Having stress-free “Tough Talks”…through a stuffed animal

Jun 18, 2014 by

There are some conversations we, as parents, need to have with our kids to keep them safe. What would you do if another child hurt you on the playground? What if a stranger asked you to get in his or her car? What do you do if you get lost in a public place? For super-sensitive kids like my older son, however, these conversations are unbearably hard. I tried broaching the subject of what to do if he loses me in a store when he was about three and a half, and he literally shut down. He was terrified even thinking about it, and he wanted no part of the conversation. I didn’t want to leave him afraid, because honestly, he likely won’t get separated from me anyway, but I wanted to be sure he would know what to do should it happen. Kind of by accident, we found the perfect solution. Enter “Pig”:

My kids are growing up and…I’m loving it!

Jun 11, 2014 by

I was the first of my friends to have children. I became a mother for the first time at the age of 26, and for the second time at the age of 29. Most of my close friends were living it up in the single life while I was also up until dawn, but for very different reasons. I went through the early stages of motherhood somewhat alone. I didn’t really have any seasoned “been there, done that” moms I could call with my crazy new-mom questions. I missed out on some really fun bachelorette weekends due to being at home nursing babies. Granted, I wouldn’t change it for anything, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy to jump into motherhood without a network of mom support.

Appreciating the Present

Jun 4, 2014 by

My older son is five, and is starting to become really interested in what things say if he can’t figure it out on his own. He recognizes some words he sees frequently, and some sight words from school. Recently, when we stopped at a familiar stop sign in our neighborhood, he said “Hey! What are those extra words under the word ‘STOP’ on there?” We’d passed this sign dozens of times since the, ahem, addition, but this was the first time he’d been looking, apparently.

photo: S. Bernhardson

photo: S. Bernhardson

I told him someone had painted the words “today is a gift” on the sign. “What? Why? What the heck is that supposed to mean?” I started to explain, “Well, you know how when you get a gift, it’s wrapped up and you don’t know what’s inside, but it’s really exciting, then when you find out what it is, you’re thankful to whomever who gave it to you? It’s like that, but with everything that happens. This day that you’re alive is a gift. I guess someone was trying to remind us to be excited about it and thankful for it.”

Great End-of-the-Year Teacher Gifts

May 28, 2014 by

Is it just me, or is this time of year jam-packed with things to remember for all the parents of school-aged kids? All the end-of-the year assemblies and parties and projects and meetings have just collided with the panic of figuring out summer plans, it’s somehow all piled on top of the normal day-to-day stuff like lunches and grocery shopping and general household running. Oh, and, um, our actual, paid work. Yikes!

One of those end-of-the year tasks that many of us face is how to properly thank the teachers that have worked so hard with our children for the past 10 months. I speak from my past as a teacher when I say parents should not feel at all obligated to buy a end-of-the-year gifts for their child’s teacher; however, many parents (myself included!) really want to show our appreciation and say good-bye to an awesome teacher.  Below are some of my favorite ways to show your child’s teacher that you are grateful for their hard work and dedication to your child over the past school year.

The Drama of Healthy Lunches

May 21, 2014 by

Have you been following the news about school lunches lately? Yikes. The drama! As federal guidelines continue to be tweaked, requiring more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, there’s been more than a little push back from parents, schools, and foodservice companies that manage school cafeterias. I, for one, don’t see what the big deal really is. There are plenty of times in a child’s life when he or she is subjected to choices made by adults in his or her best interest; this is simply an occasion where adults need to ensure kids are given healthy choices. If a family is facing poverty, a school lunch may be the only balanced meal available that day to the children in that household. While I keep hearing the argument that “parents are free to pack an alternate lunch if their child doesn’t like what’s being served”, I have a hard time with this logic. For children receiving a free or reduced price lunch, there may not be enough resources at home to pack a lunch each day. These kids may have to eat what the school serves, and it becomes even more important for these children to have a meal rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Not to mention, I would think that parents who do choose to pack a lunch from home would also want their children to be eating a nutritious, well-balanced meal. In short, I don’t see that logic for providing junk food for lunch.

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