Stinky is in the nose of the beholder

By Karen DeBolt | 7th Feb 2008 | Filed under Parenting, Reflections, Self Care

Oh Daddy! Daddy! Look Daddy!

She was five years old or so and doing that joyful galloping dance that five year olds do when they are too excited to contain it. “The train Daddy!” She sang out.  I almost burst out laughing.  I had just been ruminating on how much I was dreading getting on the train.

Oh intellectually, I completely love the train too. Cars are off the roads. I can write blog entries instead of driving. I don’t have to stress about finding and paying for parking. The train is GREAT!  It’s really the people on the train who are the problem. . .

Unfortunately for me, I am super sensitive to fragrances.  I literally feel nauseous when I smell cologne, hair spray, or worst of all body powder.  There are people in this world who like to wear all three of these at once, then get on the train and sit next to ME! UGH!  I know most of you would find that more pleasant than some stinky guy who didn’t take a shower, but give me the stinky guy any day!

So until someone creates a nose plug that blocks scents while allowing breathe, I think I’ll just have to work on my attitude and try to borrow some of that enthusiasm from my little five year old friend.

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An Open Letter to a Pregnant Friend

By Karen DeBolt | 2nd Feb 2008 | Filed under Parenting, Reflections, Self Care


One of my best friend’s is pregnant with her first child. It is an exciting time for her and her husband. I thought about what advice I would like to give about those first months of parent hood. Here’s a few things that I came up with:

1.  You will be completely shocked by how much you will love this new little one. You think you understand love now—trust me—you don’t!

2.  You may have plans after the birth like returning to work right away or maybe being a stay at home mom that cans preserves and bakes fresh bread everyday.  Whatever plans you make, expect the unexpected.  You will need more time to recover than you know and that tiny little thing will take up more time and energy than you ever could imagine.

It’s okay!  Just be a mom for a while and let those other dreams come a bit later when you are actually getting enough sleep.

3.  All focus is on you the mom during your pregnancy. All focus will be on the baby when she’s born. Dad gets the short shrift. Make sure to give him time to bond with baby. If he’s working full time and you are taking on most of the childcare duties, then expect that he will need some time to learn all those things that have become second nature to you.  He hasn’t been able to get in as much practice as you have.

Check out a new book by Hogan Hilling called “The Modern Moms Guide to Dads”. Hilling has been giving New Father Workshops in Southern California Hospitals and has spoken to hundreds of dads. This is super valuable information for moms, but I’m thinking that dad will get a lot from it as well.
 (Hmmm, maybe I’ll get it for you both for a shower gift?)

4.  Don’t forget each other! Yes, prioritizing your marriage may seem obvious, but you will be some what overwhelmed (see #2) and it’s so easy to get focused on that little bundle (see #1) and forget to focus on each other. Go on a date alone together. A happy marriage makes for happier kids as well as happier parents.

Okay, I guess that’s enough unsolicited advice for now. When I come up with more, I will be sure to post it! 

Big hugs to you both!

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Motivation is the key to behavior change

By Karen DeBolt | 1st Feb 2008 | Filed under Parenting, Techniques

There is an old story that goes like this.  A boy is pulling
a big heavy chain down the road.  He comes upon an old man
who says, “Why are you pulling that chain?” The boy said,
Hey mister, have you ever tried to push one?”

My husband recently told this story at a parent support
group we run for CHADD ( He was
explaining the importance of motivation in getting hard work
done. If someone is motivated by a larger goal then that is
like pulling a chain. Sure it’s difficult work, but it’s
doable as long as you keep your eyes on where you are going.

Working hard without a goal in mind is like pushing the
chain. It’s hard all right! Someone told you that you have
to move the chain perhaps, but without a goal in you are not
going to be very effective. In asking the question the old
man was wondering what that goal was.

Getting your child to change a challenging behavior can be
like that. If your child doesn’t understand why you want
them to change then it will be like pushing the chain—really
hard work!

Communicating with your child about why you want them to do
something and how it benefits them or the family or even the
community will create motivation within your child to
change. Sometimes just letting your child know how the
behavior affects you or other people can be enough.

For example, you talk to your child about the importance of
taking care of the local wildlife when you want him to stop
throwing his napkin on the ground. After all he probably
would not want to give a squirrel a tummy ache. (Give a hoot
don’t pollute!)

Other times you may need to create a reward to generate that
motivation. After all getting a good career may not be
highly motivating to a seven year old child trying to finish
up those addition problems for math class.  It’s okay to
find something that is motivating and tie the hard stuff
with the prize. After all most of us wouldn’t go to work if
we didn’t get a nice pay check right? (Okay, I probably
would!)Hey light a fire under it!

However you do it, the motivation will make that hard work a bit easier to handle—like pulling that chain. Sure it’s
still hard work, but a lot easier than pushing!

What does your child need motivation to do? Post a comment and let me know!

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