Table of Contents
OUR WONDERFUL LITTLE FAMILY
Why I Chose to Have Just One Child
by Wendy Shoan
I am an only child raising an only child. The former was not my doing, the latter was entirely my choice (well, the adoption agency and the government might have had something to say about it as well, but I’m pretty confident there wouldn’t have been a problem). I have decided not to adopt a second child. This was neither a rash decision nor an easy one. And I am content with my decision.
I will admit that, growing up as an only child, I did ask for a baby brother on more than one occasion. I never got one (never got that horse I wanted either, but I digress). I’m not sure whether I was truly aching for a sibling or I just wanted what some of my friends had (grass is always greener, I guess). So as I got older and thought about my one-day family, I was convinced that I would marry a wonderful man and be mother to at least two kids and maybe as many as four, some by birth, some by adoption. That was my plan and my expectation. Well, as many of us SMCs know, the best-laid plans do often go astray. In my case, after finally conceding that my dream man was probably not going to appear, I started to try to conceive a child on my own. Unfortunately, that was not to be either. Years and years of failed fertility treatments took their toll, physically, emotionally, and financially. So after even more grieving and some regrouping, I proceeded with the adoption part of my family plan.
The process was relatively smooth for me (especially after all those years of repeated disappointment while ttc) and I brought my beautiful daughter home from Kazakhstan in December 2003. I was thrilled! And I was pretty overwhelmed. I adored my daughter, but it was hard to go from all by-myself to Mom-with-child in what seemed like an instant. Anyway, at that point, I absolutely couldn’t imagine having another child.
But after a while, my daughter and I got into the swing of things, life was a bit less stressful, and I started thinking about adopting another child. A lot. There were times I really, really, really wanted another—I just KNEW I would adopt again. And then a couple of days later, I would absolutely be against the whole idea. Back and forth, back and forth. Plenty of people shared their opinions, invited or not, on the issue, and those views, in either direction, could be pretty strong. But after I finally learned to tune all that out, the right decision for my family became more and more obvious.
Of course, what’s right for my family is just what’s right for my family. Each of us gets to decide what’s right for our own family and what would make our own lives rich and fulfilling. And we really should allow others to do the same without judgment.
There are certainly advantages and disadvantages either way, whether you choose to stick with one or to expand your family. But I think sometimes people get so caught up in the “scariness” of having an only child (based on incorrect stereotypes, in my opinion), that they don’t see the possible counterarguments or even advantages.
Here are some of the considerations that went into my decision to keep us a one-kid family.
1. I had a pretty darned good childhood as an only child.
2. An only child is not without playmates, though it may take a little more work to arrange playdates or see relatives regularly. I had lots of cousins and friends. My daughter will probably make friends easily, as she is very outgoing and social.
3. Siblings may or may not get along. If they do, great! But I also know quite a few people who don’t get along with their sibling(s) and some who are actually burdened (though I hate to use that word) with siblings with mental health or motivational issues, and it stresses them (and their parents) out terribly.
4. I don’t believe that someone should have another child just so that her first child has a sibling. I think you have to really want to parent another child.
5. If trying to make kids’ futures better is one of my goals (and it is), there are other ways I can help do that— donating to charities, volunteering, helping the environment.
6. Due to financial and time considerations, having one child allows for way more educational and fun opportunities for the both of us better vacations, lessons in things she wants to try, more trips to museums, maybe even a better college.
7. I am only one person—and no longer a spring chicken. Having another child would stretch me thin—between finances, logistics, and just extra busyness—and that would not be good for my child.
8. Being a mom was certainly a big dream of mine. In fact, it was my biggest! But it’s not my only dream. Because of finances and time, adopting another child would almost certainly cause me to miss out on other goals and dreams (those for me and those for my daughter).
My advice to someone struggling with this issue would be to take a moment (maybe that two-and-a-half minutes you’ll have for yourself a week from Thursday), sit down, take a breath, and try to push aside all the other voices. Because your voice is truly the only one that counts.
And if you choose to raise only one child, don’t let anyone make you feel that you have done him or her a disservice. Who needs extra guilt, especially when it’s unwarranted?
Whatever the size of the family, I believe the best gift you can give a child is a parent who is not overstressed, and who is loving, attentive, supportive, and personally fulfilled.
The Adventures of Princess Mommy:
A Fairy Tale for Single Mothers and Their Children
by Laura Isabel Serna
Like many contemporary fairy tales, Ali Sherwin’s delightfully illustrated children’s book The Adventures of Princess Mommy: A Fairy Tale for Single Mothers and Their Children, trades in inversion. A princess longs for adventure rather than rescue, princes turn out to be frogs, and magical seeds grow babies rather than beanstalks. Sherwin’s account of single motherhood through donor insemination, complete with a suit-clad female RE, touches on themes that haunt many women’s desire for motherhood—the quest for a suitable partner and the often inevitable mourning that occurs when a woman realizes that goal won’t be achieved in a timely manner. Sherwin, however, presents the problem of not meeting Mr. Right by creating a series of men who “pose as princes,” whose character flaws make them not “good enough for Mommy” and not “good enough for you [the child the book addresses].”
Adult relationships are complicated by so many things— personality traits, career trajectories, or mere circumstance— that it’s difficult to find language a child can grasp to explain why someone might have chosen not to marry. The men in this book fall into typical stereotypes—“the whiner,” “the bully,” “the heartless,” and “the unhappy”—which doesn’t seem to do justice to those complexities or to the men in our lives (fathers, brothers, uncles, friends, known and unknown donors, not to mention sons) who make single motherhood possible. The book celebrates the mother-child bond that makes Single Motherhood by Choice so special, but it glosses over the perhaps more important challenges that Mommy Princesses have of overcoming our own fears and self-doubts to become confident that we can slay dragons, climb mountains, and be parents on our own.
A CHILD IS BORN
Raising a Special Needs Child as an SMC
by Anne Richter
From the moment you learn that your child is likely to be born extremely premature or with a significant illness or disability, your view of the whole concept of motherhood changes. A good number of us who are mothers of children with medical problems disabilities, or delays knew this was our future quite a while before birth. When I was hospitalized at 22 weeks, having a full-term or even near-term baby was no longer the goal. The goal became having a viable baby, which meant making it to at least 24 weeks. That accomplished, the discussion then moved on to what quality of life I could expect for my daughter. Many people mistakenly believe that “viability” means just a slightly small version of a full-term baby and this is far, far from true. When the daily topics discussed at my bedside turned to decisions about resuscitation, quality of life, and whether to sign a DNR for Eliza, I stopped thinking about what kind of birth I wanted, whether a c-section was a choice, what I planned for when she came home, whether I would breastfeed or use formula, or how I would decorate her room.
Bringing home a disabled or extremely ill child is markedly different than bringing home a typical baby. You replace the changing table with an oxygen concentrator or a therapy swing, set up therapy and nursing schedules instead of playdates, and spend literally hundreds of hours dealing with insurance companies, early intervention, and a half dozen specialists. During Eliza’s first 18 months at home, she had 86 doctor appointments, and in her first three years of her life has had more than 3,000 hours of therapies. There’s also a huge financial impact in raising a disabled child. Recent estimates claim that it costs $15,000 to raise a healthy child for the first year of life, whereas raising a micropreemie, like Eliza, costs an average of $55,000 for the first year of life after discharge from the NICU. But despite all of this, I do not know one mother in this situation who would change anything, except to give her child a better life and alleviate their pain or suffering.
When Eliza was born, she weighed 575 grams, or 1 pound, 4 ounces. She was 11.5 inches long. Her skin was so fragile I couldn’t touch her. Her lungs were incapable of breathing without mechanical ventilation. Her entire body’s blood supply was a mere few ounces, so she’d need transfusions after blood draws because she couldn’t make enough blood to replace that which was drawn. She had umbilical venous and arterial lines so that medication could be administered intravenously and blood could be drawn. Her sole nutrition was administered via a central line to her main artery. Her brain looked nothing at all like the brain of a full-term child.
Despite knowing all this, family and friends would ask “so she just needs to get bigger and then she can come home?” I know the question was well intentioned, but I came to realize that people desperately wanted me to answer “yes!” and not explain the 8,000 hurdles that every organ and system in Eliza had to overcome just for her to survive. Parents of disabled children are often told “I don’t know how you do it,” or “I could never do what you do.” The implication is that parents of disabled or medically fragile children are somehow stronger, or that some higher power chose us for this job since we were somehow better equipped to handle adversity. We are not better equipped nor were we chosen for this. Most of us have managed to figure out how to muddle our way through the maze, but some haven’t been so lucky. For those of us who have navigated our way through the pain, the fear, the doctor visits, therapy sessions, hospitalizations, and insurance morass, we have found a small cadre of people who have offered their unconditional support. For many this support has come from the least likely sources.
Support often comes not from the people you had hoped would step up or had presumed would be there for you but rather from parents who are in the same boat as you and with whom you otherwise would have had little in common or never would have even met. Two of my closest friends are a couple who had extremely premature twins, one of whom passed way shortly after birth. Another couple I have connected with has a medically fragile child with a rare genetic disorder. These are some of the most supportive and kind people I know and none of us has to worry if one of our children acts “differently” or if we have to arrange a playdate around a medical schedule or therapy appointments. Another great source of support has been a distant cousin whom I barely knew before I had Eliza but who has since shared every joy and every heartache with me.
The biggest obstacle disabled children and their parents face is having their children, who are different, be accepted by the parents of typical children (the typical children are generally very accepting). I have often thought that some parents secretly believe that disabilities and delays are somehow “catching” and that if they welcome a disabled child on a playdate, somehow their child will not be challenged or will emulate the behavior of the other child. In fact, most research shows that having typical children interact with disabled children teaches the typical children to be more empathetic and open minded. People seem to fear that your pregnancy problems may rub off on them somehow, or that it’s bad karma to hear stories about pregnancies that ended with disabled, medically fragile, or delayed children.
The issues facing disabled, medically fragile, and delayed children are relevant to SMCs. There is a growing population of micropreemies and other disabled children who could not have been saved even 10 years ago. SMCs typically have their children later in life when the risk of prematurity, extreme prematurity, and other disabilities significantly increases. Prematurity and extreme prematurity have been associated with IVF, a common procedure in the SMC community. It’s important that we as a group, a group who was and often still is looked at as “different,” try to be one of the groups that welcomes children who are differently abled. That doesn’t always happen, which is pretty unfortunate.
As SMCs there are many things we can do to welcome mothers of disabled, medically fragile or delayed children into our group.
• If you know someone who has given birth to a disabled or premature child, remember to congratulate her on the birth of her child. All too often simple gestures like saying congratulations or having a baby shower at an appropriate time are simply forgotten.
• Many mothers of extremely premature infants or disabled infants are unable to produce sufficient breast milk and often rely on donated breast milk. If you are lucky enough to produce excess breast milk, consider donating it. You can contact the mother in need directly or donate via the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (www.hmbana.org).
• If an SMC in your local group has a child in the NICU or PICU for an extended stay, bear in mind this is a terribly isolating experience. Most NICUs and PICUs have “no visiting” polices and that can include parents during shift changes. Consider offering to spend that hour with the SMC. The first few weeks of a child’s hospital stay are often filled with visitors but once the novelty wears off, the mother is often alone at the bedside. As an SMC, there is no significant other to talk with or just relax with for a few moments. Perhaps your local SMC group could arrange to have its members visit on a rotating basis so that the mother isn’t too isolated.
• If you are taken aback by some of the medical equipment the child needs, just ask. The mother will be more than happy to explain what the various machines do and it will put you at ease.
• Many children who are born prematurely or with disabilities have fragile immune systems. This doesn’t mean that we have to keep them in a bubble, but when we ask you to wash your hands before touching the baby, understand we’re not being rude or phobic; we’re simply trying to protect our child.
• When discussing children who are in special education classes, please avoid using derogatory terms like “sped” to describe our children. You may not find it offensive, but trust us, it is. It is somehow more troubling hearing such language from other SMCs since we are by definition a group that is a bit outside of the “typical” family. As a nontypical group I think it is incumbent upon us to be as inclusive as we can be.
• If your child attends a school with an integrated or inclusion program, it’s quite possible that your child may actually learn something from the children who are not neurotypical. There are many, many studies that have shown that typical children who are in school with or friends with nontypical or disabled children are far more empathetic than their peers who associate only with “typical” children.
• Some of our children do need accommodations, whether in school or on a simple playdate. So, for example, if the mother of a nontypical child suggests the zoo instead of the sand and water park as a playdate, it may well be because her child’s sensory integration issues make playing in sand and water an unpleasant experience. So some flexibility is always appreciated.
• We welcome the chance to celebrate our children’s milestones and victories with other SMCs. Those milestones may different than the milestones SMCs of typically developing children celebrate. Perhaps our child first rolled over at a year, stood up for the first time at 18 months, or finally hit the 20 pound mark on her second birthday; these are still occasions to celebrate. If we share our joy at these accomplishments, please feel free to be joyful with us and don’t pity us that our children are delayed.
• SMCs of disabled or medically fragile children can be a great resource for SMCs of typical children who develop serious medical issues, need to be hospitalized, demonstrate developmental delays, or require the services of specialists. Most SMCs who have disabled or medically fragile children are well versed in how to survive your child’s hospital stay as a single parent; how to prepare your child for a medical procedure; how to handle insurance issues; how to effectively use the Early Intervention program, and so on. We can offer support during these difficult times and are more than happy to do so.
DEAR MS. ESSIE
Raising a Child without Family Nearby
Here’s my informal survey question: Do you live among close family? Does your child/ren know their grandparents/aunts/cousins intimately? Do you think it’s important that they do? How many of you are doing it “completely alone” as I have been doing, with just paid childcare and no friends or family pitching in?
I now live 4 minutes from my sister, my 87-year-old father lives with her. I moved back to Ohio from NYC when my daughter was three months old so she could have more of a relationship with my aging father and I thought my family would help out. Also, I didn’t want to work long hours and have a nanny. My daughter sees my father and sister about five times a week. It was daily when we first moved back. She has met my large, extended family, sees one cousin almost monthly and another close relative and her son about five times a year. I have been disappointed by the fact that if I don’t go out of my way to see my aunts and cousins, no one bothers to see me. Everyone is so involved in their own little lives that it feels as if they don’t even bother to see us. My sister helps with childcare but I pay her just below the going rate at a daycare(no freebies). My daughter is now in daycare twice a week and loves the social interaction with the kids. Occasionally, my sister will watch her for an hour to give me a peaceful drive to Home Depot but I basically have no social life (there really isn’t much of a social scene here anyway).
I’m one who is far away from family. I’m in LA, my parents are in North Carolina, and my sister is in Atlanta. I pay for daycare, plus there is a drop-in daycare for evenings and weekends, a wonderful thing—if I didn’t have it, I’d need to be much more of a planner of my weekend free time. It’s more challenging to be on my own. But I love LA and I absolutely love my job, so it would take a lot (maybe a major earthquake) to get me to move. However I’m hoping to try for another this year, and the extra costs might also make me consider moving. But I hope I don’t have to. I have a large circle of friends here whom I could definitely call on in an emergency. And I think as my daughter gets bigger, it will be easier to trade babysitting with other parents. Also I’m getting more comfortable taking her on errands and social visits. I guess I get lonely (I do call my parents almost every night for a chat), but for the most part, I am so much LESS lonely than I was before I had my daughter.
I live two blocks away from my brother, about 15 minutes from my parents, and about 20 from my sister. I don’t see my sister that often, but I do see her kids a lot at my mom’s. We go to my mom’s for dinner every Friday night, and often go there to hang out on Sunday afternoons. My nieces (my brother’s 10- and 12-year-olds) are thrilled that we live so close and love to play with “their babies.” In the nice weather, I often put the girls in the stroller and walk over to my brother’s for a visit. Also if there is an emergency, everyone is not too far. When I had to take one twin to the hospital when she was 10 weeks and spend the night there, I don’t know how I would have survived it without my mom. I love that they are going to have a close relationship with their cousins and they are close to my parents. For us, it’s important to have family close by. As an added bonus, my parents are having my girls sleep over this Saturday for the first time. And I love that my girls know my parents well enough that I don’t worry about them being there without mommy.
My parents live about 15 minutes away. My sister is about 3 hours away, and my brother and his daughters live in Israel. My sister came down and was my birth coach, stayed in the hospital room with me, and left two days later. My mother stayed over the first night we were home, but honestly, she didn’t do much. What she did do that was awesome was come over nearly every day during my maternity leave, even if it was for a quick visit. BUT she took home laundry so I didn’t have to think about it. Honestly, I didn’t ever call them in a panic. The first time I called was when he was 4 months old and I desperately wanted to make baklava for Rosh Hashanah and he wouldn’t go to sleep. So I called my folks crying and they came over. He went right to sleep for them and woke up as soon as they left story of his life. Those first weeks, my friends stayed with me. I rotated them and I wasn’t alone much. Some stayed for a couple of nights. One stayed a week. I’ve gotten more support from friends and neighbors—but it’s also where I sought more support. My immediate neighbor was amazing to a frazzled mom who didn’t know what to do to entertain an 8-month-old who didn’t want to sleep. I knocked on her door every night for a month and she graciously let us in. Now that he’s older, my parents are better at staying with him. They’ll take him when he’s sick or if I need a break. But they’re getting older too and need me as well. A friend is taking my son this Saturday after baseball practice so I can have an afternoon to myself. I took her son to the movies when she was laid up with bronchitis. If you feel the support from your family will be stronger than what you can make through friends, then go for it. My parents are here but more of my support has been through friends.
I am doing it alone. The only help that I get is paid for by me. I have a nanny during the day while I work. I have 17-week twin girls and it’s hard to do it alone. My girls won’t know their uncles because they live too far away and we only see each other at the holidays. My father is in Florida and we see him twice per year. My mother is an hour away but she doesn’t participate in our lives. My friends are great but they work and have their own families so they are limited in what they can do. You can certainly do it alone but it’s hard and at times very lonely. The problem occurs when there is an emergency or unexpected event. Recently, I was delayed two hours coming home from a business trip. My nanny was visibly upset. If the girls had been in daycare, there would have been problems because they close. The nanny had no choice but to stay. I am physically exhausted. I cannot tell you how hard it is to do errands with infants. Then daily chores—email, laundry, cleaning, and so on—take so much time. I rarely have a chance just to play or chat with my girls because I have so little help and if I am not feeding one then I am changing the other. I think it would be great if you had someone close you could count on. If not, you can certainly do it on your own but for me it’s harder without having a family member close by.
My mother lives two hours away and has dementia. My income producing activity is to travel to her house once a week and care for her while her regular caregiver has two days off. I feel lucky that my child can spend time with her grandmother (and she loves her!). My mom can watch the baby (in a bouncer or playpen) while I take a shower, and once or twice I have run to the store, but especially now that my daughter is a year old and can get into trouble, I cannot trust Mom to be responsible. I realize that my situation is unusual—not having an outside job means I avoid all sorts of logistical nightmares. On the other hand, my income is so limited that I need to be selective about what I deem to be worthy of paid childcare. I chose this tradeoff deliberately, of course, and for the most part, I am satisfied with my choice. As to how I make it work? First of all, I am lucky to have had an easy baby. Second, I haven’t been sick much. Third, many friends have offered to help, but unfortunately many have flaked out at the last moment. The trick is to say, “Could you come over for an hour or two on Saturday while I run a quick errand?” This gives them a concrete opportunity to assist you. I am also lucky to have used a postpartum doula who has evolved into an occasional sitter.
Add me to the group of no family near. My mother came for about a month after each child was born, so that was completely supported and different. But otherwise we see my family about twice a year. I wish my kiddos could have more contact with family, but that is not our reality right now. I wouldn’t say I do it alone though because I have great friends whom we spend time with and would be there if I needed help. Day to day, it’s all me and only me. They are in daycare full time while I work. They come with me to run errands. They go into the YMCA childcare room on weekends while I work out. If they get sick, I either stay home or I pay for childcare to come to the house. Once when I got sick, I dropped my oldest at a local daycare with pay-by-hour rates. I rarely pay for a sitter to go out. When I have after-hours work meetings, I can pay the daycare provider to keep them late. I am going on a business trip overnight in the spring and will pay one of the pre-k teachers to bring my kids home from school and stay with them. I try to plan get-togethers with friends/kids once a weekend. If I had a real emergency though, it’s reassuring to me that I have probably five friends I could call who would take the kids or do whatever to help. As for getting things done, I put them to bed by 8 p.m. So then I can do bills, online research, or shopping. I do laundry during their weekend naps/quiet times and do dishes while they finish eating so we can talk at the same time. I mow the lawn and shovel while they are asleep
Editor’s Note: In this feature, the wit and wisdom of our very smart and together SMC—Ms. Essie Emcee—is tapped to answer some of the question that SMCs may face. Other sources of extraordinary wisdom can be found on the SMC listserve groups. It was from the Community list, in fact, that this question and the answers were shamelessly stolen. If you have a question you’d like Ms. Essie to answer, mail it to Box 1642, Gracie Square Station, NYC 10028.
THOUGHTS FROM THE MOTHER OF A SINGLE MOM
By Elaine Nisselbaum
My daughter Nancy (my third and last child, my “little one”) came to us at the age of 35 and told us that she truly wanted to become a mother. Since there was no perspective husband, she would opt for artificial insemination and fertility treatments.
What did I think?
My first thoughts had nothing to do with procedures. They were perfectly acceptable and not an issue. My concern was how doable this would be for her.
My questions began:
• What about the financial aspect of day care, sitters, doctors, the unexpected costs of motherhood?
• What about your job, which you love? Can you take time off as needed?
• What about your social life? Your first priority would be your child.
Her explanations were heartfelt and well thought out. She had intelligently analyzed all of my “what abouts” and was confident she could manage everything!
Upon realizing just how well thought out this all was, I began to have feelings of guilt for not directing my first concerns to how profound her desire was to be a mother.This was her decision and hers alone. She had listened to her heart and used her intellect to carefully chart her course.
In retrospect, I was probably putting myself in my daughter’s situation and questioning whether this was something I could have considered when I was her age. I doubt the answer would have been yes! It was a much earlier time with different social acceptances and far fewer medical interventions available. But the time was now and there was support in many areas.
I took great pleasure in supporting her and in being a part of her journey to Motherhood!
It has been eight years since our beautiful grandson’s birth. I am filled with pride for what my daughter has accomplished. She has given us all a remarkable child who fills our lives with joy and who makes the world a better place.
It is my hope that those reading this, who might become mothers of single mothers, will benefit from my introspection and my realization that my daughter’s desire and her confidence were the most important aspects to consider. It has been so rewarding for me to accept, encourage, and be part of the miracle of birth. Treasure the experience.
101 THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR TODDLER
Long winter days are approaching so there aren’t as many outdoor activities you can count on. What do you do to keep you and your little one entertained. Here are some wonderful ideas
2. Blow bubbles
3. Play hide-and-seek
4. Play peek-a-boo
5. Play chase
6. Do fingerplays
7. Sing a song
8. Collect rocks in a basket
9. Make an obstacle course out of cushions or furniture
10. Make a fort out of cushions and sheets
11. Go for a walk
12. Make a car out of a box 13. Read a book
14. Go to the park
16. Play with clay-dough
17. Toss bean bags into a bucket
18. Play the shell-and-pea game
19. Dance to music
20. Download games for toddlers from the Internet
21. Practice putting things in and taking things out of boxes and bags
22. Make a temporary slide out of a table leaf and your couch
23. Roll a ball back and forth on the floor
24. Scoop dirt or sand into a child’s bucket (or use a serving spoon and bowl)
25. Practice climbing by stacking boxes on top of each other (with adult supervision)
26. Put on a puppet show
27. Go fishing with a yardstick and yarn
28. Make a horseshoe game
29. Make a shape puzzle
30. Play paper basketball
31. Collect leaves
32. Play with a bucket of water and a sponge (watch child at all times!)
33. Make a drum out of an oatmeal box 34. Play with a kazoo
35. Wash windows together
36. Bang on pots and pans with a spoon
37. Brush each other’s teeth
38. Play dress up with stuffed animals and your child’s clothes
39. Stack canned or boxed food
40. Let child stack mixing bowls inside each other
41. Make a playhouse out of a large box 42. Let child play with a sticker sheet
43. Put stickers on fingers for finger puppets
44. Play a musical instrument together
45. Go on a smelling hunt
46. Frost cookies
47. Plant a flower or vegetable plant together
48. Roll a tennis ball into an empty trash can or bucket
49. Draw on a mirror with dry-erase markers
50. Play hide-and-seek together, trying to find a stuffed animal or other object
51. Have a splash party in the bathtub
52. Put a leash on a stuffed animal and walk around the house
53. Record each other on a tape recorder (great for scrapbooks or journals!)
54. Make and try on paper hats
55. Give a piggy-back ride
56. Play horsie
57. Talk into an electric fan (it distorts your voice)
58. Play tug-of-war with a blanket
59. Collect flowers (felt, artificial, real…)
60. Make a camera and go on a safari
61. Play games with frozen juice lids
62. Disconnect your phone and pretend to make phone calls to relatives
63. Leave your phone connected and really make phone calls to relatives—let your child talk, too
64. String large beads onto or along a shoelace
65. Squirt each other with squirt bottles
66. Glue shapes onto paper
67. Make sock puppets
68. Make paper puppets
69. Fill an old purse with toys
70. Use a paper towel tube as a megaphone
71. Make binoculars and go bird watching or stuffed animal watching
72. Put snacks in different fun containers (paper sacks, empty canisters, etc.)
73. Act out a story from a book
74. Walk on a balance beam—use a two-by-four placed on the ground
75. Draw with chalk on the sidewalk
76. Sketch an outline of your child on the sidewalk or paper with chalk
77. Paint child’s palms with tempura paint and blot on paper. Makes a great card for loved ones!
78. Put lipstick on child and kiss a mirror
79. Make a puddle on cement and splash barefoot in it
80. Let child decorate and eat an open peanut butter sandwich
81. Make a toilet paper barricade for child to go under, over, or through
82. Do the hokey-pokey
83. Make a super-hero costume out of household items
84. Do knee-bouncing rhymes
85. Play Red Light, Green Light, saying Go and Stop
86. Make a shoebox train for stuffed animals
87. Make a pillow pile to jump on (keep it clear from any hard surfaces, including walls!)
88. Make an easy puzzle with felt and Velcro
89. Make bracelets or collars for stuffed animals out of pipe cleaners and jingle bells
90. Learn numbers from a deck of cards
91. Play the matching game with a deck of cards
92. Make a domino chain
93. Have a picnic in the park, backyard, or living room!
94. Play dress up in Mommy clothes
95. Make a tin cup telephone and talk to each other
96. Make a nature collage
97. Mirror each other
98. Make a “Mummy Mommy” with toilet paper
99. Make a tape recording of short music selections and instructions to move in different ways
100. Make and walk along a toilet paper trail
101. TAKE A NAP!!
Got a new person in the house? Send the information to Laura Isabel Serna, our new newsletter editor, at email@example.com. Be sure to include all the vital statistics. And congratulations to all our new moms!
Laura Anderson is very pleased to announce the birth of Gordon Lyle on July 28, 2009. He was 6lb, 10oz and was born at 4:55 p.m. Life is entirely different and completely wonderful with Gordon. It’s a great joy to get to know him.
Jan Blanchard is very happy to announce the birth of her beautiful son, Jacob Lee Blanchard, born on January 25, 2009. He was 6lb, 14oz, and 21in. Wow.
Andrea Houston is delighted to announce that Kathryn Elizabeth Houston was born two weeks early on August 22, 2009, at 4:23 pm in Tyler, Texas. She was 6lb, 15oz, and 20in. Motherhood is more than I could have ever imagined.
Sarah Janke announces the birth of Eliot Miller Kirk, born August 20, 2009. He was 10lb, 5oz, and 21in. He was conceived via DE/DS and is happy and healthy.
Tracie Reynolds announces the birth of Dina Louise Katzman Reynolds on October 7, 2008. She was 7lb, 4oz, and 19.5in. I was 44 years old when she was born and asked a man I had a somewhat relationship with to get me pregnant. Although we don’t plan to marry, we are coparenting.
Charlotte Thorneis delighted to announce the birth of her beautiful boy, Montgomery Richard (Monty), on August 20, 2009. At 38 weeks he was a very healthy 9lb, 6oz, and although he has struggled a bit with jaundice, he seems to be doing well now. His sister, Cecilia, is delighted with him as is his mother who feels so lucky to have completed this little family.
Mara Yale and older sister Zoe (2.5 years) are delighted to welcome Mia Sage Yale to our family. Mia was 9lb, 5oz, and 21.5in and was born on Friday June 19, 2009 at 12:07 am.
ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
This newsletter is published quarterly by Single Mothers by Choice, Inc., a nonprofit founded in 1981. Annual subscriptions to this newsletter are included free with a membership ($55 for first year, $35 for renewal) or by subscription at $25 per year. Give a friend a gift. We are a nonprofit 501(c) corporation, and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
We welcome submissions of original material. All material is published at the discretion of SMC and may be edited. SMC claims sole editorial authority and responsibility for the contents. Articles published in this newsletter represent the views of the authors and not necessarily that of SMC. Send submission to the SMC office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SMC accepts advertising at the rate of $1,000 per page (adjusted proportionately for fractions of a page). Classified ads or announcements from our members for noncommercial ventures are accepted without charge. Jane Mattes, CSW, the publisher of the newsletter, is the founder of SMC and author of Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood. Jane is also a psychotherapist and can be reached at (212) 988-0993, at email@example.com, or at the SMC office at Box 1642, Gracie Square Station, New York, NY 10028.
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