Why I’m Glad My Kid Doesn’t Believe in Santa @ Huffington Post Parents

My bouncy-haired daughter ran up to me more excitedly than usual, tightly hugged my legs, and with eyes shrink-wrapped in tears declared, “I told them you weren’t dead!” Wait, what?! I had just arrived at her preschool after trying to teach hormone-saturated junior high students all day. My mind was not prepared for that deeply relieved, but curiously arresting greeting.

She explained, “I told my friends that Santa was dead, and they told me you were dead.”

Who knew 3-year-olds could retaliate with such malice? These tots weren’t messing around when it came to Santa. I bent down, pulled her into my arms, and asked her why she thought Santa was dead. She explained that she figured it out the night before when we told her the story of St. Nicholas. We told her when, where, and how he lived, and SHE deduced that if he lived centuries ago, then he must be dead now. I was impressed. That was some high-level reasoning for my not-quite-4-year-old. I was also wondering if I would be receiving phone calls from the irate parents of the children who would rather see ME dead, than Santa.

Our first of four kids and precocious to boot, we were still working out how exactly to handle the Santa mythos. It seemed she had decided for us. So, I began the conversation I’ve had with her every year since her revelation. “Sweetheart, yes, Santa is a fictional representation of a real man who loved people well. Yes, there are a lot of legends that surround his iconic character, but we let other parents explain that to their children. Did you hear me? It would be better for you to let other parents teach their kids about Santa.”

To which she usually looked incredulously at me and said, “But… He is NOT ALIVE anymore.”

After years of conversations like this, with me staring at her blankly and muttering, “I know, but still… I don’t know what to tell you. Let their parents handle it.” I’ve decided I’m done. While I will continue advising her to be wise about who and how she shares this with, I walk away feeling foolish when I tell her DO NOT. I wonder whether I should silence a child who is passionate about authenticity, and fear what I might be teaching her by doing so… Continue reading at Huffington Post Parents

 

Holding On & Letting Go (for PMB)

I know she is growing up, but as I witnessed her pulling out the summer peppers and preparing for their forthcoming carving, I was both impressed and saddened that she didn’t need my help. Still young, but the oldest of four, my daughter removed the stem ends, sliced the pepper’s ribs from the sides, and pushed the seeds away. Scrutinizing each step as she carefully and craftily proceeded, constructing and cooking lamb piperade for dinner. I stood off to the side as she deftly handled the blade, and acknowledged that just because she is able to keep her fingers from the edge of the knife doesn’t mean I don’t get nervous when she is handling things that could harm her.

letting-go-holding-on

Peel. Chop. Sauté.

Disgust crosses her young face. It is time to handle the lamb. She asks for help, not because she needs it to get the job done, but because she hates the feel of raw meat. I join her, finally invited into the space she has set apart to create and compose the dish. The time of spending every moment together has long past; it has given way to school, books, and her own personal preferences. She no longer needs her mama to entertain her, groom her, or feed her. It brings great freedom to us both, but I have begun to see how I will need to hang on to her as she lets go of me… Continue reading at The Portland Moms Blog.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Full-Day Kindergarten

Nope, not going to happen” was my consistent response to my husband when he put homeschooling on the table. He always reminded me that I have a Masters of Science in Education, and I would remind him of my spastic organizational skills. Privatized education, at-home learning, and the public education system; we explored them all, landing on the path we both walked as kids, public school.

I have escorted three of my children through the doors of elementary school, and left them for hours. With my oldest two it was only for two hours and 45 minutes. But this year I sent my five-year-old darling away for the whole day. For the 2015-16 school year, Oregon joined a slew of other states implementing full-day kindergarten, and it touts a banquet of benefits. There is more routine, better opportunity for social development, and longer instruction time for to the newest generation entering academia.

Our children are still learning to brush their hair, but we are asked to send them away for the entire day. Are they ready? Here are some tips from the trenches, and some recommendations from the lovely woman who spends 6 hours a day, 5 days a week with my daughter; one of your very own Oregon full-day kindergarten teachers.

  1. Wean Your Would-be Kindergartner From NapsPrep for full-day Kindergarten

Trust me, I begrudgingly enforced this last summer, but I can’t imagine how my daughter would have done in full-day kindergarten if I hadn’t. She was falling asleep when she got home into October, and once she even fell asleep in class. I told her she doesn’t need to be embarrassed, but we need to stay awake to learn. I empathize, and tell her it used to happen to me all the time. I just don’t let her know I was in high school.

  1. Count All the Things! At least up to 20

1…2…3…apples, books, or people in line in front of us. You can practice this skill virtually anywhere. Equipping your emerging learner with the skill of counting to 20 will have them ready to take on the world of mathematics…Continue Reading @ The Portland Moms Blog.