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stuck

I started thinking about being “stuck” recently after hearing daily reports on the national news about this huge container ship – the Even Given – a ship as long as the Empire State Building is high – stuck sideways in the busy Suez Canal – unable to move one way or another – holding up international ship traffic and significant cargo for at least 5 days now.

And I couldn’t help but think about how each of us probably gets stuck occasionally – whether we realize it or not. (often it’s someone else that might point this out to us).

Yeah – maybe I am stuck” not moving one way or the other can’t make up my mind frustrated keep doing the same thing that doesn’t seem to be working over and over again.

Yep – I’m stuck!

And – just saying – we’ve all been probably feeling more than a bit “stuck” this whole past year with concerns, restrictions, indecision, and anxiety about the pandemic in our midst. And now – when hope is on the horizon – we need to get unstuck – in the most safe and helpful ways that we can.

If you are familiar with one of my favorite “Winnie the Pooh” stories- when Winnie gets “stuck” in the doorway of Piglet’s house after eating far too much of his favorite treat – honey! – something had to change – right?

And when we’re stuck – usually something does need to change.

So … being stuck is often a good thing – because the way to get “unstuck” is usually a helpful, improvement.

If you happen to be feeling maybe kind- of , sort-of stuck, perhaps about parenting struggles, behavior issues – please don’t forget the ease of contacting a Parent Educator at The Parenting Place – 784-8125 – to give you a gentle push – a Boost I like to call it – to guide you in a different direction OR perhaps support you in the direction you’re already going.

Because often – especially as parents – we can think we’re stuck- only to realize – we’re just where we’re supposed to be.

It just takes time to realize it.

It might take time to appreciate it.

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Hello

There’s a children’s “welcome” song I know sung by many children in their preschool years – and it goes like this.

Hello – Hello -what is your name? Hello – Hello – We really want to know. Hello – Hello

what is your name? (Child answers Others repeat it) and then Hello, Hello, Hello!

And when that child’s name is said, and all respond Hello, Hello, Hello – the child’s face lights up!

Now – as adults – we can’t go around singing this tune (although I will have the catchy tune to this little ditty in my head the rest of the day) but just think – if and when we are around new people – people outside our familiar group – we would reach out and say hi – my name iswhat is your name? – how significant that can be.

For once you know someone’s name, there’s a bridge there to know more – to connect – to learn – to understand – to share- to include.

When you hear your name spoken – something in you lights up – it’s a warmth – an acknowledgement -a connection – a sense of belonging – of inclusion.

And in our world today, those four things – warmth, connection, sense of belonging, inclusion are more significant than ever.

Checking out at the supermarket – or ordering in a restaurant where name tags are worn, or the waiter share her/his name, my husband always notices – and always uses their name when thanking them – often asks about their name if it is unusual or makes a connection in some other way

Excuse me – but yes I admit – I used to “roll my eyes” a bit at this actually very warm gesture – maybe because I thought it too personal.

But – always – I would see a light come on – a response that proved me wrong – names are important – “my name is important – recognized –” I’m important “ – and in that brief connection, the “world” is a kinder, friendlier, more inclusive place.

Yes!!

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Just wait

We’ve been spoiled, right? Beautiful blue skies, sunny days, warm enough to actually “feel” the Spring in the air.

But surprise, surprise – Mother Nature says “not so fast!” as we hear the forecast – accumulating snow , damp and raw temperatures – strong, blustery winds.

The change of seasons – especially between winter and spring has its ups and downs – its bright and hopeful days that we anticipate so eagerly and the dank overcast days with a forecast of snow – a battle of the seasons if you will.

But Spring will triumph followed by summer – that we know for sure.

Isn’t that the way of children? Just as we brag about our child “sleeping through the night”successfully using the potty going to bed so willingly sharing so well picking up toys without a struggle always so agreeable until they’re not until a snowstorm of emotions are in the forecast.

Transitions seldom run a smooth uninterrupted course – but they are just that – transitions – the in-between time – while we wait for conditions to be just right – for short days to turn into long lazy days of summer – for behaviors and growth in our children to blossom – and settle in.

And so it is for all of us as parents to breathe – relax – let doubt and fears melt away like the snow – because experience tells us – Spring is coming! And it’s worth the wait!

Enjoy!

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Yesternight

There’s something marvelous about the way young children look at their world – scrutinize their world – make it to fit their own understanding and needs.

And if we are fortunate enough to catch a glimpse – behind the scenes of their thinking – their imagination – their language – it is a gift to behold.

Because so often it makes a lot of sense.

I found that to be true recently when our 3-year-old grandson was talking to his dad about something that occurred the night before. But he used the expression – his own unique expression – yesternight – which is perfect actually – much more defined and exact than yesterday – because, of course,, it wasn’t during the day – it was the night!

I love thinking about yesternight – so much more precise. It has a flair to it – a three-year-old’s innocence and charm. And one that I think I’ll borrow and enjoy – because, most likely, it won’t be long before this creative wordsmith will get older – and grow a little taller – and resort to the vocabulary we’ve all learned to use.

But for me – I’ll always remember “yesternight” – and the little guy who shared it.

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love

There’s something very personal and connecting when you take a child’s hand.

I don’t believe anyone who has held a small child’s hand – on a walk together – ever really forgets the feeling of trust and closeness it conveys.

But often we forget those moments in the busy throes of parenthood. And perhaps we more often recall grabbing a child’s hand wildly to keep him from running in the street – or moving him along quickly to the car without distractions.

But – I’m just reminding you to watch for those sweet moments of parenting – the trustful, hopeful, expectant gazes our child gives us, the “right, Dad?” you might get from a 6-year-old looking for shared agreement – the quick “bump into” from your high school boy that reminds you he’s still wants to connect – the siblings running hand in hand down the sidewalk – two brothers sitting close, cozy on the couch – watching a video..

There are so many moments.

But in our busy minute to minute days – it’s easy to miss them. But when you do “catch” them – really feel them – you’ll know .

These are the moments in our lives, our parenting lives, that make all the difference.

I think it’s called love.

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when … then

Recently going through a stash of old files – looking for something I couldn’t find – I found a note that said When…then.

It was written on the back of a day’s schedule from one of the very first professional trainings I had attended as a Parent Educator many years ago.

And I was glad to see “when/then” again – such a simple answer to so many situations we find ourselves in with children. Begging, pleading, whining to do something – go somewhere- eat something – play something – could be simply answered “When -then”.

“When you put your boots on, then we can go out in the snow.”; “When you clean up your room, then you can go to your friend’s:”;” When you finish your homework, then we can play a game”; “When you ask politely, then you can have a turn”.

Fast forward to years of listening and sharing with parents – to myself as a parent – so many suggestions and insights and philosophies learned, considered and offered, I kind of left “when/then” behind.

But it still works – delivered with a kind tone and positive outlook. I believe I could even use it for myself.

“When you finish writing this blog, then you can have a piece of Valentine candy”.

Yes!

Works for me!

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the rest of the story

What a glorious blue sky,, sunshiny day I notice blazing in on me as I sit down to write my weekly blog. But step outside – even for a few moments – and the frigid below-zero wind chill will hit you immediately.

So, you see, how easy to be fooled by just the bright sunny sky without knowing the rest of the story.

And that’s often the case with friends and family who might well wear a sunny face on the outside but could actually be struggling emotionally on the inside. During this challenging time our country is going through, there are many more people who are struggling in so many ways.

So be attentive when we inquire “how are you doing?” – be genuine when you ask it – especially if you suspect there’s more behind the smile. Don’t be fooled by a “oh you know”, “pretty good, I guess”. We might be missing the rest of the story – and by listening, you are offering a true gift of friendship and caring.

Coming up is Valentine’s Day on February 14th. Why not reach out this week to a sibling, a neighbor, your long- distance “bestie”, a child – and check on their heart – while sharing your own.

And – from my heart to yours – I wish you a Happy and sunny Valentine’s Day, my Friends.

And remember – The Parenting Place is always there to hear “the rest of your story”.

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on top of the world

Some days it’s just picture perfect!

That was yesterday as we walked through Myrick Park with Tootsie.

The main hill and the other two hills on either side were filled with sledders – all in their brightly colored snow jackets and hats – squealing with joy and delight as they zoomed down the hill. Sometimes sleds were connected, landing in a heap at the bottom of the hill – other sledders attempted to slide down backwards, just because … and still others aimed for the “Bump” for an extra dose of excitement!

Then there was also the brother and his little sister, I assume, that caught my eye – going up and down on their saucers. Zoom! At the bottom, the brother would wait and then carry his younger sister’s saucer up for her.

Generosity, patience, and love – personified – on a perfect sledding day!

And it’s all about the fun and the memories these children are creating on a day at the hill. And I can say that for sure – as memories of my younger days of sledding were definitely joyfully mirrored back to me!

And you know what else?

These children will return to their warm homes hungry, tired, relaxed – the best of the best images and joy in their minds, souls and bodies. And that’s the most meaningful part!

I know it gave me confidence – and a feeling of peace – that in this anxious period we find ourselves in, some things never change – that friendships during childhood are strong and significant – that playing together on a perfect hill – on a perfect on-top-of-theworld winter day – is the epitome of freedom, of childhood, of joy!

Thanks for the memories!

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this counts

I always have a pack of colored stars in my desk drawer. I like to add them sometimes in a note to the grandboys – just because – or when I write a quick note to a friend – adding a star for emphasis.

I don’t know how it started – and a pack can last a pretty long time – but I know when I pull open my desk drawer, it makes me happy to see them – red and blue and gold stars – just waiting to find their place – to jazz up an ordinary note – to brighten up the day.

I read something recently that spoke about how we feel about ourselves often depends a great deal on what we think other people are thinking of us – how we did, how we look, how we parent, how we cook, what we choose.

But … what if you had a stash of some of these little stars like mine – wouldn’t it be ultra cool to say to yourself, “you know what? I deserve a star today … me! myself! … for the delicious meal I fixed, the three breaths I took before responding to a very “hangry” child, the planning it took for getting everybody out of the house for the first day of school with no one “losing it” including me – for anything that says “yes!” that says “You did it! “– that says “This counts!”

Star recognition – your own – – accept it with pride!

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finders

“You’re a finder!” my husband told me today as I quickly located what he thought was nowhere to be found.

It’s true – I do seem to find things around the house that have been declared nowhere in sight!

I wonder if that’s the role of most moms. It seems we have a sixth sense of where things are – even when they’re not in the place they should be.

So think about it … how often are we called on to find a dolly’s missing sock, a favorite matchbox car desired right this very moment, a special bunny needed at bedtime for sure, a homework paper that was” just here a minute ago”.

And most importantly – as parents – we find our way in parenting our children.

We all know babies do not come with instructions attached. So we watch and we read and we share and we struggle and we grow – and we love – and we figure it out!

Finding our parenting style and core beliefs – on this parenting journey we are on – might not be as immediate as my early morning rescue find for my husband was. But it happens just the same.

Watch for it!” “Oh! there it is!” – that clarity that pops up from time to time – and you realize – yes – you found your own family’s particular parenting pace – your own family’s comfort – and though it may not always be smooth and effortless – remember –” it’s the cracks that let the sunshine in”.

Keep on discovering – and – shining!

(Please always remember The Parenting Place is here to help you along the way!)

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