Sleep Strategies for Babies, Children, and Parents

Our son is six-and-a-half years old now, and while we’ve sometimes had trouble with his sleeping habits, in general we feel that the plans we made before he was born, influenced in part by the amazing books The Continuum Concept and The Family Bed, have worked out pretty well.

Disclaimer: We have only one child.  These are strategies that have worked for us.  They may work differently with different children or different parents.  If your goals are different from those described in the next paragraph, these strategies may not be useful to you.

The first step is to figure out the most important goals, and the most important things you want to avoid, regarding your child’s sleeping habits.  Read more…

How do you explain death to a young child?

My response to this question won’t work for everyone, but I think most parents can adapt it to explain the beliefs they want to convey to their child.  You also can learn from my experience and avoid leaving out a crucial fact about death, as I did!

Nicholas first asked about death a few weeks after he turned three years old.  I had always expected that the question would come up after he heard about someone dying, but in fact it followed close on the heels of, “Where do babies come from?”–a question I addressed only briefly that first time because Nicholas almost immediately moved on to asking, “How do we make room for new people?  What happens to the old ones?”

I explained that when a person’s body gets old and worn-out, or if a person is so badly hurt or sick that the body can’t be fixed and can’t work anymore, then the person dies.  This means that the body is still there, but the thinking, feeling, active part of the person is gone.

Then I came to the pause pointRead more…

7 More Product Recommendations

Here are the previous 7.  These are things I really like.  I am not affiliated with any of the companies, and I was not asked to write these reviews or compensated in any way.

1. Pentel Clic Eraser This handy desk accessory, which I use every day both at home and at work, solves the problem of pencil erasers getting used up or hardening into uselessness before the pencil’s writing ability is exhausted.  Read more…

How to get more out of Communion

I feel kind of silly posting a tip for religious fulfillment as if it were just another tip for better living, but I did learn this from a bishop (so it’s sort of official!) and it really has made a big difference in the way I experience Communion and maybe even in the way God guides me for days afterward.

I’m an Episcopalian, and although my congregation is small, the process of receiving Communion often feels lengthy, even a little tedious.  It’s easy for my mind to start wandering while I’m waiting for my turn to walk up to the altar, waiting for a space to open up for me to kneel, waiting for the priest to come by with the bread, waiting for the chalice-bearer to come by with the wine.  Read more…

Why my child is not allowed to watch Teletubbies

Attention, readers: The tone of this article is exaggerated for humor value.  Although it does describe a potentially serious side-effect of watching a program that I personally find unbearably irritating, not every detail is intended literally.  If you feel angry after reading it, please take a deep breath and step away from the screen. Comments are closed now that I have given the Teletubbies fans a more than fair chance to demonstrate their social skills and intelligence.

Nicholas is six-and-a-half now, far older than the target audience for Teletubbies, but this morning he was teasing me again about this rule, and I realized that the story behind it should be explained on the Internet so that other parents can benefit from my traumatic experience instead of experiencing it themselves.

The Teletubbies are an evil force that corrupts children!!!  No, this is not about Tinky-Winky being gay.  It’s about the unique mind-altering, discipline-perverting, common-sense-shattering power of those plastic-faced demons. Read more…

The Magic Bullet does NOT work for me!

That’s strange; I thought Works-for-Me Wednesday this week was supposed to be a “What’s not working for you?” edition, but the hostess has explained how to make a burlap wreath that apparently works for her, and now that I think about it, last week she explained why online calendars don’t work for her.  I must have gotten the dates confused.  Well, anyway, here is something that’s not working for me:

The Magic Bullet is a blender/chopper system that supposedly “does ANY job in 10 seconds or less.”  Seriously, any job?  Really, they mean only food-cutting jobs, like making smoothies, dicing vegetables, grating cheese, chopping nuts, crushing ice, pureeing beans, etc.  Still, that sounds good!  We bought one on special at Costco almost two years ago.

Our conclusion, after trying hard to learn its ways, is that the Magic Bullet does a few kinds of jobs in 10 minutes or less and is annoying, if not incompetent, at all the other things it claims it can do. Read more…

You think YOUR job sucks?!

Hey, I’m not about to claim my job is worse than yours.  That correction fluid misadventure was about as bad as it gets.  I really like my job, actually, and often notice how lucky I am to be able to use the restroom, drink coffee, get online, or receive a personal phone call anytime.  Lots of people–such as my child’s teachers–don’t have such luxurious flexibility in their work.  I love being with kids, but when I was a Girl Scout leader there were never more than 18 in my troop, with two adults present nearly all the time, and I was on-duty with them a maximum of three days in a row–so let’s hear it for teachers, who go solo with that many kids or more, hours at a time, five days in a row!

On Labor Day, I always get a paid holiday.  Lots of workers don’t.  I ate in a restaurant tonight, staffed by people who were working on the holiday.  I’m grateful.  I’ve worked in food service, so I know first-hand that it’s harder in many ways than an office job, yet food service workers are often taken for granted and treated with little respect.

I’ve been thinking this weekend about some of the jobs I’m very glad I don’t have to do myself!  Some are jobs I’m glad somebody else does so I personally can avoid them.  Others are jobs I’m not sure any living being should have to do.  Here are some examples: Read more…