On blue hair and saying yes

Over the summer I tend to take an “anything goes” approach to my kids’ hair and let them choose a fun color. I’ve been doing this since India was in kindergarten, when she started begging for blue hair. I let her do a few streaks, and she was thrilled.


This summer, they both wanted to do color again. India wanted pink tips and Karis wanted some blue. We used Jerome Russell’s Punky Colour in Flamingo Pink and Turquoise.

 Photo Jul 08, 1 54 37 PM

I’m sure there is a more professional way to color the tips, but we used the “lay down on a trashbag” approach. You can pin that if you want.

Photo Jul 08, 11 28 35 AM (1)

I tend to be a more conservative parent . . . but that tendency is exactly why I said yes to these things. Since my kids entered school, they have grown more aware of the disparity in some of the things their friends are allowed to do vs. the rules in our own home.

Last year, after a bout of sassy talking that I believed to be learned behavior from Jessie and Ant Farm, we said goodbye to the tween shows on The Disney Channel.  After a media fast this winter, we did away with screen time altogether except for the weekends. My kids don’t play video games. They don’t do sleepovers. I don’t allow them to be picked up by others parents for playdates after school unless I know the parent personally. While I am sure we aren’t the only parents with some of these rules, to them it sometimes feels that way. “You never let me do ANYTHING” is an oft-spoken phrase at our house.

I don’t relish being a strict parent, and I don’t believe I’m a helicopter mom. I’m just a cautious one. I’ve seen the effects of too much screen-time and I think they are better behaved (and happier) with less of it. I’m also wary of sending my kids to the homes of people I don’t know. These are the two things I’m a bit of a stickler on, but to them it seems like I’m just generally strict.  So last week, when India asked, again if she could color her hair, I said yes. It’s not something that’s all that important to me. My preference might have been to wait, but in the realm of “choosing your battles” it’s not an important one to me. It’s an easy opportunity for me to say  yes. 

I’m not saying yes to win he approval . . . I’m not a mom who feels bad about saying no. But I want to have a few areas where she feels like I’m willing to give a little. As my kids get lder, I know we will have more conflicts about things they would like to do, and I am going to continue to try to “choose my battles” instead of defaulting to no. I’m going to identify the battles that are important to me (security, time without screens) and those that aren’t, and meet her in the middle when I feel like it’s beneficial to do so.

What are the areas where you tend to say no? Have you ever made a conscious decision to say yes more? How do you balance your rules with the rules of your kids’ peers?

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Friday Finds: Etsy Makers

1. The Double Triangle Ring by foxtailboutique | Etsy
2.  Onions and Leaves Tea Towel by leahduncan | Etsy
3. Cactus Pouch  Leather by ameliemancini |  Etsy
4. Modern Pastel Hardwood 7 Bowl Ocean/Sky by nicoleporterdesign | Etsy 
5. Leather Tassel Keychain Tassel Purse Charm Tassel by JillyDesigns | Etsy
6. Wooden Spoons Set of Three by Wind and Willow | Etsy 
7. Organic Cotton Knit Feather Leggins by littlefourclothing | Etsy 
8. The Rhoads Bag : Shibori Canvas by GrahamKeegan | Etsy
9. Feather, Hello, Love & Arrows, and Anchor Cups by LunaReece | Etsy 

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What I want you to know about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Mallory.

I'm Mallory, I'm 16, and I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Those of you who do not know what Ehlers-Danlos is, it means the collagen in my bones and connective tissue, the little I have, does not work the right way, causing joints throughout my body to fall out of place. So I have pretty much dislocated almost everywhere in my body. Let me start from the beginning.

I have played volleyball and basketball ALL of my life. Going into my 9th grade year I made the JV volleyball team for my high school! I was so excited, and later that year I made my club volleyball team, and basketball team for my high school, as well. I've always had problems with my joints but always thought it was normal.

I have always dislocated joints in my body but thought everyone could. In January, while playing a basketball game I cracked a few ribs and went to see an orthopedic surgeon. He looked at my shoulders and was completely taken aback by how loose my shoulder was. He said I needed a corrective surgery as soon as possible. April 9th, 2014, was the first date. Second surgery on the same shoulder from a re-injury, was on June 3rd, 2014. My third surgery was on September 11, 2014, on my left shoulder. 

I have a hip replacement coming up that was supposed to be January 14th, 2015, being currently rescheduled. I also have my right side of ribs higher than the other because they are currently dislocated and doctors can't relocate them. Also I have dislocated my knees, hips, wrists, thumbs, ankles, vertebrae, and jaw. It isn't like being double jointed, it is excruciating
pain, and gets to the the point where I cannot walk for days. 

My shoulders are not healed and I haven't been able to play sports for a year - the one thing I love -but you have to get over it. Hope for the best to happen one day. If you know someone who has EDS be there for them, don't thing they are complaining, or being a baby. They are in ACTUAL AND INTENSE PAIN. I have many friends who will not take it serious and will get mad at me for canceling because I can't get out of bed. I hope to be healed soon and pray physical therapy can help me to ensure no more surgeries are needed. For all the people who have EDS there is always hope for the future just surround yourself with people to support you and that love you and I hope I was able to inform people on the seriousness of this syndrome. This is my story.

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Ten steps to positive summer parenting

I’ve been told before that my default mode for reacting to the world around me is sarcasm. I trend toward the cynical side of whatever personality-analyzing method you’re using. It works for blogging, I guess, but isn’t always the most attractive quality as a mom. Especially when the kids try to emulate the snark. 
As a parent, I’ve begun recognizing this on a regular basis. There are so many studies on the virtues of positive parenting and optimistic thinking, and sarcasm just doesn’t match up very well with those virtues. So as summer is here and my kids are home with me rather than at school, I’m going to try to be a more optimistic/positive parent. Call it the “Summer of Positive Parenting.”
Here's what I'm trying but have in no way mastered . . .
1. Saying “I’m proud of you, but you should be so proud of yourself.”Kids need to know that we are proud of them no matter what, of course. It helps them to keep a positive outlook about whatever they are trying to accomplish. But I’ve found that this process gets a huge boost when I remind my kids to be proud of themselves. I want them to be pumped about their own accomplishments, from grades to skateboard tricks. It’s not about always winning or getting first place, but about personal pride in having done something well.
2. Being appreciative. Kids do so many things each day that go unrecognized. They may be tiny things that I’ve reminded them to do a GAZILLION times, or big things that they’ve just learned how to do. They may be things that show that my kids are actually aware that other people exist around them. Telling them that I notice what they’re doing and appreciate it helps them feel good about themselves: “I love the way you got dressed today without me asking you” or “I appreciate how you let your sister go first just now.” It’s a way for me to call attention to the positive things they’re doing everyday instead of always pointing what they’ve done wrong.
3. Increasing the number of times I say “I love you.” At our house, we make it a point that “I love you” is the first thing and the last thing that the kids hear from us everyday. Kids need to hear those three words every day, at least once. But what about the rest of the day? There are countless other times throughout the day that I could tell my kids “I love you.” When I pass them in the hallway. When they come inside to grab a drink while playing outside. When they’re with friends and sure to be embarrassed. (Fine...I’ll pick my moments. Maybe.) 
4. Giving them clothing freedom. Each of my kids has their own style and fashion sense. I love that about them. Even when their style choices may be quite different from mine, one way that I can be positive about how they dress is to give them one or more days when they get to wear whatever they want. There will be times that I need to make suggestions or help them with their clothes, but giving them a little more freedom in developing their own style—which means learning not to automatically say “You shouldn’t wear that”—helps them make decisions and feel good about themselves.
5. Giving more hugs. When I’m busy, or when all the kids have different things going on, I tend to forget how important physical touch is. Full-body hugs are one of my favorite ways to tell my son or daughter how much I love them, but there are so many times a day that a quick shoulder hug can make my kids feel loved and important, too. It could make the difference in a day being good or bad.
6. Less nagging. No kid likes to be told to do something by a parent... and then harped about it over and over again. No adult likes it, either. There will be times I may need to gently remind them to do a chore or activity, but for the most part, everyone would be a lot happier if there was less nagging about getting things done. When Mom doesn’t nag, kids can feel positive about being responsible for their own accomplishments around the house. Everyone wins.
7. Less yelling. Nothing sucks the positivity out of a child like being yelled at. (The same goes for adults.) They may have done something wrong, but yelling doesn’t make it any better, especially when it’s about something small. And that applies throughout our family. The kids react better to each other and work through problems better when no one is allowed to yell. In most cases, this helps them communicate and problem-solve without my help. Look, I don’t like to be yelled at. I’m 100% certain they don’t either.
8. Being a better role model. Ouch. If I want my kids to be positive people, then I need to be a positive person. That may mean holding back a negative or snarky comment so that my kids don’t hear it. That also means showing my kids that even if I mess up, get angry, or have my feelings hurt, how I react is important. I want my kids to know that it’s OK to have emotions. We all have them—good and bad. Learning to deal with them in a healthy way is the important part.
9. Cooking together. One thing we’ve started doing over the past year is letting the kids help us in the kitchen. While it can be a challenge, the process of cooking together is always fun. They are learning. They are cooperating. We all end up smiling. Everyone gets assigned some kind of a job. As they get more skilled and more responsible, they'll be able to cook with less supervision. And the older kids can help the younger kids. Best case scenario: There will come a day when I’m not needed in the kitchen at all!
10. More listening. Summer is incredibly busy for us. When I take the opportunity to sit or walk or spend time with my kids and listen to the things they want to say, it tells them that their thoughts and ideas are important. It tells them that I want to know what’s going on in their little minds. When they feel like they can tell me anything, it creates a positive and open line of communication. This is important now, but it’s even more important as they grow older—when there might be bigger things they need to talk about.

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Wednesday's Child: Braydon

Every Wednesday I feature a child recently highlighted by a local Wednesday's Child newscast to share the stories of children from around the country who are waiting for a family. My hope is that this can broaden exposure for the children highlighted, but also serve as a reminder that these children represent thousands of children currently in the foster-care system. Perhaps their stories will inspire you to consider opening your home to a child needing a family. For more information and to learn about other waiting children, visit AdoptUsKids.

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