Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer is here....Let's enjoy it safely

    We have an inground pool at our house, and I was lucky to be able to work from home until Matt went to third grade.  That made me one of the most popular mom's in the neighborhood.  Our pool is fenced separately within the back yard and padlocked, which meant that no one could fall in accidentally.  Matt had friends with older and younger siblings, so we always had a range of ages, but everyone had to be tall enough to stand in the shallow end.   I loved having kids around, but I am not a strong swimmer, and so I appointed a different junior lifeguard each day.  Even though the kids were not allowed in the pool area without me, I gave my assistant several duties.  It was the junior lifeguard's job to make sure no one ran in the pool area, and to make sure the kids who couldn't swim well stayed in the shallow end with me.  I was the one sitting on the steps making waves.  We were also the ones who decided what games we got to play.  Before the kids could jump off the diving board, they had to earn it.  They could solve a grade- appropriate mutiplication table, or tell a joke, or name their dive.  Sometimes, everyone had to do a pencil dive, trying to make the smallest splash.  Other times they did a cannonball and tried to make the biggest splash.  We used the diving board as the stage.  It was a fun and safe way to kill several hours on a hot summer day.  I saw the little kids gain confidence, and become better swimmers.   Of couse, we had swimming races, volleyball ,  nerf basketball, and marco polo games.   Matt was having fun with his friends.  I provided towels , sunscreen and bandaids,  as well as snacks like freeze pops, cold drinks and cookies. I bought a couple of kids joke books.  I got to see how the kids behaved when they forgot I was around, and it was great to see them help each other.  My rule was that we could stay out as long as it was fun.  If the kids couldn't get along, then it was time to go  home.  We left the pool area each day, the same way we found it.  Clear and simple.
   I hope this gives some good ideas.  Remember, I'm not a professional, so take what you like and leave the rest.   So long for now....have a good week everyone....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads

  I want to wish a Happy Father's Day to my Dad, my husband,  and all the other dads today.  My dad loved to tell stories, and he was really good at it.  Whether it was bedtime stories, or stories around the campfire, my siblings and I loved them.  Dad would start telling a story at bedtime one night, and continue it over sereral nights.  All  of us  would  hop up onto my parents bed.  After the story,  Dad would carry  us back to our own bed.  As he picked each of us up, he asked which character from the story we wanted to be.  Because there were four of us, there were always at least four kids in our story.  The next night,  Dad would ask us to review what happened  the previous night, then he'd just continue from there.  Many times, he'd ask us what we wanted to happen next.  We got to name the pets, and the street where the family lived. We decided the nicknames for the characters.  Today we'd call it improv, but to us, it was just bedtime.
  Today, my Dad is 83yrs young, and he is still an avid reader.  His local library calls him when any book from the best seller's list hits their shelves.  His favorites are based on actual events.
 I believe that this is where I got my ideas for my Matt and Muggzy stories, as well as so many of my silly songs.  Thanks for the memories Dad.  I'll dedicate my next book to long for now...have a good week everyone...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pugs and Kisses

Sorry I'm late posting this week, my system was down yesterday...

I recently got a card  with a pug puppy on the front, and inside it said "Im sending you pugs and kisses!"
Of course, it made my day!!  Most of us can withstand the bigger issues, but it's usually the small stuff that gets to us.  I'll keep this card handy, and use it to boost my spirits.  I have a saying "I only allow myself two bad days a year, whether I need them or not !!"  Obviously, it's easier said than done....

I wanted to ask for ideas.  What kinds of things would you like to see in the blog?? 

 I can share my experience as a mom, however, I'm not an expert.  Please take what you like and leave the rest.   Have a good week everyone.....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Motivate kids with a Love Sandwich

A friend of mine was asking about some tips to help motivate her teenagers.  I always had luck with my "love sandwich."  Start out with something positive, then put the issue on the table, and follow up with another positive statement. Make sure it is age appropriate.   Here are some of my favorites:

"By the time you get to college, I want you to be able to take care of yourself. I need you to do more things for yourself ( like learn how to use the washing machine; learn to cook; and learn to run the dishwasher). I wouldn't be doing my job as a mom , if I didn't teach you how to put me out of  my job as a mom by the time you are 18."   Many college kids don't have these basic skills by the time they leave for school.
 All of this evolved naturally, as we got to the teenage years.   If the uniform for tomorrow's game didn't get to the laundry room, then I showed Matt how to do it himself. 
 When Matt had an early game,  he started the water for the pasta, and I cooked it as soon as I got home.  Lot's of great stuff got discussed when we worked side by side.  .
  If he needed a thermos for tomorrow's practice, then we started the dishwasher before we went to bed.

"I know you are not out stealing cars, but you need to keep your room clean.  I wouldn't be doing my job as a mom, if I didn't make sure you know how to do this."   Any time I could get Matt to laugh, it was easier to get cooperation.

"You are so special that we cannot let you slack off in school.  Dad and I can't screw this up, so we have to find a way to help you.  What do you need us to do to help you get back on track??"

It's much easier to motivate a kid who is self directed.  Once they see the benefit,  they want to do things for themselves.  So long for now....have a good week everyone......