Tag Archives: schedules

With a humble heart

When I began writing this blog less than a year ago, I didn’t know if anyone beyond my faithful Ya-Ya’s might read. I remember the first “non-friend” comment I received. I screamed out to my girls who celebrated with me that I had been read by a “stranger.” With each post, I’ve grown more comfortable with the writing process and uncover a bit more of my authentic voice. This blog has become as much a tool for excavating me as it has a tool to help me through a period of transition. And, as I had hoped when I clicked “publish” my first time, it has helped others along the way.

This past Monday morning, I was surprised to find a comment by a blogger I read regularly. HappilyEverAfterorSomething nominated me for “The Versatile Blogger Award.” I almost fell off my chair. I mean I had seen awards on other blogs, and truth be told, coveted those awards, but never expected to get one myself. And, I certainly never expected to be offered this recognition by a blogger I really enjoy following.  I was absolutely humbled. I read the post (twice) where she nominated me, along with several other pages I really enjoy, and noted the directions to “pay it forward.” I promptly added it to my “to-do list.”

Only a few hours later, I was humbled again by another blogger I faithfully follow. BelieveAnyway writes wonderful posts, sharing her faith and charcoal drawings to inspire her readers. She awarded me the “Candle Lighter Award” she created to recognize inspiring blogs. Like HappilyEverAfterorSomething, she notified me of the award via a very sweet comment in response to one of my posts. My week was off to a fabulous start!

Now here it is, Friday, and I still have yet to “pay forward” the Versatile Blogger Award. Only last night did I get either award linked to my blog. (You can see them there, on the right. :)) I had thought I would have had both done by Tuesday. Clearly, that didn’t happen, which in no way minimizes my appreciation.

It has been one crazy week around here. Sick kiddos, holiday preparations, end-of-the-year business, and preparing for a special, surprise visitor have robbed my schedule of the  free-time I reserve for writing. My guest arrives this morning. It is my one of my closest Ya-Ya’s, that happens to also be my sister, and an incredibly special aunt to my girls. Due to health reasons, it may be her last visit for some time, and why this visit is so very important to me. That said, I am taking a short break to enjoy my week with her.

It’s hard to believe we are already heading into the last week of 2011. There are many posts “floating around in my thoughts” that I thought I would have written before today. But, as I wrote on Wednesday, sometimes we just have to roll with the bumps in life and let go of what we thought our days/weeks/schedules would or should look like. It’s during those times, we must really focus on our priorities. For the next week, playing with my family and creating memories that will last a lifetime with my sister will fill my days. My posting (including my nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award) will resume after she has safely returned home and I have taken a long winter’s nap. ( In other words, in a week or so. :))

Until then, a very Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Blessed Holiday Season to all! With a humble heart, I thank you all for reading.

Go to sleep! (Wednesday’s Wisdom)

Before my husband and I married, we often babysat our nieces and nephews. We continued after marriage as we tried for our own children. Babysitting gave us ample opportunities to test out our “parenting skills” before messing up  raising our own kids. It also gave me several chances to see what kind of father my husband might be to our own children. (He was, and still is, like a big kid around children. One of the many things I love about him.)

Of all the memories we have from those days, the one that triggers the most giggles is the day we spent with his 3-year-old niece. After a long morning of play, the little whip decided it was time for her “baby” to take a nap. She laid her doll ever so gently on the bed and whispered “Go to sleep” before tip-toeing out the door. She quietly stepped down the hall before abruptly stopping. Letting out a very audible sigh, she turned around and headed back to the bedroom. She cracked the door and authoritatively scolded, “Go to sleep!” Presumably, the doll fussed because our gentle, smiling niece transformed into a drill Sargent and commanded the doll to “Go To Sleep!” She slammed the door shut before tip-toeing down the hall once again. We watched as she lifted a finger to her lips and told us, “Sshhh, baby is sleeping.” Apparently, our loud snickers awoke the sleeping babe. With a huff and a glare, the little mama marched to the bedroom, all but kicked the door down, and screamed, “GO TO SLEEP!!”  That afternoon I laughed so hard my belly hurt.

Despite her abrasive technique, our niece may have demonstrated parental wisdom beyond her years. As any mom or dad will tell you, babies/children need sleep. Even total strangers know this. They’ll ask, “Is she sleeping through the night yet?” Pediatricians inquire about nap schedules. Daycare providers detail napping routines. And, I don’t know about today, but when I was little even my kindergarten schedule included a rest/nap time.

I remember when my girls transitioned from two naps to one and from one nap to a simple “quiet time.”  Despite their resistance, I knew they still needed the quiet time. I drug those days out as long as I could. In part, for my own survival. A sleep deprived toddler can easily draw impatient scolds from the most patient of mothers. But, the rants and disrespect of a sleep deprived teen can drive a silenced monk to scream from a mountain top.  I’m no monk, but boy have I been there!

As the parent of two teens, nap-times are long behind us, but I know my teens still need their sleep. I was first educated 13 years ago when my husband and I attended a seminar called, “Toddlers to Teens.” The lecturing doctor offered insight into the parallel paths of brain and body development between the toddler and teen years, highlighting the similarities between their physical and emotional needs–including sleep. Ask any parent and they’ll share the dire consequences of a toddler’s missed nap or restless night. It often takes more than a day or two to reset the routine. Given the opportunity, most teens will snore through an entire Saturday to catch up on a week’s worth of lost sleep –until it’s time to see friends, that is. Like toddlers, it often takes a day or two to reset a teen’s body clock. Yep, toddlers and teens are that similar.

I’m often accused of treating my teens like “little kids” and of being overly controlling. Sometimes my teen accusers are right. Though I have learned to choose my parenting battles more wisely, an enforced 10:15 “lights out” time on school nights is one I have yet to surrender. Our school day begins at 7:15, and experience has taught me my kids still need 8+ hours of sleep, despite their protests. Homework comes before any TV, computer, phone/texting or “free reading” time, and is hopefully complete before I tell the girls to head up to bed. I’m often challenged on this rule by my high school senior. Understandably so. But, now I have the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on my side.

According to a recent study of 12,000 high school teens, almost 70 % reported they got less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep on school nights. Some parents will argue that their teens’ homework load leaves them no choice. While often true, the consequences  may be greater than the admission to an Ivy League school. As reported in a CDC news release, kids that sleep less than 8 hours per night are more likely to engage in risky behaviors than their peers who sleep 8+ hours per night. Sleep deprived teens are more likely to have sex, smoke, both cigarettes and marijuana, drink alcohol, and contemplate suicide. Additionally, they are more likely to lead sedentary lifestyles and get into fights.

Honestly, I don’t think the study suggests that one late night, or even a week’s worth, would cause teens to smoke a joint or take a drink. High school homework loads often require the burning of midnight oil. My girls have had many late nights finishing a project or studying for exams. They should; there are realities in life, and “Unmet due dates have consequences” is just one of them. However, Facebook, texting, TV, etc. do not warrant late bedtimes on school nights in our house. Teens often think they’re indestructible and sadly neglect their need for sleep. The potential pitfalls of consistent late nights/early mornings appears irrefutable, but I don’t need 12,000 teens to tell me about the consequences. I need only look into the drawn faces of my girls to know the price paid for a late night: their ability to function with reason and good attitudes. Left unchecked, the price could be much higher, one I am unwilling to let my kids pay.  So for now, I’ll follow the drill Sargent example set by my niece many years ago and tell my girls to “Go to sleep!” at 10:15.

How do you deal with your teen’s late nights?
To read the CDC news release, click here: Sleepy Teens Prone to Bad Behaviors, Study Finds – healthfinder.gov