Time Out for Writing…

(Pulled from my YouTube archives…He was 2 years, 2 months at the time…)

I came upon this online article yesterday, Your 3-year-old timeline: Name writing | BabyCenter, and it disturbed me quite a bit.  It addresses writing for 3-year-olds and starts off by saying, “It’s exciting when your child’s scribbles begin to look more like real letters.  Some threes even start writing their name, or a few letters of it.  But writing is one of those developmental milestones that varies from child to child.  Don’t stress out if your child isn’t even interested in writing.”  It goes on to say a parent might still not know the child’s dominant hand for another year or so, and that it’s hard to control a pencil due to lack of fine motor skills.  In terms of child development and literacy, I feel that we grossly underestimate what our children are capable of.

To me, it’s about exposure and practice and expectations.  If a child isn’t given the independence to try to hold a pencil or to feed him/herself at a young age (before 24 months), then those skills will not have the chance to develop as quickly.  If you provide them with the opportunity, they will embrace it.

I had to look back at our library of photos to see when we first let Malachy scribble away.  He was less than a year and a half.  Before he was two, we knew he was a lefty.  He started eating with his left hand and writing with his left hand.  We never forced him to write.  Pens, markers, crayons and lots of scrap paper (found a use for junk mail!) were always around for him if he chose to write.  And boy did he choose to write! 😉  When he started school, his writing was way better than his coloring and drawing.  In fact, he had to practice his coloring and drawing MORE THAN his writing!  Most kids draw a picture and then try to write something.  At school, he would write something, and then try to draw it!  😉

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Lately, he’s been writing lots of notes to people.  On Sunday, he was upset that Grandpa and Uncle Chris had a father-son brunch.  They wound up coming to the same restaurant we were eating at, about an hour later, but sat at another table.  Since he couldn’t sit with them, he wrote a note to his uncle saying, “Dear Uncle Chris, I wish you were over here.”  He proceeded to get out of his booster chair and handed him the note.  Then he wrote a note to his Grandpa.  “Dear Gong Gong, I wish you were over here.”  Again, he asked to be excused and handed his grandfather a note.  In a way, it was therapy for him, too, helping him to get over the anger he felt earlier that they were not eating with him.

Two weeks ago, after we came home from school, he wrote me a note telling me he hoped I took care of Jimmy, and just handed it to me.  I think kids get it.  If you show them that writing has a purpose, then they’re going to want their voices to be heard.  Before long, they find their own reasons to write.  Gotta’ let them write, and believe they are ready BEFORE they’re 3!  If they can talk, then they can write.  🙂

Sometimes, when he goes to Whole Foods with Mommy, he’ll write a Grocery List while she gets ready, and then he checks off the items at the store.  He writes countless notes to his uncle and his girlfriend about how he misses them and loves them.  One evening, he made a label for each of us.  On my note, he wrote, “Dad is a fixer.”  On Mommy’s he wrote, “Mom is a good friend.”  Every day, on his way to school, he’ll ask Mommy for scrap paper and his clip board, and he’ll just write notes on his way to school.  Age 3, and he’s writing more prolifically than Daddy.  Aiya!  🙂

Malachy's Note About Jimmy
Shopping with Mom at Whole Foods

Time Out for a Toast and a Song…

Last Sunday, my “little” sis got married.  A week before that she had asked me to make a toast for her.  How could I refuse?  It took me all week to come up with what to say.  Hadn’t been that stressed in a while. Work was already pretty stressful, but this was a pretty big weight on my shoulders. Didn’t want it too preachy, too cheesy, judgmental, etc.  Since I haven’t been the ideal big bro, this made it even tougher.  She asked me if I could mention my mom and my grandparents.  With less than 24 hours before her big day, I even went online to look for advice!  And, I even practiced in front of the computer a few times to make sure I didn’t stumble too much.  In the end, she loved it! A big WHEW! 🙂

As for a song, I didn’t know if we could make it happen.  About 2 weeks before the wedding, I asked Malachy if he wanted to sing a song for Goo Goo and Steve.  With a Ring Pop on the line, he decided to go for it. 😉  We didn’t practice every day, but we did sing it a few times, watched others sing it on YouTube, and even downloaded the Karaoke version.  We sang it in front of the computer, in the shower once, and Mom and Dad sang duets with him a few times before bed.  Then… it would be what it would be.  He was great! And… boy did he enjoy that Ring Pop all night long!  🙂

Time Out for Mom…

Today marks twelve years since my mom’s passing. How I wish Malachy would have known her. He would have loved her so much, and she would have been so great with him. This Sunday my sis gets married, and how I know how much she wishes Mom were around. Gotta’ believe she is watching us from above and smiling. She did such a great job with us, and so much of what I did and what I do now… to make her proud. Now, with Malachy, I see more than ever how much she sacrificed for us, how much she gave of herself, and how much she loved us and my dad. When Malachy gets older, I’ll be sure to tell him what a great mom I had, as he has the best mom. I feel like she is an angel watching him from above…

Time Out for Playtime!


Weekends used to be a time for rest (B.M., Before Malachy), but with Malachy, we have to try to keep up with his energy and imagination. 😉  Forget about sleeping in anymore. We consider it lucky when he gets up at 8. And once he’s up, one of us HAS to get up. YAWN…
Lately, I’ve become the “chosen one” because he claims, “I’m the best snack maker ever.” Meanwhile, I’m the one who prepares a snack with no cooking involved. Just lots of “stuff” from the pantry – cookies, crackers, wafers, mini pretzels, rice crackers (American or Japanese), pizzelles, and granola bars. Some of the above, or all of the above. What else? From the fridge, there’s always milk and a bit of fruit.

Today, it was cold, and it would have been so easy to just stay home and vegetate, but we mustered enough energy to take him to the playground to get some fresh air and exercise.  Then, we went to the library to get some books.  We decided it’d be a good idea to go the library on Sundays, after brunch. I’ve been buying so many books and forgetting that we could actually borrow some! 🙂

This evening, dinner wasn’t easy, so I promised him that we’d pitch up the tent that he got for Christmas.  He had a blast!  Just loves to use his imagination.  At first, he said, “Make sure Mommy doesn’t come in,” but when I started watching football, he said to Shien, “Make sure Daddy doesn’t come in!”  He had a great time, moving as much stuff in there as he could, and then doing some buddy writing with Mommy.  Mommy temporarily dozed in there for a couple of minutes. 😉

More on Malachy’s prolific writing later… 😉

Time Out for a Sad Goodbye…

Jimmy (1957-2010)

My colleague, my friend, Jimmy, passed away this morning… Everyday at work, I witnessed him serving others. Whoever was in need, he would be there. Wherever there was a problem, he would try to fix it. No complaints. We made a great tech team. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. He will be dearly missed by so many because he touched so many. Our school won’t be the same without him… 🙁

Time Out for A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A Happy New Year to ALL!

Parenting Resolutions | New Years Parenting Resolutions | How To Be A Better Parent.

The link above provides a nice checklist of parenting resolutions.  I think the most important resolution is to appreciate the time that we have and enjoy all that we have.  I like the last sentence that says, “Above all else, let’s resolve to enjoy one another and let that always be enough, no matter what time of the year. ”

The less time we spend wanting things, the more content we will be.  As Malachy would say, “ENJOY!”