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That Time Already?

Yesterday I watched the yellow bus driving up the street and knew they were making the run to check timing on their run. School was starting and I’m not ready for it. I’m sure parents are, but it signals the end of summer. My most favorite season. I played all summer with the kids. It was glorious, except for a few years.

For a couple years, summer seemed hard and I was relieved to get the kids back to a schedule, routine, and give me some peace of mind. About the summer my oldest was out of 6th grade, life seemed easier. It was like 2 or 3 years and the summers were tough. Maybe they were older. I don’t know, but my friend and I sat down one day and made plans for summer. At least 3 times a week we fixed lunch, whatever we had in the house and met at a park between us. The older kids rode their bikes and we stayed for several hours while they rode bikes, played ball, and played on the playground equipment. We had enough food to keep them happy and some days other friends would be there. We spent time at the pool and each others house. Movies, painting, canyon picnics, watermelon busts, and anything to keep them active. We had reading contests, chess competitions, monopoly days, puzzle days, and cleaning contests. Sometimes we would just put a video in and have downtime. We even had things written on scraps of paper, so the kids could take turns drawing the activities out of a hat. With 7 kids between us, we had variety. These were the days before everyone had a tablet, cell phone, or lots of computers. We enjoyed the outside mostly and each other. I actually cried when school began, I know, crazy. It was fun to be with the kids.

Every year now, you can feel it in the air and see it in the stores. Nostalgia hits and I feel tears in my eyes. So, this morning I felt a bit teary eyed as I saw my neighbor’s grandchildren outside waiting for the bus. The bus came and some kind of quiet settled in the atmosphere. My garden is dying and harvesting starts. I’ll take my grandson Sweet J to pick some peaches and tomatoes today, but the swimming pools are closed, the amusement park is only open on the weekends, and it’s feeling like now is the time to gear up for lots of homework and changing our routine. I hate being pushed into this stuff and yet, it is needed.

With structure, the children thrive. Homework, practice, school events. It brings a sense of community. My son’s community did a back to school event. They had a pie eating contest, a dunk tank, the D.A.R.E. car and officers, along with city officials, and a movie in the park night. Kohl’s donated stuffed animals and other gifts for the kids who turned in their summer reading cards. It seemed like a wonderful event to bring the families and kids together. Back to school night is all we usually get, but it isn’t as fun as this was. Kudos to Clinton City. I hope other communities will follow suit. My son said he felt a bit jealous they had this and he didn’t when he went back to school.

So yes, it is that time of year already. Time went fast. Weekdays into weekends and so forth. We had fun celebrations in the communities surrounding us, fireworks, swimming, picnics, and lazy days. I loved every minute of it and when my grandchildren are old enough to go to school, I’ll cry more because I like playing and reading with them.

Now I feel as though I need to go buy pencils, pencil boxes, and notebooks.

Finding Joy

When my kids were younger, they would come home from school complaining about many small issues. To them, they were big, but in fact, looked at differently, they were small. I pondered on how to turn this around. The one thing was I would listen to their complaints as long as they told me 3 good things first. Well, the complaining lessened. I don’t know if they found something good about school or they struggled with finding good comments about school. They were hard days.

Looking back, they were also good days. Someone told me, little children, little problems, big children…

This morning I listened to a video about finding joy in your life and not shame, sadness, or blame about the past. The things in your past brought you here. Find 3 good things in your life and connect them back because I’m sure you wouldn’t understand the joy without the thing that brought you pain or unhappiness.

Best thing we can do for a baby on the way is to help bring happiness to Mom and Dad and help to fill the environment with happiness and joy. Also, Mom needs good food, like fresh vegetables and fruits. She also needs a good vitamin and mineral supplement as does Dad because he will be needed to help. If other children are in the home, they need enlightenment, joy, and positive thoughts. I know it is hard when money is short. I have been the Mom expecting a new baby and I compared all my pregnancies to my attitudes and the foods I ate while pregnant. Since then I spent time studying and reading books. They all concur with my feelings and my insights to those around me having children.

Contribute happy thoughts, happy words, and maybe invite Mom, Dad, and family to a meal. Keep things inviting and fun. If there is an abundance, share with the family. Lack of nutrition in or out of the womb can cause a mental handicap.

Also, children–small and adults will thrive with touch. You touch a person in many ways. When my little grandson Sweet J is with me, first thing in the morning, I hug him and then kiss his cheeks, the top of his head, his cute hands, and then his feet–which makes him giggle. He likes it when I rub the back of his neck and then touch his arms, telling him how strong his arms are. Then to his hands and fingers and telling him he has capable hands and fingers and that they are strong. I tell him all the things he’ll be able to do with them. I touch his mouth and tell him his smile is beautiful and that his words make me smile. I emphasize using good words. I continue  to all the parts of him that makes him strong, i.e., ears, eyes, legs, knees, feet, joints. He smiles as I tell him. I let him know he is good and that he’s smart.

These things are easy as they are small, but as the children get older and then become adults, we have to find other ways to help them build their strength. Sometimes, we’re not so happy with the choices they make and we tell them rather than let them know the good things they do. It’s what I have to work on myself, but isn’t it so much better to tell them something good about them and listen because when all is said and done I am still the Mom and they are still my children and they still want us to be happy about something for them just as they were excited to show us their first painting from school.

 

Shenandoah Feb. 19, 2014 (This I wrote on 2/19/2014)

Most mornings I wake to the sounds of birds, creak of the old house, sometimes rain on the roof, and sometimes just the sound of the neighbors leaving. It’s all a kind of music. Some music is soothing, some is work music, some just grates on our nerves. All of the sounds triggers memories.

The other day while my little grandson tried nestling down for the night, the song Shenandoah came to mind. As I hummed the melody, I heard his rhythmic breathing as he drew closer to me to feel the vibration of my chest. The more I hummed, the more I remembered the things that were soothing to me about the song and for the three nights over the last 4 that I had the little guy I sang or hummed Shenandoah (not that I have the best voice and luckily he doesn’t care at this point).

Until about 15 years ago, it was just another song with a pretty melody that evoked a reverent moment with thoughts of the country I live in. Now, I love that song more than ever. It takes me to a fall evening sitting in the Weber State Football Stadium watching the high school marching band playing. Lights were bright, the cool air chilled my cheeks while the trumpet solo warmed my soul. It reverberated through the entire stadium and from other comments, it was heard across campus in the night air. Beautiful, clear tones that swelled my heart until it overflowed down my cheeks. The soloist finished and stepped back into line keeping in rhythm with the other band members. Then I saw my youngest son round the corner as all the legs looked like someone moved them in one precise movement.

So every time I think of or hear that song, I remember a 15 year-old young man in his heavy white with gold trim uniform, a tall hat perched on top of overflowing blond curls, and bright red cheeks marching and playing his trumpet with the precision that carries him through the jobs he does now. (Just a note for his wife, I realize that keeping stuff picked up isn’t one of those perfectionist activities.) I thought about this curly headed  son of mine and realized throughout the years he had these characteristics from the moment I held him in my arms.

I thought about my 4 children and their attitudes, attributes, and characteristics and the variety of life each bring to the table. I thought  how we, as parents and grandparents or other adults in a child’s life, either make something worse or better by our reaction. I wondered what was the best way to promote habits that will help the children to be positive, kind, hard working, and so that they know how to follow a dream to fruition.  Our children aren’t born perfect, but sometimes the choices aren’t so good because of the lack of their experience and knowledge. They are learning just as we as adults do everyday.

Knowing we aren’t perfect as parents and children don’t come with handbooks, it’s wasted energy to berate ourselves or play the “if only” game. With each child and each day, we gain experience. We can’t change the other person, we can redirect behaviors and learning as babies grow We can change ourselves and how  react to situations.

It’s important to show love when a child repeatedly asks the same question. Otherwise, they will fear asking questions in other situations. Without asking questions, we lack problem solving skills and curiosity. Relish in their curiosity.

The old cliche of “Pick your argument,” has truth. If you freak out over the minor things, then the life threatening things lose validity or they think they can do nothing right.

Children need a safe place to make mistakes, ask questions, and learn they are special and have much to contribute. In the meantime, they will learn that everyone is special–at every age.

Remember also to not worry so much about past mistakes, learn and move on. Fill today with peace and love you, for that love will overflow to your child, family, friends, and to someone who may need it.

When I need a moment of peace, a clear memory of a happy time,  I hum Shenandoah and now I think of my little grandson and the days of my children. Music uplifts our souls. So find a quiet moment to reflect and enjoy the good times.

 

Emotions and Mental Well Being

My first time sitting before the dreaded educated panel of teachers, psychologists, special ed coordinator, and principal felt like the inquisition. They asked about my pregnancy and if I had difficulties. Other than the regular morning sickness and oh geez, the dreaded glass of wine I’d had before I knew I was pregnant, nothing except I’d been 2 weeks over due with my first child. And I had lots of depression because I was unhappy with my new home, job, and the fact that winter in Minnesota lasted forever, rather than the regular 6 months is Utah.

As a result of depression, sadness, or the feeling on loneliness, I wondered if my emotions affected my son. He was my first and generally a happy little guy with a beautiful smile who was really good. However, I didn’t understand how good til I had 3 boys together.

Our unborn children feel and hear all that we do. Anyway, studies show this.–       “Everything the pregnant mother feels and thinks is communicated through neuro-hormones to her unborn child, just as surely as are alcohol and nicotine,” states Dr. Thomas Verny whose books, professional publications, and founding of the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) and Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, have established him as one of the world’s leading authorities on the effects of prenatal environment on personality development.

He says that the baby will “absorb” negative feelings as well as positive feelings.

Many times our negative emotions are even a result of what we listen to, watch in movies or TV, or choose to read. It is also a reflection of the foods we eat and the vitamins and minerals we take in our supplements.

Would I have passed on better vibes or emotions and thus giving my children a higher learning opportunity had I known about the better supplements? These are things I am exploring, so I can help my future grandchildren and hope to pass this on to my community.

Dr. Ladd McNamara and OB/GYN and an independent business owner in USANA states that prenatal care begins when a young woman first starts menstruating. He says that sometimes we don’t know when we’ll get pregnant, so prepare our bodies early.

For right now, if you’re pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant find time to replenish your emotional strength. Reach out to a church or even a group at the library of young moms or young moms to be. They are learning as much as you and just sharing a moment at the park is valuable.

Please feel free to share the info you have from books, doctors, or experiences. Bottom line is that we all want a healthier future generation. I see progress in even the strollers that are made now as opposed to when I was a young Mom. I’d have loved a jogging stroller for 3. I walked all over the place. I’d have also loved more info on nutritional supplements. What I read never gave me enough info. All I knew was I needed folic acid, more calcium, and not too much Vitamin A. I also needed sleep.

My children are adults and I see how my emotions affected their lives through the years and no, I wasn’t all together unhappy, but I do know that I was more stressed than I needed to be. We all have stresses in life–loss of jobs, higher than usual medical bills or just other debt. And usually it came in threes. Learning how to handle things with less stress is a chore, but well worth it.

Let me know what you think.

I Have Been There and You Don’t Have to be There Alone

It was 1989 and I’d finally gotten to see the movie Parenthood. I laughed and cried through the movie. The part where the parents were in the principal’s office and the teacher was telling them about their son’s progress, Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen looked at each other talking about what could have caused their son to have emotional issues fitting into the mold of the classroom, I was the only one laughing. If you don’t laugh, you cry and I was at a point in life where the school was calling me all the time because of what is deemed learning disabilities as opposed to learning differences. I was on the 5th year of such conversations and terms such as “shallow end of the gene pool. three short of a 6-pack,” and thoughts of being whispered about behind my back because people just thought I was a “bad parent,” or oh my, the tag of “dysfunctional family,” ran through my head. What was wrong with me? What was wrong with my beautiful sons? Why didn’t we fit in? I felt entirely alone. We were all looney tunes. I knew I needed help, but what kind?

Dysfunction wasn’t something people talked about. It was something hidden behind closed doors and we tried to maintain a “public image” when leaving our  home. I kept the blinds closed often, so the world couldn’t leak in. I dreaded going back to school after a break or a weekend.

I wasn’t alone. I just didn’t know who to talk to to or really who to “trust.”

People are allowed to talk about their substance abuse, alcoholism, or anything else other than learning problems, ADD, ADHD, or even mental issues. Luckily, things have evolved enough for parents to seek out help, but it’s still unacceptable to be different.

I remember phrases such as–“Einstein was a late bloomer,” or “People told Edison’s mother he needed to be put in an institution,” and my all time favorite was “God knew you could handle these kids.” And the reference of “These kids,” really irritated me. “We don’t prepare ‘These Kids’ for college.

As parents, we want “These kids” to be healthy, productive, understood, but most of all self-loved.

I’ve since learned that many things could be helped by essential vitamins and minerals that perhaps was missing because we weren’t totally aware of the ingredients in foods we fed our children or perhaps there wasn’t enough money at times to feed them more than ramen noodles and beans and a glass of milk.

This blog is dedicated to helping Moms, Dads, Grandparents, or anyone else searching for answers with a place to post information or questions, so that someone may not feel they are drowning in “the shallow gene pool.” It’s really not shallow at all, just misunderstood and misdiagnosed at times. It is also here to help post and find  info on education and nutrition, which starts with a future mom and her prenatal care.

I’ve heard from an OBGYN a young woman should take prenatal vitamins long before she gets pregnant, sometimes as soon as she starts having menstruation cycles. So please, do research and keep yourself healthy. Even in spirit.