By: Corinne Cameron
I am always interested in how people organize their lives. I figure most households are similar in that there are never enough hours in the day and there is always “something” that doesn’t get accomplished. And of course there are the different types of priorities and their importance really depends on the person they are benefiting, correct?
It isn’t until you sit down and either take the time to mentally put together all that is on your plate, journal it or have a blog you need to write, when you realize that that “plate” keeps growing. When it goes from a dessert plate to a bread then small dinner and finally large dinner plate, you realize that no matter the size, eventually the table is going to get filled too. As parents, we are always challenged with putting things in order of priority because, like it or not, a “day” only consists of 24 hours and some of those precious hours need to be devoted to sleep.
It's actually rather interesting to think, as the rhythm of your day unfolds, that something that was, for example, #3 on your priority list can so easily get pushed further and further down as other more “important” things arise and take its place. The way we personally rank our priorities is due to many things: the way we grew up, morals, health, outlook on life etc... Even in this new world of social media where we now know way more about the day to day of our “friends” lives than ever before, it doesn’t mean people post everything. I find sometimes that we, as women, tend to judge others for those decisions without knowing the complicated individual filter each person has. If I could with this post impress any one thing on other mothers (or fathers) out there, it would be that 'your priority list is your own and don’t let anyone make you feel different.'
So I ask, how do you choose to organize yourself? Do you write lists? How do you determine what goes on the list? Is it just the major things or do you put every last thing down like “folding the laundry”. Do you have the same routine everyday for the normal things? I realize that my organization is very unstructured. Maybe that is my problem; if I actually wrote things down and had a sense of order, maybe I wouldn’t over schedule myself, wait until the last minute to accomplish things or downright forget to do things like cleaning out the little one's ears at bath time.
On the other hand, as a director, I am very structured. I write out lists to make sure everything gets done. I create timelines to ease my stress level and I am usually prepared way in advance for things like auditions, rehearsals, blocking, choreography etc.. So why can’t I do this for my life in general? Well, maybe it’s because life with a toddler is an ever-changing adventure? Who knew something so small could throw a huge monkey wrench in your day in a blink of an eye!
Even though I don’t write things down and forever feel unorganized in daily life, we do have a nice rhythm of our day and certain small routines that always happen. They tend to make life a lot easier such as always putting Remy’s shoes and socks on right before we are ready to leave the house, while he is sitting on “the shoe bench” (which is actually a wooden storage piece for our throw blankets). It works great! Saying “Remy go to the shoe bench to get ready” signals him to run over and sit cutely waiting on the bench with his infectious smile and giggle due to the excitement of our impending outing. We also have great routines for nap, bath and bedtime that make each “activity” go off without a hitch. Ok why did I feel the need to put “activity” in quotes? Well I guess sleeping is an activity, just a low energy one and my bizarre nature felt the need to separate the word in some way..but, I digress….
Moving on...I recently learned that despite the best of intentions of getting things done and moving things up on my mental list of importance, life can always throw a curveball. These curveballs can be small or large, but change life in some way. My family has kind of had many good sized curveballs thrown out there as of late which has made life a lot more..umm… let's say 'complicated' for lack of better term. Without detailing everything as it would take many pages to do so, I'll give a brief glimpse of what has changed my normal priority list which I will try to write in a short paragraph. Ok try to read this like one of those fast commercials that are done in improper English...
Dad doesn’t feel well, collapses, gets taken to the ER. Has his second brain bleed and is in Mass General for a while, then 2 rehabs, then home in time for Turkey Day. Mom, my hubby and I need to learn to care for him as he is now paralyzed on his right side and you really can't understand 70% of what he says. Aides, therapists and nurses in and out of their house, has another stroke and back in hospital, then a week of rehab, gets sprung for a day for Christmas and then discharged for New Year's. Only child, me, takes on caring for him 3 days a week while trying to reschedule Remy’s school and early intervention appointments. Hubby’s car on the fritz and down to one car and need to get him to and from work every day. Mom herniated a disk so Hubby, Remy and I pack up and move in for 5 days to care for them both. Keeping their house clean as it's on the market (anyone want a nice three bedroom in Brewster??) while searching for a new house for us all to live.. Holidays, dental appointments (I'll write in my next post that I'm actually toothless right now and awaiting new teeth) MRI’s (for my own complicated medical picture), re-evals for Remy's early intervention due to delayed speech, quality time with the twins and the stomach plague hits both hubby and me for 4 days! Arggh!!
Phew.. Ok do I really need to explain more why I haven’t written in a while? Needless to say, life has changed a bit and is continually going to change until we all move and settle. It's both stressful and also exciting at the same time! I grew up with my grandmother in my home and it was great. I really love that Remy will have access to my parents on a daily basis.
Oh yeah, what I failed to mention, until now, is that I was also charged with directing the entertainment for a fundraiser at Buzzards Play Productions for the theatre department. I plan to write a whole piece on this unique and awesome live venue in the future. Anyhow… between all that was going on, I lost my pianist for the night and in typical Corinne fashion was lucky to find one with a week left to go. I had two rehearsals scheduled for this past week and guess what? Yeah, one of them was on Blizzard Tuesday (the only day the pianist could come) so apparently mother nature didn’t want it to happen. Luckily the pianist (who has never done musical theatre) was able to come for 2 hours on our Thursday rehearsal. We didn’t get through all the music, including one piece that the two actors didn’t know! So they (the pianist and the actors) learned it an hour before the performance.
Ok shameless gushing coming…. One of those actors was my talented husband. The show went off without a hitch. As I watched everyone perform the different numbers I was in awe.. It started off with a “flash mob style” of doing “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent. Rent was the first musical done at the venue so some of the cast came and joined the recent cast of The Rocky Horror Show to sing the song and it was beautiful! We did some numbers from “Rocky” including my hubby’s solo of “I’m Going Home”. I was standing off to the side of the stage holding a very tired Remy. He goes up, towering over the mic with his 6’6” frame and decides not to use it… he opens his mouth and the house was silent. The only possible thing that could have potentially been heard other than his beautiful voice was me getting choked up and starting to cry a bit.
It wasn’t just his voice that did it (although it was warranted), it was everything that I have just been writing about coming to a head. Even with all the trials and tribulations of life and major curveballs, there was time to just sit back and relax for a moment and beam with pride on behalf of the talent that assembled to support not only the arts but the venue in real need of a financial boost.
What is you escape activity? If you don’t have one, consider theatre… it will give more back to you then I could ever express on paper!
OK, nap time is over so off I go, go, go!
By: Suzanne Golden, M.S., CCC-SLP
This winter feels like it is dragging on and with all of the snow we have been getting my family and I have had to spend a lot of time inside! One thing my daughter and I enjoy doing more of when we are stuck inside is reading. Here are some hints and tips for making the time you spend reading with your child more meaningful.
Choose books together with your child
Read about a variety of topics
Talk about the title and look at the cover
Predict what the story is going to be about
Choose books your child has some background knowledge for and talk about it before reading
Label the pictures and encourage your child to say these words
Use describing words to talk about the pictures you see (big/little, shiny, etc..)
Ask your child to point to pictures throughout the book (“point to the doggy”)
Introduce new vocabulary words and provide simple definitions (“A bulldozer! That’s a big machine that pushes dirt!”)
Ask a variety of wh- questions (“Where is the doggy? Who is in the tree?”) If your child can’t answer verbally, encourage your child to point to the answer and you say the answer for your child to hear
Pause to allow your child to fill in words that he/she may know
Ask your child to recall information from the story
Retell the story with your child in your own words
Look back through the pictures and encourage your child to retell the story in his/her own words
Talk about your child’s favorite parts
Read books with similar themes and talk about how they are alike and different
Don’t be afraid to read books over and over again! Repetition is key to learning.
I hope these tips help you expand upon the time you spend reading with your child and help get you through this long, cold winter!
If you would like a PDF handout version of this information, please visit my website: www.goldenspeechtherapy.com
If you are concerned about your child’s language development call Golden Speech Therapy and schedule a free screening!
Recently a short YouTube video has been circulating from teacher Brian Switzer and students from the Morse Pond School in Falmouth. This anti-bullying video from local kids on Cape Cod is amazing for several reasons, but the most important reasons are that our young kids in the community are taking a major leadership role and becoming empowered to make a change.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead
The video came about on two fronts. First, it was produced for a School Department program called “No Guff.” This is a yearly effort by the Falmouth Public Schools to raise awareness about bullying. Specifically, the video comes out of Morse Pond School’s TEAM Program. This is a Talented and Motivated classroom that is run by myself (I do the Language side of the program, i.e. film, journalism, theater, etc.) and Ann Goulart, who runs the math component of the program. (We both coordinated on the video project)
The second front is the creative side. As with most stories, books, videos, etc. it came from a small idea that was then enlarged and given details. In this case the idea of “Stand up” is where we started. It is a simple phrase but lends itself to the message that we want people to get up and do something about this horrible thing called bullying. Additionally we wanted to get across the idea that there are way more people supporting you then there are those who are trying to drag you down.
As a school, Morse Pond wanted to get everyone involved so they would have ownership in saying, “We stand behind the effort to stop bullies.” (I should also mention our Principal Andrea Schwamb, who supported this effort As for the students at the school, they are quick to get behind a project like this.) Not only does the message resonate with each one of them but they love being part of a project that is larger than themselves. These kids are part of the digital age and are all to familiar with Youtube and the internet. Here is an introduction to creating content for the internet that is positive and shows them and their community in a positive light. It’s empowering in a positive way. Our hope is it will have a lasting impact on our students and the larger community.
~Brian Switzer & Morse Pond School, Falmouth
By: Melissa Thurber
I grew up on Cape Cod. It is my home and my safe haven. Every chance I get to go home I am on that flight. Currently I live in Navarre, Florida and my life is so different from my days on the cape.
I became a mom at the age of 19 to a beautiful little girl named Delanie. She was my world, my everything, and I gladly gave up everything that normal 19 year olds did to take care of her beautiful self and protect her from the harms of this world.
Little did I know, the craziness that the world was carrying was going to take me away from her. In November of 2003 I was called to war. I was sent away from my then 18 month old daughter to go fight in a war that I never thought I would be a part of. I had to bring her to my parents in Florida where she would stay during my entire deployment.
I was an Army Medic. I was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in 2003. While I was there I was pulled from my Battalion and attached to a group of soldiers that ran security missions all around the country, but mostly in Baghdad. I also did a rotation at the 31st CSH at the Green Zone in the heart of Baghdad while there was extremely heavy activity in the city. It was a long and tiring deployment.
When I came home from Iraq things were very different for me. My family life was not the same. It was very hard to connect with my daughter and my parents. I knew something was wrong but had no clue. I tried to be mom again but it just didn’t work out the way I thought it would. I then asked my parents to take her back for because both her and I had major adjustment issues. She stayed with them for another 6 months until I met my husband and he helped me get on my feet enough to be a good solid mother to her again. After a few years of struggling to live a normal life and hold a job like a normal civilian I decided to seek help. That is when I found out I had PTSD. It was a pretty hard thing to swallow. I still hate it, but deal with it the best that I can. It definitely holds me back with a lot of things in my life but I am NOW determined to fight back!!!
I have been a photographer for as long as I can remember. Photography is my release. It is my healing tool. Every time I grab my camera it is almost as if my PTSD doesn’t exist, even if only for a short period of time. My PTSD will never go away, but I believe that I have found something that helps me find solace in my chaotic life.
I know first hand how very hard it is to talk about why I have PTSD. I always just tell people it is from my deployment. My goal is to reach out to other veterans with PTSD, and through my photography, tell their stories and hopefully help them heal some along the way. I am currently working on a photographic book about the emotions that PTSD brings up in Veterans.
I already have many Veterans with PTSD that I have spoken to that are 100% willing to participate as they trust that another Veteran with PTSD will be honest and real with their stories. I have many interviews done already, and a few in the works as we speak. Although, I do need about 100 total Veterans to make a full book.
Funding this project will bring light to an unspoken problem with today’s veterans, including myself, and hopefully will reach other veterans not in participation to see that it is ok to share our stories, no matter how it’s told. The funds will go towards buying materials needed to accomplish each shot, travel to get to each location for each shot, any necessary equipment, spec books so that I can show them to publishers (or even self publish), and any other production related costs.
If you feel that you would like to support this project please click on the link provided in this post and donate. It will not only help get this project rolling but it could potentially help many other veterans with PTSD along the way!!
You can check out my work at: www.melissajthurber.com
If you would like to make a donation to support this book: www.gofundme.com/fundingforptsdbook
by Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
It’s not necessarily about how you handle one specific situation or the next, it’s more of a mindset, one that demonstrates intelligence, responsibility and character.
Mixed messages and being wishy-washy only leaves our children having to decide in each specific experience if it is ok or not.
Each parent has to decide what message they want to send their child about drugs.
1. You must live a life that is congruent with the things that you are telling your child. It doesn’t work to say, “Don’t be a smoker like me.” It doesn’t work to say, don’t take drugs and then make a family joke about how mommy (or daddy) can’t “deal” until their second cup of coffee.
2. Multigenerational back up. If you have parents or grandparents that are “old school” about not going to the doctor and not taking medication, encourage them to find ways to talk about this with your child. Alternatively, you can talk with your child about how Grandpa never goes to the doctor and never takes medicine.
3. If you are going to partake recreationally and/or to excess– hide it for as long as possible. Give your children the gift of being able to tell their friends, “I didn’t grow up being exposed to drugs and alcohol.” “My mom (dad) doesn’t……”
4. When your child gets a fever, reach for the cold compresses, lavender pillows, favorite movie, blanket and pillow. Teach your child that there are things they can do when they feel miserable with illness besides take medicine. Give them opportunities to practice this. If they are due for their dose of children’s Tylenol or cough medicine at 6 pm, teach them that it will serve them much better if they take it right before going to bed. No one promised any of us a life without suffering. Teach them that they can get through the difficult 2 hours.
5. Explain that each of us have been given a body that is leap years beyond any machine that humans have designed. Teach them that their uncomfortable fever is doing an important job. Teach them that their body works in miraculous ways every minute of every day to keep the constant bombardment of germs and toxins from making them sick.
6. Be wise about reaching for antibiotics and do the research on antibacterial hand lotion. Do not withhold medicine from your child when they are sick. I myself am guilty of waiting too long to go to the doctor and ending up with a respiratory infection that was much too hard to cure. But be careful about sending a message that the going to the doctor is the answer.
7. Consider behavioral, sensory and emotional intervention and seek professional support extensively prior to any trial of medication, ESPECIALLY with children. Despite how these meds are being promoted, there really are not conclusive longitudinal studies available yet with many of them. But aside from that, there are alternatives. Seek them thoroughly. I have already seen the shift with countless teens and adults who wholeheartedly believe that there is something wrong with their biology and they need meds. Children who get the message early on that their mood and focus needs to be altered chemically are set up for challenges later on.
8. Whether a child is physically sick or emotionally distraught, look to the FIVE senses. The changes that happen in the brain when we smell a sent that is beautiful to us, or touch something that feels wonderful, or listen to something that sounds heavenly are well documented. Teach your child to “change their state with their senses.
9. How many ways can you think of to have fun? When we teach children about good, healthy entertainment, they have a much better chance of becoming teens that seek good, healthy entertainment. Children that experience entertainment through video games and TV will be more likely to expect to receive this passive entertainment.
10. Be careful of the attitude, “everyone is doing it.” Whether we are talking about meds for our “ADHD” child or marijuana smoking for our 15 year old, everyone is NOT doing it, and neither does your child have to.
11. Even though your child might be 16, you still have the right to have expectations and set limits. They want to get their license? You are perfectly within your rights to go to CVS and buy the drug testing kit. IF they test positive, then NO, they should not be driving and you should NOT be signing their application for their driver’s license. If they have their license already and are testing positive, yes, you can take away the car keys, until they test negative, even if it’s their car. Your job as parent isn’t done yet and they do have to follow your expectations, if you actually expect them to.
12. Talk to them. Does your child seem “off?” Keep the dialog open. Maybe this is a little off topic, but I will never forget this experience. I was working for DCF (formerly DSS) and sitting at the kitchen table with a mom that was reported for being passed out intoxicated while caring for her children. She was sober when I was with her at her. Her daughter (elementary age) got off the bus and came in the house sad. Her mom lovingly asked how her day was and since she looked sad, asked if she was ok. The young girl opened up about how she had been teased on the bus. Her mom sincerely said, “I’m so sorry that happened.” She gave her daughter a hug and asked her to tell her about it. The girl opened up. ~That’s an anti-drug campaign right there! Teach a child to open up and share their feelings. Give them the time and space and attention to let them know that you really care. The mom didn’t need to fix it for her. She needed to validate her feelings. A job well done by a mom who was drowning her own feelings in the bottle.
13. Do everything possible to keep your marriage strong. The research is clear that children of divorce are more vulnerable to difficulties with drugs and alcohol.
14. Keep all medication secure. People are robbing houses to get to meds. Teens and even children are looking in their parents/friend’s parents medicine cabinet for drugs. Consider WHICH meds your feel need to be secured and secure them. Buy an “ammo can” or other suitable, lockable case. But furthermore, tuck it away in a closet somewhere that the kids won’t even be asking, “What’s in that box?” Not that I’m generally classifying these things together, but use the box for other things that the children should not have access to; sex toys, “adult” movies and video games, books, etc. Don’t create a situation for yourself where you have to explain.
15. Set a pattern of family dinners and keep them going. Studies show that children that experience pleasant meals and interaction during family dinners are less likely to use drugs and alcohol (or engage in sex).
16. Know your kids friends and their parents. Make it clear to other parents, “You see my kid doing the wrong thing, I want to know about it!” A wise friend once said, “I don’t expect that my kids aren’t going to do the wrong thing, I just pray that they get caught quickly.”
17. I’m going to throw up! Teach your child that they always have your permission to stand up for what is right, but that sometimes it is hard. If they find themselves in one of those hard spots and don’t know how to get out of it, tell them that it is one of the only times they have your permission to lie. Tell their friends, “I don’t feel so good. I think I’m going to throw up. I better call my mom/dad.”
18. Get your child involved in Scouting. Studies show that youth who are or once were involved in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts are less likely to use drugs and alcohol than their peers who were not involved.
19. Keep the dialog going. Start early talking to your children about their amazing brain and their amazing body. Encourage them to take good care of it. From the fact that they get practice teeth and for the rest of their life teeth, to the foods on their plate, the number of jumping jacks they can do and the academic progress they are making…praise them and praise their body and mind.
20. It will never lead to something good. When examples present themselves, as they will, of the destructive effects of drugs and alcohol, use them as opportunities for straightforward discussions. It’s not good to be wishy-washy OR silent on these matters that we know our children are witnessing.
I hope you have taken at least a couple of things from this list of 20 that you can focus on and use more actively. You may have more ideas. Please post them for all of us here.
If I can be of any assistance with issues like this in your life, please contact me. As I said in my last post, I am not anti meds for children. But I will say, I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve as alternatives to meds. I have helped a great many families stabilize difficult behavioral and emotional symptoms over just a 6 week period.
****I am not a physician or medical professional. None of the advice here should be construed as medical advice or take the place of a visit to your doctor where called for.
By: Joan Walsh
Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington named Kate DiCamillo, Newbery Medal Award-winner and honoree, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, 2014 and 2015.
Kate DiCamillo, an outstanding advocate for the importance of reading, is the author of "Because of Winn-Dixie" (a Newbery Honor book), "A Tiger Rising" (a National Book Award finalist), "The Tale of Despereaux" (2003 Newbery Medal winner) and "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" (winner of the Boston Globe Horn Book Award), and "Flora & Ulysses.” During Kate’s tenure, she will appear throughout the country at events with young people, encouraging them to make reading a central part of their lives.
by Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
I am guessing that there are MANY mommies following that remember the slogan, “Just say no!”
There are lots of social/emotional reasons that make just saying no to drugs difficult, like peer pressure and the fact that studies consistently show that children of divorce/conflict ridden or detached homes are more likely to reach for drugs and alcohol.
But today, we see a host of other factors that make “Just Say No” a mixed up message for children.
1. The psychopharm world has EXPLODED with new drugs, a higher rate of prescribing drugs, a claim that drug “cocktails” (interesting choice of terms) can help people with the emotional issues. And bonus, kids on meds make the lives of parents and teachers “easier.”
2. CHILDREN are the target of psychopharm companies. Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011. More than 80% of children who are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder take prescription medications at some point to treat their symptoms, according to a new nationwide survey of parents by Consumer Reports Health. More than half had tried 2 or 3 different meds. (Citations at end of post.) My colleague, RN NP informs me that the authorization process for med visits is practically non-existent. I can tell you that the authorization process for psychotherapy is arduous. In fact, when I request session for practically any diagnosis these days, I have to answer to the question, “Have you referred the client for a med consult?” And if the answer is no, then I have to answer, “When do you plan to?” or “Why not?”
3. The DARE program is basically gone. As a psychotherapist, I used to see many children who were able to articulate that drugs are bad for you, BECAUSE of what they learned in school in the DARE program. Studies indicate that there was a so-called “boomerang effect” and the program led to a higher incidence of drug use among youth later in life who participated in the program.
4. Drug/alcohol use has seen a cultural shift where we now think of it NOT as a weakness, morally wrong thing to do, issue to be embarrassed about…but as an “illness” or a “genetic disorder.” Our children are getting the message, “poor guy (girl). It’s not their fault.” Interestingly, we are also hearing children who missed their morning dose for ADHD and misbehave, say, “It’s not my fault. My mom forgot to give me my meds.”
5. We are required to have insurance, so why not use it? We tend to run to the doc for medicine before even giving our bodies a chance at healing illnesses. We don’t slow down and take care of ourselves or our loved one, we reach for a pill to get back to our fast pace as quickly as possible, or get our children back to school so we can get back to work. These are practical needs these days. Who can afford to miss work??
6. Marijuana, a drug known for causing “the munchies,” uproarious laughter, dulling of our senses, laziness, etc., is being legalized one bit at a time, one area at a time. Many adults haven’t even gotten it clear in their own mind about whether it should be legal or not and under what circumstances, but somehow we are supposed to help our children understand and teach them not to do it. Huh??
7. Speaking of marijuana, a parents smokes up in the house with the children present, the Department of Children and Families (formerly DSS) gets involved (I’m speaking from professional experience now) and the parent doesn’t even get a clear message, “That’s not permitted! At least smoke in private, away from your children.” Yet, other states are making it illegal to smoke cigarettes in the car when a child is present.
8. And the courts…(again, speaking from professional experience) are ruling on custody matters as serious as parents giving birth to drug addicted babies, and parents addicted to and abusing Suboxone (or methadone – sub in any drug you want). And what about when the parent in question is taking Suboxone as prescribed at “the clinic.” Or how can the judge tell if they are taking it per doctor’s orders, in addition to on the street?
We, as parents, as a culture, are being pressured to accept drugs (and alcohol) and their abuse as part of our everyday lives! It’s a steady race to the bottom and this country might just be in the running for a top spot.
Now, for those who are going to accuse me of blaming them because either they are taking prescription medication or their children are taking it for a mental health diagnosis, I have the following to say:
I am not anti-meds. I have seen adults who were debilitated with anxiety or depression or other issues, begin seeing a psychiatrist or PCP and take medication. They were able to stabilize, regroup and get their life back on track. I am grateful for this and grateful for the option to be utilized. I have seen children who are so out of focus or anxious and in crisis that medication has been instrumental in keeping them in school and helping them and their parents regroup.
I am referring here to a cultural shift that has already taken place and continuing to progress toward reliance on doctors, psychopharm companies, medications, etc. I know there is a huge fascination with zombies presently. I can’t figure that out either. It’s looking to me like we are moving more and more to being like zombies or robots and forgetting that what seems at first glance like the smoother-easier route, is really just our participating unwittingly in the race to the bottom.
20 Ways to Teach Your Children that Drugs Are NOT the Answer
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