Having kids is the best way to really dive into being a tourist — even in your own hometown. It can also be an amazing way to revisit your own childhood haunts and see them in a fresh light.
Molly Cavanaugh took her city-slicker kids camping in the Sandhills of Nebraska for the first time. Their response surprised her.
"Competitive about what, you may ask? Anything. Everything. If there is something that could possibly be measured quantitatively, they want to know who did it better. Not out of a sense of personal accomplishment, but as a form of bragging rights and lording power over the less proficient one."
Molly Cavanaugh's kids are making it their life goal to stay up all night and watch the sunrise. The only problem? Their room is directly across the hall from mom and dad's.
Molly Cavanaugh's kids are thrilled about summer vacation.
"They have visions of all-day pajama parties spent in front of a rotating buffet of screens. They think morning cartoons will seamlessly segue into an afternoon movie matinee — all while they enjoy unfettered access to their tablet devices...So it came as little surprise to me — but a blindsiding event to my kids — when, on the first Monday of summer vacation, I posted the rules for the next 10 weeks on the kids’ bulletin board."
"I’ve never been intimidated by the ever-advancing hands of time, but for a moment while watching my baby prepare for her next chapter in life, I wished I could hit pause on the clock for just a little while."
"Back in April, my son, Declan, came home from school asking if I had ever heard of a ship called the Titanic. I told him I had, that it was a famous story and if he wanted to know more we could find some books about it at the library. He brought it up so casually and his interest seemed tenuous at best that I didn’t think much of it at the time," wrote Molly Cavanaugh. "My how things have changed. Declan is completely captivated by the lore of that ocean liner’s disastrous maiden voyage."
"Unlike her brother, who stuck to mainly age-appropriate texts, Mara is insatiable in her effort to exercise her latest scholastic talent. She will literally read anything she can get her hands on — regardless of its origin. Billboards, written disclaimers at the bottom of commercial screens, my text messages and, most recently, she took a little pit stop in the medicine cabinet."
May is beautiful here in the Midwest. After a long winter its gentle warmth, budding flowers and lengthening daylight are all welcome gifts. However, the madhouse end-of-school-year itinerary that accompanies it is not.
"My kids’ mouths are going to bankrupt me. How can something as sweet as a child’s smile end up costing so stinking much?"
"If you had asked me about our plans for Pi Day back on March 14, I was on it. We had pie. Groundhog’s Day back in February? It was all about Punxsutawney Phil, the prophesying ground rodent. But by the time May rolls around, I am so focused on that end-of-school-year finish line that something like Mother’s Day gets completely mentally ejected from the itinerary."
A preschool in Massachusetts recently banned the term “best friend." Their reason? It’s an exclusionary phrase that can "ultimately lead to the formation of 'cliques' and 'outsiders.'"
Utah recently became the first state to pass a law legalizing free range parenting. "As a parent, my initial reaction upon reading this was, 'Yikes!' As in, who really let’s their 7-year-old do these things? And then a split second later I thought, 'Actually, why not?'"
We had our first flash of the green-eyed monster known as sibling rivalry here at the house. It happened the other night after baths, right before bedtime.
"If I'm reincarnated, I'd like to come back as one of my kids on spring break. Can I do that? Can I suggest preferences for my reincarnated soul?"
I’m really great at packing for my family. However, lately I don’t seem to be able to get my packing act together when it comes to looking out for me.
"At the end of what sometimes feels like a never-ending day of quarreling, they march off to the room they share every night at 8 p.m. and, like magic, their squabbling ends when that bedroom door closes," wrote Molly Cavanaugh. "Instead of sharp outbursts and hissed insults, my husband and I hear loud playing and outright laughter. It’s puzzling."
"For now, if you want to know something in my house, you have to ask or — gasp — do some digging. There will be no shouting at the air and having the answer regurgitated from the ether. "
The family already has an animal on premises, but even I have to admit that saying he’s a “family” pet is a bit of a stretch. Even I can see he only mildly tolerates the house’s other inhabitants. This makes it completely understandable that the kids want a real live pet who won’t run away and hide every time they get within three feet of it.
"Children are beautiful creatures, but being grateful isn't one of their pre-loaded settings. Teaching them to say please and thank you is one of our grown-up jobs."
Youth activities are a big business in America, according to the survey conducted by Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc. It's a business that has parents shelling out hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars each year on all manner of supplemental endeavors for the little ones.
"So on that snowy Saturday night, my husband showed up on time at the bottom of the stairs with flowers in hand and wearing his best suit — with a tie that matched the color of Mara's dress. He told her how wonderful she looked and how lucky he was to have such a lovely date for the night."
"The kids feel if there isn't going to be 20 feet of snow to play in every single day — and that they'll end that fun with a steaming mug of hot cocoa waiting for them — then what's the point? Winter needs to go."
I can trace the origins of my unnatural attachment to my phone to the weeks leading up to the birth of my first child.
Second grade science dioramas don't get built by second graders. They get built by parents. "I know it, my son is banking on it and I think it’s safe to say the teacher is expecting a little adult oversight," wrote Molly Cavanaugh.
Sleep Sheep, FurReal Friend Plays-With-Me Kitty, Twinkle Twinkle Little Scout, My Pal Violet, Zoomer Kitty and a Hatchimal are all toys that have taken up residence in this mom's home thanks to her daughter.
The best of Momaha delivered once a week to your inbox
Jul 23Various Locations
Jul 23Omaha Childrens Museum
Jul 23Pine Creek Elementary School
Jul 23Lewis Art Gallery
Momaha Magazine is our monthly celebration of all the things you love about parenting. We're all about saving time, taming the chaos, getting creative and tackling dilemmas.