It seems like it was just last week I was pushing around my little man in a stroller … able to contain him in any environment – the mall, the zoo, the arts festival.
But just a few short weeks ago, my baby turned 5 and I found myself registering him for kindergarten, setting up his big-boy bed in his room, and holding my breath as he went on the kiddie roller-coaster at the local amusement park.
Of course, it was a nonstop celebration to honor Hunter’s turning 5. It was a day he’d been anxious for and with all the begging and pleading, it still couldn’t come quick enough for him. For me? It’s always too quick.
A week full of a visit from Gwennie (as grandma is so affectionately called) culminated in the party of the century with a big dancing, talking mouse (any guesses?). A chocolate-only cake, decorated in Star Wars fashion was on the menu, topped with Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker with real working light sabres (it doesn’t get cooler than that). Friends, family and even a girlfriend (yes, girlfriend!) made the event extra special for my little guy.
And it seems things have changed overnight. My 5-year-old is already going on 15. The phrases he uses, the facial expressions, the eye-rolls … the ones that say “Mom, you are so not cool” when I’m trying to make him laugh. Worrying about giving his mom kisses in public … worrying about whether his jeans are “regular” or “skinny” and if his shirt is tucked just right. He’ll readily stick up for friends if they find themselves on the receiving end of a bully’s push. And he still manages to tell me how pretty he thinks I am and but now adds how he thinks I should wear my hair.
He’s truly turning into his own little man. As fast as it goes, it gets better every day.
This morning’s Roundup assembly was pretty special at Edmond’s West Field Elementary School.
For the first time, the children from the developmentally delayed classes were the presenters.
Their teachers were nervous, the students were orderly on the risers, wearing Dr. Seuss hats made from red and white paper.
My son, Cade, was one of the younger students involved and was placed on the front row.
When I came into the gym, he ran over to me to give me a hug — a couple of times. So, I had to leave and then sneak back in to sit in another location.
Friday morning “Roundup” is a gathering of all the teachers and students. They recite the Pledge of Allegiance and school creed, listen to announcements and sing songs. It’s a good way to end the week and recognize students and classes for their weekly accomplishments.
Each week, a different group of students helps to present the program.
As the students said their names and directed the gathering on what was coming next, it was moving to see their excitement, anticipation and delivery of their speaking parts.
When Cade said his name, his voice was loud and sweet. His language development is still “developing,” but you couldn’t mistake the way he proudly spoke into the microphone.
I smiled and laughed a little, giddy with the excitement of seeing my baby perform in front of a group. Then, for a moment, tears came to my eyes, a flash flood of emotions coming over me.
But I recovered and was able to enjoy this simple — but very important — moment of the day.
Afterward, the teachers were asking questions, “How did they sound? Could you hear them?” and saying, “They did such a good job!”
It was a milestone for the school. It’s not only good for the students who presented, but also for the students in the audience. And good for the teachers. And good for the parents attending.
And good for the community.
These lovely children are a part of the community, and the public display of their talents and dedication is a lesson in how they, too, can contribute to the activities in everyday life.
It was a proud and moving moment for me.
Last week, I wrote about our school district’s policy allowing corporal punishment (click here to read that post). I received many responses on both sides of this issue. Here are excerpts from just a few:
“I’m not sure what part of beating someone begats more beatings of someone smaller or “lower” than you the world does not understand. We have proved over and over again that harsher methods of punishment do not stop the problem and most often make it worse. Many moons ago we didn’t have the ability to understand our inner workings of our minds. Today we have a little bit better handle on it – but we still insist on using archaic methods to bring people “in line” with society’s rules.” -Linda Houck Maloney
“I am in total agreement with those who believe that corporal punishment (spanking) of disobedient, etc., children in schools, from grades 1 through 12. … I am a Christian, fairly conversant with the Bible, believe what it says, and it says in my Bible, “If you don’t chastise your child, you hate him.” That says it all. … As a retired counselor, I have always asked a new parent this question: “Do you want to train this child or do you want the child to train you?” -Arthur P. Long, Guthrie
“Lady, you are so wrong -wrong – wrong. I taught in the public schools for 31 years, and i am proud to say I have spanked many children – I am prouder to say I never hurt a single one physically.” -Larry Cooper
“If I were you, I would write a letter to the school stating that you do not wish for your son to be corporally punished under any circumstances. Make a copy of it for your records, and send it registered mail (or certified w/return receipt). May sound like a hassle but it’s a worthwhile precaution.” -Tom Johnson
“The overwhelming evidence shows that corporal punishment is related to increased aggression, more antisocial behavior, increased criminality, more mental health problems and increased adult abusive behaviors later in life. In the states that have abolished paddling in school, school violence has declined and academic achievement has increased. And common sense tells us that when big people hit little people, the message is clear that this is the way we solve problems and it’s okay to do this. I refer you to the website stophitting.org.” -Fran Morris, State Coordinator, Oklahomans Opposed to Corporal Punishment
“I grew up in California and before the mamby pamby psychologists took over, corporal punishment was used and used often. I believe its a great deterrant to further trouble from the student and the students that know what will happen if they get out of line. … The non-corporal punishment era is full of smart or foul mouthed students that have no respect for authority because the teachers have no authority in schools anymore.” -Mike DeFeo, Edmond
“I and many other concerned citizens have been working (sadly for DECADES) to ban physical/corporal punishment of children in schools. My teenaged son was threatened with a paddling for going outside for supervised free-time when he was supposedly told to stay in, but thankfully, we have always taught our children that “No one has the right to touch them, they can say “No”, get away and tell someone” which is why he told the Assistant Principal to call us. … We’ve never had any trouble with out kids, they’re reasonable, well-behaved and intelligent.” -Julie Worley
I learned a lot from many of your responses, so thank you for joining in on this discussion.
More information on corporal punishment
1. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 20 states still have districts that allow corporal punishment. That means 30 states are using alternative forms of discipline that don’t involve paddling or spanking.
2. A bill was introduced to Congress on June 29, 2010 (H.R. 5628) to end the use of corporal punishment in schools. Click here to read the full bill.
In short, the purposes of this bill are to:
(1) eliminate the use of corporal punishment in schools;
(2) ensure the safety of all students and school personnel in schools and promote a positive school culture and climate;
(3) assist States, local educational agencies, and schools in identifying and implementing effective evidence-based models to prevent and reduce–
(A) corporal punishment in schools;
(B) aversive behavior interventions that compromise health and safety; and
(C) physical, emotional, or psychological abuse.
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 .
Yep, that’s right! For just one day, Sonic is giving away free ice cream cones to all kids from kindergarten through fifth grade, to help celebrate their achievements this past school year and what’s to come.
Sonic has partnered with Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan to help celebrate these students’ successes on what better date than 5/29, of course!
To download the coupon, click here.
Just let them know you have the coupon when you’re ordering.
Now go out and celebrate your child’s great school year!
School starts back next Tuesday for my kids.
Anyone else ready for their children to get back into school?
I wouldn’t have expected to be so happy about this. But our house has seemed even more chaotic than usual. I’m not sure that it’s actually that the kids are out of school. I think the strain is partially caused by the stress of preparing to go to school.
Beyond the usual requirements of getting school supplies and some added clothing items to round out their wardrobes, we also are dealing with three information day sessions we need to attend, band meetings, band camp, doctors’ appointments, daycare enrollment, transportation issues with busing my young son to and from daycare, freshman orientation, both daughters’ worries that they won’t have friends in their classes, orthodontist and dentist appointments, approaching birthday party planning, passports for an overseas band trip …
And did I mention the frenzy of cash flowing out of our pockets to pay for many *incidental* things?
Last night, as my daughter asked me a question repeatedly after I had answered twice, I started to count to 50 … not 10, but 50.
At first, I thought, “What is happening to our family?” For several days we had all been snapping at each other, voices were being raised. Everyone, except maybe for the youngest member of our family, was ready to get away from each other.
Then, it occurred to me that maybe the stresses, anticipation, extra this and that were taking their toll.
So, yes, I think we’re ready to start school.
Then, we can deal with sleep issues, homework, ballgames, teacher conferences, lunches, juggling schedules and mealtimes …..
– Linda Lynn
It was going to be another school project to stress about, another one to agonize over – a year in advance. When I saw the covered wagons being pulled by children in bonnets, aprons and overalls last year for the annual third-grade Chisholm Elementary School Land Run in Edmond, I began to worry way before the event about how I could pull something like that off when my first child hit third grade this year
I shouldn’t have worried. The entire production from start to finish was a ball (see related story here), and, as it turned out, building a covered wagon was not as intimidating as it seemed. Making the project even easier was that teachers divided their classes into “families” of four students who would run the Land Run together, and each of those families needed to produce one wagon, not each student.
We ended up with two because two of us had wagons and both of our students were excited about creating one. Each of them was different; anyone could use either approach to create a covered wagon, although the one from my son and me was a little puny compared to the outstanding one that his friend’s family built. That one could hold three children at least. Ours, more like a small family dog. On the other hand, the puny one was easier to pull, so its drivers found the claim to stake before the big one could get there.
First the large one: The Taylor family had a big metal cart used for extensive gardening to pull flowers around a yard while planting. We took chicken wire and shaped it in the shape of the covered wagon and cut up two hula hoops to frame the chicken wire and make it more sturdy. Plastic ties connected the hula hoops to the chicken wire, the chicken wire to the cart and the sheet to the chicken wire. The sheets, dyed in black tea to make them look more rustic instead of crisp white, were then arranged over the chicken wire/hula hoop frame to look like a wagon.
In that cart went blankets for the picnic lunch, sack lunches and bottled water and the claim stake that the kids painted with their family name on it. The familiy of four third graders on their own avoided discussion about who would be the wife and husband and the kids by calling themselves the “Oakley Orphans,” which accidentally became the “Okley Orphans” when the “a” was left off of the painted sheets covering the wagon.
Our puny wagon started with PVC pipe – I can’t remember which size, but it was probably around an inch in diameter or less. It was bendable, thanks to a strong dad who worked out regularly. He bent the pipe and fit it into the top of the Radio Flyer red wagon. I used Gorilla duct tape to secure it to the wagon (see the Land Run slide show linked on this page). Voila! That was it, except for the sheet that needed to be draped and arranged around the pipes.
Now I have a wagon ready for my next two children, and all of my concern about how to be a part of the Land Run is behind me.
I’m also thankful to the mom who loaned my son her son’s overalls and Western shirt for the occasion. Next year, I know to ask a mom in the class ahead if I can borrow a costume for my daughter. And now I’m confident enough in my Land Run abilities that I will even be able to make cute lunches in old-fashioned tin cans wrapped in bandanas like one forward-thinking (or backward-in-time-thinking?) family did this year.
Here is the slideshow of photos from the day.
~ Lillie-Beth Brinkman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
About 120 third-grade crafters at Chisholm Elementary School in Edmond met Thursday in the cafeteria to create gingerbread houses, a tradition that’s been around for years.
They spread the icing and stuck on the candy on roofs, eaves, front walkways and more. This year, quite a few of the students used the red licorice or red hots to form the letters “OU” or “Sooners.”
If you wanted to, the tradition seems easy enough to start at home, without any of the usual complex baking. At school, parent volunteers created the framework of each one in advance by sticking two pint-sized milk cartons together and gluing graham crackers across the angled tops of the cartons to make the roof and on the sides to make the walls (see photos below). Ice cream cones formed the base of the trees outside the house.
Then, in addition to the peppermints, gumdrops, m&m’s, little cookies and more, the parents handed out bowls of white icing and popsicle sticks to spread it and let the 8- and 9-year-olds go to work on the decorations. Most of the students were concentrating so hard that very few of them were eating the candy itself.
~ Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Here are some photos. Click on them to see them larger. Video is above. To see more photos after the jump, click on “more” below.
If you’re anything like me, you want to give your child the best possible chance of being a successful, happy person. Most of us can probably recall being involved in some activity growing up, whether in school or not, such as sports, acting, singing or playing an instrument.We see the Olympic medalists, who started training as early as 3 or other professional athletes who are shown with a football or golf club in their hands at 4 years old. We hear of musicians who picked up the guitar or started playing the piano at the age of 2. And sometimes, as parents, we think we need to get our kids involved in something that early, just so they can be one of the few who make it big.
But how early is too early? I’ve been browsing some of the activities I can get my 2 1/2 -year-old involved in. So far, pretty much everything is offered to kids that age. I’ve seen tennis lessons, acting lessons, instrument and singing lessons, gymnastics coaching, T-ball teams, rodeo coaching and even golf lessons.
So how do I choose? And more importantly, how early should he start? I don’t want to be a pushy mom and have my child give up his childhood before it even starts (gymnasts come to mind, who as children, seem to spend every waking moment in the gym). And at 2 or 3 years old, do they even have the attention span or desire to be a participant? Or is it more for the parents’ satisfaction?
On the other hand, it also seems that getting kids involved early on may pave the way for them to crave being on sports teams in school or want to be first clarinet in the school band. They’ll know and want life outside the daily routine of home and school.
So I’d like to hear from parents on this. How early did you get your kids involved with activities? What made you decide to start them at that age?
Leave your comments here or email me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.
I have a habit. My children will complain they don’t feel well, they don’t want to get out of bed or they don’t want to go to school.
I say, “I’m sorry. Time to get up,” and then I keep pushing them to eat breakfast, brush their teeth and get dressed for school.
If the whining continues, I’ll say, “You’ll feel better if you just get up and move around,” or “You’ll feel better when you get to school and see your friends.”
My problem is I never can tell – unless one of the kids is vomiting or has a 102-degree temperature – whether they’re really sick. I continue to press them to get ready for school, and it’s only after a couple of hours … and sometimes a couple of days … that I give in to the notion they might be ill.
Part of the reason is that one of my girls tends to complain every day about feeling bad on some part of her body. It could be her toe, her finger, her jaw, her head, but something has a pain. My other daughter has “you’re-not-paying-enough-attention to me” pains when her sister is ill or is complaining.
It can be a vicious circle.
Another reason I tend to be in denial is that it isn’t “convenient,” and, for that, I feel guilty.
So, last week when my oldest daughter was complaining about her stomach hurting, then her head, I didn’t completely give into the idea that she might actually be sick. Yes, my youngest daughter had had strep throat, but that didn’t mean the other one did. Each day, the complains would come, and I’d take a flashlight, tilt her head back and peer into her throat.
And, sure enough, by Thursday, there were the blisters. Yes. She was sick.
Does anyone else go through this internal wrestling? I wish I could know with the first complaint whether to take them to the doctor. But, until I see “proof,” I’m playing the guessing game. – Linda Lynn