Friday Fun…Chicago my kind of town!

Happy Friday Everyone. from Chicago…


I love Mondays and Fridays…what about you? The beginning and the end…alpha and omega!

Today, it is super sunny here and hopefully Spring will really be making an attempt at revealing herself. Luckily, I will be in Chicago to enjoy some of the gorgeous weather and I will be breathing in the excitement that a city of stature brings to me.

Most Fridays… I am downtown and it has become one of my favorite moments of the week. I am a people watcher and have always made up stories about people that I see along my way through the day. I am judgmental in that way.

This week, I made two trips to Chicago. I met a mom toting three children in Starbucks on Tuesday. She was relaxed and enjoying the moment. She had twin girls, who were 4 years old and a little boy 18 months in her arms. I immediately thought to myself, how cute and calm she was and how awesome that she could negotiate crossing a busy street with three kids. She ordered her coffee and I ordered my Chai…we chatted. I told her of my admiration and that I wished to live in the city again but wasn’t sure how it would be with a 5 year old grandchild. She told me that she was planning a move to the burbs in a year or two…maybe we could swap homes I thought. Then I learned something about Starbucks…they have these little things that look like toothpicks at the the pick-up counter. If you need to plug the opening in your take out lid…pick one up. It prevents you from being scalded as you carry your coffee to your destination…genious!  I love this stuff!

We parted ways and I continued on to my appointment with the plug in the lid of my cup…no more spills for me! I thought about this mom’s calmness and realized that I probably was never quite like her as I only had two kids in tow at any given moment when I was her age. I didn’t live in the city either…I lived in a Florida beach town and then a Chicago suburb.

I love these brief encounters and I really enjoy the ones where I meet friendly folks who share a little of themselves…not too much…just enough to make my day!

What about you?

How do you like your days…do you enjoy chance encounters…do you talk to folks in a line for coffee? Or…do you feel invaded when someone like me speaks to you, when all you want is to get your damn coffee and get out of there.

Thank you “City of Big Shoulders” for being a “friendly” city when it comes to people like myself!

Oh…please visit me at ChicagoNow and my new blog…Today’s Grandmum!




Too Many Toys, Do You Want Some Alternatives?


As I stare at all the toys strewn around my family room, I wonder what I can actually put away, giveaway or throw away. I am sure that many of you face the same issue with kids toys.

It is true that children learn from even the most basic household items…so why all these toys?

Well, many are impulse purchases and an equal number are gifts.

How do you control the number of toys in your midst….especially when there are 2 or more children in the home?

As you know I am a fan of Janet Lansbury. This morning I came across this article for those of you looking for household items that turn a child’s world into a discovery adventure.


A couple of thoughts:

1. Allow your child to enjoy discovering them. Rather than presenting the jars to your child, include them in his or her play area, either with the tops on loosely or already separated.


2. Let whatever is, be. Trust children to use the jars their way and in their time.


3. Remember that young children are process oriented. If the jars are loosely closed, they will accept them that way, at least for a while. If you’ve left the jars and lids separated, there’s no need for your child to know that they are supposed to go together.


4. Let go of the impulse to tell or show children what the jars do, because this will likely create stress that is totally unnecessary and a dependency on the adult to fix something that otherwise wouldn’t need fixing. Again, let what is, be, and you will make room for independent, experiential learning and the power of discovery.


5. Relax, observe and enjoy your child’s experiments with the jars and the way she uses them in conjunction with her other toys.

via Unexpected Toy Find! | Janet Lansbury.

Week in Review from Parenting in the Loop

Here are my pick reads for the week.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Many of us want to have it all…but let’s be real…is it possible? My guess is, it depends on what “all” means to each one of us. Our definition of “all” may also change and morph over time just as we ourselves do. Marissa Mayer is the new, young, mother-to-be, CEO of Yahoo. This week she is causing a stir and is a trending topic among moms. It seems, she plans to work right through her maternity leave…does she not have a clue how becoming a parent changes your perspective. That is not to say that her plans are not “realistic” for her. What it seems to say is, she has no experience to reference her wishes as to how she will handle motherhood and a high profile job.

What does a beach day look like from Mom’s lens?  This is a wonderful version of a summer day of fun and frolic.

Does it sound like something that you have experienced as a Mom or Dad?

“Mothers feel so overwhelmed by the sexualizing messages their daughters are receiving from the media that they feel they can do nothing to help,” she said. “Our studys findings indicate otherwise — we found that in actuality, mothers are key players in whether or not their daughters sexualize themselves. Moms can help their daughters navigate a sexualizing world by instructing their daughters about their values and by not demonstrating objectified and sexualized behaviors themselves.”

Week in Review….ParentingintheLoop!

Summer Solstice… NYC


Healthy Child Healthy World is one of my favorite sites for excellent information…this week has been a long one for me but I would love to share these wonderful articles that as so apropos for summer.

Have a great weekend!

See you all next week…hopefully!

  • The dog days of summer have arrived early at Chez Sorensen and my girls are practically living in the pool. I love that they’re spending oodles of time outdoors, but we’re going through copious amounts of sunscreen and my kids aren’t exactly fond of the laborious effort it takes to slather their bodies repeatedly throughout the day.

via 3 Sunscreen Safety Tips You Probably Don’t Know, But Definitely Should | Healthy Child Healthy World.

  • Dr. Harvey Karp is a legend at Healthy Child Healthy World. Dr. Karp is a founding board member and a driving force behind the work we do every day.

via Dr. Harvey Karp, America’s #1 Pediatrician, Makes a Housecall | Healthy Child Healthy World.

  • Vegetarian PestoFresh and flavorful! Check out this recipe for a versatile and vegetarian pesto that you can use all summer!

via Vegetarian Pesto | Healthy Child Healthy World.

Chicago Bean at Sunrise

Photos of “my two Cities”… via Flickr…


Ripples of Child Molestation…

Child Molestation is a Crime | Kid Scoop.

I read this post yesterday and it made me sad and angry.

Today, I am listening to the Penn State sexual abuse scandal being reported in the morning news as the Sandusky trial is beginning to get under way… so many thoughts are running through my head.

As a social work and nursing student, I saw more child abuse/sexual abuse than I ever wanted to witness. It was very sad and disturbing.  At that time in my life, my feelings of sadness did not overwhelm me because I was involved in caring for these little victims. But today, as I write the words “little victims” it feels like a knife is stabbing me in the heart.

These “little victims”are innocent children until an ” adult”  robs them of the feeling of safety. Some are robbed of their  innocence by other “children” such as cousins or friends who are not technically “adults”. Sad…very sad.

My own mother was “molested” as a young girl in the 1920′s in Brooklyn, NY…she was doing an errand for her own mother, when a shop keeper exposed himself to her. That event affected my mother, my grandmother, me, my children and on and on…

I was warned of stranger danger as a young child…as early as I can remember…my grandmother told me to tell her of anything “strange” and to be careful on my way to and from school. In the 50′s and 60′s we walked to school through a large park in Yonkers, NY. Parks were places where “things” could happen…”caution and be aware”…all warnings from my grandmother.

When my own girls were young…I suspected even parents of their schoolmates …I know this is sick…Right?  But when my kids would repeat some “off color sexual” jokes that their “school mates” would recount after hearing these jokes supposedly from their parents, the hair  would stand up on the back of my neck.

As a young mother, I remember being keenly aware of situations that made me uncomfortable, while at the same time trying not to alarm my kids. I was always trying to keep communication open….not easy…believe me.

Now… I have been talking mostly about girls…nothing is to say that boys are not equally at risk for child molestation. My thoughts are that Penn State has certainly brought this into the forefront or has it? Some of my young therapy patients were young boys who were molested by their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins or their mom’s friends. Some of these molestations were covered up by moms, who, for various reasons, refused to believe what their children were telling them … denial…at its worst.

As Meghan Gesswein states in her post …Child Molestation is a Crime …it takes away innocence….it changes lives all around.

Child molestation causes ripples that keep going and never cease, just like the ripples of the tide on the shore.

Sometimes, the ripples will become tidal waves and do some irreparable damage…other times, the ripples will just quietly erode the beach, seemingly without notice.

My hope is to support people like Meghan, who share their stories and provide a place where others can also share how certain “life” storms changed the flow of their lives forever.

How Being Molested as a Child has Shaped the way I Parent.


I really hate spam comments … and for those who post spam I will forever keep deleting them

Please stop posting to my comment section if you really have nothing to comment about with the hope of my publishing them.

If you all you want is to be annoying you have accomplished that so now you can stop.



Parenting in the Loop’s New Site…


I forgot to mention that because this is a brand new website, if you were subscribed to  Parenting in the Loop, previously in order to continue to receive new post notifications you will have to subscribe again to the new site.

I hope you will do so I enjoy all my subscribers and their blogs as well.

Have a great weekend.


Temper Tantrum


Temper Tantrums

Tantrums are not easy to deal with…even though you love your child and grandchild to the moon and back!

During a tantrum you might want to send them to the moon!

It sometimes can seem that they are possessed by something or someone when having a tantrum…but who or what has set this usually charming child into an uncontrollable rage?

We have experienced our share of tantrums in our house…and what I have learned as a grandmother I only wish that I knew as a mom of two children less than two years apart in age.

There is always one or two events that stand out in the family tantrum history…one was my own memory of tearing a newspaper to shreds when my working mother told me she had not brought me home anything from work that evening. I was not so much spoiled as I was unhappy that she forgotten about me. I was left alone until I calmed down and the paper was completely shredded.

With my own kids…the sentinel tantrum was one at the entrance to the Miami Zoo when my younger daughter did not want to go and see any animals. She was around 3 years old.  We were hoping to have a family outing on a very hot Miami day.

I recall trying the old standby…”bye, we are leaving…you can stay here if you want”. Is that wishful thinking on the part of parents during a horrible tantrum.

Of course, nothing worked until she was ready to put her anger aside after what seemed an eternity. We then visited a pond where the resident Koi made us all laugh as they fought over food that visitors were encouraged to throw into theirwater. It was the Koi version of ‘Hunger Games“.

Usually temper tantrums and anger in children is induced by stress. Young children do not know how to handle stress and do not have the verbal skills to explain why they are so upset.

Even if they try to tell a grown up …commonly it is about something that many times parents do not have patience to listen to nor attempt to understand.

I am no different. At least I wasn’t when my kids were young.

Anger in children often comes from stress. Yes. Stress is part of a child’s life as much as it is a part of an adult’s life. Teaching a child how to handle stress is one of the best things we as parents can do for our children. A healthy dose of stress actually builds resilience …and optimism. At the same time, parents must also be aware that anger is a sign of child anxieties. There are ways to address child anxieties.

via Anger in Children: Whats Normal and Whats Not!.

I am happy to report I am different with my granddaughter…thank you, Dr. Harvey Karp and your book, “Happiest Toddler on the Block

The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re faced with a child in the throes of a tantrum, no matter what the cause, is simple and crucial: Keep cool. Don’t complicate the problem with your own frustration. Kids can sense when parents are becoming frustrated. This can just make their frustration worse, and you may have an escalated tantrum on your hands. Instead, take deep breaths and try to think clearly. via Temper Tantrums.
Dr. Karp’s advice is simple and easy to follow. It is called the “fast food rule
Follow the Fast-Food Rule. This rule is simple: When your child is upset, you should take a lesson from the order-takers at a burger joint — always repeat back his “order” (what he wants) before you tell him your “price” (what you want). Toddlers who are in the middle of a meltdown are incapable of hearing our message (our reasons, reassurance, distraction or warning) until they’re sure we understand and respect their message. So when your tot is upset, before you mention your ideas, take a minute to sincerely describe what he’s doing and how you think he feels.

Janet Lansbury who writes her own blog has this to say to a mom regarding tantrums. In this particular situation there is a ‘new baby’ that a toddler is trying to accept.

Don’t feel responsible when your daughter doesn’t get her way and falls apart…. What she needs most of all (especially right now) are confident, stable, unruffled parents who project calm in the face of her storms (and the freedom you are giving her to have them).

Clarify the situation and make a plan. During more peaceful moments together, talk about life after new baby. Give her details about the changes that will occur, an imagined play-by-play of the day with the new baby.  Be honest and realistic.  Toddlers are way too perceptive to believe any whitewashing, and that won’t help her feel settled.  Tell her that although you will be very busy taking care of the baby and not be available for her all the time, you’ll make sure she always gets what she needs (through daddy, grandma, etc.). Tell her that you two will have some special time together each day and maybe once (or twice) a week a special outing that she picks.

Then, later, when you are busy with the baby and she’s upset you can say to her calmly and confidently, “I know you want me to do such-in-such with you now, but I can’t. I know it’s hard to wait, but we will have our time together in an hour (or whatever). I’m looking forward to it.”  She may have to keep testing that limit until she is certain you will hold your ground.

If you can make the outings work, I highly recommend them, even if you can only give her a choice between a walk down the street and a half-hour outing to the park. It’s not about what you do (or even the amount of time), just about being together. From my experience, those little one-on-one dates with your big girl will be very special, just the way dinner dates with a husband feel extra special once you’ve become parents.

Encourage her to process the feelings. Another thing to do in peaceful moments together is to check in with her about her feelings.  The goal is not to get her to label them, but to assure her that anything and everything she is feeling is normal, expected, perfectly all right.  You might put it this way, “When children have a baby brother or sister they have all kinds of feelings.

via Positive Parenting In The Tantrum Zone | Janet Lansbury.

What do you find helpful when dealing with a tantrum?

How often does your little one have a ‘meltdown’?

I would be interested in hearing your personal experiences.

Parenting…’Hunger Games’ style…

Although ‘Hunger Games‘ is a movie…in my opinion, it is much more than a big box office hit.

It is a commentary on the fierceness with which we approach certain parts of our lives.

It is very popular with our teenagers…why?

Why is it that they love the type of competition that ‘Hunger Games’ portrays?

At dinner with friends the other night, I tried to initiate a discussion about ‘Hunger Games’…I asked what they thought of the violence in the movie?

Now, I have to admit that none of us have even seen the movie. So I probably had no business even starting a discussion in the the first place.

But my friend popped up and said …”it really isn’t that violent”…which is what she had heard somewhere in a review…she did not get a chance to go on, because the men at the table changed the subject.

So I am turning to you …to see what you think about this Op-ed piece in the New York Times?

What is this movie saying to kids and parents?…

Are some kids being raised with a ‘Hunger Games’ mentality?

To answer all my questions, I may even have to go see ‘Hunger Games’ in the theatre instead of waiting for the DVD  …but then haven’t I just fallen into the media hype pit?

Please click the link and read the cartoon segments that precede this quote in the ‘OP-ED’ New York Times. 

‘Hunger Games’ Parenting –

Amy Chua’s best-seller, “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” trumpeted the benefits of raising children with draconian strictness in the Chinese fashion (or allegedly so). Pamela Druckerman’s “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting” made the case for a more casual, laissez-faire approach. But each mode has something to offer! Thus, cruelty and indifference combine to perfect effect in the philosophies of the “Hunger Games” Mother. Who better to help parents navigate the brutal, futuristic dystopia that is contemporary childhood? A primer, above.

SIDS… Sudden Infant Death Syndrome


Every now and then I write about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

It is frightening for parents to even think about this happening but there are American Academy of Pediatrics‘ recommendations to follow to lessen the risk of SIDS .

SIDS is considered by some professionals to be a disease. Here is what  Norman Lewak, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF …  had to say:

SIDS is a real disease. The “Triple Risk Model for SIDS is described in the Technical Report that accompanies the Policy Statement on-line edition only. Thanks to the work of Hannah Kinney of Boston Childrens, we know that SIDS infants have lesions in the respiratory center of the brainstem. This is the first risk pre-exiting respiratory center lesion. The second risk is the vulnerable developmental age, peaking at 2-4 months, in which CNS respiratory control changes. The third risk is an “environmental trigger“–an environmental event that blocks continued respiratory activity.This trigger appears to many of us to be deep sleep brought on by increased comfort from increased warmth. Prone sleep has been proven to increase warmth. The pacifier effect is most likely caused by an increase in activity, thus a lighter sleep.

Some AAP recommendations to prevent SIDS are:

  • supine sleeping position
  • a firm sleep surface
  • breastfeeding
  • room sharing without bed sharing
  • consider using a pacifier which leads to a lighter sleep
  • avoid soft bedding
  • avoid overheating of the room where baby sleeps
  • avoid exposure tobacco smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs

According to recent information, SIDS  a disease which can be triggered by other environmental factors such as sleeping on soft surfaces, or stomach sleeping. These situations can set off a reaction whereby an infant ceases breathing due to an abnormal increase in his/her CO2 level. SIDS is not “suffocation”.

Every parent-to-be should be given information about SIDS prior to delivery and any questions should be answered by nurses or pediatricians early in the newborn period.

It is easier to follow sleeping guidelines when they are explained and make sense as to why they are important and how they can make a difference in the prevention of SIDS. Of course unfortunately, there are never any guarantees but parents can do their best with the knowledge that they have to prevent a tragedy.

There is so much to being a parent … children are precious… we are their protectors…just as we use car seats to protect them in the car we should protect them when we put them to sleep.

SIDS is down, but back-sleeping is just part of the message –

Replies to SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.

SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.

Related posts:

Safe Sleep for Your Baby

SIDS…Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death…Most Common on New Year’s