Monthly Archives: March 2017

April Fools

This year – this week in fact – April Fool’s Day will be on a Saturday.  Perfect!

And why you might wonder does that fall into the “perfect” zone?

Well for most of us , Saturdays are a bit more laid back, slower – we don’t have to rush off to daycare, school, or work.  And so – there’s time to maybe be a little silly, maybe have some fun family shenanigans on April Fool’s Day.

For just as much as consistent routines, good sleep, and healthy meals are important in family life, laughing and being silly with our children lowers stress, creates togetherness, and makes connections that clear the air and unifies us.

You’ve all heard of comic relief, right?  Well initiating zany pranks with our children can offer exactly that.

Waking the family up and saying “hurry up – we all overslept.  We have to get moving fast!” was one that I remember my mom doing to us on April Fool’s Day – and we fell for it each time.

Hang pictures upside down, set the table in a weird way, freeze milk and cereal in a bowl overnight for a tricky breakfast reaction.  Only you know what will “get” your family.

Put your minds together and let the kids come up with how to fool Dad, or Grandma, or the next-door-neighbor.  Make it a tradition in your house.

April Fool’s Day – a day you get to be mischievously clever!

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food for thought

Right now, sitting here thinking of what to share this week, I note a definite absence of a certain four-legged creature, our dog Tootsie. And as any parent can attest, when it’s too quiet, when a child is out of sight and out of sound, something might be up.

It isn’t any too different with Tootsie than it was with our children or is with any child.

And so I stop what I’m doing and go and check.  I was right.  There she was, caught in the act- a sock in her mouth, another sock and a pair of underwear strewn around her.

I know immediately that I have left the gate to the laundry room open once again.  And the temptation is too great for Tootsie – and she must enter, steal, and chew up.

And so I rant and rave a bit to get her to come and sit and drop – and she sheepishly does.  But in all fairness, I should have closed the gate behind me. Because closing the gate to avoid such temptations for Tootsie, such disruption and annoyance for me – is a pretty simple thing to do.  And I know it.

As parents, how often are we frustrated with our children’s behavior because of something that could have been avoided?

Stopping at the market when we know our child is exhausted and hungry, staying too long to visit with a friend, over-scheduling our days so there is little downtime, skipping naps, whatever is your own personal equivalent to “not closing the laundry room gate”.

As parents we don’t need to “beat ourselves up”over this. Because it happens – it just does. But it is revealing, isn’t it, that so often when our children are the most challenging, we forgot, took our chances, pushed the envelope a bit too far, and our children responded – like children.

Good food for thought – for change – on this glorious 1st day of Spring!

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Toddler behavior – it’s universal.  We all know that.  It’s spontaneous, unaffected, determined, and sometimes very unexpected. And it often happens when you are on an important phone call.

So – that’s exactly what went viral on the news and web this past weekend when a political science professor was being interviewed on Skype in his at- home -study, by a BBC commentator concerning the impeachment of the South Korean president.

This was serious stuff – until it wasn’t.  The interview had begun – but oops – serious or not – toddler #1 enters into the room and  dances right in on Dad.  Dad clumsily attempts to move her out of the way of the camera,  but she’s not going anywhere.

Then toddler #2 speeds on into the room in his walker to enter the fray.  By then the professor is speechless – and helpless – and all the while the camera is rolling.

But enter super mom to the rescue – sliding on in to the room, hitting the floor to try and avoid the camera, and furtively snatching the two young children by their clothing and pulling them out the door, as we then view her arm once again reappear to close the door behind her.

What a hilarious performance!

The interview then continued but not before entertaining every parent who has a toddler or two in their home. – and delivering some comedic relief just when we might need it.

For no matter how prepared, how important the occasion, toddlers have a way, a charming way I believe, of helping all of us not take ourselves too seriously.





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a different lens

I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself on Friday afternoon when I picked up my new eye glasses.  Wow – such a small change in my prescription, yet everything seemed so much clearer and in focus.

It was just the day before in the Protective Factors’ training at The Parenting Place that Parent Educator Barb Hopkins emphasized “utilizing a different lens” – looking at families through a different lens – focusing on what’s strong, not what’s wrong.

At The Parenting Place, that is exactly what we’ve always believed – and practice.

Yet for each of us as parents, what an excellent, helpful suggestion for our own families. Imagine  paying attention to a child’s strengths – to a spouse/partner’s strengths.  Imagine what it’s like when someone pays attention, mentions, notices your own strengths.

We can do this simply by focusing on what’s right, what’s working.

That’s what made me chuckle as I walked out with my new eye glasses on – 20/20 vision, clear and focused – seeing through my new lens. Wow – I had really taken this strength -based theory to a new high – Barb would be so happy.

And my family – and yours – looks pretty darn special.

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