Take Your Child to College

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Categories Activities, Education, Going out, Parenting2 Comments

I encourage you to spend a few hours with your kids at your local university or community college. You’ll be surprised at what you can find to do there. Without them realizing it, you’ll be setting your children up to imagine themselves as university students in a few short years.

I know that college isn’t for everyone. Many of us are happier for going straight into the job market or getting vocational training. I do believe, though, that every child has a right to know that a four year degree can be an option. Given my daughters’ love of formal education, I would be very surprised if they didn’t elect to head straight for a Bachelors degree after high school. I did. Their dad didn’t. They have options.

I work at a university, so I know many of the hidden gems of campus. Ever since my daughters were toddlers, we’ve visited the campus on occasional weekends to go exploring. Sometimes, there are child-focused activities, such as Fossil Day, Explore UT, and the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland exhibit.

The Alice in Wonderland exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center.

Even without those, though, there’s plenty to do. We never go to campus without paying a visit to the Turtle Pond.

The University of Texas at Austin Turtle Pond is a great stop for little ones.

Scavenger hunts are a wonderful way to occupy a few hours. When my daughters were learning the alphabet, I’d challenge them to find each letter as we roamed the university. They loved carrying little clipboards and crossing out the letters, one at a time, as they looked at signs, fliers, and license plates.

UT Austin street sign. Why not take your little ones on an adventure to your closest university campus.

We’ve examined the details of architecture on campus. It’s amazing what you notice if you look closely. My office was in this building for years, but I never stop discovering new details I’ve missed.

MAI details

As the girls grew older, we began to talk about the people whose names were engraved on university buildings.

On our last campus outing, I gave the girls license to take photos. J noticed how beautifully painted the ceiling of a walkway was and took this photo. I’ve walked past that building for 14 years and never noticed.

Notice the details.

We are building wonderful memories. My daughters have an image of where I go during the day.

A plaque at UT Austin.

I’m also showing them that a university is a place they want to be. They see college students walking campus, carrying books in and out of the library, sitting on the grass and strumming guitars. They can see themselves at college because they’ve spent time on this, and other university campuses. They’ve visited my alma mater in California and several other Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina colleges. When we set forth to visit the planetarium in Chapel Hill, NC, I didn’t even realize it was part of the university until we arrived.

Forget take your kid to work day. Take your child to college!

Barbara Jordan statue at UT Austin.Have you and your kids explored a college campus? What did you do there?

 

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Twinkly Tuesday – July 21, 2015

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Categories Parenting Link Up, Twinkly Tuesday8 Comments

Skip to Tuesday Twinklers | Skip to rules | Skip to participant badge | Skip to this week’s links

Welcome to this week’s Twinkly Tuesday, the link party hosted by Sadia here at HDYDI, Caro of The Twinkle Diaries. Lisa at Mummascribbles is usually on board too, but she’s off this week.

I simply cannot get farther in this post without acknowledging a great loss to our wonderful community. Julia, who blogs at Rainbeaubelle, has been part of our tight knit group for some time now. Many of you, like me, have followed her blog as she and her husband Roger gracefully walk the road of his terminal cancer, trying to make the most of the time they have. They have created for their children memories that will raise them up during the tragedy around the corner and the years that follow. They did their best to find some normalcy in a situation in which “normal” is a stranger.

Sadly, that tragedy is no longer around the corner. It is here, right now. Roger took his last breath on Friday. He leaves behind his loving wife, Julia, and two children, Sam and Flo, aged 6 and 2.

Rainbeaubelle's author, Julia, was widowed on July 17, 2015. Roger left behind a son, daughter, and a life full of laughter.

Here at Twinkly Tuesday, you can meet new people, share your posts, and read blogs you might never come across elsewhere. Twinkly Tuesday participants are generous commenters and talented writers. And sometimes their words and stories, like Julia’s, grab you by the heart and won’t let go.

Each week Lisa, Caro, and I choose a favourite post. If you have been featured, be sure to claim your fame by adding the Twinkly Tuesday Twinkler badge to your blog.

My Tuesday Twinkler for the week is from Hectic Dad. Jeff is further down the road of parenthood than I am, and I look to his example for how to be a great parent to pre-teens, adult children and, eventually, a wonderful grandparent. His post about his adult daughter’s sudden and debilitating medical issues left me in an ocean of tears. He dropped everything to go to his 23-year-old, only to realize that he could no longer “Kiss it and make it better.” As of his last update, Hectic Dad’s daughter has been in pain for a week, with no explanation or relief in sight.

Hectic Dad rushes to his adult daughter's side, only to discover that he can't kiss it and make it better. The helplessness a parent feels doesn't lessen with time.

Lisa’s Tuesday Twinkler this week is from Motherhood: The Real Deal. Talya’s topic: “*NEWSFLASH* Why having a baby WON’T save your marriage.” This hit home especially hard for me; I was the baby intended to save my parents’ marriage, and my mother has never failed to remind me that I never fulfilled her purpose in conceiving me. Talya’s point is one that all of us who already have one or more children know: having a child puts enormous stress on a relationship. You want a strong relationship into which to bring a child. A new baby won’t rescue a relationship on the rocks. In fact, it may simply speed its demise.

Having a baby won't save your relationship.

Caro’s Tuesday Twinkler is from Parenting Highs and Lows. In her post “A Balancing Act“, Rachel talks about her relationship with her phone and how it is part of the delicate balance of her career and family. For her, a freelance writer, untethering from the online world means missing out on jobs, jobs that support her family. Much as the idea of not using her phone around the kids is a nice one, it doesn’t fit into her family’s balance. The flexibility her phone affords her to explore further afield of an office allows her to be more present for her children, even if it is with phone in hand.

Putting your phone aside around your children is a great way to keep your focus on your family for some. For others, the phone allows a neater balance of work and family.

Take a moment to visit these posts, if you can. We would love it if you paid a visit to the other host links, and any others that look interesting. And please, however little time you have, take a moment to hold your loved ones closer, to say “I love you” an extra time or two, in honour of Roger and Julia.

This week’s link-up

Link one post, old or new, that you think deserve more readers!

Twitter: Be sure to mention me — @hdydi or Caro — @twinklediaries, on Twitter and please use the hashtag #TwinklyTuesday. We’ll be sure to retweet every tweet tagged!

We’ll also visit everyone’s posts and leave comments between us.

Pinterest:  Lisa and I pin every post with an image to the primary Twinkly Tuesday Pinterest board and I repin the top pins on the HDYDI Twinkly Tuesday board. Send an email to mummascribbles@hotmail.com or tweet Lisa your email address and she’ll add you to the primary board. No more than 2 posts per week please!

Follow Katelyn Fagan of What’s up Fagans?’s board How do you do it? & the *Twinkly Tuesday* Linkup on Pinterest.

Each week, all three of us pick our favourite posts which will be featured on the following week’s Twinkly Tuesday page.

There are a few easy rules to follow, to ensure that everyone’s posts get the attention they deserve. Please do make the effort to abide by the rules, in fairness to the vast majority who do. We have been forced to block participation for repeat offenders who haven’t responded to multiple reminders.

  • Link one post per week — old or new.
  • Please be kind enough to add our badge to the bottom of your post/s. (Scroll down for the code.) If you haven’t (yet) been featured, please make sure you’re using this badge and not the featured one.
  • Please comment on at least two other posts including the one directly before yours. Visit and comment on as many others as you can. Of course, checking out the hosts’ posts would make us feel very loved.
  • Please use #TwinklyTuesday in your comments so people know where you found them!
  • By linking up, you give us permission to use images from your blog if featured. You also allow us to add you to a mailing list to receive a weekly announcement when Twinkly Tuesday opens.
  • The linky will close at 23.55 GMT today.

We look forward to reading all of your fantastic blog posts and seeing you again next week! Remember to grab our button!

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Dimensions of Intelligence

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Categories Education, Parenting, Perspective, School-Age, Talking to Kids, Unique needsTags , 3 Comments

My children are smarter than me.

Allow me to define “smart” for my purposes. I am certainly more knowledgeable and experienced than my 9-year-olds. I am better read than they are and more able to find practical solutions to problems, whether academic or everyday. I am far better at explaining complex concepts to people than Misses Giggles and Distractable. My ability to critically examine an argument is currently, at age 36, quite a bit better than J and M’s at age 9.

M and J, however, have always been better at absorbing new concepts than I was at the same age. Their minds work faster and burrow deeper. They see connections and parallels that would have never occurred to me. I have no reason to believe that this general trend won’t continue. As far as I can predict, when they are 36 years old, their brains will process ideas more effectively and deeply than mine does today.

The only milestone I beat them to was reading. According to my mother, I read at age 2. J and M were 3 before they were reading independently.

The fact that my daughters are smarter than me makes me proud. Perhaps if I had fewer academic successes under my belt, I would feel diminished by being outshone by my children. Perhaps if I were less egotistical, I wouldn’t be confident that I am just as smart as I need to be. I’m not in competition with my children. My task is give them the tools, skills, and support to be the best M and the best J they can be. I certainly aim to be the best Sadia I can be.

I am not a trained teacher, but I’m a proud nerd and I love getting others excited about knowledge. When my daughters learn a new concept at school, I often expand on it with them at home. It was while doing this that I confessed to them, for the first time, that they’re both smarter than me.

The children were studying 3D shapes in their regular 3rd grade math class. They told me all they knew about rectangular prisms, pyramids and cylinders. I asked if they knew why they were called 3D shapes.

They didn’t.

A mom explains the third and fourth dimensions to her kids, and is at peace knowing that they learn more easily than she did at their age.

The “D”, I told them, stood for “dimensional”. They could think of a dimension as a direction that exists in a shape.

  • A dot has no dimensions because you can’t move around inside it.
  • A line has one dimension because there’s no room to turn around.
  • A plane, I told them using a piece of paper to illustrate, has two dimensions. You can go back and forward or side to side. By combining those two motions, you can get anywhere on the sheet of paper.
  • If you jump off the sheet of paper, you’re in three dimensions. That’s the world we inhabit. Back and forward. Side to side. Up and down. Ocean creatures experience the three dimensions more fully than we do, being able to move vertically with ease.
  • The fourth dimension, I told my girls, was time. That took a little more convincing.

I still had the 2D piece of paper in hand, so I rolled it up to illustrate.

Sadia uses a rolled up sheet of paper to explain to her daughters why time is the fourth dimension.

Imagine, I told them, that there was an ant walking around on my sheet of paper. His world is two-dimensional. He’s not aware of what’s off the paper. Whether the sheet is flat or curved until opposite edges touch, he’s moving around in two dimensions. Even if I wave the paper through the air, the ant probably doesn’t know that it’s being moved. His entire universe is that 2D sheet of paper.

We are similarly unaware of moving through time. Right now, we’re in the dining room, playing with paper. Count to three, and we’re in the same place in the three dimensions we can navigate, but in a new second in the fourth dimension of time.

How to visualize time as the fourth dimension.

J and M said that made sense. “I’m in a new time now!” exclaimed M. “And now… and now. And I hardly wiggled!”

J took the next logical step. “Is there a fifth dimension, mommy?”

“Yes,” I told her. “I’ve read about theories of physics that argue that there must be a fifth dimension.”

“Show me, mommy!” J demanded. “Explain me the fifth dimension.”

“Little J, I recognize the concept, but I can’t see it in my mind. Without a picture, I have to use words. My best explanation is to say it’s the next logical step in the ant analogy.”

“So the fifth dimension is of the parallel universes, mom!” J realized. “Why didn’t you just say that?”

“I didn’t say it because I didn’t understand it. I can’t see it clearly the way you can right now. I’ll do my best to create a metaphor and picture in my mind, but it’s going to take me some time.”

“Mom! It’s obvious,” J told me, more than slightly irritated.

“Sweetheart, you’re going to run into a lot of people who have a harder time understanding ideas than you. Please be patient.”

“But mom,” J pointed out, “you’re mom.”

“I know sweet girl, but as you get older, you’re going to know and understand more and more things that you’ll have to explain to me instead of the other way around. There’s a lot I don’t know, and a lot it’ll take hard work for me to understand. Some of those things will come really easily to you, and that makes me happy.”

I hope that this confession, made with confidence and without apology, showed J and M that it’s okay to be smart without being smartEST. That was a lesson that I struggled with. It was quite the blow to my ego to realize that I wasn’t the top undergrad at my college. I was “only” in the top 10% based on the very narrow measure of GPA. I’ve since learned that being seen as the smartest person in the room is no measure of success.

Doing my best — that’s how I now measure success, even if that fifth dimension escapes me. And for the moment, I’m doing my best to raise two little girls who are officially smarter than me.

The Dad Network
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Don’t Suffer in Silence. Ask for Help.

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Categories Community, Mommy Issues, Other people, Perspective, Relationships2 Comments

I vividly remember attending a birthday party with my toddlers and leaving angry.

It was once of those first birthday parties that was very adult-focused. It was a celebration of having survived that first difficult year, rather than a multi-kid playdate. That makes a lot of sense. A 12-month-old likes routine. Having a bunch of people all over his house and yard is not his idea of fun at all.

While I spent the entire time chasing my twin daughters, swinging them on my hips, soothing owies, and serving them food, the hosts smoothly worked the crowd. The father, mother, and grandmother took turns tending to the birthday baby.

At the end of two hours, I was exhausted and I knew my daughters would fall asleep on the drive home. The only thing I’d eaten was a slobbery carrot shoved into my mouth by sticky little hands.

Chasing twin toddlers is not for the faint of heart!

My friend hugged me goodbye, saying, “I hardly got to talk to you!”

My eyes smarted with tears. How dare she? How dare she complain about my lack of good guest graces, not having lifted a finger to help me corral my two children? My husband was deployed. Other family was thousands of miles away. I’d shown up with a ratio of 1 adult to 2 kids. Hers was 3 adults to 1 kid.

sadia2toddlercarry

Perhaps if she’d held a child for two minutes, I could have used my newly available hand to shove hors d’œuvres in my mouth. Perhaps if she’d carried her baby over to where my little ones were exploring leaf piles, we could have had a conversation.

Now, with the clarity of retrospection, I realize that the failure was mine. I failed to ask for help. I’m sure my friend was intimidated by the competence with which I wrangled my rowdy pair. I’m sure that if I had just asked her to hold one of my girls so I could eat, she would have done so in a heartbeat.

Don’t suffer in silence. It’s not that people don’t understand. We just don’t know how to offer help.

Ask for help when you need it.

Your friends will appreciate the opportunity to help you out. I know this now from the other side. Nothing makes me happier than being able to help out a friend with young kids. My girls are now big kids, leaving me with two free hands. They love to help too. We bring 6 extra hands to the party.

Do you find it easy to ask for help?

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How the 1-2-3 Magic Approach Supports Parental Consistency

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Categories Books, Discipline, Parenting, Preschoolers, School-Age, Toddlers44 Comments

I’m a huge believer in parental consistency. When the parent is consistent, it gives each child a feeling of security. In a world in which they have little power and even less context, they can trust that their parents will always follow through on what they say and can be relied on implicitly. By demonstrating self control, we teach them lessons that will last their whole lives. Yes, I know. It doesn’t much seem like they’re learning any self control at all at ages 2 and 3, but they are.

The challenge is that consistency is hard. Being sleep-deprived and pulled in eleven directions at once as a new parent makes it even harder. 1-2-3 Magic is a book by Thomas W. Phelan that provides parents with a practical approach to achieving consistency.

An overview of the 1-2-3 Magic approach to disciplining your kids. Actually, it's more about disciplining yourself to be predictable, which results in better behavior from the kids.

MandyE wrote a review of 1-2-3 Magic that is a good counterpoint to the summary I provide below.

I have to confess that I came to the book late, when my kids were at the tail end of the Terrible Awful Horrible Threes.  What I discovered was that I’d been practicing its tenets already. I had a leg up, though. My baby sister is 10.5 years my junior so got some parental practice as a pre-teen and teen. I also spent a lot of time in therapy before getting pregnant talking through exactly how I wanted to parent, in my attempt to break harmful family patterns. As my former husband put it, 1-2-3 Magic is just a matter of common sense, but it’s common sense spelled out with practical steps for application.

Premise

The basic premise of 1-2-3 Magic is that structure can help parents achieve consistency.

Phelan’s approach also assumes something that child psychologists know well: the ultimate reward any child seeks is attention. If a kiddo gets attention from her parent for bad behaviour, then she’ll continue it. If you withdraw attention for bad and give attention for good, you’ll quickly retrain his expectations.

That’s where time out comes in. Time out is simply the withdrawal of parental attention. It doesn’t have to have special chair, unless that’s what works for you. It certainly doesn’t involve talking or eye contact.

Goal

So, what is consistency? It boils down to two things:

  1. Parents do what we say.
  2. Parents are predictable.

Technique

The 1-2-3 Magic approach is a combination of counting and time out.

First, you set expectations. Tell your children that you are going to count 1, 2, 3 if they’re naughty. At 3, they’ll go to time out. Don’t worry if they don’t understand. They’ll pick it up.

When they do something against the rules, say 1. The next time they do something inappropriate, or if they don’t stop the original behaviour, say 2. At the next infraction, you say 3 and put them in time out.

If they come out of time out, don’t make eye contact. Don’t try to reason with them. Just gently pick them up and place them back in time out. The total time for time out should be one minute per year of age for neurotypical children.

When the time out is over, don’t try to reason with them or tell them what they did wrong. You can go over basic rules at a point when they’re not already upset. Don’t go back over examples of early indiscretions. They’ve already paid for the rule they broke, and listening to a lecture is a second punishment that accomplishes very little.

I’d recommend waiting a few hours, maybe until the next day.

My personal approach — I can’t remember if this is in the book — is to talk about rules when we’re happy and having a good time together. I don’t even bother trying to reason with the kids when they’re upset. I just say to my 9-year-olds is, “I love you, but we can’t have a discussion like this. When you feel calm, we can talk if you want to.” What cracks me up is that my girls now use that on each other!

If you stick with the 1-2-3 Magic approach, your kids will know that you’re serious. Don’t let them get away with someone one day and punish them the next (except the day you start implementing 1-2-3 Magic). It gives them a feeling of safety to know what the rules are, and this is far more effective than talking it through. Yes, there’ll be a lot of screaming at first, but they’ll figure out you’re serious.

Personal Example

An overview of the 1-2-3 Magic approach to disciplining your kids. Actually, it's more about disciplining yourself to be predictable, which results in better behavior from the kids.

I haven’t had to count past 1 with my girls in at least 3 years. Seriously. I don’t think they have any idea what would happen if I got to 3. I don’t even know what would happen. My daughters are 9 and are generally reasonable human beings. But when they hear me say, “One,” in an I-am-not-messing-around tone, they straighten right up.

An even better example of effective use of the 1-2-3 Magic philosophy occurred with my nephew. By the time he was two years old, he hadn’t had consistent nutrition, much less consistent discipline. I had to go to London to take care of him for a week while his custody was being determined.

It took 6 hours for him to figure out the system. Six hours.

Sure, I had to pick him up and place him on the chair I designated for timeout 26 times the first time, but he got it. I just picked him up and placed him in a chair, saying the word “time out”. I avoided eye contact. Every time he slipped out of the chair, I gently picked him up and placed back on it. When the fifth time out came around, he didn’t try to escape. He sat there, crying, for 120 seconds. When the time was up, I picked up him up, hugged him, and told him that I loved him. We returned to playing with cars.

At the end of the week, when he saw his mom, he begged to stay with me (which broke my heart, because I couldn’t bring him to the US to live with me because of immigration laws). He didn’t see me as Mean Auntie. He knew that I was predictable, and that predictability made him feel safe.

If you want a much more well written explanation of the whole thing, buy the book. It’s a very quick read.

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Twinkly Tuesday – July 14, 2015

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Skip to Tuesday Twinklers | Skip to rules | Skip to participant badge | Skip to this week’s links

Welcome to this week’s Twinkly Tuesday, the link party hosted by Sadia here at HDYDI, Caro of The Twinkle Diaries, and Lisa at Mummascribbles.

Meet new people, share your posts, and read blogs you might never come across elsewhere. Twinkly Tuesday participants are generous commenters and talented writers.

Each week Lisa, Caro, and I choose a favourite post. If you have been featured, be sure to claim your fame by adding the Twinkly Tuesday Twinkler badge to your blog.

My Tuesday Twinkler for the week is from Love from Clueless Mum. In her post “Mummy vs Control Freak“, Clueless Mum wrote about the lack of control inherent to both motherhood and military life, which is especially challenging to people like her (and me) who like to plan, organize, and regiment. I suspect that you’ll relate.

Clueless Mom's post on surrendering control as a result of motherhood.

Lisa’s Tuesday Twinkler this week is Chirpy Chatterbox. You have to check out Alison’s absolutely perfect parody of the ubiquitous song “Let It Go” about the impossibility of maintaining a neat house when you have kids. Her family were wonderful actors and Alison has a lovely voice! When she goes viral, you can say you saw her here first! (Please do click over to her blog at drop her a note, even though I am including her video here for your convenience.) Her post points out what powerful tools music and humour are.

Caro’s Tuesday Twinkler is from Currently, Kelsie. In her post on unexpected lessons from the garage, as in all her writing, Kelsie’s thoughtfulness, positivity, and love shine through. She discusses a sudden realization that completely changed how she approaches her husband Aaron’s time doing Aaron-y things. Instead of using that time to get her own stuff done elsewhere, she has begun to spend it in the garage with her husband, in quiet companionship.

Kelsie's realization of the value of time spent together with her spouse is absolutely beautiful. It's a lesson to anyone in a loving relationship.

Take a moment to visit these posts, if you can. We would love it if you paid a visit to the other host links, and any others that look interesting.

On with this week’s link-up!

Link up ONE posts, old or new, that you think deserve more readers!

Twitter: Be sure to mention me — @hdydi, Caro — @twinklediaries, or Lisa — @mummascribbles, on Twitter and please use the hashtag #TwinklyTuesday. We’ll be sure to retweet every tweet tagged!

We’ll also visit everyone’s posts and leave comments between us.

Pinterest:  Lisa and I pin every post with an image to the primary Twinkly Tuesday Pinterest board and I repin the top pins on the HDYDI Twinkly Tuesday board. Send an email to mummascribbles@hotmail.com or tweet Lisa your email address and she’ll add you to the primary board. No more than ONE post per week please!

Each week, all three of us pick our favourite posts which will be featured on the following week’s Twinkly Tuesday page.

There are a few easy rules to follow, to ensure that everyone’s posts get the attention they deserve. Please do make the effort to abide by the rules, in fairness to the vast majority who do. We have been forced to block participation for repeat offenders who haven’t responded to multiple reminders.

  • Link one post per week — old or new.
  • Please be kind enough to add our badge to the bottom of your post/s, on a linky page, or in your sidebar. (Scroll down for the code.) If you haven’t (yet) been featured, please make sure you’re using this badge and not the featured one.
  • Please comment on at least two other posts including the one directly before yours. Visit and comment on as many others as you can. Of course, checking out the hosts’ posts would make us feel very loved.
  • Please use #TwinklyTuesday in your comments so people know where you found them!
  • By linking up, you give us permission to use images from your blog if featured. You also allow us to add you to a mailing list to receive a weekly announcement when Twinkly Tuesday opens.
  • The linky will close at 23.55 GMT today.

We look forward to reading all of your fantastic blog posts and seeing you again next week! Remember to grab our button!

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Twinkly Tuesday – July 7, 2015

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Skip to Tuesday Twinklers | Skip to rules | Skip to participant badge | Skip to this week’s links

Welcome to this week’s Twinkly Tuesday, the link party hosted by Sadia here at HDYDI, Caro of The Twinkle Diaries and Lisa at Mummascribbles. We have changed the rules slightly, be sure to read through them even if you’re a regular participant.

Meet new people through Twinkly Tuesday, share your posts, and read blogs you might never come across elsewhere. Twinkly Tuesday participants are generous commenters and talented writers.

Each week, each of the hosts chooses a favourite post. If you have been featured, be sure to claim your fame by adding the Twinkly Tuesday Twinkler badge to your blog. We just have two Twinklers this week, since Caro was off at Glastonbury last week.

My Tuesday Twinkler is from Marion at Une Poignée d’Amour. Her post was titled “The 8 things that got me through the first month of motherhood.” The way parenthood works in today’s Western world, few of us have prolonged experience with babies until we become parents ourselves. First time motherhood is surprisingly overwhelming, and Marion’s insights and recommendations are pragmatic, honest, and filled with love.

Marion's insights and recommendations for the first month of motherhood are pragmatic, honest, and filled with love.

Caro’s Tuesday Twinkler is from 23 Week Socks. In her post, “If we were having coffee – paying it forward,” Louise reaches out to Leigh of Headspace Perspective. Louise’s post is a personal note to Leigh, but she captures the intimacy and strength that makes blogger connections such a phenomenon. This sort of bond is completely incomprehensible to those outside this sort of community. You never quite know who your words have touched, and how.

Beautiful note from one mommy blogger (a NICU nurse) to another (a loss parent). Grab a tissue!

Take a moment to visit these posts, if you can. We would love it if you paid a visit to the other host links, and any others that look interesting.

The new rules

We have a few easy rules to follow, to ensure that everyone’s posts get the attention they deserve. Please do make the effort to abide by the rules, in fairness to the vast majority who do. Instead of the two links we’re invited in the past, starting this week, we’re asking each participant to link only one, and the linkup will be open only on Tuesday (UK time) rather than remaining open until Friday.

Lisa, Caro, and I feel very strongly that each Twinkly Tuesday link deserves attention. We insist that every participating link receive at least one thoughtful comment from a Twinkly Tuesday host. Much as we love the rate at which the link party has been growing, we are all busy mothers with a lot of obligations beyond the blogosphere, so we need to keep the links per week to a manageable number.

Last week, many of you shared your solutions through our survey (thank you!) and we’ve adopted the most popular options.

  • Starting today, we will only accept one link per participant. We will be strict about this, as those of you who have tried to link more than 2 links in the past know well. We invite your best posts, whether they were written in the last few days or years in the past.
  • The linky will be open only on Tuesday. We won’t accept links until the end of the week any more.
  • Please be kind enough to add our badge to the bottom of your post/s, to your sidebar, or to a link party page. (Scroll down for the code.) If you haven’t (yet) been featured, please make sure you’re using this badge and not the featured one.
  • Please comment on at least two other posts including the one directly before yours. Visit and comment on as many others as you can. Of course, checking out the hosts’ posts would make us feel very loved.
  • Please use #TwinklyTuesday in your comments so people know where you found them!
  • By linking up, you give us permission to use images from your blog if featured. You also allow us to add you to a mailing list to receive a weekly announcement when Twinkly Tuesday opens.
  • The linky will close at 23.55 GMT on Tuesday.

On with this week’s link-up!

Link ONE post, old or new, that you think deserve more readers!

Twitter: Mention me — @hdydi, Lisa – @mummascribbles, or Caro — @twinklediaries, on Twitter and please use the hashtag #TwinklyTuesday. We’ll be sure to retweet every tweet tagged!

We’ll also visit everyone’s posts and leave comments between us.

Pinterest:  Lisa and I pin every post with an image to the primary Twinkly Tuesday Pinterest board and I repin the top pins on the HDYDI Twinkly Tuesday board. Send an email to mummascribbles@hotmail.com or tweet Lisa your email address and she’ll add you to the primary board. No more than 1 post per week please!

Each week, all three of us pick our favourite posts which will be featured on the following week’s Twinkly Tuesday page.

We look forward to reading all of your fantastic blog posts and seeing you again next week! Remember to grab our button!

Grab button for Twinkly Tuesday

Here’s how to add our badge to your site. Enter HTML editing mode on your post, sidebar, or page. Copy the code in the box below and paste it into your site in your code/html view. Save and publish. That’s it!

Twinkly Tuesday
<div class="twinklytuesday-button" style="width: 200; margin: 0 auto;"><a href="http://hdydi.com/twinkly-tuesday/" target="_blank"><img src="http://hdydi.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/twinkly_tuesday_badge_2015.jpg" alt="Twinkly Tuesday" width="200" height="200" /></a></div>


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Kid-Friendly Kitchen Storage

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Categories Household and Family Management, Lifestyle, Organization, ParentingTags 1 Comment

American kitchens vary wildly in their storage options, but I think it’s pretty standard to store silverware in drawers, pots and pans in lower cupboards, and dishes and cups in high cupboards.

My kitchen turns this approach on its head in the interest of being child-friendly, rather than child-proof. Our plates, cups, and food storage are all within easy reach of the children. Many of the pots and pans are up and out of the way.

I chose to keep the dishes within reach to make it easier for the children to lay the table and help put the dishes away. In fact, I have moved dinner plates, bowls, silverware and storage containers to the buffet in the dining room. It’s right next to, but not in, the kitchen.

Initially, I only kept unbreakable dishes conveniently placed for the children, but as they’ve grown older, they have taken on more responsibility. They’re not always the ones to lay the table or empty the dishwasher, but there’s no physical barrier to keep them to doing those tasks.

Perhaps it’s because I’m so short myself, but I rather like having the dishes down low. It’s more convenient for me too!

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Twinkly Tuesday – June 30, 2015

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Categories Parenting Link Up, Twinkly Tuesday3 Comments

Skip to Tuesday Twinklers | Skip to rules | Skip to participant badge | Skip to this week’s links

Welcome to this week’s Twinkly Tuesday, the link party hosted by Sadia here at HDYDI, Caro of The Twinkle Diaries and Lisa at Mummascribbles.

Meet new people, share your posts, and read blogs you might never come across elsewhere. Twinkly Tuesday participants are generous commenters and talented writers.

Each week Lisa, Caro, and I choose a favourite post. If you have been featured, be sure to claim your fame by adding the Twinkly Tuesday Twinkler badge to your blog.

My Tuesday Twinkler for the week is from Maybe Baby Brothers and Me. Haidee wrote a post I wish I’d been able to read when I was a brand new mother titled “The Myth of Love at First Sight“. The fact is that not all mothers are overwhelmed by a rush of adoration and maternal instinct at the first sight of their babies. Some of us don’t even get to see our babies for hours or days. And whatever we feel usually falls within the realm of normal, even if the only ones who talk about it are usually in the love-at-first-sight camp.

The myth of love at first sight. It's okay and normal for maternal love to come gradually.

Lisa’s Tuesday Twinkler this week is from Motherhood: The Real Deal. Talya published an interview with an anonymous single mother friend about the realities of single motherhood. As you might imagine, this post really resonated with me. Reading the post made me realize that I just passed the 3 year anniversary of being legally single, although I was single parenting for quite some time prior to my divorce.

Mother holding her toddler son - what single motherhood is really like

Caro’s Tuesday Twinkler is from Glimmer of Hope. Merlinda wrote an exquisite piece to her son on his fifth birthday. She talks about the heartbreak of being separated from him immediately after birth, the challenges of toddlerhood, and the magic of becoming a schoolboy.

5 years - A mother looks back on the heartbreaks and joy of the first 5 years of motherhood.

Take a moment to visit these posts, if you can. We would love it if you paid a visit to the other host links, and any others that look interesting.

On with this week’s link-up!

Link two posts, old or new, that you think deserve more readers!

Twitter: Be sure to mention me — @hdydi or Caro — @twinklediaries, on Twitter and please use the hashtag #TwinklyTuesday. We’ll be sure to retweet every tweet tagged!

We’ll also visit everyone’s posts and leave comments between us.

Pinterest:  Lisa and I pin every post with an image to the primary Twinkly Tuesday Pinterest board and I repin the top pins on the HDYDI Twinkly Tuesday board. Send an email to mummascribbles@hotmail.com or tweet Lisa your email address and she’ll add you to the primary board. No more than 2 posts per week please!

Each week, all three of us pick our favourite posts which will be featured on the following week’s Twinkly Tuesday page.

There are a few easy rules to follow, to ensure that everyone’s posts get the attention they deserve. Please do make the effort to abide by the rules, in fairness to the vast majority who do. We have been forced to block participation for repeat offenders who haven’t responded to multiple reminders.

  • Link up to two posts per week — old or new.
  • Please be kind enough to add our badge to the bottom of your post/s. (Scroll down for the code.) If you haven’t (yet) been featured, please make sure you’re using this badge and not the featured one.
  • Please comment on at least two other posts including the one directly before yours. Visit and comment on as many others as you can. Of course, checking out the hosts’ posts would make us feel very loved.
  • Please use #TwinklyTuesday in your comments so people know where you found them!
  • By linking up, you give us permission to use images from your blog if featured. You also allow us to add you to a mailing list to receive a weekly announcement when Twinkly Tuesday opens.
  • The linky will close at 23.55 GMT on Friday.

We look forward to reading all of your fantastic blog posts and seeing you again next week! Remember to grab our button!

Grab button for Twinkly Tuesday

Here’s how to add our badge to your site. Enter HTML editing mode on your post, sidebar, or page. Copy the code in the box below and paste it into your site in your code/html view. Save and publish. That’s it!

Twinkly Tuesday
<div class="twinklytuesday-button" style="width: 200; margin: 0 auto;"><a href="http://hdydi.com/twinkly-tuesday/" target="_blank"><img src="http://hdydi.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/twinkly_tuesday_badge_2015.jpg" alt="Twinkly Tuesday" width="200" height="200" /></a></div>


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