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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lessons from Gramma Alice

Gramma Alice (on the right) showing off her sense of playfulness
I was chatting with my daughter last night, for some reason we were talking about toenails (you know how it is).  She suddenly got that far-off look in her eyes, like you do when you are remembering some long-forgotten detail.  She told me she remembered one time when she was very little and we were visiting my parents.  She was playing an epic game of pretending (it was sort of where she lived in those days), and I apparently felt some peculiar urgency about cutting her toenails.  She was resistant because she wanted to continue to play the fantasy game, and I was probably having one of those less-than-brilliant mom moments when I was pretty sure disaster was just around the corner if we didn't get those toenails cut right away.

Luckily,  my wise and sly mother stepped in, and suggested to Alice (my daughter) that we needed the toenail clippings to make a potion to save the kingdom from drought.  Alice immediately went along with it, and we cut the toenails and put them in a little cup.  She was pretty sure the clippings needed to be sprinkled around the living room floor in order to effectively combat the drought, but again my crafty mother stepped in and convinced her that the magic would be stronger if they stayed in the cup.  This story reminds me of a line of poetry my dad wrote in an ode to my mother many years ago, "You slant the truth so children can walk up it."

I'm sure there are millions of times a day that all of us need to think creatively, on our feet, and when we are lucky we are able to come up with solutions as good as the one my mom did on that day.  I like the sense of playfulness, the respect she had for my daughter's priorities, her willingness to be a part of the play, and the understanding she had for my frantic mom energy.  I wish you all the best as you try to find that kind of balance in your interactions with families today.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Read Aloud 15 Minutes Campaign

A parent and child at Phillips' "Books Are Magic" Party
In 2012, Read Aloud began a decade-long campaign to make reading aloud for 15 minutes/day the new parenting standard--likening the campaign to those designed to make daily toothbrushing a part of the routine, and carseat and seatbelt use ubiquitous.

"Read aloud.  15 minutes.  Every Child.  Every Parent.  Every Day."

The campaign has some free downloadable posters and some great arguments for a nationwide effort in this direction.  Take a peek!