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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yooka Me & Other Toddler Speech

Top to Bottom: Taylor, Kaden, Zac
Understanding toddler speak is quite a challenge, but if you pay attention to the cues, you can figure it out.

I've been in Virginia visiting my son and his family, and I overheard my grandson, Zac, talking to some friends who were visiting.

"I not Yacky," he said. "I Yackery." What he was saying (obviously) was, "I'm not Zachy –I'm Zachary."

It reminded me of the first time I babysat for a little 3-year-old Korean girl. She was a beautiful little girl with bright eyes that just glowed with intelligence and happiness. Having never met her, I thought she might take a while to warm up to me, but her immediate reaction was to light up and exclaim, "Mahti mihaab?"

I remembered thinking that it would have been nice if the parents had told me their daughter couldn't speak English, but I thought that if I asked her to show me, I might be able to figure it out.

"Mahti mihaab?" She asked again.

I said, "Show me," as I reached for her hand. She led me to the couch and patted it. I sat down and watched her open her purse, her eyes still beaming with delight. "Ti mi haab!" she exclaimed as she pulled one item after another out of her purse.

Oh. I get it. What she was trying to say was, "Want to see what I have?" and "See what I have?"

Just the other day in the car, Zac called out from the back seat, "Daddy, yooka me. Yooka me, Daddy." All you smart mommies and daddies out there already know what that means, right? "Look at me."

But I'll bet that if I mention sows and yeppers, you might not have a clue. However, if you click the link to an article entitled, Creating Helpful Dictionaries, you'll find out.

In the meantime, use the "show me" method if your toddler can't get his or her point across. That method usually works. Not always, mind you, because I remember a time when my daughter, Lindsey, asked for beeches and it took me several months to figure out she meant grapes.

The only reasonable explanation for calling grapes beeches is that she probably asked what grapes were but the grapes were sitting next to the peaches and whoever it was who didn't pay attention to where she was looking, told her they were called peaches. As a result she would have believed that grapes were called peaches. Happens all the time.

But to make sure that DOESN'T happen, pay attention to what your child is asking so you won't misinform him or her. Otherwise, you'll find yourself at the fruit counter surrounded by strangers as your child points to grapes and calls them beeches. Discovering your toddler's method of communication is an enjoyable process.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Single Parents Alone On The Holidays

Perhaps it was because my mother decided long ago to celebrate holidays before or after the actual holiday (she wanted all of her girls together on the same day). Or perhaps it was because the actual holiday never felt like a holiday unless the whole family was present. Whatever the reason, it prepared me for the first time, after my divorce, when I would not have my children with me for Christmas.

I was a single parent who had to learn how to spend holidays alone – while my children spent holidays with their father. I felt a deep sadness at the loss of what had previously been a family tradition.

Other newly divorced parents or parents who've lost partners through death, find holidays difficult too, but getting used to being alone on a holiday doesn't have to feel lonely, and it doesn't have to be depressing.

What my family discovered was that if we decided to celebrate Christmas the week before Christmas, we could pretend it was actually Christmas. The aroma of food cooking in the kitchen, the festivities, and the laughter of children made whatever holiday we celebrated feel like the actual holiday.

And so it went that on each Christmas morning, when I awoke alone, while my neighbors and practically everybody around me were celebrating Christmas with their families, my children were with their father.

I may have shed a few tears the first couple of times, but on Christmas morning, when I awoke alone, I wished Jesus a Happy Birthday, and told Him we would celebrate the day together, just the two of us. Then I went to the store and bought one last tiny gift for each of the kids, wrapped it, and placed it on their pillows. It might have been simply a Caramello for Christmas or a Cadbury Egg for Easter. It might even have been just a little trinket, but it was just one more surprise that I could look forward to celebrating upon my kids' arrival.

Holidays aren't just dates on a calendar, and they don't have to be celebrated ON the holiday – what gives holidays significance is the love shared by family in celebration of that holiday.

To all the single parents out there, I wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, or a Happy Celebration for whatever you celebrate. May your year be blessed with joyous surprises.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When Kids Blame Siblings

Zac and I are home alone today, as we are every day while his Dad is at work, his Mom is in Illinois working at their frozen yogurt and smoothie shop (FroYo Creations), and his brother and sister are at school.

This morning Zac was picking his nose and was fascinated by how he could get spots of blood on the toilet paper. Yes, I know – disgusting, but nose-picking is somehow fascinating to three-year-olds. Though you might suspect that the reason for the blood was because he was picking his nose, you would be wrong to think that Zac thinks the reason for the blood was because he was picking his nose.

Want to know why Zac thinks the blood appeared on the toilet paper?

Kaden, his five-year-old brother, did it. Zac said that Kaden had just punched him in the stomach and now he had blood coming out of his nose.

"Kaden isn't here," I reminded Zac.

"Yes he is."

"Kaden is at school."

"No, I just saw him do it. He punched me like this." Zac then punched himself in the stomach to prove to me that the reason he was getting blood out of his nose was because Kaden did it.

Was Zac afraid he would get in trouble for engaging in such disgusting behavior, or is he just so used to blaming Kaden for everything that blaming Kaden comes naturally?

Kaden is the middle child. Perhaps he is destined to be the one blamed for everything. I know in my own birth family, my sister Cindy was blamed for everything. It was her own fault – she set herself up for becoming "The Blamed One." After all, when older siblings discover younger siblings sneak into sugar bowls and then deny sneaking in sugar bowls, despite the fact that their mouths glisten with the crystal sweet substance, older siblings somehow file that information in their brains under the category, "Events to Remember When I Need Somebody to Blame."

Zac's situation and the memory of my little sister Cindy emptying the sugar bowl reminds me of another time when my mother told me I wrote my name on the wall. When my mother asked me who did it, I blamed Cindy, who wasn't in school yet and who didn't know how to write.

Blaming is something we should all outgrow. Unfortunately, for many of us, blame continues into adulthood.

Why do kids (and adults) blame? I highly recommend this excellent article on the subject, written by renowned child behavioral therapist, James Lehman, MSW, Child Outbursts: Why Kids Blame, Make Excuses and Fight When You Challenge Their Behavior.

Photo above is of Zac and Kaden.

By the way, as I post this in the living room, Zac is playing an iPhone game in the family room next to this room. He just yelled out, "You just made me lose." Apparently Kaden isn't his only target of blame.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Clone Blog

What do you do when, for TWO WHOLE MONTHS, you have to deal with a ton of personal issues, including a car in need of more than a thousand dollars worth of repair, a broken vacuum cleaner with a warranty (but the nearest fix-it place is 50 miles away), a broken refrigerator (cost me several hundred dollars), a broken computer (would cost the price of a new computer to fix), no Internet connection (so even with a working computer, what difference would it make), seven blogs that cry for your attention, a memory that fails every now and then to remind you to take your cancer drugs and your asthma medicine, AND you take care of children all day long?

Well, I can't answer for you, but for me, I've decided to clone my blogs – at least this once.

Yessiree. If you go to any of my blogs (all of which are listed at the end of this blog), you will find that on this day, December 6, 2010, every single one of my blogs will say exactly the same thing as does this blog – assuming I don't get interrupted while I'm posting everywhere, that is.

So, without further ado (I don't think I've ever used that word before), here are a couple of (shortened versions of) blogs I would have written if I could have found the time and a working Internet connection:

MY HAIR

When my hair began to grow after chemo destroyed it, I noticed about a thousand cowlicks EVERYWHERE. In other words, I continue to look as if I am permanently affixed to an invisible electrical socket.

My youngest daughter and I were sitting in the cafeteria at Barnes and Noble (one of my favorite places to visit) when I spotted two women, who at first appeared to be reflections of me in the windows and whose hair looked as ugly as mine did. Of course mine was hiding beneath Avon's Breast Cancer cap, so nobody could tell how truly ugly it was.

In complaining to my daughter about how horrible I felt, because every time I looked in the mirror I saw a frightening apparition, I decided to illustrate my sense of horror by pointing out the two women to her.

"See those two women sitting by the window with their short, ugly, no-style hair?" I asked my daughter. She discreetly turned around.

"That's how I feel," I continued.

"You feel gay?" she asked.

OK, before you get all uppity, know this: several people I know are gay, and one of my best friends is gay – I think HE would get a laugh out of my daughter's comment.

MY FASHION SENSE

Everybody knows I have none – fashion sense, that is. I even wrote about my lack of fashion sense in my Weekend of Fashion blog, which I invite you to read by clicking the link.

Never had my lack of fashion sense been more apparent, though, than the year Jim Riordan shot his movie, Maddance, and one of his actors needed an outfit for a character she considered to be "trailer trashy."

Oh, what to wear, what to wear? Her eyes settled on me. I was wearing a broom skirt with a button down sleeveless top and a pair of sandals.

"That outfit, the one you're wearing. That would be perfect."

The #@%$&! What irks me even more is that I actually GAVE her my outfit!

WHEN TEMPERS FLARE

Yes, I'll admit it. I have a temper. Some people might be surprised to learn that I do because I usually hide it, though not always very well. You can tell when I'm upset, though, because I sulk or become an absolute witch.

Seething with sarcasm, my eyes squint into slivers of hatred. I become a cartoon character of myself, and I really don't like ME when I act that way (though, believe me, I have plenty of reasons to be "witchy" sometimes). In spite of those reasons, I really TRY to be mature (at my age, you would think that would come naturally by now).

Sadly I can't always help myself, so I'd kind of like other people to step forward and slap my mind with things like, "Do you realize you're acting like a temper-tantrum-throwing child?" or  (sarcastically) "Yeah, it's all about you!" or (even more sarcastically) "Nobody else ever in the history of life itself has ever had as many problems as you do. You deserve the status of martyr. Give me the phone. I must call the Pope!"

When I act like the Wicked Witch of the West I don't understand why people don't just throw a house on me. Maybe my toes curling beneath the pressure of a house smashing me into the ground would be the catalyst for change and I would respond differently. I could smile and say chirpy little comments, like, "My car needs over a thousand dollars worth of repair – the Universe must be trying to tell me something." ("You're getting too old to drive, Nimwit!"), and, "My computer is so broken, it will cost me the price of a new computer to fix it, so the Universe must be trying to tell me something." ("You're the one who wanted to be a writer – maybe you should rethink you're 'ideal job'.")

Or, and this is just a thought, maybe people should start being more responsible for OTHER people, especially those – like me – who need…what? What do I need – a heavy dose of reality? No, thank you. I think I've had  plenty of that…a reminder that lots of people have it worse than I do? No, that won't work. Oh, how about ________ (fill in the blank – I'm trying out a new type of blog – interactive – how's that working for me)?

Oh, you know what? Just throw a house on me!

Hmm, you don't like my remedy for witchiness? Be gone! Before somebody throws a house on you!

COMCAST

Comcast is on my hits (rearrange the letters) list. For the past three years since I moved into my home I have had intermittent problems with my Internet connection, and EVERY SINGLE TIME I call them and they send a tech, without fail, the technician who arrives at my home to FIX (choke choke) the problem tells me that the guy who came before him didn't know what he was doing.

I repeat – EVERY SINGLE TIME.

So, does that mean that for the past 3 years, every technician Comcast has sent to my home has been incompetent, or does Comcast hire egocentric techs with superiority complexes who believe that nobody but them knows how to properly connect a computer to the Internet?

Whatever. My Internet connection is in Illinois while I am in Virginia enjoying, in addition to attending to the needs of my grandchildren, a reliable Internet connection. Could the fact that I'm in Quantico, hub of the FBI and other government agencies, have anything to do with that, I wonder?

Despite the vacuum cleaner/computer/Internet/car/refrigerator problems I have been deftly dealing with over the past several months, I have managed to get a couple of articles and blogs written, the most recent of which is Paranormal Gifts for Your Paranormal Loved One.

In my Help For Single Parents blog, my most recent postings are:
PREVENT BULLYING
Applauding Accomplishments
Single Parent Resources

The three recent posts that appear in my Paranormal Minds blog are:
Why Does the Tarot Scare People?
Interviewing the Dead
I Have a Confession to Make

My Heart Blogs To You includes the following recent posts:
What Happened This Halloween
T-Ball With Kaden
Why I Have No Time To Write
Jeremy – Another Writer In My Family

Your Weird Dreams could appear in this blog along with these dreams:
The Bobby and The Dead Guy In The Trunk
Violent Murder In A Dream
Dream of Former Workplace

Writer of Blogs includes only one recent post:
How Embarrassment Became a Kindle

Your Blog Connection is currently disconnected due to the fact that I have not interviewed anybody recently for that blog.
But just because I had no time to devote to this blog, doesn't mean you can't check it out ;) Also, if you want YOUR blog covered, let me know.

My Wordpress Blog
Nothing new here, either, but feel free to visit for links to my other blogs and articles that automatically post here.

My most recent Associated Content Articles include the following:
A Halloween Paranormal Nightmare While Awake
I Wish Somebody Would Do Something About That!
The Perfect Gift for People Who Have Everything

My most recent Xomba Articles include:
A Halloween Paranormal Nightmare While Awake: Halloween Voices Won't Let You Sleep
Interview With Dead Rock Star Jim Morrison of the Doors
Learning the Mysteries of The Tarot
Paranormal Gifts for Your Paranormal Loved One

Hopefully by 2011, everything will be less stressful and I'll be writing more. The only way I can see that happening, though, is to find my own planet. But then I'd have to consider the costs to get there and...

In the meantime, thank you for reading this blog and clicking on the links.

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