a dad

It seems many children go through a stage when they want to be a fire fighter when they grow up.

And why not?  Fire fighters are our heroes – our real life super heroes, rescuing people from danger, putting out fires, racing down city streets with sirens blaring and lights flashing.

This week during Friday Play Shoppe, we were making SuperDad capes for Father’s Day when we heard the sounds of sirens and firetrucks as they zoomed down Green Bay St., right past The Parenting Place.

One little boy about three years old,  concentrating on his project, not looking up, said, almost as if to himself, “That’s my Daddy’s fire truck.  My Daddy is a fireman.  I’m going to be a fireman when I grow up“.

Oh my – how sweet is that!  It was the perfect way to begin Father’s Day weekend!

But, actually, we all really know, right?  Dads don’t have to be a fireman to be considered, in the eyes of their children, a hero.

They just have to be a Dad.

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mothers count

I know – I know – it’s Fathers’ Day weekend coming up – so why in the world am I focusing on mothers?

Well – I just can’t help it!  All around me (literally) are expectant moms in various stages of pregnancy.

They are all conscientiously taking care of themselves, eating well, going to pre-natal visits, making absolute sure that all is well with the baby, continuing to take care of family members, while often still working outside the home.

When the baby arrives, however, the focus becomes solely on the baby.  From friends and relatives to doctors and nurses, everyone’s concern is about the baby.

Yet the mother, who just accomplished a near Olympian feat, a physical accomplishment that leaves a women’s body and often times her emotions in need of care, repair, and attention – is on her own.

Recently I heard about a Godsend – a true and manageable support and help for all pregnant and postpartum mothers. It comes from an extremely reliable source; yes, a woman who just gave birth herself and has reaped its benefits and totally believes in its effectiveness, and how it has made a difference for her.

mommastrong.com – check it out – really – see what you think – there’s something for everyone here.

It’s only a click away!

Oh yes, I actually didn’t mean to forget the dads out there on this upcoming Father’s Day weekend so I sincerely say – “suck it up, dads!”

Do the dishes, vacuum, fold the laundry,  bathe the children, order out (after the kids are in bed).

This might just turn out to be your best Fathers’ Day ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brothers

Theo has a brother – Ezekiel Alexander – born May 30th – 9 lbs 10oz . He calls him Zeki – and is very gentle and sweet with him.

“Theo seems huge” said his dad.  And isn’t that the truth?  When we bring our infants home, even one as big as Zeke, our older child appears, in size, to have left toddlerhood behind and become a regular “kid” over night.

Except they haven’t.

And that’s why we still do cozy lap time and reading for our older child, look back at his baby pictures together,  give him warm eye contact when he’s speaking, and show how to –  and notice when –  he’s so kind and gentle with his little brother.

I have a tattered out- of- print picture book called Oonga Boonga which I love.  Baby Louise cries and cries and no one can soothe her – until her big brother comes home.  He says the magic words “Oonga Boonga” to her – and she stops crying – stares at him.  “Oonga Boonga” he says again, and she smiles.

All the adults are amazed and so when Baby Louise starts to cry again, they all say “Oonga Booga” to Louise – but to no avail.

When her brother returns, they tell him “Oonga Boonga” doesn’t work anymore.  So he kneels down close to her and whispers “Bunka Wunka, Louise” – and Baby Louise stopped crying and smiles.

So often with second, third and subsequent babies, it is their older sibling they look toward to be comforted, entertained, taught – with perhaps a few semi-rough edges in between.

I’m betting on Theo being that kind of brother.

Have fun, you two!

 

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anticipation

“Does the baby say,  I’m ready to come out? two and a half year old Theo asked his expectant mom recently.

Oh, the innocence and logic of a toddler!  I mean, how else will this baby ever appear?

And with the passing days and weeks, even the rest of us begin to wonder – and wait – for this new little one to make an appearance – to hint, at least – I’m ready to come out.

For when a women is close to her delivery date or days beyond that date, the waiting game feels endless, the well-meaning inquiries tiresome, and those who really care, a bit helpless to do much.

As for me, I am in awe of pregnant women everywhere who share this universal journey – most especially those who are mothering another child or more at home besides.

So kudos to all the pregnant moms out there, wondering if today or tonight or tomorrow will be the day – and especially to Theo’s mom who might be listening extra hard, just in case, she hears “I’m ready to come out”.

 

 

 

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a question

The interview was over – all the questions answered – but one.  “Do you have any questions for us?”

And during this particular interview recently, I was struck by the poignant question the candidate asked of us.

“Do you take care of each other?”

Wow! That response has resonated with me since.

Because that question is really the question for all of us to answer in whatever relationships we find ourselves in. That’s what families are about – and friendships – and hopefully even places of employment.

For taking care of each other means being tuned in to one another’s needs, it means sharing, it means supporting,  it means belonging, it means kindness, it means strength, it means security.

It is a powerful question to ask ourselves – not just once, but as we continue to grow in our significant relationships.

“Do you take care of each other?”

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Miss Nancy

Tuesday mornings at The Parenting Place is always a busy one.

Moms and dads, arriving for Parent Connection with their young children in tow – hang up their jackets and hats and enter the playroom, always heartily welcomed by Miss Nancy.

It’s been many years now that Miss Nancy has been with the children in the playroom on Tuesday mornings.  There have been too many children to count whose gentle separation from mom or dad has happened under Miss Nancy’s help and encouragement.

Doing childcare during Parent Connection, however, was not Nancy’s main job at The Parenting Place –  but it might have been her favorite.  Her real job was to instruct and support other childcare workers in La Crosse and surrounding counties to learn, understand, and value the significant work they do with children.

But … Tuesday mornings were hers – to get a fresh dose of young children’s energy, wit and spirit.

And Miss Nancy loved every minute!

Miss Nancy is retiring at the end of May and she will be dearly missed by everyone at The Parenting Place for her long-time commitment to The Parenting Place, her caring and appreciation of young children,  and her support and knowledge shared with caregivers over the years.

Miss Nancy – my long-time friend and co-worker –  Thank you!

You will be missed.

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Celebrate

Mothers’ Day –  it’s always a bit nostalgic for me.

I think about my mom, my mother-in-law, my grandma, all passed away now; my sisters and my friends who mothered with me when we had young children; all the moms I know and have worked with in my role as a Parent Educator; and now, my own special daughter-in-law, loving mom to a two- and- a- half- year- old and ready to give birth to their second child.

We can acknowledge how mothering has definitely changed over the years in so many many ways – but what always remains so powerful, I believe, is an intrinsic bond that weaves among moms of all generations.

For it is mothers who share such a special experience and understanding of  the joys and the pain, the demands and the gentle love, the fatigue and the exhilaration that each of us have known.

And so, I warmly remember and celebrate the mothers in my life- and encourage you to celebrate yourself!

Happy Mothers’ Day!

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