Musings of a tired mummy…zzz…

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Who let the dog out? NOT me!

I spend the majority of my life with an elderly gentleman. His name is Ollie.

I am not a dog lover and am actually not keen on animals at all (which is why I’m vegetarian). I do love Ollie though and I honestly never thought I would say that about a dog. He is with me all day. He is with my during the evenings and into the night while I am sat here typing away.

This is a post about a neighbour’s dog. One that for the past 3 weeks has been roaming our street while the owners are having building work done. I had seen the dog around but thought it belonged to the builders themselves as it was at with them while they worked out front.
Last week however, Chris was home and spotted a lost dog in our garden. He went out to check on it and it had no collar. He came back in to fetch an old collar and lead of Ollie’s while he waited for the owner to appear (we live near a field where dogs are walked so he thought it might have come from there and the owner wouldn’t be far behind).
I popped upstairs to see if I could see anyone looking for a dog and recognised the dog so shouted out of the window that it belonged with the builders further up the road. Chris turned back to the dog to find it had raced into the road into the path of a lorry.
Screeching brakes and thankfully a safe dog: Chris managed to call it back to the pavement just in time!
He then persuaded the dog back to the house to be informed by the builders that it was the owners’ dog and they had said to let it out during the day. Chris explained it had nearly been run over and pointedly shut the gate.

This week I arrived home from work and started reversing onto the drive. I then slammed on the brakes when I saw the dog running about on our driveway. It then ran in circles around my car. I got out and abandoned my car in the middle of the road while shooing the dog a safe distance away.
I was quite shaken. It is the closest I have come to hitting anything with my car. I was nearly responsible for a death.
I dithered for an hour to allow myself to calm down and think through my options.
Clearly the builders and the owners were not taking responsibility for the dog’s safety. It had almost run under a vehicle twice that I knew of, but how many other drivers had it scared? Did I want my children to come home from school to find a squashed dog in the road? Where was it going to the toilet? What if it bit someone?
Finally it came down to this: could I live with myself if anything happened to the dog which I could have prevented?
I could have gone to speak to the owners but the thought of a confrontation was terrifying. Instead, I emailed the dog warden and informed them of my concerns. They wrote a letter to the owners reminding them of responsible dog ownership. Their gate is now firmly closed and the dog safely contained.
What a relief!

Lacey Patrick and the Wizard of Darkness by Deborah A Stansil

I was a little apprehensive about starting this book. Firstly I am not a young adult: no matter what my heart tells me, the wrinkles tell me otherwise! Secondly, it was written by the fabulous Deborah from My Random Musings who I met at BlogOnXmas and was lovely so the thought of critiquing her work was daunting!
I will start off with the only negative comment I have and that is that I didn’t get grabbed by the prologue as it is set in a dream. Re-reading it afterwards, I think I felt uncomfortable with the present tense which is my own personal preference and doesn’t reflect on the language or story.
However, the opening chapter really gets the story underway and introduces us to the very likable main character Lacey, a high school student.
I was a little surprised that the book is set in America. I was expecting it to be in the UK for some reason! Anyway, Lacey is starting a new year of school and has a new teacher but when she meets him it is the man from her dream. Just when she thinks it might have been coincidence, he talks about meeting her in her dream. The subtle way he drops it into the conversation made me shout ‘ha!’ at that point earning a strange look from Zach 🙂
The teacher Mr Hartman explains that Lacey is a witch (a bit Harry Potterish if I’m allowed to make comparisons) and they start to train together to develop her powers so that she can defeat a dark wizard who hasn’t yet realised his powers. But who is the dark wizard…?
The book has plenty of mystery, red herrings and twists. My imagination kept running away with me about potential suspects and outcomes. NO SPOILERS!

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I’m hoping there will be a sequel as there seems to be a suggestion at the end that Lacey’s story isn’t over…
Thank you Deborah for giving me the chance to read your book and I will share it with my children when they are old enough and I can tell them I know the author!

Mr Tumble I love you (and your signing)

Actually that isn’t entirely true. Mr Tumble is really quite annoying.
But Justin Fletcher is simply brilliant.
(I would have written ‘Justin Fletcher I love you’ in the title of this post but I didn’t want to terrify the poor man as that sounded a bit stalker-ish)
The enthusiasm he has and the rapport he develops with the children is beautiful to behold. Justin seems to be a genuinely lovely person. The children are so excited to meet him in each episode.
Zach has discovered Mr Tumble. In a BIG way. He runs around the house signing random words that he has learned, so at the moment it is pebble.

He is absolutely thrilled when I understand him and in the past week he has made a huge developmental leap. He is now repeating almost every word and attempting to speak them later in the day, so he has figured out that all words have meaning and are attached to permanent objects.
His understanding has been fab for a long time but now he is remembering the words and applying them himself. He proudly pointed to parts of his body and said the words which I could actually recognise (got a bit of a shock when he said dinkle – what we call boy bits 🙂 ). This morning Chris went in to the kids’ room to say goodbye before work and Zach clearly told him he’d done a poo but Chris didn’t understand him (or was that just an excuse to avoid nappy duty…)
Zach is incredibly musical (must get that from Chris!) and has been able to pick up a tune for months. His Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is note perfect.
I have done baby signing with all 3 children. I took a class when Matthew was about 8 months old. He rarely did the signs but it occasionally helped him to express himself as he can get overwhelmed by emotion and stops communicating. Matthew now pretty much talks non stop which I mention in my 5 Funny Little Things About… post! Anya enjoyed signing but she was desperate to get talking, a girl thing maybe or 2nd child syndrome?
Some critics of baby signing have claimed that it may delay speech but I disagree. I believe it simply gives children another option and encourages communication. Body language and facial expression are an important component of signing so can help with recognising emotion.
So on a personal note: thank you Justin for the work you do with children and for children (and entertaining parents too: my favourite is Gigglebiz 🙂 ).
Justin, you really are ‘Something Special’.


‘Please explain terrorism to me’, by Laurie Zelinger

This is a book that I hope I never have to read again or show my children. But I will because the world we live in is not a kind one 🙁 It is incredibly sad that we need this book but that makes it even more important to read it and use the techniques it advises.
I have had the difficult ask of trying to explain terrorism to my children and am so reassured that Dr Zelinger’s method is similar to my own!
The book is comprised of 2 sections, first a story for children to access and secondly notes for parents.
The story really highlights that children know what is going on, they see and hear things that we may not be aware of so ignoring the situation in the news may only serve to create increased fear and stress. I completely agree with this and whenever there has been an attack I sit down and discuss it with my children to ensure they have facts
The notes describe Zelinger’s PEARLS approach stands for Prepare Explain Answer Reassure Listen Safeguard. It is simple but effective, making sure children have access to appropriate information and are allowed the time to process it and respond with questions.
I would score this book 5/5. It is thought provoking, intelligent, caring: essential reading for parents in our troubled world.

 

A Story for Children, P-E-A-R-L-S of Wisdom for their Parents

Complemented by exquisite, colorful artwork, Dr. Zelinger skillfully crafts an easily relatable children’s story using everyday situations, around the oppressive concept of Terrorism in the news. With masterful understanding of the child’s world, new and frightening concepts are introduced carefully and gently, with the child’s perspective in mind. Dr. Zelinger provides parent coaching to further the dialogue in her P-E-A-R-L-S of Wisdom section (Prepare, Explain, Answer, Reassure, Listen, Safeguard) where caregivers are given scripts to guide them, as well room for individuality. This pioneer book helps children and parents face a critical, often avoided topic with reassurance and calm.

“This book provides the ‘PEARLS’ of wisdom for parents and children to discuss a scary topic like terrorism in ways that promote healthy and authentic parent-child conversations that yield to mutual respect and bonding.”
–Marc A. Brackett, PhD., Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

“Deep and yet accessible, her remarkable deciphering of the psychological factors that hinder the free communication between parents and children on terrorism is compelling. This fascinating guide amounts to a riveting lesson of clarity and to a masterpiece in bridging the unbridgeable.”
–Hon. Yehuda Lancry, Former Ambassador of Israel to the U.N.

“Please Explain ‘Terrorism’ to Me is a straightforward and down-to-earth treatment of a difficult subject. Dr. Zelinger uses common sense, a simple clarification of the basic issues, and reassurance to provide a deeper understanding of terrorism for kids–without a corresponding rise in anxiety.”
–Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D., Psychologist/Author

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Barnes and Noble Kobo GPlay Paperback

 

From the Growing With Love Series at Loving Healing Press

More books by the author

About the Author

Illustrator, Ann Israeli, and
author, Laurie Zelinger

Dr. Laurie Zelinger, Diplomate, is a Board Certified Psychologist with a specialty in School Psychology, and a Registered Play Therapist with forty years’ experience. She is a licensed New York State psychologist who recently retired from a Long Island public school system and is now devoting her time exclusively to writing, consulting, and her busy private practice. Dr. Laurie’s previous books include: “Please Explain Anxiety to Me: Simple Biology and Solutions for Children and Parents,” The “O MY” in TonsillectOMY & AdenoidectOMY: How to Prepare Your Child for Surgery (in its second edition), A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself Even on the Bad Days for American Girl, and a chapter on selective mutism in the compendium, School Based Play Therapy (second edition). She is also credited with being a consultant for the Bitty Baby book series by American Girl where she assisted in the development of the “For Parents” sections, as well as editorial development of another American Girl book. Dr. Laurie’s interest in writing began in 4th grade, when a play she wrote was performed by students in her public school. Dr. Zelinger is a fellow and elected officer in the nationally based American Academy of School Psychology and spent four years on the Executive Board of the New York Association of Play Therapy. As a media referral specialist for the American Psychological Association, she has contributed to nearly 200 venues regarding child development. Dr. Laurie and her psychologist husband, Dr. Fred, are both certified Red Cross Disaster Mental Health volunteers. They have been happily married for over thirty-five years and have raised four children. You can learn more about Dr. Zelinger and her books at DrZelinger dot com.

You can also follow the author here…
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Ann Israeli graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and began her art career as a textile designer. She worked designing wallpaper and home furnishings before moving on to a career in Women’s and Children’s knitwear designs, where she won many awards. She began a second career as an art teacher in the Rockville Centre School District on Long Island, New York and earned her Masters of Art degree from Adelphi University (New York). Currently, Ann enjoys visiting her newest grandson in California and spending time with her husband, children, family, and friends. She also relishes her time working on oil painting and hopes to continue on her new path as an illustrator.

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Black Friday: has the world gone crazy?!

I’m a bit confused. A couple of years ago Black Friday was introduced to the UK. The scenes on the TV were terrifying to see how humanity was reduced to slaves to materialism.
This year Black Friday seems to last 2 WHOLE weeks (or longer). At the start of last week I started getting emails with deals. And more emails and more and more…
Chris asked me when Black Friday actually was and I confidently replied. I was wrong. Black Friday wasn’t the Friday we’ve just had: it is this coming Friday, the 24th.
How has this happened? How has it taken over the world?
Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping and am devoted to online bargains (sooooo much easier than heading to the shops with the kids in tow!)
I spend hours trawling through websites, planning what to buy before actually committing. I love the thrill of the hunt! Tracking down the best prices and looking for the best deals.
The problem with Black Friday is all the deals and prices arrive at the same time so impulse (dare I say, panic) buys accidentally end up in the virtual basket.
So my only advice to see you through this madness is:
Buy what you need – write a list and stick to it. Write a reasonable price next to each item and ONLY go for it if it meets your target. The offers are there to be tempting!
I wonder how long Black Friday will last next year…