Q: My brother is gay. He and his “partner” have been together for almost 10 years. I don’t have a problem with their relationship, but I’ve never explained their relationship to my children. My three children are now 9, 7, and 6 years old. They adore my brother and his “partner”! How do I explain to them that their favorite uncle is gay?
A: Our children look to us as role models: How do we handle situations? How do we treat others and ourselves? How do we accept or judge? If you really think about it- that’s a lot of pressure! But at the same time it is a wonderful opportunity! Continue reading
Explaining to your children that your brother is gay? How would you explain his relationship if he were not gay? Exactly! You wouldn’t. If you are comfortable with the relationship, then I’m not sure there is any explaining to do. (If you are uncomfortable, then that is another topic all together!)
Children are far more open, accepting, and less complicated than adults. Chances are it never even occurred to your children that there is anything to explain. They have accepted your brother as their favorite uncle! I don’t think they bestowed him with the title of Favorite Uncle based on whether he is gay or not. And having a second uncle in the relationship may be an added bonus!
If your children ask, “Is Favorite Uncle gay?” Then all you need to answer is, “Yes.”
Q: My young son’s school sells ice cream pops during lunch several days a week. It is a fundraiser for the school’s PTO. I have no issue with helping my child’s school, but I don’t want to do it by purchasing ice cream. We try to limit sweets in our family and ice cream during the school day does not support our efforts. The problem is our son whines and begs to be able to purchase the ice cream- like everyone else. UGH! It puts us in an awkward position and makes our son feel left out when we say no. The school year is almost over, but I want to make sure we have a plan in place for next year. Any ideas?
A: The budget for schools has gotten smaller and smaller. And many schools are dependent on the parent organizations to help offset this shrinkage. In many cases these parent-based organizations choose to have on going fundraisers like the ice cream sales at your son’s school.
Because they work!
Children want the ice cream. Parents want to keep peace and harmony. Boom! “Here is another dollar for ice cream.” It is far easier for busy parents to give in to the purchase of ice cream than it is to work out a compromise.
Knowing why fundraisers like ice cream sales are popular may be helpful, but that doesn’t solve the whining and begging that plague your family.
You are absolutely correct, you need to get a plan in place.
Here is a compromise suggestion that just might be a workable plan.
Say, “Yes” to ice cream.
Okay, not every day or even every week, but say, “Yes”. (Already you are a hero!)
Every month let your child select which day he would like to purchase ice cream. Circle the day on the calendar; call it ice cream day, whatever you need to do to show your child you will remember, but stick to the selected day. “When do I get to buy ice cream?” “Let’s look at the calendar and see which day YOU picked.” This reassures your child that the purchase will happen and reminds him that he was in charge of selecting the day.
You can support your child’s school in ways other than participating in on going fundraisers, but purchasing ice cream once a month on a predetermined day may be a compromise with which everyone can happily live.
Q: My three children must be going through growth spurts. They are eating me out of house and home! I plan healthy meals and clip coupons to help with the cost of groceries, but my food bill is still overwhelming! Do you have any tips for feeding my bottomless pit children without breaking the bank?
A: Often when children are going through a growth spurt they do indeed consume more calories (food). This is normal. Growing and changing bodies use a lot of energy. They need fuel. Healthy fuel.
You can’t always predict when the increase in fuel will be needed and it can certainly be overwhelming if you have more than one child in a fuel demanding growth spurt at a time. (Triple overwhelming with 3!)
Here are some tips for helping to keep your grocery costs down any time, but especially when you are sharing a dinner table with a bottomless pit (or 2, or 3). Continue reading
Skip the pre: Premade and prepackaged foods are intended for convenience- not economics. Skip the premade and prepackaged, purchase the ingredients separately, and make your own. (Or get your children to make.). A jar of peanut butter and a box of crackers makes much greater economic sense than the premade/prepackaged version. (And may be healthier too.)
Buy in season/sale and freeze: The cost of fresh produce can add up quickly! In addition to having your own garden, buying in the appropriate season for the produce and then freezing extra produce is a great way to spread your dollar. I have a favorite farmer at the market that knows I love asparagus. He gives me a discount when I buy an entire basket full and then I pop most of the bunches in my freezer. I do the same with peaches, strawberries, tomatoes, etc. even watermelon. (Apples I cook down to applesauce and then freeze.) It is a treat to have fresh peaches in January without spending a fortune and importing from the other hemisphere!
Providing healthy food for growing children is so important and with a little planning and a few extra steps it doesn’t have to break the bank!
Q: My child is 2 years old and sucks a pacifier. She usually keeps it in the car or in the house, but sometimes we forget. Many times when people (we don’t even know!) see her with a pacifier they feel compelled to scold my daughter (teasingly) and pretend to try and take the pacifier from her. What should I do in situations like this?
A: I’m not sure why pacifiers and thumb sucking bring out such passion in strangers, but they do. It would seem like their passion could be better channeled elsewhere!
You have every right to feel frustrated with these strangers’ comments and actions, but you need to accept that you are not going to change their passion, nor will it benefit anyone to be rude. (Okay, if your child’s safety is in question, then don’t concern yourself with what is polite.) Continue reading
I’d be willing to bet that these scolding adults have no clue that they could be upsetting you and your child. Nor have they realized they are trying to take something out of the mouth of a child they don’t even know! Calling their attention to this by calmly saying, “Please stop.” might just do the trick. If it doesn’t squelch the unsolicited input, then you may need to firmly say, “I’m her mother and I’ll take care of policing the pacifier.”
Limiting where and when a pacifier may be enjoyed is a good idea (hard to do that with a thumb!), but being prepared to thwart the passions of the self designated pacifier police in the grocery store may give you confidence to protect your child’s personal space.
Q: I’m not sure if my question is exactly a parenting question, but the problem is a result of my child! My middle school aged son did a science fair experiment on genetics and fruit flies. The project turned out great and he had lots to be proud of, but his project has left my kitchen filled with fruit flies! I can not seem to get their population under control! I don’t want to use chemicals, but I’ve got to do something. Any suggestions?
A: Just for the record, Growing the Whole Child is for ANY parenting questions and a parenting question is anything that has to do with being a parent. So, your offspring created fruit fly population control question most certainly counts as a parenting question. And you are in luck, I’m almost a professional fruit fly catcher! Continue reading
My sweet husband thinks I first developed my fruit fly population control ability in our 10th grade Biology class. In that class we did experiments similar to your son’s science fair project. I was not greatly successful. It turns out too much ether and fruit flies are not a lively combination. Lesson learned.
Here is how to successfully control your fruit fly population without chemicals or 10th grade Biology class:
The first thing you need to do is remove all the items on your counters, which attract fruit flies: compost bucket, fresh fruit, etc. (Make sure your garbage and garbage disposal are empty and clean too.)
Next you need to concoct a natural fruit fly trap:
In a glass (I like to use a wine glass for dramatic purposes) pour about ¼ cup of unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Add 1 Tablespoon of liquid dish detergent. DO NOT STIR. Set glass on your kitchen counter and be prepared to be amazed at how many fruit flies end up at the bottom of the glass!
It may take a week or so and a couple of batches of the vinegar concoction to get the population under control, but it will happen.
Perhaps next year your son science fair project could be an outside project!