Off the Mat: The Art of Choosing a Parenting Response

Enjoy the Ride

My five year old son is in his room, slamming the door. Deliberately and with precision. He’s got highly sensitive ears – auditory processing the occupational therapist calls it – and I can only assume he’s seeking Just. The. Right. Sound.  The SLAM! that will echo through the walls and into my bones set my teeth on edge. Sound rises above the bathroom fan but is muted by the water pressure, warm streams trickling down my hair, ears, face, shoulders. The water, the curtain, the closed door give me the ever so slight space I need to view the scene with a hint of detachment. Amusement, even, though shame lingers around the edges, like mildew never quite scrubbed from the grout.

Occupying the weeks between school and camp, we’re back from a 3 day urban adventure: Amtrak, NJ Transit, and a myriad of subway lines.  He’s a stellar traveler, fueled by curiosity and wonder and an obsessive love of trains.  Take him out of his ordinary and he shows his extraordinary. I thoroughly enjoy time with the big boy he’s becoming.

So it’s no surprise really when blubbery-whiny-tedious boy returns upon arrival home.  And along with him, short-tempered-uninspired-reactive Mama. Read the rest of this entry »

Let Them Grow: Power in Separation

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Making Separation an Adventure

Crying ChildWith the beginning of a new school year upon us, many parents might be planning on sending their children to school, daycare or even playdates for the first time. If your child experiences separation anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help ease their transition and enjoy their time away. As a daycare provider who often helps families move through separation anxieties, I cannot stress enough how significant it is to help your child build this early trusting relationship. In my opinion, children often learn to trust during these times of separation. They learn to trust that you as the parent will always return. “Mommy’s and Daddy’s always come back” is my go-to line. Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: A Child’s Growing Independence Brings Change

The Winds of Change

She swings by herself. Grabs the chains that hold the brown plastic rectangle that serves as a seat. Her muscular arms pull her up deftly and her bottom plops down. Her legs that are a full two inches longer than they were in June start to pump. Feet flex as her legs straighten and toes point as legs fold. Soon, very soon, actually unbelievably soon, she has a momentum that would satisfy any child. I am sitting in the swing next to her and she is chattering away about the dog and his bone and the hole he dug, but I am lost in the sight of her wispy hair and the way it covers her round cheeks as the swing takes her back and wiggles in the air like an octopus’s tentacles as the swing moves her forward.

“Slow down,” I long to say, but I know it isn’t about the swing. It’s not about the swing at all. Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Your Introduction to Sacrifice & Life on the Back Burner

Best Laid Plans

The spitting camel has wangled his way into the summer schedule!

We’re halfway through the summer. We’ve had a week of a vacation to the most popular destination in the country. We’ve had major Pinterest wins and Pinterest fails (don’t try the water blob…unless you want to sweat and swear…then by all means go right ahead.). We’ve had lesson after lesson; music, equine, swimming, OT and PT. We’ve begun the process of “real reading,” on the request of my daughter herself. We’ve gone to beaches, to parks, to fairs, to bouncy palaces, to zoos (where the camels got close and up front spitting on me for good measure) and to fancy schmancy concerts where we got to sit on the lawn and listen to the likes of James Taylor and our favorite Beatles tribute band. We bought an amazing sprinkler made up of individual flowers that spray water out at gentle angles and even put the kiddie pool directly underneath the kitchen window so that we could fill it up with warm water from the tap. Pretty successful huh? Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all…so why is it that the moment I realized we were at summer’s halfway point, I got a ginormous pit-of-death smack dab in the middle of my solar plexus? Read the rest of this entry »

The Comment Box is Mightier than the Sword

It’s a Facebook Miracle

Uh-oh you haven’t updated your status in 5 minutes!

In the end, resistance was futile.

Since the minute Facebook stormed onto the scene a decade ago, I knew I did not want to get caught up in the hype. I began to detest all “social media,” not only as a regular person who found it tedious and self-serving but also as an actual journalist who saw the demise of the fourth estate. If anyone can say anything anytime, then who the heck knows if anything anyone is saying has any truth to it? But it was Facebook that caught the brunt of my wrath, as I watched otherwise sane people get sucked into this never-ending vortex of “status updates” and “likes” and “friends.” Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Modeling a Positive Body Image

Modeling Self Confidence

“Sing silly words to the Doc McStuffins CD mommy!”  Ila exclaimed.  This is often a game that we play in the car to pass the time.  So I obliged.  I admit that I relish the belly giggles my daughter gets and so it is a challenge for me to make her laugh and the lyrics that I sing can be quite nonsensical.  The particular song that was on was Doc singing the virtues of eating a good diet; “Eat good food and your body will thank you. You’re gonna love the way you feeeeel.  Eat good food!”  But instead I sang, “Eat JUNK FOOD and your belly will be big.  You’re not going to like the way you feel.  Eat junk food!”  And then…..well…then nothing.  Just silence.  A LOOOONG silence.  And then Ila saying, “Turn off the music mommy.  Stop singing.”  I immediately did what she said out of worry and confusion.  There was a little more silence then I looked in the rear view mirror  and she was whispering to herself, “But my belly’s big.  But my belly’s big.  But my belly’s big.”

She pushed down on her stomach hard and pulled the seat belt strap tight to try and flatten it.  My heart broke.  Into a million pieces…it broke.  It happened–her first out loud moment of body hatred–just four years old. Read the rest of this entry »

Just My Type: The Treasured Moments of Watching A Child Sleep

Sleeping Noelle

Amid all of the stress and anxiety of raising a child with two autoimmune diseases, I have found something to cherish.

When our children are babies, we look at them a lot when they are asleep. That’s partly because they sleep a lot, and partly because they look so precious while sleeping. But we also want to make sure they are OK: I’m sure many of us have put our hand on a sleeping baby’s chest to make sure he/she is breathing!

But once the children are sleeping through the night, once they are toddlers and preschoolers and big kids, how often do we have that peaceful moment of just observing them while they sleep?

Diabetes has given me that. Read the rest of this entry »

The Good Life: Making a Wish Trains Us to Think Positively

The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons by Sarah Mattison Buhl

I Still Wish

This month, I will wish on my birthday candles like I always do every year. But this year I finally realize I am not the only one wishing!

I still make wishes. June is my birthday month, and on the 19th I will make a cake with my kids, light the candles, blow them out and make a silent wish. Why? Because although I will be 45 this month, I still lean toward optimism and occasionally towards magical thinking. I have never, and will never squander a wish because in a time when we are on the precipice of the 6th Mass Extinction, I need to be a believer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about wishes, and did a little research. A few years ago new age spiritualists and self-help gurus were tripping over themselves to promote an old idea made new again in a book called The Secret. The idea is that like attracts like, meaning if you think negative thoughts, those negative things will happen to you. If you think positively, your thoughts will become reality. This is also known as the Law of Attraction. Supporters of the Law suggest that life has a catalog, and that you can order exactly what you want, and it will be provided for you. So for example, my friend Jen has always admired a stately brick Colonial home in town. She should “ask” the Universe for it, then believe it can be hers- maybe even take a tour and plan where her furniture will go. The best part is that she doesn’t have to figure out how to make it happen. The Universe takes care of that for her. The house is Jen’s for the asking. She will be really happy when I tell her. But what if she isn’t the only one wishing? What if someone else likes that house (like the people who live there), and they wish to stay FOREVER? What if her husband really likes their current house and hopes to stay there with her until they can’t get to the second floor without a Stair Chair? Read the rest of this entry »

Parenting Green: Facilitating the Climate Change Conversation

Kids and Climate

My kids are getting older and are more tuned into our conversations. Remember the days as a parent when you could talk ‘adult’ in the front seat about things that interested you and the kids paid no mind?  Now at age 6 and 10 our two oldest are more aware and have context for the information they are absorbing, coupled with the fact that they want to understand what the adults are talking about. There’s no changing it; we are in complex times and as parents we are facing the challenge of how to digest this information and create a productive environment for our kids to thrive in.

We knew as parents we’d be met in their adolescence with difficult conversations about sex, drugs, violence, mental illness, and death… Can we add climate change to that ‘complex’ list?   Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: The Great Balancing Act of Relationships

Positive reinforcement means longer living relationships

Some believe that the relationships you have with your children are the only “required” relationships, in that one must keep working on them for the rest of their lives. They are the only ones we’re not allowed to give up on. Some believe that parenting is a constant try and re-try. Some believe that a good parent is constantly evolving so that the connections we have with our sons and daughters remain strong.

I disagree. Not with the sentiment that as a parent we must work and work each day at the relationships that we have with our children. Not even with the idea that we shouldn’t give up on or break up (so to speak) with our children. Hindsight has taught me that our connections with them must remain the most important things that we hold on to as parents. As a parent, I do believe these things to be true.

What I don’t believe is the statement that your children are the ONLY relationships that one isn’t allowed to let go. I believe that marriage, one’s relationship with your child’s parent, also needs to be a priority and should be a relationship that we not only nurture, but hold on to, cherish, and work on, work on, work on. Now of course that isn’t to say that there aren’t toxic relationships; abusive, detrimental or one-sided that must be let go of immediately. But the OTHER kind of marriage; the-leave-the-toilet-seat-up-beer-cans-in-the-living-room-sticky-jelly-on-the-cutting-board-stop-yelling-at-me-did-you-just-flirt-with-that-waitress?-can-we-do-something-besides-watch-tv kind of marriage must not be given up on. I believe that like the relationship you have with your children, a marriage should be a perseverance for the long haul. Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Stepping Out of Motherhood and into Yourself

The Woman in Me…

When I mothered my sons, I was consumed by it. It was my job, my calling, my duty. I let everything else go. I became mired down in the details, in doing things right and doing things wrong. Their mistakes were my mistakes. Their mountains were my mountains. Their triumphs were my triumphs. Their sadness, their anger, their tragedies; all mine. I was their mother and that is all. I lost myself. Logan the singer was gone. Logan the writer hadn’t been born. Logan the academic hid her opinions and quest for knowledge. Logan the reader only showed up on a beach in the summer for 30 minutes while the boys were securely and happily playing with their step father. I didn’t even USE my own name. When I spoke it was in the third person. “Mommy will get you a drink.” “Don’t forget, mommy will pick you up at 5.” “Mommy was so proud when you hit that homerun.” The woman in me wanted…longed for SOMETHING, but I thought it was a betrayal to my sons to go out and chase “my dreams.” When I had a chance to work as a staff developer for Columbia Teacher’s College, I turned it down. I couldn’t possibly uproot my boys. When someone asked me to join the community musical and try out for a lead role, I scoffed at the idea. Too much time away from my sons. Who would make them dinner. Who would make sure they did their homework. Who would intervene when the vitriol started between them. I played it safe. I was just their mom, and that’s all they ever saw me as–their mom. As my sons grew, I began to look forward to the day where they didn’t need a mommy as much and perhaps I’d be able to become the woman that was tucked away because of and overruled by the mother in me.  Read the rest of this entry »

Just My Type: Fenway, the Perfect Ending to a Trying Day

Root for the Home Team

The following is a letter I wrote to the Boston Red Sox:

Dear Red Sox,

Sometimes blessings come in unusual packages, like wrapped up in rawhide.

My husband and I attended the Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Wednesday, May 7, with our 8-year-old daughter. It was her first trip to Fenway Park. We wanted to share our story with you.

Right before the game started, a staffer named Mick came to us in our bleacher seats and ask if we wanted to move to better seats, as he had three extra seats in the State Street Pavilion section that were not being used. As we were sitting in the “cheap seats” in the very back corner of the park, under the Jumbo-tron, we agreed and followed him to awesome seats right above the Red Sox dugout. Along the way, he told us he approached us because it was hard to find a party of three and he had seen my daughter wearing her “first visit to Fenway” button.

Here’s what Mick didn’t know: Read the rest of this entry »

The Good Life: Memories That Make a Life

The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons by Sarah Mattison Buhl

The Only Memory That Matters

May is the essence of all my lovely childhood springs…

May is the essence of all my lovely childhood springs. I’m pretty sure I didn’t know at the time that the month was actually May but, in hindsight, it must have been, because the high school band could be heard practicing their marching music in the distance for the Norwegian Syttende Mai parade—a major annual event in my small, Midwestern hometown. My mother opened all the windows and let the warmish springtime breeze drift in along with the band. I remember the sheer, white curtains billowing around her as my mom took down the heavier winter drapes. I remember our enormous crabapple tree heavy with pink blossoms. I remember eating my Chef Boyardee Ravioli out of an orange plastic bowl, while sunning my newly rediscovered knees on the back steps. In my memory, I often ate my lunch on those back steps, but did I? Am I recalling one day in May that somehow got changed in my memory to a lifetime of May days focused on my knees? One thing I know for sure is that apple tree has grown a lot from then until now. Maybe my memory of May has grown in proportion to that tree. Details lost in remembering? Read on

Hindsight Parenting: Parenting An Adult

Give and Take: Parenting An Adult

Son1 is twenty, and it’s no secret that in many ways I bumbled and fumbled my way through raising him. Just as it’s no secret that I use those bumbles and fumbles to guide my parenting decisions for his four year old sister, Ila. Looking BACK has made it easy to move FORWARD…but parenting an adult…well…once again, I find myself in unchartered territory. When it comes to knowing what’s appropriate and not appropriate, what actions stay behind the imaginary line and what actions step over that line, I have no experiences to lean on. And so, I will admit, that I’ve been a bit nervous. I mean, he was a guinea pig once. I don’t want him to be one again.

But believe it or not Hindsight’s wisdom DOES provide me a road map. After all, the things that make up good parenting at four, probably make up good parenting at any age. So lately, I decided to try this theory out. Could I transfer my new parenting truths when it comes to Ila and make them parenting truths for my 20 year old? This is what I came up with: Read the rest of this entry »

Just My Type: Difference of Opinion

Difference of Opinion

In my little corner of Massachusetts, a town board and a town committee recently disagreed over the best course of action. The committee was charged with making a recommendation to the board, which it did; the board decided to go a different direction. The thing is, I believe both groups have people who are caring, hard-working and community-minded. — It’s really hard when there’s a fight but no clear villain.

That’s how I felt recently when I saw a Facebook post from the JDRF North Central CT/Western MA, our local chapter of the organization charged with finding a cure for type one diabetes. In their post, Not just a gadget, JDRF was encouraging people to rally against a New York Times article, Even Small Medical Advances Can Mean Big Jumps in Bills. In particular, JDRF objected to the term “gadget” The Times story used in referring to medical devices like insulin pumps.

I already had read the story before I saw JDRF’s post. I felt sick after reading it. I have long thought the idea of a cure for diabetes is not going to happen because pharmaceutical companies are making an obscene amount of money off of diabetics  Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: When Your Child Loves Your Spouse More Than You

I Love Daddy More!

Ila’s chin quivered as I undid her car seat buckle after school a week ago.

“Is daddy home?”  She asked.

“No, sweetie, he’s working,” I replied gently.

And then…the saddest cry in all humanity came from the depths of her.  Tears swelled and cascaded down her tiny face.  She cried hard…her-little-mouth-opening-with-no-sound-coming-out hard.  I scooped her up and asked, “Sweetheart, what is the matter?” Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Anger, Quarrels & Love

Anger: The Unvarnished Truth

We had the blowout of the century last week, my husband and I.  The blowout of the century.  The topic isn’t as important as the pure seething vitriol that came from both our mouths, flung at each other with all the might we could muster.  It was a horrific display of the worst of our humanness.  I had had it.  He had had it.  For weeks the blood boiled in both of us and reached the point where the pressure cooker burst–burst wide open.  It was late at night.  The dog was sleeping.  The cat was sleeping.   Ila was sleeping…or so I thought.

The next morning, we both did our best to paste a shiny smile on our faces so that she wouldn’t suspect that our feelings for each other at that moment were less than fond (to put it mildly).  Although I didn’t notice then (shame on me) looking back now, Ila was very quiet that morning. She moved through the routine as if she was walking through molasses.  The car ride to school wasn’t full of top-of-her-lungs “Frozen” songs and she was shy and clingy when it was time for me to leave her in her classroom.  That afternoon, after picking her up, her tiny voice cut through the silence and pulled me from my very busy mind.  “Mommy, why aren’t you married to Aidan’s daddy anymore?” Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: When Little Boys Grow Up

Not Nurse Nightengale

When Son1 was 17 he had the brilliant idea that he wanted a three person sling shot. It was made out of high tech stretchable exercise bands and was made to launch water balloons at “friends.” I immediately said no to the ludicrous idea knowing full well it wouldn’t be just water balloons that he and his friends would be launching…Nuh uh. I knew my son well enough to know that there would be lots of mischief making with a toy like that. Not surprisingly however, his father DID purchase it for him and my super mom senses were correct that he would choose to use said toy in a way that was NOT recommended…yup…that one fateful day in which he decided to put a potato in the harness that was meant for a water balloon. Yes, I said a potato.

So…picture this if you please… Read the rest of this entry »

Just My Type: Brave Little Girls

Sleep Tight

Her face was streaked with tears, her little blonde head bobbing with anguish. “It’s not fair,” she sobbed. “I want to go to the sleepover.”

“I know,” I whispered, sitting next to her and putting my arm around her. “I know.”

The second-grade girl in question? Not my daughter, Noelle, but her Girl Scout Brownie troop-mate I will call Hope, who was just diagnosed with type one diabetes last fall.

I’m used to this scene. It stinks for these little kids who get this disease and can’t be normal. In this case, the troop was planning its first overnight excursion, and Hope’s parents had decided they weren’t ready for this step.

I understood. Hope was getting her insulin pump just two days before the sleepover, and the first days, even weeks, of having a child on an insulin pump are nerve-wracking. Here you are, used to giving shots, knowing exactly what insulin your child was getting, and now your child will be attached to a device that will constantly administer this life-saving but also potentially lethal steroid. It’s a lot of trust to put into a machine the size of an iPod!

As a parent who has been through those days, I got it. But as I hugged the devastated little girl, I got her point, too…

Read the rest of this entry »

Parenting Green: It’s Not What We Say, It’s What We Do!

Your One Thing

Every day we are challenged to be authentic. Authentic to ourselves, to community, and to our loved ones through our speech or actions. There is a tendency to alter our opinions in hopes that they will match others, or in efforts to not offend, or sometimes its skewed to diffuse tension. The goal is to be expressing honestly and receiving feedback empathetically. I am about to tell a story that touched me so single pointedly around my authentic self and my values. I got a soaring feeling in my heart when it happened and I knew that it aligned with my intentions completely, though I hesitated to share it. I was concerned other people would feel guilty or ashamed if they didn’t care about this one thing to the same degree as I did. I wanted to avoid potentially hurting or alienating myself in the parenting community. What I realized in validating that assumption was that I wasn’t being authentic to myself and I was playing party to the ‘what if’s.’ If we are coveted or fear-based about what we truly are and how we express then we are teaching confusion of opinion and identity to our children.

So here it goes… Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Whining Monster vs. Angry Monster

“Let it Go” Let Me Let it Go!

I had a day last week. BOY OH BOY did I have a day! You know…one of THOSE days, where nothing goes right, nothing makes your child happy, and he or she whines and whines AND whines…and WHINES! When I was in my twenties and had THESE kinds of days with the boys, I would explode, implode…lose—my—mind! Yelling, stomping, snarling, slamming. I did it all.

But now I have Hindsight and I know that what I do is what my children, in the end, will do as well. I also know that a mother who loses it in an unpredictable way will not be a human being that her children will trust and therefore they won’t come to her with problems that might in fact make her blow a gasket. These are truths that I know.

The problem on THAT day last week is that as hard as I tried to remind myself of the things that I knew about anger and raising children, my body, my mind, my SOUL just wouldn’t respond appropriately. So as the day progressed and the whining got louder, more frequent and MUCHO irritating, the more I felt unable to keep the angry monster from jumping out of my throat. Even the heaviest iron boots wouldn’t keep him down.

Believe me, I tried. I did everything that Dr. Speed Dial and my constant companion, Hindsight, have taught me about being a mother who wasn’t a raving maniac. I reasoned. I hugged. I ignored. I distracted. I played and played and played and played. And still…and still…she whined. She whiiiiiiiiiiiiined… Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: 20 Ideas of Love

What Love Is

When you read this, Valentine’s Day 2014 will be a memory, but the column was penned the week before…so bear with me. Anyways, is there ever really any BAD time to talk about love? And truly, is there anyone more qualified to speak about this particular subject than a mother?

Although I didn’t grow up with the best model of what love is, the older I get the more chances I have had to observe those that are experts at it. Not only have I observed it, but I’ve experienced great love from so many special friends and family, that it is impossible not to learn more and more each day and give it back to my children. And although I have a lot to learn about the strongest emotion in the world, I am beginning to understand the nuances of this complicated thing called love:  Twenty ideas of love…

Just My Type: From Working Mom to SAHM

Working it Out

I got my first full-time job as a junior in college, working the graveyard shift in the composing room of the Troy Record. I was hoping it would lead to a job in the newsroom, as I was studying journalism at Russell Sage College; it eventually did, and I started my career as a newspaper copy editor a couple months before I graduated. From there, I went on to work at several daily and weekly newspapers in the Northeast over the years, including the entire time I was pregnant with my daughter, Noelle, and seven weeks after she was born.

But this is not an autobiography. This is looking forward.

For the first time since that first job in Troy, N.Y., I am not working full-time anymore… Read the rest of this entry »

Valentine’s Day Tips for Dads and Daughters

Don’t let Valentine’s Day be just one more chance for Dad to feel like a walking, talking (and unappreciated) checkbook. These Dads & Daughters Tips will help fathers and stepfathers to show daughters that they care on Valentine’s Day and beyond.

  • ❥ Remember, a Daughter hungers for healthy involvement and attention from Dad (even if she doesn’t always show it).
  • ❥ A Daughter wants assurance that her Father and/or Stepfather really knows her and cares about her.
  • ❥ A Daughter wants to feel that Dad is proud of her and that he loves and understands her.
  • ❥ A Daughter wants these intangibles far more than she wants a box of candy or any other present or card.
  • ❥ Daughters sometimes feel that Dads only know how to show their love by buying something. So supplement this year’s store-bought Valentine’s card and candy with your unique message of love.
  • ❥ Give her a hand-written note or personal email — in your own words — telling her how proud you are of her, what you admire about her, how much you enjoy your time together, etc.
  • ❥ Give her the greatest gift of all: your time. Listen to what she has to say and what’s important to her.
  • ❥ Spend 1-on-1 time together on Valentine’s Day or the next available weekend. See a movie, take a walk, go out for coffee or ice cream, play catch. There are a million possibilities (for more ideas, see The Dads & Daughters Togetherness Guide: 54 Fun Activities to Help Build a Great Relationship).
  • ❥ Remember that she only gets one chance to have you as her Dad or Stepdad while she’s still a girl.
  • ❥ Out of the thousand things you do every day, make sure you always give attention, thought, time, and affection to your Daughter — and your Son.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your children! Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Mother & Daughter Solitaire Extraordinare

Solitary Not-Confinement

She walks into the party.  Her patent leather shoes shine, stockings are straight and sleek.  Her hair is in a perfectly high ponytail with red grosgrain ribbon to hold it in place.  When she arrives, she is happily greeted by the other children attending.  They surround her.  Two grab her hands and lead her to the awaiting bouncy houses.  She scurries up the ramp and begins to bounce.  Her laughter mixes with the laughter of her friends.

Her mother is greeted by the other moms.  She knows them all by their first name.  She is gloriously adept at making small talk; remembering to ask about this one’s son and that one’s husband, commenting on the fierce cold, and sharing recipes for perfect Valentine treats.  She is pulled together perfectly; jeans, boots, and long sweater.  Her hair, in a high pony tail, matches her daughter.  She nods her head in sympathetic agreement as she listens intently to one of the other mothers exclaiming how she would just PERISH if she wasn’t able to go out every weekend “just to get away for a bit.”

Can you picture it?  I can…but that’s it.  I can only PICTURE it.  None of this scene has ever really happened in this girl’s world; not last year, not last month, and not at a party last weekend… Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Top Five Most Misused Words and Phrases by Preschoolers

Fluent in Preschool

You did it!!!  It may not have been smooth sailing at times, but at least the dingy didn’t capsize! You made it through the sleepless-nights-poopy-diapers-tantrum-throwing-potty-training years of infancy and toddler-dom.  Now, you have a preschooler, and he or she can speak! What does that mean? All of that incessant crying to get what they want—done!  After all, you are living with a pint-sized communicator–all right–a rudimentary communicator, but at least able to say what he or she wants and needs.  Now it’s going to be much easier, right?

Maybe…It really depends, because you see, those teeny humans, like any human learning a new language, may use a word or utterance in a way that it is not meant to be used.  And without a translation guide, parents are…well… back in that dingy without a paddle.  Luckily, not only have I unlocked the code to the top five most misused words and phrases by preschoolers, I have devised a parental action plan to take for each, and share them with you here: Top Five Most Misused Words and Phrases by Preschoolers…

Just My Type: Marshmallow Heart

Safe and Sound

Every day when I send Noelle off to school, I am putting her life in the hands of people who are virtual strangers.

“I don’t ever want to talk to you again!”

My daughter, Noelle, uttered these words as she flew out the front door to wait for the school bus. She was angry because she and I had just tussled over her use of her new iPad Mini before school, and this was her parting shot to me.

Tears sprang to my eyes as I watched her board the bus. Logically, I know kids say these kinds of things to their parents all the time when they are angry and full of youthful drama. But on a purely emotional level, I was devastated, and it didn’t take much soul-searching to realize why.  Every day when I send Noelle off to school, I am putting her life in the hands of people who are virtual strangers. The people who work at her school are, without a doubt, kind, well-meaning and professional, but they are effectively strangers… Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Teaching Yourself to Glide… and Never Stop Learning!

Fisher Girls Never Give Up!

I teach.  I have for 22 years, many grades 3rd through 8th. I parent.  I have for 20 years, making (as you know) many mistakes along the way.  I learn.  I have been for many years, vowing to use hindsight as a guide to do better.  I seek.  Perhaps for the last three years, always on the lookout for ways to improve myself and the world around me.  My trusty Doctor Speed Dial tells me that if you put all those things together, one could say that I am constructive.

Dictionary.com’s definition of “constructive”: Helping to improve; promoting further development or advancement (opposed to destructive ).

I like that last part.  “opposed to destructive”.  The phrase fits my state of mind, my evolution, and my intentions for myself, my children, and heck, for the universe itself over these past few years. I make a conscious effort to stay away from those that are destructive or mean or energy-suckers (as my husband so eloquently puts it).  Instead choosing to put emphasis on the good, on what could be learned in any situation, concentrating on a gratitude attitude… Read the rest of this entry »

Bedtime Routine: Let’s Talk Bedtime

What Time Does Your Child Go to Bed?

Let’s talk bedtime… What time does your child go to bed, and what is their age? Many parents struggling with bedtime routines with their young children wonder how other parents manage and what time they turn off the lights. Pulled from our archives, here’s what our readers had to share…

  • Myanna Carbin-O’Brien writes: “One son is 20 months…6:45-7:15ish depending on nap. My other son is 4, no nap and 7:30.”
  • Kara Kitchen‎ writes: “8 (almost 9) y.o. Twins in bed at 9 lights out at 9:30 sleep till 7 am-weekends they can stay up till midnight and sleep in till 10 when nothing to do!”
  • Sara Barry writes: “4.5 months and 2 years—Bed time is between 7 and 7:30, though this time of year we’re having trouble getting inside early enough to get to bed on time.”
  • Joan Griswold writes: “My daughter is 9, going to be 10 in September. We get her into to bed to read at 8:30 and lights out at 9PM. Weekends are a little later. I like seeing what others do!”
  • Michelle Huddy‎ writes: “1.5, 5 and 6. Between 7:00-8:00. The 5 year old is up at 6:00 every morning!”
  • See what other parents had to say…

Just My Type: The Cat Knocked Over the Christmas Tree

A Merry Little Christmas

The cat knocked over the Christmas tree.

I realize there is probably nothing too unique about those seven words. People with pets deal with this kind of thing every Christmas. We even have dealt with it before; years ago when we had both a dog and a cat, our tree was tied to a wall via some twine and a couple cup hooks.

But for some reason that didn’t occur to us this Christmas, the first we are celebrating with our new cat in our home (Last Christmas, the first year we had him, we spent Christmas in Florida and didn’t do any decorating.). Maybe it’s because we had other things on our mind – mostly Noelle’s new health issues. Or maybe it’s because I debated whether to even put up a tree this year – mostly because Noelle’s new health issues have not put me in a happy jolly mood… Read the rest of this entry »

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