Viewing posts from: March 2015

Learn to Enjoy Meals With Your Children

If I could wave my magic wand to erase one parenting concern, it would be the issue of food. When should my child eat? What should my child eat? How much should my child eat? We measure servings, count bites, and worry way too much.  

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Elaine’s Living Legacy

Several years ago I became friends with a lively, funny, spunky elderly woman named Elaine. I began spending one afternoon a week with Elaine in her apartment, just to keep her company and help her with small tasks such as tending to her many plants which she loved. I would arrive to find her watching her “shows”, soap operas she had watched for years. We would discuss the character’s actions in great detail, even though I had no idea what was happening. I simply nodded my head in agreement with whatever Elaine said, and gasped out loud when she did. We also had lengthy political discussions. After being a Republican most of her life, she was a huge Obama fan and was proud to have voted for him. I always enjoyed my time with Elaine, and looked forward to our weekly visits. Elaine-Plant-1-168x300 About 2 years ago, Elaine moved with her wonderful daughter to their new home in Los Angeles. I was very sad to see Elaine leave, but was honored to accept one of the small plants from Elaine’s porch that she and I had watered and cared for together. I moved the plant to my back yard, and have named it Elaine’s Flower. Nothing too original, but accurate. Every time I go in the back yard, I see Elaine’s Flower and think of my friend with a smile. Elaine passed away shortly after her move, but her plant lives on in my home just as she lives on in my heart. So I have an idea for you. Take your child to your local nursery, buy a beautiful plant, and bring it home to your backyard or your window sill. Give it a name, water it when thirsty, feed it when hungry, and appreciate it together. Take a picture of your child and the plant the first day, and regularly after that. See how your plant and your child are blooming, and appreciate them both every day. Just one more way to build a connection with your child.

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Asking About Guns: Do You? Would You?

When my son Brandon was five years old, he had a buddy that lived half a block down from us. One morning, he set off to play at his friend’s house, and came home about 30 minutes later. When I asked him why he was home so early (I had hoped for a longer break than that!), Brandon said “William (not real name) asked me if I wanted to see his dad’s gun. I didn’t want to and so I just came home.” After praising Brandon for making a safe and wise decision, (and after catching my breath and calming down my heartbeat), I told him that he was no longer allowed to play at William’s house. That William was welcome to come to our home, but that I was no longer comfortable with Brandon playing there. I had no idea where William’s father stored his gun; I had no idea if the gun was locked away or in an accessible location. All I knew was that if William was offering to show the gun, my kid was not going to be in that house. I also understood that I had no idea if any of Brandon’s other friends had guns in their homes. But certainly, no other child had ever told Brandon about one. This incident happened twenty-five years ago. I had taught my son that he was not to play with guns; that they are dangerous and not a toy. But I never thought about asking parents if there was a gun in their home before I sent my child there for a playdate. I didn’t do it then and I’ve never suggested it since. But here is an article that got me thinking this morning. When I speak to parents of tweens and teens now, I suggest that, when their child is invited to a freind’s house, they first call the parents to verify if an adult will be present, if your child indeed has permission to be at their home, and if alcohol will be served to minors. Maybe I need to expand this list to calling parents of toddlers and asking about guns. Do you do this? Would you do this? It might be uncomfortable; it might anger another parent. But it just might save a life. What do you think?

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