Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Time and the Livin' is Easy....NOT

This photo was taken of Little One, moments before he decided that he did NOT want to leave the beach and took off running away from me when I attempted to hold his hand and walk toward the parking lot. :(
The beach, the beach was fun. Chasing a VERY FAST four year old down Nauset beach when the sun is setting and bugs are arriving...NOT FUN.
Sometimes it can feel like our children WANT to end things on a sour note.
Why are transitions so difficult? Well, there are a few reasons...and when I say them out loud to myself, I find them comforting. When I remember the tricks I know work (90% of the time) and use them to prevent the running away of my disgruntled four year old...that's even better!
Transitions = Change. Change = the unknown.
It's been my experience that most children handle things better when they're given choices — so they can have some autonomy — but you need to make sure the choices are ones you're prepared to carry out. The trick is to create a win-win situation where there's no struggle for power. One way to do this is with a contest: 'Can you get your shoes on before I get my coat on?' The idea is to let your child feel successful — but you also win, because her shoes are on. Another trick is to be silly: 'Let's see if you can put on your shoes while making a funny face!' Or sing nonsense words, use hand motions, and dance.....but all of this is more work (for us, Mom and Dad). I for one can get tired and as was the case with this situation, I can get lazy at this parenting job. Sometimes I just don't WANT to be creative. Sometimes I just want to say, "Okay, it's time to go." and have my kids do what I am requesting, without having to chase them a mile down the freaking beach!
That being said, I KNOW, I KNOW. I'm just venting here.
One of my favorite authors and inspirational speakers is Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of "Raising Your Spirited Child," St. Paul, MN. [When talking about Spirited Children] she says...
"You need to discover and appreciate who's come to live with you. It's important to realize that your child is not trying to be difficult — this is their temperament, how they react to the world. Parents should understand that these kids have traits we value in adults; they are just 'more' — more high energy, passionate, persistent. Parents can help their child manage this intensity by teaching them the skills to understand their triggers, know what soothes them, and help them build the vocabulary to express emotions. Then, parents can show their child how to channel this intensity into a positive outlet."

I try and remember her words whenever I find myself in a situation that makes me want to stamp my feet and scream. ;)
For Little One, ANY transition is a trigger. And my fantasy above, is just that, a fantasy. I can count on one hand, how many times I have simply said, "Come on Sweetie we're leaving, let's go." and he has complied. So, clearly I'm dreaming when I think "but one day he will....". And that's what Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is talking about. And after almost 18 YEARS of parenting, you'd think I would have this down pat.
And you know why? Because I'm human. And so are you. So I guess the point of this post, (if there is one) is to cut yourself some slack. Parenting is hard work. And besides, sometimes, bugs or no bugs, taking a run down the beach can be refreshing. The unexpected is what makes life interesting. And on our long walk back we did find a really cool moon shell :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Time for a Change

Okay, so I changed the back ground here at Montessori Mama. Thoughts? Like/dislike?
I'm interested to know your opinions.
Change can be difficult but also magical. A close friend recently said to me,

"Birth is painful, but oh sooooo full of promise."

Both times that I was able to give birth naturally (and especially throughout my C-section with Middle Man), I have felt close to death....just in that moment before everything changed for the better and the baby came.
I remember my mid-wives saying that our greatest wisdom about what we are capable of comes from being observant in that moment. As a mother going through it and as a witness to birth.

Right now I feel as though I am going through that moment emotionally and I am trying to be observant and learn from all that has been said and not said, and I am really trying to be a listener of my own heart.

And good things are happening. I am surrounded by supportive people throughout this process of transformation and I am especially grateful for their love and support.

I am broadening my circle and opening myself to new opportunities. It is hard but feels liberating. Sometimes the sacrifices we make for our families are enormous...but in my heart I know I am doing the best thing for these boys of mine.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Zodiworks Book Signing (at The Cave)

"Sam Dog" loves to give a kiss, especially if the boy in need of love, just finished eating a sweet~bun! Yum!

This was the beautiful view on the way to The Cave, a unique wine and cheese store / bakery / and now Zodiworks book seller, located in Down East Maine, home of Wooden Boat Magazine.

As adorable kindergarten students from the Brooklyn Elementary School entered and began to fill the handmade quilt my partner Robin had lay out for them to sit on, "Sam Dog", a.k.a Robin's beautiful golden retriever, greeted the children with lots of tail wagging and kisses! She is such a love....

I introduced the Zodizoo characters and let the children explore the many finger puppets we had brought along. Then I read each book in the the Sam Series and acted out the stories; with the children's help of course. I think everyone had fun, I know I did and obviously Little One too, well he LOVED the Sam Dog kisses, that's for sure!

To invite us to YOUR school or book store, just send my husband an email at

Happy Summer Solstice to All
Love Jennifer

Friday, June 11, 2010

Last Day

We made fish bowl cards to say "Goodye" to our students this year. 'Dorothy' our goldfish is a gem of a pet and the children LOVE her. It seemed only right that she would give them bubbles to enjoy over the summer :)

Thank you for a wonder-FULL year my toddler friends and families!
You have no idea how you have touched my heart and helped me grow as a teacher and person! With love and in peace ~ always ~ Happy Summer!!!

PS: This is my 500th POST! I can't believe's to 500 MORE~
Montessori Mama

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hand That Gives The Rose

Making me cry...
This song and video gave me such release today. But when 'Little One' peeked over my shoulder and said,
"We read that book at school!"
I started crying. Let us not forget why we do the work we do. The children. Enjoy this video. I know I did.

Zodiworks for YOU!

Today I am Feeling the Bloggity Love....
A satisfied zodiworks customer over at The Work Plan posted about my books! Very exciting indeed. Stop by and visit her and enjoy her many creative ideas and classroom in action photos. It's so great to know that "Sam" is being loved by children other than my own :) Thank you for sharing!

Are there any other "Sam" book readers out there? Please comment and give feedback, we sooooooooo appreciate hearing from you.
Jennifer and the zodiworks gang!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

So far this week....

So far this week....
We have found two June bugs and it is only the beginning of the month ;)
Best friends have quarreled and made up, more than a half dozen times,
The basket ball hoop has become of great interest to all who play outdoors,
the sun has been shining long enough for us to enjoy all of these outdoor activities and then a gentle rain falls during nap time...awww peace.

What has your week been like?
Only 8 more days in our school year :(
I can't believe the school year is just about through.

Where in the World?


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