My husband and I are Dual Income No Kids (DINKs). We love entertaining families with children at our home. Our friends are great parents and we enjoy having them in our lives. Disclosure: I have not been paid to endorse any blog, company, brand, or product.
|Photo Credit: Amazon.com Capsela Science Construction Toy System|
Hubby Nik is a children’s toy marketing professional so educational toys such as preschool electronic readers, construction toys that are submergible, and 3D collectible card games for kids up to 8-years-old fill our apartment. I’m also a consumer behavior marketer. I am a former classroom teacher and library storyteller.
I have experience teaching composition to junior high and high schoolers. I’ve been trained to entertain audiences over age 3. However, I have limited experience with people under age 3. That’s why I am trying to make up for this weakness by following writers of articles such as “Why Being a Toddler is Hard” on Babble.com.
If you are thinking about giving the best mother’s day gifts to your buddies with children, I recommend a visit on such a parenting site or the top parenting blogs to find out what parents want most. I like the parenting blog Girl’s Gone Child because it’s so raw and funny. Blogger of The Girl Who insists that the best mother’s day present would be to sleep in rather than be attacked by a tray of breakfast in bed.
In a recent survey, my girlfriend answered that she feels refreshed when the takes time out of her day to be reminded of her identity separate from being a mom. When she returns, after taking “me” time, she has more energy and motivation to care for her kids. As mothers, who are reading this, please contact me if you feel the same way.
Screening questions for buying the best gift for a friend who is also a mom:
- Does this gift remind her of her identity apart from her role as mom?
- Does the gift make reference to some of her hobbies or interests when she was single and without children?
- Does the gift make it easy for her to return to activities that made her happy in the past? Does it make her look forward to the future?
|Photo Credit: Amazon.com The Indian Motorcycle by Todd Rafferty|
- How about a history of Indian Motorcycles coffee table book?
- How interviewing her for guest article for an Equestrian Blog such as Writing of Riding?
- How about a DVD collection of the History Channel’s “Top Shot” for the retired gun collector?
|Photo Credit: Amazon.com Westminster Mr. Bacon Walking Pigs With Sound|
Only this past Halloween, did I get to interact with those under 3-years-old at a church carnival in Los Angeles. I managed a pig racing booth for a Harvest festival. I helped the young competitors send their battery-operated, neon pigs down the chute to the finish line.The toy pigs would stop to snort or wiggle their tails at random.The festival organizer was Matt Kleinhans of Cornerstone West LA Baptist Church in Santa Monica.
|Photo Credit: Target Toy Sale Lego Emma’s Friends|
Twice a month, Nik asks me to come along on his toy marketing research field trips to the Target toy aisle as pro bono consultant.
We take joy in cheering on our friends with toddlers and older kids. Because of our common interest in marketing to parents, Nik and I study how moms and dads make decisions.
We learned through trial and error to avoid these 3 mistakes when having a dinner party with very young guests:
- Showing off toys that young guest aren’t permitted to touch
- Letting a smile disappear for more than 15 minutes
- Neglecting to read about child development milestones
I am grateful, that even before I graduated with my MBA, I had pioneering girlfriends who are awesome moms. I keep in touch with those, out of the area, through Facebook and watching the clips of their kids that they post on Youtube.
The clips of my friend’s two-year-old son rocking out to Old McDonald on an iPhone and another friend’s seven-month-old daughter bobbing her head to Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”.
Staying in touch with girlfriends with children gave me an opportunity to observe tips for a healthy marriage and tricks moms us to bond with their kids.
|Photo Credit: IMdb.com Toy Story 3|
My husband and I are still learning to be better hosts to our junior guests. When he teaches financial literacy in elementary school classrooms and when I visit daycare centers to do puppet storytelling, I know we are not getting the full-picture of kid-life.
Watching Toy Story 3 helped us learn the contrast between age appropriate toys for one group of kids and ones who are slightly older.
For example, our friends M. and her husband came for enchiladas at our apartment one night. My husband was chatting with the dad and I was talking with my girlfriend M. who was holding her 2-year-old on her lap as she was eating.
Suddenly, her son threw a wadded paper napkin at Nik’s head then bawled.
His parents apologized and we laughed about it. It might have been then we were using our serious grown-up voices and did not smile for little while. The little boy might have thought he was being scolded by us.
We tried to show ourselves attentive to our younger guest by switching to family games after dinner.
M. demonstrated how their little boy liked to watch his small metal cars collide. The mom and I retrieved the green and blue metal cars as they rolled across our hardwood floor and under our beige couch.
|Photo Credit: Amazon.com Air Hogs Spin Master RC Havoc Heli Metallic Red|
So that inspired Nik and I to bring out our durable, indoor helicopter. It was red and black and great at hovering. We thought, “If he likes action toys like cars, he might like flying toys.”
When we accidently steered the copter into a bookcase, the blades stopped and the plane fell from a height, tears flowed from the little one.
He understood that the metal car did not have passengers because he had inspected them. However, he cried because he was compassionate. He worried that people were injured inside. What a dear heart! We four tried to reassure him that it was a replica, not the real thing and no people were hurt.
Throughout the rest of the night, the sweet boy’s tears dried but he asked softly, “Helicopter” in his toddler pronunciation. Nik and I believe it was to check, “Really, no one was hurt? Are you sure?”
Unfortunately, we could not give the toy to the 2-year-old to examine, for himself, that it was unmanned because it was a teen toy, too fragile for toddlers and costly. It was our fault, our guest was distressed. We were very sorry. We learned our lesson.
After that I borrowed a child development and psychology book from the library. Our youngest guest was right on target, in social development. In what what? Two-year-olds become empathetic and aware of others’ hurts.
I believe birthdays also shape personality. My husband and I have autumn birthdays. I know I felt like a turkey. Our youngest party guest was born on Valentine’s day.
Visit SmartyGirlHome again for an educational article, “7 Parenting Tips from Wives and Mothers” for Mother’s Day.