Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

To all of you who celebrate the Christmas holiday, here are some special poems to acknowledge this happy day for you and yours this festive season.

Wishing you all love, peace, joy, happiness and good health.

A Merry Christmas
Filled with love, joy, happiness
Time with family

The trees are all lit
With many a presents wrapped
Smiles all around

Happy Holidays
Time with family and friends
Opening presents

Good meals and gifts too
Singing songs, eating cookies
Santa's arrival

Happy Holidays to all!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Parent's Worst Nightmare: Tragedy in Connecticut

On December 14 many of us hugged our children harder that we ever had, and likely more times than our children would allow, and with great emotion thankful to have them in our presence for just another day.

Why?

Because an unthinkable act of violence on young children and adults was taken, where words are incredibly difficult to express its magnitude and keeping our kids close was what was most important.

Many of us feel numb.  Many of us feel hatred. Many of us are heart broken for the families forever impacted by the tragedy that hit Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT where a gunman opened fire killing the principal, school psychologist, teachers, and 20 young children, mostly kindergarten age.

I write with tears and a heavy heart, in a fog, trying to understand how something like this could happen.  But, we know that we cannot take back the lives of innocents from this massacre but only to help and wish peace for those directly impacted by this terror to pick-up the pieces of what is there life now.

We will never forget the lives lost and this unthinkable crime in a location that is supposed to be a safe haven for children and their teachers.    

There were also hero's during this terror, and you will not go unnoticed. As a parent of young child, I thank you for your bravery and for pulling those children into corners and blockaded bathrooms to keep them safe and out of harms way. We are all forever grateful for your actions to protect.

Not much more can be said...just prayers for families and tears of sadness thinking of all those lives lost.

It's unthinkable
for someone to take these lives
Grief, terror, remain

Wishing peace to parents
Who lost the light in their life
Sorry for your loss

Sandy Hook, lives lost
Many of us heartbroken
How to move past this

Many tears shed for
lives lost at Sandy Hook school
Grief, loss and trauma

Hugging children tight
Thanking G-d for their presence
Life's most precious gift

Hero's were there too
Protecting kids from harms way
Thanks for your actions

Nothing we can do can bring these children and adults back from the horror of what was experienced at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I wish peace to all the parents and families impacted by this terribly tragic turn of events. 

What has been learned from this unspeakable crime against innocents is that it's imperative that stronger gun laws are enforced while establishing tighter security at our nation's schools is a must.

And, to the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, may you rot in hell for what you have done to our nation, to innocent children and adults, and most specifically to the parents whose hearts will ache forever for the precious like you took away from them, and the pain that will remain for an eternity.

Happy Hanukkah

Lit menorah at Philadelphia airport
It has been a crazy couple of weeks with work and travel and I forgot to send a special holiday post out to you and yours around the Hanukkah holiday season. While traveling recently a smile was brought to my face when I saw at my home airport a lit menorah as a centerpiece.

My apologies. Since tonight is the last night of the holiday, I feel I have some reprieve.

First, I wanted you to know that it means a great deal to me that you have been on this journey with me for Mommy's Point of View, and appreciate your candor, feedback and perspectives, and continued support.

Therefore, today I want to share with you some Haiku to commemorate this celebratory time of year, a reminder of our freedom, and what has been done for us in yesteryear.

Happy Chanukah
Thanks Macabees for freedom
Tzedakah, help others

Eight days and eight nights
The candles flicker and glow
Spinning the dreidel

Happy Hanukkah
Time with friends and family
Festival of lights

Menorah, candles
Holiday of lights goes on
Illuminating

Potato latkes
Applesauce or sour cream
and chocolate gelt

Smiles all around
Watching kids open presents
Wrapping paper strewn

Hugging children tight
Thanking G-d for their presence
Life's most precious gift

Happy Chanukah to you and yours!!!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving Thanks Haiku Style

I have so much in my life to be thankful for. And, one good way to convey this is in the form of Haiku.  For this wordy mommy, I am taking a less is more approach (my husband's motto) to give my thanks to you and all those around me.

Also, please enjoy a special turkey creation made by Sarah and her school mates. 

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you, my readers
following me on this path
Mommy's Point of View

Your dedication
and support mean a great deal
for this I say THANKS

I am thankful for
family, friends and good health
counting lucky stars

Thankful for flowers
sunshine, rain and colorful leaves
my love of nature

I count my blessings
my child and my husband
for they are my core

Time for Thanksgiving
food and fun with family
and special friends too

Thankful for my job
which gives us clothes, shelter, food
and life's luxuries

Thank you G-d for life
and for watching over us
protect us from harm

Thankful for good health
happiness, prosperity
love, hugs, family

Thankful for Sarah
she brings joy and happiness
to all around her

To G-d, I give thanks
for keeping me sane and sound
in my parent role

To all, I wish thanks
for joy, happiness and health
time to enjoy life

Now take a moment and look around and think about what you are most thankful for and take a deep breath in and exhale with appreciation and gratitude.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How to Help Post Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy brought to the North East incredible devastation this past week.

My heart goes out to each and every individual impacted by this tragedy including friends, family and strangers.

Homes have been lost, power has been out, electricity has been non-functional, and ever more sad, many lives have been lost.

Many of us have opened our homes to help others in need, gathered up clothes and belongings to those who have lost much due to flooding, and offered for people to use our Internet access and hot showers, and get warmth from the cold.

I especially think how difficult it must be coping with this travesty with young children to care for.  It reminds me of the 70's when my sister and I were in the back seat of my mother's car while we waited on line for hours to get gas. That's been happening here as well.  Lines are miles long with hours to wait.  The dedication I have seen on Facebook and Twitter helping those in need to find what they need has been incredible.

As a result, I decided, yet again, to help my daughter to understand what it's like to help others and what we can do to support those in need. For example, a friend of ours have a babysitter whose friend lost everything and has a three year old daughter. Immediately, I asked Sarah if we could go through her belongings and pack up some clothes, blankets, toys, books, and more to share with this little girl in need. She shared some of her stuffed animals too.  Sarah knew that we were sharing her belongings with someone else who needed it more than she did.  It made me smile to think that it is possible to help young children see the value of helping others, and that there is always something that we can do.

While Sandy is a natural disaster, it also reminds me of when I was living in New York when 9/11 happened and everyone came together to get through the pain and strife. Incredible generosity and support came from all over the country to help those in need. I truly believe that that is happening now as well. 

My heart aches not being able to do more. I was about to pack up more things to send to my hometown Staten Island to find that many of the evacuation sites including my old high school were stuffed with donations. Instead, it was encouraged that we give in other ways. As a result, there is a Hurricane Sandy relief effort under way with numerous organizations including Good Will and The Red Cross. Additionally, there is an organization called Tunnel to Towers Foundation that is especially taking donations based on location of the tragedy.  

There is something that can be done whether it be near or far. If we want to help those impacted greatly by Hurricane Sandy we can click on the link below and give what we can.  It will indeed go a long way. I took the step and made a donation today. Can you?


In the aftermath of this crisis I want to share some Haiku wishing for peace and calm for those impacted most, and to those who are still in the dark without power, those with loss in their lives great and small, and pray for your safety and journey to a new beginning.

Hurricane Sandy
Swept through our nation's land
Much devastation

No power, heat, light
Millions impacted this week
Much repair to do

Support those in need
Kindness, generosity
Doing what we can

East Coast, USA
Flooded, dark, damaged and strife
Pain, loss, fear and cold

Wishing peace for all
Impacted by hurricane
Strength for the next steps





Monday, October 29, 2012

My Wish to be an Author

For those of us that got on the Fifty Shades of Gray bandwagon, you know who you are.  There is nothing to be ashamed of.  It's okay to admit it.  I do.  It was a fast and easy (pun intended) series of reads that had us going.

This week I was contacted by Role Mommy regarding a Blogger Book Club Campaign telling me of a book that is a parody of this summer read.

My interest was piqued.

The book is called Fifty Two Shades of Blue-ish. And, it's a parody by corporate trainer, speechwriter, author, autism advocate, jazz instructor and mom Karen S. Exkorn.  The hard launch (he he he) is slated for December 2012. The book is about "an entertaining romp through the virginal Rachel Levine’s life as she strives to find the delicate balance between love, lust and latkes. Fifty Two shades of Blue-ish will stir up your every fantasy....and your Jewish guilt (even if you’re not Jewish!) Proceeds from book sales will be donated to Autism organizations worldwide."

Here is an excerpt from the book - http://issuu.com/katieschlientz/docs/52shades_excerpt

Exorn is the bestselling author of the book, The Autism Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping, and Healing—From a Mother Whose Child Recovered (HarperCollins 2005). She was inspired to write Fifty Two Shades of Blue-ish after realizing that people often need to laugh, as much as they need to learn.

Therefore, Exhorn decided when she turned 52 that she would write this erotic humor novel as she  she finally reached a stage in her life where it was "time to do all things she was afraid or embarrassed to share in public."

Do I hear bucket lists?

It just to happens that Exhorn has a list just like this that she has been putting into action. Her book is certainly on top of her list. She also succeeded in checking off her list, meeting Beyonce, flashing a truck driver and going ona date with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Exhorn is encouraging and inspiring women to take action to live life and "channel [our] inner princesses and start making...lists too."
There are so many things in life that I wanted to accomplish. Many of which I have done. Travel on my own - check. Get married to an amazing person and have a child - check. Start a blog after my daughter was born - check. Move to a town to be closer to family - check. See Ricky Martin perform whenever possible - check, check and check.

Therefore, as part of a contest being hosted by the Role Mommy Writer's Network, they will provide 52 women  a complimentary copy of this book and either a $25 Amazon gift card or Paypal credit  to make a frivolous purchase.

I have decided to take a chance and sign up, if space is still available.  

Therefore, here goes.

The top thing on my list that I want to do in this lifetime is to write a book, either a novel or a children's book, and author articles on the topic of parenting, relationships and arts and crafts.

I liked writing over the years but never thought I was any good at it. My career in public relations gave me an excellent platform to foster this skill set and passion. Then, when I met my husband, a journalist and writer, he introduced me to the work of Haiku poetry. It's there that I began my writing journey. Also, a year after our daughter was born I desired to write a blog about life's trials and tribulations around parenting, and Mommy's Point of View was born.  Since then I have loved, loved, loved writing. Therefore, this is my public declaration saying that I am going to work towards this goal of becoming a book/article author.

What is your desire in this lifetime?

This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer's Network.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

She Hears Me But Chooses to Misbehave

Sarah has selective hearing and listening. Yesterday, while out with friends for a bike ride I realized that Sarah indeed is listening to what we say, including others, but she chooses not to act on what she is being told to do.

So frustrating.

It's not that she is not listening, it's that she is not behaving, and selectively choosing not to do what she is being asked to do.

Again, so frustrating.

You would think, that as an only child, who gets a ton of attention from her mommy and daddy that she would not be acting like this.  

WHY?  

Is it because she gets too much of our attention?

I thought that it could be because my new job and work schedule recently have been somewhat erratic this week with early mornings, late nights, and travel, which is outside of the norm.  Then, I realized, her behavior is not out of the norm.

So, because of all of this, after working in the morning on Saturday, I decided to take Sarah for lunch to our favorite pizza joint and then to the playground and park to meet with friends for a bike ride.  You would think that investing this time with her she would have behaved better.  At lunch, she was great. At the park, not so much.

After the play date, my dear friends were kind enough to offer to watch Sarah that night as they sensed my frustration and so that I could have an adult time out.  I turned down their offer because Sarah would have seen it as a treat.  Instead, Sarah and I teamed up and cleaned the house together, while Daniel was still resting being sick.  After we cleaned we agreed that I would make dinner and Sarah would paint her pumpkins we picked last week. Surprisingly, it was a calm evening and ended up being fun for both of us. 

The night was much better than the day. 

By not giving in to Sarah's lack of listening and misbehaving, and letting her known that she was not going to her friend's house, helped her to realize that I was serious and that her actions have consequences.

I likely, per a suggestion from a friend, need to reconsider Sarah's diet as far as high-fructose corn syrup consumption.  While she doesn't eat a lot of junk food I need to start looking at labels on seemingly normal foods that have this ingredient and see if that may be playing a part in her behavior.

I would love to hear from you how you handle situations like this.  What do you do? 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur: Time for Reflection


To all of you, my readers, who are Jewish and observe Yom Kippur, I want to take this moment to wish you a meaningful and easy fast.

For this time of year, we are closest to G-d cleansing our souls, reflecting on life, remembering loved ones lost, and the millions of others who have perished in the Holocaust, including Jews and many others, to save us and provide us freedom.

Now try explaining THAT to a preschooler. It's not something that's very easy to do. It was a bit tough trying to explain to Sarah why she wasn't going to school tomorrow,  why mommy and daddy were not going to work, why there was going to be fasting from eating and drinking, and why there would be sadness and possibly tears.

So, I mentioned to her that it is a day to remember loved ones that are in heaven, for us to spend time together taking a walk and engaging in dialogue about how we treat people and how others treat us, and more.

Tomorrow, while solemn, will be a time to embrace our family and friends thanking G-d everyday for their presence in our lives. We will also ask G-d to accept our forgiveness for the wrongdoings we have done including gossiping, yelling, being mean to others, cheating, and being unkind to ourselves.

It it this time that we then commit to a life of good, and not evil, and happiness and good health. We also ask for a sweet and abundant new year. During this holiday, many adults will, for 25 hours from sundown tonight to sundown tomorrow evening, fast from eating food and drinking beverages as a symbol of respect and reminder of what was sacrificed so many years ago including the tragedies of the Holocaust.

At the commencement of Yom Kippur when the sun sets we will enjoy a festive meal and spend time with family and friends and be reminded of the fresh, new journeys that lie ahead, and the goodness that we will create.

Here are some special Yom Kippur Haiku:

This time of the year
We remember loved ones lost
Memories live on
...
Time for reflection
As we stop eating, drinking
Fasting and mourning
...
To an easy fast
And time for remembering
Lives of many lost
...
As we close the book
Let us take time to reflect
Open our hearts
...
To many lives lost
Your memory lives with us
Through eternity
...
G-d, please cleanse our souls
Of spite, gossip, bitterness
With hearts wide open
...
Time for forgiveness
To reflect, remember, change
Begin a new year

Wishing you all an easy fast, a time of reflection, embraces with family and friends, and time for new beginnings.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happy New Year -- L'Shanah Tovah

To all of you who celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah -- L' Shanah Tovah.

I wish you and your families a prosperous, happy, and healthy new year filled with renewal and forgiveness.

The start of Rosh Hashanah is my favorite time of the year. It was this time nearly 15 years ago that I found a temple with amazing rabbi's and cantor's in New York City that opened me up to spiritual connection and appreciation for Judaism in a way that I had always hoped for myself. As a result, I was fortunate to open my mind, and my heart, to a new found connection that will forever be with me.

I grew up learning Judaism in the eyes of my parents. While I was taught a great deal, the emotional and spiritual connection did not come for me until I was an adult. However, I have my parents to thank for keeping religion a part of my life and showing me what my family's history and heritage was all about.

Therefore, as a parent, my goal is to lead Sarah on a path filled with knowledge and understanding to help her find her way and an emotional connection to Judaism when the time is right, and when she is mature enough to understand and embrace.

What I most love about this holiday is that it's like a restart button. You look at the past year of life and reflect on what you did, what you said, who you harmed physically or with words, what you did for your community, and the way you treated yourself.

The latter took me a while to understand.

We often hear the phrase that we must love ourselves before we can love others fully. This couldn't be truer. While we may not love everything about ourselves it is this time of year to forgive ourselves for being so hard on ourselves and give ourselves a break.

This is a lesson that regardless of religion should be taught to children so that they can grow into confident adults.

I know all too well that it is easy to hard on oneself. However, in order to admit, then forgive and move past it, you will always be stuck. And, we are human. We may not love everything about ourselves, but we can certainly be nicer to ourselves.

While many look at the World's New Year in January as the time for reflection and new beginnings, as Jewish people that time is now.

From last year's blog post on Mommy's Point of View I said, "It is a significant time dedicated to reflection, thoughts for change, memories of the past personally and historically, and commitment and plans for fresh starts personally, professionally, and in local, national and global communities. It's also a time for family gatherings, special meals and sweet tasting foods, especially apples and honey to celebrate this joyous New Year."

Further, "Jewish people commit to resolutions, but don't call them resolutions. For example, wanting to lose weight, quit smoking or start exercising are important life-altering behavioral changes, but on this holiday our commitments run deeper and involve change that centers on righting the wrongs we have done to others, and to ourselves, and to establish new paths for growth, change and Jewish learning moving forward. It's as if we get to the meaning behind how we feel, the anger we have against ourselves, and the emotional and physical commitment to make a change."

Therefore, it is my job to look in the mirror to be honest with myself, be happy for whom I am and who I have become, and to be the parent I am and wish to be, and to love me. It is also time for change all around. It could be getting more involved in your community, starting a new career path, making a new friend, apologizing to someone for how they have been treated, or asking yourself for forgiveness and starting a new.

As parents we have a great responsibility to help educate our children about religion, traditions, values, and history to help them start on the path to their own spiritual connection.

I look forward to educating Sarah on the traditions I grew up with and have fostered into adulthood, and creating new memories with her to have for years to come.

To all of us who are Jewish and celebrate this New Year, I wish you a sweet and joyous year, prosperity, love, happiness and, most importantly, good health.

Happy New Year. L'Shanah Tovah.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11

Today I write with a heavy heart after hugging my husband and daughter just a bit more tightly, thankful for them, yet extremely sad for the thousands of families impacted by the tragedy on the Twin Towers 11 years ago.

While I write this I think that words cannot express how I feel for the tremendous loss our country has endured from the monstrosity on American soil.

Yet, here I am doing what is necessary to keep the history of this tragic day alive and for all of us to remember, and also to be thankful for the lives we do have, the family and friends who are here with us, and more.

I started off my day asking Sarah if she could draw a picture to commemorate today. When she asked for my help, I drew the outline for the towers and let her get to work. Her masterpiece is above. When she showed it to me I smiled. Had I told her exactly how to do it, it would not have been right. I would have likely told her to color the towers gray or black or blue. Instead, I let her do what she does best and create with color. And, when she showed me the final result it was better than I could have ever imagined.

Also, this morning, in the car ride to drop Sarah off at school Daniel asked me if I wanted to tell Sarah about today. I tried to but the words would not come. I didn't want to scare her. So, Daniel did what he does best. He told her the story of the twin towers like he would tell her any other story starting with the words, "Once upon a time."

I sat in the back seat with Sarah staring out the window smiling thinking that he is just such an incredible daddy and amazing man. He found a way to tell a tragic tale in a way that could foster dialogue and engage our child in a discussion on our nation's history.

Daniel also felt he did not want to say too much and scare Sarah, especially since she had never been on a plane before so he omitted how the collapse of the towers actually happened. Interestingly, at the end of the story Sarah asked Daniel if for the next time he tells the story to include more information about the bad guys.

Today is a day that each of us will live differently.

With children especially, who are so impressionable and eager to learn, as parents we can help to educate and comfort them about this historical experience on our nation so they understand why their parents and others may be sad today.

Today is also a day to be incredibly thankful and appreciative for what we do have including the special people in our lives, for there are thousands of families who have experienced great loss.

To help commemorate this day in history we can engage our children in a dialogue about 9/11 either through discussion, arts and crafts, song, and writing.

Therefore, with writing as one of my creative outlets for self-expression, hence this blog I cherish, here are some haiku poems to remember and never forget.

Tragedy struck us
On September 11
Must never forget

Cherish family
And friends who are special to
Thankful for living

Share this history
Keep the memory alive
Time to remember

The World Trade Center
Had a life all of its own
Work, play, fun, and more

Hug our loved ones
Remember, never forget
Be sad, be thankful

Also, here are previous blog posts on Mommy's Point of View commemorating today if you would like to read back in history.

http://www.mommyspointofview.com/2009/09/911-remembered-heavy-heart-but-thankful.html

http://www.mommyspointofview.com/2011/09/remembering-911.html


Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day: Thanks, Appreciation, and Reminder

Oops. I just posted a previous Labor Day blog from last year from Mommy's Point of View, and meant to share a new post today.

Sorry about that.

I'm a very tired mommy today recovering from a full weekend of plans with family and friends, yet with a good excuse. This year's Labor Day holiday is much sweeter indeed for us as it was this time last year when Daniel secured a new full-time job opportunity after four years of freelancing after losing his job after Sarah was born due to the volatile economy.

Today is a reminder of how thankful many of us are for the jobs we have that give us the opportunity to have the fun that we do on holidays, weekends, and other times. However, there are also millions of people who are out of work wishing they had jobs in this challenging economy and are instead anxiously trying to find work.

We all know the phrase, "take nothing for granted." We certainly do not.

This economy has indeed taught many of us that we need to be thankful for what we have and to appreciate it. Many times we need to shift our focus to different jobs or career paths to stay afloat or to grow.

So, on this Labor Day, I wish everyone impacted by this economy the strength to find within what matters most, and to embrace career opportunities that come our way and to consider new paths and directions to take care of our families.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Post-Summer: Reflecting on Product Favorites

I hope that you all had a wonderful summer, and for some of us still enjoying what time is left before the school year begins for our kids.

Following this summer, I realized that there are some products that I could not do without, and others that are a mainstay for year-round use.

Here are my top favorites. What are some of yours?

BEACH CART
If you are not an active beach goer, like I am, it's hard to decide whether it's worth the money to purchase a beach cart for your belongings. It also does consume a significant portion of trunk space too. However, if you are fortunate to find it on sale, like I did at a local Christmas Tree Shop for $30 less than the typical price, then it is indeed a bargain worth investing in, especially because a trip to the beach with the kids is not light. I say this because everything, and I mean everything that we took to the beach, fit in this nifty cart. I was skeptical. I was convinced it would fall down just from holding the chairs or fall apart because it was possibly poorly made.

This product was fabulous.

On days when I went to the beach with Sarah alone it was great to not have to carry on my arms all the stuff as I couldn't expect Sarah to hold too much. With my husband's sciatica in full swing it was also tough for him to help carry stuff and this cart became a savior (I know, a bit exaggerative). This cart was my friend. And, when it rained one day at the beach it was so easy to pack everything up and throw it in the cart and go, so quickly.

PORTABLE POTTY SEAT
I love, love, love the Potette potty seat. I actually wrote a full blog post on this amazing product here in March 2011, and still am singing its praises. This is an especially amazing tool to have when you go to the beach or pool, and for long car trips. It's also good if you go to the playground or a local fair where it may be tough to find a bathroom in a pinch.

I don't encourage my daughter to use the ocean or pool as a bathroom. Therefore, this incredibly easy to use and transport seat is a must for parents who don't want to feel stressed trying to find a bathroom for their little one, or drag the kids by the arm willing them to walk faster to get to a restroom. This product brings piece of mind for parent and child. If your child needs some privacy you can cover them with a towel, use a beach tent, or sandwich the parents in front and behind the child for coverage.

ACTIVITY AND COLORING BOOKS
Bringing along in your bag an activity book and writing implement and/or coloring books are especially great when out in restaurants with the kids, and when young kids get bored and need something to do.

Everywhere we went on vacation we brought markers and a coloring book for Sarah. In restaurants, on the beach, in our hotel room, and in the car, she had something she enjoyed doing that didn't always involve watching television or playing games on the iPad to keep her interest and attention. Sometimes, many times, Daniel and I would join in and color a picture and do an activity with Sarah to keep her entertained, and calm, during outings.

MABELS LABELS
When kids go to camp, preschool or daycare, they often need to have their belongings labeled with their names on it. When Sarah first went to daycare I started using labels that could be sewn onto clothing and other fabric items. When I got lazy I started to use black permanent marker. For shoes, the latter approach is not such a great idea, as the markers run onto socks and feet, and then you have to reapply many times.

A couple of years later my sister told me about Mabel's Labels, and I was skeptical. A few months later after that I saw them on just about everything my niece owned that went to school, including cups, and utensils.

This item is indeed a splurge. After much back and forth thinking, I decided to plunk down the money to get the labels, and to use them judiciously.

Now, I am a believer.

If you can believe it, after weeks of wearing her water shoes in the sprinklers, at the beach in the ocean and on the sand, and at the pool, the Mabel's shoe labels are still inside Sarah's shoes and have not budged. Another reason this is a splurge is that toddlers and preschoolers are growing quickly and many times they grow out of their belongings before they have gotten frequent use. I don't think the labels are reusable as they are stuck on pretty well with their adhesive. However, if there are items that are special to you, and can easily go lost, like blankets, stuffed animals, and more, you may want to consider this brand of labels.

Affordable Fuller Coverage Swimsuits for Girls
If your child is sensitive to the sun or easily burns these are swimsuits to consider. They include a short sleeve shirt and shorts or fuller bottoms, as seen above. And, they work especially well with potty training kids since they are much easier to remove than one piece suits. Of all the brands that I have tried, the ones sold at Target fit the best, and have longer use, sometimes two seasons worth.

With this type of swimsuit you still must apply sunblock. What is comforting about these suits is that the areas of our kids bodies that sometimes don't get enough sunblock and exposed to the sun, are covered with these shirts and shorts sets. And, you don't have to spend a lot to get a good deal.

LYSOL Power & Free
Many times when families go on vacation cleaning experts recommend that we bring along some of our cleaning tools to give us peace of mind that our hotel rooms or rented houses are clean, and to our standards. Why not have the same comfort of clean when we travel, as we do at home?

This summer, as part of my job, I was fortunate to help promote a new product for my client Reckitt Benckiser, the makers of LYSOL (R) household products, called LYSOL Power & Free. With so many products in my house that I bounce back and forth using, I decided to give the multi-purpose spray, one of four products in the line, a try. The three other products are for the bathroom and include wipes, spray, and toilet bowl cleaner.

And, I have to tell you, I am hooked. Not only does this product include as the active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, which has often been used as an antiseptic on the skin for scrapes, it also delivers a more powerful clean than bleach without the harsh chemical smell or residue often left behind by bleach.

Even more, the kids, and pets, can be in the house, even in the same room, when cleaning with this product.

What really did it for me was when it became my go to product for getting out wet paint from my light colored carpet, permanent marker from the same carpet, and red juice stains from my porous counter tops. Give it a try and tell me what you think?

Disclosure: Please know that I was not paid any compensation to share with you my experience and perspective on these products. However, I did receive a complementary LYSOL Power & Free to test and share my experience with you.

What have been some of your summer favorites?


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't Give In to Tantrums, Stand Your Ground

How many times have the kids not listened well, lingered to clean up their rooms, or just done something that we specifically told them not to do that they chose to do anyway?

I bet a number of us, myself included, are raising our hands now.

In these instances we try to enforce rules where our kids cannot get the things they want when they don't listen or don't what they are asked.

Well, this happened this past weekend with Sarah, and Daniel and I knew that we had to stand firm and not cave even if it meant not doing what he and I wanted to do.

It was hard indeed to stick to our guns but am so very glad that we did.

After several attempts at trying to get Sarah to clean up her room and the family room where many of her toys and belongings were strewn, Sarah whimpered on for what felt like an eternity, and did not do what she was asked to do, even when help was offered. I even sat down in her room and put away her clean laundry to show her that I was helping, and sticking around with her.

We also mentioned to her several times that if she did not cooperate she would lose the opportunity to watch television that morning. I even tried, thinking I could reverse the psychology, and say that she could watch television once she cleaned up her room.

As you can expect, Sarah did not cooperate. She whimpered, cried, and moped some more. Therefore, I left the room and stood my ground and confirmed with Sarah that the reward of television was now gone.

That day we were also planning to go to the children's museum, a place that Sarah thoroughly enjoys. I was actually looking forward to going too since we hadn't been there in a while.

Let's just say that the more Sarah acted out and the more she refused to listen the more I knew that that privilege to go the children's museum had to be taken off the table too.

As a result, there was no television watching or museum visit that morning or afternoon. Therefore, Daniel and I agreed that he would go out and run his errands, and I would do the same when he returned, with Sarah remaining home and indoors.

As I was leaving, it seemed as if Sarah was ready to throw in the towel. Daniel then came up with a brilliant idea and asked Sarah if she would like to listen to music to help her clean up.

Let's just say that when I returned home not only was her room cleaned, bed made, and family room tidied up, Sarah approached me at the door on her own cognizance, saying that she was sorry for not listening and that she understood why she couldn't watch television or go to the museum.

I then mentioned to Sarah that if her renewed, pleasant, cooperative behavior continued through the afternoon and evening and following morning, I would take her to the museum the next day.

We had a great time at the museum the following day.

As hard as it is to want to cave when our kids don't listen, it is important to stand firm so that our little one's don't take advantage of us, and know that they will lose what is of interest to them if they don't cooperate and listen.

Something else that is important to know, is that we shouldn't threaten to take away something that we know we can't stick to. If you are going to friends or family and really want to go we shouldn't say we won't go. Or, if you are going on vacation the next day, instead of saying then we won't go on vacation, instead say that you can't go on the rides on the first day or you will have quiet time the first hour we get there.

What are some of your suggestions for managing tantrums? We would love to hear your thoughts and successes so we can all learn additional strategy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Fourth of July - Haiku and Art

As we get ready for our Fourth of July celebrations across America it's important to take a moment to recognize and be thankful for the freedom and independence that we have, and the sacrifices made in generations past to help give it to us and to keep us strong.

In honor of today, here are some special Haiku to commemorate, and a special drawing by Sarah and a photo too.



Star-Spangled Banner
Waving strong; red, white and blue
American pride

Fireworks, parties
Celebrate America
A time to rejoice

White stars and red stripes
A toast to our freedom
Patriotism

Have a wonderful holiday!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kids, Crafts, Imagination, and Display

It may be hard to believe this but you don't have a be a great artist, or the most creative, to help inspire a child to do wonderful, imaginative, fun, projects for them and others to appreciate and enjoy.

Not all art work needs to land inside a professional gallery. It just has to be appreciated whether it be by one, the person who makes it, or more.

Art is relative. It can be whatever it is we envision it to be, something in our own mind's eye, and for our kids in theirs. The first step, especially when children are introduced to various arts and crafts mediums, and this may sound silly, is to just go in with no expectations and let them just create and have fun.

Art is not perfection. There is no science to it either. And, there is no right or wrong way of doing it.

As adults, we do tend to have our opinions and may like one type of art versus another. That's okay. We just need to guide our children to do what they feel. Their results will speak volumes.

Sometimes it's hard to start with a blank canvas, and this could also be a metaphor for life. However, with kids, they don't seem to look at a plain piece of paper the same way we do. They have the ability, and freedom, to see with possibility for creation and potential for something more without the stress of getting started.

I believe the hardest part for us as adults, and as parents, is that we have a perception of how things should look. Not all of us think this way, but some of us do, present company included.

If you are typically a "color inside the lines" kind of person, like I have been known to be, being a parent can help you to shift this mindset if you allow it to. It can be challenging and liberating all at the same time to experience this release of control, symmetry, and balance.

We try so hard to guide our children on a path for happiness and success. However, our perceptions can sometimes, many times, cloud our judgement, and theirs too, and stifle their ability to create with freedom. What we envision is likely different than what they see. We can actually learn from our kids many times.

We, and I include myself here too, need to let go of perfection and control and let our kids do as they wish to create. It will open up their world to so much more because there will be no boundaries or constraints to limit them. So, if there is one line or dot on the paper, all the paint is on one side, or colors combined that we think don't go together, back away, grit your teeth, smile and support your little artist.

I admit, in the beginning when I introduced art to Sarah it was not as much fun as I thought it would be. I had expectations of what it should look like. Who knows, maybe I felt pressure for her work to be up to par with what other kids her age were doing. However, once I let go of the control, art became so much more fun. She did what she did and I let her do it, and she would amaze me with her creations. With the pressure gone the fun became endless and enjoyable.

Not every child will fall in love with arts and crafts. However, the possibility is greater if they choose the direction and approach to how they want it done. If they walk away pleased with what they did, and interested to do it again, than that is a win.

A major mistake as parents is to compare our kids to others. (Yep, I am guilty of this.) I have certainly learned this lesson many times, and likely will continue to do so over time. No two children are like. While there are milestones they need to meet, when it comes to creativity, skies the limit. No two art projects can really be alike, nor should they be. There is only one Van Gough, Monet, Michaelangelo, and Picasso.

Once we let go of control of what our children envision then we can sit back and watch fresh, free-spirited, and fun masterpieces being made. It's pure unadulterated magic to watch a child just do what feels right to them versus doing what we tell them we think is right.

And, we all know, we are not always right.

Many times a child creates immediately what is in their mind without opinion or thought on how it will look on whatever surface they are working on. That is creativity without boundaries. I admire Sarah for this freedom she possesses and don't ever want to hold her back. We should look at our kids with admiration and find inspiration from them to just let go.

Not every child is going to create the Mona Lisa or a Charles Degas painting. And, we shouldn't expect them to. If we happen to have special art backgrounds that could be taught to our kids to help them, that it is encouraged to help them further excel.

These past couple of years I have learned a great deal, and been blessed to experience art in the eyes of of my young daughter. Not only has she churned out numerous drawings and paintings, many of which I would love to house in a professional gallery, I have instead proudly shared them through various displays at home. We also re-purpose art projects and turn them into cards for friends and family for birthday, anniversaries, graduations, and more.

Here are some ways in which you can showcase your child's art work:

Decorate the Fridge Door
The refrigerator is a major appliance in the kitchen that gets so much use and attention. Why not use it as a backdrop for displaying children's art work. You can place them high for adults to see and low for the kids to enjoy too, and be proud of. You can use magnets, magnet clips, and even magnetic luecite frames.

Pin it Up
In our dining room we have three brown corkboards to match the room's decor. Balanced symmetrically (works well with my Type A personality) or asymmetrically on the wall, art work can be added there for color, conversation, and design. The best part is that art projects can be switched out easily for new masterpieces.

Frame Them
Another approach to displaying art work in a more controlled manner, and an ideal way to build into a room's decor is to frame artwork in decorative frames, behind glass, in shadow boxes, and more. You can place them together in a cluster of frames of the same color and various styles to keep them cohesive or individually throughout the home.

Art at All Heights
A nice way to display art work is in a fashion that is most visible to our kids, and at their height. Therefore, you want may to consider an approach that I also implement and involves using clothes pins and bendable framing wire (that's used for hanging pictures). Our children no only can see them more easily, but they can safely move around their pieces of art or switch out their creations when new ones come in.

Along with help from their teachers and camp counselors, we as parents can play a important role in helping to introduce arts and crafts to our kids and engage them to explore with various mediums including crayons, markers, chalk, pencils, paint, glue, glitter, writing, taking pictures, and more.

Especially with children under the age of five, there are so many amazing ways to get creative without having a degree in the fine arts. There are a number of different and easy ideas that can be done just with your child's hands and feet alone, elbows too. The ideas are plentiful. Many of the parenting magazines and blogs online offer cool, creative tips worth trying. Pinterest also has some pictures online if you are seeking inspiration.

It's amazing how much inspiration is around us, especially in nature, that can lead to great works of art. For example, recently, Sarah and I were working on a school art project and decided to collect sticks, rocks, pebbles, and more, for her to glue on to paper and poster board.

It's important that we find our inner child and get to creating with our kids. Engaging them to want to explore with art is a good first step. And, remember, we just have to want to have fun with no expectations or boundaries. A limitless experience is rewarding, invigorating, and freeing.

Enjoy the art of creating with your little ones and opening your eyes, and their's to new experiences.

Happy creating.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Loving Life As a Parent

Today's blog is a selfish one in that I just want to say that life as a parent, while extremely challenging, is the most amazing, wonderful, and rewarding experience.

Just this morning as I laid in bed waiting for my alarm clock to go off, not quite ready to get up for the day, Sarah made her way into our room and crawled into the bed. All I could do at that moment was smile and will her to come closer to snuggle.

Seriously, if the world stopped at that moment I was in the place that I wanted and needed to be.

There is something incredibly amazing about being enveloped in your own child or children. Since Sarah is my only child I savor her that much more.

While there are days I want to hang this monkey from a chandelier because she's not listening, it's these moments of solitude with her where it's just us and no other extraneous variables that make me realize even more that the simple gestures and genuine mannerisms are what matter most.

Even at times when I have had a tough day, am exhausted, or frustrated by one of many life stresses, nothing comes close to the hugs, kisses, smiles, and giggles I get from Sarah. She is so much like her daddy in that her sense of humor really has me laughing a lot. She is indeed a small version of him with me mixed in.

As I write this I smile.

Sometimes, there are days when I am not sure what to write about on my blog or what point of view or lesson I want to share with you. However, this morning one thing is for sure, that my love for my daughter is beyond leaps and bounds, and warms my heart. For this I am truly blessed and thankful to G-d every day for bringing her into my life and giving me the opportunity to be her mommy, a job I take very seriously, and one I feel I was meant for and fortunate to have to chance to be.

Here are some special Haiku on what life as a parent means to me. What does it mean to you? I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts.

Being a parent
Is the most rewarding job
Guiding and sculpting


Love like no other
Happiness, joy, and passion
She is my center


In a kid's presence
Permission to be silly
And act like a kid

My life has meaning
Because my daughter is here
Bringing joy and love

Children, innocence
Unadulterated love
Reliant on us

What do you love most about being a parent? Share with us your thoughts. We'd love to hear them.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day - What a DAD means

A special message from Mommy's Point of View to all the Dads, daddy's, papa's, father's, and pop's, today and every day. With your help we have the most amazing children in this world that we are fortunate to parent and love incessantly. It's these qualities that a dad possesses that makes you a special personal indeed.

A DAD is someone who is...



Dedicated and helpful and actively participates in parenting duties and daily responsibilities, and who loves their children with all they have

Awesome and committed to making their kids lives fun, playful, and enjoyable while being supportive when life's daily stresses come about

Dependable and passionate with kids hugging and loving them, and of course, chasing them around the yard giggling, splashing in the pool, helping to keep them safe, and being active with them inspiring them to grow

There are also special Dad's out there who are not always able to be with their children who are either away for work, in the military, or not in close proximity due to other circumstances to be as much of an active participant. Most importantly, children just need to know that they are loved and cared for by these special individuals.

Therefore, on Father's Day and every day, let's reach out to the special men in our lives and hug them, Skype with them, send them special wishes, and tell them how much they mean to us.

Hope you all had a wonderful Father's (Dad's) day!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Cast Has Been Removed

Yeah! Yippee! Hooray!

Just in time for summer camp, which starts next week, Sarah's wrist fracture has healed and the cast is officially off. Boy was I was praying and hoping that three weeks was all she was going to need to be in this cast so that she wouldn't miss out on pool and sprinkler time.

Had Sarah needed to be in the cast for a much longer time frame I would have likely bit the bullet and bought one of those special waterproof covers. Therefore, during this time frame, we relied on plastic bags to keep her cast dry. We also prevented Sarah from participating in sprinkler and water-related activities until the cast came off.

Let's just say, you can't really avoid bath time. And, bath time was a bear for us these past few weeks. Despite Sarah's arm being covered in plastic baggies, sometimes more than one, to help keep it dry, Sarah still managed to submerge her arm in water more than once, sometimes on purpose and other times by accident. It's not so fun trying to use a blow dryer to dry out a cast. Even on days when Sarah didn't drown her cast it still managed to get water in it from the pinholes in the grocery store plastic bags. I decided to give the gallon sized Zip lock baggies a try. Held on with masking tape and easy to put on and take off, for a wrist to elbow sized cast, it did the trick. Even better was that I was able to recycle the same bag for the entire time by just washing it and letting it dry before each use.

So, if you are ever in this predicament, forget the grocery store plastic shopping bags with handles. They always manage to have pin holes in them even if you cannot see them. Zip lock baggies are sturdy, the right size for a wrist to elbow cast, and easy to tape up and take off.

Now that Sarah's cast is off we are so excited to turn on the sprinkler, get her in the pool, and fill up her water and sand table this weekend for much-needed fun.

Please share with us some of your experiences and tips regarding kids and casts. We'd love to hear what you have been through and any advice.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Our Kid's First Break, Literally...

This week, while at work, I got a call from my husband telling me that Sarah fell in the school playground, that her wrist was swollen, and possibly sprained or broken, and that he was taking her to the doctor to get it checked.

The heat rushed through my body at that moment filled with worry for Sarah, and irate that this happened on school grounds. As a parent, a million thoughts went in my mind trying to figure out what happened as I was not able to get the full story from Daniel at the time. Yet, the reality is, that no matter how much we want to try to protect our children from injuries such as this, we can only help them manage, and mend, and hope they will learn a lesson not to do this again.

Yeah, right. As all of us, heads nodding saying, "not likely."

When the anger slowed and my mental state returned, and after finding out that Sarah literally fell over her own two feet, that I knew that no matter where Sarah was at the time, her falling was inevitable, and a matter of time. This child cannot sit still and runs reckless with abandon every chance she gets. She is a four years old after all.

I guess I am naive to think that I could go through life hoping that I could protect Sarah from all harm, but know that that is unrealistic. So, wishing to package her in a bubble is not likely an option either. One can hope, right.

So, as parents, all we can do is protect them the best way we know how, and can, and hope that they make it through life in one piece. And, if there are breaks along the way, arms, legs, toes, and more, we have to do the best we can not to want to hold them down, lock them up, or hoist them far above the ground to prevent them from hurting themselves again.

Instead, let's kiss them and hug them that much more, pray to G-d everyday for their presence in our lives and the impact that they have on us, and laugh a lot more, live each day to the fullest, and pray for their safety every chance we get.

So, in the meantime, let's decorate their casts and send them on their way for more adventures, because that is life and we can only pave the way so much to keep them out of harms way.


Time to Remember, Memorialize

Today, for many of us, as Americans, is a day off from work. For all of us, as parents, it's still a day on.

While many of us may be going to barbecues, swimming parties, taking advantage of shopping sales, or taking time to rest, it is most important for us to take time to reflect as well to remember and thank the millions of men and women who risked their lives to protect our country, which helped to give us the freedom we have today, and every day moving forward.

So before, in between, and after today's festivities, let's take time to remember with sadness, and pride, as Americans, the many souls who sacrificed their lives and continue to do so every day, and veterans who dedicated and continue to dedicate their time, energy, and attention for the love of their country, to help fight for our freedom.

Words of thanks go to all the men and women who commit their themselves to protect our country, and for those especially who lost their lives in the war for freedom.

Here are some special Memorial Day Haiku, and a drawing made by Sarah, for you all.

Memorial Day
Today, time to remember
Lives of many lost

To all men, women
Thank you for protecting us
Forever in debt

Thanks to those of you
Risking your lives to protect
Our USA

For red, white, and blue
Colors continue to sore
Time to remember

You're special people
With the biggest hearts of all
Thanks, infinity

Appreciation
To all the men and women
You mean a great deal

Much love and appreciation to all of you, men and women, and moms and dads, and everyone who dedicates their lives to protect our country. You are a special kind of people, selfless human beings who are looked at in the highest regard, for all that you do, sacrifice, and continue to risk each and every day, and we thank you to infinity.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Being a parent is by far one of the toughest jobs we will every do in our lives, and it's the most rewarding.

Hearing our children call us mommy is happiness and sunshine combined. And, being an integral part of guiding and teaching them is a significant and amazing role to have. Being a parent is a full-time job that has wonderful perks, and some complaints too, which is completely normal.

Therefore today, let everyone fuss over you, and revel in the words "mommy," "mom," "mamma," or which every way in which your kids acknowledge you as a significant main stay in their lives, and feel the love around you.

Today is a celebration of moms around the world, you included. And, let's not forget about the strong women that brought each of us here too and not only helped to raise us but continued to be there for us as we became parents too offering advice, support, babysitting time with the kids, and so much more.

Here are some special Mother's Day Haiku to celebrate moms everywhere.

Happy Mother's Day
Love and appreciation
For all that we do

Time with family
Celebrate time together
Being a mother

Moms around the world
Acknowledge, fuss over them
Celebrate their role

Being a mommy
Challenging and rewarding
Love all around us

M O M M Y
Love, hugs, appreciation
For all that they do

Have a wonderful Mother's Day.

Enjoy!!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sign Up for Kid Product Recalls

My subscription to Parents magazine has paid off in more ways than one. In addition to the recommendations and ideas, they also provide safety information including product recalls.

As I was perusing this month's issue, I came across two products that we happen to own. And, guess where they landed on the page? In the recall section.

Fortunately, I made calls right away to each of the companies, gave product codes where required, and already received a replacement part in the mail for one product, and awaiting the other.

Many times the recalls just require a revised part, but it's better to be safe and sure, and stop use of product that has been recalled until the product has either been repaired or part replaced to confirm its safety.

We don't have to own a magazine subscription to get the latest news on toy recalls; however, they are rich with information and insights and can help to keep us abreast of important news too. Nonetheless, it is imperative that we keep aware of news like recalls whether through magazines or online to continue to keep our children safe.

In addition to a link to Parents magazine's website to look up product recalls, here are additional places online that you can go to to sign up for regular recall updates.
1. Parents magazine online

2. SafeKids.org
3. US Consumer Product Safety Commission

I have also included a link on the Mommy's Point of View homepage on the left hand side for you to sign up easily to track this important information.

As we know, nothing is perfect, and not all products are either. We do have to owe tremendous thanks and gratitude to the many parents who have had to undergo unfortunate experiences with their children at the hands of products that needed repair. I thank you for taking the time to share your situations with the right resources to help us; and therefore, motivate and urge companies to make product changes to protect our kids.

I happen to be in the process of reporting to the CPSC about a bathmat I bought at Target for Sarah. Unfortunately, I threw the product wrapping away and cannot find it online. I am going to the CPSC directly with a complaint to help warn other parents.
A few times I noticed that Sarah was slipping in the tub but felt it was hard to tell if she was just being overly playful and rambunctious, but in essence, something was indeed wrong with the mat.


Well, unfortunately for me, but good for Sarah, mommy found out the hard way.

One morning, I chose to use Sarah's bathroom to get ready while Daniel was in the other shower. I realized that once I was in I forgot the new bar of soap on the sink counter. Thinking nothing of it, I stepped out, or at least I tried, to reach for the soap and instead did what could have been scored as a "10" at the Olympic games if there was such a sport as out of the tub flipping. Instead, I did a full body rotation out of the tub right onto the floor and into the door and then banging my head onto Sarah's step stool. Thank goodness Sarah was not in the bathroom with me at the time. I can't begin to image what could have happened and she might have gotten scared and possibly hurt.

While I laughed later about the incident for it was indeed embarASSing, I was adamant that I would report this product to the CPSC to help warn other parents who may own this product.

We have a responsibility as consumers, and especially as parents, to report bad experiences with products, such as my tumble with this bat mat, to help companies be in the know about unsafe products on the market. I applaud companies that address issues in a timely fashion to help keep our children safe.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

To all of my readers who celebrate Easter, happy holiday.

Here are some Haiku to commemorate the holiday.

A Happy Easter
To your friends and family
A time together

Bunnies and egg hunts
For all the kids to enjoy
Tasty chocolate treats

Jellybeans and treats
A time for sweetness and joy
Enjoy your Easter

A sacrifice made
That impacts hearts everywhere
A time of belief

Celebration time
For all Christians who believe
Time for renewal

Enjoy holiday
Time with friends and family
Fast comes to an end

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Green Balloon for Ray

A couple of months ago I shared with you the story of an amazing woman who I have been fortunate to friend who is the person who can find the silver lining to even the darkest cloud.

Donna McCart, mother, wife, daughter, and sister, is truly an inspiring and "full of life" woman. In a previous blog post here I shared what became her new normal 356 days ago when her husband Ray was diagnosed with the rare cancer Glioblastoma Multiforme IV.

On April 2, 2012, Donna's darkest cloud presented itself. Ray lost his battle to cancer at the age of 47.

At his memorial service last night, as I expected it to be, it was standing room only.

Despite not knowing Ray for long, and for only a short time before he was diagnosed with this beast of a cancer, I was surprised when I couldn't hold back the tears as his friends and family shared kind and funny words about him at the service. During the nontraditional service, I even cried when we were asked to sing "Take Me Out to The Ballgame" as Ray loved the game, especially when the Phillies played and won. He also loved it when his biggest star, his daughter, a passionate and gifted collegiate softball player, competed while he watched her shine.

Who knows, my tears could have been because I am an overly emotional human being, or that I re-felt the pain of what it was like to lose my father nearly 12 years ago to cancer as well, when I was in my twenties, just like Donna's daughter is experiencing now. Or, it could just be that I feel terrible pain for Donna and her daughter's loss and cannot imagine the void his loss will be in their lives moving forward.

What I do know is that because I am in a loving relationship and a mother as well that I couldn't imagine either my life without Daniel or Sarah or for them to have to endure such a great loss.

As I write this now, even more tears stream down my face, wishing Donna and her daughter, and their friends and family, strength, peace, and love during this difficult time in their lives, and pray that they are able to move forward, with their many memories of the wonderful human being Ray McCart was to them and others.

In a previous post here, I shared how I have tried to explain death to Sarah, who is now four years old. It's not an easy thing to do with a child, especially one who has such a vivid imagination, and who I don't want to scare.

I happened to share this approach of helping Sarah understand loss with Donna during one of our many conversations over the past year when we lived next door to them.

When I saw Donna the day Ray passed away I mentioned to her that we would be casting off a green balloon for Ray, and she smiled.

Therefore, today, we will be casting off a green balloon into the sky for Ray McCart, in loving memory of this wonderful and doting father, husband, brother, son, friend and more.

Ironically, the picture above just so happens to be in the backyard across from Donna and Ray's home. On that day Sarah was casting off a green balloon when we lost our beloved kitty Sammy.

Teaching young children about death is not any easy thing to do. It's not a one size fits all approach either. I am even in the process of trying to identify a good book to read with Sarah to help her understand a bit more, as her questions have become more and more as people and pets have passed on during her early years.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of Ray McCart and in honor of his family, his survivors, who need to pave the way moving forward with renewed strength.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Kids Coughing: What to Do?



















Last night Sarah woke coughing...and coughing...and coughing...and coughing.

She likely had the start of a cold brought on by a garden variety bug taking over her little body, making it challenging for her to lay down or get a restful night's sleep.

It broke my heart to hear her body shuddering with each coughing sound she made. At first, I tossed and turned with each of her coughs hoping that she would eventually fall back to sleep from exhaustion, but the coughing continued.

Knowing the sound of her cough I was not worried. And, since we are in the midst of allergy season and this symptom is not out of the ordinary for her I just knew she was uncomfortable. Also, because it was not a loud barking sound I was not concerned either. However, if you are unsure of the type of cough that your child has, especially for a child not fully vaccinated or under the age of one, call your doctor to make sure that it's not pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

Inevitably I got up to see what relief I could provide Sarah. I first checked her forehead and back to feel for a fever. Relieved that she was not hot I then propped her up on more pillows and gave her water to drink so that the post-nasal drip could settle down, if possible.

Let's be honest, sitting up to sleep is not very comfortable and it did not surprise me when Sarah slumped back down onto her bed in the hopes of resuming to her preferred sleeping position. Again, I pulled her up but this time I wedged her with my body to keep her upright as much as possible, and thought we could both fall asleep together.

The coughing continued.

Sarah drank more water. At one point she had a coughing fit that unfortunately led to phlegm getting stuck in her throat, which eventually made its way out and on to the blankets and sheets.

Yep. It was yucky. Let's just say that at that moment I was happy to remember that I put on the waterproof mattress pad, or this would have been an even worse situation.

As the coughing continued further, we made our way through the hallway towards my room where Sarah threw up again. Thankfully, hardwood floors are easy for clean up.

Eventually, we made it into a chair in my room with her on my lap upright resting on me. At that moment, the coughing ceased, at least for a little bit. Through all of this I then had a moment. I began to feel what it was like when Sarah was an infant as she laid on my body for comfort. My baby girl. Oh how much she has changed over time in her four years of life. She's grown up so much. However, needing mommy is still a want for her, and I welcome it.

Desperately wanting another hour of sleep I willed for Sarah to go back to sleep, but it did not happen. So, when at 6:00am she asked if she could color, I let her go willingly. I was still wiped out not ready to get up so I let her proceed to her room to get crafty, and she did. And, the coughing subsided.

You may be asking, why didn't I give Sarah cough medicine when the coughing fits began. The reason is that young children under the age of four are discouraged to be given cough suppressants. Because of that, all I could do was ride it out until either her symptoms alleviated, escalated or we got confirmation from the doctor to take action.

Sarah stayed home from school today and went to the doctor. As we suspected, she has a cold and all we can do is let it run its course. The doctor agreed that giving her a cough medicine was not recommended and to continue doing what we were doing. In fact, the doctor said that she urges that children under the age of 6 not be given cough suppressants. However, if Sarah's cough continues to keep her awake at night we could give her children's Benedryl.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Each year, thousands of children under age 12 go to emergency rooms after taking over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. [Further], in response to safety concerns, the leading manufacturers of children's cough and cold medicines are changing the labels on these products to state that thy should not be used in children younger than 4 years of age."

While Sarah is just over the age of four, I was skeptical about giving her a cough suppressant unless otherwise directed by her pediatrician.

Thankfully Sarah has no fever and later bounced off the walls at home being the happiest little sick kid you will ever find. The doctor confirmed that what Sarah needed was fluids, not cough medicine, and rest if she was willing. Otherwise, we were told to just let her be active if she was to it and that in a week's time she would be better soon.

As adults we often are quick to want to take something to alleviate our symptoms. We cannot do the same with children. They are not little adults. Therefore, with cough medicines there is no iron clad solution currently on how much a child should get of this liquid especially because of weight fluctuations in these age categories.

Thus, it's imperative that as parents we not play the role of doctor and decide what over- the-counter (OTC) remedies to give our kids to help alleviate their symptoms. While it is a pain to have to take our kids to the doctor on a work day it's best to know whether an OTC treatment is the safest approach.


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