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Monday, May 25, 2009

Keeping a Straight Face When Kids are Too Funny


Sometimes we can't help ourselves. Our kids do something so funny, we HAVE to laugh. Often we try not to.

Case in point (from a baby's point of view):

OK, I'm getting up. I've almost got it. Balancing is hard, but I'm really working on it. Almost. Almost. I'm up! Take a step. Just one. I DID IT! Then BAM! Down to the floor I go. Look at them. All of them. Laughing at me. After I've worked so hard to be upright.

Yes, that's where it starts. Of course, some children are a little more sensitive than others, but we are the parents so we try to make ourselves aware of our children's sensitivities.

Except when we can't help ourselves. Our children bring home pictures of angels that look like something out of a horror film or they spell words in ways that would have Webster shrieking with pain. We bite our lips.

And then, every once in a while, maybe on a full moon, or maybe just because, we cannot help ourselves and cry from laughing so hard at something our children have done or said that when we see the look of confusion spread across their faces, we laugh all the more, because even THAT is funny.

Now the tears are flowing and we can't stop ourselves. The laughter seems to have an energy all its own, exploding out of us like lava.

Until we see the pained expression in our children's faces. We have to pull ourselves together and say something that lets them know we're not exactly laughing AT them, but BECAUSE of them, and NOT in a mean way, but in a LOVING way, so we say something like, "I am just so happy that you are my son (or daughter) that sometimes I have to laugh really hard, because I'm THAT happy!" We hug them tightly and tell them we love them soooooo much. And if we're lucky and they believe us, all is forgiven.

The picture above was drawn by my youngest daughter when she was in first grade. The Little Mermaid was my favorite cartoon movie, so she drew my fayfrit cortone just for me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

COUPONS & SHOPPING



WHY don't they make coupons like this one for people like me?

I HATE shopping. 

I know – you're thinking, WHAT!??? A woman who hates shopping?

Yes, it's true. I've always hated shopping – ALL kinds of shopping. My mother used to drag me to the store with her and find me sitting on a bench or on the floor somewhere begging to be let go.

Fortunately I have sisters who enjoy the circus attractions where crowds of bargain hunters spend massive amounts of money to look like the latest screen goddess. I, however, decided long ago, that when I had children of my own, I would NEVER take them shopping – I would let my husband do it. 

Two husbands later I realized I would forever be stuck with the task of shopping. Oh, how I would have loved to have had the Internet back then. Instead, I dragged myself to the store, memorized the contents of each aisle (so I would know exactly where everything was located), and told myself what a genius I was, because I had discovered a way to make my shopping experience a little more tolerable. But just when I was getting comfortable with product placement, the grocery store would switch its products. My experience became more like a job.

I made lists and I clipped coupons to expedite my shopping trips. That helped, until I realized I was spending more by using the coupons than I was by not using them. You see, if I saw a $1.00 off coupon, I thought only of savings. It didn't occur to me that I would never purchase this product without a coupon.

Ultimately, after I had amassed enough coupons to fill an encyclopedia, I learned to clip coupons ONLY for the products I used. But that became a problem, too, because then I had to sort through them to find all the ones that were expired.

So I bought a file folder with months labeled at the top, which only added to my problems, because when I forgot about them, I would find coupons that I should have used the year before.

Years later, I finally developed a system that worked. Coupons get placed in my wallet where they have only so much breathing room. Once the wallet becomes too thick, I sort through the few coupons left, and throw out the rest.

I HATE throwing anything away, though, so that last sentence was an absolute lie. I hoard everything. I recently found a coupon from 2003.

By now you're probably wondering HOW this helps the single parent. Here is my answer – don't you suddenly feel better about your organizational skills?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Preschool Boredom


Two words never make their way into my home: I'm bored. Why? Because we have so many things to do, so many games to play, and so many books to read. We don't have time to be bored. 

With summer around the corner, I decided to organize all of the boredom-prevention ideas I had into an article. Why? Because I sometimes forget – until one of the kids mentions it – that I've hidden certain toys and games in a closet – which I fully intend to bring out at a later date – but I forget I have them.

So I have listed HERE 17 boredom-fighting activities.

The photo, by the way, is of my beautiful granddaughter, Audrey.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'll be honest...


I raised four children beneath the level of poverty. Yes, my parents helped. And thankfully, one of my sisters stepped in to help as well. We lived in a mobile home in a community that thought of mobile home dwellers as "trailer trash." My children learned about prejudice and hatred from a very early age.

They suffered constant taunts from children and adults alike – even, believe it or not, from adults who worked at the school they attended. They wore clothes from KMart when brand name clothing was popular, and they knew that Mom couldn't buy all the luxuries their friends parents' could afford. As a single parent, I was fully and sadly aware of what they were going through, but I didn't have the money to move them to a more affluent area. 

Trailers fall apart and what would be normal wear and tear for a house was devastating to our "home." I could barely afford the tape around the windows.

I was extremely depressed about our situation for the longest time, until I thought about THIS and it turned around my way of thinking.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Day Memory


Mother's Day reminds me not only of events I shared with my own mother; it reminds me also of times I shared (and continue to share) with my own children. 

If you are a mother reading this blog, I'll bet you share a memory similar to mine. Read about it HERE.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Letter Factory


If encouraging your preschoolers to love learning is high on your priority list in terms of preparing them for school, you will LOVE LEAPFROG! The Letter Factory teaches children not only how to recognize the letters in the alphabet, but also how to remember the sound each letter makes. 

After children learn their letters and sounds with the Letter Factory (and even while they are learning their letters and sounds), put on the Talking Words Factory to teach children how to put the letters together to make words. The kids in my daycare love these videos that are made in such a creative way, you will be impressed too.

If you want an innovative and fun way to teach your children how to learn their letters and sounds, LEAPFROG videos are a worthwhile purchase. Of everything I bought for my daycare, these two items sit at the top of my list of things I'm grateful I bought. Try them. You might even find yourself singing along with the songs!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

MOMs WILL LOVE THIS!

SHARE THIS link with your Mom or your mommy friends. Guaranteed they will love it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Discipline That WORKS!

Consistency.

I could leave the whole blog right now with just that one word. Consistency.

"No matter what you do, be consistent." Those were the words of a therapist who told me that if I were to continue raising my daughter in the same manner I had been raising her, she would fumble through life, and I would be doing her (and me) no favors.

Many times I grounded her "for life" and then retracted the punishment the next day. I insisted that she could NOT go to the dance on Friday night, then drove her there myself because I either forgot what I said or I felt bad for telling her no in the first place.

I was the queen of "mixed messages." And my daughter learned very quickly that if she just quieted down a little, Mom would soon forget the punishment or change the punishment.

Inconsistency disrupted our lives. And I was responsible for that inconsistency. I had to learn how to be consistent in my behavior toward my daughter so that she would know what to expect from me and from herself. 

I've mentioned before that discipline is not punishment. I had to change my mindset from one of punishment to one of discipline. A benefit of being consistent was that it helped me learn how to discipline not only all of my children, but myself as well.

Being consistent and keeping my promises wasn't always easy. I sometimes forgot, but I worked at becoming a successful mom. I reminded myself to follow through with discipline. And it paid off. My children learned how to respect me, themselves, AND my rules and guidelines. 

Being consistent is sometimes difficult. But it's necessary, because children need to know what is expected of them.

Parents also need to teach their children how to respect boundaries. Children manipulate parents if parents allow their children to control them. What that does is teach children how to control others. 

By maintaining consistency in respect to raising our children, our own lives become more manageable. In a state of consistency, we teach our children how to moderate themselves and how to respect themselves and others. When children know what to expect from life, they are relieved of numerous stressors brought about by chaotic lives. 

Lives lived with inconsistency are chaotic. Consistency reassures children that what you expect from them today is what you expect from them tomorrow. 

When you remain consistent in your behavior, you are, in effect, telling your children that you love them, because you care enough to discipline them.

So I leave this blog with two words: consistency and love.

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