Posted in holidays, Reflections, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving: Memories of the Meal That Almost Wasn’t

So, folks, Thanksgiving is a day away, and we typically host the big day.  (We’ve had up to 18 regulars, including me, Hubby and “da boys.”) I’ve done this! I’ve almost got a routine worked out!

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And yet, mishaps happen, no matter how prepared or experienced one is.

I’ve been married over 24 years and have had Thanksgiving at my home 23 times. A relatively small house fire pre-empted Year 12.) That translates into 22 successfully cooked turkeys, right?

We-e-e-ll… Lucky Year Number 13 had its share of errors. Turned out to be quite a comedy of them. That year…

(1) Hubby brought home a twenty-nine pound bird. (The man loves doing things on the grand scale.) We’re lucky we got that bad boy in the oven. (I mean, who measures the bird’s height at the food store?) Good thing my mother-in-law had recently given us a counter-top multi-function broiler-oven unit. Without it, there would have been no side-dishes that day—at least, none done in time to serve with the turkey.

(2) While stuffing this creature, bleary-eyed at 6:30 AM, a quick glance at the cooking times suggested roasting him close to seven hours. No biggie—until I realized the directions stopped at the twenty-four-pound mark. (Oh, and I’d already scheduled everything around a two-o’clock dinner time after putting the bird in at 6:45 AM. Good thing my mom brought those appetizers.)

(3) Of course this monster-sized critter’s foil pan needed to be supported underneath, so I placed it on a baking sheet—with a plastic market bag under it to keep raw turkey juices off the counter. About three hours into cooking I uh, went to baste that baby and noticed the Plastic. Was. Still. There. (How nothing smelled of plastic was beyond me, but I went with it, removed the bag and replaced the baking sheet with a clean one. The one from the oven was now coated with melted plastic. I tossed it. What else could I do?)

(4) A while later, I heard way too much sizzling coming from the oven—smoke, too. This bird’s drippings were beyond the roasting pan’s capacity to contain. Hubby lifted Tom out; we drained as much liquid as we could, had a good laugh and put the monster back in the oven along with a few sweet potatoes. (I piled them onto the side of the pan.)

(5) Fast forward ninety minutes later: I pull big-bird out to baste. The oven was way cooler than it should have been. Er, I’d forgotten to turn the oven back on after mishap #4. (Add praying no one ends up with salmonella to the to-do-on-Thanksgiving-list. At this point, poisoning by petroleum and/or food were both significant possibilities.)

Despite the potential for disaster, that holiday meal somehow came together. My kids, ages thirteen and eleven at the time, kept their four favorite little cousins (aged 7-3) entertained on the trampoline or with video games until dinner was ready—by 3:30.

Not bad for a near-disaster, right? While we waited, my mom and my brother did the Italian drive-each-other-nuts thing that everyone else ignores or laughs about. The turkey turned out incredibly moist, tender and delicious–no hint of petroleum there! 😉 My stuffing got its usual raves—and did I mention? I forgot to put one part of the basket assembly into the coffee maker. Did that once before and ended up with coffee all over the counter. That Thanksgiving, we were spared such puddling. Then again, once the counter is piled high with all the leftover food, who would notice brown liquid on the tan-n-brown-speckled counter?

Feel free to share your Thanksgiving memories here!

Wishing all of you a wonderful, peaceful holiday!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2018 (content and images)

 

 

 

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Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Reflections, School-related, Uncategorized

Discipline vs.Control–Part 5: Election Day, Pumpkin Pancakes and “The Eraser Story” (or How to Start Your Day Over)

Hello! Yes, it’s been a while–far too long, in fact. Recently I’ve been popping images of low-carb/keto recipes I’ve been trying on Facebook. (Not my own, most from Pinterest). A friend/mom-of-five suggested I start a blog. Hah! I have two and none has seen much action in a very long time.

This segues me into today’s post, (i.e., I can start posting–we’re going to try for consistency–at any time 🙂 .) This is installment #5 of my Discipline vs. Control series. (Coincidentally enough, I left off at #4!** Election Day got me thinking about it for many reasons, partly because an Election Day episode with my kids inspired me to write it 10+ years ago. And pumpkin pancakes too, which I made this morning–keto, of course 😉 ).

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Okay, parents, or anyone who works with kids on a regular basis. We’ve all lost our cool and said or done something regrettable, yes? (Raise your hand if this applies. Come on, no one will know but you and your screen—and remember that confession is good for the soul!)

I’m sure I’ve lost my cool and composure in numbers approaching the triple digits. Comes with parenting territory, a place I’ve lived for about twenty years now. (My stepsons were eight, four and six when I met my honey, and they were regulars at my house for the first five or six years we were married. They then moved with their mom and her husband, but by then I had two full-time kids of my own.)

This incident took place with my full-timers, on Election Day (we’re off from school) when they were grammar-school age. I wanted to take them to IHOP for pumpkin pancakes, which had sort of become an Election Day tradition. Before we left, all I’d asked is that they make their beds (i.e., pull one measly comforter neatly in place onto their beds) and get dressed.

Well, boys will be boys (clichés are clichés for a reason, folks) and mine did…NOTHING…related to what I asked. After my fifth (?) or so time of repeating the direction, I lost my temper. BIG. TIME. Said things I’m fortunate memory loss mercifully washed away (can I blame hormones?) and wouldn’t dare repeat if I did remember. (In other words, when I couldn’t control the situation I got MAD.)

Rather than beat them senseless, I left their room and went downstairs. Most likely, I cried and wondered how in the world I’d undo my behavior (in essence, a tantrum—yep, grownups have them too). Luckily, I remembered an invaluable quote: Whenever I choose, I can ‘start my day over any time.’

As I stated in my previous post, don’t ask me where I get this stuff. For inexplicable reasons, I got three erasers out of the pencil drawer. I went upstairs and handed one to each of the guys. I then said Mommy had behaved badly; that a lot of ‘bad behavior’ had taken place in their room and that we were going to erase all the bad behavior away.

Well, we did just that–air erased all that ‘bad behavior’ away. I’ll be darned, that insane little idea changed the mood for the day. The boys got their acts together—as did I—and we had a great breakfast and a good rest of the day.

Next post: a few tips on how to make the parenting journey a little more manageable!

Back to you:

Have you lost it as a parent? If so, what did you do to ‘turn it around,’ as Hubby likes to say? What were the results? By all means leave a comment! And please SHARE the content on Facebook–or your preferred social media platform(s)–should you feel the desire to do so! That would be greatly appreciated by me! Thank you!

**For those who want to catch up on this series:

Discipline Vs. Control–Part 1

Discipline Vs. Control-Part 2

Discipline Vs. Control-Part 3

Final word: it’s Election Day! Get out there and exercise the freedom to vote! Every vote counts!

Thanking you for your time and wishing y’all a blessed day,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2018, content and images (unless otherwise specified).

Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Reflections, Uncategorized

Discipline Vs. Control–Part 2

Welcome back! Hope your Super Bowl pick won. If it was the Falcons, I truly feel for you and them. Most. Amazing. Comeback. Ever. And what a catch by #11 Julian Edelman–I mean, how was that catch even possible???

Belief.  Drive. Determination. Motivation. Grit. (A miracle or two doesn’t hurt either…)

That’s what won Super Bowl LI for the New England Patriots.

And those same qualities are what parent(s) need to apply to “the journey.”

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Anyway, this should have run last week, but I somehow messed up scheduling the post. Hope you’ve had some time to digest last post’s discussion and are ready to delve in a little further!

Disclaimer: Please remember, these are my thoughts on these concepts, based on my parenting experiences. I do not equate myself with the title “expert.” I do, however, hope to be of service to others sharing this journey, by relating my experiences and what I’ve gleaned from them to date. (Not sure we’ll ever be out of the trenches, and that’s okay too! 🙂 )

I ended last time with this thought: Respect for my children—and for children and teens in general—is something that helps guide me in the process of discipline.

Back to Dictionary.com: Respect has multiple definitions, but I chose those that apply to this essay.

As a noun, respect is (1) esteem for, or a sense of, the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability; (2) deference to a right, privilege, privileged position.

As a verb: (1) to hold in esteem or honor; (2) to show regard, or consideration for (i.e., someone’s rights); (3) to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with (i.e., a person’s privacy).

I won’t declare I’ve always practiced respect in all my parenting decisions. I can’t aver that I inherently understood what it means to show regard for my children’s needs. I am, however, blessed by having internalized early on that a little person (and/or an older child) does have feelings that need to be considered.

This notion hit me very clearly one day, when my older son was about eight months old. We were on some multi-errand run and probably on, at the very least, our sixth stop. This means the little guy had already been dragged in and out of his car seat eleven times. Now mind you, my mini-man had always been fine with being in the swing or bouncer or stroller for as long as I needed him to be or was willing to go.  As I strapped him in for time number twelve, he started crying.

Chances are, I was initially irritated with his reaction, but luckily, compassion clicked in and it hit me: This boy is tired. He’s had enough and shouldn’t be subjected to dealing with his mother’s inability to slow down.

I’ve read parenting books—God knows, they abound—and then beat myself up over not being a ‘good mom’ because I couldn’t make the ideals depicted in those books happen. Luckily for me, a close friend (and mom) often reminded me that if there were ONE way that worked, there’d be a lot less books on the topic. (My favorite: Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging, and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate, by Elizabeth Pantley. I also remember browsing a bit through George M. Kapalka’s Parenting Your Out-of-Control Child: An Effective, Easy-to-Use Program for Teaching Self-Control. Thought I might gain some wisdom for dealing with my younger, somewhat anxious, reactive and much-more-of-a-challenge son. BTW, if anyone is interested, he’s often available through Lent. I’ve been known to give that one up every now and again. 😉 )

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Back to my point:

I learned, by reading those parenting books, that discipline is a form of teaching, as well as a form of living.

My job is not to make my kids do what I say (controlling), but to guide them to make the best choice available at any given moment (discipline).

Hopefully, they’ll exercise good judgment up front. If not, one could hope they take advantage of the ‘opportunity to learn,’ assuming the consequences of their action(s) aren’t overly devastating or life threatening in any way. (Elizabeth Pantley deals with how to use natural consequences—or create logical ones—very nicely in her book.)

This segues me to the old adage, Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.

When I fight for my way, or for that instant response to what I tell my kids to do–for no other reason beyond I want my way (Gasp! Controlling again!)– I’m not teaching them to fish. By guiding them to make wise choices today, I can only hope to be laying a foundation to make even wiser choices as they get older, especially when they’re in a position to make (big) decisions without someone more experienced at their side.

We’ll pick up next time with the fruits of discipline.

Any thoughts on all this so far? What have you learned on your journey relative to authority and kids? No, you don’t have to be a parent to join the discussion. All kinds of interactions count (i.e., those of teachers, psychologists, baby sitters, etc), so don’t be shy!

With you on the journey,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2017, content and images (unless otherwise specified).

 

 

Posted in Discipline vs. Control, Parenting, Uncategorized

Discipline Vs. Control–Part 1

Welcome! A much-belated happy new year to all! Not one post in on the parenting series, and I’m already behind schedule!

Let’s go straight to some definitions.

According to Dictionary.com, discipline has several definitions; among those training, punishment and instruction to a disciple (i.e., student).  

Control, on the other hand, is to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command. (This one can give me the heebie-jeebies when I see it in action, or how its negative effects can manifest themselves.

Aside: Two quick thoughts: EVERYONE wants to be in control and NO ONE wants to be controlled by someone else. Just bear with me on this, parents. I’m not giving free rein to any child–no matter the age–just yet! 😉

Real-life story illustration (from 2012; Older Son was 16 years old): On the Saturday before Christmas we’d just gotten home around 8:30 PM from a family get together. Within the hour, I’m hearing kids’ voices outside calling out to Older Son. I figured they were coming from another friend’s, who lives three doors down from me. They came in for a minute then headed back out.

One of the girls in the group often complained about her parents being strict, especially her father. After the kids left, Hubby asked if that particular dad knew his daughter was out walking around at that hour. I had no clue.

Didn’t think much about it until the next day, when Older Son’s girlfriend dropped in, along with her mom. She was among those  who’d stopped by the night before. I mentioned Hubby’s comment about the other girl walking around at night. Older Son’s girlfriend’s mom went off a bit on her daughter, after she realized her daughter and the other friends wandering around the night before had essentially been stranded at a neighborhood restaurant (which amounts to a 25-30-minute walk from my house). Sounds like a disagreement between the kids at the restaurant resulted in their ride being cancelled by the boy whose dad was supposed to provide it.

My immediate thought was: my kids would never have thought twice about calling me to pick them up. The girl with the strict dad might have been afraid to call. My son’s girlfriend stated, “We didn’t want to bother you,” and the other boy who was with them rarely asks for a ride from his parents. (His stepdad watched his toddler brother while his mother worked on Saturday nights. His father lived about a half-hour away.)

The situation made me feel really good about my relationship with my kids to that point. When they were really young, I found it very tough and often terribly frustrating to manage (a.k.a. control)  busy boy behaviors. Seems like back then it was all about them getting to do what I wanted or expected, and I often felt resentful during those times they did not. (Sometimes I still feel that way, lol.)

Too many times, I grappled with whether I was being permissive or letting them make choices out of respect for them as people, especially after I’d set a boundary then found myself discussing/negotiating it. (That’s a supposed no-no in the way of effective parenting, or so I’ve been told here and there 😉 ).  Maybe what appeared to be negotiating then was my way of thinking aloud and making sense of the process as I lived it. (I still do that and my poor kids have to listen to it, lol. Good thing that older one is patient!)

Respect for my children—and for children and teens in general—is something that helps guide me in this process. We’ll talk more about this in the subsequent post. In the meantime, please go ahead and add your thoughts and experiences on this subject. Not an easy one, but one that is manageable with a shift in mindset.

One more request: if you like what you read here, would you kindly take a second and click the  Facebook, Twitter and/or any of the share buttons below? (Feel free to post share links at any site not represented here you feel might benefit from the content as well.) Reblogging is nice too, and helps get word out to others in cyberspace. By working together, we can each get our content and our names out to that many more people. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!

This article certainly appeared shareworthy. Check it out!

Have a wonderful day!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, 2017, content and images.