an adventure

“I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.” Winnie the Pooh

And that’s the truth! My husband and I have been married for 53 years – and during those years – I can readily say, it has been a very sweet adventure.

It was an adventure of committed love, new places, new ideas, new friendships, old friendships – settled years – and always our family first.

Our two children were the precious gifts of our time together – and we can’t forget our pooch – Tootsie – who claimed our love and attention these past eleven years.

And now our three grandsons take the cake!

And Grampa Dick as he’s called skipped into that role with ease and joy and love and gratefulness – and a tad of adventure still left in him.

But I’m sad to say Dick passed on this past week, but not before we had the chance to thank each other many times for sharing our lives together – for being loving and patient and – of course – sometimes not – but forever and always grateful for these precious 53 years – thank you for this incredible adventure together.

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If I am thinking correctly” said Winnie the Pooh, “a new baby is probably, undoubtedly, the grandest gift that could ever be.”

Pooh – I have to say, you and I totally think alike!

And on Thursday, August 26th, the day after his big brother turned 7 years old – a new baby boy was born – and it was definitely the grandest gift we could have received.

There’s something about a new baby that is so breath-taking, so lovely, so refreshing, so hopeful – and though he’s miles away from us – the best thing about today’s technology is that it crosses those miles and connects hearts and families and a brand-new grandson to us.

And so now there are three boys filling that house with lively life – and laughter – and noise. Yes, noise – the noise of growing up – of growing together – as a family – and filling this grandparent’s heart with immeasurable joy and love. and hope!

Welcome to our world, sweet Joseph Isaac Swift!

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Just like always

Back- to- school- time coming up – and as much as there is anticipation and excitement in the air – for parents there’s sometimes a sense of nagging concern.

Will it all go well – what abouthow about – hope that – the worries and “letting go” anxieties that parents often carry on such a big day are often present.

For whether it’s beginning pre-school/Kindergarten, middle school, high school, college even – or just the next grade up and a new teacher and new classmates – hoping that all goes smoothly and positively for your child, as planned , is uppermost in most parents’ minds and hearts.

I experienced some of these same feelings this weekend sending The Children’s Festival off to Myrick Park on its own.

(well – not at all – in any way – on its own ( but that’s maybe me thinking like a concerned parent, right?).

But it is the 1st Festival I’ve missed in 25 years!

However, this year, I was unable to be present – and so – The Children’s Festival arrived at Myrick Park with the talented, engaged, happy, conscientious, fun-loving Parenting Place staff to set up and offer a morning of fun, hands-on- play, treats, and connection – just like always.

And just like always ( of course!) it worked – smoothly, beautifully, and memorably!

And so I say to parents as they face their first days of school approaching – and being absent from the goings on, – trust your child – trust those in charge, and expect and believethis is the first of many big days – and celebrate these times recognizing your part in reaching them.

Just like always!

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Monday, monday …

Okay – sometimes a Monday just doesn’t feel like a Monday. Do you agree?

Or maybe it could be a Wednesday not feeling like a Wednesday – the middle of the week already?

But when a Monday doesn’t feel like a Monday to me – guess what? I don’t write and put up my weekly blog.

So now – I’m thinking – I hope I didn’t make anyone else out there question whether it was Monday or not. I mean anyone? who is a faithful reader of my blog wondering – isn’t today Monday?

Okay – enough silliness. I better put up my Monday blog today on Tuesday (talk about confusing people!) and be done with it!

As for parents, I bet the days of the week all probably adopt their own familiar sense of rhythm and routine – and the whole family gets used to that rhythm.

So – heads up – school starts soon – and families will begin to adjust their daily routine to accommodate earlier bedtimes perhaps, the morning rush – afternoon pick-ups, homework.

There is a certain reliable flow of the day that we become accustomed to (let’s not call it a rut) – rather a sense of well-being and assurance that we are settled in.

And with the exception of long weekends and holidays and vacation time, it is a very good place to be.

Even when Tuesday this week feels more like a Monday to me.

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Flexible – definition – able to easily modify to respond to altered circumstances or conditions.

Sound familiar?

As parents, we definitely learn pretty quickly to become flexible – also as friends, as siblings, as neighbors, and co-workers.

Actually The Parenting Place is always ready to respond to the needs of the moment.

And as The Parenting Place annual Children’s Festival draws near – Saturday, August 21st!! – we felt it significant to change thing up – just a bit – to be flexible – to be safe – in our well-known hands-on child-oriented play – and provide the means to enjoy the Festival together this year.

So … we ask you to register (of course the Festival is still free!) for an hour time slot to keep the crowds at one time a safe playful number.

For me – The Children’s Festival is always the highlight of our summer programs where friends – both old and new – young and old – gather to play, to soak in the joy and creative adventures that await.

To register –…/childrens-festival

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smokey times

Where there’s smoke – there’s fire.

And if you’ve noticed the smokiness in our skies the past few days, you might have wondered where the fire was.

And – hard for me to believe at least – this smoke has traveled all the way from the far western states – and will move on east even further.

But – of course, it got me to thinking – you know – about parenting – about -where there’s smoke, there’s fire – and sometimes when we notice something going on with a child’s behavior – mood, crankiness, sadness, “out-of-sorts, – “an emotional smoke” – we don’t really know where it’s coming from.

So I suggest this is a time to observe – to connect – to go for a walk together – enjoy an ice cream cone – do dishes together -run through the sprinkler – sit on the porch swing – work in the garden – snuggle under a cozy quilt and watch a movie, take a drive to the river.

This is not the time for high-pressure fire hoses here – no high-powered interrogation – just a quiet reach out – a gentle reminder – that you are there for them..

Growing up isn’t always easy – but when our kids trust that love and support is there – just being and connecting – often puts the fire out.

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When you’re almost 7-years-old – and you haven’t lost a baby tooth yet – when your friends have – you can imagine the thrill of discovery when one bottom baby tooth of one particular almost 7-year-old boy became wiggly.

And wiggled and wiggled it got for that whole day.

And later on – playing and running outside after dinner – the tooth fell out – in the grass – who knows where – not to be found.

Uh oh – what to do now?

I’m told, however, the enthusiasm stayed high – and instead of a tooth under his pillow – this young boy wrote an explanatory note.

Good enough it seems.

For as he told me later – he woke up early the next morning – but didn’t look for a surprise yet. He said he thought he should probably wait until 7:00 AM -his regular time to rise and shine. (how sweet is that!)

And so he did – and – yes – the note worked!

Sometimes it’s great when things don’t go exactly right or as planned – but with a bit of problem solving, ingenuity, trust and belief – things work out just as well.

What a good lesson for all of us to hear!

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more than just corn on the cob

You know it’s mid-summer when fresh corn-on-the-cob is available.

And from the time I was a little kid – it was very exciting to go off to the farm stand for the first corn of the season.

It was always the kids’ job to peel the corn for our large family. Playing with the silk and the outer leaves was part of the fun – and looking and finding the one worm that just might be found in a bakers’ dozen – a coveted surprise bringing shrieks of excitement.

As adults we don’t typically recognize the activities that we just take for granted might well be the ones that will linger on in your child’s memory.

And so often it is about food – the preparation, the aroma, enjoying it together – especially if it’s a seasonal treat.

Every season has its favorites – it’s one way in which children form a sense of their identity – a sense of belonging – a sense of “in our family, we always” memory.

So – that brings me back to my childhood memory of corn on the cob. And corny as it might seem, it still warms the kernels of my heart!

Enjoy making your family’s everyday simple, no-fuss ordinary memories together. Believe in them.

They count!

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a treasure

For busy moms and dads, it’s not always simple to find the personal leisure time of reading a good novel for themselves. But there’s an open track toward that goal – if we start reading to our young children – and continue the passion of reading – even as our children grow older.

Here’s the way it works.

Starting the habit of reading begins early on – even very young babies and toddlers are enchanted looking at books with a parent. The trick is to continue this coziness – going into longer picture books as preschoolers – and then as they grow older – chapter books shared with elementary/middle school children – you’ll begin a surefire way to not only connect with one another but to provide the joy of reading to your children.

Reading, I know, is taught at school – but reading is a culture that begins in the home from an early age – and begun early and shared throughout childhood – it is a gift.

I’ve noticed often over the years at Play Shoppe – when one parent picks up a book to read to their young child – perhaps for a bit of quiet time – inevitably – there will be several other children wander over – drawn to hearing a story, circled around this parent and child, wanting to share this experience also.

It’s really that powerful!

So … our libraries are open again – Yay! – and there we can find oodles of books to check out – and resourceful librarians to point us in the right direction for good books to read and share.

Even if times are slim for heading off to the hammock with your own personal book in hand – you know, that down the road – if you play your cards right – the joy of reading will be alive and well in your family lives – to enjoy and share – both together and individually.

A gift for a lifetime!

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pot holes

Summer road construction – always necessary, always understood – but not always appreciated as we find ourselves frustrated, weaving our way around town, trying to discover a clear way through.

It can be kind of like this in our families sometimes too – don’t you think?

Coming up on a few personal potholes – re-surfacing – all for a smoother ride, a smoother journey – smoother sailing with each other.

Maybe it could be as simple as just taking note of how we’re relating – a little more often – before the deep ruts appear. Notice how we’re treating each other – notice where it’s getting a little bumpy – and also – are we practicing self-maintenance- in order to be ready and in good shape to meet the “potholes” of our families.

And if we make it a habit to take our “family pulse” – our own, right down to our youngest member – to check how all are faring – just by noticing more – we might actually avoid major disruption and re-construction altogether.

A patch here – a patch there – , a hug here – , a touch there – shared “eyes” with each other when talking – and a smoother ride for you and your family.

Enjoy the journey!

(And if this sounds easier said than done, give us a call at The Parenting Place – 784-8125 – and a Parent Educator will assist in helping you sort things out!)

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