Category Archives: Parent-itis

The Benefits of Date Night: For a Couple, Single Parents, and the Kids!

Everyone has heard that date nights strengthens a relationship, but at Miss Christa’s Music Studio, it doesn’t only benefit the parents, but also the kids! Miss Christa’s Music Studio offers an opportunity for parents to go on a date night the 2nd Friday and/or Saturday of every month with educational babysitting for only $25! The babysitting is available from 5:00pm – 9:00pm, and a discount is available for siblings! The best part about the whole thing is the babysitting is educational, fun, and offers an opportunity for a night out for the parents!

The benefits of this opportunity are endless! The situation is a win-win scenario for everyone and here’s why:

For the Couples:

According to the National Marriage Project, there are 5 benefits for couples to go out on a date every once in a while.

  1. Date nights offer a chance for the couple to communicate, which is key in a relationship. People are continuingly changing, and by having time to talk to one another, couples are less likely to see problems dealing with change down the road.
  2. Researchers are discovering that “couples who engage in novel activities that are fun enjoy higher levels of relationship quality.” Therefore, date night = better relationship.
  3. For couples who have been together for a long period of time, dates can “rekindle the fire” and let each other remember why they love each other.
  4. Regular date nights have shown an increase in a couple’s commitment to each other, decreasing the chance of infidelity.
  5. Having date nights helps relieve stress, and enjoy time together away from everyday stress.
    9In Athens, 9 Tables is a great place for couples to enjoy an elegant and relaxing meal, while you are able to go to any restaurant, 9 Tables is highly recommended.

For the Single Parents:

Having a night off of parenting, from going out with friends or enjoying some alone time, can impact not only you, but your children. You’re a single parent, you do a lot, and you deserve a little time off here and there. You need to take care of yourself, so you can take care of your kids. This opportunity can help you de-stress, relax, and essentially, be a better parent. According for, “This (a stress free environment) is what will ultimately help their growing brains wire normally, without having to accommodate for some vague sense of impending danger as they develop, which may or may not exist.” This doesn’t only go for single parents, but all parents.

Comparing the benefits of a night out, and the benefits for children living in a stress free environment shows enough reason to take up this opportunity. Not only do your kids benefit from how date night affects you, but the babysitting is a wonderful chance for the kids!

For the Kids:

At Miss Christa’s Music Studio, the babysitting service for Date Night, isn’t the typical babysitting you would expect. This isn’t a local teenager watching TV while your child plays in the other room. Miss Christa’s Music Studio offers a different kind of babysitting every parent will love because of these reasons:

  • Education! While at the studio, your kids will be surrounded by an environment that encourages learning. Music is a great way to educate, and will be available at the studio.
  • Friends! The studio takes up to 12 children, allowing your child to intact with his/her peers. This allows for friendship to be made, which is never a bad thing!
  • Dinner! Though the studio does not provide dinner, if you bring dinner with the child, the studio will gladly feed him/her. This way you can go out to dinner, and keep your child on their regular eating schedule.
  • Clean and Safe! Babysitting is provided by adults who are constantly around children and provide a clean and safe environment.
  • Fun! Babysitting at Miss Christa’s Music Studio is so fun, you won’t feel guilty for leaving your kids with a babysitter!

Don’t waste anymore time and get signed up! Don’t forget, if you have more than one child, ask about the discount available!

To see more about Christa’s Music Studio:
Phone: (740) 854-4011
Website: http://www.misschristamusic.comFacebook:


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Filed under Classroom Reflections, Fun for adults, Parent-itis, Studio News

The blog post I never thought I would write – potty issues

Okay – since the beginning of my Kindermusik Educator career, I have repeatedly, REPEATEDLY said there are two issues on which I will not advise – sleep issues and potty issues. All I can do is commiserate with the parents who are still going through this.

Last week, in endeavoring to find new topics on which to blog, the suggestion came from a parent that I discuss getting her son to poop in the potty. He does the pee thing fine, but the poop is elusive. SIGH . I said I would write about what was suggested. There were no other suggestions. So here is my (pardon the pun) dirty story and what little help I can provide.

Here is my story about Hannah (our younger daughter who is now 12). She was still pooping in her pants at age 9. Yes, that is correct, I had a child who still pooped her pants in the fourth grade. Now do you see why I do not feel qualified to give advice? However, I feel the situation we went through with her, may actually have been given to me so someday I could share this blog post.

When Hannah was around age 2 – 2.5 years old we started to potty train her. The pee thing went fairly well as far as I remember, though perhaps I have psychologically blocked the trauma I felt by potty training both of her girls. However, she was still inconsistent about pooping. For many years, I believed she did it as a control issue with me. Some children throw tantrums when they want to convey a point, Hannah would poop because she knew it frustrated me. I tried everything – bribery in the form of candy, stickers, treats, movies, undies – you name it. I punished her by taking away her t.v. time, sitting her on her bed, putting her back in Pull Ups (Very bad idea). Nothing worked. I suffered the personal mortification of motherhood embarrassment of having poop fall out of her pants at church, Girl Scouts, the grocery store. I suffered having the teachers from school call and tell me they needed another change of pants or that I needed to take her home. I often felt that her poop was an indictment on my qualifications to be a successful mom. ALL of this time, I did not believe it was physical but more an emotional, mental response she had.

Around the time Hannah was seven we began to realize that she had some attention issues. If something engaged her creatively or academically and challenged her mind, she could stay focused for long periods of time. But, mundane things such as chores, math facts, spelling words, brushing teeth, going to the bathroom seemed not to even trigger a response to her. I began to make waves at school but because her grades were always very good, and she tested brilliantly – no one wanted to listen.

When she was 9 and headed into the fourth grade, and still pooping her pants, I finally took her to our family doctor. As I described what we transpiring, he put her on a laxative, and had us created a schedule (read on for more details about this) for bathroom time. He also advocated taking her to Children’s Hospital in Columbus to be tested for ADHD. When we had her tested, we discovered that she has a very very high IQ and that, I was on the right track with my mom gut, that going to the bathroom was too ordinary to interest her. It was suggested that she didn’t even realize she had to go and didn’t notice the discomfort in her pants or the odor – though everyone around her did. I, to this day, do not understand how this is even possible, but Hannah says as much herself (before the testing) so I have to believe it. We ended up putting her in counseling and creating a bathroom schedule.

I was adamant that we had to take care of this problem once and for all before she reached middle school. I was terrified that other children were going to start teasing her, ostracizing her, and being horrendous. It may have already started, but Hannah seemed unaffected.

I am happy and proud to say that Hannah is no longer in  counseling, we were able to avoid going the medication route for the ADHD through behavioral modifications, and that her bathroom issues have been resolved.

I am not saying that every case of refusing to poo in the potty is as extreme as ours. But, I can tell you I learned a few things through this situation with Hannah.

1. Giving your child a little Bene-Fiber every day will not harm them. Check with a doctor or the pharmacist for dosage for your child. But, we found with Hannah she couldn’t taste it and didn’t even know it was there.

2 Make a set time to sit on the potty and train the body to go. This can take a LONG time both while sitting on the toilet and over the course of weeks to adjust. First track and see if there is an approximate time that your child has a bowel movement every day. Start by trying to make that the potty time. For us, we did it with Hannah before she left for school in the morning and upon returning home. Provide entertainment while they are sitting there. Hannah was able to read to herself or color, but a younger child may need someone to read to them or play a game or something. At first, she would some times sit as long as 15 minutes – we had to plan it in to our mornings.

3. If the problem doesn’t seem to be getting better, see a doctor. It is possible the stool is too hard or too large for your child’s bowels. Also there is a condition called, Encopresis which can cause bowel movements to happen – or not happen – without the child being able to control it.

4. DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP AS A MOTHER – every child has an issue. Any mother who doesn’t admit this is lying to herself and others. Food, sleep, tantrums, biting, hair pulling, soiling, crying, etc – all children have something that is a challenge for themselves and their parents. Be gentle with yourself and know that – no matter what others might say or how you might feel judged – you are doing the best you can.

5. Children do not all potty train at the same time, in the same way or on the same schedule. It is a developmental issue and all we can do is provide the instruction and the guidance to get them through it.

6. Though harder to clean up sometimes, real underwear is the only way to go (in my opinion) for potty training. Pull ups, training diapers etc give a child a mixed message about what we expect. If the child is a big boy (or girl), then put him in big boy underwear consistently with the expectation that big boys go in the potty.

7. Gretchen Rubin’s in her book  The Happiness Project has 10 rules of adulthood. One of them is “make water any time you have an opportunity” (That may not be phrased exactly word for word the way she says it – someone has my book). I have adopted this as a rule for our household. If there is an opportunity to visit the bathroom – we have to go.

I still don’t have the answers. Every child is different and what we went through with Sarah was different than with Hannah – even within the same family. I do feel your pain if you are in this awkward developmental area, but I can assure, now that one daughter is in college and the other in seventh grade, they learn to go to the bathroom and this stage will pass (again sorry about the pun). Find a friend or call me – if you need to talk – someone to whom you can bare your soul and dirty little frustrations.

A couple good books I have enjoyed:

Everyone Poops Taro Gomi

All By Myself (Emile Jadoul)

The Potty Train (David Hochman)




Filed under Parent-itis

How things change quickly…. 10 things to do without power.

When I posted last Thursday about playing in the mud, I had no idea how challenging our coming weekend was going to be. Who could have imagined the gale force winds, trees falling over, extended power outages etc that occurred on Friday night. As I write this, I am very thankful for the crews that got our power working by middle of the night Sunday, and I pray for peace and comfort for those who are still waiting for their comforts to be returned.

I have seen many people post about how frustrated their children are by the lack of television. Fortunately, my children are much older and can understand why it won’t work. We are a family of readers so we all had a constant companion of a book while we were without power (I haven’t read that much for extended amounts of time in years – it was actually the most enjoyable part of the whole ordeal.)

While I am not an advocate of NO television, it gave me pause to realize just how much we rely on screens (video games, televisions, computers) to entertain us. I have to admit to charging my cell phone in my car a couple times a day so I could check the news websites and Facebook for updates.

So, this morning, since I had to cancel classes due to the challenges of no power, I thought I would generate a list of things to do when the power is out:

1. Make up your own story – even the youngest children, if verbal at all, can contribute to making up a story with the older children and adults in his life. Perhaps an adult could scribe it to save it for later review, or an older child could illustrate it.

2. Collect things – go outside – find rocks, leaves, sticks (there were plenty of these around). Arrange them by size or color. Count them. Group them. My sister and I used to color on rocks with crayons and then sit them in the sun to watch the crayon melt together (we always thought we could sell them but no one bought).

3. Clean out the toys – I bet by going through them you will discover ones that haven’t been played with in weeks, months, or years, that will present new novelty  – at least for a while.

4. lay on the floor quietly and just listen – make a list of what you hear after 2 minutes. What was the loudest sound, the quietest one? Can you reproduce that sound with mouth or body percussion?

5. SING – it doesn’t matter what you sing, it doesn’t matter what it sounds like or if you have all the right words. Make up new words to old tunes. Make up a sad song about not having t.v. Families singing together is an important heritage and one that isn’t encouraged or thought about in the rush of a normal day.

6. Play cards or a board game. Even preschoolers can play Memory with a regular deck of cards (match black numbers and red ones). Candyland, Chutes and Ladders etc.

7. Play active games – remember Simon Says and Mother May I? What about Red Light/Green Light? If you don’t know these games look them up (if you are reading this blog I know you have internet)

8. Catch fire flies.

9. Learn to catch and throw a ball. If you don’t have a ball, make one out of crumpled paper, or rubber bands, or duct tape.

10. Blow bubbles – it isn’t the greatest solution in the world, but my grandmother used to mix dish soap in some water. We would dip our fists in the solution and blow through our hands. This is a cool activity too – keep those hands and wrists cool and your body will be too.

One bonus – READ – read magazines, read the Bible, read the instructions off food packages in the pantry. Reading anything at all builds vocabulary. Have young children identify letters. Cut them out and arrange them in alphabetical order.

We will all survive this. And before long, everyone will go back to watching t.v., playing video games, and hanging out on Facebook. Just don’t forget – it can be fun to be unplugged once in a while.

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Filed under Fun Music and Activities for Families, Parent-itis

Tomorrow is Play In The Mud Day!

Tomorrow is International Mud Day! This is a day to celebrate getting dirty, enjoying digging and messing in the mud and having fun while learning. According to mud play benefits children in the following ways:

Mud play benefits children in three crucial ways:

  1. Squish, squirt, squash: Mud play offers unique tactile, sensory experiences that are vital to a child’s developing brain.
  2. As children run mud through fingers, scoop mud from containers, and create mud pies, they develop their hand-eye coordination and learn about cause and effect.
  3. Hold the hand sanitizer: Research shows that kids who play in dirt (including very wet dirt) develop stronger immune systems that can pave the way for better health throughout their adult lives.
  4. It’s Fun! 
For some practical mud play suggestions and tips, check out the Play-Based Classroom blog. These teachers have some great ideas.
Now I know in Southeastern Ohio it is supposed to be excruciatingly hot tomorrow. I say we take a lesson from the pigs and do some mud wallowing. According to, pigs roll in the mud to stay cool. Humans sweat to stay cool, but pigs don’t have very many sweat glands. Did you know that children do not sweat as much as adults and can get overheated because of that fact? They also choose mud because it protects from sunburn and bugs. AND, water in mud evaporates much more slowly than straight up water so it cools for longer. So, to enjoy some outdoor play, why not make a mud hole and have some fun? I do suggest still using sunscreen just to be safe.
After all your mud play is over, and everyone is squeaky clean again, how about a muddy meal for lunch or dinner. Try refried beans spread on corn tortillas (plant a “garden” by sprinkling on some lettuce and tomatoes – perhaps it could “rain” cheese), carrot stick shovels digging through hummus, and for dessert, chocolate pudding finger paint. Serve chocolate pudding on a plate and squish in it before licking it off fingers and palms. If you are really creative, and have lots of time make a dirt cake for dad or mom to enjoy when they return home from a long, boring day at work.
We won’t be able to play in the mud in class tomorrow – I don’t think the dance studio would like that much, but I hope to get dirty by weeding my flower beds after work.
Until next time – have fun!

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Filed under Extension ideas for home, Fun for adults, Parent-itis

My Mom Wears Many Hats

I know many of my readers are parents of small children, or perhaps daycare providers. When I started this blog, my children were still rather young. That has changed. My younger daughter, Hannah, is heading to seventh grade next year, as tall as I am, and very smart. Sarah, as I mentioned in a previous post is headed for college. I still have reminders of the girls being little though. I’m so glad I have kept these seemingly simple pieces of paper and drawings. They really connect me to those younger years. Every once in a while, one I have forgotten about reappears. Such was the case last night. Sarah is doing some cleaning and organizing of our storage building. The following was on the table this morning. We believe it was from Mother’s Day when she was in 4th or 5th grade – judging from the writing and the things she says. Remember to put a date on things when you save them!!!

My mom wears many hats in our family.

My mom is a teacher. She taught me how to…. sew and quilt my very own quilt. She also taught me how to be responsible to stay home alone. My least favorite thing she taught me was to clean my room. P.S. its still not clean.

My mom is a chauffeur. She drives me to… chorus every Thursday. During basketball season to basketball every Tuesday. And to home from Girl Scouts every other Thursday.

My mom is a cook. I love it when she makes… hamburgers their (sic) always perfect. Chocolate cookies behir always extremely chocolate. Last her homemade pizza its always really cheesy.

My mom is an engineer. She can always fix…. my BIG and I mean big mistakes. She can also always fix me when I am bad. Last she can always fix my heart when it hurts.

My mom is a magician. She can always find lost things. Once she found… money in my pants along with my ring and watch. Then she found my take home folder which actually happened many times.

My mom is a nurse. She always makes me feel better when… she supports my thoughts and telling me I’m just as good as anyone else. Also when she makes me sleep when I’m sick.

My mom is the best mother in the world because… she can stand all this craziness day after day. Also because she can keep everything calm sometimes. Last because she lets me be so social and busy when she’s the driver.

#1 MOM!

I doubt I could get her to do this again, but I wonder what she would say now 8-9 years later. It is amazing to me the little things that you think don’t have any impact (driving to chorus, cheesy pizza, encouragement) that don’t seem like a lot at the time that obviously impact your child. Remember to make time to be present with your child every day! YOU make the difference.


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Filed under Parent-itis, Personal Thoughts

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

The following verse was sent to me by my mom yesterday. Unfortunately, I do not know the original author. Please, if you know who wrote this verse, let me know so appropriate credit can be cited. This is so true and just confirms how important each of our jobs as parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend, example is. The children definitely are our future and our legacy.


A message every adult should read because children
are watching you and doing as you do, no t as you say.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you hang my
first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately
wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you feed a
stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind
to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make my
favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little
things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you say a
prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always
talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make a
meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I
learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you take care
of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have
to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw how you
handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t
feel good, and I learned that I would have to be
responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw tears come
from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things
hurt, but it’s all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw that you
cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I learned most of
life’s lessons that I need to know to be a good and
productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I looked at you and
wanted to say, ‘Thanks for all the things I saw when
you thought I wasn’t looking.’

Each of us (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend)
influences the life of a child.

How will you touch the life of someone today? Just by
sending this to someone else, you will probably make
them at least think about their influence on others.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.


Filed under Parent-itis, Personal Thoughts, Professional Observations

T-2 Days to Christmas – Excitement and Anticipation

O Come O Come Emmanuel. The anticipation on the day before Christmas Eve has always been a immense for me. Growing up, Christmas Eve services were a huge part of our celebration – the choir cantata (which I endured as a small child – don’t tell me it was only 30 minutes long I KNOW it was longer than than and which I loved singing in as I got older), the candlelight service, the new dress and shoes, the telling of the Nativity story and the wide-eyed wonder of searching the skies for the brightest “Jesus” star on the way to Grandma’s house.

I attended a candlelight service last year on Christmas Eve and took Hannah with me. It was nice to revisit that experience from my past – though it has changed – now they use battery operated candles and there is no hot wax dripping through the hand guard because I didn’t leave it alone like Mom told me. The peace and serenity of singing ageless hymns of angels, shepherds and a beautiful baby boy tug at me and I’m hopeless to try to not cry.

But – with this peace and serenity comes EXCITEMENT, RAMBUNCTIOUSNESS, AND CRAZY – especially with children. I am teaching classes yet today and I know that I am going to have to bring my A game to the class. The energy levels are going to H-I-G-H HIGH! So, what’s a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, babysitter, caregiver to do? You have a ton of things you want to get finished, you want peace and serenity and maybe even a few tears, but these children are going WILD! Here are some suggestions:
1. Buy a bag of cotton balls – you can build miniature snow men, glue them on paper for a winter scene, blow them across the dining room table ( or a card table) with straws to play “hockey”, put them on a blanket or sheet and bounce them to music to create a snowfall in the living room.
2. Read a book – seriously, sometimes the wild wackiness comes from the feeling of need for attention. If we, as the adults, stop what we are doing, and focus – seriously focus – on the child for five to ten minutes it can buy us time later.
3. Begin your thank you notes. Write the following on a piece of paper:

Thank you for the ______________________________. I appreciate you thinking of me.


Make copies – have your child decorate with crayons, markers, stickers, glitter – whatever, and sign his/her name. Then all you have to do is fill in the blanks – a good activity when the excitement of Christmas has worn off but they are still home on break.

4. Bake cookies for Santa, clean a carrot for Rudolph, make reindeer food (raw oats and sugar sprinkles).
5. QUIET TIME – Yep Miss Christa’s on her soap box again, but everyone needs to STOP for 3-5 minutes, dim the lights, quiet music playing in the background. Take DEEP breaths and relax.
6. Sing through your chores, teach your children the songs of your youth – be silly – yep even if you have to sing “Batman smells” (UGH I hate that verse). Don’t worry if you aren’t American Idol material. Your child loves to hear you sing.
7. Enlist their help – allow them to help dust, sort silverware, fold napkins, lick envelopes, fluff couch cushions etc. It doesn’t matter if the job really needs to be done or not, but children are naturally inclined to help if it makes them feel important. You will have to let go of PERFECTLY PERFECT tendencies and settle for good enough – but hey – if it buys you sanity it is worth it.
8. BREATHE – through it all just breathe deeply. Soon it will pass and these years of young craziness will pass sooner than you think. Someday you will miss it – seriously – I’m not kidding.

I wish you all an enthusiastic peaceful day – yep that’s what I meant. Only two more sleeps to Christmas. Have a great day!

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Filed under Parent-itis, Personal Thoughts