Monthly Archives: March 2018

different socks

You all know we adore our dog, Tootsie – in spite of just a few of her habits that can test our love.

One of these habits is to find a good sock – to shake – and chew.  It always seems to be a very special sock – not one with a hole in the toe already or a stretched-out, baggy top.

Recently she got to two of my favorites.  You know – the ones you’re always so glad to see washed and tucked in together – ready to wear.  Their respective mates were gone but I eyed these two loners – a reddish one and a bluish one – sitting on the washing machine, and thought – why not – I love these socks – and I actually like the fact that they’re different.

And so I wore them and went off to work – and the socks made me happy.

This was on Wednesday, March 21st.

I knew it was Down Syndrome Awareness Day, but what I didn’t know was that on that day, people wear different colored socks that don’t match – that make a statement – that celebrates differences.

In some ways I’m glad I didn’t know I was “supposed” to wear different colored socks that day.

I’m glad I just decided it’s okay – in fact it’s fun to be different – for what makes us different also makes us special.

SAVE THE DATE – Saturday, September 15th, 2018 – La Crosse Down Syndrome Awareness Walk, Onalaska Omni Center


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a life’s work

Sometimes you know for sure when a sincere thank you is in order – when someone has contributed to your life – sometimes when you don’t even know that individual personally.

I feel that way about Dr. T.Berry Brazelton, internationally revered pediatrician, author, baby whisperer, who died this week at the age of 99.

When Jodi, our Director at The Parenting Place, stopped me in the hall to pass on the news of his death, it was universally significant because to parents everywhere, to other physicians, to those of us who work, value, and believe in the strength of parents and children, Dr. Brazelton has led the way.

Dr. Brazelton’s first of many books was Infants and Mothers and came out in 1969, the year our daughter was born.  So you could say – Dr. Brazelton has been with me personally on a long, positive and enlightening journey as a mother, a teacher, and a parent educator.

It is from Dr. Brazelton’s research and lifetime work with infants that The Parenting Place is able to offer support and education to parents of infants through our New Born Observation Program.

The NBO is a set of observations designed to help parents observe their infant and understand and appreciate their baby’s uniqueness, needs, and personality from the very beginning. The Parenting Place has several staff members who have been trained to do NBOs with new babies and their parents.

Dr. Brazelton’s belief that parents need support at least as much as they need advice has resonated with me throughout my years working with parents.  His belief in looking at the child’s behavior and discovering what that behavior is telling us has opened the eyes, the hearts, and the responses of many parents and caregivers.

And his advice to parents to relax, to love and enjoy their child and themselves is simply refreshing.

So I appreciate you, Dr. Brazelton, for your contribution to me personally and to all the parents and babies and children who have benefited from your life’s gentle work and dedication to love and understanding.

Thank you.


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There’s different ways of noticing behaviors, acknowledging them, labeling them.

Sometimes as parents, the names we may apply to our children’s behavior or trait or physical looks can make a significant impression in the way they grow to think about themselves.

We’ve all heard parents and relatives refer to the “slowpoke in the family”, “our whiny one”, “our sly one”.  Or perhaps it’s referring to the way they look – “she has the stringiest hair, hard to do anything with it” , “he’s a beanpole just like his grandpa was”, “she’s always been so clumsy”.

When I was little I had a mark on my upper thigh that could be seen when I wore a bathing suit – which as a child growing up on the sea shore was everyday all summer long.

My mother called it my beauty mark.

Wow – a beauty mark!  That made me feel pretty special.  I loved it.  In fact, when I got my new hip a few years ago, one of the first things I did was check to see if my beauty mark was still there.  Sure enough, it was.

I was glad to see it.

At my last well-physical check-up, however, my doctor told me “keep an eye on that mole on your thigh!”  “Mole?” I said.  “You mean my beauty mark?”

We had a very good laugh about that when I explained how it’s always been called my beauty mark.

“My mother told me so.”

Those names, those adjectives and descriptions said often times in jest can remain, however, what a child believes about himself, good or bad, for a long time.

Look at me.

My mom told me, a very long time ago, that I had a beauty mark … and I’m sticking with it!

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when it’s time

It seems like the weather can’t quite make up its mind.

Just as we’re getting used to dry sidewalks, yards and roadways, mild temperatures, blue skies, and sunshine, there’s a winter storm alert!  Snow is falling and wind is blowing, schools have been let out early, grocery stores are bustling.

What’s that about? 

I guess we were all jumping ahead just a little bit – rushing the season,  being impatient – as Spring is still a few weeks away – and even then …it will show up when it’s ready!

It’s definitely kind of like parenting.  We see a little progress in our child’s behavior and wow, it’s Spring!

We can’t help ourselves – the baby slept through the night, my three-year-old went right to bed this weekend – my one-year-old took a step, my two-year-old went pee in the potty, my toddler tried peas last night, my four-year-old brushed his teeth last night without a struggle – Yay!

Until … “I guess it’s winter again!”

Much of our children’s behaviors are on a continuum.  It takes time for a behavior to change – to become consistent – to become learned.

It’s called baby steps.

Letting things happen in turn – being patient yet prepared – to welcome Spring –  and our child’s new developments – when it’s time.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tsu


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