Independence Day through a Child’s Eyes

Independence Day through the Eyes of a Child


“The Fourth of July is a holiday that we celebrate, sort of like Presidents’ Day or even Christmas. It’s called Independence Day and we make sure to spend time together recognizing our freedom. Did you know that there are some people in the world that aren’t allowed to do some things like we are?” I didn’t know how much she was registering or if it made sense to her, but this was a good jumping off point in the conversations surrounding this week’s holiday.

Source: On Independence and Family Values – Momma’s Gone City

Independence Day

Fourth of July on Martha’s Vineyard

When I read my friend Jessica’s post over at Momma’s Gone City, I thought how beautiful to see the Fourth of July through a child’s lens.

If only we as adults could see as simply as a child at certain times in our lives especially on holidays. Perhaps today it would let us focus on the actual enjoyment of the Freedom that we all enjoy one way or another in our families and communities.



Independence Day Parade Hinsdale Illinois

Today at our Village’s annual Independence Day Parade, I tried to watch it through my granddaughter’s eyes and the eyes of the other children that surrounded us trying to share and partake in their excitement and awe seeing the paraders. I clapped when they followed the cue of the applause of the surrounding grownups for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and when our school marched by. I grabbed for some candy that was being passed out along the parade route and I got bored when my granddaughter got bored when the politicians appeared waving from their slow moving cars.
Hinsdale 2

I sat down when my legs and her legs were tired of standing and I got up when she became restless towards the end.
Hinsdale 3I must admit I lingered in an adult moment of gratitude when this car came by us and gave thanks and thought of what these gentlemen had given to me, someone they didn’t even know and who wasn’t even alive when they were at war for my freedom. I waved my hand and said a prayer of thanksgiving for all those soldiers who suffered and even died so I could enjoy my independence today!Hinsdale 4As the old cars passed I smiled  but as my granddaughter said, I did not want a car like it because it just didn’t look too comfortable for our rides downtown and through our snow covered streets in winter.

IMG_5775When the parade ended…I was happy to move on to the next activity of the day and get ready for a barbecue and fireworks after sunset.

Thank you to all of our service men and women who have given up so much for all of us so that we can celebrate today and honor them as we do so.

Twenty Innocent Children…Don’t Forget Them

Have You Hugged Your Children Today?


Tonight, I am reminded by my friend and fellow ChicagoNow blogger, Sheila Quirke, aka. Mary Tyler Mom that tomorrow marks two years since the horrific and violent tragedy at Sandy Hook. Twenty innocent children lost their young lives along with their teachers and others at school that day.

I am thinking of their families, their parents, siblings, grandparents and all those who knew and loved these little ones.

It makes me cry.

I can’t even imagine the utter pain that these families have suffered over the past two years and how they will continue to suffer from such a tragic loss.

Nothing is more devastating than the death of a child.

What continues to scare me to the core is the everyday violence that we have almost come to expect when turning on the news. It seems that each day since that violent shooting, there have been more and more gun related deaths.

It breaks my heart when I hear about another child that is an innocent victim of a shooting. Children should be safe in school and in their homes…they should be safe walking to and from their neighborhood school…they should be safe in playgrounds.

But sadly, they are not.

I have been following and supporting the work and progress of Sandy Hook Promise along with reading the shared stories by Daniel Barden’s dad.  Mark Barden writes so beautifully about his son, Daniel, who lost his life that day as a first grader in Newtown.

Mark Barden lovingly writes how Daniel was such a sensitive child especially when it came to the needs of others, I feel like I knew his gorgeous little boy with the beautiful smile.

I keep reading Mark’s emails and his stories, hoping against hope that somehow, some way this nightmare will go away.

It will not.

This is a “living nightmare” for Daniel’s family. However, through his sorrow, Mark and the other members of Sandy Hook Promise are trying to make a difference with their work surrounding gun control.

I support Sandy Hook Promise and I pray that others will support their work too. It will not bring back their little ones but it hopefully will prevent some other families from suffering a similar tragedy caused by someone with a gun.

Sheila has written a post at ChicagoNow that I recommend reading. It is not easy to ponder the events of this horrible day but if we do not remember our past we will be forced to repeat it.

Thank you Sheila for your thoughtful words.

Two years ago tonight, twenty families in Newtown, Connecticut tucked their first graders into bed for the very last time.  These children got on their pajamas, some of them might have bathed, they brushed their teeth, complaining about it, I imagine.  Their moms and dads might have read them books and sung them songs.  And then, for the very last time, they turned out the light and said. “Good night.”

via Read This Before You Tuck Your Children Into Bed Tonight | Mary Tyler Mom.

Fostering Emotional Health In Our Children

Children and Emotional Health…how to foster emotional health in our children is, to me, one of the most misunderstood areas of child development.


I am the first to say, I wish I knew or I wish we knew more about child development while raising our own daughters.

While we are raising our children it is sometimes difficult to put aside the “ways” of  own parents. They sneak into our relationships with our kids, especially when the going gets rough and we are tired.

Crying craziness…

When children are crying and their emotions are running high it has a tendency to push our buttons… at that moment it is so hard to step back and gain control of ourselves much less our little one.


But that is just what is needed in order to recognize our children‘s emotions as valid and acceptable. Now, I am not talking about “no discipline”.

It is really all about discipline.

Parental or adult discipline of children should be designed to help children engage better with others and to modify or control their behavior. Providing appropriate discipline to children is one of the most essential responsibilities of a parent. And providing consistent and positive discipline helps children grow into responsible adults.

According to the Committee for Children (2004), the purpose of discipline is “to encourage moral, physical, and intellectual development and a sense of responsibility in children.

Ultimately, older children will do the right thing, not because they fear external reprisal, but because they have internalized a standard initially presented by parents and other caretakers. In learning to rely on their own resources rather than their parents, children gain self-confidence and a positive self-image.”

via Child Discipline.

Discipline is really about “teaching” and modeling behavior…in order to teach as a parent you have to be in control of yourself and your own emotions…this is not easy when our child is having “a moment”.

Allowing your child to express his feelings and accepting his feelings is a time for us as parents and grandparents to teach them that their feelings are real and acceptable unless they are behaving destructively or in an unsafe way.

Tantrums can be unsafe…first control the environment and then deal with the tantrum itself. It is sort of like a panic attack…until the panic subsides there can be no teaching.

In the beginning, fostering healthy emotional development for our children means listening and trying to decipher our babies’ cries rather than immediately suppressing or ignoring them.  It means that throughout childhood, anger, grief and sadness are acceptable feelings for our children to express anytime anywhere (although never in a destructive or unsafe manner).  Granting our children this freedom to be their whole selves — unconditional acceptance — will lead to far fewer enraged or depressed adults in the future.

via No Angry Kids – Fostering Emotional Literacy In Our Children | Janet Lansbury.


Fostering emotional health in your child and unconditionally accepting a child’s emotions within a healthy framework is essential to growth and development.

In order to accomplish this, a parent or caregiver has to first, recognize their own emotions and be able to model acceptable behavior for their children.


Learning Consequences in Childhood

happy consequences happy child

“Like many parents, ‘consequences’ is one of my buzzwords.

via Truths About Consequences | Janet Lansbury.

How does a child learn about consequences?

In some instances, it is literally a painful learning experience. For example, when a child accidentally touches something hot he will feel the pain or consequence of being burned.

Sometimes it seems, we as parents and grandparents  try to teach consequences by punishment.

Is this a good way for a child to learn consequences? I am thinking, not so much.

If you want your child to be in bed at a certain time and they enjoy story time before bed then they must learn to get ready for bed leaving enough time for a story or face the consequence of having no story.

Child  and his dad

It takes time to set up a ritual and a proper time frame…young children must learn the steps to get ready for bed within defined time frames. This takes effort, for me the “stick-to-it-ive-ness”  of this effort is the most difficult part.

I know that young children are comforted and feel secure with rituals, even if they balk at them. They actually want us, as parents and grandparents, to take charge, just as we want help when we are tired and feeling overwhelmed.

So, why not step up and help them? It will pay off with happiness on both sides of the equation.

happy child

If your little one does not stick to the bedtime ritual time frames then the outcome will be “lights out” and no story time . This is a consequence of the child’s own behavior. Your child can learn can learn that it is not a punishment yet it is a consequence of not getting ready for bed in a timely manner.

Of course,the time frames must be monitored by the grown-up and the child must be given enough guidance about how he is doing in achieving his goal of getting to bed with enough time for a story. Perhaps, you have to set an alarm on your phone to keep you and your child on the schedule.

It will be rewarding in the longterm to have a child that understands that a negative consequence is not a punishment for his “bad” behavior. However, it is a result of  not following directions and doing what he needs to do to get the things that he wants to have…like story-time before going to sleep.


Children, Holiday OverIndulgence…Grandparent Style!


 Do your children have Santa Claus for a grandparent?

Is there an overindulgent relative in your child’s life?

And do they disregard your requests about gift giving?

I am not quite sure how to handle this type of situation except to be very direct in your requests as a parent.

It seems that there are many parent ideas about what is appropriate when it comes to their children.

In some cases parents do not even agree with each other when it comes to defining what is “overindulgent”.

It seems that grandparents may be the biggest group of overindulgers when it comes to  children, Christmas and Holidays. At least, that was the recent consensus of a group of parents discussing the holiday stresses at my grandchild’s preschool.

It seemed that the grandparents were not deterred by requests of their sons and daughters in their gift giving habits.

As a grandparent, I can understand both sides since I was also a parent of young presents and childrenI remember requesting certain things for my children and making suggestions to their grandparents. I guess I was lucky in that my husband agreed with this approach. So for the most part we did not get “stuff” that was inappropriate and not useful.

Some suggestions

  • Be honest about your feelings
  • Have gift suggestions
  • Perhaps suggest college fund donations, even small ones so as the kids get older and more appreciative of money as a gift, this might become a habit of their grandparents.
  • Be thoughtful and respectful
  • Be empathic and understanding that your relationship with your kids is different than your parents’ relationship with them which is what helps to drive the overindulgence.
  • Be realistic if you have really difficult grandparents…and try to make the best of the situation.

Aunt Annie’s Childcare: When grandma won’t do it your way- Part 1: The overindulgent relative.

Bedtime Rituals for Kids


I sort of love rituals…it makes me feel somewhat secure to know that I do a certain thing  almost all the time and that some things are therefore predictable.

In the morning, my ritual is a cup of coffee, I am not the same person if I skip this ritual.

Orange juice at breakfast has also been a ritual for me since childhood as has been breakfast. My grandmother was a firm believer in breakfast. She made it every morning, whether we wanted it or not.

My morning ritual of coffee and breakfast is comforting and I rarely change it, I almost never skip breakfast of some sort and I never skip my coffee.

For children, rituals are also comforting and help to settle them when life hands them a chaotic moment.

A kiss from us when they fall down or a hug from us when they are crying is something that they rely on for comfort.

Bedtime rituals provide comfort at the end of a busy day. It can be very calming for a child to have us join in their bedtime routine of a bath, quiet time and reading. It is a time to help them settle down and quiet themselves. It can also be a time for us to talk with them about whatever is going on in their little heads.

The bedtime ritual of reading with my grandchild is one that I cherish.  Children’s books are wonderful and they generate such an opportunity to interact, whether it is about school, play, friends, or family. Even fairy tales have lessons to teach. The classics like Madeline and Winnie the Pooh bring back so many memories.

Life can feel so frenzied…it bothers me to see little ones lose out on story time before going off to sleep…it is a ritual that just might stay with them long into adulthood. Reading before bed can be relaxing and a way to self soothe as they did when as infants they watched their mobiles in their cribs. Soothing music goes well with bedtime too.

Honestly, after reading and music listening, I am ready for bed myself but many nights my computer beckons me to finish the business at hand. On those nights when “home” work has to get done…I feel robbed…just as I would if I did not have my coffee waiting for me in the morning.

What are some of your favorites to read with your children?



The benefits of parents reading to children are numerous, everything from stimulating a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development, to exposing them to language and storytelling, Zuckerman said. Bedtime stories also provide a special opportunity for parents and kids to interact, and create a “quieting tradition” as the child gets ready to go to sleep, he added.“Most family rituals – from families eating together to doing a variety of activities together – are declining because adults are busy and because everyone is on their machines,” Zuckerman said.

via Sweet dreams, bedtime story? Many parents skip nightly ritual –

Moms can be #LouderThanGuns


Ever since the Newtown tragedy, I have been reading about gun control and the arguments that have ensued.

Today, I am joining a group of moms, who are #LouderthanGuns because after becoming a blogger as a grandmother, I really believe that the power behind moms is a phenomenon that is underrated.

We can make a huge difference in whether or not some type of gun control gets passed in the near future and I believe that in our own way, we must join this cause if gun control is going to happen in a timely manner.

Moms have to be #LouderThanGuns if we are to effect any type of gun control in the wake of this horrendous tragedy.

No one should have to suffer the loss of a family member to gun violence.

After Sandy Hook, I wrote a post...Coping with life and death… about my feelings and reactions to this horrible event.

As a mother, grandmother, nurse and social worker, I have helped many people in different stages of grief and at times, I have grieved along with them. The loss of a child is one of the saddest losses of all…no child should pre-decease their parent.

My heart goes out to the families in Newtown. We must not forget these innocent angels so please consider joining #LouderthanGuns and work towards gun control.

Beach Party…

Fuller Beach, Edgartown, MA

A day at the beach with kids sounds like fun and it can be with a great deal of effort usually on the part of the adults, usually the moms.

For many years we vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard, where we were a short walk away from the beach in Edgartown and a beautiful short ferry ride from the beaches on Chappaquidick.  It was idyllic in many ways and I have so many fond memories from those vacations with my daughter, her friends and various family members who joined us for all or part of our vacation time.

Martha’s Vineyard and MOM

Our house was small but could sleep 7-8 people in a pinch or 6 very comfortably. It was not air-conditioned which proved to be somewhat hellish at times when the temperatures soared to the 90’s. We did have boxed fans which kept humming through those sultry days and nights. Some times it was even to hot to pack up and make the “trip” to the beach…those were the days spent on the sofa in front of the fan reading.

Martha’s Vineyard…

You probably are wondering what prompted this post…well I happened across two blogs today that discussed what it takes to create a fun day at the beach.

My answer… MOM and lots of planning…food, toys, umbrellas, towels, coolers, chairs, sunscreen…drinks and plenty of sweat and patience. If you have really little ones then of course you need extra bathing suits and swim diapers.

I would begin packing in early June for our July trip to the Vineyard…why?

Because summer rentals on the Vineyard usually do not come with linens. So I would send stuff ahead to the Mailroom in Edgartown where it would be waiting for me. We would take a very early Ferry on Saturday and hustle off to pick up our cartons filled with the sundries necessary for a comfortable couple of weeks at the beach.

I would be remiss if I did not include here the fact that we had to fly from Chicago on Friday night and drive to Woods Hole where we would all pile in to the Nautilus Motor Inn for the night…in later years we stayed with a college friend in Falmouth for the night.

Woods Hole, MA

From the Nautilus you could hear the comfort of the Ferry horn and quickly walk to the dock. We had to purchase our Ferry tickets in February in order to take a car on board…all of this was done by MOM. Even the Nautilus had to be booked well in advance…as it was a very popular place come summetime.

All the preparation was worth the lazy days spent on the Vineyard which still remains one of my favorite places and memories.

Finally on move in day ..there was the obligatory trip  to Stop and Shop and Cronigs to buy staples like chips and dip and drinks. We would shop each daily for the catch of the day and head “Up Island” to the Farmers Market for our favorite pies and jams and containers of Pam’s Pesto.

Each morning MOM (me) would assemble all the “stuff” for the beach. Now mind you we stayed there most of the day…so snacks and lunch were necessities. The beaches that we liked had no concessions so you were at your own mercy when it came to food and drink.

There were always many hands to get us to the beach and back…but those hands disappeared fast when it came to washing and drying the towels and  cleaning the cooler making ready for the next day.

Then there was dinner for the hungry souls that had spent the entire day reading, roasting, rollicking and eating in the sun or under one of the umbrellas that we had lugged along with us.

Finally after a relaxing dinner…day was done after a short walk to SCOOPS in Edgartown for the obligatory ice cream.

Vineyard Scoops

Yes, MOM made it happen…but this MOM really enjoyed those days and sultry nights at the beach.

Martha’s Vineyard just makes me feel nostalgic about times gone by…but now it’s on to this MOM and trips to the beach (no longer Martha’s Vineyard)…SIGH… with grandchildren, where I am still the organizer with help from PAPA.

It is hard to know who enjoys the beach more us or our grandchild.

Who plans fun with the kids or grandkids in your family?





Lifes Not A Beach With Kids | Kid Scoop.

Allergies and Kids

Peanut allergieschildren and pregnancy

About 1 percent of children and adults in the United States are allergic to peanuts and peanut products, including peanut butter and any food containing peanuts (1, 2). For reasons that are not well understood, peanut allergy has doubled in the past decade (3). Individuals with a peanut allergy can have a serious (such as difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness) or even fatal reaction if they eat peanuts. This reaction occurs because the immune system of an affected individual reacts abnormally to usually harmless proteins in peanuts. Children and adults who are allergic to peanuts should not eat them at any time. Unfortunately, there is no proven way to prevent peanut allergy in a child.

Peanut allergies are very frightening and very serious.

I learned this first hand when I witnessed my first peanut allergy reaction.

It was a 2 year old child, who had ingested an extremely small amount of granola and within several minutes she was completely covered in hives. Fortunately, she did not have difficulty breathing and was treated promptly.

A few days ago…I received this peanut allergy update from the March of Dimes.

I am passing it along with the hope that it will help in understanding this potentially life threatening allergic reaction and how it can be avoided.

What Every Parent and Grandparent Should Know…

This video and post could be one of the most important ones that any parent reads  or watches, especially if you ever have to take your baby or child to an emergency room.

We all know that Emergency Rooms are not all created equal… and that is something that should concern any adult who takes a sick baby or child to a hospital in an emergency situation.


Apparently, there is no standardization for how equipped an ER needs to be when it comes to caring for children. Sadly, this can prove and has proven fatal for some babies and young children.

I have recently learned about the R Baby Foundation and it mission to save babies lives by improving pediatric ER care.

I hope you will read about this Foundation. Baby R’s  story is heart wrenching. It is my hope that Baby R’s parents are able to derive some solace knowing that they are helping to make life saving health care available to all babies and children.

Our Mission

R Baby Foundation is the first and only not-for-profit foundation uniquely focused on saving babies lives through improving pediatric emergency care.

R Baby Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that babies, including those in the first month of life suffering from viral infections and other infectious diseases, receive the highest quality of care and service through supporting life-saving pediatric training, education, research, treatment and equipment.

Related stories:

Jenny Isenman: How a Friend Saved Lives After the Death of Her Baby — What Every Mom Should Know.


R Baby Foundation Fundraiser and Gala