Category Archives: Parenting

image

One day they’ll know I trick them

Need: after school snack
Have on hand: two zucchini
Solution: chocolate muffins

No one has to know about the zucchini
image

4 cups of shredded zucchini squeezed dry in a dish cloth
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cups sugar (you may want more)
2 eggs
1 1/2 sticks melted butter
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Mix dry and wet ingredients separately then mix in. Spoon into muffin pan. Bake 45 min at 350. Makes 24.

Andrew

5 things I want you to know about my special needs child

Most parents are counting down the days until school starts next week. When you have a child with special needs there is a whole extra set of apprehensions. There are so many things I want to say to help others understand. Here are five.

1. I’m really happy for you when your child achieves an accomplishment and I want to share in your joy. You can tell me. My child may not make honor roll or all stars but he works really hard on his goals. I’d like to share his accomplishments too.

2. It’s okay to ask me questions. I love talking about my son. I’m no expert but your questions may help me understand too. I’d rather you ask then wonder.

3. I want you to talk to your child about children who are different. Teach them that even when a child doesn’t learn the same way or run the same way there can still be common bonds.

4. The accommodations my child has shouldn’t detract from your child’s education. I know it is frustrating when your child’s teacher is helping a few kids in the class on a task yours completed independently. I hope your child sees this as an opportunity to help his peers. This is a lifelong skill.

5. I wouldn’t change a thing about my son. Yes he drives me crazy and yes sometimes I’m exhausted from his special care but he’s my sweet boy and everyday when he falls asleep I think to myself how blessed I am to be his mother.

No room for us

How Having Children Changes a Marriage, a Happy Wife’s Perspective

One morning you look over and notice there are no tiny bodies between yourself and your husband, so you move closer to him and see gray hairs above his ears. And when did those tiny lines next to his eyes appear? Maybe you feel a little guilty that you haven’t noticed. There was a time when you spent hours staring at your husband and tracing every line on his face.

That was before you had children.  

Now you probably know who is performing on Yo Gabba Gabba, but probably not SNL. You’re more likely to have recently discussed your distaste for the parenting skills on Caillou with your husband then the state of affairs in Russian-American politics.  It’s common knowledge you and your husband have probably arranged your schedules so that someone is always available to care for the children but haven’t made time to be intentionally together.

Parents-Caillou-300x300

Sometime between then and now, pre-child and post-child, your relationship has changed, or perhaps it is better said that you each have changed and you fit together in different ways.

There are so many things you have given up- girl’s nights, romantic weekend trips, dinner not served at 5pm, sleeping in past 7am. You’ve also given up being the center of your husband’s world. He’s done the same.

photo 2

You don’t have to ask yourself “is it worth it?” You know it certainly is.

You need only look at those little faces, a snapshot into the past, a time when your husband was young and you didn’t know he existed.  

My three children are tow headed like my husband was. One even has his bendy ear. Also, like my husband, they cannot wake up in the morning. The good news is they also share his sense of adventure and will try anything. Going someplace new is exponentially fun with my little family (once we get up).

The moment our first child was born, we each gained a new identity, me as mother, and my husband as father. The list of “things to do” for these titles are considerably more substantial than the titles of “wife” and “husband.” I got to meet my husband all over again. In the delivery room while my firstborn took his first breath I was introduced to the father of my children, a man with a responsibility to provide for his family, a man who needs to be a role model for his young children.

So times are different. There are things you can’t do right now. There are new sources of excitement; most important is watching your children grow into amazing people.

Children change a marriage, and isn’t it great?

 

image

What I didn’t know then

While digging in the closet today I found this start to a baby blanket. I began knitting it eight years ago, when I was pregnant with my first born and found out he would be a boy. To me this scrap of yarn represents everything I didn’t know or couldn’t imagine before I had kids.
image
Andrew was born five weeks early before I finished the blanket or even had the baby shower my friends had organized. The yarn and needles lay tucked away along with so many plans.

When I began knitting this blanket I never imagined how scary it would be when Andrew came down with RSV and needed a breathing treatment at four months, or how guilty I felt when he was two and broke his leg. I couldn’t imagine how alone and helpless I would feel when he was five and diagnosed with ADHD.

I also never imagined how full my heart would feel whenever I look at him. Or how I can’t help but smile at his clever observations. Or how proud I am of him when he does something selfless.

The present may be different from the future I planned, but it is better than I could have dreamed.

I binded off the blanket and decided to call it a scarf. Albeit a long ugly scarf. I gave it to Andrew because after all it was meant for him.

photo (16)

If I were a rich mom…

As I was pulling out of the neighborhood to run errands on my day off I noticed a mobile dog groomer van in front of my neighbor’s house. “What a great service,” I thought. It got me thinking that now-a-days you really can pay for convenience and I wondered what I would pay for if I won the mom lotto.

The first indulgence came to mind instantly. Car service. I wouldn’t want to hire a full time chauffeur because I like to drive, but think of how much more you could get done as a mom if you didn’t have to drive. You could pull back ‘dance hair’ and tie karate belts as you lounged out in the back of a town car. Maybe we would be on time.

The next service I would acquire is a toilet cleaner. I would pay big bucks for this specialty. Many families use a house cleaning service. With three kids and a full time job I myself have a professional come in every so often, but no  one ever cleans in the recesses around the toilet, places you wouldn’t know existed if you didn’t have little boys. I suspect the bathroom by the video game corner may cost extra. That’s ok I’d pay it.

Everyone in Hollywood has a personal assistant right? I would get one too. His/her job would be to go through the kids backpacks and folders and sort out all the paperwork from school, sports, scouts, and activities. My assistant would sort them all and place the important dates on our family calendar, and then remind me over and over.

Next would be a stylist. But they wouldn’t have to a true professional, just someone who could convince the kids to wear real clothes, unlike me. Joe’s Flacco jersey went for three days in a row last week and it is getting too cold for Sophie to wear the lollipop dress every day.

If I still had money left over I would also hire a toy sorter. This may sound like an excess but really it will be nice. Think of how any board games, puzzles, and Lego sets you have right now that are missing one tiny yet critical piece. Having someone come into you house once a day and put everything in its proper place would make all the toys seem new everyday. Unlike the toilet service, I suspect we’d outgrow this need as the kids get older.

But oh well, isn’t there a quote like: “a rich mom is one whose children run to her arms when her hands are empty.” I guess I do feel wealthy with love.

What would you do if you won the mom lotto?

 

Children should have a garden

Having A Garden…The Simplest Way To Teach A Child To Respect The Earth

What better way to teach children to respect the Earth then to let them dig in it. Not sand box sand but the dark damp earth, full of wiggling worms. Having a garden provides an opportunity to do this. It also teaches children the value in protecting the Earth. Having a garden will make them good global stewards.  Here are three specific reasons children should have a garden.

1) Children should know from where their food comes.

It makes me sad when I see nothing on the school lunch tray that resembles real food. When children participate in the gardening process, checking each day for new fruits and vegetables they are eager to eat real food. They learn the names of bush beans, zucchini, spaghetti squash, and more. Later on when they see big companies trying to sell over processed junk as food they will be able to call them out.

2) The bees!! Don’t kill the bees.

For the love let’s all please save the bees. Children should be cautious of bees. Who wouldn’t want to protect their children from stings but we must as a society put the pesticide down. Children who garden will learn that we need bees to make food. We have butterfly bushes and milk weed growing around our garden to invite the pollinators. We consider ourselves a little safe zone for our honey making friends and we have learned to co-exist with them.

3) A garden, like life, takes patience and perseverance. This is important.

We dig the holes, plant the seeds, and water the garden with zealous excitement. Then we wait and wait. We start to give up. Then all of a sudden we have five foot high peas and we have to make more bamboo climbing poles. More than once the kids have pulled a plum or an apple off the tree before it was ripe because they couldn’t wait anymore. There are many life lessons to be taught in the garden.

Plastic Junk around us

Water Water Everywhere, and Plastic Crap Too

We are at the beach for a weekend get-away. This morning I got up with the kids and hit the beach before the sun got too bright. Even early, the beach was crowded with dads pulling carts and buggies full of colorful plastic junk. They discussed the various advantages of the wheels on their sand conveyance contraptions as they erected tents, laid down blankets, set up chairs, and emptied huge bags of toys.

I felt momentarily inadequate. We dig with our hands, sit in the sand, and dry off in the sun. Like the readers of this blog (at least the real readers and not my poor friends and family who feel obligated to read it), we are conservationists, which means in many ways we are minimalists. Very few would disagree with the argument that an abundance of unrecycled plastic crap is bad for the environment. Consider the resources to make and transport junk that never biodegrades and gets into our ecological system.

I beleive there is a a human cost too. As human beings we evolved close to the earth, and it’s only relatively recently that corporations have encouranged us to remove ourselves from nature. We are still part of the earth. Our brains are wired to take in all the sensations around us. We are meant to see it, smell it, and touch it. The beach is a great place to exercise our senses. You can feel the sand, taste the salt, listen to the waves, watch the sunset into the ocean. Some scientists believe we draw electons from the earth when we walk barefoot. Google “earthing.”

The problem I see it that all this plastic junk is getting in the way of really experiencing the beach. It’s insulating our senses. Plus, it ends up littering the beach or in a landfill for eternity.

Despite the lack of plastic junk (we did have one pail and shovel, but the shovel broke) we had a great morning at the beach.

A plastic free beach experience

no bullying here

The Opposite of a Bully

Today was field day at my 1st grader’s school, a day most kids look forward to. Add dyspraxia (poor muscle control), Sensory Processing Disorder (aversion to stimuli such as loud noises), and ADD (inattentiveness) and it can be a disaster. For this reason I took off work so I could help my son make the best of the day.

What I saw when I walked onto the field melted my heart. One of his classmates, Ky, was holding my son’s hand. When I walked up to them she explained to me that she was his partner. The teacher didn’t assign partners, this was something Ky wanted to do on her own. She went from station to station with him even though it meant waiting. She showed an infinite patience.

I can’t be sure what about Ky makes her want to help. I also don’t know how she can tell that there is a special need among her classmates. Maybe because her brother has severe allergies she is sensitive to health conditions. Maybe her mom has talked to her about being a helper. Maybe she just has a heart of gold.

Every day I hear about bullies. In the news are the kids who harass their classmates on the internet. On the play grounds we hear who said this or that. I just want to recognize that there are amazingly compassionate children out there.

When addressing the problem with bullying I think we need to take a look at children like Ky…the opposite of a bully. She is sensitive to the fact that everyone is different and has different strengths. She wants to be helpful. In fact she’s rather be a helper than a winner. In my book…that makes her a star.

 

 

 

 

 

image

My little gardener

Maybe I should have been annoyed, but I loved walking into the backyard and seeing this. Four paper plates full of mud and seeds. Andrew copped to it. He explained that as he was helping me in the garden he had tucked away a few extra seeds and wanted to plant them.

He put them in some great organic potting  soil in a compostable starting container under full sun and gave them a good soak.

I did explain how there wasn’t room for the roots and helped him move his garden over to a spot of soil next to the playhouse. I hope it takes off. It will be fun to figure out what is what as they grow.

 

She dresses herself with a style all her own

7 Things You Should Learn From Children

  1. Ask for help- I thought of this at the pool while I heard my daughter ask a random mom to open her juice for her. The lady was happy to help. We all try so hard to show how strong and independent we are, but we can all use a little help too. It feels good to help others so why not ask for help.
  2. You need to say sorry- The pain goes away, the toy gets returned, but the matter is not settled until the solemn words are spoken. It is important to say sorry when making amends, even for grownups. Saying “I’m sorry” is not just assuming liability, but showing considerations of another’s feelings.
  3. It is okay to not share- The kids have a rule in our house: special toys can be left in their bedrooms and not shared with siblings and friends. It is okay to have boundaries.  This should apply to grownups too with family time. The blackberry gets left in the car during soccer games…I am not sharing this special moment.
  4. Do things that scare you- The higher the slide, the more fun at the landing. For grownups this might be starting a new job, joining a new club, or enrolling in a class. The scarier it is the bigger the reward.
  5. Don’t worry about what you look like just be you- Sometimes I cringe at the outfits my daughter picks out. She has such nice clothes but she likes to wear the wackiest outfits. This is how she is most comfortable. Embrace who you are and work it.
  6. Use that time out to think about what went wrong- We ask our kids to sit quietly and think about whatever misconduct led to the time out. Then we ask them what they could have done differently. Grownups should also take time to reflect when things went wrong and decide how they will react when the opportunity presents again.
  7. Love with all your heart- Children love their families, their friends, their toys, the shiny random objects they find in the parking lot…They love with all their hearts and it makes them happy. Don’t be afraid grownups to do the same. There is always more love, you can never use it up.