Posted in Commitment, holidays, Reflections, Uncategorized

In Honor of Those Who Served…

Happy Memorial Day, people! Let’s stop a moment to remember and salute those brave warriors who sacrificed their lives to insure our ability to live the dream of liberty.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 13:15, which, in our modern world, includes the women who served as well). And while we’re remembering those who died, let’s not forget those who serve us as I write and you read this.

God Bless America! Have a wonderful day! Hope you are blessed with weather is as amazing as ours!

BOLO for A-mazing coconut flour pancakes 🥞 next post!

TTFN,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, content and images (unless otherwise specified), 2019.

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

Could We Have Possibly Done Something Right????—Part 4

Hello, folks, and welcome to May! One post at a time, I am getting these out to you. Thank you for your patience! For those who are new here (or feeling the need to catch up), here are links to predecessor posts: one, two and three.

So let’s pick up where we left up last time: doing what I have to do without worrying about what someone else might think of my parenting skills.

Remember: It’s paramount that a kid knows a parent means business.

A parent who means business doesn’t necessarily have to force the issue*, nor does that parent have to be mean or angry to show s/he is serious about what s/he is expecting from a child.

A great mantra to keep in the back of your brain:

Say what you mean. Mean what you say, but don’t say it mean. 

Also: Unless the discipline a parent chooses is abusive (mentally, emotionally and/or physically), a parent should just toss what others think out the nearest window.

Case in point: When Older Son was in preschool, he tended to dawdle when it came time to get dressed. Being the perfect parent I was, I remember doing my fair share of yelling one morning. I needed to get Younger Son to nursery school, Older Son to school and me to work. (Luckily, I worked in the same building where Older Son attended preschool.)

The next day, I kept him home. He wasn’t feeling well.

Day after that, he was well enough to return to school. He so took his time getting ready. I decided I would not shout or make a scene.

Time came to leave the house. Older Son was pretty much taken aback when I handed him his shoes. I very calmly told him we had to go. When he said something about not being dressed, I told him we had no time. He’d used his time playing rather than getting ready. (Not sure how he got his shoes over his footie PJs, but he did. And I’m lucky. He was never much of a tantrum-throwing child. Now that Younger Son kid…let’s not go there.)

So we dropped off Younger Son, which meant Older Son had to walk into the nursery school in his PJs. When he mentioned something about PJs and school, I reiterated that he hadn’t gotten dressed when he had the time.

Once we got to his preschool, I took him to the nurse’s office. Told my boy the nurse needed to see him since he’d been sick the day prior. (Fine, I fibbed. There was a much greater cause at stake.)

In the nurse’s office, I handed Dawdle Boy a set of clothing I’d bagged on the sly. I told him any future episodes would not come with a back-up outfit. He’d be in PJs for the day.

I kid you not, friends. From that day forward, I have never, ever had a problem with that boy not being dressed for school.

A few years later, I told this story to a parent whose four-year-old was giving grief on a regular basis. On many occasions, the parent complained that Little Cutie, who stood thigh-high, wouldn’t get dressed; at school we saw that manifested in how late that child arrived every day. (Mind you, other circumstances might have impacted the child’s behavior. Our conversations, however, showed me that parent wasn’t willing to stand up to Little Cutie’s behavior.) That parent’s jaw dropped, horror-struck, when I revealed I brought Older Son to school in PJs.

That parent was most likely worried about what someone else would think if Little Cutie came to school in PJs.

Did I abuse my son in any way? Not at all. He was warm and covered appropriately for the season. I didn’t yell or force him to do anything.

I did, however, show him I meant business.

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*Quick note: Bullying takes on many forms. We who are trying to ‘teach our children to do the right thing’ by ‘making’ them do what we say might have to watch going over a fine line. (Trust me, I’ve gone over it too—many times. Younger kids—and those older ones who just love pushing buttons will tip you over that line themselves.)

Do you recall a a particular moment when you took a parenting stand, especially one that involved potential judgment by other parents and/or adults? Please feel free to share your story here in the comments. Feeling bold? Tell it on Facebook or on the social media platform of choice. If you’re shy, we have email for that. And if the content speaks to you, please feel free to share via any/all of the links below!

Next time: Dealing with MY feelings when doling out the discipline.

Many thanks and wishes for a wonderful day,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, OTR/L, content and images, unless otherwise specified, 2019.

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

Could We Have Possibly Done Something Right???? (Part 3)

Hello, everyone. Told ya I’d be spotty with posting regularly at this time of the school year. I’ve never hoped to make a liar of myself, but it might have been nice to be proven wrong when it comes to being overly busy with paperwork. At least I can say I’m writing something–yes??? 😁

So…

We’re still talking the parenting thing. In case you missed them, here are links to preceding posts one and two.

Here is where we left off: Teaching/modeling responsibility (and EXPECTING my children to BE responsible) are probably the most effective foundation-building things parents, caregivers, educators—anyone involved with kids—can do.

I like to think Hubby and I started when the boys were very young, as in, old enough to put away toys, throw a juice box in the trash–you know, the heavy work. 😉

Teaching responsibility doesn’t have to be complicated. Keeping chores and/or tasks age-appropriate, simple and few facilitates success, along with a sense of pride/accomplishment for being independent. It also helps minimize frustration and/or resentment (for kids AND parents).

Here are some of the things I expected my kids to do. Feel free to try the examples or come up with your own:

Make their beds daily. (BTW, I do too, or Hubby does—as always, leading by example is powerful.) I kept the job easy: all they had to do was straighten/fluff their pillows and pull up a comforter. (I’ve never used a flat top sheet. It’s a bit much for kids to handle, and the the bed would never get done the way this mamma likes.  I skip it to this day, and the 20-year old still makes his bed. How cool is that? 😎)

They also dressed themselves. Can’t remember who picked out their outfits—knowing my controlling self I’m sure I ‘guided’ them to ensembles I liked 😉. If morning is just too rushed, I offer two suggestions:

(1) Help really little ones on days when it’s not feasible to wait, but expect them to dress at an age-appropriate level of independence on weekends, or whenever things are a bit more relaxed at your house. (Try to be consistent with days in which the onus is on them.) This can also apply to kids who are physically capable to dress themselves, but have special needs that interfere with doing so in a timely manner. BTW, at around 12 months, even babies can “help” with dressing. Wait for them to push an arm through a sleeve or leg into pants. I like to make a game of looking for a hand at the end of a long sleeve when putting a jacket on toddlers and preschoolers—makes the task more fun for both of us!

(2) Let the older ones fend for themselves or deal with the consequences. These don’t have to be dire, mean or horrible; consequences should be a naturally occurring  (or logically-related) result of one’s choices. (More on that in my next post.)

Give up the backpack! This is a biggie  for me, and I stand by it to this day. Each of my boys carried his backpack from the day he got one. (Yes, even in nursery and preschools. Every now and again one or both would ask me to hold them while they ran a race with other kids walking home. No problem! I did, but handed them back immediately upon completing the race. (There’s that subtext again. What I didn’t say but showed through my actions. Speaks way louder than words, folks.)

Here are some more illustrations of subtext—what say you?

One after-school episode stands clear in my mind pictures: that of a mom—I’m sure a very kind-hearted and compassionate one—leaving the playground after school ended for the day. THREE backpacks hung off her shoulders while she simultaneously balanced a very wide box of cupcakes with both hands. Three girls walked in front of her twirling umbrellas. (I’ll assume they were her daughters.) ‘Nough said.

Another neighbor once said something about her kids not being responsible about the dog. “I told Freddelina to take out the dog, but she didn’t so now I have to…”

Another day, a neighbor stopped to chat. She’d just picked up her then-kindergarten-aged twin boys from school. She was carrying two backpacks.

I bit my tongue and chatted about how big the boys were getting.

Next time: Don’t be afraid to do what you have to do.

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Image from Pexels

Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions? This ain’t about me telling my story, folks; it’s about parents sharing their experiences and problem-solving. Everyone’s input matters! Either you’re in the trenches–or survived them! YOUR experiences can be of benefit to others and questions can be a springboard for the answer(s) you might be seeking.

Please take a moment and share in the comments or on Facebook. I made it to Instagram (joanne.timpano) and am learning my way around there.  As always, if the content speaks to you, please pass it along via any of the buttons below, or share on Instagram! (I don’t believe there is a button I can add, but I know it’s a biggie. Thank you!!

Wising you all a wonderful day and rest of the weekend,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, OTR/L, content and images, unless otherwise specified, 2019.

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

Could We Have Possibly Done Something Right???? (Part 2)

Hello all! Nothing like a snow day to help one get a little more caught up. (Who are we kidding? Is being caught up ever really possible?)

“What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?”

That’s where I left off next-to-last post. If you missed it, you might want to check it out. (Pinky swear: it ain’t all that long. )

My coworker’s question really struck me; to this day I often wonder about it. (That question also inspired the name of my parenting workshop , come to think of it. 😉 ) Those of you who have been hanging around the blog for a while might remember a series of posts I did about Discipline vs. Control. (I’ve linked you to the first. Feel free to take it from there, for a total of five essays on the topic, and maybe a bit more insight into groundwork laid.)

Not that he didn’t help before, but since Hubby took on the role of stay-at-home-dad, he’s taken on many of the responsibilities involved in keeping a house running. He often refers to the house as “his job”. So, he models by doing a lot of the cleaning, along with showing consideration. (That’s an important component, folks. Kind of like the subtext in a story: what’s not written but inherent and working on your psyche as one reads.)

Example: We usually all pitch in after dinner, but on many occasions, when Hubby knows I still have paperwork to do, or errands to run after work, he’ll offer to clean up on his own. Most of the time though, I try to move a little faster and make sure to employ everyone present. If every person does a small part of the bigger job, we all get done more quickly and one person isn’t stuck with all the work, right?

And here’s a bit of an aside, but it ties in: Years ago a friend and I were chatting. Something came up about her husband offering to “help” her do something home- or kid-related. My friend took the offer; she also jumped on the opportunity to point out that whatever had to be done was their responsibility—not hers alone with him jumping in to assist because he thought it was kind, or his duty, or whatever other reason spurred him to offer his time and efforts.

Back to subtext: This was a big shift in perspective for me! Being a doer, I tend to initiate and ask others to take on parts of the job. I quickly grasped the concept my friend illustrated and passed it on to Hubby. Little by little, could it be the sons got this too?

And one more take on this before I get back to the point: When my full-timers were small and my part-timers (a.k.a., stepsons) were still children and spent time here regularly (i.e., weekends, overnighters, etc), the bulk of my time outside the day job—which never lacked for work to bring home—was taken up with two to five boys at any given time. One day, Hubby got a little annoyed with my availability for him being pretty limited. He told me, “I feel like I’m at the bottom of the totem pole.”

My reply came quick (thanks to that chat with my friend 🙂 ).  “Actually, I’m at the bottom. You’re probably the next step up. Since, however, we’re supposed to be equal in this relationship and family situation, I’m thinking you should be at bottom next to me.” (Chances are, Hubby wasn’t too thrilled with me at that moment. 😇)

IMHO, this brings me back to a single word: RESPONSIBILITY. Perhaps that is the “key” to the “foundation” Hubby and I might have laid for “something like this to happen,” as my coworker put it.

If nothing else, I’ve always been responsible. Not that it was necessarily a choice: as the first-generation-American (and only) daughter of Italian immigrants, I was groomed for being so from the first English words that came out of my mouth. My work as a health care provider is responsibility after responsibility. And dealing with the ramifications of not fully understanding my part of my responsibilities in my first work setting led to growth (which, I promise, wasn’t without pain).

So, teaching responsibility, and EXPECTING my kids to BE responsible, are probably the two most foundation-building things I hope to have done along the way. (BTW, this applies to my students too, and something I sort-of drill, especially as kids vie for increased independence, which is typical as they grow. I’m also big on pushing the idea that freedom/privilege is WROUGHT with responsibility–think driving.)

We’ll talk about this more next week.

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Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions? This ain’t about me telling my story, folks; it’s about parents sharing their experiences and problem-solving through the hiccups and rough spots, or inspiring us with jaw-dropping moments of whaa….?

Everyone’s input matters! Either you’re in the trenches–or survived them! Please take a moment and share in the comments or on Facebook. As soon as I get that danged Instagram thing together—setting it up has only been annoying with nothing to show for it to date—you’ll be able to post there too. (To the chagrin of my kids—Younger Son, in particular–who are not thrilled with mom sharing their platform, lol–which is why, I’m told, kids left Facebook. 😀 ) As always, if the content speaks to you, please pass it along via any of the buttons below!

Enjoy the (snow) day!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, OTR/L, content and images, unless otherwise specified, 2019.

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

Could We Have Done Something Right?–Part One

Hello, all!

I am FINALLY launching the second series of parenting posts I promised. As always, thank you for taking the time to be here.

NOTE: These essays originally posted starting 11/11/2013, for a total of six articles, right around the time my boys were turning 17 and 15. Very special thanks to Doctor Lori and Ms. Paula, for unknowingly inspiring me to pull together the rest of the Could We Have Done Something Right series, and subsequently, my workshop.

Here is Part 1:

“You realize we’re both hating you right about now,” said a new coworker, a few weeks ago. She, myself and a student’s assistant were discussing kids and getting them to do their chores without it being a struggle.

I’d happened onto their discussion, just in time to hear the assistant saying she was tired of “paying” her teenage kids before their chores were done, then having to argue about it.

Interestingly enough, this conversation took place a few days after Hubby and I decided to leave the dinner dishes and go hit tennis balls before dark. Younger Son (who at the time, was a few weeks shy of his 15th birthday) had cleared the dishes, but there were still pots to be washed, the counter to be wiped down…you know.

Aside: This Italian was raised to NEVER do the next thing—God forbid, something fun—until the house is clean. Somehow, Hubby got infected with this disease and looked at me like, You want to go now? Leave this mess? (I assured him it would be there when we got back.)

Well, Hubby and I took off, had some fun and headed back home. (So glad I went! I happened to have an awesome day on the court–for me, anyway. Just sayin’.) It was still just light enough for a walk, so I opted to sneak in a short one before it got any darker. “Oh sure. Leave me with the kitchen clean-up,” Hubby grumped. (Not terribly.)

“I don’t know why we own Younger Son,” I answered. “There’s no reason we couldn’t have asked him to do it.”

Lo and behold, we entered a FULLY CLEANED KITCHEN. It was like the Cleaning Fairy had dropped in for a visit.

This is pretty much the point where my co-worker expressed hate. And when I mentioned the episode to someone else a day later—hey, I’m still every bit as amazed as the day it happened—another coworker overheard. She did the slow head turn, eyes wide: “What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?”

BTW, on another night, in the vicinity of that time, Younger Son did something similar—washed the few dishes in the sink without being asked.

And a few weeks after that, when I picked up my mom from the hospital, and I was tied up helping her transition from hospital to home, and I hadn’t made it to cleaning the kitchen (Hubby was away), and it was 10:30 PM, I walked into the kitchen while Older Son (who was pushing the ripe age of 17) was doing what had to be done, without anyone asking.

And on another occasion close to that, when Younger Son had an orthodontist appointment at 6:30 PM—don’t ask why anyone would schedule that time when after school is so much more convenient at my house—and Hubby wasn’t home, and both boys and I were scrambling to leave the kitchen clean before taking off, Older Son casually said, “You guys go. I’ll finish this.”

Mother does the glance askance at Older Son. Huh? (This is the same kid that would step out of his shoes in the middle of the doorway and keep walking. At least he slips out of them to the side of a step these days, with one shoe pointing outward every time, which is pretty much how the kid walks, and still proof that he literally steps out of his shoes, lol.)

“What foundation did you lay for something like that to happen?

My co-worker’s question really got me thinking big-time. Next time, I’ll share some of the thoughts her question provoked.

Your turn: if you have kids, have they left you flumgubbered enough to wonder what YOU might have done right? Take a minute and tell us about it, please! Feel free to post a comment below, share on my Facebook page or email me (if you’re shy 🙂 ). Or simply help share the content by clicking one or more of the buttons below!

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Photo by Sara Wether from Pexels

Have a spectacular day!

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, content and images (unless otherwise specified), 2019.

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

Getting Back to that Parenting Stuff…

Welcome back! T’is the season when I’m going to be more patchy than at others—depends on how much paperwork there is to do for the day job. Just for today, I’m as caught up as I need to be, so I want to get back here and post!!!

So… I started this around December and got sidetracked with Christmas, keto, reports due. As per Sir Elton John’s lyrics from Circle of Life, there will always be, “more to do than can ever be done.” (I got teary-eyed the first time I heard it. What do you mean, I can’t do everything I’ll ever need or want to do?????)

Anyway, dear parents, guardians and caregivers of children, please allow me to get back on track.

First and foremost:

Many, many thanks for spending your very precious time here! I am humbled, grateful, and indebted. As with my previous series of thoughts on children, I hope you find inspiration via my journey through motherhood, and perhaps some tips to help you feel empowered while you navigate yours.

Just a few reminders for those moments you wonder which alien creature took over your body and signed you up to bring people into the world and help them find their way into the realm of adulthood.  At the end of the day, that’s why we’re here, yes? (Yes???)

Anyway:

This parenting gig is W.O.R.K.

Hard work.

Long days of seemingly doing the same thing over and over, with little or no acknowledgment, let alone thanks.

Efforts that often seem unrewarded, or worse yet, fruitless.

Please note: Given the correct circumstances—mind you I didn’t say “perfect”—those efforts add up, much like Aesop’s famed crow dropping one pebble at a time into that pitcher with an inch of water or so at the bottom, in order to reward himself with a drink.

So…

I am starting a follow-up to my Discipline vs. Control series. Ironically enough, several weeks ago (specifically, on the day after Christmas), I left the sink full of dishes and the kitchen to clean after I relaxed a little with Hubby after dinner. It was after 9 and Younger Son (who recently turned 20) had come in from the mall a little earlier. After his shower, he tends to grab food I leave on the stove and head downstairs, where he usually hangs out playing video games.

From the living room, I heard the kitchen faucet running. After it ran for a steady 10 minutes, I realized my “little one” was cleaning up my mess—unasked. (Whaaaat?? This from the same kid who hadn’t managed to wipe down one bathroom sink after two weeks of his ma asking him to do so. I had the perfect teachable moment planned when he started looking for socks fresh from the laundry. I was going to give him first-hand instruction on how to Google use of the washer or refer him to a YouTube video of the same. I’m holding off for now. 😉 )

And this evening’s episode, which catapulted me back five years, segues me perfectly into the next series of posts directly related to parenting. Please stay tuned. Episodes such as mine can be a reality in your parenting life too! 🙂

Go forward. Be empowered. And always remember, you can start your day or even your journey over anytime you choose to do so.

Your turn: has one (or more) of your children done something so awesomely unexpected that made your jaw drop? Please tell in the comments or share on Facebook!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have a wonderful day,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, all rights reserved, content and images (unless otherwise       specified),  2019.

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)