Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day

I have lots of fathers in my life today (my birth father died four years ago). Five of my seven children and two sons-in-law are fathers of my 20 (almost 21) grandchildren. It is a joy to be able to say that every one of them are excellent fathers. Brad has the special challenge of being a single father with physical custody of his two youngest children. He writes a blog on being a single father, and I don't think I'm just being a mother when I say it is excellent. I have included his essay of multi-tasking here. For more, goto:

The Life and Times of a Single Dad!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Today I feel the need to post another single parenting topic. That of multi-tasking! You've probably heard the saying that "Parenting is a two person job". No it's NOT...parenting is a six person job with lousy pay! So when tackling this project as a single parent, you're only option is multi-tasking!

I've spoken to many parents and we all agree that laundry is one of the all-time most frustrating tasks. Laundry has a mind of its own. Even as I type this I've got a load of laundry in the dryer and another in the washer. I have three kids in this household and one adult with a very limited wardrobe...and yet the laundry keeps coming!!!

But let's face Bill Cosby so accurately put it "Kid's have brain damage!" Case in point: Clean clothes show up in the dirty clothes hamper! Huh? How does that happen? I've observed this phenomenon in action and the only explanation is "Brain Damage". I've watched my son go to pick out a shirt for the day. He grabs one off the shelf and two more fall to the floor. Then I tell him that it's time to clean his room and he picks up those two "clean" shirts and throws them in the dirty clothes hamper! Arggghhh!!!

You might be thinking to yourself...just let the kids do the laundry. We actually have that system in place. Our chore wheel gives each child the opportunity to do the laundry for a week. But you don't really think that happens without supervision from Dad? There have been times when I've had to be somewhere else and the laundry was done without my supervision. And of course I come home to wet laundry in the washer that needs to be re-washed because it has been sitting there all day and is starting to smell or wrinkled clothes in the dryer that needs to be re-washed or ironed.

And laundry is just one of the many tasks that need to be performed simultaneously. There's the dishes which show up about every 15 minutes with hungry kids grazing all day. There's grocery shopping and "What's for dinner?" There's yardwork! There's "Dad's Taxi Service" which is on call 24 hours for trips to music lessons, gymnastics, sports practices, as well as the other necessities of life like the dentist, orthodontist, haircuts, etc. And of course the unexpected tasks; "Dad kitty just coughed up a hair ball" "Dad there's a spider in my room" "Dad I spilt my milk all over my dress and I don't have anything else to wear" "How could you not have anything to wear...I just finished three loads of laundry!!!"

What great soon as I typed that last sentence my daughter came up to me and said "Dad, could you help me find something to wear? I can't find any clean clothes in my room." HA!!! I guess it's back to multi-tasking! My daughter also just said "Oh Dad...just a reminder that today is the day to go pick out fireworks for the 4th of July!" I'll add that to the list!!!
P.S. - "Dad...can you help me with my hair?" "I'll be right there soon as I finish this blog post!"

Monday, June 9, 2008


With Father's day approaching I felt it fitting to share the dedication from Positive Discipline.

To Barry

I became pregnant with my sixth child while working on my master’s degree. The University I attended was 50 miles from home. Because I deliver babies so quickly, and often early, during the last month Barry drove me to school (with our emergency birth kit in the back seat) and sat in an empty classroom while I attended classes. Mark was born during Christmas vacation. I love to nurse, so when school reconvened, Barry continued driving me and our nursing son the 100 mile round trip to school. He would then sit in an empty classroom with Mark so I could nurse during breaks.

When our nursing babies cried at night, Barry would get up, change their diapers, and bring them to me to nurse. He could hardly remember getting up, but when I got up I had difficulty going back to sleep.

After Mary was born (three years later) Barry and I both considered going back to school for advanced degrees. It was obvious that we could not both go to school since we had two children under the age of five. It was Barry’s decision that I should go since I love school and he doesn’t, and that he would prefer to be home every evening (after his full time job as a civil engineer) with the kids while I pursued my Ed.D. and spent a lot of time studying.

People often ask me how I am able to do all that I do. Now you know -- and you have a taste of why I love and appreciate him so much.

The above dedication is from the Positive Discipline Audio Book. The first chapter of this Audio Book is available for free download at I am very excited about the release of the 12 CD Set Positive Discipline Audio Book. This has been a project I have wanted to complete for over 20 years.
Many people who work full time, like many fathers, do not have spare time to read. Now Those people can have the benefit of Positive Discipline with ability to listen to this audio book in the car while they commute. Thank you so much to my son Ken who has made this possible.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Kicking the Pacifier Habit


Maybe a mistake I made. Now what to do? For about four months before my son’s 3rd birthday we had been talking with him about not using a passy after he turned 3-years-old. I was telling him that they were for babies that did not have any teeth.

The reason I had decided to try getting rid of it was because he was using it not just for comfort but keeping it in his mouth all the time, even while talking, when he didn't really need it. I didn't so much care how it affected his teeth since he would be getting new ones anyway and most people get braces later anyway. But, the dentist said it was changing the structure of the bones or whatever. So I thought I might test the waters by preparing him for months for that give-up time and see how it went.

Well, surprisingly, on the night of his 3rd birthday he went to sleep okay without it. No hysterical crying or anything. If he had and it seemed traumatizing I was going to forgo the whole thing. Well, for the next few weeks he did well other than occasionally taking it out of the baby’s mouth and sucking on it.

A quick reminder and he tucked his head and gave it back. So it has been about 6 weeks now and everyone told me after 3 days it would be no more. NO! It has gotten worse, reversed. Many nights I have gone in to check on him and he is not in his bed. I find that he has gone into the baby’s room and climbed in his bed and taken it out of the babies mouth and is asleep in there with him Sometimes the baby, is woken up.

What do I do? Do I keep enforcing no or do I go backwards after all of that and let him have it back? I guess I made a mistake. Now looking back I guess it was not fair of me to ask a smoker to stop smoking while there was still a smoker in the house if you get my drift. It wasn't out of sight out of mind. It was just that he didn't really throw the fit I was expecting so I went with it. Now, it has gotten worse, later, I wasn't expecting that. Now what to do? Do I just allow him to have it in his bed at nap and night time only so he doesn't wake the baby by steeling his?

Any advice? T


First I suggest you not call this a mistake. You tried an experiment that didn't turn out the way you hoped. And, I can hear that you have the answer from your own heart and wisdom. You just need to follow what you know and keep experimenting.

As you say, it may not have been "effective" to take the passy away when the baby has one. This introduces two factors--habit and "dethronement." He is already feeling "dethroned" by the baby, and now the baby gets one and he doesn't.

I also see the next phase of your "experiment" in your question--to try giving it to him only at night and naptime. Also, keep using your loving respect by involving him. Let him know that now that he is three he is ready to "graduate" to using the passy only at sleep time. (First tell him that the experiment of him not using it at all didn't work so well.) Let him decide where to put his passy when he isn't sleeping. Then, if he forgets and wants it during other times you can ask, "Where is you passy supposed to be when you aren't sleeping?" so he can tell you can take care of it.

Remember that weaning is never easy for the weanor or the weanee. Getting him involved in the process (letting him help create the plan) will give him a sense of control and constructive power that will help teach him some valuable life skills and help him feel capable.

Jane Nelsen