Books are Best as Holiday Gifts

Why Books Make the Best Holiday Gifts

by Saralyn Richard

Holiday Gifts

Black Friday will soon be upon us, and the ritual of hunting for the best Holiday gifts will resume in earnest. Children’s gifts are often the hardest to choose, especially when the recipients live remotely and their preferences for things aren’t clear.

Even when there are wish lists, children outgrow toys and games as quickly as clothes, so something that is cherished today may be ignored tomorrow. Fads for certain children’s gifts pass quickly. Remember the hacky sack, Cabbage Patch™ dolls, Beanie Babies™, and spinners?

Oftentimes the gifts children want are not the ones parents want them to have. Noisy, messy, unassembled, or violent toys may fall into this category.  Gifts of live animals might be problematic, as well. We all know horror stories about perfect gifts that turned into nightmares.

The one gift that meets the most positive criteria without having the negative ones, is a book. Books are:

  • Practical,
  • Entertaining,
  • Durable,
  • Sharable,
  • Educational,
  • Enlightening,
  • Easy to wrap

Most books come with targeted age ranges, so you can match the gift to the child with confidence. If you know what the child’s interests are, you can surely find a book that fits. Books extend the child’s experiences beyond his circumstances, so he can learn about new people, places, and things. They also extend the child’s vocabulary, as well as other reading skills, no matter the age of the reader. Books create opportunities for children and adults to share quality time, discuss worthwhile topics, ask and answer questions, and build relationships.

Toys and games come and go, but a great book lives forever in the mind of its readers. That’s why we think books make the perfect Holiday gifts.

 

Saralyn Richard is a former educator and author of Naughty Nana, a children’s picture book, ranked #30 on the Goodreads list for Best Picture Book. For reviews and other information, check out www.palmcirclepress.com/naughtynana/bookstore.

 

Kids and Travel during the Holidays

Kids and Travel during the Holidays

Kids and Travel

There is no argument here, kids and travel is hard, no matter what mode of transportation.  Car and plane trips have many different difficulties but there are ways to make the experience less stressful.

  • Travel in the Morning.

Kids are generally happier in the morning providing that you do not disturb too much of their sleep to leave very early. Making travel an adventure for both you and them helps

  • Empathize With Your Kids, Not Other Passengers.

If you are traveling by plane shift your focus away from what other people think. Think about your children and how they are actually feeling. Empathy can go a long way to relieve your children’s boredom and anxiety about being confined to a seat for x numbers of hours.

  • Be Prepared. Kids in the House

Pack interesting snacks and small toys to distract your little ones. Take them out periodically during the trip. These little surprises will definitely help and buy segments of peaceful time during your trip.

KIDS AND TRAVEL

  • Think of Kids and Travel as Family Time, not a Vacation.

Challenging and stressful are words to describe holidays and travel. Try to view it as important time with your kids and family time which is different that a vacation for yourself. By changing your expectations you will avoid anger about being disappointed that this is not a relaxing time away from home

 

Parenting in the Loop: Mom Myths

Parenting in the Loop’s Weekend – Mom Myths

newborn, Mom Myths

 

 

New Mom and the “Goddess Myth”

“We live in a world where people fling judgments with their fingertips.”

As a mother and grandmother in today’s world climate it disturbs me how much judgment there is about what makes a “good enough mother”.

Years ago, Winnicott, a pediatrician coined the term “good enough mother” where he described how a mom becomes attached to her newborn baby by meeting his/her every need. As her child gets older she allows him/her to go out on his own explorations experiencing some frustrations yet she remains empathetic and caring. It is a teaching moment of which she may not even be aware.

In discussing the mother (or other caretaker’s) adaptation to the needs of the baby, Winnicott thought that the “good enough mother” starts out with an almost complete adaptation to her baby’s needs. She is entirely devoted to the baby and quickly sees to his every need. She sacrifices her own sleep and her own needs to to fulfill the needs of her infant.

As time goes by, however, the mother allows the infant to experience small amounts of frustration. She is empathetic and caring, but does not immediately rush to the baby’s every cry. Of course, at first the time-limit to this frustration must be very short. She may allow the baby to cry for a few minutes before her nighttime feeding, but only for a few minutes. She is not “perfect” but she is “good enough” in that the child only feels a slight amount of frustration.

Source: What Is a “Good Enough Mother”? | Psychology Today

Today, moms are bombarded with information and experiences of other moms peppered with some statistically proven facts which are not always scientifically significant. For many of these women it is information overload and adds to their over arching anxiety surrounding pregnancy and parenthood.

I found this to be true when I was a practicing obstetrical nurse. Many women, who were adamant about following a very severely scripted birth plan set themselves up for failure and or disappointment from the minute they went into labor. Trying to superimpose a template upon a very natural human experience which sometimes is accompanied by many curves and detours before the actual delivery of a healthy baby is not the wisest approach to labor and delivery.

In my obstetrical nursing practice, I approached every laboring women as a unique person who was going to have her own unique experience. There was no template and no definition of a successful delivery except having a healthy baby and mom in the end. As a professional nurse we do have standards of practice to maintain which are put in place to safe guard against malpractice and negligence. They are not in place to make every delivery the same like a cookie cutter experience. The human being just does not allow for cookie cutter outcomes. We are all different as are our fingerprints. These are not myths they are facts.

It is time that moms and moms to be look at the templates that they are trying to live by and realize that this type of framework can more than likely set them up for disappointment when there is no need for it. Delivering a healthy baby is the goal and getting there is a different journey for every mom.There is no room for judgement or myths. But there is plenty of room for support and celebration of our individuality.

Motherhood in the connected era doesn’t have to be dominated by any myth. Social media can just as easily help celebrate our individual experience and create community through contrast. Moms have to stick together even as we walk our separate paths. We have to spot the templates and realize there are no templates. We have to talk about our failures and realize there are no failures.

Source: The Goddess Myth: Why Many New Mothers Feel Guilt and Shame | Time.com

Parenting in the Loop Weekend

Parenting in the Loop Weekend

Parenting in the Loop Weekend

Feeding Baby…”no judgement”

As a grandma I am amazed at the amount of parenting advice is at the touch of today’s parent’s fingertips. Although it is awesome to have so many answers to every question, it can also be overwhelming.

I am well aware of many websites that offer advice from “must have” products to ease raising a happy, healthy child.

Since my granddaughter was born nine years ago I have a renewed interest in the world of mommies and daddies. The twenty-five year gap since I was the parent of a baby was the impetus for this blog.

I now have a two year old grandson and things keep changing exponentially.

In a effort to be true to my own background as a mother/baby nurse and clinical social worker I have focused on child safety, food allergies and parenting skills from a few select people.  On my Facebook page I curate products, recalls, and parenting guidance. Very infrequently am I involved in sponsored posts which inadvertently, could color my opinions. I advocate for kids with food allergies and kids safety especially in cars.

Here are a few of my favorite connections:

 

Here’s the deal: We have never had so much information at our fingertips in the history of parenting. Data, studies, websites, books, podcasts, articles, blogs, columns (ahem), classes, therapists, coaches (again, ahem). There is a never-ending list of ways that parents can get advice and instruction and information. Yet we have never been more anxious and insecure about our roles. Are we good enough? Are we providing the best opportunities for our children? Are we too lenient? Too strict? Too absent? Too present? For every question we have, we can sit at the computer and search and search, giving our brain unending fodder for worry and uncertainty. For every study we find, another will disprove it.

Source: Parenting books won’t end your anxiety. Here’s what to do instead. – The Washington Post

I hope you have an enjoyable weekend. They are always too short!

Weekend from ParentingintheLoop

Weekend from Parenting in the Loop

summer weekend

Summer Safety

Weekends and summer are times of get togethers with family and friends for fun and food.  Keeping it safe is essential especially for kids as they rely on the adults to keep them free from hazards.

“It only takes a second”…

How many times I have read that statement and spoken those words?

One weekend many years ago I was standing at the Top of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco with my one year old daughter in between me and my husband. We both admired the view at exactly the same moment. When we looked down at our daughter she was not there and no where in sight! The elevator doors were just closing and my heart was skipping many beats at the same moment. It seemed like an eternity but it was only a second later that I heard her voice saying, “hi”…”hi” and I realized that she was walking throughout the hotel bar greeting all of the people who were having drinks and enjoying the gorgeous view.

Yes…it only takes a second for a catastrophe to happen. Summer, pools and beaches are so much fun for everyone but it only takes a second to change that into a horrific event. Keep your eyes on your children around water no matter what. “It only takes a second”

Now every time we go to the pool or near any kind of water, I review safety strategies with my 3-year-old son. I remind him …

  • Anytime he doesn’t know what to do or is scared in the water, to look for the sky and roll over on his back.

  • That he knows how to find the edge of the pool and that it’s always a safe place to grab on to.

  • That he knows how to blow bubbles and close his mouth so water doesn’t get in.

     

I Only Looked Away for a Second

Have a happy and a safe weekend!

The Great Reward for Aging

The Rewards of Aging

aging

As a demographic, we have swelled into a giant bulge in the population. There are more than 27,000 new grandparents in the United States every week. Many are the “revolutionaries” of the 1960s and ’70s — the pioneer women who entered the white-collar work force. Well, now, 40, 50 years later, these same women are pioneers again, this time reinventing grandparenting.

Source: Grandbabies: The Great Reward for Aging – The New York Times

My life changed the day I became a grandmother. I never realized how much a grandchild could steal my heart and make me fall in love all over again with a little baby!

My granddaughter is almost nine and we have a grandson, who will turn two this summer. Right from the beginning my own memories of my grandmother and mother influenced how I would grandparent. I was “grandmothering in the loop” of my own experiences of how loving and important my Nana and Mom were in my childhood.

I  don’t believe I am reinventing anything. I am merely handing down the precious love of my mother and grandmother to my own grandchildren.

As I see it and as mentioned in the NYT article, today’s aging adults and grandparents  are able to indulge grandchildren but at the same time assist their parents with some of the many responsibilities that go along with providing for a child. We are also able to babysit, and do various childcare errands which allow for both sets of parents to have careers.

I would not trade the time that I have spent and will continue to spend with my grandchildren for anything. They are cherished beyond all else and have been since we first learned we were to become grandparents.

My wish is that the beauty of this kind of love for new lives making their way in this complicated world is forever considered a blessing by those of us whom they call Nana and Papa.

Aging is not always fun but it can be good thanks to grandkids.

Cherished moment with my grandson! Made with Waterlogue App.

Weekend Pick: “What Does an Allergy Attack Look Like?”

Weekend Pick:

Allergy

“What Does an Allergic Reaction Look Like?”

Read and Learn

 

Allergy Awareness

It seems that every month marks a cause and May is no different. It is dedicated as  Allergy Awareness Month. At our house we are acutely aware of food allergies because our granddaughter is peanut and tree nut allergic. She also has asthma. We found this out before she was two years old and it was all new to us.

My niece has a teenage son who has many food allergies so I looked to her first. What I found out was how difficult it was to impress upon other adults the supreme seriousness of anaphylactic reactions to foods like nuts, eggs, milk. In minutes a child can be dead from ingesting or even touching an allergen.

What I have found over the years is that stories from other parents of kids who have had anaphylactic reactions sometimes have an effect on people that statistics, and medical information just does not. Parents sharing their anguish as they recount watching their child experience cardiac arrest after eating or touching a peanut makes people listen.

Just as Jimmy Kimmel’s tearful story about his newborn son’s cardiac anomaly and emergency heart surgery affected millions of viewers, we need more stories from food allergy parents to help with awareness of this disability.

This week I read Julia Ryan’s story about her son Tagg. It left me with chills! She mentions Oakley Debbs in her story. I too think of Oakley, who died this past Thanksgiving and whose parents have founded RedSneakers.org in his memory.

Julia Ryan and Merrill Debbs have different stories but both women have shared theirs in order to prevent others from suffering as they have.

Please support Food Allergy Awareness in any way you can .

You may save a life!

 

“Make sure you’re sharing from your scars, not your open wounds.” I need to talk about the two times in less than two weeks my son was transferred by ambulance-a Critical Care Transfer Unit-from one emergency room to second larger hospital and admitted to the ICU.  I know this could have been written better but sometimes done is better than none.

Source: Julia Ryan: What does an allergy attack look like.

Pets Improving Your Health

Pets Can Improve Your Health

Pets Improve Your Health

Having a pet is more than just having someone to come home to. This is another member of your family, who will love you unconditionally. It doesn’t really matter what type of animal you keep as a pet, you have someone who relies on you and just wants the best bond with you.

Source: All You Need to Know About Pets Improving Your Health

I love dogs! They truly are best friends that never deny you their support and friendship by being too busy or too tired.

When I moved to NYC my mom bought me a puppy from a pet store on in  NY. He was a Lhasa Apso, a small white mop with a tongue that hung out the side of his mouth due to an orthodonture problem. Immediately, he stole my family’s heart.

Fortunately, Tam adapted well to the streets of Manhattan walking off the sidewalk into the street to do his business. He loved his walks, smelling everything along the sidewalk and paying no attention to all the noises and other city dogs.

Since Tam left us many years ago, we have always had a dog in our house for the last 40 years. Pets have been essential to each of us, keeping us company on all occasions. At times, we have had three dogs in our midst. Each dog had a completely different personality and needs. Sometimes there was sibling rivalry between them as well.

Pets keep you on a timetable, as they need to eat on a schedule and do their business on schedule too. If they love walks outside you get a little exercise as well.

When you don’t feel well or are having a bad day, your dog or cat will sense that you may need a furry friend to cozy up to you.

I will always have a dog!

Is There a Toddler Copycat in Your Midst?

Your Little Toddler Copycat

Your toddler won’t be able to carry on a conversation just yet, but don’t be surprised if he starts mimicking your telephone style with his toy phone. You may also catch him imitating the way you act behind the wheel of the car, preparing meals, or cleaning the house. This copycat behavior can be charming or potentially embarrassing. Now’s a good time to pay extra attention to your own language and behavior. via Baby Center

Toddler at the beach

We have a toddler in our house and he is the cutest when he imitates his mom (my daughter) and his dad.

He loves to take a napkin or paper towel and clean his place at the table or the top of his high chair and just about anything else in his reach.

It is only a matter of time when he will imitate the things his mom and dad and anyone else in earshot says.

It is now time to make sure that what we say is something that we would not mind him repeating. Personally, I find the car a place where I might exclaim words that I would not like to hear him say…even thought when a child imitates our behavior we tend to laugh which only encourages him to keep saying things that are not appropriate.

So just remember that the toddler in your midst is listening to everything and is already planning to embarrass you when you least expect it.

Baby’s Space…The Nursery

The Nursery…Baby’s Space and Mom’s Too

new babyBecoming a parent for the first time or the third time brings new challenges. Preparing a friendly landscape for you and your child is important for a seamless arrival home.

Whether you have a separate nursery or just a dedicated space in your own room for your new baby, it is essential to make it friendly, safe and welcoming.

Ideally, it is good to anticipate what you will need and where you will put it before the little one arrives in your home. Avoiding unnecessary chaos in those early days after baby’s homecoming is both relaxing and time-saving. There really is nothing like being ready when it comes to a new family member that has so many unique needs.

I have found a helpful guide that could help you through setting up your baby’s nursery.

How to Organize a Beautiful, Functional Nursery