Q&A: Taking a baby to see fireworks? (aka fitting your baby into your life)

Lisa writes:

"As a new mom I find myself now thinking hard about all kinds of thingsthat were once no-brainers, like whether or not to go see the fireworks
on the Fourth of July. I have gone out to see fireworks as long as I
can remember and enjoy them, but now I have a son who just turned 8
months I'm concerned going to the show and keeping him out late at such
a loud and stimulating event might be a form of "sleep suicide" for
everyone (and that is only considering the late bedtime…we have no
idea how he'll react to fireworks). In our area, the fireworks don't
start until 10pm, and usually last about 30 minutes. I would definitely
give him a really late nap if we did decide to brave it. But the closer
we get, the more I'm having second thoughts about attempting this. So
do I listen to my gut, or do I practice "you never know until you try"?
And what do families do when they have a range of kids…like an older
child and an infant? Do they have to split up the family so one parent
stays home with the infant or toddler and the other takes the older
kids, or just take everyone and bear any consequences? Does it only
matter how much I value seeing those firework shows? Maybe I'm thinking
about this way too much, but if you'd like to throw this out there for
everyone to discuss I'd be really interested in any experience or words
of wisdom in making this kind of decision."

Well, number 1: Always go with your gut.

And, number 2: Yes, you are overthinking this particular issue, but it seems to me that this is just a stand-in for the greater question of "How do you fit your baby in to the life you've loved without sacrificing too much of yourself or too much of your baby's wellbeing?"

Balance is really hard to achieve. We touched on it a few weeks ago when talking about weaning, but it's an ongoing process. There are some things that are clearly good for everyone: eating vegetables, sleeping, dancing around in the living room to your favorite album from high school. But there are so many other situations in which you have to make decisions, whether big or small, about whose needs are prioritized.

There's no way anyone else can make that decision for you. You have to come up with your own process for making these decisions. In some families, everyone does it or no one does it. In other families they split up so kids get alone time with parents and to do special things only they enjoy. Some families have kids in bed at 7 pm no matter what, while others let their kids stay up hanging out with the adults talking long into the night. Privacy, communication, schoolwork–the list of things that are going to need negotiation goes on and on.

It might be worth your time to talk with your partner and see if you can come up with some guiding principles. Is it more important to you to keep his sleep normal now? Is it more important to celebrate the holiday the way you always do (bearing in mind that you should come home if the sounds freak him out)? Do you want to make a blanket policy decision, or play it by ear every year as he gets older? There are so many variables, so if you can isolate a few things that are more important to you than the others, that will help you make your decision.

How do you all approach making decisions like this? And what are you doing for the holiday weekend (in the US)? And did Canadians get the last few days off, too?

0 thoughts on “Q&A: Taking a baby to see fireworks? (aka fitting your baby into your life)”

  1. We aren’t going to fireworks this year but I already have a plan in my head for next year … I’ll share in case it leads to inspiration.I think that next year we are going to go but stay in the car someplace we can see them. I think they are beautiful but the noise is scary and unpredictable at that age so I hope to show him the beauty and leave the noise out of the equation somewhat. If he sleeps through it – at least I get to see them.
    Good luck.

  2. I basically have had the same experiences and conclusions as the previous posters (the beanie is 14 mo). I like the idea of “kids fit into your life” – and certainly, we continue to do many things that we normally would, but we reserve this for “big” things, like when I had to go to Europe for work and he had to come with me, or traveling generally, or when his grandpa *really* wanted to take him to the zoo. But we are very strict about his schedule in day to day life. I know other kids are more flexible in their sleep, but our little one is very active and just falls to pieces if he doesn’t have two naps and a 6:30 PM bed time. I’ve seen kids his age be able to handle staying up until 9 or 10 PM regularly (though they seemed tired) but my son would just. melt. down. I’ve tried doing a little dragging him around and it has always blown up in my face. While working around beanie’s nap and bedtime schedule limits our activities, we – like the other posters – remind ourselves that this is temporary.If OP does go to the fireworks, I would just say keep in mind that some kids are terrified of fireworks & to have an exit strategy. (I don’t mean this as an example of “assvice” as we’ve seen in the post a few weeks ago, but only because I myself was terrified of them as a small child and nobody cared/ thought this was a “real” problem, so I was forced to go and be terrified every year. Not that OP would do that!)

  3. I always tell my friends who don’t have kids yet and are worrying to me about how their life is going to change forever my “rule”:You can continue to do pretty much anything you want after you have kids *IF* it is important enough to you.
    The caveat is that most people find that a whole lot of things just aren’t all that important anymore.
    For example, I haven’t been to a movie in a theatre since my son was born, and he’s now almost two. We also go to great lengths to arrange get-togethers with friends at lunch rather than dinner, since juggling the hour-long toddler-dinner-plus-bedtime process and grown-up dinnertime simultaneously is practically impossible. And trying to get the kid to sleep in a strange place, like a friend’s guest bedroom? Forget about it! Too much effort.
    But my husband and I still go to concerts regularly, since that feels worth the effort of finding a babysitter. And we have no issues with pushing back naptime to take a long family hike on a Sunday. And in a few days we are taking our son with us to Spain for the second time this year, where he’ll eat dinner with us at 9 p.m. and if we’re lucky be in bed by 11.
    Part of it is knowing how your child works. If we stick to the same bedtime routine, our son doesn’t seem to mind a fluid bedtime and is extremely resiliant when staying up late. Ditto with late naptimes.
    Even more of it is knowing what’s important to you. We decided that it was more important to us that our son join us at the dinner table than get to bed early, and here in France, kids tend to stay up later anyway. So he’s not asleep until 9:30 (although I’m currently trying to slide that back to 9). He sleeps in in the morning, then takes a very long nap.
    The only thing to avoid, I think, is making a decision based exclusively on external “shoulds.” Don’t feel like you “should” maintain a bedtime *just* because that’s what your neighbor/mother-in-law/parenting book du jour says. (Of course, Moxie pretty much sums that up with rule number 1.)
    Am I the only one who finds refreshing this new way of looking at priorities that comes with parenthood? I wasn’t good at prioritizing activities or saying “no” or just accepting that there isn’t enough time to do everything before my son came along. Now I’m busier, but I’m so much more relaxed!

  4. I think Erin’s post really illustrates how much your individual child’s temperament and needs fit into the situation. My 2.5 year old could probably handle a late night with fireworks this year but no way could he have done it last year. (Not that it matters since we don’t really care about seeing them nor do we want to fight the crowds so we’ll be staying at home and eating ice cream and hanging out with our newborn anyway…..)But knowing your child, having an exit strategy, and if you’re not sure but want to try, go for it. If you’re not sure and are too nervous about the potential consequences for sleep etc then skip it.
    For things like this, we’ve tended to go on a case-by-base basis, and since the birth of our daughter we’ve definitely split up some activities which has been a nice way of giving us each some one-on-one bonding with both of our kids.

  5. I absolutely agree that this is so much about fitting your child into who you arelike to do. Two points that were mentioned that really resonated:1)you mentioned how much it matters for you to go. In my experience, that is the guiding principle for making these types of decisions for me (kids are 6.5, 3.5, 1.5). Sort of a cost-benefit analysis of any out of the ordinary. How bad is missing this going to feel vs. how bad is the outcome likely to be. And sometimes it’s worth giving it a shot. Some kids can be flexible and roll with it. Some CAN NOT ever. It’s good to try it out and see how yours it once in a while.
    2)Like previous posters have said, nothing is permanent. On the way home from the hospital with my first baby, I sat in the back seat with her. I cried the whole way about how I would never sit in the front next to my husband again, and I like sitting there…clearly, I was a little hormonal. At three kids, I could count on my hands how often I’ve sat in the backseat. I hear you worrying about older kids, and splitting up, and I hear myself. But the thing is, the dynamics change from year to year, so things that feel like a giant loss, next year may be doable…or replaced by something else. The key for me has been to not think that “not today”=”Never till the kids are all grown, and even then, what about the grandkids…” Not today, means just not today.
    Good luck..happy fourth!!!
    Oh, and we–7 kids in the house (cousins here), none over 9, all with 7ish bedtimes…I think the time has not yet come for fireworks. But we grown-ups will sit on the deck to see what we can see.

  6. I’ve been mulling over the same dilemma as the OP. My final decision is to not take my daughter (27 months) to the fireworks this year. She goes to bed by 9PM each night and I just don’t want to risk messing that up and spending the remainder of the holiday weekend (and into the work week) trying to get a cranky kid back on a normal schedule. We’re going to wait until next year and see if, as a three-year-old, she is able to be a bit more flexible with her sleep schedule. I may have made a different decision if it was just a matter of putting her to bed one hour later but, like the OP, our neighborhood’s fireworks don’t start until 10PM and then it would be 11PM or later before we made it home. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me. Plus, there’s always the risk that we would take her and she would be miserable and/or scared.

  7. Lisa: I see myself as a first-time mom in your questions and concerns. Moxie, I love how you pinpointed that it wasn’t really about the fireworks, per se, and more about how do you fit this child into your life in a balanced way. I wish I had known that as a first-time mom – perhaps I wouldn’t have agonized so much about every single thing!I have a 7-year-old and a 23-month-old. We didn’t take the 7 y/o to fireworks until she was 3, and we won’t be taking out 23 m/o this year. Our kids have always had early bedtimes (7 p.m.), and it wasn’t worth it to keep them up until 11 and spend the next 3 days recovering. Now that we have two, we do the divide-and-conquer thing. One of us takes the older one to see the fireworks, the other stays home. My husband and I swap toddler duty, so that neither one of us feels overly resentful for having to miss out on the fun stuff.
    Try to remember that missing some of the parts of your old life is just a temporary season of your life. I was sad about that, too, and fought it for a long time. But now that we can share some of the aspects of our old life, like staying out for fireworks, with our older child I find it was worth the wait. Seeing fireworks through a child’s eyes is like seeing them for the first time all over again.

  8. Canada Day is July 1st, so this year we got the Wednesday off. Odd to have a holiday in the middle of the week this year, but it was nice to have my husband home to break up the week. Some people likely move their holiday to the Friday or Monday if they can at their work.In our town, there is a big community celebration at a beautiful park. We have a 2 year old and a 8 week old. I know the feeling Lisa mentions. Our lives have changed once again around the birth of my daughter 2 months ago. And we had to work our attendance around my son’s nap, etc. When we didn’t have kids, we probably would have spent the day and night there, in the beer tent and eating with friends, then fireworks. But with the two of them, our attendance looked like about 45 minutes in a petting zoo for my son, and me sitting on a park bench nursing my daughter. For our family, it works best to keep nap and bedtime routines the same, and work fun in around them. But the way I see it, these are temporary schedule changes. I have really fond memories of watching the fireworks with my parents when I was young. We’ll get there in time.

  9. We always go to see the fireworks, particularly since the start time and end time are very predictable in our city. In general, our kids go to bed between 7 and 8, but they have always been flexible if we do something out of the ordinary once in a while. We try to be flexible too- we’ve been known to cancel/leave or scramble for a sitter if one of them can’t deal for some reason. They absolutely love parties and are usually great until 10-11 at night. However, we do have to clear the next day’s schedule afterward. One thing we don’t do with them right now: restaurants.

  10. My son is 19 months old, and maybe because he’s pretty flexible and easy-going like his father, we can pretty much do what we want. Tonight we will be going to a local minor league baseball game with celebratory fireworks after. Assuming the weather cooperates, we will watch the game and stay for the fireworks. We have done this several times over the last two summers. His first summer, he watched the fireworks, not much of a reaction. This summer, he seems wary of them, but watches.As a child, I was deathly afraid of them, and would SCREAM!!! My parents would either leave me in the car or a nearby house with an adult.
    As for interrupting the bedtime, it has never bothered my son. He might sleep a bit later the next morning, or take a longer nap the next day, but unless he’s up late for several nights in a row, then we don’t see a difference. Even then, we just have to work him back to a more normal bedtime.
    I think it just comes down to, you will know your child and what they can handle. I would try it once, see what happens, and go from there.

  11. FWIW, we are not going this year. Knowing my son’s personality, he’ll probably be scared. Also my kids are 20 months and 5 months, and I just feel like there are more fun things we can do as a family this weekend that seem less stressful to me.Along the same lines, we’re going to the local science museum today with my sister and her kids (who are older and don’t nap). I hemmed and hawed for days and whether or not we’d go, because I’m really nervous about messing up/skipping naptime. I finally just decided to go for it; it is just one day, and he can go to bed early if it is too much for him. I think he’ll have fun with the museum and his cousins, and we’ll have the stroller, where he can rest if he gets tired (he has never once, not even as a tiny baby, slept in a stroller). Wish us luck!

  12. I’ve been debating the same thing with my 2-year old. Fireworks have always been the highlight of my summer, but I haven’t been since he’s been born since the logistics just seemed too daunting.This year, I looked around at all the local events and most seemed to be either midday (ie. naptime) or late evening for fireworks. We settled on meeting friends for a festival with a carnival/vendors starting around 4pm and two different concerts in the early evening. We’ll see how the little guy holds up. He is almost always in bed by 7:30, and I’ve found I can only push that by an hour or so before he melts into a tantrum puddle. I don’t think I’ll get fireworks in this year either, partly because of the bedtime issue, but mostly because he is TERRIFIED of loud noises. I’m looking forward to the festival though, which seems to be a good compromise between his needs/schedule and our desire to get out and have fun.

  13. This is very timely–we just took our daughter to see fireworks last night. A friend of mine has a July 4(ish) party every year on the night of her town’s fireworks, and it’s fun, but a huge ordeal–hour subway ride, then hour ferry ride, and reverse that coming home. We haven’t been to her house at all since our daughter was born.We decided this year that at almost 2.5 (29 months), she could handle it. She’s been staying up later than usual lately (ugh) because of it being light out so late, and we knew she’d fall asleep on the way home. We also knew she could handle fireworks and being up late, because we went to Disneyworld a few months ago and kept her up to see the fireworks there. She’s accustomed to loud noises (frequent subway rider) and even knows how to plug her own ears if it gets too loud. So we did it, and she had a blast. She loved the ferry, loved the party, loved staying outside as it got dark, seeing the fireworks. She was up past 10:45 and fell asleep on the ferry; we got home at 1 a.m. and just rolled her into bed.
    Obviously we tend toward the “fit kid into your life” rather than the opposite–though that’s something we’ve grown into as she’s gotten older. (We would not have attempted this a year ago, and when she was an infant I was terrified of taking her anywhere.) But a lot of that has to do with her personality. She’s fairly adaptable, a good traveler–and has a crappy, erratic sleep schedule to begin with, so it doesn’t matter too much if we mess with bedtime or skip a nap here and there.
    That said, it’s been a rough morning–she started screaming for me at 7:30 this morning and I found her on her bedroom floor with her head on a footstool, crying that she couldn’t find her pants. 🙂 I think a good long nap and a good night’s sleep tonight will help her adjust.

  14. Take two cars.Make a plan beforehand who will leave with your son, and at what point.
    If you’d feel really guilty about it if you had to leave because he was screaming, either carefully consider how you’d feel beforehand or just skip it this year.
    I’d worry about the scary part but not the sleep part. It’s only one day. If it throws him off for the weekend, well, it’s only one weekend. See what happens.

  15. It not only depends on your family’s wants/needs, but also on your kid’s personality. My dd has always been a “go with the flow” girl. But we have a very unstructured life. Hubby and I both work at home, and she stays home. So, no 9-5 routine. And when something special is going on, we pitch the schedule. Ie: grandparents visiting, holidays, Disney World. ( we live in Orlando, so this happens a lot)She has always gone to see the fireworks at the Disney parks ( since she was almost 1) and the town’s 4th of July show. She loves everything about it except the noise. Dad would cover her ears. Now she can cover them herself. Please, protect the little ears if it’s too loud! Something we should think about anywhere, not just fireworks. Even some kids toys are Too loud.
    Of course, there will be fireworks every year, and the kiddo will only be little for a short time…

  16. I am home right now with a napping 7-month old while my husband and 4-year old are ona boat ride. We divided and conquered. The baby takes a morning nap and I got a chance to clean and blog so it’s win-win. Other times, I take the baby (still nursing) and go places and leave Daddy at home. I do occasionally go quick places with the big kid and leave dad with the baby.We did not do enough divide and conquer when we just had the one routine-dependent child and we all paid the price. We all either stayed home, or we all went for it and had it blow up in our faces (although occasionally, the stars aligned and things were splendid). Our second child is much more go-with-the-flow so we can drag him along and he does just fine, but today, I decided staying home just sounded relaxing – even though I really like boat rides.

  17. Wow, y’all make me feel really lucky that our daughter is so flexible! She was only 6 months old when we took her to see fireworks the first time, but I took her with me *everywhere* in her sling at that time. Of course, she was colicky and that was the only way to get anything whatsoever done. ;)My family always watches from enough distance that the noise is not a problem – even now at 4.5 she would freak out if it was too loud. I think she slept through the fireworks that first year, and had a late nap the second year so she could watch them. She’s so excited about it this year, we’re going to watch fireworks tonight and on the 4th!

  18. 8 months old is a very touchy time developmentally, there can be lot’s of separation anxiety.There are two sides to this news. One is the reality of taking your child to see the fireworks this year at 8 months. Because of where he is developmentally, he may already be showing signs of being clingy and needing mommy for everything. This short phase, a month or so, may not only cause him to be very clingy on the 4th but it may cause a reaction to loud noises for the next month or so.
    HOWEVER, his reaction at 8 months does not mean this is who he’ll become. As he gets older you can see who he is then and work with him to prepare him. As he gets a tiny bit older you may find it easier to have him fit into your life. Since you can’t really prepare an 8 month old it’s hard to ask them to fit into your adult world. That changes at about 16 -22 months.
    Try not to decide how a child will react to things in the future based on how he reacts as a baby. I say go with your gut for this moment. Your guts are tied to your child and your intuitive sense is trying to tell you something.
    When taller, my younger one, was little we lived in a little town that went all out for the 4th. As a really young child over stimulation was a big issue for taller so we didn’t participate in the festivities until he was 2.5.
    At around 2.5 we started having lots of friends and kids come over for the big town celebration. It was always a huge day that required lots of sleep the next day. There was a town parade where all the older kids in the town got to decorate their bikes and ride in the parade. We always packed a huge picnic and went up to the Vet’s home with hundreds of others form our town and nearby towns, laid on the grass with friends and ate and played until the fireworks began. Since we waited until he was old enough to take direction he made it through. We taught him and practiced plugging his ears, I would even cue him when I saw the rocket go off. He would cuddle tight to me, which I loved, and watch wide eyed as the fireworks exploded over head. As a baby of 8 months he would have lost it. But since we waited and worked with him before hand he felt prepared and each year it got better, until it was no issue at all.

  19. @Anna: ‘Not today means just not today.’ Love that. I think it will be my new motto. It’s so easy to get sucked into the always/never vortex.For decisions like this, I’m definitely a cost/benefit analysis kind of person. If it’s something I *really* want to do, then the benefit side goes way up to balance the potential costs.
    Totally understand the struggle of the OP though. Our company’s annual summer party was a few Fridays ago. Pre-DS, it was an all evening drink-eat-dance fest starting at 5pm going to the wee hours in the morning. I still wanted to go since the party was marking our 25th anniversary this year, but clearly I would not be attending in the same way as the other years.
    On the benefit side: I would get to actually go out! Have some fun! Have a drink! Take a break from the usual routine! There was a chance for some really cool events/attractions at the party.
    On the cost side: I was tired. DS would probably get up an hour after I left and end up crying and screaming until I got back (therefore rough day the next day). DS’ 1st birthday party was that Sunday & I still had a lot left to do.
    Hmmm…now that I write this all down the decision should have been obvious, but I was still conflicted! I think part of the challenge with decisions like this is that you worry that by saying ‘no’ this time means you’ll say ‘no’ forever. Which brings us back to @Anna’s ‘Not today is just not today.’
    FWIW, I had a friend call me from the party (I’d gone home after work to put DS to bed) to let me know how it was. As it was pretty much the same old same old, I stayed home.
    Nothing much else to add as everyone has pretty much made the key points that govern our decisions.
    I’m big on keeping the regular nap & sleep schedule as:
    a) DS is so much happier / less cranky / easier to go to sleep, if he gets his regular sleep
    b) This makes us much happier & less cranky
    Which means that it’s more likely we’ll get the opportunity to do things that are important to us, as well as to get DS what he needs.
    In general we used to do almost everything together. But we’ve been finding divide and conquer to really help on getting things done during the weekend / evenings, and to carving out some me-time.

  20. @Anna – I can totally relate to your story about riding home from the hospital in the back seat crying! It didn’t even occur to me to ride in the back seat when we brought #2 home from the hospital. He slept the entire way anyway.Last year we did go to the fireworks with our almost one year old and it worked out fine. He loved it. This year we will probably skip it with a nine month old and an almost two year old. That’s more related to the logistics of parking, hiking in with all our gear and trying to leave afterward. The one benefit of kids who never really took to a sleep schedule is a flexible bed time.

  21. I think @Parisienne nailed it- you CAN fit your child into your life, but you will find that sometimes its not worth it either because your particular child wouldn’t handle the event very well or because the event is no longer that important to you. I have also found my priorities reshuffled, just like Parisienne says. And the changed priorities don’t bother me a bit- the things that really matter to me have stayed in my life. Some things, like travel, we still do but have modified to make it work better with a child. Other things have fallen by the wayside.Also, when my daughter was younger, we had to be really careful about naptimes and bedtimes, or our sleep would go from bad to unbearable. Some of my (mostly childless) friends/family thought we were bending out life to much to our daughter, but I knew that pushing her bedtime back an hour would just mean I was up 5 times in the night and it was not worth it.
    Now that our daughter is older, we have a little more flexibility on things like naps and bedtimes, but still very limited flexibility on when she eats (luckily, I can always carry a snack for emergencies like longer than anticipated waits at restaurants, so we do still manage to eat out).
    To the OP, I say- listen to what your gut says about what matters to YOU and also about what is likely to work with your baby. And ignore anybody who thinks they know better (other than your partner!) I know this is hard to do, but it gets easier with practice. Or at least it did for me.

  22. Geez, another timely post. I have this “argument” with “friends” of ours on a weekly basis. Their kids are very easy going and if they stay up late, they sleep in late and it’s no big deal. Our daughter on the other hand is more like: the later she goes to bed the earlier she wakes up. There could also be several night wakings too. I work full time, I don’t need that.For some reason they don’t seem to understand this and it is always a point of contention. This is why “friends” is in quotation marks. I know we are judged for it, but like Moxie always says, I am the best parent for my child. A good nights sleep is way more important to me these days then getting together with friends who judge me for my parenting decisions. They also seem to think that we have “made her this way” as opposed to that being her personality, or just the way she sleeps.
    Sorry, did that sound bitter?

  23. Last year, we didn’t bother to take my 4 month old out, but this year we’ll be at a beach condo of a friend and can put her to bed in their room if we need to.My best friend has done “street fireworks” (the kind you light in the street that don’t go into the air, etc.) when her kids are too little to go out and brave the crowds. (she does the same thing at New Year’s)
    Of course, around here it’s usually closer to 9pm when they start and they often go on for an hour. But whether it’s a park show or a beach show, trying to leave and deal with the crowds is a whole other story.

  24. Well, no one is going to like my opinion, but I think kids needs to stick to their bedtimes and get enough sleep every night.

  25. @Aaron: I have these discussions with a few friends, but especially my mother. I always want to laugh that she complains that I am not flexible enough with Q (23 mo), and that she wasn’t like that. In the next breath, she’ll complain about what a terrible sleeper I was! Ummm…

  26. Aaron, I think before I was a parent, I totally didn’t understand the beauty of a schedule. I have friends who are on both sides – but I surely didn’t understand the scheduled child until I had a kid who needs structure. We keep a loose schedule, but I try to honor my son’s naptimes and bedtimes. It really is about what your child needs and your needs as a parent.I’m taking my almost 2 year old for fireworks tonight, and it’s a total crap shoot. I am just praying he doesn’t get freaked out by the noise – I have memories of a 3 year old brother who came UNGLUED at a fireworks show. Poor guy!

  27. Aaron, I think before I was a parent, I totally didn’t understand the beauty of a schedule. I have friends who are on both sides – but I surely didn’t understand the scheduled child until I had a kid who needs structure. We keep a loose schedule, but I try to honor my son’s naptimes and bedtimes. It really is about what your child needs and your needs as a parent.I’m taking my almost 2 year old for fireworks tonight, and it’s a total crap shoot. I am just praying he doesn’t get freaked out by the noise – I have memories of a 3 year old brother who came UNGLUED at a fireworks show. Poor guy!

  28. Wow, I asked the original question (first time) and have to say Moxie hit the nail on the head. It is so obvious to me now my deeper question really was how to be a mom and balance the rest of life… but I lost the forest for the trees in thinking of the details of the fireworks tomorrow. Balancing my life well with children is something I have always wanted to do, and moms who seem to be pros at it are often my role models. Though I’m starting to realize how flexible I can be won’t depend on me after all (I’m still observing how flexible DS can really be). I appreciate all the other points of view and empathy on this. Although truthfully I don’t want anyone making decisions for me, somehow it just helps to know you aren’t alone as you are a mom accepting all the ways your life has changed, even little changes like this, you never even thought of when you were pregnant and watching fireworks like normal the year before.Also, it may be no surprise this theme has been reoccurring in my life more recently. As a newborn, DS was a generally easy going and adaptable baby, who I used to be able to just take anywhere and everywhere. Only recently did I realize (in part after reading Sleepless in America by Mary Mary Sheedy Kurcinka…which I highly recommend by the way) that some volunteer work I was doing that kept DS out late every Friday night was really throwing him off (which meant it threw me off too) and I needed to start making sleep more of a priority for everyone in the family. Just last week I made the decision to no longer go regularly. On top of all that, I also have been dealing with the bigger question of what to do about my career, if much of anything, as I have been unemployed and I’m still waiting for my husband to finish grad school. We also don’t have a rigid schedule yet, as we are at home for now, but we at least have been enforcing a nap schedule based on waking time, and he is pretty good about waking up at the same time every morning no matter what (most of the time), so that sets the pace.
    parisienne mais presque: I loved your point about how it actually can be refreshing to begin really examining your priorities and being decisive after becoming a parent. I used to have a harder time saying no and keeping my boundaries at times, but I feel much more empowered now because it is not just about me anymore.
    Anna: I also really like “Not today just means not today.” That is our lives. Things have changed, and he changes too, and the changes are just beginning.
    Sharon: I also know we’re on the cusp of the 37 Week Wonder Week, and the little guy is into pulling himself to standing full time just over the last week (and getting a ton more bumps and bruises to prove it). That also makes me more nervous about doing anything that could disrupt his sleep in a time that is so fragile anyway. He has no separation anxiety signs yet, but that could change tomorrow.
    Thankfully, if nothing else, it looks like Mother Nature is going to make our decision easy as they are calling for cool weather and rain tomorrow (blah!). Plus, in southwest Ohio the bigger and best fireworks show is Labor Day weekend, and it is at 9pm instead of 10. He’ll be 10 months old then (a more stable age usually) and as long as he’s sleeping well before one later night might not be a big deal to him. If I had to pick one firework show to go to per year, that would be the one. And there are plenty of spots away from the huge crowds to see the show as well.

  29. Wow, I asked the original question (first time) and have to say Moxie hit the nail on the head. It is so obvious to me now my deeper question really was how to be a mom and balance the rest of life… but I lost the forest for the trees in thinking of the details of the fireworks tomorrow. Balancing my life well with children is something I have always wanted to do, and moms who seem to be pros at it are often my role models. Though I’m starting to realize how flexible I can be won’t depend on me after all (I’m still observing how flexible DS can really be). I appreciate all the other points of view and empathy on this. Although truthfully I don’t want anyone making decisions for me, somehow it just helps to know you aren’t alone as you are a mom accepting all the ways your life has changed, even little changes like this, you never even thought of when you were pregnant and watching fireworks like normal the year before.Also, it may be no surprise this theme has been reoccurring in my life more recently. As a newborn, DS was a generally easy going and adaptable baby, who I used to be able to just take anywhere and everywhere. Only recently did I realize (in part after reading Sleepless in America by Mary Mary Sheedy Kurcinka…which I highly recommend by the way) that some volunteer work I was doing that kept DS out late every Friday night was really throwing him off (which meant it threw me off too) and I needed to start making sleep more of a priority for everyone in the family. Just last week I made the decision to no longer go regularly. On top of all that, I also have been dealing with the bigger question of what to do about my career, if much of anything, as I have been unemployed and I’m still waiting for my husband to finish grad school. We also don’t have a rigid schedule yet, as we are at home for now, but we at least have been enforcing a nap schedule based on waking time, and he is pretty good about waking up at the same time every morning no matter what (most of the time), so that sets the pace.
    parisienne mais presque: I loved your point about how it actually can be refreshing to begin really examining your priorities and being decisive after becoming a parent. I used to have a harder time saying no and keeping my boundaries at times, but I feel much more empowered now because it is not just about me anymore.
    Anna: I also really like “Not today just means not today.” That is our lives. Things have changed, and he changes too, and the changes are just beginning.
    Sharon: I also know we’re on the cusp of the 37 Week Wonder Week, and the little guy is into pulling himself to standing full time just over the last week (and getting a ton more bumps and bruises to prove it). That also makes me more nervous about doing anything that could disrupt his sleep in a time that is so fragile anyway. He has no separation anxiety signs yet, but that could change tomorrow.
    Thankfully, if nothing else, it looks like Mother Nature is going to make our decision easy as they are calling for cool weather and rain tomorrow (blah!). Plus, in southwest Ohio the bigger and best fireworks show is Labor Day weekend, and it is at 9pm instead of 10. He’ll be 10 months old then (a more stable age usually) and as long as he’s sleeping well before one later night might not be a big deal to him. If I had to pick one firework show to go to per year, that would be the one. And there are plenty of spots away from the huge crowds to see the show as well.

  30. I am a first-time-mum also trying to figure out this balance.My mother-in-law said to me when L was a few weeks old “Just give it a go!”. And I live by that now. We went out for dinner several times a week for her first two months and she always slept right through! (We had a lot of overseas visitors). We took her to the beach one day and it was WAY too much – for me! So we waited another few weeks to try again.
    On the other hand, I’m a preschool teacher, and although my 4 month old seems quite flexible still, I have a strong sense of the value of routine. (Very often sleep -or lack of- was the major reason for most challenging behaviour/behavioural change in young children).
    One thing my husband and I love doing is going to the movies. I was hesitant to go when L was only a few weeks old as I was worried about her hearing – ie going on my gut instinct. Last week we took her with us to the cinema and it was great! She fed and slept and watched quietly.
    So I say have a go, but trust your instinct and make sure you have an easy escape route if it’s not working.
    Steph

  31. I am a first-time-mum also trying to figure out this balance.My mother-in-law said to me when L was a few weeks old “Just give it a go!”. And I live by that now. We went out for dinner several times a week for her first two months and she always slept right through! (We had a lot of overseas visitors). We took her to the beach one day and it was WAY too much – for me! So we waited another few weeks to try again.
    On the other hand, I’m a preschool teacher, and although my 4 month old seems quite flexible still, I have a strong sense of the value of routine. (Very often sleep -or lack of- was the major reason for most challenging behaviour/behavioural change in young children).
    One thing my husband and I love doing is going to the movies. I was hesitant to go when L was only a few weeks old as I was worried about her hearing – ie going on my gut instinct. Last week we took her with us to the cinema and it was great! She fed and slept and watched quietly.
    So I say have a go, but trust your instinct and make sure you have an easy escape route if it’s not working.
    Steph

  32. We’ve taken her every year since she’s been 2 (she’ll be 4 soon) to see the fireworks… the first time she wanted to be held, and last year she was so excited… This year, we’ve already been to one fireworks show and she was saying how she wants fireworks for her birthday party (she wishes)…We always talk to her and gauge how she’s doing, and at this point, she’s able to tell us if she’s worried or scared or whatever…
    But I guess until you can pick up on how the kiddo feels it would probably be better to steer clear and have a backup way to celebrate…
    Also maybe watch the fireworks on the TV, and see what the lil one thinks? You get the fireworks and volume control and none of the smoke 😉

  33. We’ve taken her every year since she’s been 2 (she’ll be 4 soon) to see the fireworks… the first time she wanted to be held, and last year she was so excited… This year, we’ve already been to one fireworks show and she was saying how she wants fireworks for her birthday party (she wishes)…We always talk to her and gauge how she’s doing, and at this point, she’s able to tell us if she’s worried or scared or whatever…
    But I guess until you can pick up on how the kiddo feels it would probably be better to steer clear and have a backup way to celebrate…
    Also maybe watch the fireworks on the TV, and see what the lil one thinks? You get the fireworks and volume control and none of the smoke 😉

  34. @Aaron- I find parents of easy-going children are the MOST likely to judge me as the parent of a less easy-going kid. I think the temptation to think that your kid’s easy going nature/good sleep/good eating, etc is due to your own brilliant parenting is just too great for most people to resist! Maybe they’re right, but since I have a child who needs structure, wouldn’t win any awards for sleeping, and is definitely “selective” in her food preferences, I choose to think instead that parenting skill is in recognizing the traits of the child you’ve got and adjusting your responses accordingly! It is frustrating to have “friends” who clearly think that I must have made some huge mistakes to have my daughter turn out this way.@Lisa- balancing motherhood with the rest of your life gets much, much easier, or at least it did for me. It took me a while to figure out what balance I wanted and how to achieve that, but now I’m pretty darn happy with how things are. (For reference: I am a work outside the home mom of a 2 year old and I have a couple hobbies I’ve held on to.) I also personally found the needs of toddlerhood a lot easier to deal with than the needs of babyhood, although some of that may be because she’s gotten easier to handle as she’s gotten verbal and can be reasoned with a bit. I’m pregnant with baby #2 now, and it will be interesting to see what I think this time around.
    I remember the time around when Pumpkin was 9-10 months old as a low point. A lot of that had to do with Pumpkin’s incredibly bad sleep at that time, but I think some of it was also the fact that it was 100% clear to me that my old life was gone, but not yet clear what my new life would be like. We had come through the “survival mode” of early babyhood, but Hubby and I hadn’t found our new equilibrium as a couple yet, I was still figuring out how to do the whole working mom thing long term, and everything felt unsettled. Things got much, much better as time went on.

  35. @Aaron- I find parents of easy-going children are the MOST likely to judge me as the parent of a less easy-going kid. I think the temptation to think that your kid’s easy going nature/good sleep/good eating, etc is due to your own brilliant parenting is just too great for most people to resist! Maybe they’re right, but since I have a child who needs structure, wouldn’t win any awards for sleeping, and is definitely “selective” in her food preferences, I choose to think instead that parenting skill is in recognizing the traits of the child you’ve got and adjusting your responses accordingly! It is frustrating to have “friends” who clearly think that I must have made some huge mistakes to have my daughter turn out this way.@Lisa- balancing motherhood with the rest of your life gets much, much easier, or at least it did for me. It took me a while to figure out what balance I wanted and how to achieve that, but now I’m pretty darn happy with how things are. (For reference: I am a work outside the home mom of a 2 year old and I have a couple hobbies I’ve held on to.) I also personally found the needs of toddlerhood a lot easier to deal with than the needs of babyhood, although some of that may be because she’s gotten easier to handle as she’s gotten verbal and can be reasoned with a bit. I’m pregnant with baby #2 now, and it will be interesting to see what I think this time around.
    I remember the time around when Pumpkin was 9-10 months old as a low point. A lot of that had to do with Pumpkin’s incredibly bad sleep at that time, but I think some of it was also the fact that it was 100% clear to me that my old life was gone, but not yet clear what my new life would be like. We had come through the “survival mode” of early babyhood, but Hubby and I hadn’t found our new equilibrium as a couple yet, I was still figuring out how to do the whole working mom thing long term, and everything felt unsettled. Things got much, much better as time went on.

  36. LO is 21 months and older is 8. Last year older went and stayed with relatives that have kids his age for the holiday to enjoy fireworks and staying up late and eating cookout food. We stayed home with the non-sleeping 9 month old and held our breath that should he eventually fall asleep the neighborhood fireworks wouldn’t wake him. The first year and a half it was like that a lot when it came to anything involving fun after 5 pm. Since he was such a bad sleeper, I was exhausted and stressed and in bed by 9 most nights since I’d be up again in a couple of hours anyway. The thought of staying up voluntarily to see fireworks, etc. was not anything enticing to me.This year we are taking both boys to a friends house with the intention that the LO can handle staying up an hour later and will fall asleep in the car and can be put straight into bed. I will pay the price b/c he won’t sleep any later in the morning, though. 5:30 rain or shine but I’m putting more value on being able to enjoy the company of friends and having other kids around for the boys to play with than on the couple of hours sleep I’m going to miss. And I can count on the fact that LO has become a decent sleeper and even a couple of nights off for a cold, vacation, holiday, etc. is manageable when I know we will get back on schedule eventually.
    I agree with the thought that parents who have easy sleepers/eaters/non-biters etc. just have no idea what it’s like when your child is the kind who didn’t read the manual. I’m still being told by “friends” that his separation anxiety now is b/c I carried him too much as a baby. Very helpful.
    On having two at different ages. The big age gap between ours makes things a little easier in some ways but often difficult to find things that are age appropriate for both at the same time. We went to a water park yesterday and there was some splitting up of one of us with older and one of us with younger but there was much of the day spent together and it was a lot of fun.

  37. LO is 21 months and older is 8. Last year older went and stayed with relatives that have kids his age for the holiday to enjoy fireworks and staying up late and eating cookout food. We stayed home with the non-sleeping 9 month old and held our breath that should he eventually fall asleep the neighborhood fireworks wouldn’t wake him. The first year and a half it was like that a lot when it came to anything involving fun after 5 pm. Since he was such a bad sleeper, I was exhausted and stressed and in bed by 9 most nights since I’d be up again in a couple of hours anyway. The thought of staying up voluntarily to see fireworks, etc. was not anything enticing to me.This year we are taking both boys to a friends house with the intention that the LO can handle staying up an hour later and will fall asleep in the car and can be put straight into bed. I will pay the price b/c he won’t sleep any later in the morning, though. 5:30 rain or shine but I’m putting more value on being able to enjoy the company of friends and having other kids around for the boys to play with than on the couple of hours sleep I’m going to miss. And I can count on the fact that LO has become a decent sleeper and even a couple of nights off for a cold, vacation, holiday, etc. is manageable when I know we will get back on schedule eventually.
    I agree with the thought that parents who have easy sleepers/eaters/non-biters etc. just have no idea what it’s like when your child is the kind who didn’t read the manual. I’m still being told by “friends” that his separation anxiety now is b/c I carried him too much as a baby. Very helpful.
    On having two at different ages. The big age gap between ours makes things a little easier in some ways but often difficult to find things that are age appropriate for both at the same time. We went to a water park yesterday and there was some splitting up of one of us with older and one of us with younger but there was much of the day spent together and it was a lot of fun.

  38. @Cloud – oh, I know what you mean about criticism/disbelief from parents of easygoing kids. People with no kids at least figure, correctly, that they don’t truly know what it’s like. But those with kids who eat or sleep easily, magically from the beginning? I just smile at their advice with my teeth clenched.Since le Petit slept so poorly at the beginning (though he’s turned into a pretty good sleeper since he got through the 18-month regression, mercifully) I give myself NO CREDIT that he’s a good eater. I’m just thankful. Maybe next time around I’ll get a good sleeper and poor eater, who knows? Or (shudder) a baby who neither eats nor sleeps well?
    For me, the only true gage of a person’s parenting skills is if and how they respectfully listen and respond to their child. And since that’s something that is practically impossible to judge from outside, I don’t! Or I try not to, anyway. But recognizing and accepting that your kid is a “difficult” eater and sleeper and adjusting your parenting accordingly, that definitely wins you parenting points, I think.

  39. @Cloud – oh, I know what you mean about criticism/disbelief from parents of easygoing kids. People with no kids at least figure, correctly, that they don’t truly know what it’s like. But those with kids who eat or sleep easily, magically from the beginning? I just smile at their advice with my teeth clenched.Since le Petit slept so poorly at the beginning (though he’s turned into a pretty good sleeper since he got through the 18-month regression, mercifully) I give myself NO CREDIT that he’s a good eater. I’m just thankful. Maybe next time around I’ll get a good sleeper and poor eater, who knows? Or (shudder) a baby who neither eats nor sleeps well?
    For me, the only true gage of a person’s parenting skills is if and how they respectfully listen and respond to their child. And since that’s something that is practically impossible to judge from outside, I don’t! Or I try not to, anyway. But recognizing and accepting that your kid is a “difficult” eater and sleeper and adjusting your parenting accordingly, that definitely wins you parenting points, I think.

  40. The three questions we ask on occasions like this:1) Will we (the parents) be able to enjoy ourselves if we bring our kids? We’re honest as often the answer is “no”–we can’t have the adult interactions we really seek in a night out if the kids need our attention every few minutes.
    2) Will our kids enjoy it, or at least tolerate it, without disrupting the event for others? Again, consciousness of their fears and tastes is key here as other posters have noted. Fireworks aren’t like a wedding or a concert or a play–cranky kids don’t disrupt the event for anyone because the fireworks are far louder than any child, so the risk is really low except in terms of question #1.
    3) Are we prepped to change plans run-time, and accept early rising/ cranky kids the next day? We’re taking our 10-month-old and 4.5-year-old to fireworks at a neighbor’s house tonight. Tomorrow isn’t a workday for us, and the answer to #3 for us is: yes, we can handle it. So we’re going in spite of having a young fussy sleeper who will be dysfuncitonal tomorrow.
    Hope everyone finds a workable solution that’s fun for their families!

  41. The three questions we ask on occasions like this:1) Will we (the parents) be able to enjoy ourselves if we bring our kids? We’re honest as often the answer is “no”–we can’t have the adult interactions we really seek in a night out if the kids need our attention every few minutes.
    2) Will our kids enjoy it, or at least tolerate it, without disrupting the event for others? Again, consciousness of their fears and tastes is key here as other posters have noted. Fireworks aren’t like a wedding or a concert or a play–cranky kids don’t disrupt the event for anyone because the fireworks are far louder than any child, so the risk is really low except in terms of question #1.
    3) Are we prepped to change plans run-time, and accept early rising/ cranky kids the next day? We’re taking our 10-month-old and 4.5-year-old to fireworks at a neighbor’s house tonight. Tomorrow isn’t a workday for us, and the answer to #3 for us is: yes, we can handle it. So we’re going in spite of having a young fussy sleeper who will be dysfuncitonal tomorrow.
    Hope everyone finds a workable solution that’s fun for their families!

  42. we have a 3-moth-old and 3-1/2 year old. we’re going as a family to a concert and fireworks (beginning at 8, ending @10pm). We took the older for the first time when he was a year and a half, and he loved it. As PP mentioned, he was a crap sleeper, so staying out late didn’t matter one way or the other.We’re fully prepared to cut and run if the little one can’t handle tonight.

  43. we have a 3-moth-old and 3-1/2 year old. we’re going as a family to a concert and fireworks (beginning at 8, ending @10pm). We took the older for the first time when he was a year and a half, and he loved it. As PP mentioned, he was a crap sleeper, so staying out late didn’t matter one way or the other.We’re fully prepared to cut and run if the little one can’t handle tonight.

  44. I am reading this post in my living room while I can hear the fireworks outside. Meanwhile, my 3 month old and my husband are asleep in the bedroom. So I am reading this at the EXACT right time for me to not feel bad about missing out on fireworks this year.It is only a season of my life. It was the right decision to skip it this year. My baby and his very tired daddy are happier at home. There’s nothing wrong with staying in on a holiday! (I have Fear of Missing Out Syndrome so I need to remind myself of these things!)

  45. I am reading this post in my living room while I can hear the fireworks outside. Meanwhile, my 3 month old and my husband are asleep in the bedroom. So I am reading this at the EXACT right time for me to not feel bad about missing out on fireworks this year.It is only a season of my life. It was the right decision to skip it this year. My baby and his very tired daddy are happier at home. There’s nothing wrong with staying in on a holiday! (I have Fear of Missing Out Syndrome so I need to remind myself of these things!)

  46. Our little E continues to amaze me, but at this point I should be used to it. Whenever we have an holiday/party/random event, I always think it’ll be too much chaos, too noisy, he’ll get tired and cranky, BUT he always just goes with the flow. Yesterday we were in the car for a total of 3 hours, attended two parties with lots of “he’s so cute” attention, stayed up late (i.e. wouldn’t fall asleep despite being tired), and watched the LOUD illegal fireworks being set off in front of the house. E was FINE!I did get annoyed at my tipsy father-in-law fawning all over E and telling me to go relax because I have E all the time. That man rubs me the wrong way (I’m going to digress and vent here), and although I want E to have a wonderful relationship with Grandpa, I’m not a fan of Grandpa and resent all his comments about MY SON. Grandpa is a know-it-all, one-upper and doesn’t listen to anything I say. And why can’t the in-laws call him by his name- instead they come up with every other possible nickname!!!Argh!!! I have to constantly remind myself to pick my battles!!

  47. Our little E continues to amaze me, but at this point I should be used to it. Whenever we have an holiday/party/random event, I always think it’ll be too much chaos, too noisy, he’ll get tired and cranky, BUT he always just goes with the flow. Yesterday we were in the car for a total of 3 hours, attended two parties with lots of “he’s so cute” attention, stayed up late (i.e. wouldn’t fall asleep despite being tired), and watched the LOUD illegal fireworks being set off in front of the house. E was FINE!I did get annoyed at my tipsy father-in-law fawning all over E and telling me to go relax because I have E all the time. That man rubs me the wrong way (I’m going to digress and vent here), and although I want E to have a wonderful relationship with Grandpa, I’m not a fan of Grandpa and resent all his comments about MY SON. Grandpa is a know-it-all, one-upper and doesn’t listen to anything I say. And why can’t the in-laws call him by his name- instead they come up with every other possible nickname!!!Argh!!! I have to constantly remind myself to pick my battles!!

  48. FWIW, we took the girls to see fireworks last night with an ironclad escape plan (to the point that our bags were packed and the girls were Ergoed to our chests before the first ka-boom) and they LOVED it.They ooooooohed and pointed and just adored the fireworks, and we were so glad that we took them!
    …and then today they were exhausted and crabby and stole toys and shoved eachother and were basically just miserable little pests from dawn until dusk.
    So you can have both the totally awesome YAY outcome and the OMGthisSUCKS outcome.

  49. FWIW, we took the girls to see fireworks last night with an ironclad escape plan (to the point that our bags were packed and the girls were Ergoed to our chests before the first ka-boom) and they LOVED it.They ooooooohed and pointed and just adored the fireworks, and we were so glad that we took them!
    …and then today they were exhausted and crabby and stole toys and shoved eachother and were basically just miserable little pests from dawn until dusk.
    So you can have both the totally awesome YAY outcome and the OMGthisSUCKS outcome.

  50. My birthday is the 5th, so I am rather attached to the whole shebang of independence day- We went to the fireworks show, but our daughter told us that she was DONE before we saw the first firework. She is 2.5 now, and extremely vocal for her age- and things work out better for us if we just LISTEN TO HER. We did this time. It was good. We visited her grandmother’s house the actual night of the 4th, and she could see the displays at the beach from the back yard, without the big boom- and then the neighbors shot bottle rockets and whatnot, and she kinda jumped but it was no big deal. We might try another ‘professional’ show next year, but living as close to the beach as we do, it will likely be a very patience trying endeavor.

  51. My birthday is the 5th, so I am rather attached to the whole shebang of independence day- We went to the fireworks show, but our daughter told us that she was DONE before we saw the first firework. She is 2.5 now, and extremely vocal for her age- and things work out better for us if we just LISTEN TO HER. We did this time. It was good. We visited her grandmother’s house the actual night of the 4th, and she could see the displays at the beach from the back yard, without the big boom- and then the neighbors shot bottle rockets and whatnot, and she kinda jumped but it was no big deal. We might try another ‘professional’ show next year, but living as close to the beach as we do, it will likely be a very patience trying endeavor.

  52. We did take the kids, and always have. Granted, they’re all fall babies, so they weren’t brand new infants. There are things I wouldn’t bother taking an infant to, because it would just make me fretful on their behalf.Now, that said, one of the kids did NOT react well to the noise of their first experience with this (one of the twins, I think… I don’t recall exactly). (system shutdown – eyes glazed over, then retreat into sleep – essentially overwhelm to the point of shock – and that was a clue that we had another sensory processing issue on our hands). Uh. Never thought that was possible… :wince: Learned the hard way. Poor sweetie. 🙁
    We still went, though – just brought ear protection after that. They still wanted to go, it seemed, and they all like the pretty lights, just not the sounds. So, three pairs of sound-reducing headgear, to the rescue (only one REALLY didn’t cope, the others just didn’t particularly enjoy the booms).
    We’ve always messed with their bedtimes, though, too – except when we don’t.
    Some of it is voice of experience stuff – and we do learn much of that from had experience. Say, if there is something coming up the following morning that requires peak function (like, oh, horseback riding lessons, say), then we just Do Not Stay Up. Even if we have been going to that late evening event for nearly 20 years without fail, we Do Not Go.
    But if a late night won’t cause havoc? Eh. The kids are all fully able to stay awake until 2 AM on New Year’s, and 9:45 or 10 on the Fourth of July, and the rest of the time aim for a more reliable (and useful) time. We know it will take three days to do full recovery back to old schedule, and we just plan accordingly.
    So, I guess we kind of navigate between things and around them, assessing each for maximum function, importance, effectiveness… essentially the second of my triad filters – Effective, Prudent, True (the third of which I’m changing to ‘Ethical’). If it can be a successful experience (they’ll have fun, we’ll have fun), AND we can do it in a way that doesn’t totally scr… uh, mess up the downstream experience (tomorrow will not Suck.Rocks. for anyone), AND it fits with our values (at least Safe Respectful Kind, plus other values like importance of extended family experiences, that kind of measure of who we think of ourselves as), then it’s a go.
    But sometimes that *still* means figuring out an alternative within that structure – we value being with family on the Fourth, and we enjoy the show, and we don’t want to scare any of the kids or traumatize them, and there’s nothing the next day that will go haywire because of staying up late… so we find the hearing protection, and consult with the kid who reacted badly (I don’t even remember which child that was anymore, since three of them prefer the hearing protection anyway), and make sure we’re ready to leave early if someone needs to… kind of a prepared, adaptive readiness. It seems to work.
    Plus we try to remember to set goals for the event/day (‘the kids have fun, everyone gets plenty to eat when they are hungry, nobody has to ask twice for help, mom gets to chat with her brother’, etc.) – that helps us coordinate how we’re doing the decision-making (because sometimes one of us has that hidden goal, and without knowing, say, that I really want to chat with my brother, ep can’t help me meet that goal or run interference to make sure it happens, etc.).
    Still a lot of room to mess up, there. And there have been time periods where we put harsh limits on things because the Prudent filter was totally closed on behavioral stuff. Like, during a peak fussy stage, we would not plan to stay at (or sometimes even go to) long family events, or events out at restaurants, etc. It just wouldn’t be prudent. But we reassess with time and function changes.

  53. We did take the kids, and always have. Granted, they’re all fall babies, so they weren’t brand new infants. There are things I wouldn’t bother taking an infant to, because it would just make me fretful on their behalf.Now, that said, one of the kids did NOT react well to the noise of their first experience with this (one of the twins, I think… I don’t recall exactly). (system shutdown – eyes glazed over, then retreat into sleep – essentially overwhelm to the point of shock – and that was a clue that we had another sensory processing issue on our hands). Uh. Never thought that was possible… :wince: Learned the hard way. Poor sweetie. 🙁
    We still went, though – just brought ear protection after that. They still wanted to go, it seemed, and they all like the pretty lights, just not the sounds. So, three pairs of sound-reducing headgear, to the rescue (only one REALLY didn’t cope, the others just didn’t particularly enjoy the booms).
    We’ve always messed with their bedtimes, though, too – except when we don’t.
    Some of it is voice of experience stuff – and we do learn much of that from had experience. Say, if there is something coming up the following morning that requires peak function (like, oh, horseback riding lessons, say), then we just Do Not Stay Up. Even if we have been going to that late evening event for nearly 20 years without fail, we Do Not Go.
    But if a late night won’t cause havoc? Eh. The kids are all fully able to stay awake until 2 AM on New Year’s, and 9:45 or 10 on the Fourth of July, and the rest of the time aim for a more reliable (and useful) time. We know it will take three days to do full recovery back to old schedule, and we just plan accordingly.
    So, I guess we kind of navigate between things and around them, assessing each for maximum function, importance, effectiveness… essentially the second of my triad filters – Effective, Prudent, True (the third of which I’m changing to ‘Ethical’). If it can be a successful experience (they’ll have fun, we’ll have fun), AND we can do it in a way that doesn’t totally scr… uh, mess up the downstream experience (tomorrow will not Suck.Rocks. for anyone), AND it fits with our values (at least Safe Respectful Kind, plus other values like importance of extended family experiences, that kind of measure of who we think of ourselves as), then it’s a go.
    But sometimes that *still* means figuring out an alternative within that structure – we value being with family on the Fourth, and we enjoy the show, and we don’t want to scare any of the kids or traumatize them, and there’s nothing the next day that will go haywire because of staying up late… so we find the hearing protection, and consult with the kid who reacted badly (I don’t even remember which child that was anymore, since three of them prefer the hearing protection anyway), and make sure we’re ready to leave early if someone needs to… kind of a prepared, adaptive readiness. It seems to work.
    Plus we try to remember to set goals for the event/day (‘the kids have fun, everyone gets plenty to eat when they are hungry, nobody has to ask twice for help, mom gets to chat with her brother’, etc.) – that helps us coordinate how we’re doing the decision-making (because sometimes one of us has that hidden goal, and without knowing, say, that I really want to chat with my brother, ep can’t help me meet that goal or run interference to make sure it happens, etc.).
    Still a lot of room to mess up, there. And there have been time periods where we put harsh limits on things because the Prudent filter was totally closed on behavioral stuff. Like, during a peak fussy stage, we would not plan to stay at (or sometimes even go to) long family events, or events out at restaurants, etc. It just wouldn’t be prudent. But we reassess with time and function changes.

  54. @cloud, 10 months with the first was the same point where ep and I started to figure out what shape our lives would take as parents, too. We had a good sense of what kind of kid he was, at least in the waving hands general way, and were less sleep-deprived (though not a lot less, just enough less).We’ve had to do the same discussion each time, some point after 6 months along, when life starts to organize itself around the new dynamics. But it has been more ‘okay, how to tweak’ rather than ‘okay, NOW what?’ because of that initial effort required for the non-sleeping sensitive clock-driven child.
    I had a work friend who had an ‘easy baby’ with her first (same time as I had Mr G), and who was sooooo up above me about how I rearranged my life around my child, hahahaha, and SHE, SHE was still going out for parts in musicals, because you know, if you just tuck then umder your arm and TAKE them, they’ll just ADJUST. *cough* And then we each had a second child (same timing, again), and I was sailing along LOVING having two, and she was crushed and despairing and wondering if it was just a huge huge mistake to have had another child, thought she just was not cut out to parent more than one (considered her first success ‘Her Success’ and therefore had to read her second lack-thereof as ‘Her Failure’ as a parent), and they were not going to even CONSIDER a third, because… well, if two was This Bad, then Three??? AHHHH! Only, it wasn’t her, either time, IMHO. She got a different child with the second, and thought it was her parenting at fault. She never let go of her pride in her successful parenting on the first child – it was cleary ‘credit myself with all the ease/blame myself for every difficulty’ – even after the second child. Ouch, you know? I would rather have the hard child first, and adapt early, than have that far to fall (or choose to not let go and instead hang on tooth and nail to that pedestal, while dangling over the abyss).
    Ah, well.
    On the down side, I’m wiped out after too many late nights – I neglected to accommodate my OWN lower ability to adjust as I get older. Dangit. (Add in a head cold, and I’m just dragging today. Okay, so it was late Friday, late Saturday, and late Sunday in a row… Stuuuupid.)

  55. @cloud, 10 months with the first was the same point where ep and I started to figure out what shape our lives would take as parents, too. We had a good sense of what kind of kid he was, at least in the waving hands general way, and were less sleep-deprived (though not a lot less, just enough less).We’ve had to do the same discussion each time, some point after 6 months along, when life starts to organize itself around the new dynamics. But it has been more ‘okay, how to tweak’ rather than ‘okay, NOW what?’ because of that initial effort required for the non-sleeping sensitive clock-driven child.
    I had a work friend who had an ‘easy baby’ with her first (same time as I had Mr G), and who was sooooo up above me about how I rearranged my life around my child, hahahaha, and SHE, SHE was still going out for parts in musicals, because you know, if you just tuck then umder your arm and TAKE them, they’ll just ADJUST. *cough* And then we each had a second child (same timing, again), and I was sailing along LOVING having two, and she was crushed and despairing and wondering if it was just a huge huge mistake to have had another child, thought she just was not cut out to parent more than one (considered her first success ‘Her Success’ and therefore had to read her second lack-thereof as ‘Her Failure’ as a parent), and they were not going to even CONSIDER a third, because… well, if two was This Bad, then Three??? AHHHH! Only, it wasn’t her, either time, IMHO. She got a different child with the second, and thought it was her parenting at fault. She never let go of her pride in her successful parenting on the first child – it was cleary ‘credit myself with all the ease/blame myself for every difficulty’ – even after the second child. Ouch, you know? I would rather have the hard child first, and adapt early, than have that far to fall (or choose to not let go and instead hang on tooth and nail to that pedestal, while dangling over the abyss).
    Ah, well.
    On the down side, I’m wiped out after too many late nights – I neglected to accommodate my OWN lower ability to adjust as I get older. Dangit. (Add in a head cold, and I’m just dragging today. Okay, so it was late Friday, late Saturday, and late Sunday in a row… Stuuuupid.)

  56. @Cloud and Aaron – this is EXACTLY why, when people say how easygoing G is, I say, “I know; we got very lucky.” I have no illusions that it has anything to do with us, and I have no intentions of jinxing the next one (if there is one) by taking credit.@Anna – totally using the not today means just not today.
    For our part, we took the 22-month-old to fireworks after a BBQ that followed a long nap. We had decided to just play it by ear and watch his cues, and it worked out that we got to go, and thankfully he loved it and wasn’t scared at all. If he’d been cranky/sleepy/scared, we would have left. Of course not all situations are that easy, but we chose to get into one that was.
    We paid on Sunday with a huge crankpot, but we were prepared for it and didn’t have anything planned that day except resting up from the big day. It wasn’t totally fun, but I think it was worth it for *all* of us. At the time, that seemed like the key, but I need to be better at remembering that even just worth it for me or us as a couple every once in a while is OK and even good for G in the long run.

  57. @Cloud and Aaron – this is EXACTLY why, when people say how easygoing G is, I say, “I know; we got very lucky.” I have no illusions that it has anything to do with us, and I have no intentions of jinxing the next one (if there is one) by taking credit.@Anna – totally using the not today means just not today.
    For our part, we took the 22-month-old to fireworks after a BBQ that followed a long nap. We had decided to just play it by ear and watch his cues, and it worked out that we got to go, and thankfully he loved it and wasn’t scared at all. If he’d been cranky/sleepy/scared, we would have left. Of course not all situations are that easy, but we chose to get into one that was.
    We paid on Sunday with a huge crankpot, but we were prepared for it and didn’t have anything planned that day except resting up from the big day. It wasn’t totally fun, but I think it was worth it for *all* of us. At the time, that seemed like the key, but I need to be better at remembering that even just worth it for me or us as a couple every once in a while is OK and even good for G in the long run.

  58. All those times when I see this blog a name flashed into my mind, it is Dr. Morice ..It ‘s a man a much more in woman’s issues ..
    I believe that all women should go to learn mybabydoc.com solution of their problems ..

  59. sparklers are my absolute firvoate. although i remember one 4th of july when sam was little and we accidentally set my mom’s hair on fire with one! sending you red, white, and blue wishes for a magical 4th.xo

  60. sparklers are my absolute firvoate. although i remember one 4th of july when sam was little and we accidentally set my mom’s hair on fire with one! sending you red, white, and blue wishes for a magical 4th.xo

  61. – Such great advice, and that swing set story is seousirly awesome! Not to mention, those photos are gorgeous. :)Also, saw you on the live show this morning! You were so genuine and great, it was so nice to get a glimpse into your experience and business mind. Thanks for being awesome!

  62. – Such great advice, and that swing set story is seousirly awesome! Not to mention, those photos are gorgeous. :)Also, saw you on the live show this morning! You were so genuine and great, it was so nice to get a glimpse into your experience and business mind. Thanks for being awesome!

  63. – I am so glad to have gotten to meet both Matt and Carissa at a Showit menetig. They are both fantastic and I wish them the best in every part of their lives thanks for sharing Matt!!

  64. – I am so glad to have gotten to meet both Matt and Carissa at a Showit menetig. They are both fantastic and I wish them the best in every part of their lives thanks for sharing Matt!!

  65. Michel,Just to be clear, slicading doesn’t mean using code from Fireworks. I never export any code from Fireworks eetihr but I do slice the minadiadmal graphadics I’ll need to recreadate the layadout in (X)HTML/CSS. I do my codading in Dreamweaver or TopStyle Pro.I visuadally layadout page mockadups in Fireworks then slice and optiadmize the parts I need and export only the images. That’s the process I explained in the book chapters.

  66. Great pictures for sure! A new carmea would just make your kids THAT much cuter ;o)Glad you had a great time with the pirate ships. Our 4th of July was pretty low key, too. Although it’s still light out and we haven’t lit off any fireworks, yet.*HUGS*

  67. Great pictures for sure! A new carmea would just make your kids THAT much cuter ;o)Glad you had a great time with the pirate ships. Our 4th of July was pretty low key, too. Although it’s still light out and we haven’t lit off any fireworks, yet.*HUGS*

  68. Do you hear that? Ite2€™s the sound of my heart breaking into a thosuand pieces.Aww. Here, have the smallest violin. You know what song it’s playing.March 17th, Hakuba, in? What better way to celebrate St. Pattye2€™s day?It does sound nice, but the prospect of a three hour train ride, changing trains in like 3 different places not so much. But we definitely have to get together again soon.Speaking of which, is there anything in particular you’d want me to bring back for you from the States? I’ll be down for two weeks in the end of March.

  69. Do you hear that? Ite2€™s the sound of my heart breaking into a thosuand pieces.Aww. Here, have the smallest violin. You know what song it’s playing.March 17th, Hakuba, in? What better way to celebrate St. Pattye2€™s day?It does sound nice, but the prospect of a three hour train ride, changing trains in like 3 different places not so much. But we definitely have to get together again soon.Speaking of which, is there anything in particular you’d want me to bring back for you from the States? I’ll be down for two weeks in the end of March.

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