A 30 Second Chat to Turn Fights Between Sisters into a Foundation for Friendship @Huffington Post

Hey, hey, HEY! What is going on in here? In this house we don’t fight with our sister, we fight for her.”

The Fights

This seems to be a common refrain for me these days, as I seek to break through the chattering cacophony of little girl voices seeking to be the most strident, shrewdest and scrupulous of them all. I have three daughters, and as their legs get longer so does the resolve to fight for their ground, their wants and their rights.

But you know what? They are 11, 8 and 6, so their ideas of what this means are seriously flawed, and I blame it on their underdeveloped brains. Someday they will be adults and see that it didn’t really matter where Barbie slept in her dream house, they should have let it go when someone was wearing their socks and it’s okay to sit up so that everyone can share the couch. But, alas, today is not that day.

Ultimately, I love watching my little ladies grow. I try to teach them the balance between being gutsy and gentle, and am impressed by the ways they are willing to take on the world at such young ages. Part of that has to do with the fact that they have been willing to go toe-to-toe with each other, so I better mom-up and take the time to coach them well.

This is their training ground. Here among sisters, I am determined to do my best to help them learn how we maintain unity, keep a bond of peace and forgive one another. They get to test out how to apologize, and unfortunately get to witness the pain they inflict upon each other. For the burden of a sister is that she is always beside you, but this becomes beautiful if you learn what a blessing a sister can be.

The Foundation

Look, I am not saying that I enjoy the disquietude that sometimes blows through my house like a prepubescent hurricane of hormones, but I am glad they have each other. It gives me great hope for their futures. So although the bickering is brutal, to see them standing together sings peace into my soul. My hopes for them is that they know what I have known. A sister means you have a friend for life….

Find the rest of this conversation over at the Huffington Post.

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

 

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.

Lice Survival Guide for PMB

I am a survivor of what felt like a plague that left us quarantined from the rest of the world until it could be eradicated. An infestation of the dreaded pest all elementary school parents fear—LICE.

My kids have come home from school with the parasitic pests three times, and always in the colder months. As one of those who has walked the dreaded road of late-night nitpicking, I offer you this mom’s survival guide for lice.

Prevention

Don’t expect a notice from the child’s school to warn you that they have been exposed. Apparently, some school districts see that as a violation of privacy. If you notice that your child’s classroom that was once filled with long flowing hair and Biberish boy haircuts, is suddenly packed with short bobs and shaved heads, consider that a warning.

Check behind your child’s ears and at the nape of their neck regularly. This can be done in mere seconds when you brush their hair, or they are sitting on your lap while watching a movie. You may feel a bit like a mama monkey, but your kids will get used to you just taking a peek to make sure they aren’t infested with ghastly blood sucking creatures. If you catch it early, it is so much easier to get rid of and keep them from spreading…

Continue reading at The Portland Mom’s Blog

20 Acts of Three-Year-Old Vengeance for PMB

 

“Some days, I can’t help but wonder if my lovable, baby-fat-losing three-year-old is out to get me. How about you? They say that the twos are terrible, but once these cuties turn three they’ve leveled up. While they love their mamas fiercely, their verbal, physical, and emotional skills are growing and opening doors to all types of new behaviors. When posed with something that comes against what these adorable little ones’ desire, their “I’ll show you” game is strong. It can’t be escaped. The statistics provide little hope; 100 out of 100 mothers are likely to be the victim of #threeyearoldvengeance.

Documented acts of appropriate parental action countered by the wrath of three-year-old vengeance include, but are not limited to, the following:

1.You told me to stay in my room during rest time. I peed in my box of blocks and made you search for the source of the smell.

2. You put me in a shopping cart and didn’t let me run wild to touch whatever I wanted. I kicked you in the stomach at least once an aisle for good measure.

3. You made a well rounded dinner I didn’t like. I hid in the bathroom with a jar of peanut butter, and scooped it out with my hands.

4. You made me a healthy lunch option instead of buying me a kids meal on our 11 hour road trip. I threw your non-greasy selection out the window…”

Continue reading at The Portland Mom’s Blog