This was me and my little sister when we were small. Wearing our 80s jammies in our very 80s kitchen. I vividly remember waking up to the stereo in the living room blaring Madonna’s The First Album when I was a little girl . Music was my morning wake up call. When I heard the music turn on, I’d bounce out of bed and join my mom, dad, brother, and sister in a daily dance party on the slick hard wood floor. I’d slide around in my socks and PJs singing at the top of my lungs. I can see it playing in my head like an old family movie, the ones you see on projectors where the edges aren’t quite perfect.
I was born into a family of artists: my father a writer, musician, and abstract painter; my mother a florist—incredibly talented and creative. I loved every second of being a kid and being with them. All my friends always wanted to play at our house because my parents were more like friends than anything else. They were the cool ones. My dad had long hair, played in a band, and wrote about other musicians for a living. He always knew how to make us laugh by making up the most exciting and detailed stories throughout the day about random things like a giant nose flooding the town after smelling a dandelion that had made him sneeze. My sister and I would roll on the ground giggling at his silly, sometimes disgusting tales.
My mom read us to sleep every single night. I don’t think she ever missed one night or one story when we were small. After reading books she’d sing to us. We fell asleep with song and woke up to song everyday. When I look back I can’t believe how lucky I am to have such an amazing family. They are the reason I am who I am today. I got here because of them, because of the way they encouraged imagination in the every day by talking, telling stories, reading and singing on a daily basis. I hold the titles Creative Director, blogger, wife, daughter, granddaughter, and most importantly, mother.
Being a mom is the thing I am most proud of. I can’t imagine life without my two beautiful girls. Everyday is a new adventure and an exciting one. My husband and I make it a point to Talk.Read.Sing.® to our girls every day as it changes everything. Since day one we have talked to Piper and Kenzie like they are grown ups using words we’d use with our peers. Of course there are always some go-go-ga-ga moments, but for the most part we speak to them as if they were peers, using large word, explaining what we see, are buying at the store, and what we are doing. Piper is three years old and she asks for the meaning of words she is unfamiliar with. Her vocabulary is extensive. The brain is more then 80% developed by age three and 90% by age five according to First 5 California. It is important to help nurture and provide as much healthy knowledge as we can as parents. To this day I am thoroughly impressed with Piper’s language skills. Sometimes it makes me forget she is only three years old! I am excited to see how Kenzie’s language skills develop as she grows. Kenzie is 9 months old and is adorably saying mama, dada, and bye-bye. You can learn more about a child’s brain development at First 5 California Learning Center. It’s pretty interesting stuff! The first five years are so important in a child’s life.
I will always remember when my dad told me stories when I was small. My husband and I are carrying on the tradition of bedtime books and story telling. We love to make up stories of princesses and dragons in ice cream land, girls with magic shrinking powder, the power of happiness changing a dark dreary land into a bright colorful flower filled oasis. The possibilities are endless when you use your imagination. The main characters always end up being Princess Piper, Princess Kenzie, and a Dragon named Tater—in real life, Tater is our six pound dog. 🙂
The other night I turned the tables and asked Piper to tell us a story. She began, “Once upon a time, in a dark dark cave there was a monster named Rawry the Lion. Rawry the Lion started to feel hungry so he went out and searched for something to eat…” she went on and on about what he found in the forest to eat including a giant and some sand. I recorded it; it was so cute! Her story showed me that her imagination and attention to detail is impeccable for her age. It was an amazing story!
My husband leaves before we all wake up on the weekdays so we save our dance parties for weekend mornings. Piper sardines us as we spin and twirl and Kenzie bobs her little head to the music. Laughter fills the air just like it should when you have two little girls in your home. First 5 California Activity Center has some really fun ideas for things to do with your newborn, toddler, and/or preschooler—dance parties included!
I hope to be half as good a parent as my mom and dad were to me. The memories I have from childhood I hold near to my heart. I never want to forget them. I wouldn’t be who I am today without all the stories I was told, songs that were sung, and books that were read to me. It’s the little things that don’t cost a thing that make a difference…they end up being the big things.