Most of the time when I go out, whether it is to the mall, or grocery store, or Target, it is just my son and me. He is my little “shopper.” I started him at a young age – 1 week old. I have a niece just a tad older than Hunter and her parents can’t take her anywhere. But if Hunter even just sees a mall, he’ll start yelling “SHOP SHOP!!” It really is a mom’s dream.
The only hard thing about just the two of us shopping together is trying to do the little things a third person would normally do, like holding the door open as I’m pushing Hunter’s stroller through. Or balancing the food tray on one hand and using the other to try to steer him toward a clean table in the food court. Or trying to squeeze us and his stroller into a small bathroom stall because I don’t have someone to watch him while I go.
So when people hold a door open or just help in some other little way, they probably don’t think much of it. But to me, it means the world. I was in Wal-Mart over the weekend for my weekly huge grocery run. Hunter was strapped into his shopping cart cover (best invention ever!) and I had just unloaded the bags into the trunk. His shoes were caught and I was struggling to get him out with one hand, and in my other hand, I had my purse and the bag with bread to put in the front seat. Right then a very nice man stopped and held the end of the cart so I could free Hunter. Then he took the cart down to the cart “corral” for me. He only had one bag of his own, but took the time to walk past his own car with my cart to put it back for me.
He probably never gave it a second thought, but for me, it meant that I didn’t have to struggle with the cart for five minutes and get frustrated. It meant that I got home those five minutes quicker and used them to enjoy the company of my little “shopper.”
The following quiz (give or take a few questions) was given to dads who attended a “Championship Fathering” conference Saturday morning at Oklahoma City’s St. John Missionary Baptist Church.
I thought the quiz was interesting enough to pass on:
1. Name two of your congressional leaders.
2. What is the weather forecast?
3. Who won last year’s Super Bowl?
4. What is the price of gas?
5. Name a national TV news anchor.
Now that you’ve answered those questions, try the following:
1. What is your child’s favorite food?
2. What is your child’s all-time favorite possession?
3. What is your child’s greatest fear?
4. Who is your child’s closest friend?
5. What is your child’s favorite TV show?
OK. Tally up your score and see how you did on the first set of questions as compared to the second set.
Be honest, dads.
If you know more of the first set than the latter set, you probably need to spend more time with your children.
So said Brett Fuller, a Virginia pastor who spoke at the fatherhood conference.
Pretty insightful quiz, huh? These are really simple questions but the answers can make all the difference to your children — in more ways than one.
Look for more on the “Championship Fathering” conference in this week’s Oklahoman
Dirty, stinky clothes were out but nice jackets, sweaters, mismatched flip-flops and jeans were in during the Lost-and-Found Fashion Show held at Chisholm Elementary School this week.
The style show at the Edmond school started nine years ago when Principal Joanne Graham arrived and it continues to be a hit. It’s also a great way to return missing clothes to the proper owners.
And “stylin’” they were in discarded sweatshirts, jackets, ball caps, lunch boxes, shoes and more. Modeling were fifth-grade members of the “Chargies Kidz Council” at Chisholm. The style show had so many items that it required about 40 models to show them off.Models picked out silly names like “Ravishing Robin,” were announced by emcees and strutted onto stage to music, sometimes carrying a lost lunch box as well.
The students in the audience who recognized what they were wearing raised their hand, and the model dropped by to remove the “found” item and hand it over to the correct owner.
“We got rid of about a fourth of the stuff we modeled,” Graham said.
By the end of the day the lost-and-found box was reduced by about half as students claimed more items that were displayed in the cafeteria after the style show.
The remaining items will be donated to charity by the end of the year.
What puzzles Graham was the amount of shoes that ended up in the mountainous lost-and-found box — a pair of red boots, a single, mismatched flip-flop and more.
“How do you go home without your shoes on?” she asked.
Who knows? But what a great, practical and fun way to end the school’s assembly line-up for the year.
Happy summer! (soon)
There aren’t many reality shows I watch with my kids, other than American Idol. But last night, I let my almost-five-year-old join me to watch part of a new television show “The Farmer Wants a Wife.” It’s along the lines of “The Bachelor” but a little more folksy and homespun. Here’s the premise: 10 city girls move to a Missouri farm to vie for the affection of a real farmer. The 20-something farmer plays up his wholesome image and tries to romanticize farm life.
I grew up on a farm. So I tried to debunk some of the “fun” the ladies were having. I told my daughter that:
* Swimming in a farm pond is NOT a great idea. There’s likely to be snakes, snapping turtles and some unhappy cows nearby.
* Tractor races look like a blast. But you have to have multiple tractors to race. Most farmers don’t and wouldn’t want you messing up their fields anyway.
* Farmboys (and girls) really ought to wear their shirts. A bare chest will get you a nasty sunburn and maybe some skin cancer. Not so sexy.
* Bingo halls sure look like fun, at least on this show. But in real life, they are full of smoke and dashed dreams. Or is that a casino I’m thinking of?
So what will I do if my daughter ever says she wants to marry a farmer? I’ll take her out to her Grandpa Gary’s and she can see what farmlife is really all about. It can be wholesome yes, but it’s also a lot of work. And high heels? They aren’t recommended.
My 5-year-old graduated from pre-kindergarten last night. Well, one of them anyways. She attends a half-day pre-k program at our neighborhood public school. Then a few days a week, she finishes the day at our company’s childcare center run by the YMCA. It’s from the latter that she officially graduated during a cute program that included a prayer, a patriotic song, the Pledge of Allegiance, 26 short songs that covered the alphabet and a touching video and song tribute about their great-grandparents as guardian angels. I might have even teared up, had I not been alternately wielding a video camera and sharing chase-the-toddler duties with my husband. She was most concerned about what she was going to wear. When I told her she needed to dress up, her predictable reply was, “As what?” I picked out an adorable turquoise dress with bright-colored polka dots. She was having none of that, demanding to know why I didn’t grab the dress she had set out. She won that disagreement. It was her graduation after all.
Then today she lost her first tooth and a potential crisis was averted. Yesterday, she asked if loose teeth changed colors. I said no and didn’t give it another thought. Until this morning. I noticed her wiggly tooth was a shade of gray and her gum was red. The dentist said to bring her on in so she could check it out. But when I picked her up from school, she was all grins, with an empty space where one of teachers had pulled it. No need to see the dentist. And no need to worry that trauma would make her terrified of losing the next tooth. Turns out, this particular teacher is a tooth-pulling expert! Now, to figure out what the tooth fairy pays these days … Christy
As a mom, I often feel guilty about things that are probably not as bad as I make them out to be.
I’ve already written about the struggles of getting a toddler to eat. So of course comes the guilt of “is he getting enough veggies? ” or “am I a bad mom for taking my kid to McDonald’s in Wal-Mart when I know he won’t make it through a 2-hour shopping trip without a Happy Meal?”
Along with these guilts, I have many more, as I’m sure other parents do, especially single parents who can’t do it all.
1. Reading. Everywhere you look and listen, it is the same message. “Read to your child 20 minutes a day.” I’m actually better about getting this done than other things. But I do have the occasional day where there aren’t those 20 minutes. Will my child then be behind his classmates in junior high or not get into college?
2. Playtime, or lack of. We are enrolled in the READY! For Kindergarten classes offered by Putnam City School District (which I highly recommend to parents in that district). One of the things they emphasize is to set aside “educational play time” each day with your child. This seems easy enough, right? Wrong. How do you know if you are playing “educationally” enough? What if you’re attention is divided between helping solve a puzzle and dinner burning on the stove? What if you’re just too tired? Usually I make up for any missed playtime on the weekends with a trip to the park or zoo or something else fun. But is this enough?
3. Screen time. Something else you hear about everywhere. “Limit your child’s screen time (i.e. TV, computer) to 3o minutes a day.” Well if that’s the case, my boy has used up his daily limit before we even head out the door in the morning. Between Sesame Street and the Today show, he has had his fill. But as single parents, sometimes we have to use the TV as a tool to get other things done around the house. Should I just disconnect the television altogether? Because as long as it’s there, I’m bound to veg out on the couch and enjoy a healthy dose of reality television after a day at work. Does this mean my child will turn into a slacking couch potato?
Ahhh, the guilts of motherhood. Is there any escape? My mom sent me a wonderful book about moms for Mother’s Day. Inside the cover she wrote, “Good job, Erica.”
That’s the greatest compliment a mom could hear.
I’ve been to two graduations in two weeks. I’ve heard inspirational speeches, the usual blah-blah-blah about achieving dreams, and watched parents that talked on their cells phones for much of the ceremony.
But the image that sticks with me most are toes: some hairy, most unmanicured and often hanging off the ends of flip flops.
Our nation’s future — a generation of hope! — wore flip flops to their commencement ceremonies. Grads are required to wear standard graduation gowns and those square-shaped caps, leaving their shoes as their only fashion option.
If this were a test, most flunked. Especially the men. I saw hundreds in battered flip flops that would be an embarrassment on a beach, must less a place of pomp and circumstance.
Some women did wear nice footwear, sensible flats or even heels. But others failed just as miserably as the men.
Am I old-fashioned to think that graduates should dress a little better for this very important occasion? Did their parents even care? It would seem a sign of respect to try to look your best at graduation. And yes, people are looking at your feet. Or trying to look away.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
E-mail me at email@example.com
My children gave me some very thoughtful, handmade gifts for Mother’s Day – hand-drawn cards, collages of glued-on marbles, glitter paste and marker creations, an oven mitt with a handprint, a collection of family stories tied together to form a book …
I loved them all, and it brought back memories of my own handmade creations from when I was a child.
I kissed my “babies” – ages 13, 9 and 3 – and hugged them as many times as they would let me.
What a wonderful Mother’s Day, right? But it wasn’t over.
For some reason my 9-year-old daughter wanted me out of the house for a couple of hours later that evening. So, my husband and I left for awhile – it would be a good opportunity to buy toilet paper and shampoo.
So what awaited us when we returned?
Kaci met us at the entryway to our living room that obviously had been straightened, streamers were strung from wall to wall to curtain rod to mantle. She then led us to the dining area where a scrumptious homemade meal had been prepared: Peanut Butter and jelly sandwiches, barbecue chips, mixed nuts, a
Natalie Cole’s CD began to play, Kaci danced around the table (I called it Kaci’s Dinner Theatre), she waited on us like a waitress and then fixed us ice cream sundaes. …. Then she brought us the bill – $10.99. My husband handed her a credit card, which she took to his wallet and extracted $4.
A small price to pay for a priceless, fun moment with your child. – Linda
When my son Hunter, who recently turned 2, first started eating table food, I thought “wow, this is easy.” He was easy to please and ate like a horse. Now that he realizes that he does indeed have a mind of his own and has a choice in the matter, things are a bit different. I will set down his plate of food. He examines it. He wrinkles his nose. He looks at me. And then it inevitably comes … “I DON’T WANT IT!” The first four-word sentence my son learns and it just had to be that one.
My parents always told me “This isn’t an all-night diner,” meaning, if you don’t like what you’re given, you don’t get to order something else. I am desperately trying to instill this philosophy in my own home now, with great encouragement from my son’s pediatrician.
His doctor said that especially for toddlers, if they won’t eat what you give them, you simply cover it up and put it in the fridge. If they get hungry enough, they’ll eat it later. But as a parent, this is easier said than done. The last thing you want is to send a child to bed hungry or keep him up past his bedtime in hopes that he asks for the chicken nuggets you made hours before. But the other voice in your head says “if you give in once, you’ll have to give in every time.” So here we are. The nuggets in the fridge. The hungry toddler. The voice in my head. What to do?
I’ve looked at some great parenting resources and I feel good knowing I’m not alone in this struggle and I’m doing the right thing. Babycenter.com says that parents with toddlers who refuse to eat really shouldn’t worry because parents need to take into account fluids, especially milk, when looking at their child’s food intake. Also, while looking at how much a toddler eats, parents should look at it over the course of a week, not just what they consume in a particular day. As long as they are steadily gaining weight and have a good level of energy, they are getting the fuel they need.
Of course, if you have concerns about your child’s eating behavior or food intake, you should always get the advice of your child’s doctor or other professional.
And I know Hunter is gaining weight because we got his “Look at me grow!” sticker at his last checkup just 3 weeks ago.
In May 2000 my daughter was 5 years old and often described the whirling cyclones known to swoop down the Oklahoma plains as “tormatos.”
She would ask: “Mommy, are we gonna get hit by a tormato?”
It’s 2008 and she’s 13. Lots of things have changed, but her concern about tornadoes isn’t one of them.
She is one of many youths who may find themselves alone at home when the storm sirens go off. Children whose parents work outside the home often deal with this situation during tornado season. Wednesday’s storm was a classic example of this situation.
My daughter knows what to do during a storm, but it’s still frightening for her. Wednesday, I was actually caught out in the storm away from the office and made it home just as a tornado (classified as a “gale, “ it damaged property) briefly touched down not too far from my house.
The situation reminded me of a column I wrote in 2000 which featured some storm safety tips by Lisa Hamlin, a 4-H Youth at Risk educator and family and consumer sciences specialist with the Oklahoma County Cooperative Extension Center, a part of the Division of Agriculture and Natural Sciences at Oklahoma State University.
In 2003 she updated those tips to specifically address youths home alone during storms.
Well, things are somewhat different for Hamblin since we last talked years ago. She told me she now has a 6-year-old daughter named Caroline.
She’s still an advocate for young people, maybe even more so.
Tornados are scary to think about but parents must talk about them with their children, especially youths who are home alone after school and during the summer break, she said.
Tornadoes and severe storms always will be part of life in Oklahoma. Parents who prepare children for what to expect and how to stay safe will have children who exhibit fewer symptoms of anxiety, fear and stress, Hamblin said.
Here are some of Hamblin’s storm safety tips for parents:
1. Make sure your child knows the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning? Can they find their county on a state map? Children who are watching TV weather reports won’t understand them without this information.
2. Parents must be honest and not give false reassurances. Explain that tornadoes are unpredictable, but having and practicing a family emergency plan will help them stay safe.3. Older children can help put together an emergency kit that includes flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, a first-aid kit and other necessities.
4. Discuss with your children what they should do if a tornado is heading toward your community. Is there a community shelter or close neighbors or relations? Is there a designated place in your home?
5. Children will be worried about their pets during a storm. Add a leash to the emergency kit or have a pet carrier nearby.
6. Parents of teenagers need to prepare them for what to do if they are caught by a storm in a car, at a mall or in other places teens tend to congregate. Adolescents may downplay their concerns, but it is still important to talk about their safety.
7. Parents of young children who attend a child-care center or an after-care program when school has ended need to be aware of their emergency procedures.
QUESTION: How do you help your children cope with Oklahoma’s severe weather?