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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Teachers Make All the Difference

As I walked down the hall this morning on my way to my almost 4 year old daughter’s classroom I knew something was different. I felt her grip on my hand tighten almost as if she knew what was around the corner. Kids have a certain sense about these things. As we turned the corner her tight grip on my hand changed into a choke hold on my leg. That was when I knew we had a problem.

“Where is Ms. Suzanne?” I asked the perfectly nice substitute teacher. “She was not feeling well so she is at home today.” Now I knew. As I knelt down to look into her eyes I could see the tears welling up. I said in as normal a tone as I could muster being fully aware of the impending doom “OK honey, I will pick you up at lunch with a nice surprise in the car waiting for you.” She blinked and the well of tears in her eyes became a stream of tears running down her face.

After about 20 minutes of failed negotiations , and I was offering the good stuff you know like mommy’s handbags, lip gloss and toenail painting type stuff, Andira was finally peeled from my leg in hysterics and I walked away feeling torn myself. I could hear her crying for me all the way down the hall and all the while I wanted to go back and get her and take her home with me. I did not do that for obvious reasons.

Andira is already a homebody who could be with her dad and I all day everyday and be perfectly happy with that. Then we met Suzanne and all that changed. Now, there are still a lot of long hugs and lingering kisses but every morning I leave her smiling in her dear teacher’s arms. This is the magic her teacher has in her possession. Somehow Suzanne knows exactly how to relate to and bestow peace upon my very sweet and innocent little girl’s heart. Not to mention the peace she gives me.

The early childhood experiences our children have with their teachers are so very important. I don’t think I realized until this morning that if it was not for our beloved Ms. Suzanne I would probably not be sending my darling daughter to that school again next year. I wonder if that goes unnoticed more than it should. What special people our teachers are. How one sick day can literally throw our children into such a tizzy that they are inconsolable. We as parents need to be more appreciative of the job our teachers do and that is a given but I especially think that administrators of our schools need to realize how invaluable their personnel resources are. The bottom line is that I pay tuition to the school because I love my daughter’s teachers and if I did not love them then I would not be paying. I hope people think of this more often!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Right Time to Get Married

When is the right time to get married? I am not talking about the right time between two people. My question is about when it is the right time for a person to get married. When is someone ready? I used to think I had this all figured out but now I am not so sure.
I got married “early” by today’s standards. At the ripe old age of 23 I took off down the aisle escorted by both my parents and was placed into the arms of a man I had met only a year and a half earlier. After eight long months of dating we made the decision to take the plunge into the life of married-dom and we have never looked back. Well, maybe we have looked but we have not stepped…

My point is that looking objectively at my life and marriage one would say that this is indisputably the path of someone who will wind up a statistic. What is it now, more than 50% of marriages end where they started? I too spent time after our wedding telling people that I recommend waiting until they have reached an age closer to 30 before they decide to take their vows. My reasoning was simple. A person typically does a lot of “growing up” in the years between 25 and 30 and to me it would be easier to grow up first and then get married instead of doing what I was doing which was growing up with my husband. Makes sense right?

Now that I am older and my once young husband and I are preparing to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary my views have changed. Unless he cheats on me or goes berserk and starts abusing my girls and/or I (very extreme cases I know) our marriage will end in death. We certainly do not have a fairy tale marriage, trust me, but the fact that we came together with nothing, emotionally and financially nothing, gave us the same baseline so that where we are today is neither mine nor is it his. It is technically and figuratively ours.

The flip side to this the couple who does not get married until later. At some point after they have acquired things, both emotionally and physically, they decided to share these things, these previously acquired things, with one another. What I have seen is nothing better and in some cases there can actually be too much to share and if these people did not learn good lessons in preschool they may not know how to play well with others. So, while two people can grow up together in this case they may actually need to grow down. To undo or unzip some of their individual togetherness in order to make a shared togetherness.

So when is the right time to get married?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Does Your Toddler Have Sleeping Issues?

I thought that everyone knew how to deal with sleep issues with a toddler but just that since it can be difficult (time consuming and tear-jerking) parents were hesitant to be hard-core about it. The truth is however that so many parents really do not know what to do to get their child into a healthy nighttime routine and that they just think they have to suffer with what they are dealing with. I have dealt with my share and as far as I am concerned your share of sleep issues with my girls. Here is my “foolproof” method for getting back into a healthy sleep routine with your child. It works every time and with any kid but you have to be committed and diligent. I cannot stress that enough. This is my own combination of various methods (disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer….) Ok, so here goes…

Step one is decide that the result you are striving for is to get your child to sleep for an entire night in his or her own bed. Period. And that you will accept no less. Got it? Do not read anymore until you have taken this vow because you are getting ready to embark on an emotionally and physically tiring journey.

Now that you have taken the above vow you will need to choose a start time. Ideally I would start on a Thursday night since typically it takes no more than three nights to get the job done and it is easier to deal with work when you are tired and it is the end of the week instead of increasing the amount of stress you feel on Monday morning.

On Thursday night put your child in the bath tub a little earlier than usual and if you do not bathe your child at night I recommend starting to because this really does help to soothe them. I used to start the day talking about how tonight she is going to sleep like a big girl by herself and get her excited about from the morning but this has backfired and can also cause unnecessary stress over the course of their day so just judge by what you know about your child. If you think you can get them excited about being a “big” girl or boy then start talking about it in the morning.

After bath tell your child how the rest of the night is going to go. Tell them how many books you will read, songs you will sing and that then they will get a kiss and you will leave. Then do exactly what you said. Depending on your child the crying may start right away. Whatever the deal is the next things are simple but must be consistent.

Leave the room. If your child follows you put them back into bed with a “goodnight” and maybe a few kind words like “I love you,” “you can do it,” “don’t cry,” etc. Only use words the first time you put them into bed. Now for the rest of the night sleep someplace that you all will not wake your spouse (no point in both of you being up all night) and keep putting your child in bed. No matter how hysterical they are put them back in bed as gently as you can but with no words for the entire rest of the night.

My daughter had puked, she has come out of her room 20+ times and she has even been physically resisting me before but the first night is the worst for us. When she pukes I clean it up with as little fuss and light as I can and then continue on with my plan. This can also vary according to the child but by the third night you will have a different kid and if you continue with diligence you will have your nights back in no time!

This really works so try it if you like to sleep…