Friday, August 26, 2011

First day of school jitters......

Remember back when you were in school.  Come on, it wasn't that long ago!  I know I was always nervous for the first day.  Sophia has gone to preschool for the last 3 years but she is starting Kindergarten this year and has been very apprehensive about the first day.  She has blatantly told me that she is NOT going to Kindergarten.

I know that there are many of you who have mentioned that you have children starting kindergarten this year.  Have you also experienced this apprehensiveness?

What have you done to try to make the transition easier?

I have reassured Sophia that she knows people already from soccer and the library so she will have friends at her new school already.  We also bought a new dress special for the first day and talked about how mommy and daddy will bring her to school the first day and then explained the before and after program to her so she understands when mommy will be picking her up and dropping her off. I have also done trial runs to the school and then to my school to get a feeling for a time frame and Sophia got to see how we will get to school and where mommy will be going after I drop her off.
We also went to orientation to meet and greet the teachers and principal and also tour the building.

I think all of these things has eased Sophia's mind a bit, this week she is excited about starting school.

For more information about this check out this article:

Would love to hear your experiences and ideas.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Its that time of the year...What do you do to get everyone ready and fed?

School is starting soon in the northeast, so I am already thinking about how I can make breakfast an easier transition with getting everyone up, dressed, fed and off to school without going bonkers.

At the end of last school year, I started packing lunches the night before so I only had to open the fridge and put lunches into lunch bags.  This year will be somewhat easier since Sophia will have the option to eat lunch at school too. 

We have also started picking out clothes the night before, though Sophia may change her mind in the morning, which throws a wrench in the plan, but mostly made dressing easier.

Then there is feeding time....

Sophia and I both ate breakfast either in the car on the way to school or when we got there.  I do not know if this is yet an option for us at the new morning program.  Sophia and I really aren't breakfast kind of people.   However, I keep trying to instill in Sophia that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and modeling breakfast eating myself. 

Why should we all eat breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because It gives you the energy you need to make it through the rest of the day.

Eating breakfast means that you are more likely to make healthier choices to eat throughout the day.

Eating breakfast can also make it less likely to overeat during the day because it fills your belly.

For more information check this Mayo Clinic website....

What should we have for a healthy breakfast on the go?

After reading this article, , I realized that I have been promoting healthy choices for breakfast (patting myself on the back :).  ) 

Often crunched for time in the morning, I would grab a yogurt for Sophia and a piece of fruit or a cheese stick and some pretzels or crackers, I would whip up egg wraps the night before and wrap them in the fridge for the morning, I would make peanut butter and jelly, cream cheese and jelly or peanut butter and banana sandwiches on wheat bread or whole grain english muffins, or sometimes make oatmeal in a paper cup with a plastic spoon.   Sophia also fell in love with oatmeal breakfast cookies, made by Quaker. 

I have often questioned if this was a healthy choice and decided I would like to make my own version of oatmeal breakfast cookies.  The problem being that they don't stay good for long.  They can be frozen but I am not yet sure how well they thaw.  With the help of a montage of other recipes online, I came up with one myself that is a huge hit and I control what goes into them!

Check out my recipe blog at for breakfast cookie recipe and plenty of other week night friendly recipes after a long day at work.

What do you give the Kiddos for breakfast?

What do you do to make the mornings run smoother?

I hope one or more of these ideas help make you have a better school morning.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is postpartum real?

YES, YES, YES !!! 

What is postpartum depression?

Depression is an illness that effects the brain.    You often feel anxious, blue and empty feeling for an extended time.

What causes depression?

A chemical imbalance in your brain causes depression.

How can I be sure I am depressed?

            Feeling restless or moody
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
  • Crying a lot
  • Having no energy or motivation
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Having trouble focusing or making decisions
  • Having memory problems
  • Feeling worthless and guilty
  • Losing interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Having headaches, aches and pains, or stomach problems that don't go away
Your doctor can figure out if your symptoms are caused by depression or something else.


Women with a family history and hormonal factors, such as pregnancy,  are most likely to get depression.

There are three categories of depression after pregnancy,

The most mild is the baby blues:

  • Have mood swings
  • Feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed
  • Have crying spells
  • Lose your  appetite
  • Have trouble sleeping
The baby blues most often go away within a few days or a week. The symptoms are not severe and do not need treatment.

The second type is postpartum depression:

  • Thoughts of hurting the baby
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Not having any interest in the baby
Postpartum depression needs to be treated by a doctor.

The last type of depression is postpartum psychosis : 

  • Seeing things that aren't there
  • Feeling confused
  • Having rapid mood swings
  • Trying to hurt yourself or your baby
Women with bi polar disorder are more prone to this.

How is it treated?

Therapy and medicines can treat depression.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, PLEASE call your doctor.

PLEASE know that you are NOT alone.  Many women do like to talk about postpartum depression because they are embarrassed. 

I experienced PPD after Sophia was born.  It started only within days or a week of coming home.  I was an overwhelmed single mother.  I cried all the time.  If I couldn't stop her from crying, I would cry with her.  If she wanted to eat what I thought was too much food, I cried.  (after a day of that I called the peds dr and he told me she can drink as much breast milk as she wanted.  So i cried more before I told him I didn't want her to be fat from drinking so much milk.  He assured me she would not get fat and could drink as much breast milk as she wanted.)  There were times when I just cried because I thought about crying.  I finally went to the ob-gyn instead of work one morning because after 3 weeks I could not stop crying and I was having SEVERE separation anxiety. 

The ob-gyn confirmed I did have postpartum depression and prescribed a mild anti depressant.  I refused to take it because I was still breast feeding  so i cried about that and the doctor reassured me that it was safe for me to still breast feed.  After about 3 weeks I started feeling more like myself and have been fine since. 

Please know you are not alone and talk to someone.

Thanks to:


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why are you looking at me?

So how many times have you been out somewhere and your child decided to have a meltdown in public?  I know we have all been there!  I know we have all experienced those delightful glares from people around us as well! 

  This is a blog by Techydad who experiences just this and explains it perfectly.

I used to be one of those glaring people thinking, "OMG, control your kid or leave!!"


Now I am a Mama and I have gotten that look from others. 
After experiencing the meltdowns in public (the grocery store was a popular place for that), I can say that I have felt the millions of glaring eyes and whispers behind me and I have felt alone and embarrassed thinking I couldn't control my child.
I needed to figure out what to do to rectify the issue when it happened so I wouldn't embarrass myself and annoy others with a screaming child. While it seems that I am giving in to my once mentality of "control your kid or leave", maybe I am just keeping in mind how I felt.  I didn't  ( and still don't) go to a restaurant to sit next to a screaming child.   I wanted/want  to enjoy myself without a child screaming the entire time. 

I decided that it was best to leave wherever I was with my daughter and calm her down.  If it worked we would return inside, if not, we left.  I have left carts of groceries in the middle of shopping and packed meals to go just after it arrived at the table.  There were times I brought Soph to the car for a time out and times when she was just beyond a time out and we drove home.
I want to be courteous to the people around me and at the same time focus on my daughter to calm her down.  There was no reason to have her so upset while i finish shopping or eating a meal.

Tantrums are few and far between in public now that Soph is 5 yrs old but I remember feeling alone and embarrassed so when I see a parent having this experience and they look upset, I make a point to go over and tell them it's ok, we have all been through meltdowns. 


I think it's important parents, mothers especially, support each other.  I think this is ESPECIALLY important right after a mother gives birth.  Postpartum depression is real and can have a negative effect if not treated.  Next week's post will be about Postpartum depression.... stay tuned.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Holy Tantrums Bat Man!

You all know what a tantrum is right?

Well in case you don't know,

Temper tantrums are disruptive or undesirable behaviors or emotional outbursts displayed in response to unmet needs or desires. They may also refer to an inability to control emotions due to frustration or difficulty expressing a particular need or desire.

ok so I know you are asking, How do I STOP tantrums?

Temper tantrums are ultimately an attention-seeking behavior. One strategy to minimize the length and severity of the tantrum is to ignore the behavior. As long as the child is safe and not being destructive, walking away to another room in the house may shorten the episode because now the drama has no audience. Sometimes the child will follow and continue the tantrum. Do not talk or react until the behavior stops. Then, calmly discuss the issue and offer acceptable alternatives without giving in to their demand.

I read that most tantrums begin during the second year of life and as children acquire language skills, the tantrums decrease.  

I am not a doctor but knowing this information would make me think that teaching your child about different emotions and having them use their words at ALL possible times will increase the chances of a child TELLING you what is wrong vs tantruming.  
Always the teacher--here are some activities to help teach emotions--

Make yourself Happy and Proud and get those tantrums under control.



Saturday, July 23, 2011


I was recently heartbroken when a good friend of mine told me that her sweetheart of a son told her he wanted to kill himself because he was being bullied at school.  I think many people have experienced bullying within their lives.  I was bullied as a child at various points in my life because i had a back brace at one point, braces another, glasses another, and the ever so popular fat kid bullying.
Children seem to start bullying at a VERY young age.  I have seen this when my daughter was only 2 years old and in daycare and children were hitting each other.  I know what you are saying, that's not bullying, that's kids being kids.  Well it starts with something so mild as a push or a hit and once they realize they can gain power that way, it escalates.


Dan Olweus, creator of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, provides us with this commonly accepted definition for bullying in his book, Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do:

"A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself."

This definition includes three important components:
1. Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions.
2. Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time.
3. Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength.

 I was bullied in my neighborhood when I went out to play and on the bus.   What was your experience?


Bullying can take on many forms. As part of the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire, students are asked if they have been bullied in any of these nine ways:

1. Verbal bullying including derogatory comments and bad names
2. Bullying through social exclusion or isolation
3. Physical bullying such as hitting, kicking, shoving, and spitting
4. Bullying through lies and false rumors
5. Having money or other things taken or damaged by students who bully
6. Being threatened or being forced to do things by students who bully
7. Racial bullying
8. Sexual bullying
9. Cyber bullying (via cell phone or Internet) Learn more

 I was called brace face or fatso or four eyes, and socially excluded by some girls in high school.  What was your experience?


1. Students who bully have strong needs for power and (negative) dominance.
2. Students who bully find satisfaction in causing injury and suffering to other
3. Students who bully are often rewarded in some way for their behavior with
     material or psychological rewards

  • Get into frequent fights
  • Steal and vandalize property
  • Drink alcohol and smoke
  • Report poor grades
  • Perceive a negative climate at school
  • Carry a weapon

  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Health problems
  • Poor grades
  • Suicidal thoughts

Keep the lines of communication open between you, your child, and the school if applicable.

Some of you may already know that I am a teacher.  I have seen children being bullied and have used the following website to help me intervene.  The webisodes on the website are a good tool for opening discussions.

I always start the school year with a bullying lesson and let the children know that I DO NOT tolerate bullying of any kind. We are a family in my classroom and we will treat each other that way.   In doing this blog I also found a school based, researched peace program that I am going to write a grant for. :)

You would think things get better as you get older but I think the form of bullying just changes.  I have been bullied by co workers who did not want my opinions because I was younger and new to the profession.

This site also includes a ppt about office bullying.  

I hope this helps you understand bullying and how to handle it a little better. 

Communication is key!



Monday, July 11, 2011

preschool or daycare.....

My first post discussed HOW to find a preschool but Natasha suggested more information about the difference between a preschool and a daycare.

Dr Hackney gives a really good yet brief description.  There are also follow up videos.

Sophia started her life with a private sitter for about 2 yrs.  I realized that she needed more education in her day. She was learning and soaking everything in like a sponge.  I am a single mom so I needed care that was going to extend throughout the workday but I also wanted someplace in which she would be LEARNING.

I researched and went to uncountable places until I found one I thought was suitable. After only 1 yr I realized that Sophia was not being challenged enough.  She was learning to count to 10 and the colors and shapes.  She was far more advanced than this and I didn't want to hold her back so the next summer, I looked for a new school.  I found a school that challenged Sophia's learning, and was flexible for daycare.  The first place was a daycare while the second place was a preschool.

No one knows your child better than you so let your child be your guide as to what they are ready for. Daycare is usually for the younger children while preschool for 3 yrs and up.  I hope this helps.

Good Luck!