Monday, June 21, 2010


Yesterday I went strawberry picking with two of my daughters and granddaughters. Nothing compares to the taste of just picked berries! The sweetness and juiciness cannot be described. My youngest granddaughter (2 years old) had her first experience of finding and eating the berries and she loved them! As we worked our way down our assigned rows I listened to the nearby conversations. "I remember the strawberry pie Grandma used to make". "We always came to this farm when I was little. I loved eating the fresh strawberries". "Honey, how many berries do you think we'll need for a double batch of jam?". The dialogs centered around home, families and memories. Everyone had a memory of picking strawberries and of past family members contributions to the harvest. My own daughters remembered my disappointment when, at the end of the berry picking outing, they had only a few berries in the their basket. Their bellies, however, were very full! They have wonderful memories of this activity and I am happy to say ---are passing those memories and first hand experiences down to their children. What memories are you creating with your children?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In their own time!

Last weekend my granddaughter turned 2! She is such a treasure to our family with her own very special personality---a blend of both her Mom and Dad. At her birthday party I had the chance to meet her best friend at day care, Reece. She talks about her all the time. They enjoy playing together both at day care and on playdates. So....I was surprised to see the developmental difference of the two girls at her birthday party last weekend. Jerynn, my granddaughter looks like she is more 3 than 2. She is tall and slim, always on the move! She talks in sentences, carrying a conversation with ease. Her curiosity is amazing. There is nothing that passes her notice. She is independent with a vibrancy to try everything. Reece on the other hand (4 months younger) is quiet and baby like. She stays close to adults and says only a few words. She toddles rather than running like Jerynn.

It got me to thinking about how individual development is. Both girls are in the normal range. Children come with their own inner time clock and blossom at their own time. Reeces's development is as normal as Jerynn's. As a parent we want so much for our children that it's only natural to want to push that clock. What a gift it is to be able to relax, enjoy our children and just marvel at the way the flower of their life unfolds. If we slow down and enjoy the process rather than racing to the finish line---life is so much sweeter. Understand that development is a non-linear and irregular process. Sometimes you wake up and it seems like they've grown 3 inches and have progressed 6 months developmentally overnight. Other times they seem to be savoring a particular stage. Either way there is a purpose and a timing to development. Your role as a parent is to provide all your child needs and respect the timing. Everything happens in it's own time!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gardening with Kids

Gardening with kids is so fun! I just started a summer position as a Garden Educator for a community garden. The neighborhood folks have stopped by to tell me their gardening stories---stories of family plots, the food harvested and good times in the garden. I'm looking forward to teaching the children about dirt, plants, bugs, composting and just feeling the dirt between our fingers. I was happy to see that the Brain Institute found the quality and quantity of time children spend in nature directly effects the physical health of the brain. No pun intended but---that's a no-brainer! All the things children need to grow an active brain are in nature---movement, curiousity stimulation, free thinking, peacefulness added to the fresh air! How could this not be good? Now add a relaxed adult with you for conversation and companionship..... you have a perfect activity! I'll be sharing nature with all the children I come in contact with this summer. I hope you do the same!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Defusing an argument

While walking through the grocery store yesterday I observed a power struggle/argument between a boy, maybe 6 or 7, and his mother over his slowness of movement. What started as a "Let's go. I'm in a hurry" soon escalated to a shouting match between the two. She finally literally dragged him out of the store so mad the veins in her head where protruding. She was so angry that I'm sure if I had not been there, a physical altracation would have occured.

I wanted so much to pull her aside and give her some tips to defuse the fight and probably get him to do what she wanted. I didn't have a chance to tell her that this kind of interaction never solves anything. And the parent is always in control..... so she could've tried some other tactics before it became a full blown standoff. I'll save some of those ideas for another blog.

But her first move should've been---never engage with a fighting bull. No matter what you say will escalate the emotions. After a hurtful thing is said by the child, go blank. Don't say anything, just stand, smile and look into his eyes. Don't say a word. The silence tells the child you are not going to enter into battle with him. And then (in the grocery store situation) keep on moving. He will catch up. You have given him an opportunity to think about how he wants to behave instead of reacting! You've planted thinking seeds!