Sixty Second Parent Magazine—Oct/Nov 2010 Issue
From Dr. Huff
Growing a Family Through Adoption
Growing a Family through Adoption
Children and Sugar
Staying Home for the Holidays
Table of Contents
I tell my children that no problem is too silly or too small for me to listen. Children’s problems are always big to them, so they are never silly to me.” Martha Goodman, November Family of the Month
From Dr. Huff
Parenting is a task full of complexity. A good parent protects, lets go, and carefully evaluates which behaviors to let slide and which ones to address quickly. Making these parenting decisions, and many others, happens hundreds of times a day.
Often your intuition serves you well. I hope that Sixty Second Parent affirms the many good decisions that you have made. Other times you may feel less satisfied with your decisions or want fresh ideas. I hope that our expert advice provides you with those fresh ideas too.
In this issue, you’ll find several articles about enjoying a safe Trick or Treat season and some thoughts on cultivating gratitude during the holidays. You’ll find tooth tips from two outstanding pediatric dentists and developmental information from a speech-language pathologist.
You’ll learn about two remarkable families. Martha Goodman and her grandson Shawn who have formed a family across a generation gap, and Holly Jones and Bob Falls who brought Gabriela into their family across international boundaries.
Sixty Second Parent Magazine is designed and supported by knowledgeable and seasoned providers of infant and child healthcare, behavior, and development. Our magazine is a ready source of information that will not only serve to guide your parenting but will also greatly relieve the anxiety of raising happy, healthy children.
For additional resources, see our website http://www.sixtysecondparent.com.
Dr. Olson Huff, Chairman, Sixty Second Parent
Growing a Family through Adoption by Dr. Anne Walker
Dr. Walker, who has three international adoptees of her own, is a part of a growing practice of pediatricians focusing on international adoption.
Someone in our first adoption workshop stood up and said, “You know, infertility for us was all about failure, and I think adoption will be all about success.”
The deep grief that I personally carried in my heart from months of intense infertility treatments seemed to dissolve with the chance for a new adventure in parenting.
Wrapped up in our careers, my husband and I (in our s) realized we forgot to get started on a family. But wow, have we been thrilled ever since. We adopted three children from Russia, so that first year we had a three, two, and one year old. I tell attendees at workshops that I have had many hard days but never an unfun day since.
Better Than Expected
Adoption can grow a family in many ways. You may adopt a child domestically or internationally. You may already have children or be a single parent. Or you may open your home through fostering a child in crisis.
In every parent/child combination, there are miracles of love to find, loads of work, and the deep enrichment of life that may have been hard to imagine before. Just like having a baby, you walk through another dimension with “colors unimagined, magic unforeseen.”
Overcoming the Hurdles
But many sources insist that there is great peril in adoption: stories of disappointment, distress, legal issues, tedious waiting, and incredible expenses abound. Many countries report harmless conditions as though they were significant, lasting diseases.
Some of these obstacles to your adoption dream seem daunting; however, the reality I see in my international and domestic adoption consult work is overwhelmingly better than any family has expected.
Attachment and bonding of adoptive children usually comes naturally. The surprises are mostly good ones: the fast-paced growth and developmental catch-up of a child from an orphanage, the instantaneous bonding of a newborn arriving at your home from another state, the gift of a surrogate, the softening of the emotional hard edges of a foster child. Sure it’s hard work, but all parenting is that.
These children bloom before our eyes, fill our hearts, and deepen our spirits.
October Family of the Month
Over the last decade, U.S. families have adopted on average approximately 20,000 children from foreign nations each year.
Holly Jones, Bob Falls, and Gabriela Jones (8)
No way for a direct answer here. So, let’s just spin the memory wheel and see where it lands. Ah, here we are with Gabriela when she called a computer a “computiper. It’s right next to the memory when she pronounced “computer” perfectly. Bob and I looked at each other, proud of her achievement yet knowing that we were saying goodbye to that special language of early childhood.
When our dog Bella was a puppy, she would come into Gabriela’s room with the rest of us to hear a story. As soon as she saw one of walking around with a book, she would scramble to her place on the rug to listen. She would pay attention to whoever was reading.
Impromptu dancing after dinner. We listen to light jazz during dinner but after dinner, Gabriela chooses either Broadway show tunes or classical music and the dancing begins. So, it is not unusual for the three of us to be dancing away-or sometimes one or two will dance with the other being the audience offering wild applause.
- Mary Poppins
- The Frog and Toad books
- Fairy tales
- Poetry, especially Wynken, Blynken by Eugene Field and Nod and Little Orphan Annie by James Whitcomb Riley
Eat dinner together no matter how simple and share your day with each other.
Turkey Chili with cheese and a salad
Easy Turkey Chili
1/4 c Olive oil
1 Onion, finely sliced
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 T Chili powder
2 t Ground cumin powder
1/2 t Ground cinnamon
2 T Cider vinegar
28 oz Plum tomatoes, drained and-chopped
6 oz Kidney beans, drained and-rinsed
1 lb Boneless skinless turkey breast, cut into 3/4-inch-cubes
Cilantro leaves, chopped, optional
Corn tortillas or cooked rice
Sauté onion in olive oil for 6 minutes or until lightly browned.
Add garlic, chili, cumin and cinnamon and swirl quickly.
Add cider vinegar and heat for a minute.
Add tomatoes and cook gently uncovered for 5 minutes.
Add beans and turkey and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until turkey is cooked through. Avoid overcooking.
Serve over corn tortillas or rice with garnishes.
Deciding If International Adoption Is Right for Your Family
International adoption is just one way to grow a family. Other options include domestic foster care and infant adoption.
Many families consider the following issues when deciding whether international adoption is right for them:
Adoptive Parent Requirements: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which must approve all international adoptions, has two basic eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents: Petitioners must be U.S. citizens and, if unmarried, must be at least 25 years old when they file the petition to adopt. For married couples, USCIS has no age requirement and only one spouse must be a U.S. citizen.
Timeframe: Like any adoption, international adoption involves some uncertainty. The length and predictability of the process vary depending on the country, agency, lawyer, and individual child involved, but it generally takes from one to four years to complete an international adoption.
Child Circumstances: Children in other countries need adoptive families for many of the same reasons children in the United States need foster care and adoptive families. These reasons may include abandonment, poverty, illness or death of the parents, or family issues such as substance abuse, child abuse, or neglect.
Children may have health or emotional problems related to these reasons. There also may be cultural factors that contribute to the child’s need for a permanent family, including the government’s policies on population control, the country’s economy, or others. It is helpful to understand what these factors are in the specific countries you are considering.
Child’s Age: The Office of Immigration Statistics reports that in 2006 approximately 42 percent of children adopted internationally were younger than 12 months old, and another 42 percent were between one and four years old. According to U.S. immigration law, children must be younger than 16 years old on the filing date of the immigration petition in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States for purposes of adoption. (There are some exceptions to this.)
Eligibility for Adoption and Immigration to the United States: U.S. Immigration laws (the Immigration and Naturalization Act and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000) require children entering the United States for purposes of adoption to be classified as “orphans” (if they are from non-Hague Convention countries) or as “Convention adoptees” (if they are from Convention countries), as defined by these laws. Convention adoptees must have parents who are “incapable of providing proper care.”
This article is from the Child Welfare Information Gateway. For more information, see www.childwelfare.gov.
The Hague Adoption Convention (1993) established safeguards for international adoptions. It has been ratified by 76 countries.
Foster Parenting Can Change Your Life Forever by Erica Jourdan, M.S.W.
There is so much information out there about being a foster parent. Some of it is inspiring…but much of it is misleading, terrifying, or just plain wrong.
So what does it take to be a foster parent? To be a foster parent, you do need to be over age 21. You do need to pass criminal and child abuse checks. You do need to show that you are financially and emotionally stable. But being a really good foster parent means so much more.
Being a really good foster parent means being someone who loves helping kids to heal. It means being someone who can understand the confusion, pain, and loss that they’ve experienced. And it also means being someone who can provide structure and safety while still being able to have fun, play, and learn and grow right along with a child. Many of these skills are taught during the 30-hour free (but required) training class.
Foster parenting can change your life forever.
Foster parenting is never easy. These children have been through a lot and so have their families. Their pain can take a toll on you. But by working to help heal that hurt, by really being there 24/7 for a child, you too start to change…your capacity for love, patience, and nurturing grows daily. You develop pride in yourself.
Here some rewards offered by foster parents:
“It’s been amazing to watch my only child develop compassion for other children.”
“I now know that I can do something about my growing awareness that children in my own community suffer.”
“I remembered how to play again—and it’s a joy to teach the kids how to have fun without the fear that haunts so many of them.”
“I cherish collecting the hundreds of funny little family stories that we retell to each other.”
“Watching a child heal…to really start to open up and come out of his shell…that’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done with my entire life.”
Foster parenting truly can change your life forever. Come learn more about what you have to offer—and what the children have to offer you.
On Saturday, November 13, drop in at the free WNC Foster/Adopt Fall Festival between 2 to 5 p.m. This is a great, no pressure way to learn more about foster parenting and to talk to experienced foster and adoptive parents. See our ad on this page to learn more!
For more information any time of year, email Erica Jourdan at email@example.com.
Adopting a Child: The First Month Home by Dr. Anne Walker
For adoptive as well as biologic families, the saying “that first step is a doozie” is truer than you can imagine.
Unless you have parented before, the physical care of a child can seem a bit overwhelming. All those diapers, and your little one is always hungry. But somehow we all make it to sundown; and somehow even difficult nights come to a dawn. So draw a deep breath, look at how lovely your new child looks when she is asleep, be grateful, and be joyful.
Falling in Love
If you are bringing home a newborn, falling in love is the first priority. Career and housework can go to the back burner as you concentrate on nurture. Creating a special place for rocking, feeding, and sleeping will add solid grounding to your adopted infant’s world.
Share your child with those who love him: take lots of photos, Skype to relatives, make short visits out to greet close friends or neighbors, or show him off at your house of worship. Although you want your baby to know that you are the center of his universe, you do not have to create a cocoon (and exclude loved family and friends) to create wonderful bonding.
Getting to Know You
If your new little one is a toddler or older child, sameness and routine will help to settle her within new family borders. While it is wonderful to encourage some favorite cuddly toy or blanket, try not to get your child too attached to things that provide artificial entertainment such as electronic toys and television. Unacceptable entertainment can also take the shape of getting mom and dad to jump up every time their little darling whimpers. This becomes a game called yo-yo parenting.
Replace these attentions with your own rituals. My husband used to play his recorder while the rest of us danced around the laundry basket before bed. Don’t forget the classics bedtime rituals such as cuddles and saying goodnight to the moon.
To make our toddlers feel a part of our extended family, we bought each one a silver baby spoon and a baby cup. They are proud of the monograms that say, “I belong, I’m somebody.” We drew attention to ways they resemble their namesake grandparents.
Build a Vision for Your Child
Even in the first month, there is no harm in teaching your child what you want from him: calmness, good sleeping habits, and kindness (No, you can’t pull Fluffy tail!). An adopted older child will be uncertain about his schedule, so build it for him before he creates a pattern of frequent night awakenings and un-meetable demands.
We teach patience and endurance when we teach our children to wait “just a bit. Lay the foundation for good sleeping habits by putting your child down to sleep the same time every night. When they are tired, children may fuss awhile: let them do that rather than intervene at the start of the night.
If you ask a lot of your child, you will get a lot, so do not hesitate to be a demanding parent. You are building their backbone and independence from the start. Help your child to see you as caring, thoughtful, and gentle so that they have a model to follow.
In the end, consistency during your adopted child’s first month in your home is most important. Insist on a good nap. Try to eat all your home meals together. Just be together.
No or Low Cost Activity Ideas by Jolanda Hengstman, CAPE, NBCT
Snow Ball Fight
The fall season with its shorter days and colder weather keeps us inside more and provides a great opportunity to have a pretend snowball fight.
Our snowballs are made of half sheets of newspaper crumpled up inside a plastic sandwich bag (with the fold-over top). Everyone helps to make as many as possible, the more the better. Divide them into two piles, or collect in a laundry basket, box, or trashcan.
To keep the game contained to a certain area use a table, couch, or row of chairs as a divider between the players. You need a minimum of two players, one on each side, and each with a basket of snowballs.
Ready-Set-Go! Throw as many balls to the other side as you can.
Clean-up hint: The laundry basket or box becomes a goal. Each child can get as close to or as far away from the goal as they choose.
Are you looking for a fun and creative balance challenge that works well inside or outside? Try Stepping Stones.
The “stones” can be washcloths, handkerchiefs, no-skid drawer liner, or other items kids can step on without it sliding from underneath them. Cloth slides on hardwood flooring so be careful. Outside you can use sidewalk chalk to draw stones in different colors.
You can place the stones in a pattern and invite your child (or show him) how to step, hop, or jump from one onto another. Challenge him to find a way to cross the room without touching the carpet. Or let him design his own pattern and find ways to get from one stone to the next.
Toys: A Way to Teach, Interact … and Have Fun by Stan Collins
In an interview recently, retired General Colin Powell stressed that the years before a child starts kindergarten are a critical part of the educational process. “If they’re not on a knowledge level with the rest of the class, they’re behind, and are always trying to catch up. It’s the parent’s role to help build that knowledge level.
How? What do we do?
Let me suggest toys as one vehicle to help strengthen the learning process.
Think about it. When you’re playing with children, there’s plenty of back and forth communication—a key step in learning.
There’s a sharing of experiences—playing with the train or cars or trucks table, tossing a ball back and forth, seeing who wins the board game, playing make-believe with dolls or soldiers, or reading together.
The good news is that an increasing number of toys are designed to combine a fun time with an educational experience.
With an alphabetical train floor puzzle there’s fun finding all the pieces and educational action as you put the letters in sequence. You can build on that by using the train letters to spell out words.
A shape sorter clock will help the child learn which hour number goes in which spot. Or you can stimulate learning by positioning the hands of the clock to different hours of the day. Teach a little math by adding or subtracting hours or minutes.
Moving to an older age level, one creative company has developed a series of vehicles that are to be taken apart and put back together. You can explain how vehicles work as you help them find the different parts.
Playing with kitchen and cooking toys provides a great math opportunity as you add items to your shopping cart and then both of you figure out how much things cost and how much money you’ve got.
Word building and storytelling toys and games add to the child’s spelling and vocabulary. Science toys turn into learning toys.
Kids love this fun/learning combo. Their minds are like quicksand—they absorb everything, even though it sometimes doesn’t seem that way.
As “kids” get older and “more sophisticated” they sometimes develop an attitude that a board game or some other toy, for example, may be too young for them. Interestingly enough, once they start playing they usually discover that they’re having a good time.
The early years are critical in the learning process. Parent participation is another essential. Careful toy selection enables you to have a toy that generates both a fun and a learning experience. Mix toys and parent interaction and you’ve got a winner.
Children and Sugar: What Parents Need to Know by Sandi Schwartz, M.A.
With Halloween and the holidays around the corner, it is important for parents to understand how sugar can affect their children and what they can do to keep treats to a minimum.
Refined white sugar contains over 99.9 percent sucrose, and has no nutritional value like vitamins, minerals, protein or fiber. Sugar is typically added to foods during processing, preparation or at the table during meal times.
Typical “junk foods” that are high in sugar include soda, cookies, cake, candy, and frozen desserts. However, many brands of children’s favorite foods—such as yogurt, cereal, and fruit juice—also contain large amounts of added sugar.
These sugary foods tend to also be high in calories, contributing to widespread obesity in children. Diets high in sugar have also been linked to other health issues in children including tooth decay and hyperactivity.
Unfortunately, recent studies show that children are consuming too much sugar. The American Heart Association (AHA) found children as young as one to three years old consuming around twelve teaspoons of sugar per day. By the time a child is four to eight years old, sugar consumption jumps to an average of twenty-one teaspoons a day. These amounts are way above the recommended intake of sugar.
In August 2009, AHA released new recommendations for children’s consumption of sugar:
- Preschoolers with a daily caloric intake of 1,200 to 1,400 calories should not consume more than 170 calories, or about four teaspoons, of added sugar a day.
- Children ages four to eight with a daily caloric intake of 1,600 calories should consume no more than 130 calories, or about three teaspoons a day. The decrease of intake is due to the high nutritional needs during this important period of growth.
- Pre-teens with a daily caloric range of 1,800 to 2,000 should consume no more than five to eight teaspoons of sugar per day.
Parents can take the following steps to limit the amount of sugar in their child’s diet:
- Provide a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, high-fiber whole grains, lean meat, poultry and fish.
- Offer naturally sweet and healthy snacks like fresh and dried fruit.
- Replace soda and sweetened beverages with low-fat milk (whole milk for children under 2) or water.
- Offer only small servings of 100 percent fruit juice. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting juice intake to 4 to 6 ounces for children under 7, and 8 to 12 ounces for older children.
Preschool Smart Play with Halloween Candy by Michelle Hutchinson
Your young child craves stimulation from you as much, maybe more, than sweets—really.
Halloween candy provides a wonderful opportunity for you and your preschooler to extend the sweetness of Halloween into some simple, playful interactions.
When it is a good time for your child to enjoy a piece of Halloween candy, dump the whole mess out and try one (or more) of these activities:
You can help your child see new ways to organize the candy. Sorting is a foundational concept in math that is worth exploring in a play environment.
Seeing that one large mess can be divided up in multiple ways is an important critical thinking skill (not bad for later toy clean-up either). Here are some different ways to sort the loot:
- Type—chocolate, fruit flavors, gum, or coins
- Colors on wrappers
- Size—Stack large to small candies in pyramids & knock them down.
- Favorites—Mom likes these; Dad likes these; everyone likes these.
- Shape—Lay each size in a straight line to see which shape makes the longest line (Smarties v. Tootsie Rolls). If the fun lasts, get out a ruler and measure the line.
Ask your little one to give classic candies a new name:
- M&Ms could be Mommies & Mushrooms or Martians & Muck.
- Lollipops could be Circlesticks or Lickies.
See what your child comes up with. Laugh even if they don’t quite make sense.
Show your child how to count the candy by 2s, 5s, and 10s. Just hearing the rhythm of the sounds of the numbers being named is delightful to your child. He will love seeing the big pile of candy transferred bit by bit into another big pile.
Most likely, he will try to count along, so go slow and let him repeat the numbers after you. Keep in mind that you probably just want to work with a part of the stash—maybe ten pieces.
Believe it or not, your child’s preschool days will disappear as quickly as a dish of free candy, so relish these sweet Halloween moments by adding playfulness to your little one’s candy stash.
Finding a Halloween Alternative: Non-Spooky Celebrations by Dr. Karen Struble
If the sights and sounds of Halloween frighten your child, he’s not alone. For many young children the scary costumes, dark decorations, and eerie noises can be quite upsetting. Kids under age seven are especially vulnerable to Halloween fright because their young brains cannot always be sure of what’s real and what’s just pretend. Also, children who have endured trauma usually have a fragile sense of safety for years afterwards.
Yet each year retailers raise the shock value of their merchandise, and the season becomes gorier. One October day I just happened to walk into a candy store and was greeted by a box full of (artificial) dismembered human hands. I was glad my kids weren’t with me.
Many parents have misgivings about what goes on in the name of Halloween fun, yet most are reluctant to speak up, perhaps for fear that their children will be left out. Fortunately, more and more communities now offer great alternative celebrations that are lots of fun. These non-spooky parties go by names such as Harvest Fair or Hallelujah-Fest, and they tend to be sponsored by religious organizations yet open to the public. Your children will likely find a bunch of adults in friendly costumes, running carnival games and handing out oodles of candy.
Or you might throw your own Harvest party on the 31st, as I did when my kids were small. Here’s how:
- First, figure out how to escape the Trick-or-Treat routine. You might go out to the countryside. Or you could go down to the basement and keep the upstairs lights turned off. If neither option is available, just close the curtains, hang out a “no trick-or-treaters” sign, and be sure the party inside has plenty of lively music playing during peak doorbell hours.
- Offer lots of yummy food, including candy, even if you don’t usually allow sugar. (I always served apple and pumpkin pies for the evening’s fruit and veggies.) Also, Thanksgiving stickers make great goodie-bag decorations.
- Play games like the hokey-pokey, farmer-in-the-dell, or flashlight tag.
- Decorate small pumpkins, gourds, and ears of corn with glitter, then dance around with them.
- Most important, enlist your kids in the planning so that they’ll buy into the evening. With a little courage, creativity, and teamwork, you can turn an otherwise uncomfortable evening into a terrific lifetime memory.
Costume Design Safety Guidelines
For the safest Halloween dress up fun, follow these costume design safety guidelines from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Purchase or make costumes that are light and bright enough to be clearly visible to motorists.
- For greater visibility during dusk and darkness, decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights. Bags or sacks should also be light colored or decorated with reflective tape.
- To easily see and be seen, children should also carry flashlights.
- Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.
- Children should wear well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Mother’s high heels are not a good idea for safe walking.
- Hats and scarves should be tied securely to prevent them from slipping over children’s eyes.
- When purchasing a costume, masks, beards, and wigs, look for the label Flame Resistant.
- Apply a natural mask of cosmetics rather than have a child wear a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision. If a mask is used, make sure it fits securely and has eyeholes large enough to allow full vision.
- Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be of soft and flexible material.
For more information, please see http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/hallow.html.
Storing Breast Milk Safely by Alexandra Brown, CLC
Breast Milk Storage Safety Guidelines
- Room temperature 4-6 hours (66-78F)
- Cooler with freezer packs 24 hours (59F)
- Refrigerator 3-8 days (39F or below)
- Regular freezer 3-6 months (0-4F)
- Deep freezer 6-12 months (0F)
- Thaw breast milk in the fridge for 24 hours
- Do not refreeze breast milk.
- Pumped or expressed breast milk that has been stored in the refrigerator will separate into layers. To combine the layers, gently swirl the warmed milk.
- It is important to never shake breast milk. Shaking breast milk denatures the shaper molecules of the protective proteins, which leaves only the amino acids.
- You can add small amounts of cooled breast milk to previously refrigerated milk.
- Do not add warm breast milk to previously refrigerated or frozen breast milk.
- Breast milk should be stored in a freezer safe container. To avoid losing any of the milk, pump into the container you’ll be storing the milk in.
- Breast milk should be stored in smaller amounts so none will be wasted.
- If freezing be sure to leave room in the top of the container so that the milk has room to expand. This will prevent any from spilling in your freezer, and also prevent spilling when you defrost the breast milk.
- The date and time the breast milk was pumped should be written on the container.
- If you do not plan to use the milk within the next few days, you should freeze the milk right away.
Defrosting and Heating
- To defrost breast milk you can thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or run the bottle under warm water.
- You can also heat a bowl of water and then place the bottle in it to bring it to room temperature.
- Do not use the microwave to warm breast milk. Microwaving breast milk cannot only cause hot spots in the milk, but it also changes the milk’s composition. Microwaving breast milk can cause a loss of vitamin C as well as loss of the anti-infective properties of the breast milk.
Signs that Your Newborn is Hungry by Linda Yandell Smith, RN, MSN, IBCLC
Babies are very smart and can teach you about their basic needs.
You will begin to notice that your baby has certain behaviors that can help you understand her desire to breastfeed.
Babies often have narrow windows between awake and sleep patterns, so when your baby is showing signs of hunger, allow other activities to be put off so the feeding can occur.
Feed your baby when she is showing interest in feeding. For very sleepy babies, this could mean feeding them when they show signs of waking. Some may even need waking if they sleep too long.
- Putting her hands to her mouth.
- Moving hands randomly.
- Smacking lips and making licking motions with her tongue.
- Turning her head sideways to her shoulder (the rooting reflex).
- Opening mouth.
- Beginning to fuss.
- Crying, which is a late hunger sign
With time and observationyou will begin to understand your new baby’s signs for telling you that he or she is hungry.
Postpartum Doulas Help New Families Transition by Molly Rouse, PCD (DONA), MAA
American society tells new parents to resume their lives as quickly as possible after birth.
The disconnect between this so-called ideal and reality leaves many new mothers and fathers feeling lost, sad, and alone during what should be a joyous transition to parenthood. Doulas seek to change this.
The Greek word doula means a woman who serves. There are two types: birth and postpartum. Birth doulas offer emotional support, encouragement, and wisdom throughout labor and birth. Postpartum doulas offer support after birth during the transformation that a new baby brings to a family. Both perform non-medical tasks and do not replace physicians or midwives.
Postpartum doulas visit the home during the first three months of a baby’s life to educate and assist new families. Research shows that postpartum support benefits women in the following ways:
Greater breastfeeding success
Less postpartum depression
Lower incidence of abuse (www.dona.org).
To help get parenting and a young life off to a good start, postpartum doulas will provide many services including:
Offer recent evidence-based newborn care and parenting information.
- Childcare while mom showers or naps.
- Help for older siblings adjusting to a new baby’s presence.
- Listen to a birth story.
- Cook meals.
- Do laundry.
Doulas are trained to screen for postpartum mood disorders and have trusted referrals in the local community should a family need any other services providers—from housekeepers to psychiatrists.
Postpartum doulas are also breastfeeding community educators. Sadly, many women do not breastfeed often because it is unfamiliar, they don’t have community support, or it may hurt. Postpartum doulas assist with all of these issues. If a problem proves serious, doulas can make referrals to lactation specialists.
In the first days of a new life, the sort of support that doulas offer can have a profound impact. Postpartum doulas work hard to make the world a better place, one family at a time.
To learn more, visit WNC’s local doula association website at www.wncdoulas.com.
Ask Dr. Huff
How can I keep Halloween face painting from leaving my child with a rash, swollen eyelids, or other grief?
Most of the time painting your child’s face on Halloween is no problem, but you are smart to be cautious. Here are some of my thoughts on avoiding a makeup nightmare on Halloween.
Follow the directions on the makeup carefully. Many labels will say to keep the product away from your child’s eyes. Keep cosmetics not intended for use on the eyes a half-inch or more away this tender area.
Even products intended for use near eyes can sometimes irritate skin if too much is applied.
Only use paint that is intended for use on the face. Avoid other products like tempera paints, spray paint, or craft and household paints.
I recommend that you think ahead and try a small amount of the paint on your child’s back several days before you first dress up to see if any irritation occurs. This extra precaution is especially necessary if you or your spouse have allergies of any kind.
No matter how tired or fussy your little one is after trick or treating, be sure to remove all of the paint from his or her face. Following the product’s directions for removal is as important as following the directions for application, so read the directions in advance in case you need to buy cold cream.
Again, keep in mind that the skin around the eyes is delicate. Remove makeup gently.
Are there any foods I should avoid when breastfeeding?
According to Sixty Second Parent Lactation Consultant Saray Hill, most mothers can eat a variety of food without affecting their babies. However, if there is a family medical history of allergies to a certain food, you want to avoid those known allergens during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you suspect that a certain food is causing a reaction to your baby, eliminate the suspected food from your diet for a week and see if the reaction in your baby goes away. If his behavior doesn’t improve, you can re-introduce that food and examine your diet to look for other possible allergens.
Some of the most common potential allergens include: cow’s milk and dairy products, egg white, gluten in wheat products, and peanuts. This doesn’t mean that you have to eliminate all these foods from your diet. Only do so if your baby experiences a reaction or if you know that you are allergic to those.
If you decide to eliminate any food from your diet, remember to substitute for another source of the nutrient that you are eliminating. Babies enjoy the flavors in their mother’s breast milk, and this is the first exposure they have to their family’s culinary preferences.
A Dad’s View: Green Dot Days by Bob Falls
Shortly after Gabriela started first grade, she came home and was just beaming. She told us that she had a “green dot” day at school.
When asked for more information, she told us that she got a green dot if she did a good job that day, a yellow dot if she did an okay job but nothing outstanding, and a red dot if she had messed up or got in trouble at school.
Each day brought with it the announcement of the green dot she had earned that day. We had heard good things about Gabriela’s first grade teacher and we now thought she was brilliant. This simple activity of rewarding a green dot motivated our little girl every day to excel not only at school but also at home. We looked forward to expressing our appreciation at our first parent-teacher conference day.
We met Gabriela’s teacher at our appointed time and she quickly brought out Gabriela’s notebooks and showed us her achievements as well as areas in which she still needed some work. The report was very organized and informative. When she had finished, she asked us if we had any questions or comments.
At that point, we could barely contain ourselves and gushed forth our appreciation for her as a teacher and especially for her strategy of issuing green dots. We thanked her for the transformation these dots had brought about for Gabriela and for our family.
She listened and her expression was completely puzzled. She asked, “What are you talking about?” We told her about the dots she gives out each day and described the green, yellow and red dots and what each meant. She told us that she had never heard of any dots. There were certainly none given out in her classroom. We were two stunned parents.
We asked Gabriela about this and she quickly said the teacher didn’t give out the dots. Gabriela would give them to herself each day. There were never any “real” dots.
No “real” dots? No “real” dots? One of the things that I love about being married to Holly and being Gabriela’s father is that all of us knew as sure as we knew anything in this world that those “green dots” were indeed real.
Our little six year old had created a short hand way for each of us to quickly evaluate our day and we continue to do that every day. One of my proudest moments was her last day of second grade. She had not missed a day all year long and her reward from us was clear. When she came home that afternoon she found on our front door 180 green dots, one for each day of the year.
So, I will continue to nurture my daughter as the years pass and I will also continue to listen and learn from her all that she has to teach me on her journey. May all of you have a green dot day.
November Family of the Month
In the most recent Census Bureau statistics, 2.4 million of the nation’s families are maintained by grandparents who have one or more of their grandchildren living with them—a nineteen percent increase since 1990.
Martha Goodman and her grandson Shawn Ballard (age 11)
One of our favorite memories came about three years ago when we went to Gatlinburg for a family wedding. We went to the aquarium and had just a wonderful time. Shawn was the right age to really enjoy it.
Funny Family Story
We have a fishpond in our yard that Shawn and his uncle stock with fish and turtles that they bring back from fishing trips. One of the mud turtles got really big and actually went after one of our cats and pulled it under. We had to fish out the cat that was completely covered in mud. The mud turtle scared that cat to death, and we had to laugh.
Shawn and I read the Bible together every night before bed, and Shawn always likes to read the red letters, which are Jesus’ words.
We like to sneak off, especially after mowing my relative’s yard, to get a banana split.
I think parents need to be patient and show their children that they love them by listening. I tell my children that no problem is too silly or too small for me to listen. Children’s problems are always big to them, so they are never silly to me.
Staying Home For the Holidays by Ellen Begley, M.Ed., RN, NCC, LPC
Staying home for the holidays is a very normal transition for many families.
Changes in the holiday routine often start when a couple gets married and must split time between their extended families. This is made more complicated with children and traveling with all the presents, luggage, and toys.
Although grandparents are saddened and disappointed by the changes that occur, most understand and will remember their own dilemmas over holidays in the past.
Here are some things to remember when planning a stay-at-home holiday:
- Develop Your Own Traditions: Family traditions are important, and you can let your parents and in-laws know that some of their traditions will be included and honored as you establish your own traditions. Let them know the special things you are planning for your family to help them with the adjustment.
- Encourage Others’ Creativity at Holiday Time: Encourage your parents and in-laws to do their own special things at Christmas. Maybe they have wanted to try something different, such as a trip or special event, but haven’t had the freedom or encouragement to actually try it.
- Model for Your Children: It is also important for children to see you model relationships with the extended family. My husband and I realized that how we treat our parents, grandparents, and siblings families would be the model our children will likely follow. It is seldom a solution to spend all of your holidays alone as a family or spend all of your holidays with extended family. There is a delicate balance that we must discern to make those relationships positive.
- Maintain Communication with Relatives: The important thing about holiday celebrations is embracing the relationships. If you choose not to travel and visit grandparents over the holidays, then be creative in ways to both maintain and enrich those relationships for yourself and your family. Extra phone calls, emails, pictures, drawings or crafts done by the kids can make it a special time for them as well.
- Plan Future Family Visits: Let relatives know when you plan on seeing them and plan some special activities for those important next visits.
- Resist Guilt over Decision: Making the decision to stay home should be stress relieving not stress inducing. Don’t second-guess your decision. Instead, once the decision is made, focus on making it a memorable family holiday.
Giving Thanks with Your Kids by Dr. Karen Struble
Roast turkey and pumpkin pie, family and football. For many of us, these are the main ingredients for the perfect Thanksgiving celebration. We might pause a moment to say grace before the feast—if it doesn’t make us miss the kickoff. Is it any wonder that Thanksgiving has been nicknamed “Turkey Day”? As parents we want our children to be grateful, not greedy, and Thanksgiving offers us a wonderful opportunity to instill the value of gratitude. If you’re looking for a fun and kid-friendly way to build deeper meaning into your holiday tradition, here are some easy steps you can try:
- Start as soon as possible before the holiday. Take a blank recipe card and Write “Thanksgiving Recipe 2010” at the top, then write the name of each month on a separate line, with space between.
- Take your family calendar and let it remind you of special occasions, milestones, accomplishments, & other warm memories of the past year.
- Sit down with your kids and let them help you choose a couple of favorites from each month to write on the card. (Hint: This part will be easier in future years because you can write things down as they occur.)
- On the evening before Thanksgiving, place a lighted candle in the center of the dinner table with your recipe card and a book of matches beside it. Gather your family for a special candle-lighting ceremony. (Hint: If the extended family is not interested or available, you can do this with just your own nuclear family at a different time from the big gathering.)
- The first person takes the candle and reads January’s blessings, then everyone gives thanks aloud together, and the child blows out the candle. The next person re-lights the candle, reads February’s blessings, and blows the candle out again.
- Go around the table, taking turns and helping your children as needed with reading and candle-lighting. Be sure to use a candle that won’t drip on little hands. (A small jar candle can be very handy.)
- Continue until the whole year’s blessings have been celebrated. (Hint: Very small and/or active children may tire early, or may want to add spontaneous contributions. Feel free to deviate from the script.)
- Finish with a song of thanks or a family hug.
If My Mom and Dad Say “No,” I’ll Ask My Grandparents by Ellen Begley, M.Ed., RN, NCC, LPC
If given a chance, even less resourceful children quickly learn to ask grandma and grandpa when they don’t get what they want.
Most parents desire for their children to know and appreciate grandparents, so they strive to enhance the positive and special memories that their children have with grandparents.
The trouble is that long and careful months—or even years—of hard work patiently teaching your children to make choices between needs and wants can be jeopardized. As a result, gift giving becomes a sensitive family issue.
To work through this inevitable circumstance with grandparents, here are a few tips:
In conversation with the grandparents, focus on the importance of memories and not things. If part of a cherished family memory involves purchasing things, then you will want to manage tactfully the frequency and extravagance of the presents.
When having this conversation, evaluate the degree to which the grandparents understand your boundaries on gift giving. Communicate your values in relation to material possessions. Perhaps gently remind them how important it was as they raised their own children and how well they managed to keep life lessons consistent.
When asked directly, children will often tell you that the attention of their grandparents is what they really desire. Therefore, it may be helpful to suggest that the grandparents introduce a special hobby or activity they can share, experience, and enjoy with the kids. If grandparents live nearby, this will be easier.
If they live some distance away, they may still be able to develop that special interest with each child electronically; sending emails and making phone calls will often sustain the interest and nurture the relationship. The invention of Skype has encouraged many grandparents to improve their computer skills so that they can have direct visual communication with their family.
At traditional gift giving times, such as birthdays or Christmas, give grandparents some specific ideas for presents. One simple rule is to ask grandparents to talk with you before giving a gift. Perhaps they will even cooperate within an appropriate price range that you suggest. They want your children to enjoy their gifts and should appreciate your input.
Last, consider having a homemade gift exchange where the children swap something they made with something that the grandparents made. This can be as simple as a picture and a cupcake.
Book Reviews by Lynne Lumsden Green
Guess How Much I Love You
Written by Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
Published by Candlewick
Guess How Much I Love You was the favorite bedtime book for both my children, as toddlers and as beginner readers. Author Sam McBratney and Illustrator Anita Jeram have created a book that has become one of the best-selling picture books of all time. It is a book that celebrates the love between a parent and child by trying to define the boundaries of that love. Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare share a bond that shines from the pages like the moon as they play their guessing game. Every child can recognize the rules of this game and feel the satisfaction of knowing the same sort of bond with his or her own parents.
The illustrations are endearing, and the text is suitable for new readers. It aids new readers to be familiar with a text they are attempting to read. Guess How Much I Love You uses simple, clear language to construct the story every child wants to hear … that they are loved unconditionally. The illustrations complement the text without overpowering the story, keeping it sweet without becoming cloying or sentimental. There is a sincerity and warmth to this book that everyone – parent or child – can respond to. This book can and should be the first book you read to your new baby.
If you enjoy this book, McBratney and Jeram have collaborated on Guess How Much How I Love You in the Spring and three companion titles, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, as well as You’re All My Favorites, a book about how parents can equally love siblings with very different personalities and looks.
Written by Martin Waddell
Illustrated by Patrick Benson
Published by Candlewick
The dynamics of a trio of young siblings takes center place in this picture book. Martin Waddell manages to give the tree owlets distinct personalities, while still making all three easy to empathize with. There is Sarah, the older sister who tends towards being bossy, but loves her baby brothers and wants to stay brave for them. There is the second brother, Percy, who at first seems to be Sarah’s yes man, but still manages to have his own worries and fears. And then there is Bill, the youngest, who voices what they are all feeling … “I want my mom.”
The Owl Babies illustrations are unique. Patrick Benson has strived to match the illustrations to the nighttime setting. All the pictures are set at night, so the illustrations are fluffy white owls set against a dark background; all the focus is on the little family. These are very effective at creating a tension between the pictures and the text that provides the reader with a sincere sense of the owlets’ concerns. Where is their mom? Why hasn’t she returned home?
There is enough repetition in the text to encourage the new reader to gain confidence. But this book is also excellent as a bedtime reading for a baby or a toddler, and this is a wonderful read-together book as well. A young child will be comforted by the cozy ending, when the mother owl returns to care for her owlets. This book will be popular with all nestlings.
Book Recommendations from The Triumphant Child: A Practical Guide to Raising Two-, Three-, and Four-Year Olds.
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel
Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
Peek-A-Who? By Nina Laden
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
Curious George by H. A. Rey
Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Richard Scarry Best Word Book Ever by Richard Scarry
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett
Are You My Mother? By P.D. Eastman
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins
Making your own paints and play dough provides your children with a chance to see what goes into craft items that are typically bought.
Edible Instant Potato Dough
Edible dough is so much fun. But parents need to be careful about problematic ingredients, such as honey and peanut butter, found in many edible dough recipes. Instant Potato Dough is a simple solution.
1 cup boiling water
1 ½ cups instant mashed potatoes
food coloring (optional)
- Put instant potatoes in a mixing bowl.
- Pour boiling water into bowl and stir well.
- Add food coloring, if desired.
- Pour mixture out onto a clean, smooth surface and knead until it forms a soft, pliable dough.
Add more potatoes or water to get desired consistency.
Just make sure that if you plan on letting your little one eat some of his creations that all of your surfaces and utensils are very clean.
Tubby Time Paint
This paint works great on walls, arms, and rubber duckies. Make blue, red, and yellow to ensure a lot of color mixing success.
1/3 cup liquid baby soap
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- Blend the cornstarch into the liquid baby soap.
- Divide the mixture into non-breakable cups or bowls (such as clean yogurt cups).
- Add desired amount of food coloring and mix thoroughly.
Homemade Face Paint
Try this as a Halloween mask alternative. Just be sure to test a bit of the cold cream on your child’s skin before he or she wears it for an extended period of time.
6 teaspoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons cold cream
3 teaspoons water
- Mix cornstarch, cold cream, and water in a small bowl.
- Add desired amount of food coloring.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Divide into smaller containers.
- Apply with a paintbrush or cotton swab.
Tantrum Management: More Ways to Overcome the Language Barrier by Dr. Kim Masters
In the previous issue, I pointed out that language comes late to children and is preceded by impulse and sensory input.
For adults, these elementary communication skills have long since been replaced by words. So why, I asked, should it be a surprise when our children greet our disciplinary instruction with whining, defiance, or outright screaming fits?
In the September issue, I outlined how to ask your child to repeat what you just said and how to teach your child to understand your facial gestures.
Here are two more approaches for transforming a tantrum into constructive verbal communication:
Coaching Self Talk
The goal of discipline is to teach self-control and self-soothing. Where better to learn that than in managing unwelcome interruptions of activities or unwanted consequences for misbehavior.
Although this strategy will fail if tried in the midst of defiance, it is a great prevention tool. For example, if a child became irritable or angry when refused candy, one calming possibility would be to teach a fixit song.
You could teach a song that your child could sing either inside one’s mind or out loud. For example, “Saving up the candy . . . leaves a treat for later.” With your child, you can make a great song that will be remembered fondly for years to come . . . and teach lasting self-control.
One goal of language is to help plan actions. To teach this worthy objective, parents can use dramatic play to avoid tantrums and whining.
Usually defiant behavior repeats itself, which makes it so trying on one’s nerves. Stopping the pattern requires teaching new irritability coping tools.
Using puppets, made from old socks stuffed with tissue and faced with colored markers, provides the actors a great story telling time. The parent and child can take turns playing the puppets as “the angry child” and “the direction-giving parent.” The play ends when the child figures out how to follow the direction without a meltdown.
Successful puppet plays can be the early examples of rehearsing for other activities like drama performances, music recitals, sporting events, or even class presentations.
Hopefully, these suggestions can make management of defiant children more creative and less trying.
Sleep and Your Newborn by Jan Murray, RN, EM, CHN
Did you know that babies have very different sleep patterns than ours?
From birth to around six months, a baby has shorter sleep cycles than an adult with more light sleep than deep sleep. During their first months, babies may awaken three or even more times a night.
A newborn sleep cycle rotates every twenty to thirty minutes, which means every twenty to thirty minutes your baby experiences a light period in his sleep. This is when sleep issues often arise.
Understanding Circadian Rhythms
Human beings function with an internal body clock known as a circadian rhythm. This is what causes the natural peaks and troughs in alertness and tiredness over a twenty-four hour period.
The circadian rhythm is not usually established until after six weeks of age, which explains why some babies will wake regularly at night and want to sleep during the day.
Establishing Your Baby’s Rhythm
Parents can assist in establishing their baby’s rhythm to ensure restful nights as quickly as possible. Waking a baby for a feeding every three to four hours during the day, if he is not waking himself, does this.
This will lessen the need for him to wake frequently throughout the night. When you do nurse your baby at night, keep it quiet and dark with minimal fussing and get him back into bed as soon as possible.
A newborn will generally need about fifteen or sixteen hours of sleep out of every twenty-four. These hours are broken into four to five 1-1 1/2 hour naps during the day and two longer periods overnight. Naturally, there are always exceptions. In fact, there seems to be no blanket rule for all babies.
Remember that little babies also have little stomachs and may wake because they are hungry. This stage of frequent waking won’t last forever. Before you know it, both baby and you will be enjoying a full night’s sleep.
During the first two to three weeks, a baby will often just wake to feed and then go straight back to sleep, but after three weeks there is a need to establish a wakeful period for sensory development and exercise before going back off to sleep. Sleep issues may start to arise at this age.
Next month, Jan Murray, RN, will discuss newborns and night waking.
Accepting No by Anne Oxenreider, M.Ed., M.A.
Teach your child how to cope with the stress of being denied.
As parents and teachers of our children, we have to remember that our children need to be taught how to accept hearing “no” as an answer. Merely saying, “Because I said so,” or “Just do it” doesn’t help your child cope with the stress of being denied or build self-esteem.
You need to teach the skill of accepting “no”; it doesn’t come naturally. As soon as your child can follow multiple steps of instruction, put the following steps on a sheet of paper with pictures and post them on the refrigerator. Go over them repeatedly—driving to the store, waiting in a line, or at bedtime. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Look at the person. (picture of two eyes or glasses)
Step 2: Listen quietly. (picture of an ear)
Step 3: Calmly move on. (picture of person walking away)
Initially, ask your child to repeat the steps back as you say them one at a time. This will take less than a minute to do. Later, quiz her on all three steps.
The first step is to establish eye contact between you and your child. Don’t be afraid to say, “Sarah, I want you to look at me” when you realize that you have to say no. At first, to reinforce the skill, say, “Look at me. Do you remember the steps for accepting ‘no’”? Early on, help her repeat the steps back to you. Of course, she will know what is coming. However, you are preparing her to respond appropriately.
Once she is looking at you and listening quietly (step 2), say something simple and clear such as, “The answer is ‘no’
If she starts to overreact, remind her to move on calmly (step 3).
Notice that the steps do not allow you to give your child a reason. In the moment, the skill focuses on how to handle a stressful situation, so the interaction needs to remain short and clear.
Later, if you feel it’s important, you can offer a good reason for why you said “no.” (It doesn’t have to be every time.) However, your reason does need to make sense to a small child and should not be drawn out.
Accepting “no is a crucial life skill because our children will hear it from their teachers and later their boss. The goal in teaching this skill (beyond saving face in public) is to help our children learn early how to cope with and appropriately respond to being denied.
Did You Know?
- A baby is born somewhere in the world every three seconds.
- One in five toddlers can open medicine bottles with child-resistant tops.
- A child does not grow while it has a common cold.
- A human fetus acquires fingerprints at the age of three months.
Content Contributors (in order of appearance)
Olson Huff, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Huff is the Chair on the Committee on Federal Government Affairs, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Chair of the Task Force on Obesity and Nutrition, NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission. He has dedicated his career to focusing on children with special health care needs and the expansion of health care services to all children.
Anne Walker, M.D., FAAP
Dr. Walker is an Adoption Pediatrician in Charlotte, NC at Walker Pediatrics. She spends most of her spare time hunting for shin guards and cleats for Tom, John, and Yelena and hiking the NC mountains with husband Tim Shelton.
Erica Jourdan, M.S.W.
Erica is a Recruitment Specialist with the Department of Social Services, Children’s Protective Services Division. She earned her masters in Social Work at Boston University. She is also the adoptive mom of three kids ages 21, 6, and 2—and has been adopted by five furry felines.
Jolanda Hengstman, CAPE, NBCT
Jolanda is an Adapted Physical Education Teacher and an organizer of the Special Olympics in the Charlotte area. She has written a book entitled Movement ABCs that provides developmentally appropriate movement activities for children ages three to six.
Stan is owner-manager of Once Upon A Time, a great little shop in Biltmore Village that specializes in quality toys and books for children. Website: www.biltmorevillage.com/onceuponatime.htm
Sandi Schwartz, M.A.
Sandi is a science writer/researcher and has been working in the science communications field for over a decade. Her work primarily focuses on environmental, health, and transportation issues.
Michelle Hutchison, B.Ed. in Early Childhood Studies
Michelle has over 20 years experience working in early childhood education She is the Content Editor for Sixty Second Parent website and The Triumphant Child book series, which includes the awarding-winning Caring for your Newborn book.
Karen Struble, Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
Dr. Struble is a Child and Adolescent Development Instructor at Montreat College, Montreat, NC. She has worked with children, parents and families for over 20 years in a variety of settings from psychiatric hospitals to backyard playgroups.
Alexandra Brown, CLC
Ali is a Certified Lactation Counselor and a DONA trained postpartum doula. She recently became certified to teach the 20-hour breastfeeding course required by hospitals as one of the steps to become identified as “Baby Friendly.”
Linda Yandell Smith, R.N., MSN
Linda is a Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist and a Certified Lactation Consultant at Mission Children’s Hospital, Asheville, NC. She has more than 28 years experience in neonatal nursing and lactation.
Molly Rouse, PCD (DONA), MAA
Molly is a mother, cultural anthropologist, and postpartum doula living in Asheville, NC. Learn more about Molly at www.nurtureyourfamily.net
Bob Falls, M.A.
Bob parents his eight-year-old daughter with his partner Holly Jones. He holds both a BS and an MA in History from Virginia Tech at Blacksburg. He is the founder of Poetry Alive! and has performed and conducted writing workshops since 1984.
Ellen Begley, M.A. Ed., LPC, NCC, R.N.
Ellen is a registered nurse as well as a licensed and national board certified counselor. She has a private practice that serves children ages 2 to 18 and has over 18 years of experience counseling children and educating parents.
Lynne Lumsden Green
Lynne is a writer of both fact and fiction. She writes the monthly Science Page for Voyager Online, the Australian website for HarperCollins Publishers’ Voyager imprint. As well, she writes short stories and novels, for children and adults. She is passionate about teaching children (and adults) about the pleasures of reading.
Kim Masters, M.D.
Dr. Masters is a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. In 1992, he wrote a book entitled Angry Child: Sleeping Giant or Paper Tiger. Currently Dr. Masters is the Medical Director of Three Rivers Midlands Campus Residential Treatment Center and a professor.
Jan Murray. R.N., E.M., C.H.N.
Jan has worked as a Registered Nurse, Midwife, and Child Health Nurse for over 25 years. Jan is a mother of five and co-founder and director of Settle Petal, an early childhood advisory service.
Anne Oxenreider, M. Ed., M.A.
Anne is the Editor of Sixty Second Parent Magazine. She directed a preschool parenting education program and is a contributing author in The Triumphant Child series of parenting books. She also teaches writing at Montreat College and enjoys foster parenting preschool children.