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Do Needles Always Hurt?

This past Wednesday I took my 3-year old daughter, “Beanie” to the doctor for her annual physical. It is that time of year again when doctor forms have to filled out and immunizations have to be given. Side bar: Thank God for her school reminding me when her medical form is about to expire. I would never remember when these types of things are due.
Either way, I was fortunate enough to get an appointment in the evening so I didn’t have to miss a day of work. So that morning, my daughter and I began with our regular morning routine. As usual, I began by letting her know what the plans for the day were going to be.

I explained to her that after school, we were going to visit the doctor for Dr. D to give her a check up.

As she brushed her teeth, she just nodded as if to say “Got it, sounds like a plan”.  When she finished brushing her teeth, she gave me a rundown of questions as she tried to get an idea of what her visit was going to entail “Is the doctor going to look at my eyes?” “Yes, I’m sure she will”, I responded.  “And my nose?”, “Yes”, “And my ears?”, “Yup, everything. She is going to make sure that your whole body is healthy”  She smiled, jumped down from standing on the toilet seat and we continued to head out the door.

After school let out, I picked her up and we were off to the doctor.  At Dr. D’s office Beanie was her usual quiet and observant self which she becomes in settings that she is not very familiar with. Occasionally, she asked me questions, pointing to the equipment hanging on the walls. “What’s that mama? Is that to check my mouth?”  I explained as much as I could, hoping that I got it right.  Ophthalmoscope, Otoscope, Stethescope. They all scope something!

After her check up, we were sent to the lab for bloodwork, so I explained to her where we were headed next. She looked at me quizzically, as if to ask, “what do you mean?”

So I went on to explain that she is going to have a chance to see her blood go through a really long tube and into a long glass container. “They are going to take your blood to make sure that your blood is healthy” She simply replied “oh”, and we continued on to the lab.

When we got there, the lab technician immediately informed us that she was ready for us, so we went straight to the back. “Mom, you need to sit here and put baby on your lap” the lab tech instructed me, “Then I will need you to place your arm around her body like this” she demonstrated, holding my arm gently. As she prepared her tools, Beanie watched quietly. I also watched quietly as I held her in what felt more like a soft embrace than a restraint.

Just as the tech moved the needle towards Beanies arm, I said “Okay, now you are going to see your blood go through this tube right here.

What color do you think it’s going to be?” “Red!”, she replied with a smile. “Do you think so?”, I said smiling back at her, “Let’s see!”

As the blood flowed through the tube, she watched it, mesmerized to the point of salivation, then she broke from her trance and said excitedly, “I told ya it was gonna be red!”  “Yup, you were right!”, I gave her a big squeeze as the tech took out the bandaid.

“Wow”, said the tech as she placed the bandaid on Beanie’s arm “You were so good with that needle.” Then the tech looked at me and said, “I have never seen this before.  She didn’t even flinch!”

Then my child actually said grinning from ear to ear, “I like needles!”.  While I found that reaction to be a bit awkward, I couldn’t help to also acknowledge that she had a huge smile on her face, which was the total opposite of what was obviously  the norm in that lab.  And guess what people? They didn’t even give her a sticker OR a lollipop. She was genuinely happy because of her amazing experience.

My technique may have encouraged a little bit of a strange reaction but it worked to prevent a flood of tears.
The nurses acknowledgment of my big girl’s casual behavior made me realize that none of my children have ever cried over receiving any needles. So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some very important things that I DONT do and other things that I always make sure to do, which definitely contribute to a calm, cool, and collective visit to the doctor:

I always let my children know that we are going to the doctor on the day of their appointment. Knowing what to expect helps one to prepare in whatever way they need to.

I am very careful with the answers to the questions that my children ask. As my children got older, sometimes they would even ask, “Am I getting a needle today?” My answer would usually be “I am not sure” because the truth is I never really did know. However,
there was no point in answering definitively, which could lead to disappointment and mistrust or unnecessary anxiousness.

And, I also never ever answer the question “Is it going to hurt?” with any definitive answer, because the truth is what’s painful for one person is not necessarily painful for another.

I have received many needles in my lifetime and none of them ever hurt to me so, from my perspective, the answer is “No, they don’t hurt (me)”.  But I know some adults who cry at the thought of a needle for one reason or another, in which case, from their perspective, needles hurt a lot. Either way, as parents, we must be mindful of projecting our own fears of things onto our children.

And last, but certainly not least, I don’t make sad and nervous looking faces at the idea of a needle. I like to keep a “nuetral” face, which looks rather blank. Children can read faces and they look to us more often than most people realize to determine how to react to a situation. Therefore, it’s important to avoid misleading them based on an experience that is very personal to you as an individual. It’s best to let them come to their own conclusion about and based on their own experiences.

Talk to you soon!

-Serene “Sweetpea”

Share with Me: Are there any experiences that you and your child react to in very different manners?

 

My Mom: The Village Fashionista

My mother is all about appearances: your house must look good, your clothes must look clean, your teeth must look white, your hair must look groomed, your bed must look neat. Until recently, I thought she was incredibly superficial, only concerned about the surface of things. “Where’s the depth?” I wondered “And what if under the surface of these good looking things, everything is in shambles. I mean, really, what if your teeth looked white but the bleaching agents you were using were wreaking havoc in your body? What if your hair looked groomed, but the relaxer used was eating away at your scalp? What if your bed looked neat and made, but you had bed bugs? I know, that’s drastic, but you get my point.

I could never understand that aspect of my mother.I couldn’t understand her point of view. Our difference of opinions with this topic was usually the basis of all of our arguments.

And moreover, I became very frustrated by her need to throw these superficial ideals on my children. One of my biggest fears is having children who are so obsessed with superficial images that they become shallow individuals who can’t see past the look of a person to their heart, so instead they become judgmental about everything that doesn’t look a certain way and so they begin turning their nose up to anything that doesn’t fit their standard. Not saying that my mother is one of those individuals because she truly is not; but when I have a fear of something it usually is way more dramatic than the average person could imagine (hence the bed bug reference earlier). But this was my thought every time my mother gave my children an instruction that called for them to tend to something that would only impact the look of themselves or something else. And many times, I’d voice my opposition to what I thought was so shallow.

However…..

It’s funny how a point of view could change after a little self reflection.

In thinking about the function of the village in the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”, I really had to reflect upon my small village and all of its inhabitants. My mother is definitely a part of my village. This I have known since the day I had my first child and she carried him back to his crib after I cried myself to sleep while nursing him. Sleep deprivation and postpartum blues had me a total wreck. But my mom literally detached him from my breast and placed him in his bed, then came back two hours later and latched him on again for his next feeding. But until recently I didn’t realize what an integral part of my village my mom plays in ALL of her roles. During a moment of reflection, I realized that I can’t acknowledge the value of my village and at the same time, discredit the value of the individual villagers. Amongst many other roles she plays, my mother is THE VILLAGE FASHIONISTA, which makes total sense when I put many things that I know about her together: she was a model in her younger days, she majored in photography back in high school, she used to like to perform at every block party when she was a child (she would STILL like to perform at every block party as an adult, if she could find a block party going down somewhere).

She has always been about the lights, camera, show of everything.

Its been embedded in her since she could walk, or so I’ve heard from her siblings. It’s woven into the fibers of her DNA to always be camera-ready. And now that I’ve connected the dots, I understand that my super, image conscience mama has an important role in my life and in my village.

Appearance IS a very important thing to consider. There are people out there who will judge a book by its cover and won’t even pick that book up if the cover is raggedy. They won’t walk in your home, or sit comfortably in it, if it looks messy. They won’t want to be in public with you if your hair is not brushed. From my mother, my children will learn to have a crisp book cover (even if the pages are tattered and torn). From my mother, they will learn the art of faking it until you make it, to not look like what you are going through, to look like a million bucks even if you only have fifteen cents. After all, wasn’t that what Vaseline on patent leather shoes all about? (Some of you wont catch that reference, sorry).

Until now, I never saw the value in these lessons. My theory was if you are going to judge me based on the surface, then I am better off without you. If you are going to judge the home of two full-time working parents, then perhaps you shouldn’t visit; I don’t like company too much anyhow. But I realize, sometimes the overall appearance of a person can be the difference between getting the job and not getting the job. Yes, this is a fact that I still find to be a little shallow, but at times, it is the way of the world and so, these are in fact great values for my children to possess. I am not sure if I can make a total 180 about an ideal that I am not 100% in agreement with, but that’s the great thing about a village: Everyone in the village does not have to focus on the same things. They just have to focus on the same children. If all the villagers focused on the clean roads in the village, who’d focus on the houses in the village, or the markets in the village? The most important thing is that all the villagers know and understand their role and do their best not to judge or criticize the neighbor whose carrying out the duties that they have been charged with doing. And if you see that neighbor not quite doing their job as effectively as you think they should be either lend them a hand, shut up and keep doing your job, or abandon post and exit the village.

Once we learn to accept one another’s differences, we can work cohesively towards the same common goal: To raise a child.

Talk to you soon,

Serene

Are you a part of someone’s village? What role do you play?

Pot of Sweet Peas

Boxes, Doors, and Windows

On Sunday, I worked in my basement, attempting to once again unpack boxes that came from the old apartment over a year ago. It seems as if the boxes multiply over the week because I could have sworn there were not this many boxes when I was down there last weekend. As I pulled out items that I knew were garbage-bound, I looked around and suddenly became overwhelmed. It was my goal to have the “My Sweetpea and Me” program up and running by September 2014 but now as I looked around, and it dawned on me that it was way past September 2014, the thought that this may not happen any time soon washed over me. Then I looked to left of me. Was that a leak in the wall? Yep, it sure was.

I stood up,throwing an item of clothing that neither of my boys can fit anymore back into the box, placed my hands on my hips and just looked around.
I’m not at all the kind of person who gives up easily or backs down when faced with adversities but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how this was going to come to pass. Then I began thinking about the supplies that I would need to make this vision come to pass. Chairs, a rug for children to sit on, play equipment, shelving units. The list seemed to go on and on and as it grew, so did my discouragement. All I could do was look to the heavens and ask “How?” Feeling a bit defeated, I decided to just leave the basement and focus my attention on something else.
The next day while at work, I was sitting at my desk half present mentally. All of sudden I get a phone call on my personal phone. The voice was a familiar one that I had not heard in about a year. It was a former teacher that I use to supervise who was also a friend and mentor to me. For the sake of confidentiality, let’s call her Robin. Robin was someone who I really grew to admire for her sound advice and insight into oh so many things. After our time of working together, she went on to build her own early childhood program. She and I lost touch for a bit so while I was happy to hear her voice, I couldn’t understand what would warrant a call from her. Funny enough, just like my mom, Robin also calls me “sweet pea”, and what she was about to say to me was so pivotal to my present day journey. “Hello there”, she says and we begin our small talk, “I am calling because the school (name not needed) is not working out and me and my partners are going our separate ways. We have a ton of supplies, and I was wondering if you had a need for them?” Now, I know she said some other things after that, but my dropped jaw must have also hindered my hearing. When I came back around, in disbelief, I asked her, “what kinds of supplies are you getting rid of?” She began her list, “a rug, some chairs, some dramatic play furniture that includes a practically new kitchen set, some toys, some blocks and some other things that you are free to just look through. Take what you want and toss what you don’t need” she said. At that moment, I became so overwhelmed with emotion. It did not matter that I was I work. I wept like a small child and became so filled with thankfulness. Needless to say, I thanked Robin over and over again and explained to her what I had been going through mentally. She told me that she was glad that she could help and we made plans for me to retrieve the items.
After I hung up with her I took a moment to reflect and I had to kick myself for ever doubting for a moment. What I am finding out is that with a little bit of faith, a lot of prayer, a bunch a perseverance and an ultimate goal, ALL things are possible. This situation, amongst others was another reminder that this vision that I have can and will happen. I have to just continue to move forward. Every door that looks closed is not necessarily so, and every closed window may not stay shut forever.

Talk to you soon,
serene

Share with me: What’s your ultimate dream?

Pot of Sweet Peas

Completing a Puzzle

The decision to move from the classroom to an office was a really tough one for me to make. I had worked so many years hands- on with the little ones that I didn’t think that I could be happy sitting behind a desk pushing papers; even if the papers did relate to programming details.  

After turning down an opportunity to work as an Education Director twice, I finally excepted the offer on the third go round.  I had completed my Masters Degree and although I was going to really miss my summers off (one of the perks of being a teacher), I decided to make the transition after a very insightful conversation with my hubby.  

One night in a moment of panic, while I was trying to decide whether or not to say yes to the offer, my husband asked me why it was so hard to decide. “what if I miss the classroom? What if I’m not good enough? What if I’m just meant to be a teacher and not a director? I had so many “what ifs”.  My husband sat me down and reminded me that I had been the very same person who other teachers had already came to with questions about their own teaching strategies and practices. I had been the one who had researched and planned curriculums for not only my class but also the classes of others. He was right. Then he said words that I will never ever forget. He said ..

“You are a teacher and you are great at what you do. You have been making a big impact on your students for years. But now it’s time for you become a teacher to teachers so that you can make a greater impact.  You have to affect the masses. It is your calling”.  

Those words made the light bulb click on. I had my ah-ha moment.  And I knew that I had to say yes.

3 years later, I am enjoying every minute of being an education director, no regrets whatsoever. Lesson learned

In life, there are things that we are good at and then there are things that we are great at.  Usually those things come so naturally to us that we are surprised when others look at us with admiration while we are doing those things.    When we discover, or in my case, someone reveals to us,  what that thing is , we may have actually found our life’s purpose. Some may call it our “talent”.  But it can’t be ignored and it can’t be avoided. And once you step out on faith and answer the calling on your life, everything begins to fall into place and it’s like finding another missing piece to a puzzle.  

Talk to you soon!

Share with me: Are you fighting against your purpose? Why?