Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Member Musings: Thoughts on the Family Bed

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I may not get the best night’s sleep, yet I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Around the world, the “family bed”, or cosleeping, is more common than it is here in the states. My child is getting older, and so the bed is getting more cramped. Sometimes he is snuggled up on my chest, bringing […]

Best of the Forum: Stay-at-Home Moms — What Do You Do All Day?

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Hi there. I have a 13-month-old son. He is super busy. If we aren’t out and about by 9am, he is literally screaming the house down. I would like to do some new things with him because I am getting quite bored of the same stuff every day. This is what we do (if you […]

17 Things Girls Need from their Mothers

Photo by Rebecca Alison

I write this from the aspect of a woman who is a daughter. I write this from the point of view of a woman who has a stepdaughter that came into my life when she was 7 years old. I write this from the stance of a woman who wants to have a daughter some […]

Member Musings: Late Night Entertainment

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What are the odds that the baby could top last night’s performance? Because last night she pooped in the tub. And it was entertaining and indirectly helpful. Entertaining because I thought about that dookie scene in Caddyshack, that and my wife’s reactions to the baby’s excremental behavior are always worth a chuckle. Then the baby […]

Member Musings: Time to Learn

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So, last week out of nowhere (7-year-old) William tells me he wants to learn how to ride his bike. From 0-60 it became urgent — he needed to learn right now! We didn’t have a bike that was his size, so there was some delay getting organized.  

Member Musings: The Whole Story

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I was having lunch with some friends the other day, and one of my friend’s two sons was having a really tough day. They were both sick, and we were all hungry as we waited longer for a lunch table than anyone with children under the age of four should EVER have to wait. And, as her boys continued to melt down, and her patience also waned, it reminded me of something my dad and stepmom told me not long ago.

We were in a restaurant and there was a young child loudly crying somewhere in the place. My dad, who hasn’t always been known for his patience, sat there stoically showing zero irritation. It was almost as if he barely noticed. But later, my parents explained their attitude about children acting up in public. Basically, it came down to this: you don’t know whole the story.

I have a nephew who is on the autism spectrum. His mom, my stepsister, is one of the best moms you’d ever meet: patient, loving, kind, smart and of course, fiercely committed to meeting her kids’ needs. In spite of her superior parenting skills, my nephew, when he was younger, regularly melted down in public. Certain things just didn’t sit well with him. He was terrified of balloons. Of open ceilings with vents and pipes exposed. Of loud noises, like a blender. Consequently, it was quite possible that if he encountered a strange environment, or even a familiar environment that suddenly included something that he wasn’t okay with, he voiced his fear. Loudly. Repeatedly. For the most part, my stepsister learned to recognize things that he’d have trouble with, and she was usually able to manipulate the situation (or avoid it) if it was going to be overly challenging. (His therapist also worked with him on these things, of course.)

The lesson my parents learned from their grandson was this: you don’t know the whole story.

You don’t know what sorts of challenges the child and the family are facing, be those issues chronic (like a medical condition, hardship) or acute (a bad cold, a poor night’s sleep). The parents of the child screaming in the restaurant, throwing a gigantic tantrum in the grocery store or acting out at the neighborhood park are not necessarily bad parents who “let” their child misbehave. They’re just parents who have a child who, for one reason or another, is having a hard time.

 

Member Musings: Slowing Down to be a Stay-at-Home Mom

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Before my son was born, I spent a decade working in a fast-paced and stressful environment. Things moved and changed quickly, and I suppose I got used to that pace. For a variety of reasons, I chose to leave my career when my son was ten months old. I knew that there would be a mental and emotional transition to being a stay at home mom, but I assumed that merely being aware of it was enough to deal with it. It turned out that going from the speed of the working world to the speed of a toddler was harder than I anticipated.

Once I was home fulltime with my son, I felt bored and lost. The days passed so slowly – an hour at the park was like three hours. I found myself second-guessing my decisions, trying to make the perfect decision. In the back of my mind, I felt like – if I was “just” going to be a mom, I had better be a really good one. The time I spent deliberating over each decision point and berating myself for making the wrong choice made me really annoying to be around. I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do next because apparently toddlers don’t like to play quietly in the living room all afternoon. This created an additional challenge of trying to pass the time until dinner and bedtime.

Over time, I started to figure out a few tricks. For me, having a schedule is key. I enrolled my son in some classes to give me milestones during the week. I know what I am doing on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and it ensures that I don’t find myself in pajamas at 11am. I also try to set a general game plan for the day. It is usually a mix of playgrounds, running errands and walks – with field trips thrown in periodically. Now, I don’t have to spend mental energy deciding what to do in the moment, I just execute my plan. Obviously, if my son’s mood has gone off the rails, I adjust.

However, what really helped was therapy. I saw someone that allowed me to talk through what I was experiencing and become more aware of what I was doing to myself. The thing I found the most helpful was giving my inner voice a name and treating her like the devil that sits on my shoulder. Seems silly, but it has allowed me to choose to ignore her talking. I am not perfect, but definitely getting better at it.

It took time to slow down to a toddler’s pace, but now that I have given myself permission to relax and enjoy it, I am much happier. It still doesn’t come naturally to me, but I am better able to work toward improvement.

Member Musings: Best or Worst Mom Award?

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We just finished a fun and relaxing bath with oil massages for the kids. Still in our birthday suits, the kids puttered around while I searched in the closet for a new pack of diapers.

Seconds later I turn around when Mia starts fussing. She’s grimacing and fishing in her mouth. Low and behold… a sizable turd on the ground with a little piece mushed into her book. Simon starts repeating, “Mia poo pooed on the floor. Don’t read that book – there’s poo poo on it. Mia ate her poo poo!” while I frantically power-washed her mouth and re-bathed her.

Don’t Ask Your Child To Apologize

Photo by Tim Norris

As a parent educator, I advise parents not to ask their child to apologize when they’ve done something wrong. This surprises many people! Parents, eager to teach their children good social skills, assume this is the way you do that. When a child grabs a toy from his sibling, hits her sister, or kicks your car […]

What’s Your Type?

Photo by wpgrace

The Enneagram is a robust system of personality, self-awareness and personal growth. As parents, we are challenged daily to grow ourselves into our best selves so as to meet the developing needs of our children in a peaceful and loving manner. The Enneagram can offer a path out of ineffective parenting patterns such as reacting […]

Member Musings: The name is M-O-M

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As a parent you want to ensure that you raise your kids right, or to the best of your abilities at least.

Part of that is teaching them how to be ready for the world. Making sure they know their name, address, phone number and teaching them that you, Mom (or Dad), have your very own first name, too.

What I didn’t realize is that one day my oh-so cool 3.5 year old would stroll into the house after preschool one day and say, “Hi Chanden.”

As I tried to hide my amused smirk and giggle, I looked over and said, “Hello there.” I found myself stuck.

Now, I don’t want him to get the wrong idea that that is not my first name. But I didn’t go through what I did to make that miniature being call me by my first name.

What I wanted to turn around and say, “Hello there… by the way, the name is Mom! I earned it and deserved to be called by that rightful name. So use it – sir.”

5 Tips for a Tear-Free Child’s Hair Cut

Photo by Erik R. Bishoff

Your child needs a haircut but you delay making an appointment. Your hesitation is not so much of a time issue as it is one of angst. Often parents dread taking a small child to the hair salon. The crying and tantrums can make the experience miserable for everyone. As a family hair salon owner […]

Member Musings: Children’s Discovery Museum

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If you are looking for a field trip with your child, I want to recommend the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose. There is a good variety of activities, and they have special areas for the under-4 crowd. My son loves to drive the ambulance and play in the food truck and kitchen. The Wonder Cabinet upstairs is a bit dated, but kids don’t know that. Downstairs in the water area, there is a smaller area for the little ones with scaled down waterproof smocks. The staff is also very friendly.

Solutions to Typical Issues Parents Have While Potty Training

Photo by ToddMorris

Potty training is easily one of the most talked about events in the life of a toddler, yet it is often cause for great concern and stress among parents. Despite the hundreds of books and videos telling you the “simple” way to potty train your child, the majority of children learn to use the toilet […]

Member Musings: Tennis Balls and Laundry Baskets

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A couple of weeks ago, my son was lucky enough to spend a week with his great grandparents. In preparation for our trip I crammed tons of toys and books into suitcases. When we left, I was nervous that I didn’t pack enough to entertain my son for an entire week.