Take Kids on Errands

Stretching the Social Teachable Moment

2016-09-23-15-35-51-1See that pink paper in John’s friend’s hand?

That’s the birthday cookie cakes receipt.

I could have picked up the bakery goods myself.

Instead, I chose to wait until I had a car full of boys.

It took only 15 minutes to run the errand, which turned into a grocery story ice cream party when we coincidentally met other families running errands also.

A rich social experience followed, which would never  have occurred if I had been an efficient mom, doing errands when solo.

And then, the only place in the car to put the two birthday pans was in the back, on top of that flexible cover that pulls out like a window shade.

And there they stayed for hours, sliding around while we did other stuff.

Not so pretty anymore, but the kids didn’t care the next day.

Perfection is for adults.

So, think of ways to include your kids in errands.2016-09-23-21-32-35-1

They learn how to do things.

Also, I emotionally connected the kids to a big part of the next day.

They got the cakes from the counter out to my car.

Gaining skin in the game.  The cake game.

And these same kids were the ones who ate the cakes the following day at John’s birthday party.

Twenty-seven (27) kids for bowling, pizza, cookie cake and arcade chaos.

More opportunities for emotional bonding.

Liquid gold to John.

Maybe this can work in your world.

Peace be with us,




Your List Or My List?

DEFCON 5 - "You Have Lost Your Freedom"

My frustration was growing.  John was making decisions that kept me his prisoner, not allowing me to do my mom work.

No intervention I was trying was working.

Your List or My List

And I was getting mad (never a good thing).

Then I remembered something that had worked in the past:  Take him with me when I do my work.

So my To Do list became his list.

John went with me:  doing laundry, dishes, clearing the table, readying for tomorrow, etc.

He hated it.

He begged for HIS list.

He begged for early bed-time.Your List My List2

Who wants to do mom-work?

I told him if he got out of bed, he got to help me more.

He didn’t.

I wish I could say that John never tested me again on this.

Several days later, we were going somewhere fun for him, and all he had left to do was read for 30 minutes.

He stalls on the reading, right?Your List My List3

I eventually realized I wanted him to do what he wouldn’t do, so he could go have fun.

And causing myself great stress about it.

He had no intrinsic motivation.

He didn’t care, but I cared for the loss of social time with other kids.

Once I stopped trying to please him, I got my peace back.

I had been co-dependent.

We started with the dishes, wiping off the table and counters, moved on to paperwork, mail and laundry.

When John ran away from me to another room, I told him he would have to earn me not holding his hand like a little baby.

Each time John ran away (of course he is going to test my boundaries), I retrieved him by the hand.

We went on the the next thing.

Slowly, relaxed, without any intervention agenda or renegotiation.

Just getting my mom work done.

The sheer boredom drove him nuts.

I would say “my list or yours?”, “how do you like my list?”, “when you do your list, then I can do my list.”

And we worked in the sinister 30 minutes of reading.

And then I put him to bed.

My disappointment wasn’t the issue, and I tried to remember that.

He made the choice.

I wonder when he will try testing me on this again.

When he does, I must love him enough to hold my ground.

He’s only going to get bigger and older.

So, maybe this can help at your home.

Peace be with us,


Swallowing On Purpose

Pills Down The Hatch (that means the "food tube")

Swallow2 Swallow5What we call bio-medical (bio-med) usually involves nutritional supplements.

These seldom taste yummy.

Lucky if they are liquids, crystals, capsules or some form that dissolves easily. Other options are tablets you have to crush.

Many of us have played with this alchemy for years.

I have been known to add flavorings just to get the kid to drink the stuff in the cup.

I have shoved little chewable tablets into his Juice Plus gummy drops.

And then as time has gone by, encouraged him to stick three in his mouth at one time.

Working on that oral defensiveness : )

Another trick I have found after years of practicing is to just plop the tablets into a smidge of water in the cup, letting the cup sit overnight in the fridge.

By morning, most tablets are mushy enough to stir and then slurp up a straw.

Oh, but, swallowing on purpose little hard pills?

For John with his oral defensiveness:  Never.  Never.

So we got some basics from Rosemary Slade, an expert in feeding issues.

Making John know this swallowing thing was going to happen, like it or not.

Here are some photos of things we tried with Rosemary.Swallow8

And we added it to John’s daily list.

“Swallow three pills” every day.

If it didn’t go down the first time, we kept at it.  He would try to spit it out or gag.

I said, “try again”, and he pulled another mouthful of water from the straw.Swallow6

Using a straw works far better than an open cup for us.

Maybe something about momentum and suction.

Some times it takes several attempts, and as practice will do, he is getting good at it.

And quite proud of himself.Swallow1

The trick is getting it on the list.  Doing it.  Every day.

(Later, some time has gone by, and yet John was able to swallow a round little Colace.  We are still working on our toileting, and that is a story for another day.)

He remembered how to swallow pills.

We also practiced closing the ziploc baggie, which is more 2-handed, crossing mid-line, fine-motor difficult than you would think.

Maybe these ideas can help your world.

Peace be with us,



Each Moment I Interact With My Child,

Where Do I Start From?

In our workshops, we talk about finding half-and-half balance in doing all we can for our kids versus accepting them as they are; and how easily that can get out-of-whack.

Slide1 HeartBut recently, something happened and I had to re-think this.

So, here goes:

At the beginning of each interaction with John, where am I standing?

Do I begin on the line, a foot on both sides, waiting for something to happen?

Am I outside looking in, getting ready (for what?), or on the Intervene Now half, with a bias?

I was forced to look at John’s reactions to my re-directs, and I was in the wrong half.

I am trying my very best to begin each time we interact standing in the “I accept you as you are” side.

Like “innocent until proven guilty”.

To back off.

To give him more rope and more peace.

For this isn’t an hourly, daily or weekly decision.

It is a second-by-second, constant state of choice, and I must be very self-aware.

If Mom is an intervention, nagging buzz-kill, then where is the joy in his decisions?




Restaurant Circus Tricks and The Napkin Dance

My Kid Had Me Over A Barrel And It Wasn't Pretty

Napkin Dance5 Napkin Dance One vacation morning this summer, John whipped out his worst restaurant manners in a long time.

I re-directed him (using the least prompting I could muster) to Napkin Dance 2order his own food, ask for his own straw, help with check-out procedures, and to curtail the rowdy napkin tricks.

(Later I asked him to re-create the napkin dance for you, and here’s three photos of what we got.)

How hard can it be to just stick a napkin under a leg until you need it?  And why does it always include the topic of wieners?

We opted for a big-boy flat plate, not the bowl that is easier to corral the food.

He got up and ran around with the dang napkin, doing what I called the napkin dance.

And finally, at the end of our “performance”,  he had the natural consequence of sitting quietly for four whole minutes, earning the right to ask to be excused.

He did it.   So now I know he can do it again.Computer Time3

Peace be with us,