There are various methods for teaching a child how to do household tasks and motivating her to be involved in the daily work of maintaining the family home. One that's worked well for me is this: Show the child how to solve a problem she created, and then extend her new skill into routine maintenance. … Continue reading How to Get Preschoolers to Help with Housework
It's great to hear from readers who say that The Earthling's Handbook taught them some incredibly helpful idea that they use all the time now. That's what I want to do! I want to make the world a better place by sharing things that work for me, especially things that help people conserve resources, eat … Continue reading Am I your role model?
I wrote a short review of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, but I have more to say about this book. The author is a marriage counselor whose experience with clients led him to identify 5 distinct ways of expressing love and to recognize that the acts that convey to you that someone really … Continue reading more about The 5 Love Languages
Good morning! It's time to start another productive work-week! My recent rant about how teenagers aren't so terrifying was inspired partly by being the parent of a teen and partly by reflecting on my own teenaged years while sorting through some of my old stuff. One thing I found was the journal I wrote for … Continue reading Have a Marvelous Monday!
My son Nicholas turned 13. It happened more than a month ago, and I wouldn't have any more to say about it than any other birthday if it weren't for other people's reactions. Nearly every time somebody asks how old he is now and I tell them, they have something to say about it (beyond … Continue reading Oh, no, a teenager!!!
A few years ago, some people from Alumni Relations invited me out to lunch so they could ask for my perspective (about 20 years after graduation) on what my Carnegie Mellon education has meant to me. I was flattered, and it was such an interesting question to consider that I've thought about it many times … Continue reading What I Really Learned in College
Are you the parent struggling to leave your child's school each day as he clings to your legs, screaming and crying? Is every morning a struggle to get yourself ready for work and your kid ready for childcare, while she delays in every way imaginable until you're shrieking in frustration, and then she looks at … Continue reading Coping with a Clingy Child
This is one of the easiest things you can do to make a positive difference in the world. Every time you choose a vegetarian meal instead of meat, you conserve some resources. You don't have to be vegetarian full-time or forever to make a difference. Meat production has a huge environmental impact. Growing plants and … Continue reading Become a Temporary Vegetarian!
This is a story I've been wanting to tell since it happened, but it almost doesn't sound real. This really did happen, though, and it was an important encouragement just when I needed one, and now I'm at a point where I really need encouragement again. I'm kind of writing this for myself to read, … Continue reading EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL RIGHT.
My grandma would be 101 years old today, if she were still alive. Last year I tried to write the centennial tribute she deserved, but I was recovering from a brain injury, so not only was everything a struggle but I felt really terrible and inadequate about everything...and also, I realized, "Grandma meant so much … Continue reading Grandma, Grace, Portage, Petunias, and a Jade Green Sweatshirt
A few days ago, I was unpacking my winter clothes and putting away my summer clothes, and I realized that there was a small section at the very back of my closet that had gone untouched for years. The garments hanging back there literally had cobwebs and a thick layer of dust on the shoulders. … Continue reading A Person Who Deserves to Wear This Dress
I worked with crime data for 17 years, and occasionally someone would say, "Gosh, that must make you so worried about your safety!" No. It didn't. It had exactly the opposite effect. There are four patterns I saw, over and over again, that made me feel safer: Crime rates in Pittsburgh and in the United … Continue reading America is SAFER now than it used to be.
Our two-year-old Lydia has always been the type who takes a while to wind down, but in the late spring after she stopped nursing, she went pretty easily into a relatively smooth routine of listening to several stories and then saying good night and lying alone in her bed in the dark listening to a … Continue reading Bedtime List: How to organize a child’s routine
One of the hardest, most humbling things about being a parent is those moments when your child communicates with you using strategies that you've used with him or that he's seen you use with someone else--and you shouldn't have. We all have times when we do something to try to get another person to do … Continue reading Cooperation, Communication, and Consequences
In addition to finishing the books I got for Christmas in time for my birthday, I've read a few other new-to-me books recently, including one that actually has the alternate title What I've Learned By Reading Too Much! I learned something from each of these books. The Dance of Anger by Harriet G. Lerner This … Continue reading What I’ve Learned By Reading Too Much (and 4 other books!)
Our daughter Lydia is 21 months old. Since she was born, almost all of her diaper changes at home (rather than childcare) have been my job. I also launder the cloth diapers myself. Unfair, right? Daniel is just as responsible as I am for the existence of this messy little human, so he should take … Continue reading Diaper Changing Duties: What’s Fair?
I remember, when I was 3 or 4 years old, sitting in front of the television watching the test pattern waiting for my local public television station to begin its broadcast day. I liked the pretty colored stripes. Finally they would disappear, the station information would be displayed along with a drawing of a scissor-tailed … Continue reading Why My Toddler Doesn’t Watch Sesame Street
I am putting this post in a variety of categories because it's kind of silly but I'm kind of serious, too. I would like to believe that in this very complicated world, my actions truly do make a difference, even in unexpected metaphysical ways. Purple is my favorite color. At this point in my life, … Continue reading The Power of Purple Is Real!!!
Today is Ash Wednesday. Three years ago on Ash Wednesday, I wrote this article about the renewal we can experience during Lent. I had no idea what was coming my way! You may have heard of the idea of choosing one word as a theme for your year. You're supposed to place this word around … Continue reading Get Up and Eat: 3 Years of Replenishment
More than three years ago, I explained why I was boycotting Facebook. Yesterday, I joined Facebook. My intention was to join as The Earthling's Handbook, but Facebook immediately responded, "You have to join with your real name! I'm the only book allowed here!" so I joined with my own name but used The Earthling's Handbook … Continue reading Oh, all right. But they didn’t Book my Face!