Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Learning to be a parent by the book

I’m learning to parent. One day my oldest, upon seeing my library book on parenting, had an epiphany that I had never done this parenting gig before and exclaimed “you mean…I’m an experiment?!” Yes, indeed. I’m trying to relate to my children a little bit better, to be aware of their emotions, be empathetic, and internalize guidelines for navigating through their days while keeping my sanity intact.

So here are a couple of tips I’ve gleaned:

• When you want your child to do something, tell them they may (whatever it is). For example, “You may pick up your blocks now, and then you may have a snack.” Speak what you want them to do. Children desire to cooperate and need clear directions.

• If they need help getting all the blocks picked up, offer to help. This does a couple things: 1) it helps prevent them from getting frustrated and it gets the job done and 2) you’re modeling what you want them to do (besides pick up the blocks)—which is to help others.

• Children want to be autonomous. Allow them that by making a safe environment where everything within their reach can be played with. Let them dress themselves, pour their own drink, fix a snack.

• Speaking of dressing themselves, try not to control this too much. Much of parenting is letting go of our own expectations and control. Autonomy is a good thing, I try not to squelch it. I’m over caring if my child wears a striped shirt, a flowery skirt, and her pink boots. I think it looks darn cute, actually.

• Get down at eye level with your child. This goes a long way toward working together with your child. It connects you and allows you both to give each other your full attention.

Krista Bocko is living and learning in Noblesville and striving to be a better parent (chocolate helps). See her blog at www.cachetwrites.blogspot.com to comment.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No TV or phones? Yes, kids, that's the way it used to be

In November my daughter and I went to a local craft show on a whim. Just as we were on the way out, we walked past a few more tables. I nearly missed the small table with the books on it, then the woman stopped me and invited me to take a look. I was drawn to the titles, one of which is the title of this article. People that know me know I am enamored with old homes and aprons and vintage Pyrex and the like, so I’m always thrilled to listen to stories from people that lived in earlier times. The author, Laura Konger Nicodemus, grew up on a 30 acre farm in the 1930’s near Churubusco, a small town north of Fort Wayne
It had always been Laura’s dream to paint a picture of the daily lifestyle of a child growing up on a farm, and the text and the illustrations in these four books is delightful and informative. Children are fascinated to learn that there wasn’t always electricity, TV, phones, and she ‘shares the feeling of freedom from the visits to the outhouse in the middle of the winter cold and the summer rains’ when indoor plumbing was installed.

I bought the set of four books and Laura autographed them. I am excited to read them with my children and open up their minds to how children their age used to live, compared to the relative life of luxury they live today. These books are a great classroom resource for elementary teachers also. Visit www.tcswoodentoys.com or The Wild at 884 Logan St. to purchase ($20 for the set of four). I’m also hosting a Christmas giveaway on my blog, an autographed set of these four books! Tell me something special you remember about your grandparent(s) or parent(s). The winner will be announced Dec. 25th.

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for playing along!  Be sure to sign in or post your email when you leave your comment so I'll have a way to reach you!  Pass this on, too.  Good Luck!


And the winner is....Kristen (Emlynsmommy)!  Thanks again for these great memories and Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!  And welcome to Noblesville, Michael.  :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Be a kid again and create with family or on your own

Children have an innate need to create and the gift of creativity. So do adults, whether we recognize it or not. My family does lots of creating—rarely is our table free of some sort of project in the works. Children are wonderful and open artists. I love watching their progression from stick figure drawings that can’t really be distinguished to more sophisticated recognizable animals, and their excitement over any new form of media they discover, whether it be different paints, watercolor crayons, making cut-out Christmas cookies, or building a fairy house out of found natural materials.

Last week I was at my parents house and my mother had a large basket full of pottery that we had made in art. I looked through it, pretty sure that there wasn’t any of mine left in there, since I’m the oldest and it was probably long gone. There was one, a little pinch pot, and it was painted greenish-gray. It was pretty homely really. But I looked at it and thought about the times my art projects were judged and how the joy of creating was taken from me. If I could talk to myself back then, I would have looked at the little girl that made that pinch pot and found something good to say about it to her. So what if it wasn’t cute, she had made it and because of that, it was special.

Do you have childhood experiences like that too? Remember that we all need to create, in whatever form it takes (there are many!), and honor that. There are a wealth of ideas out there to get you started. As a new year approaches, commit to making space in your life to create and experience the joy of making something, too, either with children or on your own.

Krista Bocko lives in ‘Old Town’ Noblesville with her husband and four children. She strives to encourage creativity and enjoys documenting their creative adventures. She can be reached via her blog at www.cachetwrites.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Educate before you vaccinate

We choose not to vaccinate ourselves or our children, no, not even for (or especially not for) H1N1 and seasonal flu. It is a hard decision and one that I am constantly re-evaluating but am ultimately most comfortable with. These are some of the questions I have gotten when I bring up the fact that we don’t vax. Considering that today’s CDC schedule (which I can only see increasing in the future) recommends 30 shots, yes, that’s 30 sticks by age six , any and every parent needs to become informed about the risks and benefits. This number doesn’t even include the now recommended yearly flu shots.

How are you able to not vaccinate? No one can force vaccination. Parents have a right to decline them for their children.

Aren’t you worried about your kids? Yes, which is why we have researched the issue and chosen not to vaccinate.

What about school? Contrary to what the schools say, they cannot refuse entry to a partially or unvaccinated child. You need to file a yearly exemption with the school, citing your reason for vaccination refusal (even if your child(ren) have only missed one vaccination) Anything short of the full CDC schedule will require an exemption. Indiana allows for a religious exemption, see my blog for a sample letter.

Don’t vaccines protect us? I agree (in theory) that vaccines work, however, vaccines include aluminum, formaldehyde, thimerosal (mercury) and other toxins. I think it’s highly risky to inject so much of these ingredients into our children and not consider the long term effects. Vaccines also bypass the bodies natural defense mechanisms, and acquiring natural immunity as nature intended is superior to artificial immunity.

Are you…healthy? Pretty much. We try to avoid the typical American diet, we eat whole foods as much as possible, exercise, seek regular chiropractic care, and are dosing ourselves up with multivitamins, Vitamin D drops, Vitamin C, and Omega 3’s.   Northstar Health Store, at 9619 E. 116th St. in Fishers, is an excellent resource.

Bottom line—every person considering vaccines for themselves and/or children needs to spend some time researching them. Choose to be informed.

Some books & resources I have found helpful in my vaccination/health research:

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children's Vaccinations

Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent's Guide: How to Make Safe, Sensible Decisions about the Risks, Benefits, and Alternatives

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child

A Critical Look at Vaccines

Video-A Vaccine Primer

Vaccine Debate article--costs 1.99--worth it

Northstar Health

Sample Exemption Letter:

(School & Address)
Noblesville, IN 46062

(Parent Name(s))


To Whom It May Concern,

We will not be completing the vaccination schedule for our child, (child's name), citing the religious belief exemption as allowed for by law under Indiana Code Article 8.1, Chapter 7, Section 2.

Thank you and sincerely,

(parent name(s) and signature)


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Schoolhouses and Cemeteries

On a beautiful, crisp October day, we visited some old cemeteries. Old cemeteries are everywhere, often we don't even know where they are. We live just down the street from one that now sits between a school and a grocery store. We were here for years before we even knew it existed. There are 2 south of us, both on busy roads, that I drove by a million times before I noticed them. One we visited is a secluded, fenced and treed spot that backs up to Verizon. There are only a handful of graves, only taking up a small part of the cemetery, the latest dating from the 40's. There was a grave for a stillborn and a 2 month old, both alone. That was so poignant and sad. I wondered these people's stories. It's so hard to imagine that this spot, once distant to town and in the country, now is in such close proximity to loud rock concerts, something these people could never have dreamed. Now on concert nights the stillness is broken and the sound reverberates through the ground.

As we traveled to another cemetery (we were geo-caching) we passed this old schoolhouse (pictured). Again, the questions. When was it built? What is the story? What was the teacher's name and what was she like? What did the children go on to do? I wish I could go back in time and get glimpses, it's so hard to imagine it at all. And again, it's so desolate and sad. Why has it (and so many like it) been allowed to fall into ruin? I have always loved old schoolhouses. There used to be one in near ruins near my house growing up, and I dreamed of fixing it up into a house. It was torn down. I was sad then too. Why do so few people seem to care to preserve our past?