Fishing For Life Lessons

It was a simple fishing expedition that taught us so much more.

My family of four set out with fishing poles, a bag of bait, and low expectations in Falmouth. We were going to spend some quality outdoor time together with the beauty of Cape Cod as our backdrop. But the truth was we didn’t know what we were doing and it showed. The hook got stuck, the line tangled, and the bait stunk!

It was then I spotted a happy gentleman humming to himself while he set his line. I thought he looked pretty confident and maybe he had some tips he would share. It turned out he was a local musician who was on vacation. Dave Macklin was his name and he had his own band. I told him we were failing in the fishing department and wondered if he might have some insights to share. He laughed and said he had been watching us flounder (no pun intended.)

Dave told me about the fish he had caught, the gigs he had played, and about raising his sons with his wife/ manager. He shared his hooks and his bait-sea worms were the way to go he said. Yuck-gross worms that can bite. But they worked for him. He had caught a 34 inch sea bass, King fish, and flukes. Dave said he ate most of the fish he caught after saying a little prayer.

As I introduced my children and asked them to thank him for his fishing wisdom, he gave me more than I could have asked for. Dave said it was his pleasure because sharing knowledge was the best thing he could offer. He looked them in the eyes and told them to remember to share what they learn with others. “Knowledge is meant to be shared. If you are really good at something, show someone else how. By sharing, you help others grow and your heart will get a little bigger.” He asked them to give away information freely, the way he had.

I couldn’t help but smile because meeting him was a bit magical. He was kind and had this wise face that made you want to listen. So thank you Dave, you made my vacation a bit more special. You taught my kids a simple,yet important life lesson. And I promise to do the same for someone else.

We caught a fish the very next day. And we hope to see the Dave Macklin Band sometime soon!

Book Groups Rock!

As I sat with a group of moms who I think are pretty fantastic, we spoke of the struggles of parenting. No matter how prepared you think you are there are major difficulties. And they pop up every day! It’s sort of a grind. Don’t get me wrong the sweet, tender moments and small victories are sprinkled in too. But sometimes it is hard.
This is why book groups rock! If you are not part of a book group let me explain. The concept is you have a group of people who read the same book and get together to discuss it. They evolve into meetings that include adult beverages, snacks, and good conversations. Sometimes you really talk about a book-but not always.
Book groups provide a shared time and space to connect with people. Talking about why children fail to flush, don’t eat their lunch, and trying to get to work on time is therapeutic. Sharing resources-the best new restaurants and exercise classes in town- has a lot of value. There is venting while laughing about how your issues don’t seem as bad when you hear about someone else’s. It has a magical quality to it really.
If you are lucky (I put myself in this category) you will meet a group of people who don’t judge. They are able to use their own personal lenses to help you weather storms from job changes to moving to eating that giant cookie with ice cream on top. And you learn about people who come from different circles which helps expand your own understanding of how to parent in the best way possible.
The second benefit of a book group is modeling reading for your children. When sons and daughters hear about how their parents make time to read and talk about a book it validates some of their school experiences. It makes them want to read. They may ask questions about the types of books you read as a grown up. Children see the importance of connecting with others (isn’t this becoming a lost art as kids get locked into screens.)
My life is rich as I am part of two book groups. Both have wonderful women as members who I consider an important part of my parenting network. So my advice to any new Mama is to find your village, start a book group (even if you are really tired), and see how many ways it can enrich your life!

It’s Cold and Flu Season

As cold and flu season continues to bear down on us, here are a few things to keep in mind.
-The common cold last 10-14 days and most medications do more harm than good.  The best treatment options include use of a humidifier, making sure your child is well hydrated, and saline nose drops.
-If your child is over the age of one, honey is great for coughs.  Steamy bathrooms are too.
-Keeping Tylenol and Pedialyte in the house is always a good idea.
-Antibiotics cannot cure the common cold.  Let me repeat that, antibiotics cannot cure a cold.
-Make sure you are giving the correct medication dose.  Both under dosing and overdosing can cause problems.
-Fevers are a body’s way of fighting an infection.  If your child seems comfortable you do not have to treat the fever, especially low grade ones.
-And if you are in doubt, call to speak with the nurses at your pediatrician’s office.  They are a wonderful resource and should be able to reassure you regardless of the illness.
Here is a great article about recurring illness in kids.

Maintaining a Fresh Perspective

It was a long summer of stress in our house.  A new job, packing up life to move to a new house, and a rather inconvenient injury that put one member of our household out of commission for a little while.  These were some of the events that took over my positive outlook.  While living it, it seemed like so many negative things happened in our little family, but the truth was they were not significant.  They were a collection of bad luck events that passed in time.  And yet, they made me into a “Debbie Downer.”  So for those of you who know me, I apologize for being “that person” who talked about HER problems every time she saw you.  I knew it was happening, but I just couldn’t stop it…

It has been more than a month since our luck turned and I got a new perspective.  I hate the person full of stress and worry that I was for several months.  You see, that person is not me.  Because I was stuck inside my own drama, I could not be available to others.  I don’t want to beat myself up too much, but the truth is that I was a bad Mom, a bad wife, a bad daughter, and a bad friend.  I am fortunate that my village is kind and understanding.  They offered words of wisdom to talk me through the craziest of situations.  I mean, it’s not every day you become the overseer of this-yes, it is a pool being filled in.

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Why did I talk to other incessantly about my drama?  I am a venter…telling the story helps me move on.  But boy is it annoying to the folks on the other end.  I knew it too.  Sorry…

So it is September-the month of many new beginnings.  The kids are off at school.  Several friends are awaiting the arrival of their first babies!  I am getting ready to teach some new classes  (check out http://www.StorkReady.com for details).  And after a long hiatus, I am writing again!  I am adopting a new perspective that I hope will enhance every aspect of my life.  I have decided that I want to stay positive and not get stuck in the challenges.

As a parent, I will not get annoyed that my daughter spilled her milk for the second time today.  I will enjoy carting my children around to their various activities.  I will not worry about the extra special treats my children consume as we all settle into our Fresh Perspective.  I will try not to roll my eyes as the complaints are launched at dinner time.  I will maintain a Fresh Perspective!

I saw a question the other day that has kept me thinking.  “What part of your day brought you peace and joy?”  I will let you know the  answers in a future post.  Join me as I become positive again!

Go To The Playground!

I feel fortunate to live close to 3 parks/playgrounds that we can walk to.  My kids love it!  And aside from the obvious benefits of getting them outside and moving, there are the hidden reasons playgrounds are important…

1)  Playing with peers helps develop social skills.  It provides opportunities to make connections (for parents too.)
2)  Kids can use their imagination to create new games.  My son has been obsessed with American Ninja Warriors this summer.  He uses any playground we find to help him “train.”  And according to his doctor this really helped him with his core strength.
3)  Being outside is calming.  The fresh air, time away from screens, and listening to the sounds on the playground are unique.

Why do you love the playground?

Read this article for a list of the best cities for finding playgrounds:

https://www.fatherly.com/the-25-best-cities-for-kids-to-play-outside—fatherly-report-1247315890.html

Vaccines-I love them!

It’s not exactly a bumper sticker worthy tag-line, but it is the truth.  I have had several friends and colleagues work on polio eradication over the years.  Nigeria is a victory for them and for all of us who support vaccination.

But there is a new phase of anti-vaccinations.  “Now doctors are calling attention to a similar problem: Some parents are shunning the vitamin K shot routinely given to newborns to prevent internal bleeding.”  I have overheard the discussion on the why parents should consider the vitamin K shot at birth.  And the truth is, I just sort of shake my head in disbelief.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH is one of the world’s foremost medical research centers) we have been giving vitamin K to babies immediately after birth since 1961.  It helps prevent anemia and brain bleeds because it helps with blood clotting.  There are evidence based studies that support the use of this vaccine and others.

Let’s work with the physicians who study these and other vaccinations regularly.  Keep lines of communication open and listen to the folks who went to medical school, residency training, and study this routinely.  And please get your child the vaccinations they need!

Then read this:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/23/us-health-polio-nigeria-idUSKCN0PX2RF20150723

Kids Need Nature Play

My friend and colleague, Stef, sent this article to me.  It hit home in so many ways.  As a child, I remember going outside for most of the day to play, unsupervised, with the neighbors.  The freedom was amazing.  The sunshine, building forts in the woods, learning about nature, and playing with peers for hours taught me so much.

As my children get older and learn to be more independent, I enjoy watching them play.  They wander through the garden picking berries and taking note of the different herbs growing.  They look for butterflies and teach other children about what they have discovered.  My kids ask questions to expand their knowledge base.  They ride their bikes in puddles, get stuck in the mud, and figure out how to solve problems.

Summer really is a glorious time.  It offers more time in the day to be outdoors.  It brings fireworks, fruit to harvest, baby animals to seek out, and of course, s’mores!  As I work through the daily grind that is my adult life, I love to watch children play.  It is magical.  It is crucial.  It is a child’s work.

Go out and play in nature with your family!

Here is the article of which I speak!

http://www.pbs.org/parents/expert-tips-advice/2015/06/encouraging-outdoor-play/