Tuesday, September 28, 2010

stepfamily traditions

A common recommendation found in step family books is to create and plan your own step family traditions. We come together with two sets of separate traditions. While we can include the new family members in our established traditions, it never feels like it's "ours". Even worse, sometimes the timing of these traditions conflict and difficult choices have to be made.

Like our first fourth of July celebration.

Kevin always watched the Elyria fireworks with his kids, took them to the parade in Rochester, and then to a picnic on his family farm. I always got together with my college friends with children in tow on Catawba Island. Due to how many of us traveled from out of town, having an additional day off work helped make this happen. Through negotiation and communication, we have usually been able to work everything out but I do remember a wee bit of conflict that first year.

For many years our family had little time and even less money to plan any sort of elaborate tradition, so I started thinking smaller. We seemed to settle on birthday dinners. Not thrilling, especially when you have to wait 3 hours to eat grilled cheese(can't believe I didn't blog about it) but at least we had something.


After a long awaited for trip to Kalahari Resort last fall that coincided with the soccer convention and the discounted room prices it brought with it, I mentioned how nice it would be if something like that could be our annual step family tradition. Kevin had some sort of non-committal response. So I wasn't counting on it.


This summer one of the prizes in the adult summer reading game was an overnight trip for 6 to the same resort! So as they say, I put all my eggs(coupons for the drawing) in one basket(overstuffed box) and this time it worked out! We are having and second annual autumn resort trip courtesy in part(2/3) to the Friends of the North Ridgeville Library. Maybe this can be our annual step family tradition after all. (fingers crossed)

Disappointing side note: After doing the math(6 free passes, 9 people), my 3 stepchildren were actually concerned they were being left out. That made me sad. :( It wouldn't be a step family tradition without all the members of the step family now, would it??

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

child care: safe sleep practices

I recently participated in my first online training: Reducing the risk of SIDS. If you are expecting, or if you currently or MAY care for an infant, I highly recommend this FREE online training.

I wanted to pass on the most important thing I learned. This point was brought up because infants die more frequently in childcare from SIDS in the first few weeks of attendance.

Unaccustomed tummy sleeping increases the risk of SIDS. Babies who are used to sleeping on their backs and are placed by childcare providers to sleep on their tummies are 18 times more likely to die from SIDS.

Please, please, please make sure you put your infants "Back to Sleep" unless you have a signed wavier from the pediatrician.

It's not only SIDS providers need to be concerned about during nap time. This summer two local families have suffered similar horrible tragedies. In North Ridgeville in June, after being left unsupervised, a 2 year old went out the window and drown in a neighbors swimming pool. In August in Medina County, two sisters wandered off from a grandfather who thought they were asleep. They both died from heat stroke after being trapped inside a neighbor's car.

Stay alert during naps, use baby monitors, perform timely visual checks, and make sure your safety gates are in place to keep children contained. These practices will go a long way toward preventing these kinds of tragedies.

Sleep can be dangerous. Do your part to keep our kids safe. Sleep practices for childcare providers are covered HERE in the Ohio Administrative Code.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kari Jobe | Revelation Song | Live

Thursday, September 9, 2010

counting to one hundred

Don't look at me.

I had nothing to do with this.

When it comes to cognitive development of a preschooler, I'm firmly in the Montessori camp. I design the environment, provide the materials, demonstrate, and resolve behavior issues. I don't use worksheets or formal lesson plans. Yes, I've had complaints from daycare parents that their 2 year olds aren't recognizing letters but darn it, I just don't think it's developmentally appropriate for a 2 year old to be "taught" to recognize letters.

My own 4 year old boy does not have the letter recognition skills that some of his peers have but WOW....he can count to one hundred!!!

And that's pretty cool.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Early education professionals are taught how difficult transition times can be for the preschooler. It's hard on parents too. On your youngest child's very first FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, which is most likely the last very first FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL you will have, is it too much to ask for a masseuse or a frozen margarita machine in the parent resource room?

He did GREAT! But I wept in the parking lot for 15 minutes after dropping George off at preschool Tuesday afternoon. It wasn't because I was worried about him. It was sad and unfamiliar knowing that I'm entering the next phase of my life where I no longer have any little ones at home with me all day.

Then I spent 2.5 lovely hours swimming laps and grocery shopping in solitude. Ahhhh.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

child care: interview hints and tips

A provider friend of mine is interviewing this week for one opening. She has multiple families to pick from for the one spot. I thought I would pass along some information for helping you to stand out from other applicants when interviewing with a highly qualified and recommended home childcare professional. Providers are just as busy as you are and our time is just as precious so we appreciate clients who demonstrate that they understand this from the get-go.

Most importantly; Keep your appointment. Nothing sets off more of a red flag than a no show/no call for an interview. At worse, it shows us how little respect you have for us and for our time. At best, you reveal yourself as a disorganized person who is unable to keep track of her own obligations. Keep in mind that many local providers maintain some type of contact so the news of your bad behavior is likely to spread.

Ask if there is a link to a parent handbook you can review before the appointment. If there is a policy or procedure in the handbook you have a strong objection to, it may be helpful to have a phone conversation ahead of time to clarify it. You don't want to waste your time and ours by interviewing in spite of objections you can't overcome. For example, if the childcare provider serves only vegetarian meals and you want your child eating chicken for lunch, you probably want to pass on the interview.

Come prepared with a list of questions. Nothing should be assumed. Nothing will shock us. We are the one who will spend the majority of your child's waking hours with her. You are entitled to the information.

If your child is going to be a distraction because he can't play quietly while you interview the provider, you will want to leave him at home for the initial interview. It is important to see how your child interacts with the provider, but it's more important to discover if the childcare is a good fit for your family.

If you see anything markedly objectionable or dangerous in the home, (a provider caring for more than 6 children, smoking, filth, signs of drug use etc.) you need to report the provider to the county job and family services childcare division. You can do this confidentially. Please do it to protect the kids. They can't do it themselves.

FOLLOW UP with the provider within a week. Even if it is only to say you are still deciding. If you have chosen another provider and feel a phone conversation would be akward, just send email to the others you were considering to say, "Thanks for your time but we have found another provider who is a better fit for our needs."

Following these simple guidelines is the first step to a long and mutually respectful relationship with your new provider.