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When you start doubting your abilities to accomplish something to perfection and so stop doing it, it’s time for you to take another look.

A children’s book called “ISH” by Peter H. Reynolds will put a healthy new slant on showing you how.

In this charming story, a young boy loves to draw.  He draws everything he sees and feels.  But his big brother laughs at his drawings – and his joy in creating is dissolved.

Every picture he makes becomes a crumpled-up ball.

Except – his younger sister, unbeknownst to her brother, retrieves each picture, smooths it out, and hangs it on her bedroom wall – a gallery of her brother’s art.

When her brother discovers this, he immediately goes negative and says they don’t look perfect.  “That doesn’t look like a vase!”

His sister said, “But it does look vase-ISH!”  And it did – not a perfect vase, but definitely vase-ISH!

And as her brother looked at the pictures hanging on his sister’s wall, he had to agree.  The flowers were flower-ISH; the trees were tree-ISH.

Thinking ‘”ishly” allowed his creativity to flow

Don’t many of us spend too much time regretting that something we make, do, create – even love – isn’t perfect?

I love this idea of “ISH”.  What a wonderful sense of freedom it provides.  We can get out from under the yoke of always trying to be perfect.  We can try things.  We can become “perfect-ISH”.

Why not?

As parents, we are always trying to be perfect and are often despairing that we might just not make the mark.  I’d say, why not enjoy just parenting more – enjoy parenting – ISH – and begin to love every minute

Have fun – ISH!





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Landing just right

Oh, it’s hard when one child seems to be the instigator in teasing and bickering with his/her siblings.

Recently it seems I’ve had several parents comment to me about this.

I like to suggest changing the frame.

Instead of noticing and remarking “how troublesome” this one child is all the time, marvel at when he is helpful or thoughtful; rather than how many things this child does wrong, think how many things she does right.

This different focus and delivery often lends itself to more positive and affirming results for this one child and all family members.

For sibling snickering and bickering is really only one side of the sibling coin. The other side is caring and genuine attachment.  By noticing the positives, we hope to flip this coin and “land just right”.

I was the youngest child of six siblings.  I’ve just spent the past four days with my oldest sibling – my brother visiting me from New York City – still checking up on his little sister after all these years.

Does he still tease me – annoy me – enjoy joking about me – make me laugh?

Actually he does.

But I’m very grateful that he’s still being there for me  – for caring  – even for teasing – and for flipping the sibling coin – and always “landing just right”.

If you are experiencing some snickering and bickering in your family, join us at The Parenting Place workshop on Monday, November 6th, from 6-8 PM for Stop the Snicker and the Bicker, Managing Fighting and Aggression.  Registration required.  Limited childcare available. Call  The Parenting Place – 784-8125.


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Sweet Dreams

What happens before going to bed counts.

Preparing our mind and body  -to relax, to yield, to rest – is significant.

One lucky three-year-old’s Daddy lifts him up onto his shoulders, and together, they step outside to view the night sky – to look for his “meteor”,  to see the moon in its variable stages, to watch the stars twinkle, and maybe, one lucky evening, see a “shooting star”.

It’s only for a few minutes each night, but what a special recognition of the end of the day – and the beauty of the night for this Dad and his son.

I know a mom who put her three young daughters all in the bathtub together.  They splashed and laughed, scrubbed and played, got wrapped in warm towels, and opened the bathroom door to find the lights in their home were dimmed, the rooms quiet, and a few candles burned brightly as they walked to their bedroom.

In spite of these lovely images, however, and other cozy ways you may have to help prepare your children for a night’s rest, children often still call out for one more hug, a glass of water, another song, or “I have something very important to tell you“.

But I feel sure the shared bedtime routines you do with your child are never in vain.  They build trust, comfort, security and connections that aren’t just for this one night, or this one month, or this one stage – but for life.

It’s true.

Sweet Dreams!

If you are struggling with your child’s nightly routine and would like some ideas to smooth the way, give me a call at The Parenting Place – 784-8125 – to make a time to talk.

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small treasures

So… today was one of those days for me.

I didn’t intend to “attack” my (what some might say) junk closet, but I was looking for something, and one thing led to another.

I  sorted, touched, admired, considered these treasures I’ve gathered- and almost everything I looked at was returned –  in a somewhat more organized manner –  behind the small closet-like doors of the antique buffet in our dining room.

All of these treasures are simple, but I feel certain any child coming across them, during some rainy day (kind of like me this afternoon) will be charmed –  and ready to imagine the rest of the day away.

And who would think –  in this beautiful old buffet –  one would find such treasures?

And how did they come to be?  One little treasure after another – tossed into this fantasy closet and quickly shut up before Tootsie got a chance to snatch a treasure for herself.

As other people build bank accounts (sorry!), or save family heirlooms for their grandchildren, I have tended a hideaway of small items to tickle any child’s imagination.

I know … I know – it’s all about simplicity now – and  I totally believe in simplicity.  I admire minimalists and – I actually do get rid of stuff we don’t need.

But these small treasures – no, not yet.


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Daddy’s way

I love the way young children often interpret what we say to them.   Literal thinkers that they are, their sometimes Amelia Bedelia-ish response can be both genuinely funny and sensible.

Theo  often gets to be hands on in the kitchen and help when conditions are safe.  However, he was also reminded to stay out of Daddy’s way when Daddy was using sharp knives or handling very hot cooking pots.

“Stay out of Daddy’s way” was what this toddler was told in these circumstances.

One day when his mom was looking for something she couldn’t find, this little guy, just like most observant toddlers, spied it right away.  “There it is”, he said, “in Daddy’s Way” which meant it was over on the counter in the area where Daddy worked in the kitchen – and for him (and probably now the whole family) is known as “Daddy’s Way”.

Then there was the little girl who disrobed in the middle of a party because her scratchy party dress was “hurting her feelings”.  Or the young child who was scolded for leaning over the grape bowl at a neighbors outdoor party and biting off the grapes with her mouth because her mom had told her not to touch the food with her dirty hands.

I remember a young boy who burst into tears while at a preschool circle because the teacher sang that he “wore a red shirt, red shirt” when he insisted he didn’t wear a red shirt, he wore an outfit because that’s what his mommy called it.

There are so many amusing and endearing responses that our children give to us as they interpret and maneuver their world.  So, take the time, to listen and to appreciate their cleverness.

They are precious gems in our everyday lives.

Enjoy them, share them, remember them.




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It’s a fact

As parents, who hasn’t fantasized about the day we will have some free time – adult time – alone time – without children involved?

And then – the day arrives.  There’s a chance for just that very opportunity – and so it happens – and what do we do?  We miss them  immediately – worry about them, wonder how they are doing, feel sad.

It’s a fact!

And that’s just another part of being someone’s parent.

But, fortunately these emotional moments of concern are short-lived as our little ones and us adjust to the new separation and begin to enjoy it. Until, of course, the next rite-of-passage arrives. This week brought many of these emotions to the fore with children going off to school for the first time, parents sending children off to Middle School, High School, even College!

Here’s hoping that you realize that that lump in your throat, those misty eyes, that sinking feeling as you walk away means job well done, and that this rite of passage is not only for our children but also for ourselves.

In each one we move on, allowing our children their chance to be who they are without our watchful eye, knowing that the loving bond between you runs freely and deep.


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oh yes

You know the feeling.  It’s been a long day – a fun day – a day of “oh no’s” and “oh yeses”- and then the children are asleep, and there’s this lovely sense of peace that prevails.

That’s exactly where I’m at after such a very successful Children’s Festival on Saturday.  In spite of some rain (oh, no!), I believe everyone there had a wonderful time. (Oh yes!)

And now all of us at The Parenting Place are letting out our collective sighs as we put the Children’s Festival to bed for another year – and that lovely sense of peace prevails.

This year at the Children’s Festival, among all the children’s activities, we had something new – just for the adults.  It was a cafe with delicious coffee being served by our very own Parenting Place barista.

But there was a catch – you enjoyed your coffee by first agreeing to talk to a stranger – sitting together in the cafe and sharing a moment, discussing the question found on your coffee coasters. (Participants’ children were entertained at their own “cafe” nearby, giving their parents a fun break.)

Those who participated found this experience of meeting a new friend and actually sharing some personal thoughts and insights with her/him very special and surprisingly meaningful.

They loved it!

For when we reach out and extend ourselves to someone we don’t already know, we are challenging ourselves in the very best personal way.

And that’s what we hope our programs at The Parenting Place provide – a place where new friends meet, inspire, and support one another in our universal parenting journeys.

Join us on Monday, September 5th for our 1st Day of School Get Together from 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM at The Parenting Place. The Children’s room will be open so bring your younger children to play while you enjoy treats, door prizes, conversation, coffee – of course – and hopefully even a new friend.

Oh yes!


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