Tag Archives: Tiffany

Empathy Revealed

A mom shares the emotional growth of her six year old

I’ve never really found the words empathetic or emotive as words that describe my six year old son Alex. Caring, kind, funny, charismatic and observant are all great descriptors of my curly-haired boy. Empathetic and emotionally expressive, well, maybe not so much.

Alex has always been very practical and logical. When he was born, he wouldn’t cry and this was concerning to the physicians as they needed him to cry to clear his lungs. He eventually did (on his own timeline). However, it was almost as if he waited because he didn’t see the point of crying when he wasn’t upset.

A couple of years ago, I asked Alex to snuggle with me as we watched television. Knowing that he would be reluctant, I told him I was cold and he could keep me warm. He considered my request, scooted down next to me on the couch, snuggled for a few minutes and then promptly stated “you’re warm enough now” and returned to his former spot.

He has never been the type of child to be overly affectionate or empathetic. For example, if I’m ill, he’s likely to say, “Mom, you should go to the doctor” and this response will only be triggered after I complain of a cough, sore throat, cold, etc. It’s not that his responses are inappropriate. They just aren’t overly empathetic. Having been around young nieces who were very expressive, I think I have a tendency to expect this from Alex. I’ve kept my fingers crossed that he would grow into his inner empath. And, I think he finally is (again, on his own timeline).

Recently, Alex and his friend were playing with their toys guns. As they prepared to go outside, I overheard his friend say, “I don’t want to take my gun outside.” I heard Alex reply, “that’s ok, I’ll cover you.” I found his response quite funny at first and then I realized that he was looking after his friend through their imaginative play.

About a month ago, we had to put our German Shepherd, Ember, down. The news of her illness was a surprise and it was less than two weeks from the time that I learned something was wrong until her final ultrasound showed that she had a very aggressive form of cancer; the kindest thing to do was put her down. I wasn’t sure how Alex would take the news.

As I explained that Em was sick and wouldn’t get better, he listened attentively. Knowing that she would likely be put down that day, I told Alex that she probably would not be home when he came home from school. I explained that she was going to die soon and I was going to take her to the vet. I suggested that he say goodbye to her and tell her what a good dog she had been. He didn’t respond and just watched me. I asked him if he understood and he said “yes” and then motioned with his hand to wave me out of the room so that he could be alone with the dog.

I’ll never know what he said to her in their moments alone. If he patted her on the head, gave her a hug or just looked at her. But, he clearly wanted a mom-free moment with her and knowing this, I didn’t ask him about the time they shared.

That afternoon when I picked Alex up from school I told him that Em was gone and that we could talk about it if he wanted. I told him that I was sad and that we would miss her. Alex was quiet and, knowing that he probably wouldn’t share his feelings, I told him that if he wanted to look at her pictures later, he could. A few hours later, he asked me to see her photos.

A couple of weeks passed without him initiating any conversation about her. One day he brought home a paper where he had to complete a thought. The sentence started with, “I wish.” Alex finished the thought by adding, “that I had a dog.” While saddened, it warmed my heart to know that he did think of her and that he had expressed that thought in writing according to his own timeline.

About Tiffany

Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet. Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.

Foodies Beware! One Mom’s guide to culinary sophistication

Written by Tiffany

Three years ago, when Alex was in daycare, one of the other mothers commented that she believed her son’s packed lunch had been mixed up with Alex’s lunch.  As a result, each child had consumed the other’s lunch.

When I asked her why she thought the mix up involved Alex’s lunch, she quickly said, “Because I don’t feed my child things from a can.”

I rather dryly replied, “Oh…and clearly you think I do.”  I watched as she shifted uncomfortably and turned from pink to a bright red color.  Usually, I go out of my way to make sure people don’t feel uncomfortable.  However, in this case, I was okay with her discomfort.

She had no idea that I had once taken a Lunchable, removed the packaging and put the cheese, crackers and meat in separate containers to avoid violating the overpriced daycare (I mean child enrichment centers) “no Lunchables” rule.  She didn’t know that I had mentally fist pumped the air because of my cleverness at besting the school.  The idea of her commenting that I would pack a canned item for my child (clearly, I would disguise it in other packaging) was too much!

My mom did an excellent job of always making sure my older brother and I ate healthy meals.  She fed us low-fat and low sugar cereals, made sandwiches on wheat bread and had us drink two percent milk long before these items were in vogue.  She chose Jif, because hey, that’s what “choosy mom’s” chose.  Actually, Jif was about the only brand named item she purchased but that’s a story for another day (the tagline swayed her).  She always made sure dinners were balanced.  We didn’t really know what dessert was.

I do my best, but my cooking skills are somewhat limited.  It’s not that I can’t cook because, as my mom says, anyone who can read can follow a recipe and cook.  It’s just that I’ve chosen not to build my skill set in this area.

I live vicariously through cooking shows.  Alex enjoys watching them with me (Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef are favorites – I think he likes Gordon Ramsay’s charm).

Tiffany & Alex in the KitchenAs a result, I could successfully fool you into thinking I could cook and was a “foodie.”  My “training” has taught me how to toss around expressions like “flavor profiles,” comment on the “sear” of meat, and remark on “knife work” with the best of them!

Lest my son be deprived of experiencing different foods, when we dine out we play a game called “taste test” based off of the popular “Hell’s Kitchen” challenge.  I have Alex shut his eyes and then feed him something.  He then has to guess what it is.  By playing this, I have been able to get him to try many foods that kids typically shy away from.

Once he has tried something, I’ll buy it and we’ll try cooking it at home.  Cooking together has become “our thing” and we have cool Iron Man “chefs” aprons.

A few days ago, Alex and I made perfectly seasoned and cooked Tilapia (nice crunchy crust), steamed broccoli with a light cheese sauce and a stunning rice.

Gotta love Gorton’s and steam fresh veggies.  Foodies beware!

About Tiffany

Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet.  Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.

Unintended Consequences: How one mom’s quest to teach backfired

Written by Tiffany

As my parents guided my brother and I toward adulthood, one of the lessons they taught us was the power of decision making.  They taught us the importance of weighing the choices, considering the consequences and making the best decision possible given the available facts.  The understanding was that once the choice was made, my brother and I were responsible for dealing with the consequences.  There would be no drama or the decision making power we had been granted would be revoked.

This is a lesson I am trying to teach my six year old Alex.   I gave him the option of deciding if he wanted to play outside with his friends before his homework or to do his homework first and play.

We talked through the options.  He decided to play first.  I gently suggested that maybe he should do his homework first so that he didn’t have to worry about it.  He told me that he wanted to play and would do his homework afterward.

I firmly reminded him that I wanted no argument when it was time for homework.  He smiled and agreed.  Choice made.

Homework time arrived and Alex came in from play.  His assignment was to take the week’s spelling words and write each of them in a sentence.  The words were bucket, milk and problem.

We reviewed the assignment and I began dinner preparations .  I looked over and saw Alex staring at his paper.  His jaw firmly set.

“What’s up?”  I asked casually.

“I can’t think of anything!”  he remarked.

“How about writing that you like chocolate milk?”  I asked.  He looked at me like I had four heads. “ I don’t know how to spell chocolate” he panicked.  Translation – chocolate is too long of a word and I don’t want to write it.  I felt my eyebrow inch upward.

Pressing on I said, “How about writing there’s a hole in my bucket?”  Yes, I did mutter “Dear Liza, Dear Liza” after saying this.

“I don’t like that!”  Alex stated his voice rising into what I refer to as the “whiny octave.”  “I can’t think of anything!”  he pouted.  My eyebrow inched further upward.

“Look, buddy” I stated “You agreed to do homework with no drama tonight.  Are you going to freak out about this assignment and throw a fit?”

“Well, yes!”  He yelled “I am!”

Eyebrow firmly arched, I debated my options.  We were entering the “danger zone.”   I could make him sit there and do the homework or I could send him to his room.

I pointed toward his room.  This gesture means go to your room and don’t even think about coming out until you have given yourself an attitude adjustment.

Alex glared at me for a moment and then stalked away stomping upstairs.  I was in the middle of shouting “And don’t even think about . . .”  When boom the door slammed.  “Slamming the door!” I finished.

I followed him upstairs, chastised him for slamming the door (I might have said something about doors being a privilege and how I could remove it from the hinges) , told him to never look at me that way again (I might have asked him if he had any clue what his Grandma and Papa would have done if I had dared given them that look) and reminded him to stay in his room until he could act properly.

Several minutes later he came downstairs contritely and sat quietly at the table.  He began writing.  I wandered over to look at his paper and saw that he had written a sentence for the word “problem.”  The sentence read, “I had a problem with my mom.”

It was written beautifully.  The letters were formed perfectly and there were no spelling errors.

He looked at me (I think rather smugly) with a sly smile.

“Well, buddy”  I replied.  “I guess you did.”

And we laughed and all was right again.

I guess I hadn’t planned on his sentence to be my consequence for my decision to send him to his room!

About Tiffany

Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet.  Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.

Batman (in Training) Visits the Dentist

Written by Tiffany

My 6 year old son, Alex, will tell you he wants to be Batman when he grows up.  He will state this matter of factly, clearly, without humor or apology.  For him, he is presently Batman-in-training.  He is logical, practical and realizes that a 6 year old cannot be Batman.  This makes me the future Batmom I suppose.  The fact that Batman’s parents met an untimely demise, has not escaped me.  But, as a friend told me, it took that tragedy to make Batman who he is.   “Your son,” she wisely said, “has already stated he is Batman (at least in training).  So, no worries.”

My Batman is not armed with grappling hook, batarangs or a utility belt full of tools.  My Batman is armed with his wit and disarming smile.  A smile that, until recently, was cavity free.

I’ve been taking Alex to the dentist since he was just a little Batman, perhaps two or three.  Every visit has been stellar and I’ve walked away feeling the pride that only a cavity free visit can bring.  I, Batmom, have successfully supervised tooth brushing and flossing.  The reward, no cavities.

This most recent visit started off as usual.  Alex behaved like a champ and the hygienist did her thing.  I smiled.

The dentist came in, looked at Alex’s teeth and nodded.  My smile brightened.  I gathered my belongings ready to exit with another successful visit under my belt.

Then, the bottom began to drop out.  “Well,” the dentist commented “he has a hole in his tooth.”  “See here?”  She said pointing to a spot on his x-ray.

I felt my smile begin to falter.  “A hole?”  I commented slowly.  My mind was spinning with the thought of a hole in a tooth.  What did it mean?  What was wrong with my son?  What had he done to get a hole in his tooth?

And then the dreaded word popped into my head.  Cavity.  Was she talking about a cavity?  She couldn’t be.  Surely she would have said cavity.

I swallowed hard and casually asked, “A hole?  Do you mean a cavity?”  I waited for her to say “No.”  I waited for her to laugh at my ridiculousness.   Without skipping a beat she brightly said, “Yes.  A cavity.  We will need to put a cap on his tooth.  We don’t fill baby teeth.”

My smile fell away.  A cavity?  A cap?  There would be no hiding a cap.  A filling could go undetected by other mothers (yes, I really did think that).  But a cap?  No way.

“Oh.”  I stated as my mind frantically searched for other solutions so that I could hide this growing horror.  And then the solution popped into my head.  “Well, you can make the cap the same color as his other teeth.”  I stated as if this were fact.

“Nope.”  She stated matter-of-factly as she prepared to exit the room.  “The caps are silver for baby teeth.”  She then told me to stop by the front desk to schedule the visit and that she would see me soon.  She waved happily to Alex and exited.

“I’m getting a cap!”  Alex proclaimed as I smiled weakly and ushered him toward the reception area to schedule his visit.  “A silver cap!”

I later shared this story with a good friend.  “I’m pretty sure Batman doesn’t have any caps!”  I lamented miserably.  She smiled and stated, “Well, he does now!”  And we both started to giggle.

About Tiffany

Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet.  Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.

At Step2, We’re Moms Too

Sure, we’re marketers, designers, sales women, but at the end of the day, we’re moms too. We tuck our children into bed, kiss the boo boos and hold them tight when they worry. We get excited for their first tooth, first step, first day of school, and first love. We’d drop everything at the blink of an eye to come be by their side.

Yes, we’re moms too.

Starting on April 2, Mondays are now Momdays. Every Monday, one Step2 mom will provide a glimpse into her life as a mother as a guest writer for the Step2 blog.

Meet the Moms

Meet Sara S. Sara is an on the go – down to earth Momma, married to a Marine and the mother of two get dirty wild and crazy, play in the mud boys.   She loves Michael Jackson, dancing and spending time with her family. She is honored to be able to teach her little guys about the world around them, about kindness love and the human spirit. For fun, she loves to make jewelry, shop, ski and spend time outdoors getting dirty with her boys. Sara is a Sr. Product Manager at Step2.

 

Meet Ashley. Ashley is expecting her first child in early September 2012 with her high-school sweetheart turned husband 3 years ago. Together they have a lab named Peak whom they adopted during a ski trip in Denver. She loves all things fashion and cannot wait to start shopping for her little one’s wardrobe. She is the Social Media Manager at Step2 and you may have recently communicated with her if you’ve chatted with Step2 on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

Meet Sharon. Sharon became a first time grandma in February of 2011 and had the pleasure of celebrating her granddaughter’s first birthday in San Francisco where she lives with her oldest son and his wife.  Sharon welcomes the opportunity to spoil her granddaughter after having raised two boys.  Sharon is an avid lover of the arts and has dabbled with oil painting and enjoys interior decorating as a hobby.  She is the Customer Service Manager for Step2.

 

 

Meet Tena. Tena and her best friend (and hubby) had their first child in July, 2011.  Their little guy has a congenital heart defect and he is one tough little cookie; don’t ever think about calling him sick though – “his plumbing is just different.”  Tena is an animal loving vegetarian and is excited to teach her son about compassion and the importance of volunteer work.  She secretly hopes her son will be left handed like his momma. She is the Online Marketing Director for Step2.

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Tiffany. Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet.  Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.

 

 

 

 

Meet Sara R. Sara is a mother of four. She has two daughters – Jamie age 35 and Taylor age 16 – and two sons – Justin age 20 and Christopher age 14. She is also a grandmother of one – Andrew age 3. She lives in Mantua, Ohio with her husband Bill. She has worked at Step2 for the past 12 years (before that she was a stay at home mom for 9 years). Sara is the Operations Manager for Step2 Direct internet sales.