Aside

7 Steps to a Resolution with our Daughter’s Bully

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Sippakorn

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Sippakorn

A visit to the gym to workout today proved to be full of some pretty big lessons for my nine-year-old daughter (and me). While on the treadmill next to my husband (Ice) I looked over to see my daughter in tears and very distraught.  She approached him very upset and looking for his help. He left with her.  I assumed she was fighting with her brother on the basketball court and continued running. After a couple of minutes I decided to shut off my machine and go see what was up.

Turns out my son was not the culprit today, it was another boy she was guarding (or trying to) in what was supposed to be a friendly game of basketball among children.

According to her account, the boy was aggressive and rude the entire game towards her, he slapped her at one point, pushed her down and told her “You’re a girl, you can’t guard me!”

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Prawny

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Prawny

Step One: Find the Boy.

We set off to find this young man. Calmly and purposefully. When he saw Ice he started to bolt in the other direction with his little sister. Ice asked him to stop and follow him to the front of the gym.

Step Two: Ask for assistance from the staff.

Ice asked for the help of the man behind the front desk in resolving the issue.

Step Three: Give our daughter a chance to tell her side of the story and look this child in the eye.

We let her speak and then asked the other child if what she re-told was what he thought happened. Was it easy for her? Not at all.  But it was so important for her to stand up for herself with our support and encouragement. She had been really shaken up until this point and rather than be the victim I felt it was so important for her to gain back her composure and some of her control of the situation.

Step Four: Arrive at the truth.

When the boy denied the events happening or his involvement in them my husband told him the best thing to do was to tell the truth otherwise we would be waiting for the staff to find his parents and get them involved.  He re-considered his position and agreed that he had been physical with her and abusive with his words. We asked if there was anything else he wanted to say and he apologized.

Step Five:  Accept the apology.

Our daughter looked him in the eye and hard as it was I could tell she really meant what she said when she accepted his apology.

Step Six: Try and re-cap the lesson.

Ice told him not to pick on others. “Girls can do anything boys can do”, he said. “And if you were my son, I would want to tell you it’s never a good idea to run from your problems because they only double in size.”

Step Seven: Close the loop with the staff.

Ice approached the front desk to let them know the entire turn of events and provide our name and number for the child’s parents to get in touch with us if they wanted to discuss anything.

So far we have not heard anything. But I do hope that this child really stopped, whether then or later in the day, to let it sink in that what he did was wrong.

There are so many other ways that this turn of events could have been handled.  But I feel so much more at peace with how it was handled. Calm, firm, up-front, transparent.

Not every situation can be so cut and dry. Circumstances can be so much more serious, less controlled, lacking any adult supervision in the vicinity and on and on…  But when I asked my daughter to recount for me what happened today, she had a better handle on it than I did.  I actually consulted her before sitting down to put this to words.  She truly was impacted by what happened and walked away stronger for it.

I am so proud of her and my husband.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Aside

Not Applying for my AARP Card Just Yet

I hope I have a long way to go until I am hunched over, walking with a cane and talking about “those young whipper snappers.” But I got more than a glimpse of what it means to be an “older generation” this week.

While walking through the mall with Little Bee I had to approach the information desk to get my bearings.

“Is there a Hallmark store in the mall?” I asked the woman behind the desk. (There wasn’t.) But the mall cop who was shooting the bull with her offered me some suggestions. When I looked into his eyes momentarily I was struck right away.

He looked like he had escaped from the middle school lunch table.

Last night, inspired by a new recipe from one of the many recipes I’m guilty of collecting (and never making) the iPod was blasting and me and Little Bee were putting on a groove shoe… minding our own business.  I glanced over at Twinkle Toes and her eyes bugged out like Macauley Culkin in Home Alone. (Does anybody remember that movie or is it just me?)

home alone

Apparently I had stepped into shaky territory feeling it was safe to dance in my own kitchen. Because I have now become the mom with jazz hands whose kids run in the other direction when Kool and the Gang comes on.  Well, not really Kool and the Gang, but you get the idea.

And I know every generation has their lingo.

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’, Groovy! and Don’t have a cow! come to mind.

greaser

But now there are text abbreviations, the ever-popular LOL, lmk and btw.

I remember the first time I heard “B.T. dubs.”

Huh?  

Took me a senior moment and then I got it.  Stands for the phrase “by the way”. It’s abbreviated in texting form to “btw” and now the young ones actually say “B.T.dubs.”

I told Techno, “Uh, yeah, please do yourself a favor and don’t talk like that.”

But then what will he have to look back and laugh about when he’s my age?  And isn’t that part of the fun of getting older? Laughing at your younger, stupider self? I can’t bear to deny him THAT joy.

 

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

How’s that Forty and Fearless Thing Working Out?

Today marks not only the celebration of St. Patrick and a culturally accepted excuse to take off work and slam beers at 9 a.m. but also one remarkable year since I committed to taking baby steps towards conquering the scary: blogging. (For those that started following my blog later in the year, Forty and Fearless was the first entry.)

I met my fourth decade with excitement of new adventures, new discoveries and a desire to shed a slowly less adventurous Jen. Writing through this past year has been an eye-opening experience and one that I wish I had started sooner, like exercising regularly and drinking strong black coffee.

It occurred to me recently while watching Twinkle Toes bend her body back like a pretzel while flinging her legs over her head, what happened to swinging backwards off the monkey bars with no hands? Where did the mogul jumps and back handspring attempts go?  I used to have the nickname “Conan” in my circle of junior high friends for my beach volleyball serve. Yet if you had seen me this summer, you would have wondered if I even knew how to identify a volleyball.

My kids have watched a video of their Mom willingly jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 14,000 feet. Would that happen now?  Too much at stake. I wasn’t a mother then.

The last eleven years have been supporting my children’s efforts to be the best they can be. Yet too few times taking a step back and wondering, would they be proud of me and my efforts?

For example, watching Techno play basketball this season.  Getting thrown to the ground, diving for the ball with the thud to prove it, being wacked in the face and injured in other ways countless times, all the while in front of crowds of people and all the while being scrutinized for his every move. Did he hustle enough? Did he defend the basket as he should? Did he pour every ounce he had in to the game?

I do not know if I would have the stuff he has to take those risks. Good for him.

I have a friend who is preparing to give cancer a one, two punch for the second time. Not a fair burden to dole out to anyone, yet she gets chosen to stand at the front of that line twice. I am so humbled. I met the surprise blessing of pregnancy at age 39 with nary a stitch of humor. And her attitude right out of the gates is one that inspires me beyond measure.

Ice just came through to the other side of a big life transition by starting a new job today. The first time in 10 years. He did it with faith, peace and an optimism of which I am in awe. His actions never made me feel anxiety about what the future would hold for our family. Only confidence that he believed something better was awaiting him and all of us.

After all, we have come to the end of our certification process for placement of our first foster (maybe forever!) child and THEN he loses his job??  This.Does.Not.Compute. There has to be a bigger plan.

So I was sitting in an office a little over a week ago reading an article while waiting for my mammogram.  A Life Less Cautious: Getting up the nerve with help from an unlikely mentor And a quote from this essay just blew me away.

“My bravery ebbs and flows, but ultimately I always get back out there…the world opens its arms just as wide for the fearful as it does for the fearless.” ~Ellen Welty

I feel like the simple act of putting fingers to the keyboard has given me a place to sort out, organize, catalog and lay bare for the world the things that amaze and inspire me, make me feel inept and inadequate or call me to action. And in some strange way it has held me accountable for what I write and what I do.

Let me write it now, I am surrounded by courageous, amazing people every day who inspire me. Getting a whiff of strength and fearlessness from others can translate into action, ebb and flow as it might. And in doing so I am hopeful that I will find more ways to make life easier and more comfortable for those around me, strangers and loved ones alike.  Because when I am fearful and edgy, I really am a pain in the ass. It’s okay, I know it.

Everyday Moment

Image

Inspired by the blog Daftly Domestic. A single moment captured from the last week. Reminds me of a wall hanging my aunt had in her home when her kids were younger. It caught my eye every time I passed it.  It read:

Quiet down cobwebs

Dust go to sleep

I’m rocking my baby

and babies don’t keep…

How I remembered that, I’ll never know. It’s been years since I’ve seen it.  It no longer graces the wall anymore.  Most likely stored away.  I thought I would have to call her to jar my memory for the words.  But when I really thought about it, it just came to me. Must have made an impression even I could not imagine. Kind of like my kiddos.

“Rapid Fire Like a Machine Gun of Awesomeness”

Olympics: Snowboarding-Ladies' Halfpipe Finals

Kaitlyn Harrington (center) Andrew P. Scott-USA TODAY Sports

My favorite quote out of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  What woman wouldn’t want THIS said about them? This quote was used to describe Kaitlyn Harrington’s second snowboard run in the women’s halfpipe event before she won the gold medal.  Outstanding.

The more back story given, the more complex the pre-run routine, the higher the air, the more I loved it.  Always hitching a breath if I thought someone was going to fall. And there were some pretty brutal falls.

Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

I am a huge fan of the Olympics, winter or summer. Always have been.  It was promoted four to six months ahead of time on my local network. I looked forward to it with anticipation. It seemed so far off.  It came. It went. I barely got to watch any of it.

Laundry, dishes, bath time, bedtime routines. Let’s be honest. A cursory glance at Facebook or my Pinterest page, texting, late night snacking, shoveling a foot of snow (see Nine Rounds post) catching up on some of the 27 shows I have recorded that I “need” to watch.  And why not another last load of laundry?

I wish I had made it more of a priority because it’s another two-year wait until I can get my next fix.

In thinking of ways in my daily life I can be a “rapidly firing machine gun of awesomeness” not too many opportunities come to mind.  I think my window has closed. But if I spot it in another amazing female I encounter I will be sure to tell her.

Me and My Boy: Nine Rounds with the Driveway

Driveway1So I haven’t had the pleasure of firing up the snow blower in several years.  I mostly make sure I am feverishly working on some other indoor project when it’s time to shovel. Or I have a baby and nurse that baby right through winter so I always have a reason to stay comfortably sedentary on the couch. (Currently that baby is done nursing but she is a 19-month-old holy terror that needs to be watched AT ALL TIMES. And I am happy to be the one to do it during shoveling time.)

But yes, another smack of this never-ending blast of winter hit the Midwest and left Ice diverted on a plane from Nashville to Dubuque.  Dubuque is not O’Hare. O’Hare is where his car was parked.  He was supposed to get home the same day. Not 4 or 5 in the morning the next day by driving himself and several others heading in the same direction in a rental car.

When the situation was discovered it was a momentary realization…”Oh, crap.  Me and my boy have to tackle this ourselves.”

Being the domestic Goddess I am, I had been busy all afternoon.  I knew it was snowing like crazy but had no real knowledge of how much had hit the ground til the garage door went up.  God bless Techno for heading out there first despite five minutes of pre-teen grumbling, over-exaggerated sighs and protests. Meanwhile I searched for my warmest socks and my serious snow-shoveling boots.

Techno got one shovel in the snow. One. This wasn’t happening.

I tried to reach Ice for directions on how to fire up the beast of a snow blower we have. It’s got some serious horsepower and kind of scares me a little. He didn’t answer.

We had to figure this out ourselves. Remembering that I had been in charge of this detestable job one other time when he was out-of-town and written down the highlights I searched the junk drawer for this nugget of gold.  BINGO!  I hit pay dirt.

Techno and I stood in the garage reading, double-checking and doing.  We got that baby humming like a Maserati and then clicked the choke one too many times to the left and it died. So close.

We tried again and this time got it working. We were excited.  And Techno had just come off his Dad’s Snow Blower Training Academy recently so he knew how to operate it.

The city’s street plow was just barreling through when we finally made it out.  So I had a fresh mound of ice chunks and snow that stood at least three to four feet tall at the edge of the driveway to play with. Good times.

Techno carefully navigated the driveway and threw that snow. I huffed and puffed at my chosen station like I was Richard Simmons Sweatin’ to the Oldies. Turns out there is catharsis in showing that driveway whose boss. I haven’t seen the pavement on the driveway for weeks.  And once I saw a glimpse of that wet brown concrete it was like a sign that there IS life after winter and I was in a HUGE hurry to get there.

The feeling of accomplishment while working with Techno and tackling this task we both were feeling ill-equipped to handle was pure joy.  I was so proud of him for not only following but remembering his Dad’s instructions and being such an enormous help. An hour later we were victorious.

Bring it on.  No really, just stop.

Guest Post: Organizing Kids Clothes

For me, a cluttered and chaotic space equates to the same for my day. Don’t get me wrong, I have a junk drawer (and a junk counter!) in my command central area.  But being organized in many aspects of my home frees my attention for more important matters of the day.

The following valuable information comes from Bonnie Joy Dewkett, Certified Professional Organizer®.  I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with her to share her expertise and tips with you. She’s good, she’s really good…Now get your de-clutter on!

Kids have lots of clothes.  While they are tiny, that doesn’t make them any easier to organize!  Since kids grow so quickly, you need lots of clothes in lots of sizes.  Add in clothes for the change of seasons, hand me downs and saving clothes for your next child, and you may soon be overrun with adorable outfits!

I wanted to give you some tips on ways and techniques to store and organize all those clothes.

1.  Pick a time to sort.  If you don’t put it on your schedule, you will never find the time.  Some people like to have kids around to help.  Others, prefer to get a babysitter so they can organize in quiet.

2.  Have piles set up.  I love using large Ikea bags to sort.  Toss, donate, sell and keep or store for a younger child are common groupings.

3.  Closet dividers are a great way to separate sizes.  I love these from The Container Store.

Bonnie

4. Use drawer dividers. Kids’ clothes are tiny and if you simply fold and put them in drawers, you are going to lose items and overwhelm the space.

bonnie2

5. Likewise, I suggest shelf dividers.

6. Installing a second closet rod is a great way to give yourself more space. When your child gets bigger you can use it for storing shirts or you can remove it all together.

bonnie3

7. If you are going to move the items out of the bedroom or closet, I suggest storing them in small plastic shoe boxes. This way, you can easily see what is inside and create groupings of like items. I suggest rolling the clothes or folding and then storing vertically.bonnie4

8. One of the most important things to remember about kids’ clothing is that you will have more than you need. Donate what you don’t love or your child isn’t comfortable in.

9. If you are keeping clothes because they are sentimental, store those in a different spot than the clothes that are going to be worn again. Consider taking photos of them and then donating or making a quilt out of them. You can even use them as the matte in a framed picture.

10. Get kids involved with folding by giving them an easy to use flip folder. This also makes all of your piles uniform.

bonnie5

You can visit Bonnie’s blog at http://thejoyfulorganizer.com/blog/ for more tips and helpful ideas and advice to organize your home and office. I especially love the recent post on coffee and tea organization!

Bonnie Joy Dewkett, CPO® is a nationally recognized organizing expert, author, motivational speaker, and internet radio personality. She began organizing as a child, and she has been organizing ever since. Her company, The Joyful Organizer®, creates and implements organizational systems for the home and office. These changes allow her Customers to create calm from chaos at work and at home. Bonnie is passionate about helping her clients meet their organizational goals, and loves to see the positive impact that getting organized has on their lives.  Bonnie offers coaching and organizing to clients around the country. Email bonnie@Thejoyfulorganizer.com for a free consultation.