No Regrets

If you have been reading my blog, you know that for the past months, my husband has been in Hospice. He is now in rapid decline and as our anniversary is just around the corner, I am not sure he will make it to that day. Certainly he will not be aware of it’s importance. But I will always have our wedding day tucked in my memory bank as one of the happiest days of my life.

As we spiral toward his remaining time on earth, I observe how hard he is struggling to muster strength that isn’t there. It’s painful to watch. He seems afraid and I wish he was able to comprehend the beauty and wonders that await him as he moves into his new life.

I am sad, tired and grateful and… I know in my heart I have done everything in my power to make his final time on earth a time of comfort. When it’s your turn to do this for someone else, I hope you can do your best too. You will never regret it and it will help you find peace.

I am going to be away from the blog for a bit until I can find the inspiration to write again. For now, peace and grace to you. Resting in the Trinity.

CK

June 21, 2021

Emotions Need Space to Move

The Story: My Friend Frank

In the 1990’s, two young parents entered my office looking for a preschool for their son. I had one space available and as I talked with these parents I learned this child had already lived a life filled with challenge. He had no coping skills. He was angry. He was physically agressive. By the tender age of 3 1/2 he had been released from three previous preschools. His parents were anxious and holding their breath that he could come to our school.

His story pulled at the heartstrings. He was adopted and he was a crack baby. I wondered what came first, the pain of coming off a horrible drug or did the anger set in because those interacting in his life did not understand the pain? As I listened to his story, I knew I had to try. I agreed to accept his enrollment forms with two conditions. One- his family had to begin counseling– all three of them and two– we would try him in our classroom for two weeks. At the end of each week, we would assess where we were and agree to try again.

I made an agreement with the teachers that when he needed to release his frustrations, they were to remove him from the classroom and bring him to my office. Not as a punishment of course, but as a safe place to “Get it out” a place of respect and away from the flow of the classroom.

I didn’t need a call ahead to tell me when he was coming for a visit. On his first morning, he came to see me about five minutes after being dropped off. He gave me a surprise greeting that morning with a big bite on the arm. To this day, it has been the only time I had to go and get a tetanus shot due to a child’s bite.

It was a long first week. Each day, for hours and hours, he thrashed, screamed and exhausted himself and me. By the end of that first week, I had two thoughts- I needed a margarita! Ha! and he deserved a second chance. I took a deep breath and steeled myself for week two. Lo and behold, something happened that second week. His ourbursts and phyiscal thrashings reduced from hours to only 1 hour. The remainder of the time, he remained quiet and looked at books in his space. It was progress. It was the beginning of teaching self control and self respect.

As divine intervention happens, on the following Saturday morning of week two, I was walking in my neighborhood and sitting in a chair at a neighbor’s garage sale was a life size doll with interchangeble emotion-faces. The doll was made of cloth, and came with a mad face, a sad face, and a happy face. I paid $5 for the doll, named him Frank and on the following Monday, I brought him to school. I had decided Frank would be faithful and he could absorb whatever this child needed to release.

On Frank’s first day in my office, the child was infuriated. Frank had entered his space. It was a long morning as the outburts continued. In early afternoon, exhausted, this young boy turned on his side and began to sob. He was now facing Frank and had his back to me.

I knew we needed to acknowledge his upset. I sat on the floor beside him and immediately began with an apology. “I’m sorry I didn’t get to tell you about my friend Frank before you came to visit today. He wants to be your friend to and he will be here waiting for you every day. Let me tell you about him.”

I began telling him about Frank’s mad face. ” You know, when the eye brows are knitted together and the lips are thin, it shows us Frank is mad. He understands what it feels like to be mad and he’s tough. He can take it when you need to kick and scream. Your friends in class can’t take it. Sometimes they might cry or be frightened when you get angry, but Frank. He will always be here for you when you need to kick or even bite. I want you to remember, you can always come to Frank and he will understand.”

Then I attached the sad face. “You know when the smile turns upside down, it shows others we are sad. Sometimes we think we are mad when really, we are just sad. Have you have ever asked your friends to play and they say “No”? We feel mad but really we might be sad because it hurt our feelings. If you ever feel that way, Frank will understand and he will be here waiting for you.”

At this poing the young boy had not not acknowledged anything, but I pressed on and finally attached the happy face. “You know when the smiled is turned up, it tells others we feel happy. I am happy when I have a piece of chocolate cake. What cake is your favorite? To my surprise, he rolled over and said “Carrot Cake” and forming at the corners of his mouth were the first hints of a smile. We had made progress. I committed to two more weeks.

It took several months, but this little boy, with much home support, therapy and a commitment from a school, made progress and Frank became his safe friend where he could dissolve when he needed to release big feelings. At the end of the year, he asked me if Frank could go home with him. It was a sweet moment, for there in that moment I realized this child was no longer focusing on angry thoughts. He was changing and finding a place for friendship, possibilities and things wished for.

If your child has an occassional outburst, consider yourself lucky that he or she has times of happiness. If your child resembles this young friend, be brave, don’t give up and get help. Every child deserves our self control and perhaps every child needs a “My Friend Frank.”

Peace be with you.

Have a great day!

(C)

CK

June 1, 2021

In Gratitude, Memorial Day 2021

In Flanders fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place,and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow

Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw

The torch, be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields. John McRae, 1915

God bless our country and each of us as we remember the great sacrifices given for our right to live freely.

CK

May 31, 2021

Happy Learners, The Early Years

There will be times you will need to be on the floor playing with your children. There will be other times you need to stand back and watch. During these times of observation, study what your children are drawn to. Children learn in many ways and it is for this reason you must be open to thier interests. How they take information in and how they process it depends greatly on their interests and gender does tend to play a role in how information is moved along during the early years.

Where are you going and what do you wish? The old moon asked the three. ( Wynken, Blynken, and Nod)

The Story: A Girl and Three Boys

I have a friend, who many years ago, had her five year old daughter tested for Kindergarten readiness. As part of the process, the assessment team grouped children being tested into groups of four and asked them to play together in the block center. They wanted to watch the children’s interactions. They were also looking to see if the children were leaders, followers, team players, solitary thinkers, commmunicators or problem solvers.

This little gal was placed in a group with three young boys. As they entered the block center, the boys sat down and immediately built a tall tower, with roads coming from the building. In no time at all, they were finished and ready to move to the next project. The little girl, however, stood to the side and watched. When the boys were done, she announced, “Now wait a minute. Look at this house. It won’t work at all. There is no kitchen, and where are the bedrooms going? We have to start all over!”

The little boys were more than surprised! LOL! But this young girl’s response was really no surprise at all. Even though there was no instruction on how to use the blocks, and the invitation to play was non-gender biased, gender did appear to play a role in the children’s approach to the equipment. This little girl, like most, looked at the details of the construction first. The little boys, like most, were looking at big picture.

I tell this story so it helps us remember, that how we set up learning environments or how we respond to our children’s play takes observation. They all need a variety of experiences. Be mindful and intentional. Children are impacted by developmental stages, learning styles, their position in birth order, their interests and their gender. Thier job is to live into what makes them tick! Our job is to give them the opportunity to thrive.

What makes me tick? What makes me tock?

Is it dolls or is it blocks?

My best friend likes to play with beads.

And her best friend takes time to read.

But I just like to play in dirt and find some worms down in the earth! –ck

Have a great Friday! I will see you again on Tuesday of next week. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

(C)

CK

May 28, 2021

Two of our Favorite Authors

This week we lost two of our favorite children’s authors. Lois Ehlert and Eric Carle. Both have left their legacy in the works they produced and they introduced millions of children to the wonderful world of reading.

Lois Ehlert was 86 and will be most likely remembered for her book, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”, selling more than 12 million copies (reported by NPR.)

Eric Carle, was 91 and his list of books that introduced young children to science and literacy included “The Very Quiet Cricket, The Grouchy Ladybug, The Honeybee and the Robber, The Very Busy Spider, The Very Lonely Fire Fly and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” These are only a very few of his wonderful works. He illustrated more than 70 books and his books sold more than 170 million copies.

We were blessed to have them grace our libraries, bedtime storytimes, and preschool reading nooks. I hope they are celebrating together under a big tree with lots of color, whimsy and fantastical peace.

Have a wonderful day and take good care.

(c) CK

May 27, 2021

Remember NO

Saw this on Face Book and had to share:

If you FAIL, never give up because F.A.I… means

First Attempt In Learning

END is not the END. In fact E.N.D. means

Effort Never Dies

and if you get NO as an answer, remember N.O. means

NEXT OPPORTUNITY.

I love this reminder. We have so many things to keep us looking up and looking forward. If you needed to see this today, I hope it reminds you to Keep Moving Forward.

Peace Be With You. (Faberge-ish Stones!)

Check back soon, there are new designs being uploaded over the next few days!


(c) CK

May 25, 2021

Who You Are Matters

When I attended middle school, my favorite teacher, Ms. Burrow taught us how to diagram sentences.

She also told us to always remember the “W’s” : Who, What, When, Where and Why.

“You is Smart. You is WIse. You is Important” From the Movie: The Help

Who you are matters- greatly. You are a gift to others and from you much is learned and imitated. Children in particular are watching to see how you live you life. I hope you will live it honestly and with purpose.

What tomorrow brings is unknown but the good book tells us 365 times to ‘Fear Not, Do not be troubled, Do not worry’. Trust is something I work on constantly and learning to walk with the unknown is a daily challenge in keeping worries under wrap.

When you walk the walk and talk the talk, others will notice. I wish you enough along the way so you exude kindness to others and have compassion for those who need it. Living with insecurity can consume someone and your gentleness may be just what someone needs.

Where you make your mark in this world doesn’t have to be monumental. It’s in the little things that people will see your appreciation for them. A handwritten note, a poured cup of coffee, leaving your newspaper on someone’s doorstep so they can read the news. Even offering a smile and warm greeting makes a world of difference for someone who might need it.

And finally Why. Why are you important? Because you mean the world to someone and maybe many. Always respect yourself and don’t let anyone tell you that you do not matter. We cannot be everything to everybody. It’s good to know this when you need to move forward and leave drama and disrespect behind. It bears repeating–YOU matter-greatly.

You and I have a purpose and as our lives unfold our purpose changes. Be flexible. Be forgiving of yourself. Be available and say “Yes” when you can. Love yourself always.

You are the big W: The Winner, The Wise One, The Who, What, When, Where and Why!

Have a great day.
See you soon,

CK

(C) May 18, 2021

Have Faith

Love me faithfully – See how I am faithful

With all my heart and all my soul, I am with you though I am far away. — Anonymous

Beauty and Hope are just around the corner. Have Faith

I have often wondered how someone can deny faith. I wonder where they turn when they are hurting. I wonder how they live without hope and joy when days are not so bright. For me it’s a must. They must have a confidence to “go it alone” that I don’t understand because I know every single day, I need support!

In observing children, I have learned that faith comes easily and naturally to them. As infants, they are brought into the world to trust. Trusting you to feed them, bath them, nurture them, protect them, attend to their needs when they cry. All along, you are teaching them about something they cannot touch and yet they can feel its presence. This is important as they develop and learn about things seen and unseen.

In my preschool, I found if I spoke of God with reverance, then the children I interacted with learned to see God as someone to trust and hold special. Because they trusted me, they learned about something they could not see or touch or hear but they knew God loved them and cared about their well-being.

As parents, we have to all realize there will be a time in our children’s journey that they will not turn to us to have their questions answered. You will be thankful in those moments that their decisions will be influenced and molded by what they have learned on their faith journey. They will be okay if you continue to lay the foundation for their beliefs. Have Faith.

Hope your day is terrific!

See you tomorrow.

CK
May 11, 2021 (c)

Love the Earth

I keep the following on my refrigerator and read it everyday. I don’t come close to doing all that is asked of us in this short piece and it gives me something to ponder and to remember… humility and others before self. Yes. Goals. Hurt not the earth and the fullness therof.

By: Walt Whitman

This is what you shall do:

Love the earth and the sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, arugue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people.

Take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families.

Read the leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul.

And your very flesh shall be a great poem and the richest fluency not only in words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body….

Have a great day and I will see you again on Monday. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms, Aunts, God Mothers and Special Friends who love our children well. You are treasured more than you know.

Hugs,

(c) CK

5.7.2021

When You Have Questions Surrounding Your Child’s Development

It’s a hard reality to accept when you realize your children may not be perfect! Ha! When my girls were young, they were both accepted into the Gifted and Talented Program at the neighborhood elementary school. Here I was thinking they were gifted only to find out that they were not gifted, they were both highly competitive and driven to accomplish what was in front of them. They were developing normally.

If you child is developing normally and moving through the stages of growth as expected, take a moment and be grateful. If your “gut” is telling you something is not quite right, ask questions and don’t give up until you have answers. Your child needs you to establish his/her new plan and you need guidance from the experts in order to support your child effectively.

Talk to your child’s teachers, counselors, school administrators. Ask questions of your family members. Ask your “observers” to do just that and state their thoughts in terms of “I have observed” and not “I believe or I feel” statements. Ask for referrals to developmental pediatricians, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and pediatric therapists. Each are trained to support your child. The sooner you address your child’s limitations, the greater the chances are for successful steps forward.

Our Children Need Us to Pay Attention and Give them the Tools to Grow in a Healthy Way

Here are eleven things to pay attention to concerning your child’s development:

Hearing-Have tested by age 4

Speech- Have tested by age 4

Eye Sight- Have tested by age 4. Watch for excessive rubbing of eyes

Avoids eye contact

Is uncomfortable with physical contact

Has difficulty in keepins one’s hands to him/herself

Breathing irregularities

Food allergies

Gross motor development, is “loose” -not sturdy on his/her feet

Demonstrates an inability to hear directions and follow thorugh on what is asked

Exhitbits extreme physical agression

Be aware your feelings will be fragile when it comes to questioning the health of your children. It will be hard and this is when you need to remember that parenting is not for the faint of heart.

Move forward with confidence. You are doing the very best for your child who needs your pro-active undestanding, support and guidance. You’ve got this!

Here’s wishing you a sunny day.

See you tomorrow!

(c) CK

5.6.2021