Girl or Boy...They Bring Much Joy!

Babies!!! This seems to be the year of babies; I know so many individuals having babies. There is one person in particular who is expecting a baby (not literally). My best friend will be an Aunt for the very first time! I am so excited for her. Although my children fondly call her Auntie, she will now have her very own niece or nephew and I know she will be the best Aunt ever because I've watched her be an Auntie to my children for years. She is my inspiration for this post because she's attended many baby showers but has never thrown one as a true Auntie. There are so many rules and etiquette to having showers. Who should throw it? Should men be invited? What type of food should be served? How many games should be played? Should the Shower start promptly? What type of invitations should be used? How long should a shower last? If this is the mothers second or third child, should she have a shower? What are good hostess gifts? Should party favors be given to guests? What are good themes? The list goes on and on. I have had four children and have attended many baby showers as well as thrown many over the years and I have experienced various "different" showers; I have walked away saying, "What a unique idea for a shower" to "Did that just happen?" LOL Nevertheless there are a few guidelines which will ensure a successful shower:

  • Surprise showers are not a good idea (in my opinion) because you want the expecting mother to look and feel her best and she should have a say on certain things. Including the mother-to-be to a certain extent is suggested.
  • Today, it is more and more customary for the family to throw a shower. Although the mother-to-be may find herself attending more than shower. Co-workers may also want to have a shower for her in her honor.
  • In terms of food, decide whether you want to have appetizers or a "meal". Get the mother-to-be's opinion and keep in mind food allergies or diet restrictions of your guests.
  • Inviting men should be the decision of the parents-to-be. They may know several couples and want to invite them, or the expectant mother may not feel that men should be invited.
  • The shower should begin promptly; recommend timely arrival to your guests.
  • A shower should last about 2-3 hours
  • About 3-4 games should be played; anything more than that and your guests begin to experience "tired of games" syndrome!
  • Regardless to the number of births, each child being born deserves a celebration.
  • Although individuals throw a shower out of the kindness of their hearts, a simple "Thank You" from the mother-to-be would be nice. Simple gifts like a candle, a flower, or a hand written note is recommended but not necessary.
  • Guests do not attend showers to receive gifts, they attend to celebrate the life of a child. However, giving party favors is a nice gestures; I've seen it done WITH and WITHOUT.
  • Today, many individuals are tech savvy and online invitations are popular; sites such as Socializr and Evite are popular choices. Handmade invitations are also popular as well as pre-printed invitations from your local party store. All should include a start and end time as well as any details regarding the choice of gifts the expectant mother prefers.
  • I've seen many themes at showers. Depending on the mother-to-be and whether it is her first child or not, whether she wants the shower to celebrate the joy of life or have gifts given will determine your theme. Themes such as "Mommy Time", "First Library", "Circle of Love", and "Casserole Dish" are a few you can choose from. (For more details on these themes, email me)

The most important thing to remember is that life is precious and a gift from God; celebrate this special occasion by keeping that in mind and...don't forget the cake!
I know your time is precious and valuable, and I thank you for sharing it with me. Until we chat again...

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I Can Handle It, Really...

At the end of the day, you look back on what seemed to be difficult in the beginning and realize, "I handled that pretty good!" That's what happened to me today. Today is Thanksgiving Day and a very important person was missing...My SON! He's away at college and he's working as well as going to school. Initially, when he told me he wanted to work, I was concerned if it would be too much for him handle with school; the thought of him making his own money was also refreshing because college is not cheap! Nevertheless, he's always worked during the summer months so he's not afraid of responsibility or dedication. I was really looking forward to seeing him because I haven't seen him in about four months; I can Skype with him but its not the same as hugging him :-). When I learned that he would not be coming home for Thanksgiving I was pretty disappointed about it. I did my best not to stress him out more ( I know he was looking forward to coming as well) by calling him and telling him how much I would miss him. I did great until...WEDNESDAY! I called and told him how much I would miss him but how proud I was of him for being so responsible and dedicated. When I woke up this morning, I didn't feel like doing anything but I knew I needed to finish cooking so I did. In between my cooking, my eldest daughter surprised me and got him on Skype for me. We laughed and talked and had a great time.
After talking to my Son I really had more to be thankful for. I arose this morning thinking how blessed I am to have a roof over my head and food to cook, a husband lying next to me who is dedicated to both me and our children, great kids who make me proud on a daily basis, extended family and friends. Things could be much worse, I could be homeless or lonely. Realizing that the young man on the other end of that computer Skyping with me is a product of me and hubby's parenting made so eternally grateful and thankful. So, at the end of the day, I handled it, really, I did! Now, if I don't see my son for Christmas, we may have a misunderstanding. I'm just saying. (Smile)
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and you shared it with those closest to you and those far as well.
I know your time is precious and valuable, and I thank you for sharing it with me. Until we chat again...

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What's In a Name?

I have often pondered a thought: why is it that you need a license to practice Psychology, drive, hunt, practice medicine, practice law, sale liquor, and sale real estate? however, you do not need a license to be a Parent! Wow! Food for thought, right?
Being a Parent is a HUGE responsibility that some take for granted or pass on to older siblings, extended family members, and even grandparents to do in their absence for whatever reason that may be. One can hold the "Title" or "Name" of Mommy and Daddy but still not play the role of Parent. A Parent parents their child; they are nurturing, attentive, guiding, supportive, empowering, committed, positive, responsible, dependable, kind, caring, loving...I could go on and on. Being a Parent is such a HUGE responsibility that its commitments are mentioned in the Bible.
Where does "bad parenting" come from? The adult who finds him/herself faced with being a parent, looks back and cannot remember being parented themselves. When you know better, you do better. Period. Being aware of the fact that you should give your all to being a parent is one of the first steps to being a great parent. When you consider other tangible things in your life which you consider to be assets, do you think of your role as a parent as an asset? If not, you should. Parenting and raising children with qualities such as setting boundaries and expectations, empowering them to succeed, teaching them time management skills, values, morals, beliefs, and social competencies are all tools which will support their growth and development as people. If you do not instill in your children a positive identity of themselves, how do you expect it to occur?
If you are not the person(s) in your child's life to foster their growth and development, can you truly expect that child to respect you? Children have rights as well as adults do. Children have a right to be loved and nurtured from committed parents; if you are not this doing this, you are violating the rights of your children. Of course, we can never do everything perfect, but we should our best to get as close as possible.
Supporting our children with love, care and attention while empowering them to make the best possible choices while clearly setting expectations and boundaries will assist us in nurturing them to have a commitment to learning. The positive values, morals and beliefs we instill in them will be the positive values which guide them through life.
After all shouldn't we want to raise assets, not liabilities?
I know your time is valuable, and I thank you for sharing it with me. Until we chat again...

The Other Little People...

We often associate the term "Little People" as the politically correct description of dwarfed individuals. For me, it has a been term of endearment for my children and my students. Afterall, we are raising "Little People"; our children will grow up and become functioning adults in society and we want them prepared. Often, some adults believe children should be seen and not heard; depending on your own experiences as a child, this may be something you feel strongly about.
Consider for a moment, that you do not allow your child to have input in certain conversations which may involve them. What are you teaching your child about having an opinion? Thinking for themselves? It's true, you do not want a child that has a difficult time being respectful and the ability to voice opinion becomes disrespectful and you find yourself arguing with this little person. We do, however, want to create a balance of meaningful conversation when having dialogue with our children. The lessons you teach them now will follow them for years to come.
It is a great idea to hold family meetings sometimes when major things are occurring to include the children; this gives the child or children a sense of belonging and it also lets them know that they are a valuable member of the member of the family with input to be considered. It allows them to share how they are feeling as well.
Over the years, I have parented my children to have open dialogue with myself and their dad as well as teachers. There are moments where your children may have input in regards to certain rules, especially as they pertain to them. Discussions with with your child or children regarding washing dishes, curfew, homework schedules, sports, chores, bedtime, television watching, and video game playing are all relevant discussions where our little people may want to have a say. The important thing to remember during these conversations is that you are in fact, the parent and you are willing to hear them out, but make it clear that the final decision is yours. Remember that our little people are watching us intently; they are determining what type of adult they will be based on their experiences with us as parents; in essence, this is what occurs during the rearing of our children. We want our children to grow and learn and have the tools for independence, especially the tool of having discernment and knowing whom they can trust. You build this trust by letting them know that they will be heard while maintaining consistent discipline. They need to see that sometimes you are willing to make decisions based upon their input as well.
You want to create confident children because confident children become confident adults!
Happy Parenting!
I know your time is precious and valuable, and I thank you for sharing it with me. Until we chat again...

Please and Thank You!

The past week has been a very busy week for me, but then what else is new? I had so many experiences this past week that I pondered what I should write about. My eldest sister and her family have what is known as Junk Food Fridays so I copied her last night and I suggested to hubby and the kids that we have Wing Stop. Coming out of Wing Stop, I looked across the street and McDonald's was calling my name; well, the Strawberry Lemonade was! Make a long story short, I'm one of those people who believes that God places where I need to be, even if it's not where I want to be. As fate would have it, the syrup for the lemonade is empty and needs to be refilled. Instead of me telling McDonald's how unprepared they are because my wings are outside with hubby getting cold, I patiently waited. While I waited, a "lil person" (I affectionately call children this) approached the counter and said, "I need a Ranch (dressing)" after look at one another, the employees pulled out a Ranch Dressing and gave it gave it to him. Now, I'm assuming his parent(s) are close y because he looks no older than about eight years old. He then said, "I need another one". Me being the Teacher that I am, bent down so he could hear me and I said, "Say please and thank you"; he said it, smiled at me and walked off.
Was that my business? YES it was! Could his parent(s) approach me and say "don't speak to my kid that way"? YES, but I wouldn't mind. I believe that some children have lost their manners because some parents have lost theirs. Bold, but true statement.
Another example: I stopped to get donuts for the staff at my daughters Middle School and my staff. Without even thinking about it, I said please and thank you to the lady behind the counter; its honestly a part of my daily vocabulary because I have so many people (children and adults) who are watching my every move and word. An older gentleman next to me waiting to order said, "You know, people don't use use those words too much anymore, I rarely hear please and thank you anymore". Of course I enlightened him with my theory as to why we don't hear those words too often anymore, but that's another blog!
My point is this: I work with about five different Assistants in my classroom everyday. I have 26 students, of which three are special needs students, and I interact with about 30 more staff throughout the day. It is very important to me to show the staff in my class that they are appreciated and that I know we are all doing an important job. So when I ask them to do something, I make sure to say please and thank you each and every time. Not only do my staff appreciate that about me, I am setting an example for my students who are watching. There have been times when a student has asked for more milk or a different activity in a learning center and did not say please and thank you. I did not have to correct them because their peers did. They have become accustomed to me "expecting" it from them and see and hear me use them daily.
Are we setting this type of example for our children as parents? When you are asking for the remote or a glass of water or for the dishes to be done, are you saying please and thank you? Although you know that as a parent, they will do it because you asked, it doesn't take much to say please and thank you. You are teaching manners that will be passed on for years to come.

I know that your time is precious and valuable, and I thank you for sharing it with me. Until we chat again...

Fruit Snacks!

When I think of Fruit Snacks, and when I eat Fruit Snacks, I feel young. Not literally of course, but Fruit Snacks are most kids' favorite things to eat. Children often do not worry about the tedious and troublesome issues we as adults face on a daily basis. Therefore, when I'm having a "moment" I sometimes grab a bag of "Fruit Snacks" and just eat myself into "happiness"! I have to be honest and say that this is not my usual method of release and relax, but I have had several "Fruit Snacks" moments. A smile just instantly comes to my face when I have a Fruit Snack; I think of my children and the joy and innocence of childhood.
As parents, we have to have a mental health plan in place. It is very important to consider your mental health and to have a plan for relaxing and knowing when we have reached our limits. As a professional, I have what is known as a "Professional Burnout Plan" this plan allows me to take a step back from work (Mental Health Day)when "I" deem it necessary, take time out for and with myself and take time out with family. I have also (in my older years) began to apply this "Burnout Plan" in my personal life as well. Often, we become bombarded with the daily routines that we begin to feel like robots.
Its okay if those dishes don't get washed right away; trust me,they are not going anywhere! Its okay if you only get one load of laundry done. When you don't feel like doing something, don't do it. Its somewhat like a meal plan. How so? The meal plan usually does not leave room for Brownies (I love Brownies)so you feel like you're cheating if you eat a Brownie. EAT A BROWNIE!!! Ha!
Basically, what I'm saying is, we have to know when enough is enough. Its okay to "check out" for a couple hours. When you return, it will be business as usual. Trust me. Do me a favor: next time you're feeling a bit worn out, have some "Fruit Snacks"! It works for me.
Happy Parenting!

Silly Boyz...Trucks Are for Girlz Too!!!

Who says only boys can play with trucks? Only girls can play with dishes? Don't panic if you see your child(ren) assuming "another" role while engaged in play; its important to allow children to have hands on experiences and venture into other roles. In all honesty, our sons will grow up to be fathers one day. Wouldn't it be nice if he has experiences in handling a baby, cooking, sweeping and vacuuming? There is no need to panic when boys visit the Dramatic Play area at school; reminding children of the various roles in the home is healthy and age appropriate for Preschoolers. The same hold true for girls who may want to visit the wood bench or the block area at school; who says a girl can't work on a construction site or become a world renowned architect?
Eventually, our children will grow up and leave the home and become adults, possibly parents. We want them to have real-life experiences at an early age which will, in the end, prove to be beneficial.

America... Land of the Free! Or...Is It???

We live in a country that is such a melting pot. The State of California alone is rich with so many varying cultures and races of people. However, there is a question we should ask ourselves: "Are we raising culturally aware and sensitive individuals?"
Such a bold question to ask and the answer may surprise you. For the first time ever, we have a Black President and this did not occur without doubts, fears, or reservations. Regardless to what has happened or what will happen in the future, we are still very far away from being a culturally accepting society. This may be a touchy subject for some, but a subject that, needless to say, needs to be discussed.
What do our children hear us say about individuals who are "different" from us? Do we correct our children when we hear them make comments that sound similar to the ones we have made? Do we correct them when we hear them refer to a certain race in a derogotory manner?
I am sure we are all guilty of saying certain things we shouldn't say, but what is important is that we make ourselves aware of the fact that there are certain "individuals" watching us and our every move and word: Our Children.
Because our neighborhoods and classrooms are made up of various individuals from various backgrounds with varying beliefs and practices, we need to be sure that we are instilling in our children acceptance. Accepting those who may look, think, talk, and behave different than what is considered the "norm". It is important to remember that an individual's environment plays a key role in how that individual may think or behave.
You may ask yourself, "how is it possible for me to teach acceptance to my young child or my children?" The answer is very simple: YOU should be accepting of others who are different from you. The word "different" covers a variety of things; it is always wise to consider that not everyone's family will look like yours. If someone's family is not made up of the same family unit as yours, does that make them any less of a family than yours? If they are a different color, does that make them any less of a family than you are? I'll answer those questions: NO! You just may be surprised at how well that "other" family functions; you may learn a thing or two from that family.
Continue to be mindful of your actions and your words when you are not in the presence of your children, and when you are in their presence, it will be much more easy to set the proper example for them. We do, after all, live in a free country and love and acceptance should be free. Should they not? I think they should.