Monthly Archives: July 2017

a new friend

It’s always noticed by someone – little things people do for each other that make life feel warmer, more friendly.

And there’s no more important time for this kindness to happen than when someone is new in a group, in a neighborhood, in a town, in a country.

People often wonder what they can do.  It doesn’t take much – a smile, a hi, a friendly comment, an offer to assist in some way, an invitation to sit next to you or in your circle of friends, an openness in sharing local information.

In addition to offering this kindness to new people, we gain ourselves – perhaps a new friend, definitely a model for our children who observe us maybe more than we realize.

I’ve never actually been able to ascertain whether this custom in China is true or not but I like what it would mean if it was.  I’m referring to the jackets that young Chinese children supposedly wore that buttoned up the back.  The reason for this, simply being, children would learn early to work together, offer assistance, support each other by buttoning each other’s jacket.

At last Friday’s Play Shoppe I saw this happen – a regularly-attending participant purposely reaching out to a new person, a quiet person, a person learning a new language.  They set up a play date – a huge overture of friendship and support that will mean so much to this new mom and her child.

Thank you to this supportive mom who so kindly reached out and “buttoned up the jacket” of a new friend.

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even a princess…

Ask almost any parent what is their most difficult toddler/preschooler moment, and I believe they will agree it is a public temper tantrum.

Whether in the middle of a family reunion or in a crowd of strangers, when your child is the one screaming and thrashing, it is challenging to say the least.

But a few days ago on the national news, there for the world to observe, was England’s  two-year-old Princess Charlotte having her own royal tantrum right there on the airport tarmac.

And as far as I could tell, a royal tantrum looks and sounds like any other tantrum.

But I thought – good for you Princess Charlotte.  Let it out!  Enough of this 5-country- sweep in your perfect dress and shoes.  Enough of smiling and waving to strangers. You’ve had it!

And isn’t that the truth for our children too – when they begin to bawl and shout?  It’s usually because they’ve had it also.  They’re tired, hungry, over-whelmed, over-stimulated, sad, frustrated, and can’t take it anymore –  and this is the only way – at their age and stage of brain development – to let you know.

Because the part of the brain that helps them to think logically and control their emotions, to help them think before they act, to problem solve, to reason isn’t developed yet. And its full development will take its own sweet time, growing in small increments before fully functioning when they are a young adult.

But you will begin to notice examples of maturation as your child moves on from this early age.  This very morning I heard from a mom who was telling me how busy their summer was – so busy, in fact, that her 8-year-old son asked her, “Could we have more days of doing nothing?”

There you go. Now that’s a change in the right direction – no tantrum  -just asking for what he needs.

Brain development in progress – for sure.





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team spirit

I often think of family friends of ours who raised four daughters.

And when it was time for things to be done in their family, to get moving, arrive someplace on time, to rally the troops, their go-to-solution was to announce “Team Scott”.

And that very announcement – “Team Scott” – brought about a hearty response.  Because they had spent family time discussing what it meant to be part of a team, that their family was a team, and like any good team, it takes all the players to participate, they all pitched in and got the job done.

And together, it did seem like fun.

Now I’m not saying this  was always perfect because I’m sure it wasn’t.

But I saw it work enough times to witness and appreciate a certain pride they shared in belonging, in working together, and in accomplishment.

As young toddlers and preschoolers grow, and we look for ways for them to connect,  help, contribute, and care for one another, a slogan such as this might be the answer. You may notice smoother transitions and more cooperative participation in your own growing family.

Hey  – I wonder –” do you think it’s  too late to get Tootsie on board with Team Swift?”

I might just try it out!

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simple is …

Someone said to me recently “is anything simple anymore?”

I get where this person is coming from, but I will go down fighting for simplicity to be found – appreciated – and passed on.

We often look at our driveway and think that perhaps we should resurface it, get rid of the dips and cracks, and make it smooth – make it perfect.

But everyday in the summer, the dip that exists near the garage becomes a public bird bath, as my husband fills it several times a day to keep our bathers happy.  As many as seven sparrows at a time splashed today alone.  Doves, cardinals, and robins all enjoy.

The ol’ waterhole my husband calls it.

It’s what I consider a simple pleasure, for us and for our feathered friends.

We usually find simplicity when we slow down, when we do less.   We want to invite our neighbors over – or the new family we just met at the park, but who has the time, expense and energy and so we let it go.

Do less instead – choose simplicity.  Invite them over for watermelon or popsicles after dinner – the sprinkler in the backyard on for the children, some chalk for the driveway.  Done – fun for everyone; more than enough.

For simplicity to be evident in our lives we have to pause, let be, look around, sit out on the steps while your children play, take a walk together – the same walk you took last evening and the evening before.  Simplicity is often the repetitive unconditional enjoyments that occur when we least expect them, but that sneak into our sense of place, of belonging and of harmony.

Share with us on The Parenting Place facebook page when you’ve experienced a slice of simplicity with your family.

Together we’ll keep simplicity alive.

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Recently I saw an official sign nailed to a post with the word NOTICE in bold black letters with the message written below.

All of us have seen this same type of sign numerous times in our lives.  But this time, the word NOTICE jumped out at me and resonated over the past few days.

Because in some ways, to notice is really the key to relationships, to work, to life.

There’s an art to noticing I believe but one we can all perfect.  Most of us can’t help but notice the big things, the joyous moments, the saddest moments, the loud explosions, the annoying frustrations.

But it is the smallest things that we notice that often make a difference.

It’s noticing the expressions on your child’s face, the happy ones, the sad, the pensive, the scared, the reluctant.  It’s noticing the shy mom at your next group gathering, your own personal responses/reactions, your needs. Its noticing the “sweet nothing” moments with your loved ones.  Its noticing nature in all its glory. Its noticing plenty and when you have enough.  Its noticing comfort and satisfaction.

This week on 4th of July, as fireworks explode and light up the sky, we’ll ooh and aah and notice for sure.

But then try posting your own NOTICE sign in bold letters on your refrigerator door and pay attention to your own quiet reasons to ooh and aah.

It will be amazing.


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