Coffee Shop Confessions – Separation Anxiety Isn’t Just A Childhood Affliction

City Mama, County Mama: Coffee Shop Confessions – Separation Anxiety Isn’t Just A Childhood Affliction (By Lonelle Selbo, Life Au Lait)

I’m sitting at a big wooden table, working on my laptop in the middle of Miss Lily’s Café in Picton. My little boy is at his fourth day of preschool, hopefully playing with his best friends, this morning’s tear-stained cheeks, dried, pleas to stay home, forgotten. I’m sipping a London Fog latte and am trying to silence my brain so I can enjoy it and lose myself in the total coffee shop-ness of the moment.

Checkered floors, mismatched chairs, pretty rustic products lined up on shelves. Friends chatting to each other at little bistro tables, people reading or scrolling, passing time in cozy club chairs—and then there’s me, sitting here like a normal person, typing away.

It all feels so three years ago.

You know that shocking moment when you catch yourself inside a vignette of your pre-mom self and you’re almost floored that life still exists just as you left it? Well that’s what’s happening right now. Coffee culture had been perfectly preserved in its cliché little ritual while I checked out to birth and begin to rear a tiny human for a few years. And then today, I slipped back into it for a few hours while my little boy, who came out of my body and then held tightly onto my hand for the subsequent thirty-six or so months, did his own thing.

When you’re a first time mom, the concept of preschool is hard to get your head around. I hear it’s hard the second and third time round too. I mean we obviously get the idea—kid goes to school, mom leaves and does things without kid, mom picks up kid—but the actual reality of it is almost ungraspable until you find yourself in a coffee shop, solo, sipping a hot drink moments after it was poured, focusing entirely on one task. Maybe that’s why I was here. Alone, but surrounded by people who didn’t and wouldn’t need anything from me at all.

It didn’t happen immediately. After the first few drop-offs I left the school bewildered, craning my neck to watch the road behind me, and then the sidewalks as I got further away. I expected that at any second my distraught little adventurer would break through the heavy school doors and run into town to find me. I imagined in detail a thousand terrifying scenarios and had to talk myself off of numerous ledges of anxiety. I spent too long on his first day standing in the hallway outside the classroom, listening for sounds of distress (a passing teacher guessed alound that I might be on a time-out) before it became evident to me that separation anxiety isn’t just a childhood affliction—I wanted alone time, but apparently not at the expense of being without my child.

But our kids have to learn. And we have to learn. If we hold each other too close, for too long, neither of us are doing our jobs of growing up. Our darling babies slowly become whole and separate. They go on to have healthy, distinct, and real relationships with people who aren’t their mothers, while we rediscover who we once were through the lens of who we’ve become. We reclaim the quiet buzz of life, tapping away at keyboards in coffee shops, contemplating other people’s lives as they come and go. We watch twenty-somethings order tea and seventy-somethings get lattes – all of them once someone’s precious three-year old, carving out their first little space in the world.

Crazy.


From the green belts of Midtown Toronto to the endless pastures and lakes of Prince Edward County, fashion magazine editor Lonelle Selbo, lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes all things mommy—from cool toys to DIY home décor, pretty things to hip places, where-to-eat to how-to-grow, and mom style to toddler chic. Every month, she’ll bring a little County to Midtown Mommies.

 

Guest Blog Post by Liz Greene


With the 21st century in full swing, it’s becoming more and more apparent how important STEM skills will be in the future job market. With more than 8 million STEM jobs expected in the U.S. by 2018, it’s imperative we make sure our children are learning these critical skills. Of course, this is easier said than done. Or is it?


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As a former preschool teacher, I have been witness to the amazing ability children have to learn through play. You wouldn’t think a set of coloured plastic bears would encourage the development of math skills, but damned if didn’t.

Since STEM skills have become a hot topic in education, a number of companies — such as Steve Spengler Science and GoldieBlox — have started offering a fantastic array of toys tailored to foster science, technology, engineering, and math skills. Toys such as these are some of the best tools you can give your children to give them a leg up in STEM education without boring them to tears. You can engage in guided play and provide some background lessons, or you can let them march to the beat of their own drum — either way, they’ll learn something new.


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Alright, I know this one sounds like a stretch, but video games can actually help develop STEM skills. Believe it or not, teachers are actually implementing video games in the classroom for that very reason. But how?

If you think about the world of video games, you’ll find STEM everywhere.

If your children are gamers, get cozy and have a movie night featuring documentaries about video games. Get them excited about the nuts and bolts of their favorite games and consider enrolling them in a program where they can catch the programming bug.


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Food is one of the greatest motivators I’ve ever seen. Two weeks ago I watched an office full of my peers rush to fill out insurance forms once they were told there would be a drawing for free lunch. The HR department can play us like a violin.

Food can be used to teach STEM skills in a number of way. You can grow a garden and utilize engineering, math, and science skills. You can whip up a delicious treat while exploring the chemistry and mathematics behind baking. You can do math with skittles, learn about crystal formation while making rock candy, and even build fantastic structures with gumdrops.

However you go about it, STEM education can be incredibly fun — and surprisingly easy. And believe me, your kids will appreciate your hard work.


Liz Greene is a writer and former preschool teacher from Boise, Idaho. She’s a lover of all things geek and is happiest when cuddling with her dogs and catching up on the latest Marvel movies. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene

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The Smart Cookie Club is a holistic play-based learning program for toddlers and preschoolers to attend with their parents/caregivers. Co-founding teachers, Talia and Mary, aim to provide fun and engaging learning opportunities for children while giving parents the tools and knowledge to support their children’s development at home.

Classes have a different learning focus each week and activities are built around a theme that touch on different developmental areas (eg. communication, language, math, gross and fine motor skills, music, science, sensory, and creativity).

Mix It Up Yoga Mamas 001Mommy Connections Midtown Toronto dropped in to visit The Smart Cookie Club during our Travelling Tot’s summer program, and all of the kiddies had a blast!

Goodnight Gorilla Artscape 006My daughter and the other toddlers absolutely loved getting right into their hands on learning activities, and you could see their curious little minds working as they tried out each of the different play stations.

We really enjoyed and appreciated the age appropriate developmental learning activities, and the direct one on one interaction from the teachers. Some of us moms signed up for their full summer program with our tots, and each week we got to try out a bunch of new activities that kept our little ones interested while learning new skills.

Easter Class 006We are really looking forward to our next field trip to see The Smart Cookie Club, as part of our upcoming Travelling Tot’s fall program line up! If you would like to join us on our fun field trips, our Travelling Tot’s fall program runs Thursday’s from 10:30-11:30, starting September 24th.

To learn more about or to sign up for a Smart Cookie Club program near you, click the links to check them out online www.smartcookieclub.ca, and follow them Facebook.

See you at the club!!Smart_Cookie_Club_Horizontal_Proof_2-1

Guest blog post contributed by Brittany Logsdon, Trunk To Tail, Music & Yoga for Children

imageChildren’s lives are busy and often stressful. Yoga adapted for children, provides children with space and time where they can focusing on their bodies and minds without distraction.

Emotional benefits of children’s yoga include:
1. Relaxation and Stress Relief
Breathing exercises help children calm their bodies and minds, making bedtime and quiet time easier and more enjoyable. I use artificial flowers sprayed with essential oils, as a fun and calming breathing exercise. Parents have used this technique at home to help soothe their child during turbulent times. Children are able to reach into their yoga toolbox and use their knowledge to calm their bodies and minds, even in stressful situations.

2. Increased Self-awareness and Esteem
Mastering a balance pose or being able to fully relax during savasana can greatly improve a child’s mood, confidence and awareness of their body and mind. Yoga is non-competitive and practiced in a supportive environment. Children learn and grow at their own pace helping them feel comfortable and confident. Children are able to support each other in poses and help each other balance and deepen a stretch, working together and enjoying the poses.
3. Increased Focus and Attention
Relaxation, mindfulness and yoga poses help children develop focus and attention. Balancing poses require attention and focus to keep from falling over! Children love balancing poses. When they are finally able to balance without falling over, they are so proud and excited! Other yoga poses also require a great deal of focus, such as challenging backbends and inversion poses. Without a great deal of focus, these poses would be almost impossible to conquer!

imageChildren’s yoga classes are in Cabbagetown at 555 Parliament Street with Brittany. Please visit Brittany’s website at www.trunktotail.org or call 416-629-9878

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