To yell or not to yell…

By: Michaelene Koskela 

To yell, or not to yell, was never a question I asked myself prior to becoming a parent.

Yelling did come naturally for me. Yelling was a good way to show frustration, make a point, when I was happy, excited to tell a colorful story or being lazy (i.e. shouting “Can you bring down my hairbrush I do not want to walk up to get it.”)

I was a yeller from a very young age… though I could have gone either way as I come from a split family. My father heirs from a long line of shouters, he is the baby boy of 7 children, the family meals at my grandmother’s house if you were not seated at an end seat often your cries for a pat of butter or a salt shaker were unheard. His discipline was always in holler form.11752572_10206515938570941_2523928273595651718_n

My mother and her family did not raise their voices, they were the whisper angry, My mom would make eye contact, firmly grab/pinch the top of your arm in the sensitive tender area adjacent to your armpit, and with a haunted low tone blown thru her clench teeth she would tell you exactly what you did wrong, needed to do, and how you would do it. You listened or at least pretend you understood so that your arm would be released.

As I matured my yelling was less frequent and reserved for umpires and unknown commuters without blinkers on 128.

Until I had a three year old, I had a habit of triple word yelling. “No, No, No” and “Stop, Stop, Stop” it reached the point one night at bedtime my daughter asked “Why do Mommy’s yell and not Daddy’s?”  This question made me take note. Why do I repeat myself and believe that a yell would be more effective to teach a child? The real Ah-ha moment; a few days later my daughter stood like a teacup, shouting “Now, Now, Now.” Her tiny voice commanded in the triple word demand for me to open the lid to her Playdoh.

I heard and learned in that moment why I had not gotten the desired cooperation from my child. Obviously if I needed to repeat the words or holler to get her to mind me, what was I teaching her? Mommy yells so do not take my commands seriously? Fear me?  Resent me?

Times do warrant shouting when a child may be in danger and you need to shout to protect them, however that is rare- not the constant, my child whom I love and adore is not waking up each day and saying let’s see what we can get away with or see how long it takes to make my mother frustrated.

We do that to our selves by assuming our child will behave ALL THE TIME when WE want them to or NEED them too because it is how we may have been taught.

To teach our children in our immediate gratification society has to go both ways for us as parents and for the children to reach an understanding.

Children need limits, boundaries and rules to grow as whole human beings they also need to understand who they are and to be accountable for their actions or decisions.

We need to treat them and teach them as such. We as parents need to have our children learn as we would like to be taught ourselves.

I am not suggesting that we become wet noodle push over parents. Limits and boundaries always exist but have empathetic discussions, welcome questions, your child should want to explore and see what the world has to offer, none of which requires yelling.  I am uncomfortable around raised voices and do not learn anything valuable other than avoidance.

Proudly, I was taught by my daughter not to triple yell.

Umpires with bad calls, and what I determine to be bad drivers on 128 … it is still a work in progress.


My Son Thinks I’m…

By: Amy Dienta 

Someone posted these questions on Facebook and you were instructed to ask your child to answer them about you. So I asked my 12 year old, what he thought about me. I know a pretty dangerous thing!!! Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is something mom always says to you? I love you. She tells me way too much!

image2. What makes mom happy? Spending time with us

3. What makes mom sad? Not listening

4. How does your mom make you laugh? She doesn’t

5. What was your mom like as a child? Childish

6. How old is your mom? Old but not as old as dad

7. How tall is your mom? The same height as me!

8. What is her favorite thing to do? Spend time with family

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? Shopping or working

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Her Generosity

11. What is your mom really good at? Her job

12. What is your mom not very good at? Baseball and soccer coach

13. What does your mom do for a job? She plays on computers all day and drives a lot.

14.What is your mom’s favorite food? Broccoli and spinach and feta calzone

15.What makes you proud of your mom? When she does good at work

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?  Mother goose

17. What do you and your mom do together? A lot of thing. Travel, go to the doctors. She’s been to every baseball game I had.

18.  How do you know your mom loves you? She tells me too much

19. How are you and your mom different? She doesn’t like baseball

20. How do you know your mom loves you? She tells me too much

21. What does your mom like most about your dad? His pancakes

22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go? Beach

I learned a few things from his answers.

1. He thinks I’m not funny!

2. I tell then I love them way tooooo much! (Note to self cut down on this as to not embarrass him.)

3. He thinks we are not alike, yet he loves my veggie loaded calzone!!

This was a quick and fun activity, try it with your kids and see what they think of you!! You maybe surprised.


Motherhood: All In A Day’s Work

By: Jacqueline Koutsoufis

Who ever said that having children and raising them is the most rewarding job you will ever have in your life lied.. They are a big liar!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and wouldn’t change being a mom for the world. But this is not- I repeat not- a glamorous job. It’s full of tears, tantrums, screaming, and lots of sleepless nights. And that’s just me not the kids. I run screaming and crying and locking myself away. After working a 10 hour shift and battling traffic all the way home. And scrambling to cook dinner once I walk in the door. The demands start mom ” can I” mommy can you. I want to do this or I need this. And if that isn’t bad enough the fighting starts the full all out war between sibling bc someone doesn’t like the way the other looked at them or they may have answered there question with to much of an attitude.

Some days after working a ten hour shift, battling traffic all the way home, scrambling to cook dinner, and refereeing fights between my children, it’s enough to make me want to run and lock myself in my room. Within minutes of walking in the door, the demands start, “Mom, can I…?” or “Mom, can you…?” or someone is crying because the other one looked at them the wrong way. This doesn’t even cover the battles that we have with ourselves- fretting over did I do enough for them? Are they ok at school? Are they behaving themselves and using their manners? Did I really honestly do the best I could have done? Have I taught them everything I know?…Will they do the right thing? These questions could go on for ever.

As a parent you realize that your job will never be done and that you will probably never got a worry free night’s sleep again.

Even when we think that they are growing up and they need less of us. We still worry..

We will worry about their health, their happiness, their family, their success… it’s a never ending battle.

A battle that starts from the time you find out your expecting that will continue until the day you pass away.

It’s a life long job with no pay and constant exhaustion.

I sit back and wonder why we all have this glorious vision of children and what we think it will be like when we grow up and have our own that I realize it’s because our parents made it look so easy. They showed us that everything will always work out and be okay. They took such good care of us and only expected a simple hug, kiss, or “I love you” as payment. They took such good care of us that we thought parenthood was easy. What we didn’t know was that when we weren’t looking, mom might be hiding in the bathroom, letting loose her frustration and anger, so that we didn’t have to see.

We see their struggles through our own.

Being a parent isn’t always fun, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. But I want to warn my children now- Parenthood is hard. Be ready to laugh, cry, scream, and panic all in a day’s work. I make sure to still my parents now how much I appreciate them, and all their help and support, and how much I love them. I hope that one day my kids will see the same in me.


Triple Birthday Party

By: Sue Anganes

With three of my six kids born in July (don’t try counting back the nine months beforehand -October must just be a good month for me) I decided to throw a triple birthday bash this year and have one big party. My eldest daughter Cassie, my second daughter Tessa, and my third son Ray were the ones who were honored. With six kids, their spouses and significant others, my grandkids, and the grandparents, I decided to organize the event on Facebook. Even my eighty year old mom has, and uses, Facebook! I bought a bunch of hamburgers and sausages to grill and made some side dishes the day before. I wimped out on baking a cake and bought three cakes from the store. I often take the easy way out because it is so much less stressful, and then I can enjoy the party without feeling wiped out.

It was an easygoing fun afternoon. There were lots of cards and gifts to hand out with three birthday celebrations rolled into one. One special item that I thought was touching was a gift that my eldest daughter Cassie, who is a mom to three little ones, gave to her sister Tessa who is eight years younger. It was a beautiful bracelet with the name “Auntie” engraved on the outside, and the names of the three little ones engraved on the inside.

Above and beyond the fun of the cakes and gifts was the blessing of having four generations of the family together; having my eighty year old parents, who are the GREAT-grandparents to my grandchildren, with us to celebrate. I am thankful that all the kids enjoy being together, and that we all live close by. Sometimes I hear young moms despair that their children are growing up too fast, and that they have heaviness in their hearts that they are losing something as their kids get older. I can honestly say that I enjoy my adult children and my teens today as much as I did when they were little. The blessing of having three little grandchildren to love only puts icing on the cake.

 

Auntie Bracelet


Be in the Moment

By: Danielle McFadden 

Last night I was watching Louis C. K. with my husband. He was talking about how his daughter’s middle school was across town in New York City. He made reference that it was a pain every morning to get her off to school and then said, “But I realize someday I am going to miss this.” His words immediately struck me.

Sometimes as parents we are going through the motions. At times it may seem monotonous, but it’s so important to be present in those moments and appreciate them. I find myself doing that more and more.

Last night for instance… I was putting Zoe to bed and she was fighting it. At that moment I started to sing her a song and she repeated the song while belly laughing. She then asked me to sing it again. Instead of ushering her off to bed, I chose to be in that moment. To sing to her, make her laugh and sneak in some extra cuddles. There will a time when my singing may embarrass her or when she’ll no longer find comfortable in my arms wrapped around her… and someday I’m really going to miss that.52dbef22bb412c7246773b67b83e6926

 


Frozen In Summer

By: Michaelene Koskela 

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As parents we all tend to get absorbed into our school routines- the wake ups, after school practices, dance classes, recitals, and parent meetings. Yet we manage to handle the unexpected curve balls; a forgotten backpack, the last minute cupcake request or an unknown science project. At the end of the day, when the light switches off and the good nights are exchanged, we celebrate our problem solving abilities.  While in them we do not fully absorb that the breeze of the school days are temporary.

Summer sneaks up on us. The last day of school we rejoice momentarily happy the auto pilot of school drop offs and pickups have a brief stay. However, we are now in our homes 24/7 with our little buttons of endless energy.

Your little buttons that dream of summer all winter with the same passion as Olaf sings.

“But sometimes I like to close my eyes, and imagine what it’d be like when summer does come

Bees a-buzzin’, kissable dandelion fuzz
And I’ll be doin’ whatever snow does in summerrrrrr
A drink in my hand, my snow up against the burning sand
Probably getting gorgeously tanned in summerrrrr

I’ll finally see a summer breeze, blow away a winter storm
And find out what happens to solid water when it gets warm!
And I can’t wait to see, what my buddies all think of me
Just imagine how much cooler I’ll be in summerrrrrr

Da da, da doo, a bubba bubba boo
The hot and the cold are both so intense
Put them together it just makes sense!

Rata ta ta dada dada da doo
Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle
But put me in summer and I’ll be a happy snowman!

When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream
Relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam
Oh the sky would be blue, and you guys’ll be there too
When I finally do what frozen things do in summerrrrrrr.”

This excitement day 1, canopies from the garage to the lawn, a kaleidoscope of beach toys, bubble machines, floatation devices, bean bag toss and unknown kite parts. The butterfly nets, the wiffle ball bats, bocce ball, croquet and twisted badminton rackets, scooters, bikes, is it possible that there can be more? Out come the skateboards, a hockey stick or two, you witness a game of Frisbee before the camping gear appears in a mound by the car.  You see grins and giggles with cheers summer bring so much happiness and glee.  You retire to your lawn chair, laptop in tow, because you are certain the offerings will provide hours of play.

Your eyes get adjusted to reading the screen and the shadows of the umbrella; you sip your iced tea, place it down and continue.  Seconds later dirt smudged flushed sweaty faces appear, leaning into your space, trading sips of your tea.

The buttons of energy are no longer happy.

The buttons now wear scorns, arms are folded and in unison they exclaim. “I am bored!”

“Really.” Is all you can manage to say. Happy summerrrr parents, September is on its way!

 


Kids & Hot Cars: Safety Tips

Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash-related fatalities for children 14 and younger. Unfortunately, even great parents can forget a child in the back seat. Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids or whose routine suddenly changes. Babies and young kids can sometimes sleep so peacefully that we forget they are even there. It can also be tempting to leave your child alone in a car while you quickly run into the store, but the problem is that leaving a child alone in a car for even a little while can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke. Young children are particularly at risk, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. These tragedies are completely preventable. 

Whether you’re a parent, caregiver or bystander of a child left in a car, it’s vitally important to understand children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults. Follow these important rules and tips to protect children from heatstroke:

Safety Tips from KidsAndCars.org:

Below are some simple tips parents and caregivers can follow to prevent heatstroke tragedies.

  • - Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
  • -”Look Before You Lock” – Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle.  Make sure no child has been left behind.
  • -Create a reminder to check the back seat.
  • -Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, handbag, employee ID or brief case, etc., in the back seat so that you have to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
  • -Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
  • -Make sure you have a strict policy in place with your childcare provider about daycare drop-off.  If your child will not be attending daycare as scheduled, it is the parent’s responsibility to call and inform the childcare provider. If your child does not show up as scheduled; and they have not received a call from the parent, the childcare provider pledges to contact you immediately to ensure the safety of your child. (this is very similar to the ‘absence-line’ used by most elementary, middle and high schools) Everyone involved in the care of your child should always be aware of their whereabouts.
  • -Keep vehicles locked at all times, even in driveways or garages. Ask home visitors, child care providers and neighbors to do the same.
  • -Keep car keys and remote openers out of reach of children.
  • -If a child goes missing, immediately check the inside passenger compartments and trunks of all vehicles in the area very carefully, even if they are locked. A child may lock the car doors after entering a vehicle on their own, but may not be able to unlock them.
  • -If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately.  If the child seems hot or sick, get them out of the vehicle as quickly as possible.
  • -Be especially careful during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.  This is when many tragedies occur.
  • -Use drive-thru services when available (restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners, etc.) and pay for gas at the pump.

Drive Way Safety:

Kids love cars, and when they see a parked car, they don’t even think about the possibility of getting hurt or seriously injured. That’s why parents have to. Many preventable injuries and deaths occur in driveways or parking lots when drivers are unaware that children are near vehicles. Tragically, these drivers are often family members or friends of the injured child. But these injuries are easily prevented by following a few simple tips:

  • -Before you drive away, take a few seconds to walk all the way around your parked car to check for children.
  • -Designate a safe spot for children to wait when nearby vehicles are about to move and make sure the drivers can see them.
  • -Accompany little kids when they get in and out of a vehicle. Hold their hands while walking near moving vehicles or in driveways and parking lots or on sidewalks.


Fourth of July Safety Tips

Independence day. Liberty enlightening the world

For millions of American’s the July Fourth celebration of our nation’s independence includes cookouts, splashing at the pool or beach, and enjoying dazzling, colorful firework displays.

Whether you’re traveling out of town or keeping your celebration local, it’s important to take a few moments to know some common Fourth of July safety hazards and how to ensure that you and your family stay safe.

Swimming Safety Tips:
If your Fourth of July plans include swimming in the pool or ocean, make sure you, and your family, have certain safety plans in place.

  • - Always keep a watchful eye on everyone in the water- don’t assume other people are watching the kids
  • - Make sure your children know basic water safety tips before letting them swim
  • - Never swim alone
  • - Know where “throawable” flotation device are located

Grilling Safety Tips:
A cookout out wouldn’t be complete without burgers and hot dogs, but to be sure nothing (or no one) gets burned, here are a few tips for grilling safety.

  • - Make sure your grill is a safe distance away from your home and deck railings, and out from low hanging branches
  • - Keep children and pets away from the grill area
  • - Never leave your grill unattended
  • - Only use your grill outdoors

Firework Safety Tips:
Fireworks are a great way to celebrate the holiday, but they can be dangerous. Leave lighting them to the pros. Inexperience with fireworks is an easy way to get burned or worse.

If fireworks are legal in your community, know how to store and use them safely.

  • - Keep kids away from fireworks at all times and spectators at a safe distance
  • - Never use fireworks indoors
  • - Know your fireworks and read all instructions and caution labels before lighting them
  • - Always have water handy to douse a fire
  • - Soak spent fireworks in water before throwing them away
  • - And most importantly: Obey local laws! If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

When using sparklers:

  • - Always remain standing.
  • - Never hold a child in your arms.
  • - Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time.
  • - Never throw sparklers.
  • - Sparkler wire and sticks remain hot long after the flame has gone out.
  • - Be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.
  • - Teach children not to wave sparklers or run while holding them.

General Safety Tips:

  • - Lakes, waterways and oceans will be crowded with boats. Know safe boating practices, ensure everyone has a proper fitting life jacket, and never drink and drive your boat.
  • - Apply sunscreen constantly
  • - Cover and store food outside properly. Covering your food will help keep insects at bay. Decrease your risk of food poisoning by properly storing your food and throwing it away if it has been sitting outside in the heat for more than an hour.
  • - Drink plenty of water. Drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after time spent in the heat will decrease your risk for heat-related illness.

 

Becoming knowledgeable about safety measures will help make the holiday more fun for everyone involved.