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Child Care Magazine

Archive Issue 6, vol. 7.1

Article Author Date Issue Section
Planning to Learn Sheri Karan 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Teaching & Education
Kitchenlab Kindermath, Poems for Tutorial #5 Noreen Wyper 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Kitchenlab Kindermath WC
Who Am I? Jenifer McCrea 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Stay-at-Home-Parent WC
No-Fear Incident Reports Emily R. Bridges 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Nurses In Child Care WC
Form: Incident Report Emily R. Bridges 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Forms
What are Start-Up Costs? Victoria L. Pietz 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Start-Ups in Child Care
O2 for Stress Relief Heather Haapoja 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Stress Help WC
Norman Rockwell Illustrates America Christine L. Pollock 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Music & Art in Child Care
To Be or Not to Be...Housebound? Elizabeth Pennington 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Nannies and Child Care
Sleep Lori R. Cohen 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Night Time Child Care
Prime Time Parenting, Family Law Deb & Dave Graham 7/6/2001 Issue 6, vol. 7.1 Prime Time Parenting WC
 

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To Be or Not to Be...Housebound?

By:   Elizabeth Pennington 

During my years as a nanny, I have worked for parents who have cheerfully pushed me out the door with their children in tow for a day out at the beach, the playground, and the zoo.  I have also worked for parents who have turned sickly green around the gills at the thought of their children being exposed to any further unnecessary life-threatening risks which may lie just beyond their reach and control.  What rules and boundaries you set for your children and nanny are those that put your mind at ease and allow you to go about your day with relatively few worries.  However you accomplish that no small feat certainly helps to determine whether your nanny and children remain housebound or not.

My intention is not to drape negative connotation over the term “housebound” by suggesting that your nanny will turn into a Jack Torrence if a bit of cabin fever happens to set in.  But, as a former nanny, I can testify that being within the same four walls for the better part of the day, five days a week, 52 weeks per year with restless children and no adult human contact can cause one to feel a bit antsy.  That is simply something that all childcare givers must accept as “background noise” of the profession and realize that eventually that noise will fade away into the subconscious.  Yet I know how much happier the children and I were when we were let loose in the fresh air and the ever-changing scenery.

Most of the children I nannied were old enough to accompany me (or, maybe it was I who accompanied them?) on these little excursions to the outside world. There were a few infants along the way who had no interest in what lay beyond those four walls.  After all, moving from the crib to a blanket on the floor is stimulation enough for these little critters.  I am not one to blame them for not knowing better.  What appeal could a monkey at the zoo have when the infant crams his fist into his mouth and doesn’t realize that it is his very own hand which he is gnawing?  Obviously, these are instances when it is best for nanny and child to remain in the comfortable confines of the home.  Cabin fever will have to remain at bay.

If you, as the parent, are at ease with the idea of letting your older children take off for a day of fun with your nanny, I would suggest that you go ahead and let it happen.  This would be a win/win situation for all involved.  Children and nanny are entertained making for happier children and happier nannies. These excursions could and should be not only entertaining but educational as well.  What a perfect opportunity for your children to get to the museum or the library or sightseeing on a nature trail in the neighborhood park!  A good nanny will take full advantage of the resources offered by your city or town to help teach and open up the eyes and minds of your little ones.

You may be a parent that shies away from the idea of your children being out and about in the big world without your protection and guidance.  If your gut feeling is to keep your children at home, then by all means, be true to your gut.  Becoming a nervous wreck will not be beneficial to your children when you come home at the end of an already nerve-wracking day.  You may want to try to compensate for your nanny and children being housebound by being aware of the potential problem of boredom and cabin fever.  Don’t feel guilty about it, just acknowledge it and do whatever you can to help ward it off.  Talk to your nanny and see what she suggests.  Maybe allow a rental video every so often or buy some more board games or material for the production of arts and crafts.  Housebound or not, your nanny will help to entertain and enlighten.  You just need to make the decision of whether or not the entertaining and enlightening go on within the four walls or out in the great blue yonder.

 

 

PRIME TIME PARENTING –

Family Law

By:   Deb & Dave Graham 

 

Everyone needs the law.  Those who break it, those of us who don’t, and those who make a living by explaining the differences between these two groups.  A person does not have to understand or even know the law to be subject to it.  But there is no doubt that a clear understanding of these things makes for a more secure – and more responsible – citizen.  The same is true within families.

Families are an individual’s first experience with group behavior.  And it should be every family’s goal to raise up individuals who will be self-disciplined enough to never have to brush up against that longer and often unyielding arm of our society’s laws. Being “brought to task” as an adult has far reaching effects that are sometimes impossible to get out from under.  That’s why it is vital in early years to develop the respect and discipline it takes to “order ourselves” before we get there. 

“Law awareness” is not something parents have to purposefully set out to cover in their list of “Goals I would like to Accomplish in Raising My Children.”  It is something they do naturally.  A person’s attitudes and methods in dealing with the law will be conveyed to their children, simply because children will take on THEIR attitudes and methods of dealing with things. That old saying “Do as I say and not as I do,” is a fallacy.  Though it might bring a few moments of peace during a fleeting argument (only because you are bigger than them), it is faithfully creating a piece of yourself within their character, even as you speak.  Children will always do as you do before they do as you say.  That’s human nature.  And this is something that can work for them or against them in life.

Every family has laws, whether they have put a name to them or not.  And every family spends whatever time it takes to enforce these.  The differences lie in how you choose to do it, and there is no doubt that some methods are more successful than others.  It is not unusual to walk through a public place these days and see a full-blown issue being tried out in family court, no matter who happens to be passing by.  You do not have to stay longer than fifteen minutes in the toy department of any store to prove this.  And even if you have your darlings trained up well enough not to crumble under these temptations, there are two to every one of yours that don’t.

That’s because humans have a driving force to voice and debate their opinions, and it starts at a very early age.  Children could spend most of their time doing this if you would let them, but as an adult, there are a few other things that demand your attention now and again, besides your kids.  Besides that, it’s embarrassing. 

So what do you do with this fiery little piece of humanity we’re forced to deal with day in and day out?  Do your best to keep it under control and hope by the time they reach voting age they have developed some sort of wisdom – or at least a little common sense — through the process of osmosis?  Possibly.  And there are a lot of young adults released out into the world every day with only “some sort of wisdom, or a little common sense” to get along on.  Invariably it makes for unnecessary troubles in that adult world, that would have been far less painful to learn in the less threatening environment of the home they just came out of.  But if Wisdom and Common Sense are two of the most important things you can give a child… just how do you go about teaching them?  The secret here is to look at yourself.

How much advise have you ever taken from others?

Probably not much compared to what you have learned through your own experiences.  A lot goes into the willingness to trust in someone else’s opinions rather than your own.  Nine times out of ten it is a relationship thing, and not so much WHAT someone says but WHO THEY ARE that makes the difference.  Which is as it should be.  That’s human nature.  And children are no different.  Wonderful things can come from learning to handle one’s own behavior, but – like a shotgun – it can cause some damage when misfired, and if fired at too close a range, can literally blow someone away. 

The best and most proven method of dealing with these situations is one that goes back thousands of years.  It’s called the FAMILY CONFERENCE, and it goes as far back though humanity as you would care to trace it.  It’s hung around this long because it works.  Here are some characteristics that differentiate the Family Conference from other types of family gatherings:

  • The whole family is involved.

  • Every member has a vote.

  • Every member has a right to be heard without being criticized.

  • Problems are aired and settled here by a majority rule.

  • In order to participate in this activity, RULES OF CONDUCT must be strictly adhered to.

The Family Conference is one more great way to turn your family time into “Prime Time” simply because it sets a specific time to deal with things you deal with anyway.  The difference is, it channels the “line of fire” to go off at appropriate targets instead of the isles of department stores where someone could sustain injuries.  A child that wants to know exactly WHY he can’t have an official fire-breathing, missile shooting, electronic version of some character of the latest hit-movie, might take the answer “Because it costs too much money!” as a personal insult.  Like maybe he’s not worth that much money.  Or worse yet, he is worth LESS than the price of a mere toy.  And even if you would be the first to insist this isn’t true (no matter what mood, you’re in), he probably won’t even bring it up as an argument.  Because the clock is running.  And he only has a certain amount of time to win or lose this thing, and he’s going to take his best shot.  Which is THE HOPE that you would rather get it than argue about it, and work the details out later.  And how many times has THAT ever worked for him?

At least once, or he wouldn’t be going for it, again.

The Family Conference is a non-threatening environment for settling these kind of disputes without squashing hope and self-esteem to do it.  That doesn’t mean you whip out your copy of “Robert’s Rules of Conduct” and hold a Family Conference right there in the middle of the store.  You make a little adjustment in the way YOU respond to the situation.  A response of “What a toy!  I can see why you would really want one of these.  But it’s pretty expensive, isn’t it?  To spend this much money, we’d have to talk about it first at Family Conference.  Maybe you should bring it up, tonight.”  Which defers the decision until later, he still has the hope that he might actually GET ONE, and he has something IMPORTANT to contribute to the group around the conference table. 

You mean you really might actually have to BUY this thing?  Not necessarily.  But if it’s that important to him, you may have to set up a way that he could earn it (through behavior, chores, allowance, etc.), and then follow through with the plan.  But you would be surprised how many of these episodes are no more than passing fancies, which when placed with a value of actual time, effort, or money to get… ARE NOT WORTH IT even in the child’s eyes.  Which puts the decision making experience back in his corner.  And that’s the only place it’s going to do HIM any good.  Hopefully, you’ve already had more than your share of those experiences in your life, and you knew the minute you saw the thing it wasn’t worth half the price they were asking for it.

The Family Conference allows you to pour all your “spur of the moment” problems into a time slot that you are best equipped to deal with.  And experience shows that people deal a lot better with things they are prepared for than things they aren’t.  Even though the Family Conference has the characteristics mentioned above, it is something that you can successfully mold to your own family’s routine to get the fullest benefit from.  If you are a young family, and spend significant time during each day settling disputes and maintaining control, you might need to have one every evening. If you have older children whose problems or concerns tend to come up mostly if they want to do or get something, your conferences can be more occasional.  Ultimately the habit of Family Conference will carry over even into the adult years, when it is still the desire of the grown children to seek counsel from their parents and each other to face life’s many challenges… thereby avoiding some of the mistakes so many of us have had to deal with on our own.  One family member can learn from another the hazards of owing thousands of dollars to credit agencies without personally having to go through the unpleasant experience themselves… if only we would be honest enough to share these things with each other. 

However you set up your schedule for Family Conference, here are some of the basic rules that will make each conference time more beneficial to everyone:

¨      EVERY FAMILY MEMBER’S OPINION IS IMPORTANT. Schedule Family    Conferences so that all the family members can be present to participate.  Unless Dad or big brother are off fighting the third world war, this isn’t impossible and should be a major priority.

 

¨      DO NOT INTERRUPT.  Everyone will get a chance to be heard and it is not acceptable to talk when someone else is voicing an opinion.

 

¨      If you have a complaint to make about someone, you must SAY THREE NICE THINGS about them first.  Offsetting negative criticisms by positive remarks guards against attitudes that can undermine relationships.  If a person cannot do this, then he is being too selfish or narrow-minded about the situation and is not ready to bring it before the group with a reasonable attitude toward working things out... and the issue will be deferred for discussion until that time.

 

¨      LET THE MAJORITY RULE when it comes to deciding consequences for certain behaviors or establishing new rules for things.  You will find the group amazingly fair because they know the same power could be wielded against them next time.  This is a good example of a “mini-democracy.”

 

¨      DON’T HAVE FAMILY CONFERENCES DURING MEAL TIMES.  Matters brought to the conference table can often be emotional and probing, and should never impose on the comfort and security of mealtimes. 

 

¨      OPEN A COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT.  If you have young children who find it difficult to wait until the rest of the family comes home to settle something, let them write (or you write for them) out a complaint and put it in a box.  Assure them that these things will be discussed first at the Family Conference, and they will feel the security of something “tangible” to prove this.

Putting Family Conferences into effect in your home will strengthen your security level.  Children will begin to trust that their important issues will be dealt with fairly, and they will feel empowered in the sense that they are a necessary ingredient to the process.  They will put more thought in coming to their opinions simply because they appreciate that their opinions matter.  And sometimes they will amaze you with their abilities to shoulder their part of “family law.”  They will become adept at negotiating and listening to others, and they will learn that putting fairness into practice benefits everyone.  Then you’ve opened your door to Wisdom and Common Sense.  And when these two start showing up at your Family Conference table…

Then you’ve made it.

  

 

 

Kitchenlab Kindermath,

Poems for Tutorial #5

By:    Noreen Wyper

 

The following are poems I created to teach the recognition and writing of numerals to twelve. They are designed to assist tutorial #5.

#1 One straight line,

To make a one,

From top to bottom,

Then you’re done.

 

#2 To make a two,

Go round and down,

Straight back across,

Without a frown.

 

#3 To make a three,

Go round and round,

And sit it right,

Upon the ground.

 

#4 Down and across,

And down again,

Will make a four,

And not a ten.

 

#5 Across and down,

Around a tummy,

Number five,

Is so funny!

 

#6 A monkey’s tail,

Swings for tricks,

Down and around,

Makes a six.

 

#7 Across and down,

It slides from heaven,

That’s the way,

To make a seven.

 

#8 Two circles joined,

To make an eight,

Around and around,

Close the gate.

 

#9 Hang a circle,

On a vine,

That’s the way,

To make a nine.

 

#10 To make a ten,

You need a one,

Add a circle,

And you’re done.

 

#11 Two straight ones,

Look up to heaven,

Side by side,

They make eleven.

 

#12 To make a twelve,

Take a one, add a two,

Stand them side by side,

Is this number new?

 

Print a dotted numeral out on a piece of paper several times. Have the child trace over the dots starting at the top of the numeral and repeating the number out loud.

Next Week:  Matching; One-to-one correspondence.

O2 for Stress Relief

By:   Heather Haapoja

As I write this column, my family is preparing for our first family vacation in years and I'm looking ahead at what's in store. My husband and I, with our four children, will be spending ten hours on the road in a tightly packed minivan. Then after several days of visiting and fun, we get to do it all over again. Somehow, I see some added stress in my future.

We are planning ways to bypass the usual car trip dilemmas. We've laid out the route to our destination, scheduling rest stops along the way. We have activities to keep the little ones occupied and have explained to the older ones that we will be in charge of the radio station choices along the way. We'll carry a cooler stocked with drinks and snacks. All in all, I think we're prepared, but the fact that there will be some jangling nerves is inevitable.

What we really need is a coping strategy for stress. Something that can be done on the run, with limited space, that doesn't require any extra packing. How will we calm ourselves when the whining, complaining and fighting break out?

Breathe.

When you are in a stressful situation, you may notice that you hold your breath or breathe more quickly than normal. Both are natural, involuntary responses to stress that add to its harmful effects.

Fortunately, you can consciously take control of your breathing and use it to your advantage in two ways. First of all, concentrating on your breathing helps to take your mind off of whatever is troubling you at the moment, allowing your mind and body to relax. Secondly, correct breathing increases the production of calming chemicals in your brain, allowing you to put things in perspective.

So, how do you breathe "correctly"? It's all in the diaphragm.

Your diaphragm is the layer of muscle that divides your upper and lower torso. As you breathe in, your diaphragm should cave in to allow your lungs to fill with air, causing your stomach to rise. As you exhale, the diaphragm rises back up to push the air out of the lungs. Therefore, your stomach should rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale. If your diaphragm is not involved, and your chest rises rather than your stomach, then you are "chest breathing" and limiting the amount of oxygen your body takes in. This can have a detrimental effect on your overall health.

Watch how a sleeping infant breathes. You can see their stomach rise and fall, not their chest. Oddly enough, proper breathing comes naturally to us as infants, but somehow as we grow older, we forget how to breathe correctly.

Once you understand correct breathing technique, you can use any variation of the following exercise to calm yourself in a stressful situation.

Take five to ten slow, deep, even breaths through your nose. Breathe smoothly, without holding your breath. Fill your lungs from the bottom up. As you breathe in, say to yourself, "I am" and as you breathe out through your mouth, say to yourself, "calm". You can say anything that is soothing to your mind and helps you to concentrate on your breathing.

This exercise triggers a calming response in your brain, helping your heart rate return to normal and allowing you to handle the crisis of the moment.

Take notice of your breathing this week. Are you breathing from your chest or your diaphragm? The more oxygen you take in, the better off you will be physically and mentally. With practice, diaphragm breathing will come naturally to you once again. Do the breathing exercise several times a day and whenever you feel stressed out. Notice the difference that simple breathing can make.

And on that note, I will take a deep breath and get packing.

Wait a minute…where did all this laundry come from? I've been doing laundry all day and NOW you decide to bring yours down?

I am … calm… I am… calm.

See you next week!

 

No-Fear Incident Reports
By:    Emily R. Bridges


What else can be expected? Add several children with limited walking
experience, the fear of Evil Caneval, and a cartoon-warped-head-falling-off-is-funny sense of humor; accidents will happen in daycare.

As providers, a few things enter our minds:

1.   First and foremost, is the child okay?
2.   Then, will I know what to do?
3.   Finally, how will mom and dad react?

Is the child okay? Most accidents in daycare are minor, so with a quick head to toe assessment, the provider usually knows that the child is okay.

Will I know what to do? Keeping the first aid handbook in an easily accessible place dispels the fear of not remembering what to do.

How will mom and dad react? This question stumps me. In my personal experience, I have had parents of a bleeding child remain calm, but on the other hand, I’ve had parents that tear at the site of a mosquito bite.

Hence, the need to complete incident reports. Common belief is that these reports are used only when a licensed provider needs to notify the state of a serious accident, but consider their usefulness in minor, everyday accidents.

Documenting the exact details of the injury protects the parent, child, and provider. For parents, an incident report will offer immediate answers to the questions that will arise once the fear has subsided.

In the event that the child requires medical attention, all of the information is in written and in the parent’s hands. To that end, having copies ready and documenting once the child is safe will ensure that the report is ready to leave with the child.

What to report: Exactly where the injury is, right or left, top or bottom. Draw a picture if you need to – a stick figure will usually do fine in explaining location!

Exactly where and how it happened, including the location, if any play equipment was involved, and how it happened.

Indicate the first aid that was performed (i.e. ice pack X 10 min., direct pressure X 10 min., elevation, etc). If the injury is to the head – though it’s not wrong if not done - it’s certainly precautious to mention that the child was checked every few minutes, and that they remained awake and alert, could walk normally, and the absence of vomiting. If mild-moderate bleeding is present, it’s good to know that direct pressure was applied with a sterile cloth until the bleeding stopped.

It’s also helpful to know how the provider will take an active role to prevent this type accident in the future.

Many states supply licensed providers with sample forms. Additionally, they have criteria to determine if the state needs to be notified of the accident. A form is available for those interested; see Incident Report in the forms section.   

Lastly, the provider and parent should sign the report. Everyone walking away from the accident should have a copy. If a copier is not available, complete two reports and have both signed.


With acceptance of incident reports as the norm, their stigma will soon fade. Providers will have a lasting record for the child’s file. Parents will realize that their childcare provider is careful and simply wants them to know the details.


 

 

Planning to Learn

By:   Sheri Karan

 

As a parent or a childcare provider, one of your biggest concerns is providing stimulating activities to promote learning.  This is a goal that can be accomplished in many ways; packaged curriculum programs, offering varied play equipment and experiences, and the list could continue on indefinitely.   Learning can cost as much or as little as your imagination will allow.

When planning for learning, don’t forget that every thing that a child encounters can be a learning experience.  It doesn’t have to be a worksheet or textbook.  It can be as simple as playing dress-up, and as elaborate as a field trip that relates to a theme you are learning about.  Remember, that when children play, there is much more going on then meets the eye.  Dress-up is a form of drama, an art form that can spark a lifelong interest.  Coloring either in a coloring book, or on a blank slate sparks the creativity that can channel into various forms of art.  Don’t dismiss the pleasure of pure play as just play.  Children learn many things from play: cooperation, sharing, and the many facets of life.

But, when children need more than play, it is just as simple to create a learning plan.  Start with a blank sheet of paper, put the categories that you want to focus on at the top of columns that you draw on the paper.  For example, when I am planning my preschool learning for my daycare children, I have categories for group activity, arts/crafts, cooking, and story/quiet time.  We may not use these categories each day, but it is a good start when I am brainstorming new ideas.  In this article, I will review each category separately.

Group activity is a broad category.  It can start with a circle time, and lead into other activities such as Science, Cooking, or Arts/Crafts.  Usually we have a weatherman assigned each day, and we discuss the weather leading up to that day as a group.  You can do the same with your children.  It helps them to understand weather when they see a pattern forming.  We may do flannel board activities, sorting as a group healthy and unhealthy foods for a Nutrition themed week.  Group activities are whatever you want them to learn together.  This is a good time to focus on cooperation, sharing, and speaking in a group.  Great for life skills!

Arts and crafts are ideas that relate to what our theme for the day or week is.  For blue day, for example, we take off our shoes and walk in blue paint on a large piece of butcher paper.  Then we wait for it to dry and paint on sea animals and fish.  This is a wonderful experience that takes little money, but has huge rewards.  Then we cut it up and take a piece home with us.  Our little ocean is a beautiful sight!  Crafts don’t need to be complex, and are so meaningful to kids if they aren’t cookie cutter ideas.  Children need the broad range of skills that art allows them to explore.  Have fun with them and get paint all over you too, you may be surprised how much fun you have.

Cooking is such an overlooked experience with children.  They love to measure and dump in ingredients, but they can do more.  I let them do the recipe with me helping as little as possible.  We try different ethnic recipes, and kitchen tools that they don’t ordinarily get to use.  Children will try a wider variety of foods if they have had a part in making it.  My daycare children eat Chinese, Italian, Japanese, and other ethnic foods regularly.  We try recipes regardless of the skill level required.  By allowing children to do things that we don’t think they can, we can be surprised at how much children can learn, and children learn that asking for help is okay.  Don’t just stick to kid-friendly recipes.  Children enjoy just being with you and creating.

Story/quiet time is our introduction to nap time.  We wind down listening to a book that is selected to relate to our theme for the day.  If we have a Teddy Bear then, we may read Corduroy.  It is a favorite with all of us, including me!  It is nice to wrap up our learning with a story to snuggle up and slow our bodies down.

I hope that this article has inspired you to some ideas of your own.  Raising and caring for children can be as much fun for you as it is for them, with just a little planning.  Just allow yourself to get carried away, and ignore those that tell you to act your age.  I think sometimes I have more fun than the kids do, and what a better way to spend my day!

 

Norman Rockwell Illustrates America

By:   Christine L. Pollock

 

“I guess I’m a storyteller,” said Norman Rockwell. He is a man who, in my mind at least, is one of the greatest artists that has lived and portrayed American life. Many people critiqued him and cited that he was never a true artist. The irony is that he never claimed to be one. Norman was an illustrator. In fact, he once stated, “…although this may not be the highest from of art it is what I love to do.” 

Many people (myself included) associate him with small towns and happy childhood memories of swimming and fishing. Perhaps we get this image from his paintings. In actuality, Rockwell was born in New York City on February 3, 1894. He lived in a brownstone on 103rd Street and Amsterdam Ave. As he was growing up, Norman was a choirboy at St. Luke’s and then at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He was not very good at sports due to physical limitations and used his drawings to entertain his friends. In the summer, Rockwell loved journeying to the country with his family. This greatly influenced his work. 

When Rockwell was 14, he went for art training at the Chase School of Fine and Applied Art. At the age of 17, he was illustrating children’s books and worked for a boy’s magazine when he was 18. Then he got the job of illustrating covers for The Saturday Evening Post. His covers are probably what grabbed America’s heart. In fact, one reader wrote to the editor of the magazine about Rockwell saying, “he understands us”. This was an incredible tribute to the illustrator. Norman also painted for many Boy Scouts calendars.

When the war broke out, Norman tried to enlist as a Navy man. They would not let him join due to the fact that he was underweight. He went home and ate bananas, warm water and doughnuts until they let him in. However, they discovered his talent for art and the commandant used Rockwell to entertain the visiting admirals, etc. with his drawings. Norman never did get overseas and was not very happy with these arrangements. To get out of the Navy, he opted to get an inadaptability discharge (which meant he wasn’t able to do the job assigned) from his job as a third-class varnisher and painter.

In the early 1900’s, Norman’s style of art did not really fit in with the other painters. He portrayed reality as he saw it and had an incredible drive for perfection in detail. Instead of abstracts or dynamic symmetry, Rockwell took simple people doing normal activities in life and put them on canvas. He made sure the costumes worn by his models were authentic. It was common for Rockwell to buy the clothes right off a person walking down the street.

One of my biggest challenges this week was choosing which picture I wanted to use. So many of his pictures appeal to children. At first I was going to focus on “Day in the Life of a Boy” (http://store3.yimg.com/I/chsms_1640_2068135). This especially appealed to me since Rockwell really understood little boys (he had three of his own). It was fun for me to look at the illustration and see the little boy’s focus on his comic book. My brain had no problem picturing a Game Boy in place of the comic book to update it a bit. This picture is also mirrored by another illustration entitled “Day in the Life of a Girl”.

These pictures tempted me, but I finally decided to focus on an entirely different painting. “April Fool” was another Post cover. I thought this would be a good painting for this article because it is so silly. It appeals to all ages. I could not find a link to the picture on the Internet, but it is in many Norman Rockwell books. If your local library has copies of Jack and Jill, you will find April Fool on the back cover of the April/May 2001 issue.

Kids love this particular painting because it is like a search game. Here are some ideas for this week:

  1. Take your children and see how many “crazy” things they can find in the picture then discuss them.
  2. Create a 3-D picture like the man in the right picture frame.
  3. Have the children draw their own “silly” picture.
  4. Ask the children leading questions. “If you had to draw the cover of a magazine, what magazine would it be and what kind of cover would you make for it?”  Have the children make a sample cover.
  5. Look at a number of Rockwell’s illustrations. Discuss how you each think you would look if Rockwell painted you.

In addition to art that has touched the heart of America for several generations, Norman has taken us on a trip through history with his covers. We witness the good times (birthday’s, holidays, etc.) along with the bad (childhood fights, wars, etc.). Rockwell died in 1978.

Next week I will write about “A Lark Ascending”. This piece was requested by a grandmother-of-four in NY. The composer lived in a similar time frame to Norman Rockwell. Do you know who he is?  Find out next week…

 

 

Sleep

By:   Lori R. Cohen

 

It’s 3:00 A.M. and the baby’s awake- again. It’s the third or fourth time tonight- I’ve lost track.

“Let her cry it out,” they advise, those with babies who have slept through the night since birth. “It only takes three days, guaranteed. Maybe four.”

I kept her on a mattress on the floor next to my bed for the first seven months. That way I could just roll right out, nurse her, and go back to bed. I usually fell back asleep beside her, still nursing. But the older she got, the more easily she woke up. I could no longer go into our bedroom after she fell asleep, which was a bit of a problem as our TV is there. I fold laundry, iron, do paperwork, all in front of the TV, after the kids go to bed. So then we moved her into her sister’s room. Now I have to drag down the hallway, but once my husband is asleep I don’t bother coming back to bed. I just stay with the baby. That works on two levels; when our three-year-old starts crying for mommy at 3 or 4 or 5 A.M., I just whisper, “Ssshhh, Mommy’s here, go back to sleep,” and she does, without ever fully waking. Or she takes the opportunity to climb into bed with daddy. We are a co-sleeping family. It seems to be the nature of child care issues to have theories of polarizing extremes, and sleep is no exception. On the one hand you have Drs. Benjamin Spock and Richard Ferber, the leading advocates of the “let ‘em cry” school of training. They vary on degrees of harshness; Spock says to let them cry alone as long as it takes to let them fall asleep, while Ferber suggests going in at ever-lengthening intervals to calm and reassure them. On the other hand you have Dr. James McKenna and the co-sleeping school, who believe it is natural and normal to sleep with your child until he or she is ready to make the transition to his or her own bed.

The “sleep aloners” maintain a child needs to “learn” to sleep by himself, and that you don’t do him any favors by helping him fall asleep, or by sleeping with him. Crying for a few days never hurt anyone, they argue; let him wail for a week, then you’ll all be sleeping better. Otherwise you’ll never get the baby out of your bed.

The co-sleepers believe that sleeping with your child is the natural way to go. It facilitates breast-feeding and makes the baby feel secure. Co-sleeping babies have a lower incidence of SIDS; theoretically, the mother’s movements help rouse the baby from time to time, preventing the babies from being asleep long enough to fall victim to SIDS. As for never getting baby out of your bed- somehow or other, they all manage to find their way off to college eventually.

Bewildered and exhausted from seven months of interrupted sleep (my baby woke every 45 minutes to hour and a half all night long), I thought I couldn’t stand it any more. No one knew a gentle method of helping my baby learn to sleep alone. My pediatrician is a strong believer in letting babies cry. Several friends told me it was the only solution, and one lent me Ferber’s book, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems. Ferber tells you to follow a bedtime ritual- rocking, singing, nursing, whatever- but to put the baby down in her crib awake. Allowing her to fall asleep while nursing, with a bottle, or even a pacifier, prompts her to wake up fully when these “crutches” aren’t available during the semi-awakenings we all experience at night.

So I tried it. I nursed her and put her down, still awake, in her crib.

She screamed. She howled. She bawled her head off for forty-five minutes. Finally, she fell asleep. And then woke up two hours later and screamed for another hour, at which point I gave in and nursed her. She continued to wake up every few hours all night long.

By the fifth night she was falling asleep on her own after about ten minutes of crying. And she stayed asleep for an hour and a half to two hours, an improvement over the forty-five minutes to an hour. But she still woke up three or four times a night. And she would cry for up to an hour each time. I never let her cry longer than that. Ferber tells you to go in at increasing intervals, (every five, ten, then fifteen minutes, etc.) to calm the crying child, and to leave again once she’s calm, but before she falls asleep. Going in only made our baby more frustrated and increased the level of hysteria. She didn’t want me to stand there and pat her back and say, “There, there;” she wanted to nurse. She wanted to be held and comforted.

After night five I gave up. Ferberizing can take up to two weeks, though he maintains most children will be “cured” in three to four days. He never met my kid. Let him come and listen to her scream endlessly for two weeks. The man is the director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at the Children’s Hospital in Boston. His theory must have merit; my well-meaning friends all used his method with success. And I can be criticized for “giving in” after “only” an hour of crying. I didn’t do it “right.” I should have let my child scream as long as it took to achieve the results I was after. (Dr. Spock advocated letting them cry as long as it takes for them to fall asleep. He guaranteed success in three days.)

I think it’s unnatural to allow a baby to cry endlessly for two weeks. I can’t do it. In the end, I found sleeping with the baby easier than listening to her cry. My rule #1 of parenting: don’t sweat the stuff they’ll outgrow on their own. No child takes his bottle to high school, his pacifier to university, or sleeps with her parents until her sweet sixteen. When the child is ready to sleep alone, she will. By all means the child should have her own crib or bed for daytime naps, or in cases like mine, for bedtime. My baby is now eighteen months old, and sleeps for stretches of four to six hours. I never thought it would happen, but it has. About a month ago I stopped nursing her at night, but continued to go to her when she cried; she got with the new program after about a week. (A hard week, I’ll admit that.) Now she only nurses once, around five or six A.M. Soon that will be history too, and I’ll have a baby who, more or less, sleeps on her own.

For those mothers who need reassurance that they are not “damaging” their children by sleeping with them, check out. Anthropologist James McKenna has conducted much research in the field of child/parent sleep patterns, and his studies provide much-needed balance in the war of the night. While he can’t provide a solution to help you and baby sleep longer and better, he at least provides comfort that your seemingly endless sleep deprivation is beneficial for your child. There is one strong exception: never sleep in the same bed as a child if you use drugs or alcohol.

This is not to say that if your little angel sleeps 12 hours straight at three months, you should start waking her or move her into your bed. When it comes to how and where your child sleeps, be less convinced by the “experts” on either side than you are by what’s best for you and your child. If listening to your child wail for an hour and a half will eat you up alive, don’t do it- and don’t let anyone tell you that “crying it out” is best for both of you. If being woken up every few hours exhausts you to the point where you cannot be an effective parent by day, then find a solution that allows you and baby to get the sleep you need. Some babies, though not mine, really do learn to sleep alone in only three days. Perhaps Dr. Spock’s first words are the ones to be heeded most: “Trust yourself. You know more than you think.”

 

Who am I?

 

By:   Jenifer B. McCrea

 

I am a professional. I negotiate with tax consultants, stockbrokers and long distance companies to protect my interests.  I navigate and reconcile differing medical experts to reach, if not consensus, then at least a conclusion.  I create budgets with long and short-term goals, planning for emergencies along the way, both large and small.

I am a nutrition consultant, and can tell at a glance whether to buy a generic or name brand product based on price, fat, calorie content, and taste.  I can tell you two dozen ways to cook chicken as well as how to combine leftover spaghetti sauce, green beans and pork – and make it taste good.

I am a botanist/gardener/insect expert.  I can spot poison ivy at 100 yards.  I can tell the difference between contact dermatitis and hives.  I can find a tick in a haystack, remove it and kill it in one swift motion.  I can plant a garden and tell you which is crabgrass (bad) and lemongrass (good).  I can name all kinds of flowering plants from Azalea to Zinnia, in addition to telling you how poisonous they are if your three year old ingests them, and recommended treatment.

I am a time management expert.  I can time a load of laundry to finish five minutes before my husband needs his pants.  I can fit in a power walk between high-powered meetings,

My salary is non-negotiable.  I must have a sloppy wet kiss and play dough hug every day.  I must see smiles and have everyone around the table for dinner.  I must hear ‘I love you’ at least twice a day and get a hug from my husband at night.  Oh and by the way-, I must have a cup of coffee between Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues. I will never go on strike, unless you tell me I don’t do anything – then you might find your boxer shorts on the back lawn!

I am a Mother, and I am blessed enough to stay at home.

Join me here each week for ideas for stay at home moms, venting, and discussions of the issues that face those of us who are fortunate enough to stay home with our kids.

Next week:  Expanding your Circle:  How to meet new people with your infant.

 

 

What are Start-up Costs?

By:   Victoria L. Pietz

All businesses have start-up costs.  However, every business will not have the same costs.  Start-up costs are expenses that happen prior to the business opening.  I will list a few example expenses that you may have, to help you better understand what I am talking about. 

Mileage and possibly meals that are incurred when visiting other child care operations.  The professional fees charged by accountants, consultants and lawyers. 

Inspection fees may have to be paid before opening day. 

You may want to advertise ahead of time, so you have children to take care of that first week.

 Most likely, you will have to purchase supplies ahead of time.  Such as:

Diapers, bottles, toys, plastic mat by access doors, fence for outside, outside toys, something  to store individual belongings, shelves and containers for toys, books, movies, food, cleaning supplies, cleaning utensils, paper and first aide kit.

You may also have pre-opening payroll expenses. 

Will you have a computer for the children to play with?  You may need software.

Will you use a computer for the business?    You may need software.

Opening a daycare is costly and in order to be compliant with state laws and federal laws, one will be required to have certain procedures and other particular items needed to be purchased or used.  Below is a basic list of items that you must have to meet licensing requirements.  

  • Most states require a  fire extinguisher, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, running water, heat, fans or air conditioning, telephone-with list of emergency numbers and vehicle in case of emergency; if an emergency vehicle is not available within 10 minutes. 

The following link is a good place to find each state requirement.

http://www.ed.gov/Programs.bstmp/SCCLO.htm

This is just a short list of pre-opening expenses that you may have.   Home daycare start-up expenses will be slightly different than that of a center.  You may rent or purchase a center and may have to make changes or make repairs to the center in order to meet state and federal laws.  Your home may have to have changes made to be safe, railings added to stairways, windows not more than 46 inches above the floor so they can be opened in the event of an emergency and an exit from the basement (ground level), just to name a few.

Notice that I did not include assets that are purchased prior to opening day? 

Assets-income producing inventory, equipment and building. 

Assets would be depreciated based on their useful life span.  There are tables that are used for tax purposes.

The start-up costs are amortized over five years (60 months).  Just make a list of all expenses prior to opening day and add it up for the grand total.  Then take the total and divide it by 5.  This will give you the amortization amount for each year, for the next five years.  Note, major repairs to a home or building will be added to the basis and depreciated.

At start-up is the only time you need to do this.  After the business opens, things like supplies, advertising, accounting fees, mileage, etc. are expensed in the year paid (if cash accounting) or when incurred (if accrual).  

This has always been a confusing area for my clients.  I hope this has helped clear things up a bit for you.  Good luck in your business!

 

 

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