Category Archives: Parenting & Monkeys!

Dating Safety: Protect Yourself When You Go Out!

Dating can be intimidating (ha!) these days making safety precautions more important than ever.  It’s not that everyone out there is dangerous or nefarious in their intent, it’s just that those that are can be super evil.  One only needs to turn on the news to verify the validity of that statement!

Dating Safety: 5 Tips to Protect Yourself on Every Date

Dating has changed so much over the years, where once people were set up with eligible matches by their parents,  nowadays we meet up with complete strangers thanks to the glorious internet!  Husband and I met on a dating site and, at the time, telling people got crazy looks.  These days, it’s normal!  A good free dating site for you can certainly enhance the dating pool!

London has created a very clever way to help ensure safety when dating.  Ask for Angela is a program that has already been rolled out in South London boroughs for those who feel unsafe in pubs and clubs to obtain a safe and successful exit.  Police and various pubs and clubs have teamed up to “help reduce sexual violence and vulnerability by providing customers with a non-descript phrase they can use” to get themselves out of situations that feel unsafe.  This is absolutely awesome!  I appreciate that they are taking a proactive step in protecting the populous!  Hopefully, Ask for Angela will inspire similar programs worldwide!

Dating Safety: Protect Yourself

How does it work?  When customers in pubs and such ask for Angela, they are pulled to the side (to a safe place) in such a way as to not alert ones date, then the staff can call a cab, friend or family member for the person or ask the offending party to leave the location.  This is definitely a safety plan that all night spots should have, in my opinion).  I love that it empowers people so that when fear sets in, they can find a safe way out with support!   We should never be ignored or feel  as if our concerns aren’t validated, especially if we feel there is a danger!

Safety is Essential!

Continue reading Dating Safety: Protect Yourself When You Go Out!

Six Ideas for Effective Time with Kids: A Guest Post

Time with kids is important.  In our post-economic crash world, parents have to work very hard to provide for their families, potentially leaving less time to spend with their children. Today I’d like to share six ideas for making the time we do have with our children more effective.
Six Ideas for Effective Time with the Kids

Greetings! I’m in the somewhat unusual position of being a man writing for a middle-grade audience. I love the freedom of being able to be childish when I write while still using a real vocabulary and hopefully making kids think a little as they enjoy a story!  Time with kids is the most important investment a parent or any other adult can invest.  After all, they are the future! Who knows what payoff time with kids now will have in the years to come!

Effective Time With Kids

1. Whatever you’re doing, bring the kids and give them a job as part of it. Even if it’s a trip to the grocery store, or almost any errand, they can have a list of things to find or do. Having shared responsibility builds bonds and teaches them to be self-sufficient.  Quality is important, but time with kids can start with quantity!
2. Get involved in their computer and video games. This has the side benefit of letting you screen out the bad ones. Do they love Minecraft? Play it with them. Play an Xbox game with them. You don’t have to do it for long, and they’ll probably annihilate you, but this is OK. They’ll love being better than you at something and you will then be able to talk more intelligently with them about it. I think most parents have given up long ago trying to entirely ban these, so turn it into a positive. Showing interest in their things builds a common base for communication that will pay dividends when they’re older, making it easier to “slide” onto more difficult topics.
3. Volunteer to help with class activities, their team sports, or other activities. You’re missing an opportunity to be part of their activities if you don’t volunteer. All organizations need help and you get the extra advantage of your children seeing you doing service. Plus it makes the activity come more alive to them compared to a “drop-off” activity. And you’re helping the kids whose parents weren’t able to be there.
4. Do schoolwork with them. There is no question a child will do better and learn more if you can find time even infrequently to do their schoolwork with them. This is the very definition of “quality time.” Learning together (you may not remember what they’re learning about!) creates bonds and far from taking away the initiative and learning opportunity, helps them learn more and helps them understand how important schoolwork is because it’s important enough for you to spend time with them on.
5. A hug works better than a fight. Every time. Even if they’re entirely at fault and throwing a tantrum. Hard lesson (for me) to learn, but nearly 100% effective. I know, spare the rod, spoil the child, and this doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences (there should be), but if you start with the hug, you may realize it was all just overblown. Our time with kids is so short that wasting it fighting with them usually just isn’t worth it. And what an example if they see a loved one returning love in spite of their anger!  Check out this post on the Benefits of Hugs!
6. Read their books. Take away TV and computer time and replace it with reading assignments. And since you’ve read the book first, you can talk about it deeply afterwards. They will grumble, but weeks later, they won’t remember the TV show or game, but will remember the book, and since you have also read the book, it can be a source of conversation.  This makes time with kids a lot easier: after a while, they’ll be begging you to read the new book they are interested in!
In case you didn’t pick up on it, the key to time with kids is building common ground, then using that common ground to build a relationship to prepare for those teenage years where they will go biologically and hormonally insane.

 

 

Jon Thomason

 

Author of Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud, a middle-grade fantasy novel

Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud

Max has anger management issues. But she has a secret, too. She can make things happen. Like magic. She almost killed a loser skate punk and nearly used it on her stuck up older sister. The question is, can she do anything other than blow things up? Can she learn to control it? And is it really possible that an obscure teenage girl is the key to keeping all of humanity safe?

Philip just got his ring back. He got it taken away for messing with his teacher’s mind so he can cheat on a test. Now that he has his ring, he thinks he should be able to use his power to make his life better. A lot better. The problem is that people want him to be responsible. But if you could do magic, wouldn’t you use it to escape work in any way possible?

Aaron wants to be a soldier. He knows there are lots of people who would try to take over, and he’s determined to stop them. The problem is that there’s this new girl. And she might be not be on the right side of things. She’s really talented and pretty, but she might be able to destroy everything he believes in. Whatever the case, he knows he needs to learn to be world class with the magic sword while he figures out what to do.

Brynn never gets out. Her grandfather won’t permit it. Her only access to the outside world are high fashion magazines, so she has an unusual idea what she should wear. She’s dying to get out and travel. And adopt animals. Any kind of animal. Is she a lonely future granny with cats or are her ridiculous clothes actually the next fashion craze? What possible role could she play in the destiny of the world?

Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud is a fast-paced fantasy adventure for all ages (10 and up) and is the first of a planned trilogy. Fans of magic, swordplay, secret agents, and conspiracies set in a modern everyday world will not be able to put the book down. Jon Thomason is a debut author and paints a vivid world of magic right under our noses and delivers rapid-fire action that keeps the pages turning.

Praise

“Impressively inventive and enjoyable…vivid storytelling and exceptional characterization…Max’s personality is layered and complex…conveyed flawlessly…keeping readers intrigued and engaged…writing style is smooth, and a subtle sense of humor comes through…narrative tension builds at a good pace and easily flows toward a satisfying and exciting conclusion…parents are likely to both approve of the story and enjoy reading it themselves…talented writer…sure to find an appreciative audience that will eagerly anticipate the next book in the series.” — ForeWord Clarion Review

“Thomason shines in his heroine’s characterization…magical” –blueink Review

Author Jon Thomason

Jon Thomason lives with his family in San Diego, after many years living in the beautiful Seattle area. He has a successful career in high tech where he’s been fortunate enough to participate in many big-name industry releases.

Storytelling permeates everything he does. In the moments when Jon is not helping build the story of the tech world, he can almost always be found working on a project: writing, photography, videography, graphics design, or 3D art.

And he’s always careful to conceal his jinni magic abilities, though perhaps might slip one day and be discovered…

 
Links

 

Originally posted 2013-03-14 05:00:00.

Paracord: 15 Lessons These Bracelets Can Help Teach

Sometimes it seems impossible to find things for teens, especially things that will help them learn but not be ‘lame’.  These paracord bracelets are perfect as a teaching aide for teens!

15 Lessons Paracord Can Help Teach

I love that Let the Little Children Come has so many great teaching aides for children, many of us know just how challenging it can be to keep the attention of kids and to get lessons to soak into their little sponge brains!  These paracord bracelets are perfect for that purpose!  This year, they also happen to be stocking stuffers to some great kids that love hunting and survival as well!

Continue reading Paracord: 15 Lessons These Bracelets Can Help Teach

5 Ways to Change Your Day with Music!

Music can change the way one feels, thinks, acts and feels! There are so many songs that inspire so much within me, whether it be good or bad, it can change my mindset and my motivation.

5 Ways to Change Your Day with Music (1)

Music is everywhere, even in the pleasant sounds of nature.  I could sit for hours just listening to the birds sing to each other as the insects make their calls out!  I use to think it was so funny that people would actually pay for albums that played nature sounds but now that I live in town and don’t get down to the creek like I once did, I can totally see why it’s worth it.  I attempted to just record the sound of the flowing river, but my poor phone was not up to capturing the amazing sound of the water flowing gently down the way.

I also have to point out that when my husband sings to me, I melt like a little fan girl.  No matter how I’m feeling right before he starts, my resolve dissipates and I’m lost in his beautiful voice, deep, soulful eyes and I fall right into his arms.   I have tried to fight it, I failed.  Does your significant other melt your heart like that?

Five Ways to Change Your Day with Music

  1. Set your phone or alarm clock to wake you up to an upbeat mix of your favorite jams from way back in the day.  The nostalgia mixed with the awesome beats will wake you up feeling refreshed, youthful and happy!  Much better than the buzzer!
  2. Take a break from everything for the duration of one song with no words, sit somewhere quiet (you may have to hide) and close your eyes for the duration.  When the song is done, you’ll feel refreshed and relaxed!
  3. If your spouse works, quei up some type of music that uplifts him/her!  My husband coming home to jazz playing lightly throughout the house can do so much to start the de-stressing of the work day and transition his mind to a better place!
  4. Bedtime playlist: if you have children having a play list that starts a certain amount of time before bed will teach train them to know that it’s time to start winding down, eventually simply hearing that first song will get them to start getting themselves ready!  How great is that!
  5. No kids?  No worries, Make a playlist for you, turn off the distractions and spend that time pampering yourself!  It will pay off, I promise!

Be sure and check out the Film and Television composer John Jesensky, AKA John Ross Jesensky, on your search for new music!  I always love listening to new music and you may even find your next new favorite!  I’d love to hear what you have found that you love!  I’m always open to new music!

 

Absolutely Free Gospel Plane: Get Yours Before they are Gone!

Absolutely Free Gospel Plane: Get Yours Before they are Gone!This gospel plane is absolutely adorable and you can print it out for free!  (Love that as well!) Paper airplanes and fold up notes seem to be an obsession from a young age. I can remember the little boys folding their Sunday school lessons up into paper airplanes before class was even over, which is so funny because to this day it drives me crazy when there are creases in paper.  I would always keep mine perfectly straight. lol

Let the Little Children Come fixed that problem by making a Sunday school lesson that’s is meant to be folded into an airplane!  It both amuses me and speaks to me, I don’t know why I never thought of this whenever I taught Sunday School.  Of course, I taught the younger children so they weren’t making airplanes yet, just balls of paper!

On more than one occasion, I have blogged about how much I love their products, like their Halloween tract, my color Inspiration post,  wordless books, and this Plane is no different!  The paper airplanes are such a great idea and such a wonderful teaching tool!  It also goes beyond teaching the Word and helps to exercise the skill and dexterity with hands that the children are learning as they grow and develop.

I was racking my brain trying to think of lessons that go along with airplanes in the Bible and it occurred to me, one of the best lessons might be about how the bird scouted out the land when Noah was sailing.  Then there are lessons that can be taught about how, from an airplane, it’s difficult to see what’s going on on the land but God can see everything because He is everywhere and knows everything!  I’m equally sure that you can come up with even more lessons to utilize them!  I hope that you’ll come back and share your thoughts and ideas!

Be sure & Get Your Wordless Book Gospel Plane!

It’s Free!!!

How to Boost Your Childs Learning

How to Boost Your Childs LearningAdults and children alike struggle with learning and memory.  We are constantly attempting to find new ways to boost learning which inspired me to find some lessons on it.  So, enjoy the fruits of my curiosity and learn how to boost your child’s memory in the process!
Children and adults alike are fascinated with magic. You simply have to look around some sort of magic, whether it be in books on television or in the imagination. Sleight of hand and tricks of the eye fascinate everyone in the audience.
I remember when my son was small how bad he wanted a magic kit and how much fun he had to do his tricks fool his parents, sisters, family, and friends. It was easy to captivate his attention while hands were moving and magic was happening. Let the Little Children Come has figured this out created a little piece of magic to further the word of God. Continuing with their meaningful colors, this Gospel Magic Bag magically changes as one teaches the most valuable lesson a child will ever learn. One thing we all struggle with is memory, learning and getting information to sink in.
When I was a young teenager I remember a lesson I learned at church camp using visual aids to this day I have remembered the lesson that I learned in that. I learned at that moment, that it wasn’t about appearance or size or what color but what was inside that truly mattered. Even though I was only I still remember that over 20 years later.  Point being, the visual aid had a huge impact on my memory.
There are many benefits to utilizing visual aids while teaching a lesson. Not only does our brain learn better but it enables us to utilize more than one portion of our brain as we are learning therefore the lesson sticks deeper then words might alone.  There are studies that clearly demonstrate a difference between auditory and visual learning where visual learning was proven to be a much more effective way to retain information. A clear example of this are company logos.  We don’t need those white letters to know the ‘golden arches’ are a very large popular fast food chain.  Almost any child in the US only needs to see that to start asking for a kids meal from their establishment!  I love this study published by the University of Alabama School of Medicine that clearly shows how much participants remembered from 3 hours to 3 days with verbal only versus visual aids and a combination of the two.  All of this and there are tons more to back up the same, so why would not use visual aids to teach the most important lesson our children will ever learn?

5 Great Lessons from Optical Illusions

Should you Hug the Children?

Part 3: Coping with the Loss of A Child

Before we get started with coping, I have two previous posts that you may want to read.  I certainly welcome and appreciate any feed back you want to leave.  If you are experiencing this, you know there are no answers that work for everyone (or anyone) so we just have to keep going.

Part 1: What Not to Say to Grieving Parents

Part 2: What You Can Do (or NOT do) for a Parent Who Has Lost Their Child

Dealing with the loss of a child is so incredibly difficult.  I’ve been through many things in my life that were seemingly impossible to get through, yet here I am realizing that nothing compared to the loss of my children.  I don’t know at what point one has gotten through the hardest point, it varies and just when you think you’ve gotten through it hits again.  While there are stages, it’s not a timetable and the stages jump around however they choose.  We, as parents who have lost, will go from laughing hysterically to crying uncontrollably at any point in time.  We will get angry, really angry, at you (anyone really) for absolutely no real reason (i.e. you left a cup on the table or your shoe is untied) and there is NO way you will EVER argue sense into your side.  Whether you (the non-parental griever) are right or not it doesn’t matter.  We’ll recognize the silliness of our anger eventually, but while we are pissed is NOT the time to point it out.  Trust me on that one!

This post is for those of you dealing with the loss of your child.  There are no words of comfort, I know because I’ve been there.  I’m not going to say anything that even attempts to ease your pain.  What I am going to do is share with you some things that helped me.  They didn’t ease the pain, take it away, or anything wonderful.  They helped me to learn to cope.  I’m still learning, so I don’t know what or how to not need ways to cope.  I don’t know if I will ever get to that point.  So, these helped me.  I had to, and still have to, force myself to do things to pull myself up from the depths of depression.

Here’s my Suggestions to Cope

  1. Learn to recognize when you are falling into the depths of depression.  This is the first thing you need to do.  Until you can recognize it, you can’t keep from going down into those depths.
  2. Once you can recognize it, force yourself to change your thoughts. Doesn’t matter how, or how many times it takes, just keep at it. I failed and still fail so many times trying to distract myself. Sometimes, it works and those times are worth it.
  3. Know and understand that coping (healthy coping) is okay. It’s not at all wrong. You are not forgetting your child, you are not disrespecting them, you still love them more than anything in the world.  They wanted and would now want Mommy & Daddy (or whomever they loved) to be happy, so try to push away any feeling of guilt.  You didn’t do it, you couldn’t stop it, and they knew how much you love them.  If they look down from Heaven, they still do.
  4. It’s okay to smile, to laugh, and to find moments of joy. It’s a good thing. For me, I try hard to honor my baby and will find ways to honor my Princess (whom I just lost).  I feel that while they may not be here to do good deeds, I can do them for them.  Someday maybe I will learn to do them for myself but for now the good deeds are for my girls.  An example, after I lost my baby girl I became obsessed with keeping a plant alive and recycling.  No idea why, but it helped somehow.
  5. When you realize you are going to the pits of despair, get busy. Turn on some sort of noise that will not send your thinking to that depth and get your brain active. I craft, sew, write, read, or any other thing that I can to get my mind somewhere better.
  6. Find a support person. Someone who has experienced the loss of a child. Only they know that pain like you are experiencing.  They know to listen without saying a word.  They know when to shut up and when they need to pull you out of the pit.  They are your best ally.  For me, my shout out goes out to my Sister-In-Law who lost her angel just hours after she came into this world, then another later as well as Sarah from Journeys of the Zoo (you can find her story on her site which is linked).  Also, special hugs to my friend who lost her little one before she ever got the chance to hold him shortly after my Cajun Queen left this world, we will miss you always Teddy!
  7. Consider join a support group. I didn’t and probably won’t, but for others that does wonders.  They are a safe place to mourn with others who know a very similar pain.  There are support groups almost everywhere.  If you can’t find one in the paper or don’t want to go to one in person, there are online groups available.
  8. Form a healthy obsession. Mine was recycling, many people start to obsessively work out, whatever you can do to give you something else to focus on.
  9. At some point, start attempting to fake normal. Do normal things that you would have done before. Whatever normalcy you can add to each day is a positive step, even if it’s just taking a hot shower for the first time in 6 days.  Small steps to normalcy will eventually enable you to continue living.
  10. Know that you will cycle through the stages for years to come. It’s okay to feel sad, it’s okay to feel angry, it’s okay to feel whatever you feel. Just don’t allow yourself to wallow in that feeling for too long.  You’ll get to a point where you know you can’t do something or you have to get out of a situation, knowing that is great because it means you can remove yourself.  Don’t feel guilt for that, just know that it is part of the process and go.

The acceptance stage is tricky.  It’s a stage where you have to learn to sit down and feel your pain without it being debilitating.  That time will come, if it isn’t here yet that’s okay.  It’s been a year and a half and I still can barely look at her picture without bawling.  I can’t watch videos at all.  However, I have them and always will so when I get to that point I will.  I’m just not there yet, and that is okay.

I’ve learned there is a huge difference between living and being alive.  I’ve always been alive, but for a long time and sometimes still, I wasn’t always living.  Go out and try things to bring joy into your life.  Go out to dinner with friends, family, see a concert, whatever it is that you enjoy, find a way to start doing it again.  Even if you have to force yourself at first.  It’s okay to feel sad they aren’t there, to think of them being there, to honor them.  However, if you don’t eventually start living again you will end up stuck in those God Awful Pits.  We were not and are not meant to stay in that state.  No one wants that, and regardless of what you say if you are new to loss and are reading this, you don’t want it either.

I hope that this and the other posts help you in your time of grief.  I greatly wish no one ever had to experience this.  Unfortunately, wishes aren’t helpful.  I’m living again.  Mostly.  With the loss of my Princess so recent, I’m a little numb right now.  That happens with grief and I am prepared to spend some time feeling my pain as I attempt to get back on my journey of healing.

This post was inspired by and written in Loving Memory of my Cajun Queen and My Princess.  Two amazing and beautiful daughters whom I love so very much.  Until we meet again, I will carry you both with me in my heart, always finding ways to honor your memory.  Enjoy Heaven.

I miss you so very much.

Part 2: What You Can Do (or NOT do) for a Parent Who Has Lost Their Child

  If you haven’t already, please read Part 1: What NOT to Say to a Parent Who Has Lost A Child please do so.  That one, in my opinion, is far more helpful to those of us experiencing loss.  I’m assuming that the reason we hear so many things that we feel are stupid is that people don’t know what to say and, ultimately, they hurt us.  The funny thing is, there isn’t anything you CAN say.  So just don’t.  Check that post out, please!  You wouldn’t believe how much well-meaning things stab when one has lost a child.  This one, though, is for the ever so helpful loved one who wants to do something when we are in our grief.

I stated in the first post that I have just lost another child.  My first was 11 months and this one was 21.  I understand what I went through but do not profess or assume that I understand how anyone else feels.  We all grieve differently, need different things, these posts are based on my feelings and things that I’ve found helpful/hurtful as well as some insights I’ve gotten from other grieving parents.

Here’s some things you CAN do or NOT do to help:

  1. Let us cry. Just hug us and let it flow.  Don’t say anything.  There are literally no words, so just let it go.  You can cry with us or if you are uncomfortable just stand there like a hugging stone wall, it doesn’t matter to us anyway.
  2. Bring food. I don’t mean the week or two after (though that is great), I mean a month later, 2 months later.  Grieving over a child is intense and takes a LONG time to get to where we can function.  Many people bring food for the first two weeks and it seems like they think after that you will be ‘normal’ again.  We’ll never be normal again and functioning normally takes a while to get to.
  3. Don’t greet us with sympathy, just don’t. Especially after a couple of weeks post-loss.  If we happen to be at a day where we haven’t been bawling all day or greatly depressed, your sympathy (though well-meaning) will send us back there.  Greet us like you always have. Don’t ask how we are.  (see previous referenced post).
  4. When you do bring food, drop it off and make an excuse to leave. Don’t stay and try to chat, just go.  For a while, we want and need to be alone in our grief and having to talk to people is overwhelming.  We wanted nothing more than people to leave food at our door, bolt, and then just text and tell let them know it is there.
  5. See something that needs to be done? Try to do it without saying anything. Lawn need mowed, go by and mow it while we aren’t home if possible, then get out of dodge.  Don’t say anything, just do it and go.  If it’s someone whom you are close enough to have a key to their place, wait til they are gone and go by and clean.  Again, don’t say anything just get it done and get out.  You can tell them years later when they tell you about it or not, but don’t make us feel the need to express our appreciation.  We’re exhausted.
  6. Text/email and simply say I love you. Don’t try to make conversation or say something that requires response.  We’ll text/respond when we feel ready.
  7. If you want to send a card, don’t send a sympathy card. Send something to make us smile.  Trust me when I say, we have plenty of things to keep us grieving and a sad card does NOT help.  A smile, however, would be something few and far between so if you can find a hilarious ‘thinking of you’ card, go for it.  It may seem tacky but trust me when I say, we need help smiling, not more sympathy.  There is a difference between understanding and sympathy.
  8. On that note, be understanding. If we don’t want to go out/talk/whatever be understanding.  Read the nonverbal cues and bow out when you sense that grieving parents need space or don’t feel like talking.  If we feel like talking, be it anger or sadness, don’t think you have to respond, just let us vent.  It’s cathartic, by definition.  Trust me.
  9. Don’t avoid us. People don’t know what to say so they just avoid people.  Commonly referred to as ‘giving them space.’  While yes, we do need it at times, we also need to know you are there.  The trick is figuring out when those times are and sense we won’t tell you, I have not a single clue what to tell you to do to know when the need times are.  Guess you’ll just have to pop in and check those nonverbal cues from time to time.
  10. While there is no time that is acceptable or unacceptable to wallow in one’s grief, if it seems like you or your loved one is going down a deep rabbit hole of depression, do something for them. Drag them out of the house if they were once social butterflies and are now hiding out, not to the bar but to a nice restaurant.  Take them for a manicure.  Do something that doesn’t require talking (unless they instigate it) about children, specifically theirs but really any, death, or any topic related.  Though we love you and yours, we aren’t in a place where we want to see or hear about children.  They are strong reminders that ours are gone and that pain is unbearable.

Again, I hope these things help you to help yourself or someone else.  There is no way you can ever really help someone’s grief.  The only way you can help is to find ways to ease their other burdens.  They say only time can heal, but my experience in this instance is that time does not heal.  What happens is that we don’t heal, we simply learn how to live with the pain and, eventually, realize that it is okay to have moments of happiness. Knowing how to deal with depression may help, either you or them, and before My Princess went to Heaven, I wrote 10 Smart Strategies to Help Overcome Depression.

The next part of this series is for the grieving parents or loved ones.  Part 3: Coping with the Loss of A Child

This post was inspired by and written in Loving Memory of my Cajun Queen and My Princess.  Two amazing and beautiful daughters whom I love so very much.  Until we meet again, I will carry you both with me in my heart, always finding ways to honor your memory.  Enjoy Heaven.

I miss you so very much.

Part 1: What NOT to Say to a Parent Who Has Lost A Child

Part 1: What NOT to Say to a Parent Who Has Lost A Child

Unfortunately, I have had the personal experience of losing a child.  Twice now.  My first was 11 months old and my second, which was incredibly recent at the time of this post, was 21.  The pain is overwhelming and I don’t know at what point it stops because I have yet to reach that pinnacle.  I doubt that I ever will.  I doubt that anyone ever does.  I think that we just learn how to live with that piece of us broken inside, blackened by pain, a mass that cannot be removed, healed or repaired.  There are no words for it, just pain.  It sucks.  We have a word for it we use in our house, as it helps us have a pain heavy smile but I will not share that with you (not because I don’t love my readers but because my husband has a stalker, but that’s another post).

Everyone wants to help ease the pain in when someone loses someone, but even more so when it’s their child.  Unfortunately, there is no ‘how-to’ guide for people to help in these times and if there is, it was probably written by a therapist or some other self-help writer who quite possibly has never been there.  I write this post because I have been, and yet again am, there.

First, let me give you a basic understanding of grief.  You’ve likely heard of the 5 Stages of Grief (penned by and as the Kubler-Ross Model).  They are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and (eventually) Acceptance.  These stages are not taken by everyone, they are not always taken in a row and many can be taken side by side.  Personally, I feel that the title should have started with Insanity Of Grief, but that probably would not bode well in the Psychology or public sector so she probably did well on not mentioning the insanity part.  A parent’s grief is very insane, it doesn’t have to make sense or go in any order, it can wane and come back with a vengeance, it can be triggered by something totally unrelated to that child once you’ve thought you’ve finally stopped the constant random crying.

When one loses a child, there are tons of well meaning people who say well meant things, but in reality (to those of us who have lost the child) they are stupid and we don’t care.  I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to tell people to shut up (and not that nicely).

Regardless of our belief or faith, we don’t want to hear the following things:

  1. He/She is in a better place now.

Our general thoughts are:

  • How the hell would you know?
  • Have you BEEN there?
  • What possible better place could there be for our baby than with his/her Mommy & Daddy? (Please note, no matter what the age of the child, they are always our babies)
  1. I’m praying for you and your family.

Our general thoughts are:

  • Why? Didn’t work when you were praying before, what the heck will it do now?
  • Stuff your prayers.

3. You can always try again (this one is specific to infant loss)

Our general thoughts are:

  • What the *****?
  • Sorry, but that one just flabbergasted me, all I could respond with was expletives.
  • Later, when we calm down, we either think that person was an idiot or a meaner word for donkey (and that’s us putting it nicely).

4. It was his or her time.

Our general thoughts:

  • How the hell do you know? Do you have some sort of schedule?  Did you SEE the Book of Life?
  • Shut up. Just shut up.

5. Is there anything I can do? (I have to admit, even with what I know, I fell guilty of that one)

Our general thoughts:

  • Bring my child back? (since the inevitable answer is no, the next thought is then shut up)
  • We have no idea what we need, honestly. While that isn’t our thought, I’m just letting you know.  We don’t either.

6. I’m sorry for your loss.

Here’s why:

  • We have heard it a million times
  • It requires us to say thank you and honestly, we are too exhausted in our grief to thank anyone for anything or have (though we will say it) any etiquette.

7. He/She was *insert compliment here*.

Here’s why:

  • We know. They were ours.  From the moment they were born or became our child, we saw every single great and wonderful thing about them.
  • It’s just going to be another stab of pain. A deep, dark stab of incredible pain that is our loss.

8. How are you?

Our general thoughts:

  • I have no idea.
  • Seriously, we don’t. Plus, how the heck are we supposed to be?  You don’t know and we don’t either, just don’t ask.

9. What happened? / I wish I could help. / I wish it had been someone else-me-etc.

The reason:

  • We don’t want to discuss it, it’s exhausting and painful. Just don’t make us.
  • So do we, but you can’t so just don’t bother with this line of commenting.
  • Again, so do we, but it wasn’t. So just don’t.

Those are some of the things that we heard and our honest (yet inward mostly) responses.  I will say that I AM a Christian and I do believe in prayer and Heaven; however in my grief my pain was too great.  I have been told by some people who are older, more knowledgeable in life and God than I, and have experienced this loss long ago that they feel that since God knows our hearts, He understands.  I honestly believe that to be true.  God knows what great pain it is to lose a child (also on the list of things NOT to say to us in those times) so He knows the anguish we are in.  That leads me to believe that He will let our expression in our grief (assuming we don’t go on a killing spree) be washed away with our other sins.

I will continue and do another post about this soon, I hope that it helps you.  Either in helping someone else or helping yourself.  This post (and series) is dear to me so I will respond to comments.  If you’d like to share the stupid crap said to you in this experience or any other related comment, I will be here.  I’m still coping (and will always be) so anything you found helpful is very much appreciated.  The next will be about what one CAN do.  I did this one first because it is the first thing that happens to parents, we hear things we don’t need to.

Want to know what you can say?  The answer is absolutely nothing.  Simply say ‘I love you’, hug us, and let us cry.   You can’t fix it, so don’t try.  You can’t comfort us as there is no comfort.  Anywhere.  At all.  Until we get to that point, there will be nothing comforting. For your own grief, come back for the rest of the series.  In the meantime, you can check out our 10 Smart Ways to Overcome Depression.

This post was inspired by and written in Loving Memory of my Cajun Queen and My Princess.  Two amazing and beautiful daughters whom I love so very much.  Until we meet again, I will carry you both with me in my heart, always finding ways to honor your memory.  Enjoy Heaven. 

I miss you so very much.

MomHacks: Smarter Kids. Snapology. Prize.

Need I say More?

MomHacks: Smarter Kids.Snapology. Prize.

Smarter kids is something we strive for, getting them to learn can be a huge challenge though! Your child is bored, restless, eager to try something new and fun! You are wanting your child to grow and learn, and to benefit from something in a way that will last a lifetime…how do you find that fun your child wants and still get the learning experience you know your child needs? How can you help push them to higher intelligence without becoming a Tiger Mom?  Snapology! What is Snapology? The answer to your daily struggle of course!

Combining a new imaginative combination of fun and learning, Snapology provides hands on activities for children starting as young as 1 year all the way to that stubborn teenage year of 14! Using LEGO bricks, robotics, team building and technology; Snapology has created workshops, camps, and classes that offer STEM learning experiences through their awesome franchise!

STEM Learning with Snapology & A Giveaway

What is STEM learning?

Good question!

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach

Otherwise it is the education your child needs for their future in an ever growing technologically advanced society.

So not only is it so educational for your child, but also fun! No tigress needed, they gain exponential amounts of intelligence without even realizing they are learning!  Snapology offers opportunities to learn with birthday parties, school field trips, scouting events…and so much more!

They offer programs for special needs children as well!!! Which, let’s face it, finding a company that offers FUN and EDUCATION to children who sadly get over looked too often, that alone is a good enough reason to look further into this still growing franchise!

Can’t find a Snapology in your area? It is kids franchise business that is young and such a unique campaign that it is looking for help and support to spread its benefits to every child! Pass the word around and get the seed growing in your region!  In the meantime, you can also learn how to teach them some awesome optical illusions and check out these awesome coloring pages, right after you’ve finished planning your trip to Snapology!

MomHacks: Smarter Kids.Snapology. Prize. Need I say More?

Giveaway

Since Snaplogy loves parents too, they are providing this awesome giveaway.  How does it benefit parents specifically?  Aside from the difference between a cheap nursing home and a personal nurse in their mother-in-law quarters when we are too old to do things, it gives us a fun way to interact with them and keep them quiet while we are doing something else!  Let the smarter selves in your kids emerge while they have a blast!