Most of my daily conversations are held with our 5-year-old daughter. It’s not really conversing. It’s more her talking and me listening. Children can be both silly and insightful in their observations. We were reading from a book while we waited for our oldest son’s school day to finish up. After certain passages there were discussion questions. The question was: “What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?” I assumed her answer would have something to do with sharing... [Read More]Read more
I don’t have any childhood memories revolving around Dr. Seuss books. I don’t recall sitting on any laps being read any of his rhyming verse. Dr. Seuss entered my life in high school when I was helping in an elementary school kindergarten class. That class did two things for me: it showed the importance of being read to and learning to read and gave me a great love for children. The roots were planted for my future self who would stay at home with her kids and continuously try to add more children to her brood, much to her husband’s chagrin.
My senior year in high school I received a junk mail, unsolicited offer to join a children’s book-of-the-month club. I picked my introductory books and started my Dr. Seuss collection. I received monthly children’s books for the next two years, even delivered to my dorm room as a freshman in college. That was the beginning of my obsession with children’s books.
Dr. Seuss is writing magic to me. His rhymes and non-nonsensical words with life lessons intermixed and charming illustrations make me happy. His books became the foundation for my parenting style. My kids are no longer surprised to hear me recite Dr. Seuss.
- Horton Hears a Who! gave me the one sentence that has helped me through years of issues with my children….”A person’s a person, no matter how small.” It’s my parenting mantra. I’ve said this sentence in my head as a two-year-old threw himself on the floor, as a 9-year-old cried over testing and a 12-year-old refused to get out of bed. Those children are upset by some of the same things I struggle to handle. I, mostly, am better equipped to handle issues without tantrums, pencil throwing and burying my head under pillows.
- Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is chock full of countless advice. There’s a good reason it’s given to high school graduates across the nation each year. My favorite two passages: “And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done” and “I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you.” This book has come in handy parenting a tween, although I do try to paraphrase a bit to avoid the dreaded eye roll.
- By far the most spoken sentence in my mothering arsenal is: “Problem solve it.” I’m not one to jump in and do things for my kids. I know how to do things they don’t. I’m not teaching them anything by taking away learning opportunities. This parenting strategy comes from “Oh, the Thinks you Can Think!” My hands-off approach comes from Dr. Seuss: “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the THINKS you can think up if only you try!”
- I want my kids to be doers. I want them to see problems and try to fix them not shy away because things seem hopeless. The Lorax is my teaching manual for this. “UNLESS someone like you cares whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” You never know if you’re the person that’s meant to make the difference.
- There are countless smaller references we use in the house regularly. The Tooth Book gave us Katy Klopps as a reminder to not use your teeth on things other than food, like bottle caps. When finicky eating toddlers ruled our table we uttered verse from Green Eggs and Ham: “You don’t like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may, I say.” I still pull this one out on the kids.
Happy birthday Dr. Seuss and thank you for making parenting a little easier for this mama.
It was evident for weeks that my family needed to regroup. Three basketball teams and one cheer team with practices and games had the drivers in this house worn down. I was tired of an hour here or there of time with all six of us. I’m greedy about family time. We knew our school district had a four-day weekend in February, and we decided to leave the to-do list at home for a mini-retreat. We spent a few days... [Read More]Read more
Books are important and talking with authors about their books is a privilege. Authors are like rock stars for me. I had the chance to talk with and listen to author Jay Asher last week. He stopped in my town as part of his 50 States Against Bullying author tour. I was Christmas-morning excited to hear what he had to say. I read his book, 13 Reasons Why, almost three years ago, and still think about the topics he wrote... [Read More]Read more
I bristle at the idea of being labeled homemaker. Visions of 1950s sitcom mothers pop into my head. I think of me waiting with a cocktail and newspaper for my bread winner to come home. That’s not my reality. I was chatting with friends about how I would define myself as far as I what I do, and homemaker was not on the list. I describe myself a little different depending on the situation. I might start with saying I’m... [Read More]Read more
Our oldest son is not a fan of needles. He’s done more than his fair share of begging and pleading to avoid vaccines, to no avail. There’s always weeping. He was anxious leading up to last Friday for a medical procedure that required both needle and scalpel. His anxiety made me anxious, and both of us weirdly awkward and nervous in the waiting room trying to avoid the elephant sitting between us. We talked earlier in the day about his... [Read More]Read more
Traveling is my favorite thing to do, followed closely by planning for trips, and I’m in full travel-planning mode these days. Summer 2015 has been talked about for years in our family. It’s finally the summer of our epic 5,400-mile round-trip adventure, which will land us as far away as Key West, Florida. We’re taking 20 days for the Great American Road Trip, our longest family vacation, both in days gone and miles covered. We’ll cross up to 18 states,... [Read More]Read more
I am a bottler of emotions and an over-thinker of thoughts. Many nights I lay awake mentally wrangling with a burden, problem or project. Sometimes all three in one night. I stuff emotion on top of emotion deep inside until I explode on some poor, unsuspecting member of my family. They take the brunt of it all, tears and tantrums along with the joy. I can feel the build-up of feelings and thoughts that haven’t been shared. I know I’m... [Read More]Read more
I enjoy watching my kids interact with other people when they don’t know I’m there. I like to watch them on the playground at school or while they walk to the car at pickup time. I get to know them better when they don’t know I’m watching. It’s the fruits of my labor in action. I learn a lot listening to conversations between siblings as the voices float up from the basement. Yesterday I stood outside the glass enclosure of... [Read More]Read more
I knew when we walked in the door and were greeted by two signs: white and colored, this historical site wouldn’t be like any we’d taken our children to before. We were on our way home from vacation in Illinois in July and stopped in Topeka, Kansas at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. We try not to shy away from tough conversations with our kids, but our conversation about segregation while at that place is one... [Read More]Read more