Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thanksgiving Thursday -- The Sisterhood of Motherhood

A real glimpse into the sisterhood of motherhood, worth the time to read: The Path We Walk
at Oh The Joys.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Toddler Files Tuesday: Don't Have a Paddy

A reprint from the New Zealand Ministry of Education:

Toddler tantrums

A mother recently asked what she could do with a two year old toddler, who had terrible tantrums, refused to cooperate over anything and could even undo the buckle in her car seat while they were moving. Once in a tantrum the child was inconsolable and most things set a tantrum off. She and her husband had conflicting views on how this could be handled. Whatever they tried did not seem to work and they were at their wits end. It seemed like tantrums were ruling their lives. Does this sound familiar? It probably does, since most toddlers go through a tantrum time as they learn to assert their autonomy. But, telling parents that this is normal is not enough, they want answers!

Keeping your cool is reassuring to a toddler (over time!) who is in the process of finding out about their own feelings and responses in ways that are new to them too. This means keeping your voice low and calm as much as possible. If having a paddy is noticed and attended to, the child learns that having a paddy is the way of getting what they want. If the tantrum is ignored, they will learn in time that this is not how to get what they want. The key here is "in time". It takes many experiences before they first realise paddys do not work and then that a paddy is not the way to get what they want. Somehow a parent has to learn to close off to the sound of heels drumming on the floor as the learning takes place. This is hard!

Allowing toddlers as many chances to do things for themselves helps, but again takes time. If you are racing out the door it is not the time to tell the toddler to hurry up! This is when s/he wants to put their own shoes on and halfway through gets sidetracked into another activity. Have you noticed that a toddler is not good at realising a sequence of events? They live in the here and now. Saying "we cannot go if you are not ready" is meaningless. The child who undoes the seatbelt does not realise that if she kept it on a little longer she could see grandma or have an outing.

Giving some choices of their own will help. Watch out that the choices are not too hard and have an element of non-choice. This can include the non-negotiables. Wearing a seat belt is non-negotiable - you have to wear it in the car. Getting them into it can be an issue, but you can try a choice, "you have to wear your seat belt. Do you want me to do it up or will you?" If they refuse you need to get out of the car and not go. If the child undoes the belt in the car you need to stop and repeat the process until they realise that wearing the belt is a non-negotiable. It is important to see the process you have decided on right through as many times as it takes. You will need to allow time for the child to do it themselves.

Avoiding situations where the child is powerless will help. This means keeping to routines so the child learns to know what comes next. Avoid going shopping when anyone is tired, hungry or fractious. This is the time to consider is shopping with the toddler worthwhile or do you need to leave them with someone else while you shop. Putting your precious things up high or away means you avoid having to continually watch while the child persists in reaching for it. We do want the child to keep that perseverance, but only after they have learned to discriminate! Above all, it is useful to remember that this time will pass and your strong willed child will come out of it older, wiser and more sure about who they are. This is their task in this stage.

This paper is copyright to the Ministry of Education and may be freely distributed as long as it remains unaltered and identifies the Ministry of Education as the copyright owner. It may not be distributed in return for compensation of any kind.

Monday, April 09, 2007

You Might Be the Parent of a Toddler If:

1. You appreciate the efficiency of a grocery list written in crayon.

2. You are not offended by wiping someone's nose with the edge of your sleeve.

3. Shirt is really just another word for bib.

4. You face down boogers bare-handed.

5. You spend enough money on diapers each month to cover a car payment.

6. You have heard the word "Mama" repeated 368 times in a row, without pause.

7. You have decided setting the dog free in the kitchen is easier than sweeping up the Cheerios.

8. Getting by on 5 hours of sleep is a breeze because it is so much more than you were getting a year ago.

9. The last feature film you saw was The Wiggles Magical Adventure, for the 49th time.

10. Your home is adorned with 117 pieces of safety hardware, including cabinet locks, drawer latches, toilet lid locks, outlet safety plugs, stove knob covers, and a special stretchy cushion that covers the edges of the coffee table.

Mombot Monday -- More Yum Yum for Your Money

These Gerber Graduates Mini Fruits (Banana Strawberry) are apparently like ambrosia to toddlers. The heavens open up, sunlight beams down, the birds sing and troubles cease to exist on the earthly plane when my girls are given this snack time favorite. The only problem is the little mathematician in my head cringes at their $2.99 price tag each time I pull them from the grocery store shelf. That is $2.99 for 1 ounce of freeze dried fruit. Which makes these little yum yums cost nearly $48.00 per pound. Yikes! What else costs $48.00 per pound? Maybe lobster? Really, really good lobster?

Thinking there must be a better way, I did a little research and found this on the Internet -- 100% Natural Cereal Toppers (Bananas & Strawberries). For significantly less money, it seems worth a try, so long as you order in sufficient quantities to balance the shipping cost.

*Graphic from web site.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Get Involved

Getting involved and making a difference may be easier than you think. Online activism and use of the web for organizing are making it easier than ever. Whatever side you are on, your voice is important in achieving true democracy.

Easy places to get started for the 2008 campaign:

Political Party Sites:

Call Talk Radio
The Republican guide for calling national talk radio shows, complete with call-in tips and talking points.
Republican Party Web Site (available in English and Spanish)

Democratic Party
Democratic Party Web Site (available in English and Spanish)

50 State Strategy
A quick explanation of the 50 state strategy

Democratic Presidential Candidate Sites:

Obama '08
Barack Obama Presidential Campaign Site
John Edwards Presidential Campaign Site
Chris Dodd Presidential Campaign Site

Bill Richardson for President
Bill Richardson Presidential Campaign Site
Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign Site
Joe Biden Presidential Campaign Site

Kucinich 2008
Dennis Kucinich Presidential Campaign Site

Republican Presidential Candidate Sites:

Tommy Thompson Presidential Campaign Site

Tom Tancredo Presidential Campaign Site
Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign Site
Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Site
John McCain Presidential Campaign Site
Duncan Hunter Presidential Campaign Site
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign Site
Sam Brownback Presidential Campaign Site

A Sweet Surprise, Sweet Potato Fries

This simple recipe offers a nice alternative to candied sweet potatoes or french fries.

Sweet Potatoes, cut in slices; Olive Oil; Salt; Ground Allspice

Place sweet potato slices in large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and add salt and allspice to taste. Mix ingredients until slices are evenly coated in olive oil and spices.

Spread in a single layer on aluminum foil lined baking pan. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.

* For an even sweeter treat, add a little cinnamon and sugar to the mix.