Thank you, coupon fairy!
I had stopped by a local store to pick up a few items, and there, on top of the diaper boxes, was a $2 off coupon for the item I wanted.
Someone had shared from their own coupon collection, and though I’ve seen stray coupons scattered with products at stores before, today was my day to take advantage of the gift.
While $2 might not seem like much, it adds up.
Inspired by my daughter’s Lent sacrifice of all softdrinks, I decided to give up everything Starbucks and sweet tea.
These sugary drinks and the food I always bought to accompany them were becoming an addiction that was bleeding my purse of $3 here, $5 there and $7 from somewhere!
The tall, decaf, no-whip, peppermint mocha was my little reward — and for “me” time.
I’m not saying I’ll never drink one again, but I needed to put my “little” expenses into perspective.
Although I never saw my dad with a cigarette in his hand, he would tell a story of how he quit, cold turkey, once he realized he could have bought a car with the money he had spent on his habit.
I don’t think my beverage expenses will even come close to buying a car – but maybe a set of tires for a car.
With so many costs related to basic living needs, my children, their schools, doctor visits, etc. and the desire to be able to maybe afford another home someday, I’m taking a second look at my budget — one cup at a time.
My 5-year-old son just started wanting his crackers lined up — perfectly. If one cracker is turned a little to the left or right, he protests.
The first time I noticed this was when he seemed cranky, distressed. I tried everything to appease him, thinking he might be wanting a different snack, might feel bad or maybe was just tired.
Then, I straightened his crackers, and the clouds parted.
This isn’t my first experience with childhood obsessions. My oldest daughter started lining up her toys at a young age. My youngest daughter had to have her silverware laid out properly on a napkin (even if paper) when we went to restaurants. This was rarely successful after our son was born, since he tended to grab anything that was on the table.
My sister tells a story about when our first child spent the night at her house. My daughter was crying about wanting her red socks. Those particular red socks were filthy, but my sister dug them out of the laundry and put them on my little daughter’s feet. … ahh, peace.
This is the same girl who would have me take her shoes off until I could get the little seam on the end of her tights to stay on top of her toes, instead of at the ends of her toes.
It’s these little things that can stress a parent — and a child.
Our son always says, “Thank you” and “Bless you.” But you better be quick with a return, “You’re welcome.” He demands it.
At least he has good manners.
It’s starting. My 4-year-old son has mastered the art of negotiation.
He’ll want to ask for something he already knows will be a hard sell. “Mom, now don’t say no. Just listen. And just don’t say no.”
I sigh. “OK, what is it.” And you know what? It works. I’m such a pushover. When my little guy asks so sweetly and pleadingly for something, it’s impossible to say no and he knows it.
The same thing happens when he knows he did something wrong and punishment is inevitable. “Mom, now don’t get mad, even just a little mad. OK? Promise?”
Sigh. “OK, what did you do?” Again, he has complete success. How could I get mad when he prefaces his confession with that plea?
Or there’s the obvious deal-making. “So if I drink all my milk, and eat all my dinner, then I get two ice cream sandwiches, right? Two healthy things means I get two treats. That’s fair.”
I’m really in for it, aren’t I.
Child Guidance Services of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department has some great workshops still available through the end of the year. All workshops are for parents and caregivers of young children unless otherwise specified. Pre-registration is required for all programs by calling 425-4412. All programs are FREE.
Enhancing Language and Literacy Skills in Young Children
(for parents, caregivers of children from birth to age 5)
All three workshops are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 16 – Midwest City Library
Nov. 23 – Village Library
Nov. 30 – Choctaw Library
Temper, Temper! Handling Tantrums
Both workshops are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 9 – Midwest City Library
Nov. 16 – Village Library
Both workshops are 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Nov. 9 – Warr Acres Library
Nov. 17 – Edmond Library
Lullaby & Goodnight
10:30 a.m. to noon on Dec. 3 – Warr Acres Library
3 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 15 – Edmond Library
Boosting Your Child’s Brain Power
3:30 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 21 – Ralph Ellison Library
Child Guidance Services also offers screenings in speech, language, development and health. Call 425-4412 to schedule a screening. For more information go to www.occhd.org.
Need a neat way to encourage your children to be polite? How about free pizza?
From now until Nov. 31, Cici’s Pizza restaurants will be stocked with “Thank you” trackers for parents to take home (see below). They can note each time their child says “thank you” without being prodded. Once they get 10 thank yous, you can bring the card in for a FREE buffet for children age 10 and younger (with the purchase of an adult buffet). And what kid doesn’t like pizza buffets?
Cici’s fans also can send their own thank you note on Cici’s Pizza’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cicis and the recipient will receive a “Two can dine for $9.99″ deal, including buffet and drinks. Recipients can be anyone – teachers, military personnel, friends, etc.
“At Cici’s, we believe an environment that fosters kindness and appreciation is as essential to our success as our hot, fresh buffet,” CEO Mike Shumsky said in a news release. “… it’s why we created the ‘Thank yous Count’ campaign.”
Some locations may even have giant thank you cards or posters for patrons to sign. These cards will be delivered along with dinners to community groups throughout November.
And with your kids earning a free meal, you may just end up telling them ‘Thank you’ for being so polite.
My son is starting pre-K this week and last night we had our “meet the teacher” night. He will be attending school in the Putnam City District as a transfer, because the district we live in doesn’t have pre-K.
Last night, as I’m reading through Putnam City’s Elementary School Handbook for 2010-11, I notice an entry under “conduct” called “corporal punishment.” I’m expecting the entry to say something to the effect of “we don’t tolerate it, allow it, use it” … something along those lines. But it says something very different. It says:
“The district recognizes corporal punishment as a means of discipline.”
I have to say, I’m shocked. As an Oklahoma “transplant” from Connecticut (where corporal punishment is banned), I did not expect that this was a means of discipline in any school district, in any state, but sure enough it is. And not just small-town rural districts. We’re talking one of the biggest districts in the state.
I’m not necessarily upset about my son being subjected to corporal punishment, because I don’t believe it’s readily used on prekindergarteners. But what about other elementary school-age children? Is this an effective and appropriate form of discipline for children while they are in school? Or is this something that should be reserved for parents to use, in the privacy of their own home?
In the handbook it says it “shall be used only as a last resort and only after other reasonable corrective measures have been used without success.” And to be fair, they do consult with parents first. But as a parent of a young child, I find it hard to believe that schools can’t take other action when it comes to a “last resort.” There are many more states and school districts that don’t find the need to use physical force on students. Why should this one?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please e-mail me or comment below.
For all workshops, pre-register by calling 425-4412.
Unless otherwise noted, all sessions are for parents and caregivers of young children.
Here’s what’s in store for this summer:
Terrific Two’s: Learn about your 2-year-old. Focus is on their developmental milestones. All are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
June 1, Choctaw Library
June 16, Midwest City Library
June 22, Southern Oaks Library
June 19, The Village Library
Sibling Struggles: Learn methods to prepare children for the arrival of a new sibling and how to deal with sibling squabbles. Find out about sibling rivalry and what normal behavior is. Both are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
June 2, Midwest City
June 30, The Village
Just for Fun: Games People Play(for children ages 8-12): Includes active games, quiet games and brain teasers. Kids will play games from the past and games from other cultures. Both are 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
June 14, Southern Oaks
June 21, The Village
Toileting Triumph: Toileting doesn’t have to be a major challenge. Focus is on signs of readiness, why it can be frustrating and much more. All are from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
June 16, Edmond Library
June 29, Warr Acres Library
July 20, Ralph Ellison Library
Making Your Morning Manageable: Time to eliminate chaos and come up with a routine. Focus is what parents can do to make this part of the day more calm and enjoyable.
June 25, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Warr Acres
Lullaby & Goodnight: Find a routine that includes reading to your child, to ease bedtime and naptime challenges. Sleep challenges will also be discussed. Both are 3:30 to 5 p.m.
June 30, Edmond
August 17, Ralph Ellison
Look Out, I’m Three!: Learn more about your 3-year-old. Focus is on developmental milestones. All are from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
July 7, Southern Oaks
July 8, Midwest City
July 13, The Village
July 20, Choctaw
Toddlers at the Table: Turn common concerns about toddler’s eating habits into opportunities to teach healthy habits. Both are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
July 12, Midwest City
July 21, The Village
Those Playful Preschoolers:Focus is behavioral characteristics and developmental milestones of 3- and 4-year-olds. Activity ideas will be shared to keep little ones busy. Learn it’s OK for your preschooler to be “out of bounds.” Both are 3:30 to 5 p.m.
July 27, Warr Acres
Aug. 25, Edmond
Baby Basics: Main focus is typical concerns of parents. Colic/crying, separation anxiety, sleeping through the night and other issues will be discussed.
July 28, 3:30 to 5 p.m., Edmond
Reading Readiness: Workshop will explore the necessary reading readiness building blocks and parents’ roles in helping children become readers. Both are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 4, Midwest City
Aug. 9, The Village
Fun to be Four: Learn about your fascinating 4-year-old. Workshop focuses on developmental milestones. All are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 3, Southern Oaks
Aug. 4, Midwest City
Aug. 10, The Village
Aug. 12, Choctaw
School Readiness: Facilitators will talk about support, encouragement and opportunity all children need for school success.
Aug. 10, 3:30 to 5 p.m., Warr Acres
Tripping Through Toddlerhood: Topics include, tantrums, biting, sharing and other common toddler challenges. Parents will learn how to minimize frustrations.
Aug. 11, 3:30 to 5 p.m., Edmond
Teaching Children to be More Cooperative: Focus is on when to discipline or ignore unwanted behaviors. Learn guidance techniques used by experts.
Aug. 27, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Warr Acres
To see the Oklahoma City-County Health Departments newsletters, including schedules for upcoming play groups, workshops, and health and child guidance screenings, click here .
But I’ve got a new one to enter.
First swear word.
My little 3-year-old outfielder was waiting patiently for his cousin to hit him a ball at grandma’s house on Easter. He waited and waited. Begged for a ball to come his way. Finally, it happened. The ball tumbled his way. He ran up, glove on hand and wanted nothing more than to catch that ball in his mitt.
But he missed.
And then it came out.
I think I about fell over from shock. How could such a young, innocent mouth use such a bad word? Not wanting to make the biggest scene on the lawn at grandma’s, I put the seriousness in my eyes and voice. “What did you say? Who told you that?”
He cowered and told me who he heard it from. Still in shock, I let him know in no uncertain terms he is not to use that word again. But I’m scared to know what’s next.
Have a toddler who used a bad word? Did you ignore it or punish them? Let me know here or e-mail me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.
I had the great opportunity last week to go to a class sponsored by the Oklahoma City-County Health Department at the Edmond Library, called ”Common Challenges with Toddlers.”
As a parent of a toddler, I knew I couldn’t possibly be the only one who experiences the store -induced temper tantrums, the difficulties with getting him to eat, and dealing with this little person who is constantly asserting his independence.
I was greatly assured that yes, thankfully, my child is completely normal and not a pint-sized T-Rex.
Here are seven great tips I learned:
1. Don’t ask questions that require simply a yes or no answer. Instead, give your toddler some choices. But be sure you can live with any of the choices.
2. Avoid power struggles. It takes two to argue, so take yourself out of the equation. Consider allowing him to be his own boss, unless he poses harm to himself or others.
3. Children won’t do what doesn’t work. Ignore temper tantrums. Easier said than done, but if you want the tantrums to stop, you’ll have to stop reacting to them.
4. Make a statement. When talking to him about his day, don’t ask questions, but instead make statements. I tried this and it works! Instead of “Did you play outside today?” try “So you played outside today!” You’ll get lots more response from your little person.
5. Use descriptive commentary. Like a sports announcer, talk about what they’re doing as they’re doing it. It promotes conversation, builds vocabulary and makes them feel important.
6. Focus on behaviors you want, not the ones you don’t want. Instead of “stop running” say “I like it when you walk next to Mommy.” And always be specific in your praise. Just saying “Good girl” won’t let them know what exactly they’re being good about.
7. Use humor, and keep your sense of humor. Your toddler is learning to be an independent person and it can be a fun time if you just let it happen.
The health department has a great lineup of workshops and parent talks. I highly recommend attending. Their staff is knowledgeable and they give great advice. Go to www.occhd.org and click on the Parent Express Newsletter or call 425-4412 to find out what’s coming to a location near you.
Oklahoma City-County Health Department’s Child Guidance program is offering FREE parenting sessions at the Edmond Library on Sept. 9. These are individual sessions lasting 30-45 minutes and will be conducted with a speech pathologist and child development specialist.
Discussions will allow for parenting questions in areas of speech, language, development and behavior. Children don’t need to be present but may attend.
Sessions are by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 425-4412. For more information about this program or others, call 427-8651 or go to www.cchdoc.com.