Monthly Archives: July 2013

in order to thrive

I talked with a mom recently that had some concerns about her 3-year-old son.  She said she’d been wanting to arrange a time to come in to discuss what was going on with him, but their life has been so incredibly crazy for the past few months, there was no time.

What resonated for me immediately while listening to this mom was not the concerns she had for her little guy, but the craziness she referred to that was fueling their lives.

When routines are out the window, work is on overdrive,  packing up and moving to a place temporarily before moving again in two months to a more permanent residence, disruptions and anxieties can make all of these  family members be off balance.

This situation made me think of a favorite quote by Polly Beriens Berends “What governs the parent, governs the child”.

For these particular parents, there was much chaos, stress and fatigue going on.  And, in turn, their 3-year-old was acting out the strong, upset feelings he could not put into words.

When situations arise in families and life seems particularly off kilter (which it will occasionally), this is a time we need to breathe deeply, give everyone a bit more rope, try to find moments of serenity even in the midst of turmoil, and look for simple ways to connect with each other.

I think about this time of year with the gardening season going strong.  I overheard a few people conversing that their peas were terrible this year and even their tomato plants were doing poorly.  What could be wrong?

Both of these gardeners were trying to figure out what their plants needed – was it poor environment, insufficient nutrition, too much of this, too little of that?  What do these plants need in order to thrive?

When our children are acting out and displaying challenging behavior, it’s helpful, as in gardening, to check their environment, to discover what might be missing.  What does this particular child need, how can we nurture and connect?

What does he need in order to thrive?

And then watch him bloom.

If you are having questions about your child’s behavior and are wondering what might help him/her bloom, give me a call at The Parenting Place, 784-8125, and we’ll figure it out together.

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Re-entry – I go through it every time when returning from a trip away.  It takes some shifting of gears, some reflection, some assimilation and appreciation of my experiences before I am ready to quietly slide back into my everyday life.

We had a wonderfully fulfilling time – connecting with family and our adult children – soaking in and participating in the patterns of their lives.

Yet, when the phone rang early this morning, awaking me after a late arrival home last evening, disorientation reigned – where am I, where is the phone – a weird feeling at first until I realized I was in the very most familiar surroundings of all – home.

With the “comforts of home” definitely ringing true.

When parents and children are traveling here and there, visiting family, grandparents, bunking up in different sleeping arrangements, having little downtime, experiencing new and unfamiliar foods, expectations, interactions, schedules – you can expect some behavior changes and upsets during your family’s re-entry.

Best to keep it low those first days back, catch up on lost sleep, slide into your regular routine, and give yourself and your children some time to catch their breath, to appreciate being home.

Because, yes, it does feel good to be home.

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all together

It’s often this time of year when families and friends gather together to celebrate and connect – from the oldest to the very youngest of us,  including even some of our beloved 4-legged friends.

I remember the heady feeling of freedom and importance I felt as a child at these events – the independence yet also the sense of security and belonging to be able to freely roam, run around, eat what I wanted, stay up late, play games, chase each other, giggle, catch fireflies – just be.

We were free – yet you felt held – a significant part of the circle.  No one was following you instructing you to slow down, say this or that.  Everyone was just having fun.

You never wanted it to end.

But of course it did – exhausted but happy, with the memory, I believe, forever stitched into the fabric of your being.

I witnessed children recently at a friend’s beautiful outdoor wedding.  Every age was represented – even the couple’s special lab was there to graciously accept the children’s affectionate attention.  Watching the freedom and spirit of the children as they roamed around, away from their parents, dancing, giggling, playing, choosing what they wanted to eat, – it warmed my heart with the joy that these special types of gatherings bring.

It is a gift for children to know that they are part of this larger circle of family and friends – and though it may not happen often, the strength and supportive resilience and confidence it brings is a definite protective factor in all of our lives.

May you appreciate and enjoy these special times together.

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Saturday was International Mud Day 2013  so to celebrate, The Parenting Place Friday Play Shoppe provided a mud experience for the children in our cozy backyard play space.

And what a lovely morning it was.  If anyone wonders about the attraction of water, mud, sand, grass, Friday morning proves its magic.  Children were busy working, carefully and thoughtfully, pouring, mixing, carrying, stirring, scooping, squishing, ladling, and discovering.

Once the environment was set and the children arrived, the rest was up to them.  I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes – one from Maria Montessori, that says …“the children are now working as if I did not exist”.

And that’s the way Mud Day went for us.  There was no need to interfere, to suggest, to teach.  These children were scientists in their own right – experimenting, analyzing, concocting.

For some children it was the water that fascinated them.  Little children passed each other, carefully carrying a container of water from one source to another – an accomplishment that was evident by the look of concentration and triumph on their faces.

What I noticed most was the lack of any frenetic running, screaming, wild behavior.  There was, instead,  such a sense of deliberate purpose and process that reigned.

I suppose the children did go home with some mud on their knees and sand in their hair but hopefully also relaxed, happy, and restored.

And mud day for me?  Absolutely irresistible.

If playing with mud sounds irresistible to you, a mud kitchen (and water play) will be offered at The Parenting Place’s Children Festival on Saturday, August 24th from 9:00 AM -12:00 PM at Myrick Park.  Admission buttons are $4 or 3/$10. in advance, or $5. on the day of the event.  Children under one are free.  For more information, call (608) 784-8125. Play clothes highly suggested.

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