Blog Posts by sarahlynne

  • Parenting Guru: Pushing a Child Past his Fear: How Far is Too Far?

    He was clearly terrified. His eyes were huge and his body was trembling. He clung to his mother's leg with his little fingers, his grip so tight I'd have to pry him finger by finger to get him into the water. I smiled to my assistant, who was taking care of the other children who were splashing and smiling, ready for their swim lesson. Then I looked toward this little guy. "No!" he wailed, when I reached toward him to take him into the water. "Want to just play on the top step?" I asked. Then, I pleaded with him, talked to him, smiled at him and sang a song. But he did not want to go anywhere near that water. I looked at his mother, "Can I just take him?" I mouthed.

    She nodded. And then, with a firm grasp and a high pitched "here we go!" I spun him away from his mother and hugged him close, carrying him into the shallow end. He screamed.

    This situation played out many times over the five years I taught swim lessons. When I took the child into the pool, he'd sob out of fear

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  • Parenting Guru: Five Places I Want my Child to See

    Thinking through this post, I recalled the many places I've visited in my lifetime, mentally flipping through the historical monuments, beaches, restaurants and hotels I've seen. Which ones do I hope my son gets to visit? After thinking for a few days, trying to choose only five, the ones I decided on were simple, and surprised me.

    The inside of a soup kitchen: One of my most memorable experiences was the summer I served dinner at a soup kitchen. Talking to the people, learning their names and stories was humbling. I hope my son gets a chance to be a long term volunteer for a group of struggling people. He will learn sympathy and appreciation for what he has.

    A United States Navy Homecoming: First, he'll see babies who've never met their dads sitting in decorated strollers, anxious preschoolers jumping up and down in anticipation, and well dressed, impatient wives and husbands awaiting the ships arrival. Then he'll watch as the massive ship pulls into port. The sailors will

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  • Parenting Guru: The Magic of Childhood

    One summer, I finally convinced my mom to let me take the "fun" classes at the town's camp, a weekday morning summer school organized by elementary school teachers and hobbyists. I was done spending my summers in "Introductory French" or "vocabulary building." No, this summer, I wanted to take a drama class and a magic class.

    It was going to be awesome. A whole morning of fun, three days a week, for six weeks. I was especially excited for the magic class . Knowing secrets and discovering the mysteries behind the flourishes were intoxicating. This was going to be the best class ever.

    Ironically, I remember nothing about what I learned that summer. I don't remember any acting techniques or any particular magic tricks. What I remember, however, was a lesson more important than any sleight of hand.

    On the first day of magic class, the teacher spent some time showing us his decks of cards, his magic dice, his handkerchiefs and other various accessories. "I will teach you

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  • Parenting Guru: To My Son's Future Teacher, I Apologize

    To my son's future teacher,

    I need to apologize. My son won't enter school for a few years, but already, I know I'm going to be one of "those" moms. I'm going to make it hard for you. I'll want to know how you relate to your students, how you teach curriculum and how you supplement so you're not just "teaching to the test." I will watch you carefully over the first few months of the school year, analyzing the workbook pages that come home in my child's folder, attending school events and talking to my son about his day. I will be looking for mistakes.

    I'm sorry. I know it sounds strange for me to be so judgmental, but you have to understand, for years now, I've stood inside the classroom walls. I've been planning the lessons, developing curriculum and inventing elaborate classroom management schemes. I love what I do. I know the complicated nature of the profession. But in a few years, I'll be the mom waving at the door as my son gleefully skips (hopefully) into the

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  • Parenting Guru: Skipping Spring Break; Are you Guilty?

    When we were younger, spring break represented five days of freedom. Five days of sleeping in, of not having to get up for class, of playing outside in the warm weather, hanging out with friends and staying up late doing decadent things.

    Gone are those awesome days. Unfortunately, now, for my family, spring break has become a chance to tackle the long list of things on the to-do list. "Oh, we have a day where neither of us has to work. Let's go to the Social Security office and change your name! It's been two years, after all."

    Or…"A whole Saturday where we don't have anything planned? We haven't done our taxes yet. Let's see if H & R Block has an appointment available."

    And once the baby was born…"Let's go to the pool today. But let me just have the morning. The house needs to be clean and I have some homework."

    "Totally. And I have that article to write."

    Ten hours later, "Let's go to the pool tomorrow."

    By the end of the week, we're lucky if we've torn

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  • Parenting Guru: When It Comes To Childbirth, Is Ignorance Really Bliss?

    Google: "What does childbirth feel like?" Google: "Epidural; pros and cons." Google: "How painful is delivery?" Google: "Episiotomy."

    Does this sound familiar? This was me during pregnancy. It was like watching a car accident. I knew I shouldn't look, I knew it would just freak me out, but I kept Googling in hopes that I would ease my anxiety about the impending birth of my baby. Of course, it had the opposite effect. The more research I did, the more scared I became. I was terrified the epidural would wear off and I was so afraid of this "ring of fire" moms talked about. What did it feel like? How would I handle that much pain? I was terrified of the after effects; what was going to happen to my body? I had lots of friends who were pregnant too, and they seemed to be doing the same thing. We'd talk about waking up at 2 am just to Google some fear that had been clawing at our subconscious all day.

    My obsession was fed at work as well. Co-workers bombarded me with stories of

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  • Parenting Guru: 6 Things No One Tells You About Breastfeeding

    Moms-to-be hear cryptic language when they ask veteran nursing moms about breastfeeding. "It's challenging," moms will say, or "It's a big commitment. It's hard." There are no specifics to this advice, just nods and generalized language about how difficult it will be in the beginning. However, these moms will always add that if you can get through the first few weeks, it'll be totally worth it.

    Both parts are absolutely true. When all the initial challenges are over, breastfeeding is amazing and easy. But first, here are a few things moms leave out when discussing the challenges a new nursing mom may face.

    1. You might get a yeast infection...on your nipples. Yup, and it's not pleasant. And the baby can get it too. It's called thrush, and it's a luck of the draw situation. You may get it, you may not. And if you do, you may have it for weeks before it's totally remedied. The baby has to be treated with oral medication and a vinegar/water solution every 3 hours. There's cream
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  • Parenting Guru: Why Taking a Time-Out from Pregnancy is Good for You

    During my pregnancy, I exercised to relax. But my old faithful, the elliptical, wasn't enough. Running wasn't quite doing it either, and my pregnant breasts were not excited about the jostling of the treadmill. I needed something so exhilarating that I would keep coming back, even when my joints hurt or I was really tired. So I decided to try Zumba. One Saturday morning, I shyly stepped into the aerobics studio, a baggy t-shirt covering my slightly protruding belly. I wasn't far along enough yet for anyone to guess, but I wasn't sure I wanted to be the only pregnant lady in a class that promoted sexy, Latin dance moves. That seemed weird. This seemed like one class that couldn't be 'pregnancy friendly.' I scuttled to the back corner of the room.

    A few minutes after 10:00, a beautiful woman with long dark hair glided into the room. "Hey, ladies!" she announced. She wore lime green cargo pants with black ribbons hanging off the pockets and a hot pink tank top with ZUMBA written

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  • Parenting Guru: My Biggest Parenting Obstacle - Trusting my Husband

    The other day, my son dropped his apple core off his tray and it bounced once before hitting the floor. My husband scooped it up, rinsed it under the sink and handed it back to him.

    I cringed. "What are you doing?" I heard myself saying, even though I knew I should just keep my mouth shut.

    My husband raised his eyebrows in disdain.

    I couldn't help it. I kept talking. "You can't give him something that dropped on the floor. We have a dog!"

    My husband looked at me, irritated. "Seriously? He's fine. Relax."

    Ugh. I'd done it again. My husband made a decision concerning our son, and I immediately contradicted it. This could have become an argument, as it often does. My husband makes a choice that I don't agree with, I criticize him, he gets offended and off we go.

    My husband is awesome with our son. He makes him laugh, plays with him, feeds him dinner and gives him tons of hugs and kisses. He makes mistakes, sometimes, yes. So do I. But I'm the one who is home

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  • Parenting Guru: Technology and Toys: are we sabotaging our kids imaginations?

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    Walk up and down the baby aisle at any store, and you'll notice that most baby toys look the same. They light up, make sounds, sing songs or have some exciting electronic reaction when the baby touches a button or pulls on a happy, friendly face. Even certain models of the bouncy chairs can be turned on. The baby watches as bubbles move inside a plastic container, and music and lights entrance him as he sits and watches.

    When you are a brand new parent, these toys look awesome. You find yourself pressing buttons too, lighting up with delight just anticipating the joy your child will find in these fun gadgets. But as a new parent, you are also warned. "A child should avoid television viewing for the first two years of life," advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. When you think about it, these seem to be mixed messages. Aren't electronic toys just like tv?

    No, electronic toys are not the same. They're 'interactive.' Really? Wait a minute. Yes, the toys require some

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