Monthly Archives: January 2013

Clingy Toddler Help

January 31, 2013

toddler holding head, toddler in purple, oh brother!, tips for clingy toddler, purple butterfly jacket, I often get asked what to do about a clingy toddler. As parents, we want to raise autonomous children who are also well-attached to us and to others who care for them, but clinginess can be frustrating.

Clinginess is about separation and separation at different ages and stages is often difficult for parents as well as for children.

First it’s important to recognize when the separation anxiety is our own instead of our child’s. A child leaving our side to venture out, a child left in someone else’s arms at day care, or a child walking into a preschool class, can be charged moments of conflicting feelings for Moms. The way we respond can affect how our children react. They are signs of autonomy and can be scary for toddlers as well as for Mamas!

Even a child under a year old crawls away and tests his independence before returning. It’s great to be encouraging and give your child positive feedback as he glances over his shoulder to check on you! Then go ahead and smoosh him up with kisses and hugs when you reunite to let you both know that the time apart was okay.

Separation, in increasing increments throughout childhood, the teen years and beyond, is one of the great dances of parenthood: how much to let go, how much to protect them. How much to push them to do something on their own, how much to pull them back. This is true at 8 months and 18 years old, we have to find balance. Sometimes the separation makes the parents uncomfortable, and sometimes it’s the kiddos who are troubled.

Writing Life

January 28, 2013

writing journals, diaries for kids, national novel writing month, record keeping families, traveling, Bermuda, France, cruises with families, Writing has always been something I’ve loved. I got my first diary when I was eight years old, a yellow book with white flowers on the cover, gilded pages and a golden lock.

Those early entries in my daisy-covered diary, written in second-grader printing, were simple recordings of my days, “I got up, I went to school. After school, Karen came over to play. We played outside. It was great!” My report-style writing evolved to reflecting on events, venting deep emotions, exploring relationships and pondering life. Recording daily details continued at a new level, and often my diaries became references for where we spent a certain Thanksgiving (settling some bets), what year we threw the 80′s party or when I dated “that guy.”

In re-reading old journals, it’s shocking to me how many things – big things – I’d forgotten, not just minutia but things like auditioning for the school play, I did that?

For my year 2000 project, I set out to transcribe all hundred-something hand-written books. While I didn’t make a big dent in that idea, as I worked, I marveled at how I could read and find myself feeling 12 or 17 again, I could instantly be back in a moment in my past. At other times, it was as if I was outside looking back in a motherly way at my younger self, I saw and experienced that memory in a whole new way, with a new perspective colored by experience.

What Was Your Childhood Bedroom Like?

January 26, 2013

I love to document life, in videos, writing, art and photos so I am jumping on this thoughtful and inspiring project, Mom Before Mom, started by Carla at All of Me Now.
Carla explains the idea behind Mom Before Mom: “So much of memory keeping is focused on capturing our children’s experience but what of our own? Who will capture the mother’s journey as a woman? Who will honor our journey if we don’t honor it first?
My hope is to make this a community effort. To gather a group of women, writers, storytellers who are eager to write from the heart and share themselves. So I invite you to join me.”

I’ve accepted her invitation, this is my second post in the series. Last week was about how I got my name.
This week’s prompt is: What was your childhood bedroom like? Give a tour. How did it change as you matured?

[caption id="attachment_1549" align="alignleft" width="231"]sisters dressing up, kids playing house, girl dressing up as boy, sisters getting along, sisters laughing, siblings playing, pink suitcase, A favorite activity, Beth and I dressing up. I was 7, she was 5.[/caption]

I lived in one house, in one bedroom for my entire childhood. Until my later years of college, I even came home to that bedroom from school. (It was fair that I eventually got bumped, my brother had grown up with the booby-prize of a bedroom.)

Birth Hill Road in Newtown, Connecticut. A white colonial up on a hill and my bedroom was in the back corner, facing “the Big Rock” in the woods. My sister, Beth, and I shared that room when we were little, my Mom painted Raggedy Ann dolls over our beds in place of head boards. Each doll held a flower and faced the other.

Once, years after the Raggedy Anns were painted over, when we had redesigned the layout of the room and had our beds meeting in an “L” shape, our little brother was running from tip to tip of each bed and then tripped, perhaps on a sister’s foot if memory serves me, and launched into the corner of a windowsill. Hospital. Stitches. Angry Mother.

I’m not sure how old I was when Beth moved down the hall. Her new room was very cool. My Dad built cabinets and shelves out from the wall so her bed nestled into the wall. Book shelves and curtains made it a cozy nook.

My memories of when I had the room to myself are of tons of matching furniture, my parents had bought a double set for when I had my roommate. On my own, I loved organizing the shelves and my closet, I was neat and savored having my own space. I had forgotten until writing this, I had a bunny collection on one of those shelves, various ceramic bunnies in all sizes and poses, wonder where those are now.

As a teen, I got my own phone in my room for Christmas, it was just a house phone, connected to the one family phone number, but it was MY phone, in MY room with privacy! It had a really long cord and no cradle, it was 80’s hip and could be hung up on any of my many dresser surfaces.

I didn’t have much input into the decor or scheme really, which didn’t bother me, but I loved arranging the things I had and keeping my space organized. The colors were peachy and a green shaggy kind of rug, evidence of my 70’s childhood. The dressers had hutches attached to most of them and there were sweet little apricot flowers and a basket weave-type pattern in them. Not my style now, but I loved them then.

Over the years, it changed and my Dad even put in another window facing the woods in our back yard. He was always an awesome builder and woodworker but my Mom would attest (and complain) that he wasn’t big on prep or clean up work. He loved the demo part of the job and cut the hole for my new window without putting down a drop cloth. For months and months after that job was done we heard pieces of sheet rock going up the vacuum (remember, it was shag carpet, lot’s of room to hide plaster chunks!)

That room framed my ordinary everyday life: Late nights of homework, sleepovers with friends, talking with boys, posters on the back of my door. And that room framed the extraordinary life moments: Primping for dances, gowning for proms, talking with boys.

Years after I moved out, my bridesmaids and I stood in my old bedroom in front of an air conditioner in the no-longer-new-window, lifting our dresses to the cool breeze on that scorching July day. I was so thankful that Nick, my husband got to know the home and room I grew up in, but my kids never did.

When my parents sold the house and moved out not long before our first baby was born, the whole family was together and we walked room to room and everyone shared a memory for each room. Laughter, tears from laughter, tears from sadness, sadness from good-bye. Nearly three decades of family memories lived in those rooms, so many of them in my corner of the house.

Thankful Thursday

January 24, 2013

Fellow Rhody Blogger, Joanna at Baby Gator’s Den, began a Thankful Thursday post series. This week, I’m jumping on board. I believe that gratitude is the key to happiness and while it’s an active, conscious process, I work hard to count my blessings all day long, every day.

family, thankful for family, smiling family, happy family, thankful thursday, secret to happiness, THANKFUL

T – I am thankful for time. Today I had time to have breakfast with friends and read for my book club tonight. Time to myself, time with my kids, time with my friends. Treasured time.

H – I am thankful for heat. The warmth in my home, in the hot shower, in my car, the scarf around my neck.

A – I am thankful for aspirations, for goals and dreams and things to look forward to.

N – I am thankful for Nick. Nick, my dear, sweet, catch of a husband. My true companion, my knight in shining armor (still not even tarnished after almost 19 years of marriage!), my very best friend.

K – I am thankful for my kitchen and kisses. As in most homes, our kitchen is our center. Family dinners, mobs of friends, spilled drinks, dishes of food, laughter overflowing, scribbled homework, and free-flowing kisses. Romantic kisses and kid kisses. Good bye kisses, welcome home kisses. Smooshy kisses and quickie kisses. Kisses on the head, kisses on the cheeks, kisses square on the lips. I’m thankful for our kitchen and kisses.ukulele, green paisley uke, bohemian rhapsody on ukulele, musical giftedness, thankful thursday, green paisleys,

F – I am thankful for family. The top of my gratitude list each and every day, each and every moment. My greatest joy, my deepest love.

U – I am thankful for ukuleles. My daughter picked up a ukulele in the music store and instantly plucked out songs. That year, Santa brought her a cute uke covered with green paisleys. She has an impressive musical gift and listening to her compose, sing and create music with her friends and father makes me smile and brings me joy.

L – I am thankful for life. Thankful for another day. THIS day. I embrace it, welcome it and cherish it.

Today, I am Thankful.

 

Internet Safety: A Teen’s Point of View

January 23, 2013

I asked my daughter to write a guest post on internet safety for teens. (Well, okay, it was more of a required lesson after a doozy of a slip up while online. We wanted her to do her own research and learn more about online safety and I wanted her perspective to offer other parents.)
In preparation, she spent time online watching many PSAs and learning internet safety tips, but I was amazed to see that in her writing, she focused more on our actions as parents helping her (even though she doesn’t like them and complains!) and she also reflected on her own behaviors.
In addition, I’ve provided some quality links to help you learn some concrete tips, suggestions, educational tools, online rules and some texting acronyms.
I have a favorite line in here – I’ll share with you at the end – priceless insight into the teen mind!

Guest Post by my favorite teen – Ali DeCesare

online teen safety, teen's talking, communicating with your teen, girls texting, stay safe online, instagram safety, instagram bullying, social media and teens, Internet safety for teens, As a teen, I use a lot of technology in school, for homework, and just in my free time. I’m not as technologically advanced as some kids in my generation, but I do know how to use the Internet, set up a new e-mail address for random things, and signing up for YouTube, Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, or any other social media.

I don’t think teens understand the danger they may be in when they release even the smallest bit of information on the Internet. That one time you put your first and last name in a post, or one picture of your house, with even just the town or state in the description, it could be the one time it would cost you. There are many Public Service Announcements on YouTube and television that support this idea and others to keep teens safe.

I know as a teen myself that I don’t really want my Mom snooping through my iPod or cell phone, and it gets me irritated when she does. However, after an incident on Instagram with me, I realize that without my mom’s snooping, things could’ve gotten out of hand really fast.

I’m sure everyone goes through the stage of always wanting to be right and completely in control of yourself, (or is that just me?) and when my parents go through personal conversations I have with my friends, it makes me want to be in the right and say that they can’t control me. Deep down I do get that it’s their job (that’s what they tell me) but sometimes I really just want to feel independent and not live in a video game while my parents have the controller. So, sometimes I defy them and always get caught.

Workout from Home with Ana Caban

January 22, 2013

I’m happy to introduce you to this reasonably priced workout from home program with top trainers to the stars.
In full disclosure, I have not received payment or free goods or services in exchange for this guest post.
Ana Caban, Inc. is offering discounts for Mother’s Circle reader, see end of this post for discount codes.

Guest Post from Ana Caban, Inc.

exercising mom, mom on orange ball, orange yoga ball, mom on birth ball, exercise after birth, postpartum exercise, exercising with kids, exercising at home, working out at home, cheap workout plans, online workout plans, It’s still January and resolutions of health and fitness are still swirling, or fizzling. Save time and money with a work out from home with Ana Caban, celebrity fitness trainer.

Sharing resolutions keeps us honest and accountable, to ourselves, and anyone else we have included in our close-knit circles. The intention is there, and we are gung-ho about waking up at six o’clock in the morning to head out for a jog before our bodies realize what tricks we’re up to.

For many busy moms, it’s almost impossible to think about how to formulate a workout schedule beyond that point. Moms of toddlers or teens are often just too busy to even think about the gym. And it’s not just the kids or a nine to five it’s the million other responsibilities, too.

What if there was a way you could workout from home without interfering with your daily routine? It makes working out sound doable doesn’t it?

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