joy to kids everywhere. For each cute and cuddly IKEA Soft Toy purchased during the holiday season, the company makes a donation to UNICEF and Save the Children to support educational programs in developing countries around the world, raising more than $6 million last year. $1.49 to $19.99. IKEA.
Parents love to share photos of their kids with family and friends, and now with FOTOBOX Plus, both novice and computer-savvy parents can edit their photos, apply themes and add background music and narration to slideshows, then upload to YouTube or Facebook. OfficeMax and Amazon.com
Lil’ buckaroos will love this Cowboy Hat ($42) for kids in black or pink. SanDiegoHat.com
Keep your little tot warm with the REI Fleece Peruvian Toddler Boys Hat, with cute multi-color panels and built-in earflaps for added comfort. Made with double-layer, quick-drying fleece that insulates even when wet. Size 1 to 3. $14.50. REI.
By: Out With Baby and The Next Family