Before I was a mother I wondered why my sister-in-law always wore her sunglasses on top of her head? When I look at the pictures I have taken of her over the years, in ninety percent of the photos she has her iconic sunglasses perched on top of her head. One of the few photographs I have of her (sans the sunglasses) is a family portrait taken on the day I married her baby brother.
Maybe the sunglasses serve as some sort of headband or she is prone to losing her glasses and by placing them on top of her head they are never far away? Perhaps she is trying to begin a new fashion trend? Although, I doubt that is true because she doesn’t wear designer glasses and once bought a replacement pair at an aging gas station. Whatever the reason it became a quandary that I never figured out… until I became a mommy!
In preparing for motherhood I read a lot about parenting but I never found the topic of sunglasses in any of the books. The sunglass topic came up once when I was pregnant with Lillian. I remember my co-worker Sara telling me, “Enjoy your designer sunglasses now. When you have your baby girl she will rip your sunglasses off of your face and they will never be the same again! I have one word for you, Target.”
When my “mini me” was a baby I realized Sara had given me some wonderful advice and I’m glad I purchased several pair of inexpensive sunglasses. Lillian loved reaching for my glasses and found great satisfaction in playing peek-a-boo by pulling them away from my face. With popped out lenses and stretched out frames my little one has caused several pair of sunglasses to meet an early demise. And in her toddler years she hasn’t proved to be any gentler. She adores my sunglasses and enjoys trying to fit the oversized lenses on her petite face. Like my sister-in-law I frequently found myself putting my sunglasses on top of my head in an attempt to protect them. I quickly learned what all of the veteran mommas already know, babies love sunglasses!
The other day I spent a few hours at Chicago’s Midway Airport during a layover on my way home from Cincinnati. One of my layover rituals is to initiate a FaceTime call with my mom so I can surprise my little girl. That’s when I was astounded to see the video image of myself. Staring back at me was a woman sporting a pair of sunglasses perched on top of her head! The sun had already set and after a plane ride and a layover it had been hours since I had been outside. I quickly swept the airport to see if I could spot anyone else wearing sunglasses on top of their head and after looking at dozens of passengers the only person I spotted with sunglasses was a pilot ready to naviagate a flight. To passerbys did I appear to be a pilot in training or a busy super mommy (like my sister-in-law) who juggles motherhood and a career and simply has too much on her mind?
I am prone to losing my sunglasses and many have become buried in the bottom of my bag. Before Lillian was born several pair have been left behind in rental cars or abandoned in hotel rooms. I continue to question, “Where are my sunglasses?” but now that I am a mother I always know where to find them. I think about my sister-in-law, raise my arm and pat my head and that is where I find my sunglasses, sitting proudly on top of my head!
My daughter is obsessed with everything Daniel Tiger! “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” is an animated children’s television series targeted at preschool-aged children. The program is based on the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the long-running family-oriented television series created and hosted by Fred Rogers. Little Lillian loves watching the show and reading Daniel Tiger books. She has a red toy trolley complete with the “ding ding” sound effect and a miniature Daniel Tiger (dressed in Fred Roger’s iconic red sweater) that fits perfectly inside. The steps in our home have been transformed into a trolley and Lillian asks family and friends to take an imaginary ride to the library, grocery store or doctor’s office on a daily basis. Lillian enjoys acting out the show’s familiar opening scene by sitting in her little chair and singing “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” while carefully putting her shoes on. Our little girl is filled with great imagination!
While watching Daniel Tiger and his friends I am transported back to my childhood where I enjoyed watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and became enchanted with Daniel Striped Tiger, Henrietta Pussycat, King Friday, Mr. McFeely and others in “The Land of Make Believe.” Many of these characters (or their offspring) appear in “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” When I watch the show with my daughter its like seeing old friends from forty years ago! This new show carries on Fred Roger’s legacy by supporting whole child development and is based upon Fred Rogers’ six principles of learning readiness. I am reminded of the the importance of childhood play, discovery, creativity and imagination. Another show highlight are the catchy strategy songs that introduce the preschool set to social/emotional themes: feelings, confidence, new experiences, self control, responsibility and kindness. We enjoy listening to the songs in the car and at home while we play. Sometimes I find myself humming the songs throughout the day and I have spent several sleepless nights with the songs playing over and over in my head!
Last week I felt like I was living in a real life musical. Not a bad place to be since I absolutely adore Broadway theater! It all began while I was preparing breakfast. My mini me peered up at me and sang, “When you wait, you can sing, play or imagine anything.” A song she learned from watching Daniel Tiger! I was impressed that she was singing the song at the appropriate time and she didn’t miss a single lyric. Since it was Saturday, Daddy was home and he joined his girls in building a huge castle out of blocks. That’s when we heard her sweet voice sing, “I like to be with my family. Family time is special.” When she tried to use the potty she belted out, “If you have to go potty, stop and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way.” And when it was time to clean up before bed she sang, “Clean up, pick up, put away, clean up everyday!” Although she did a better job singing than picking up any of her toys, it was clear she was learning a lot from watching Daniel Tiger and his friends.
In late August the Saint Charles County Library System sponsored a special story time and trolley ride with Daniel Tiger. Lillian was thrilled to meet Daniel Tiger and I was pleased to see my daughter enjoy something I adored as a child. It was an exciting day in our neighborhood and we made a special memory this neighbor will never forget!