Monthly Archives: December 2013

a new year wish

Every day in a Wisconsin winter is not -20 degrees windchill.  Just think of a few days ago – Saturday – a gorgeous winter day – bright sun, almost balmy, just about perfect for a late December day.

“Didn’t you just love it?”

We can say the same about our families.   Every day doesn’t run completely as planned; every day does not feel perfect.

Perhaps we’re stressed with too much to do – the furnace breaks down, finances are low, a stomach virus hits the whole family, the children are overtired and whining, the short winter day seems endless.

What happened to our harmony – our warmth, our bright sun, our perfect day?

And so, what I wish for all of you as we begin this new year 2014 is not that everyday necessarily be perfect – but that you are able to recognize and savor the moments in your day, in your family, in yourself that are.

And that you accept your family’s personal “below zeroes and wind chill factors” that present themselves on any given day – knowing it is those times that actually allow us to notice and appreciate more clearly the abundance of love and joy we feel when the sun shines bright in our lives – even in the smallest ways.

“Don’t you just love it?”

Happy New Year 2014 to all of you!

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anticipation

Paper whites – they belong to the daffodil family and can be forced to flower indoors at any time.   This is the first year I have ever planted a paper white bulb – three of them, in fact.  I nestled them into a bed of pebbles, added a little water, placed them on a sunny window sill and watched.

I don’t really like the term “forced” to flower.  I’d rather like to think that I provided a cozy, warm and inviting environment for them to grow.  And magically, the shoots are growing taller every day, and last night – last night – we noticed the first tiny bud peaking out of the tallest shoot.

Anticipation – the dictionary defines it as a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen – the act of looking forward to a pleasurable expectation.

That’s what it’s been about for me  – watching my paper whites – anticipation.  And at this time of year, for sure, anticipation is definitely in the air.  You know …“visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads” and all that the holiday brings to us.

So as we approach this Christmas Day, I wish everyone their own personal sense of anticipation  – to recognize it and savor it and embrace the gift that it brings.

Have a lovely holiday week.

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a different perspective

At Friday morning Play Shoppe this week, I came up with what I thought would be a really fun activity for the children.  I taped one large outline of a Christmas tree and two smaller ones on the carpet in the gathering room with green duct tape.  I had baskets of tinsel and shiny items for the children to have fun decorating them.

All the adults who saw the set-up thought it was such a wonderfully appealing idea.  The children would love it – but … not so much.

The children, in fact, seemed to wonder where in the world this tree we were talking about was.  Parents would say “come, let’s decorate the tree”, and they would look all around  – “what tree?” they seemed to be wondering.

Oops!

It was then that I realized that, of course, a young child’s perspective was totally unlike that of our adult one – all of whom were tall enough to look down at the tree outline and clearly see the image in it entirety.

A definitely different perspective was present for the children.

As parents, this is a good example of the  misunderstandings that can arise with our children in so many varied situations.  Our adult expectations may not be in sync with where our children’s abilities or development lie, no matter how simple or clear they may appear to us.

Therein often lies the struggle we find ourselves in with our children.

It seems at this time of year with the holidays upon us, expectations can often arise that our young children are not ready to handle or understand.  Often we are overly extended ourselves, what with traveling, large family get-togethers and pressure to have our children be on their very best behavior.

So add this to your “to do” list – and check it twice. What are the situations and schedules your child will be experiencing and how can they be pared down to meet their developmental and emotional needs?

This can be such a very special magical time for young children and parents if we are able to keep in focus our different perspectives.

Viva la difference!

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well said

I love the way a young child often puts words and ideas together that gets his/her message across in such an authentic and very meaningful way.

I heard an example of this the other day.  A friend was sharing the story of his three-year-old niece at the family Thanksgiving get-together.  This little girl had on a beautiful red velvet dress.  She knew she looked pretty as she danced around the room, enjoying the attention.

Not too long after, however, she walked in dressed only in her tights.  Her mother asked her “What happened to your dress?”

The little girl pointed under one arm and said, “It hurt under here” and then pointed under the other arm and said, “it hurt under here. “

“It hurt my feelings”, she said.

How perfectly expressed!

Who of us hasn’t worn a piece of clothing that “hurt our feelings”?

So cheers to this little girl who didn’t put up with any old red velvet dress hurting her feelings – no matter how darn pretty she looked!

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a part of history

What a surprise for me to discover the article making news on line and in print this week about the little girl who was born on Thanksgiving Day and so named Happy Thanksgiving by her parents.

I heard the story being discussed among co-workers  and mentioned that I once had a little girl in the first class I ever taught whose name was Happy Thanksgiving – some 38 years ago.

I wondered – could it be the Happy I knew?  I took one look at the picture on line of this grown woman – a doctor now – and knew immediately it was her.  I recognized her eyes and the way her nose crinkled when she smiled – evidence of the 5-year-old’s charm still present.

It’s hard to forget somebody named Happy Thanksgiving.  Even though I’ve had no news of her all these years later, whenever the subject of names came up, I usually shared this story of the little girl with the holiday name.

Some things go down in history – some things you just don’t forget.

Cole was a 9-year-old at the time his entry was selected to be the design for the 2012 Children’s Festival button.  He had his picture taken for our donor newsletter holding his drawing, and I remember the comment he made to his mom at the time – “I’m a part of history now”.

And it’s true – Cole is part of The Parenting Place history and we’re all  part, I believe, of his family  history.

Actually, I feel that’s true for all of our families who share in events at The Parenting Place – most especially our participation in the Rotary Lights tree decorating and parade.

Families play such a significant role in their success.  Many of those who have been attending these events for several years in a row have told me they’ve become a favorite family holiday tradition for them.  I’d say these families are not only creating personal memories but, as Cole would say, “are a part of history now” – a part of The Parenting Place history.

That goes even for the mom this year whose littlest family member had a major melt-down on the parade float.  She e-mailed me that in spite of it, “we made memories we will joke about years from now”.

You see, Luc – you’re part of history now too!

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