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Aren’t You Glad?

Our food order got screwed up. It happens, right? We all got what we ordered except for my son – who received grilled cheese instead of the kids’ cheese pizza he had requested. Yes, it happens to all of us at one time or another. And like the famous saying about life, “it isn’t what happens to you, it is how you HANDLE it that counts.”

As soon as the food was delivered, my son immediately spoke up. He politely informed the waitress that he had ordered the cheese pizza. She agreed he had, apologized, and went back to the kitchen. Time ticked by. My husband got grumpy. We started feeding my son some of our French fries (ironic because I had told him he would have to order fruit or vegetables as his side, not the beloved steak fries. I had assured him we would share some of our fries with him, but had NO idea it would end …

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Time to Paint

Two minutes to cover the table in newspaper.  1 minute to get paints, brushes, and paper out of the art drawer.  30 seconds to get old oversized t-shirts on my daughter and myself.  Altogether less than 5 minutes to make my daughter’s wish for a fun afternoon come true.  So why was this the first time I had pulled the paints out in years??!

When my son was little, I did the whole painting thing – like most first time Moms do – only outside of course.  But somewhere along the way, we went through a hectic phase (maybe due to their ages – I don’t remember) and also moved where to it wasn’t so weather-perfect all the time, and that’s when I must have decided painting could be an AT school activity.

My son’s preschool art portfolio is FILLED with wonderful paintings that he did at preschool.  Big, lovely, abstract works that fill the whole sheet of paper.  My …

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An Agreement to be Kind

The Four AgreementsMy older child is quick to point out my younger one’s mistakes.  Any time.  Every time.  All the time.  Needless to say it only adds fuel to the bickering fire and my fire extinguisher has been working overtime this summer.  I have had enough.  So in the calmest, non-yelling voice this Zen Mama Wannabe has when I feel my buttons being pushed, I announce:

You know, Wayne Dyer talks about when you have a choice to be right or be kind, choose being kind.

My son actually stops talking to listen.  He’s interested in Dr. Dyer.  I would have never thought to bring him up because, well, my son is 8.  It just never occurred to me.  But his 2nd grade teacher last year showed me a world of possibilities when she introduced the class to The Four Agreements.

Talking to 7 and 8 year olds about The Four Agreements?  I know adults who have never …

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What’s For Dinner??

DinnerPlateAbout a year ago I made a threat promise to my children.  I said it out loud.  Many times.  In 2009, when my daughter turned 5 and my son turned 8, that was it…we would all be eating the SAME thing for dinner.  Every night.  No more “kids meals.”  No more different menus for children and grown-ups.  Ah yes, what do they say about good intentions?  It’s only been a week and already what I want to eat most are my words!

This all ties into the big aha moment I had – that started me us on this journey.  Why did I think it was necessary for my kids to LIKE what was being served for dinner??  They were as shocked to hear my discovery as I was to make it.  But once I did, it was like DUH!!  Talk about a moment of parental clarity.

In my defense (of which there is none really) it …

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Don’t Eat the Lo Mein!

Way back when, during our single days, my husband and I had a date at this local, upscale Chinese restaurant.  Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, it was a place we didn’t frequent THAT often, and I was excited to go – not only for the food, but also to enjoy the company of the dreamy guy seated across from me.  We laughed and talked (they used to call this flirting) sipping on our drinks until our food arrived: 2 yummy dishes to share (does it get much better than this??)

Funny what you can learn dining with a person, isn’t it?  My husband had this way of eating one thing and THEN eating the next.  He didn’t like mixing it up too much.  I, on the other hand, liked to take a bite of this, and a taste of that, and then back to the first, etc.  (Really summed up our personalities, I think, at least back then).  He started …

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The I LOVE YOU Contest

My little one had a lot to tell me in the bath last night.

Mama, have you heard about the I Love You contest??  (This is the part where I quickly scramble to figure out if this is something she heard about from someone at school, a video she’s watched, or if this is coming straight from her active little brain.  In this case, I decide it is the latter). 

Well…(deep breath and a pause as she begins to launch in to a long, detailed story.  Her brown eyes seem to twinkle although she is very serious.  She loves it when she has the floor – so to speak – when she doesn’t have to compete for talking time with her big brother)…there is this I Love You contest for kids and their moms.  Or dads.  Or their grandparents.  Or even for their babysitter.  (Ok, got that part).

You go outside, to a park I think, and everyone

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Mama, Will You Marry Me?

My little girl surprised me the other day.  She looked up at me with her big, round, chocolate-colored eyes, and said,

“Mama, when I grow up, I am going to marry YOU!”

I had heard these words many times from my son when he was her age.  They are words that touch your heart and make you smile, mostly from the sincere conviction with which they are spoken.  It is not unexpected to hear them from your son; but when my daughter said them to me, I confess I was caught off guard.

Quickly I searched my brain for the response I had used (over and over) with my son.  About how mommies and sons can’t get married, but what is even better is that because we are mother and son, we will ALWAYS be in each other’s lives.  From now until forever.  He will always have me in his life, and when the right time comes, he’ll meet a …

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Sticks and Stones

I know it happens.  I have read about it.  I have heard about it.  It’s normal.  Typical.  A part of childrearing.  No big deal.  Yeah right.  Until you hear your darling child scream at you in that horrible mean tone, “I HATE YOU!   I.  HATE.  YOU!”

How can your wonderfully delightful child, who brings you so much joy, turn into a demon child in less than two minutes?  How can such horrible words be thrown out with such venom?  As if he or she is speaking the truth (although you know it is not true, because of course they don’t REALLY hate you – or at least you are pretty sure).  Ouch!

These words were directed at my husband last night.  HE was the bad guy.  I confess I was relived.  I know my turn will come.  But it was the first time either of us have ever heard them – and they are not easy words to hear.  …

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Teaching Thoughful Deference

One of my former bosses often seemed more interested in her employees' personal growth than the happenings at the office.  Maybe she realized that the more you help people grow and develop as individuals, the more they can offer (or want to offer) you as an employer.   One topic she talked about, that has strangely stuck with me all these years later, is “thoughtful deference.” By going over it with us, I really think she was on to something.  Maybe it IS a topic that needs to be talked about and discussed – especially with our children. 

Thoughtful deference – what does that mean?  She got the phrase from Robert Fulghum, best selling author of All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  I am sure you read it years ago, right?  One of my all time favorite essays is in that book – I remember it spoke to my core being and moved …

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Too Much Yakking at Your House??

Do your kids keep the noise level in your house on LOUD most of the time?  Do the basic cues like, “Inside voice please” or “Lower your volume”, or even a loud “SHHH-H-H-H!” just seem not to work?  Do you ever find family members RAISING their voices to be heard over the other ones – and nobody seems aware at how LOUD their volume really is?  Welcome to my world – and if my world sounds at all like YOUR world, you may like to hear that I have a solution for you…meet the Yacker Tracker.

The Yacker Tracker is an adjustable, sound-activated noise monitor.  We have ours prominently displayed on the counter nearest the kitchen table.  It is quite the topic of conversation when friends come over.  But I must say, everyone who has seen ours in action says they need to run out and get one for their family. 

It gets turned …

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