Tag Archives: kids

How The Kids See Me

How The Kids See Me

Portrait of me by my daughter “yelling about the messy playroom”

This is re-posted from a year ago. It’s one of my favorites.

I think of myself as a pretty laid back mom, and by nature I’m not a yeller, so years back when my oldest daughter returned from art class with a portrait of  me looking like a screaming maniac, I was sure there must have been a mistake.  She took the class with three friends, and there was some confusion over whose portrait was whose.  Three were of serene smiling mothers, and then there was this.  One of the other moms actually was a yeller, so I knowingly looked around the group and told them I though there was a mix up.    My daughter cleared the air by confirming that it was in fact her portrait of me yelling about the messy playroom.  Of course as I slunk away I told her I loved it, and commended her on her originality.  I sincerely meant both compliments, but a part of me caught the first glimpse of how she saw me through her child’s lens, and I had to laugh.  Sure I am a laid back person, and I swear am not a yeller, but many a mom has caught herself losing her cool at her kids about something, and then thinking “who is this raving lunatic the kids are turning me into? This is so not me!”  This portrait just may be my favorite piece of artwork that hangs in our home; it forces me to laugh at myself every time I see it.

I was harder hit a year later when in the same week my daughter brought home a family crest where I was represented by a mop and pail, and my son brought home a cute Mother’s Day card where he finished the sentence “My mother loves to…..” with “wash the dishes“.

 

As disheartening as these depictions of me were I knew that they were completely honest, innocent assessments.  I thought back to how I viewed my own mother as a kid, and from what I remember,  I was only vaguely aware of her as a woman outside of her role as my mom. The first time I recall feeling deep pride and admiration for her accomplishments was when we were writing the text for our wedding invitations, and I realized that as a Ph.D. her proper title was “Dr.” not “Mom”. I guess it took me a while, and still it wasn’t until after I had my own children that I could truly appreciate her in full.   I can’t expect my kids to see me other than through the paradigm of their childish inner world.  Most kids by nature are egocentric creatures.   Most of the time my kids perceptions of me serve as moments of humility, but they can just as easily put me on a pedestal like no one else can.   I have to laugh at the truth in their observations, because no commentary is as candid as a child’s.  This recent portrait of me by my youngest son is a new favorite.  Here he managed to capture the essence of me in the morning with perfection. Certainly this is how I feel before that first cup of coffee.  The funny ones are my favorites, but every now and then a piece of art comes home that just melts my mommy heart into a puddle, and that is the power of kids art.

 

 

(I had to throw in this one where I am listed as 6′ tall and 100 pounds)

The 5 Most Important Summer Safety Tips For Kids

The 5 Most Important Summer Safety Tips For Kids

After hearing the story the other night of a friend’s child whose life was saved by wearing a helmet, I decided to re-post this as we head into the fun of summer. Let’s make it a safe one! 

A few years back, sitting by the side of a neighbor’s pool, as the kids frolicked with their friends, I learned a little something about drowning.  Other moms were standing by the edge; some with their feet on the top step in the water.  We were all right there, alternately chatting and watching the kids.  One of the older girls in the pool grabbed what she thought was the hair of the life size Barbie doll they had been playing with moments before, and pulled her up from the bottom.  She was shocked to find one of her little neighbors instead.  The little girl coughed, and reached for her mother as she started to cry.  Apparently she had just walked right into the pool, past all the chatting moms, not realizing she couldn’t swim, and had SILENTLY sank to the bottom. No splashing, no screams; not like in the movies.  It was eerily silent, and we all had been right there.  The whole scene took place in an instant.  We had just witnessed what a real drowning would look like. We were in shock, and acutely aware of the serendipity that the older girl had decided to play with the doll at that instant, in doing so she had unwittingly saved a life.

Summer is a magical time of year for children, and filled with opportunities for amusement. By knowing what to watch out for as we head into school vacation we can help to keep our children safe while they enjoy their summertime fun. Between the months of May and August unintentional injury deaths peak for children under 14 years old.  Below are the top five culprits that parents need to be aware of, and the proper precautions to take to protect kids, and enjoy summer safely.

1.Prevent Drowning:

Nearly 9 out of 10 fatal events occur during a brief lapse in supervision.  A child can drown in a matter of seconds, as I learned in the frightening lesson above.  My kids spent their years learning to swim looking like little Michelin men in their floatation devises.  At least I knew they wouldn’t sink!

2.Avoid Bicycle Injuries.

The most common injuries are broken bones, but head injuries can be life threatening.  A helmet is the single most effective safety device for reducing the severity of head injuries and the likelihood of death following a bicycle crash.  Even if your kid falls and hits their head in your own driveway it can be serious.

3. Avoid Falls.

Falls are the most common summertime injury to send kids to the hospital, trampolines and playground equipment are top culprits.  Toddlers are most at risk for falls from windows.

4.Safety For Motorized Vehicle Accidents.

Although the summer is generally a more relaxed time of year, car safety should be followed in the same way as the rest of the year.  Teenagers are responsible for a large percentage of all motor vehicle accidents.

5.Stay Clear Of Burns.

In younger kids these are usually cooking burns or water burns, in older kids campfires and fireworks.

I would love to still be able to dress my kids in those protective floating bubble suits as I did when they were little, but  I’m pretty sure they would not stand for it now.  As parents if we make sure kids are actively supervised when in or around water, and keep them protected with appropriate safety gear we can give them the best odds at a safe and enjoyable summer!

 

 

 

 

Kaboom! Playgrounds And The Power Of Play

Kaboom! Playgrounds And The Power Of Play
 I Must have spent nearly a quarter of the past decade at playgrounds with my kids, so I am thrilled to write about the nonprofit organization,Kaboom! that believes in the power of play.  The neighborhood playground was my office, my social interaction, my snack bar, changing station, and my sanity as a mother.  It was the place we could always go when we needed to get out of the house, and we were there daily.  We could be sure to meet up with other kids and moms wether we planned ahead or not.  For a few hours the kids could climb and shout, and spill their juice boxes all over the ground, which was a few hours less of them doing the same inside our house. As a mother some of my most memorable bonding moments with other mothers took place on the playground, and that’s just what the playground meant to me as a mom!
Playgrounds are really all about the kids and their need to play.  Kids need the freedom to explore and climb, and be physical in a safe place where they can have fun. Growing up my neighborhood playground was such an essential part of my own childhood, I still feel nostalgic when I drive by it. There is the same swing set with the long chains on which I soared and dreamed as a child. The same water fountain is still there where I stood in line on a hot day for a drink, and then got bit by a spider when it was my turn, but tried to act cool because of all of the big kids in line behind me. The climbing castle from which we would jump off the top, and the same fountain where we cooled off in its spray in the summer still stand.   It is hard to imagine where all of that time I spent as a child, and then spent with my own children, would have been spent if we did not have access to the parks we did.

 

Kaboom! is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the United States dedicated to saving play for children, and was founded by Darell Hammond in 1996 after he had read the story of two children who suffocated while playing in an abandoned car.  They had no where else to play.  Not only do children need safe environments for play,but there is extensive research and data on the power of play, and the difference that unstructured play can make on the health and well-being of a child.
“At KaBOOM! we create opportunities for the collaborative sharing and continued improvement of knowledge and tools that anyone needs to build or improve upon playspaces on their own. As advocates of play, we recognize the importance of each child not only having access to a safe and engaging place to play, but also having the time to play—knowing that it makes children happier, fitter, smarter, creative, and more socially adept”
.- KAboom! Website

 

Watch this video about Kaboom! and how it helps provide play spaces for children:

Through Kaboom! communities in need of playgrounds can build that space or their children, and provide those years of essential activity and free play that all kids need.  If your community or a neighborhood you know of is in need of a playground update of a new playground check out the KAboom! Website to find out how you can make kids dreams come true.  If you are passionate about the power of play you can follow Kaboom! on Facebook, and  if you would like to help support Kaboom! and its mission to provide safe play for all children you can donate here.  

 

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

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A Way Kids Can Hand Out Gifts Even If They Can Not Yet Read

A Way Kids Can Hand Out Gifts Even If They Can Not Yet Read

Kids love being the ones to hand out the gifts! Years back when our now teenagers were toddlers, my father-in-law came up with a great way to help them do so even though they could not yet read. He put a photo of  who the gift was for on each present and the kids were thrilled to be able to find each gift, and hand it to the proper recipient.  It is also a great way to use all those photos in a box that are not quite good enough for the albums.

Fruit Turkey Recipe

Fruit Turkey Recipe

I have brought this Fruit Turkey that I saw years ago in Family Fun Magazine into my kids classroom celebrations for Thanksgiving and it is always a huge hit!

You Need:

A melon with the bottom sliced off so it sits flat

A red pepper for the feet, feathers, and snood (the thing that hangs over the turkey’s beak)

A Bartlett Pear for the head

Craisins or Raisins for the eyes

Chunks of melon and red grapes for the tail feather  fruit kabobs

Wood skewers for the Kabobs and toothpicks to attach all else.

Gobble, Gobble!