Anne’s Parenting Column Tag

  The school year had come to an end. It had been an absolutely great year and the teachers were as sad as the children to say goodbye. Fortunately for the teachers and the children who were able to stay on, there was a little three week summer camp. This was essentially an extension of the school year along with sprinklers and more time for everything, because of the longer day. It was heaven for all. The...

  “I just want to say goodnight to my lady b… I mean desk. Then I will go right to sleep.” Not really listening to her daughter, Lexi replied, “Okay, Alice. Remember, tomorrow is a school day and you need extra sleep.” “I am back in bed now. Goodnight Mommy.” Alice couldn’t stop thinking about her ladybug, which was in a little jam jar with holes in the metal top. Earlier in the year, the jar had housed a...

  Afraid of Your Child I recently was sitting in a coffee shop. A young couple sipped on their coffee near me and talked about buying a new stove. All the while their young boy kicked the leg of his father’s chair. The boy’s mother asked him to stop, which fueled the child’s determination to destroy their time. The young father asked his son again to stop and more kicks ensued. I was of course riveted. The...

  During the Thanksgiving holiday, four-year-old John Colligan became tearful at every turn. He was feeling extra attached to his mother, Liz, and wanted to be with her all the time. She did make special times for each of her four children but loved time with all of them as well. The children were happy altogether too. Yet John suddenly began to separate himself from the board games, the family fun outdoors and even the cozy movie...

  Over the years I have witnessed many parents’ reactions as their young children encounter someone they don’t know, which is, of course, just about everyone. A few particular situations have remained beyond vividly in my mind. I was looking, with droves of others, for Valentine’s Day cards. A little girl walked up and touched my coat. I looked at her, smiled and said, “Hello.” Her mother, from quite far down the aisle sirened, “Stranger Danger!” Staying...

  Ross Etheridge sat in his driveway, honking the horn. "Chop, chop Bozos! In the car or you're toast!”   His wife appeared, softly steering their children to the car.  “Liz, come on! I asked you to have the children ready!” Thomas and Lilly fumbled with their seat belts. Liz came over and helped them. She patted her children’s soft hair. “Ross, please try to slow down. The children love being with you. Life isn’t a race, even if you are...

  As a nursery school teacher with 40 years of experience, I like to think that I can be flexible and responsive to the requests of children and their parents. As a result, even though my teaching partners and I always ask that toys from home be left at home (or at least in the car), I have made exceptions when a child enters the class clutching a beloved toy and the mother says, “I couldn’t...

  I just returned from an absolutely perfect trip to Paris with my sister. We had so much fun together and with the French. My Franglais served as a source of entertainment for the French and a chance for me to again and again see that fun is the most universal language. As we walked on these ancient and beautiful narrow streets together we looked into very busy patisseries, tiny fruit and vegetable markets and many beyond...

  The school year had come to an end. It had been an absolutely great year and the teachers were as sad as the children to say goodbye. Fortunately for the teachers and the children who were able to stay on, there was a little three week summer camp. This was essentially an extension of the school year along with sprinklers and more time for everything, because of the longer day. It was heaven for all. The...

  “I just want to say goodnight to my lady b… I mean desk. Then I will go right to sleep.” Not really listening to her daughter, Lexi replied, “Okay, Alice. Remember, tomorrow is a school day and you need extra sleep.” “I am back in bed now. Goodnight Mommy.” Alice couldn’t stop thinking about her ladybug, which was in a little jam jar with holes in the metal top. Earlier in the year, the jar had housed a...

  Sissy and Cliff Tremont met a year ago at a small private equity firm in Boston. They loved that they were both Type A’s. They eagerly tried to outdo each other’s Type A-ness, especially in meetings. “Sissy, wasn’t it you who recommended that Betty and John Seagram invest in MacLaren before it went deeply south?” Cliff said with a smug, muffled laugh. Sissy replied in a deeply perturbed tone, “You know what, Cliff, it was your old...

  Rosie was in her crib as her mother, Evelyn Wood finished emptying the dishwasher. The view from the kitchen was of a nondescript day, with a few birds singing a bit. Yet, Evelyn knew spring was coming and she adored thinking about spring. The familiar clinking of glasses and cups and pinging of silverware being put away made Rosie “ooh and ahh” and giggle. Evelyn and the other children could hear her in her room up...

  Jane Hallowell was waking up slowly. She heard light speedy feet coming down the hall. In seconds, Rafe and Will were plastered against their mother. Jack, Jane's husband was on a trip to London, the first one in several months. Gently patting her little boys’ backs relaxed them and bought them all more quiet time and a coziness that Jane adored. Saturday was a present; Jane felt this through and through. She knew no matter how...

  This was Anne's first Parenting Column ever, originally published in December, 2012 As young Mothers and Grandmothers gladly and wholeheartedly comb the earth to find a very special something for a little relative, they might be surprised to know they have this present already. What the child most wants is their attention and time. A child’s heart’s desire is unquestionably just a few hours with a parent or grandparent, somewhere simple, maybe at home, a cozy...

  In case you missed Part 1  Quinn slept all night. His father had carried him up to his bed without awakening him. As the sun came up, Quinn was just beginning to stir. His father looked into his room just as Quinn sat up. “Hi Daddy!” “There’s my boy! I missed you last night, sweetie. You must have been zonked." “Oh yeah. That’s right, I fell asleep on the couch. I had a terrible afternoon with a crabby man named...

  Rosie and Quinn were very good friends. Both children were in Mrs. Randall’s Nursery class at the Little Farm School. They had been in class together last year as well and were overjoyed to be sharing another year of school together. Given free time, the two children almost always ran to the dress up area of their classroom. “I’ll be the dog,” said Quinn predictably. He almost always wanted to play a dog. “Let’s pretend you hurt...

  Tender Thoughts John collected a few small pinecones with his babysitter Mary. He put them in his small wooden treasure box in his room along with the smooth blue button his friend Rosie gave him. The box also contained a pair of chopsticks, still in the wrapper, from the first time he used a pair with his mother and father, and a small green car given to him by his grandparents before they left for Florida,...

  On the first day of school, Mrs. Gallagher stood at the door of nursery school, greeting families, some new and others very familiar. She remembered us from our interview. “Sheila and Charlie, we’re so happy to have you.” I smiled and Charlie said, “Remember the bunnies in that room you showed us?” “I do, Charlie. You will see them again, later on.” Mrs. Gallagher pointed out Charlie’s classroom, and he eagerly walked down the wide hallway. Parents...

  Beauty A little girl was slowly following a butterfly in her garden. When it rested on a blossom, the little girl said, “You are beautiful. Thank you.” So wise and so exactly perfect. Beauty is something we are all so grateful for. Beauty changes our lives in every good way. Sometimes we even take it for granted. For someone so little to notice the butterfly and love it will reinforce her appreciation of natural beauty. With some...

  Billy couldn’t wait for his best friend’s birthday party. He had a little collection of presents and he knew Teddy would love them: a piece of green string, a small white shell, a pinecone, a shiny dime and a small picture of the two boys at a fair, taken by Billy’s mother, Holly. Holly gave him bright tissue and a yellow paper bag that was the perfect size for the presents. Holly had a book about...

  The late day sun felt great in the play yard of Little Farm Nursery School. The day had that perfect Thursday afternoon feeling. Children and parents were getting into cars. “Could you and Timmy come over for an early supper tonight? Mike won’t be home until late,” Meredith Ford asked Jane Mathews. “We’d love that!” Jane answered. “Dave is late tonight too. What time is good?” “Luke and I are off to the grocery store to pick up...

  Ozzie was waking up. His four-year old eyes looked at his Grandfather’s blue bottle sitting on a white shelf by his window. He loved looking at this bottle every morning. As the morning light passed through it, he realized there was another bit of blue on the white wall opposite the bottle. “Ozzie,” his little brother Davey called, “Come here.” Ozzie left his blue images and ran to Davey’s room just down the hall. Davey sat in his...

  In case you missed, Children Teaching Parents, Part 1 Sam was excited, knowing Nick and his parents were coming over. He had been gathering little sticks since early morning so that he and Nick could add onto their houses the second he arrived. Julie was working on a small pastel of trees while Philip swept the sunny terrace. “It will be so nice to have Nick over,” Sam said to his mother. “I hope his parents are...

  Sam and Nick were four-year-old best friends. Life with each other was all they knew and that was just fine. Sam’s mother and father were Julie and Philip, slightly older parents who felt so lucky to have Sam. Julie was a landscape artist and Philip was a veterinarian. They loved time together and marveled at their little boy’s openheartedness. Nick’s father, Ron was a rather serious insurance salesman. His wife Lois had recently found a part...

  Savannah Burke was cleaning up the oatmeal that her four-year-old son Jackson had spilled on the floor. Just then a feeling of something wet and cold made her touch the back of her white sweater. It was milk. She looked up and saw her son grinning as he put the glass on the table. As she reached for some more paper towels. Jackson said with a little laugh, “Too bad. More work for Mommy.” Just then...

  Patty Lawson looked through the wide doorway between her kitchen and family room at her little boy playing on the floor. She felt like the only mother alive. The enormous love she had for her ten month old and her life as his mother made her feel incredibly fortunate. Listening to his bits of Donald Duck language made cleaning the messy kitchen almost pleasurable. Patty was older than many first time mothers. She had been surprised...

  I was sitting at my desk when I heard my mother say, “There’s my Sealy.” “Hi, Mommy. I’m going to color a little,” I called to her. “Oh my beautiful Seal. Look at you!” Kate Barnes cooed, wrapping her baby girl in a big white towel. I realized my mother wasn’t talking to me, but to Julia, my eight-month old sister. She had always called me her Sealy when she dried me off after my bath. “Maybe she...

With the very best intentions, mothers often take too long to say goodbye. Hoping to give a child that extra bit of tenderness, they instead inadvertently make things harder for their child and themselves. Trying to leave and actually leaving are very different. Here is a classic case. A mother walks her son Johnny into his school. Johnny is about to do something he wants to do, something he is very capable of doing. What can...

Reaching to shut off the alarm clock, John thought, “That was the shortest night of my life.” He was in a B & B in the state of Washington, a long way from his home on the East Coast. After a quick shower, he went to the desk to pay for his room. He grabbed coffee in a paper cup and said, “Thank you very much. I’ll see you again,” as he went out the big...

“Carrie! Tommy! You aren’t sitting on a stone wall in your nice clothes, are you?” The children jumped down off the wall and looked at their clothes. “We’re still clean,” Tommy called. “Mommy is so weird. A stone wall is now like a monster,” Carrie said. Blanche heard her. “Really? If we’re going out for dinner, sitting on a wall is a pain. You now look grubby.” “We like the way we look. Can’t you?” asked Carrie. Blanche had had...