6 WAYS TO BE SMART, SAVY, AND SCHOOL-FRIENDLY IN THE DIGITAL AGE

 

20160606_111639_resizedOk, kids. Technology has made things easier to some degree in our lives, but not necessarily any smarter. Let’s go over a few things to keep in mind when you are granting ‘all access to you all the time’ on your Smartphone and social media accounts. And let’s see how you can be smarter for your kids and you at your child’s school for the next school year.

REMEMBER: SAFETY FIRST

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google images

Oftentimes, Facebook pages light up with parent complaints about not feeling ‘welcome’ anymore at their child’s school when it comes to attending school functions. Translation: they are upset that they have to sign up to attend school events and just can’t “show up” to “help out” anymore.

When frustration takes over at these seemingly unfriendly school rules, we as parents need to remember that schools are first and foremost, places of learning for students.

Sadly, we live in a much more socially dangerous time, where adults and children have access to guns and other weapons. They cause unthinkable carnage at schools and other public places. Innocent people are killed, families are destroyed, and schools are left trying to make sense of it all while still continuing on valiantly to educate students in the pressing age of data driven instruction and assessment.

Many schools now have systems and procedures in place to account for people in and out of the building as a result of the violence that occurs daily across our country. Principals request all dismissal information to be sent in paper format and parents to call if a child is absent. Schools have set arrival and dismissal times and procedures for all students, whether they are driven in, walk, or ride the bus. And schools have much tighter security during the day, where doors are locked and teachers use swipe keys to enter and exit.

These are safety measures for your children and the adults in the building. The rules that are in place are not made to make you feel unwelcome. They are put in place to keep everyone safe.

So don’t become upset when your child’s school asks for parents to sign to attend a school function. It’s much smarter to realize that your child is in a building with hundreds of other children who also deserve to be just as safe as your child. And you would want those parents to follow the safety rules for the sake of your child’s safety, too.

ANNOUNCE YOUR VISIT

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google clipart

Imagine this: You’ve got a big presentation to that you are working on for your job. You went in early to get a head start on the day. Then there’s a knock at your door and your boss is standing there. She needs to you work on some other task right away, even though she knows that you are in the middle of your presentation work. Not the best time, right?

You may think you are doing something loving for your child by a surprise visit to the school by dropping off the forgotten homework or instrument. These seemingly innocent little unannounced visits interrupt the secretary trying to manage the school, the teacher trying to work with students, and your child trying to learn.

A smarter way: pack and check the bag the night before with your child. And don’t worry. One day without the violin or the homework isn’t going to put an end to your child’s school career. Use the forgotten item as a way to remember to plan ahead instead of an excuse to just pop in at school.


PARK IT, PLEASE20160425_082405_resized

Parking can also be an issue at schools. As a teacher, I’ve almost been hit by parents countless times zooming in or out of a school parking lot. Imagine how you would feel if your child were hit by a parent. Or what if, in your haste, you hit another child? Parking procedures are in place to keep everyone safe, including your child, as well as the other students in the school.

There are universal parking rules, like marked handicapped spaces, that need to be adhered to whenever you public places, including schools. And then there are signs at schools that indicate where you can and cannot park because of bus drop offs and fire regulations. At my school, the whole front lot is for parents, and teachers need to park on the side and in the back lots. We work there, and we as teachers need to follow the parking rules just like the parents. Disregarding the signs or rules because you are the PTA President or because you are ‘just running in’ to the school puts others at risk and also shows that you feel you are above any rules. It also sends a message to your child that if my adult doesn’t follow the rules, I don’t need to, either. Everyone: parents, children and teachers, who are part of a school community, needs to follow the parking and safety rules for the benefit of all.

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE

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google images

I love my phone. And I know we all have become so attached to all the aspects of a Smartphone: texting, taking pictures, tweeting, and instant access to online information-all.the.time. It’s a great device for quick communication, but with it comes responsibility of how much and when to use it.

When attending a function at your child’s school, please turn off your phone- especially on field trips, when you are in charge of students. No one likes to hear it ring, and if you really have to check it for messages, or text someone, or look on Facebook, then you’re not paying attention to the kids, and shouldn’t you be? And don’t post those photos that you took of your child performing with other kids. You know the ones…the ones you took while you were blocking the view of the parents behind you who were trying to watch their child.

Save the photo ops until you meet up with your child afterwards. You’ll be able to enjoy the performance from start to finish and get better close-ups later on.

 WHICH OF THESE TWO IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER?

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google clip art

I had the opportunity to attend two spring school performances this past year. One was my daughter’s chorus and band concert and the other was my niece’s school play. I won’t pinpoint which event was which, but let’s see if you can spot the difference between the two events. At one event, all the audience members, parents and children, were seated quietly and respectfully, listening and clapping as appropriate. At the other, younger children were wandering all over the auditorium with their friends before and during the actual performance, switching seats and just generally being not good audience members like they are taught in school. A pair of parents sitting directly in front of me could hear their children making noise in balcony seats overhead and instead of retrieving their children and sitting with them, the adults just watched them from afar, gesturing to their kids to be quiet.

Can you tell which event was the more difficult of the two to enjoy? In both instances, the children and teachers had worked all year to perfect their skills, and yet only one audience really showed the proper respect for all their hard work. And sadly, it was the parents who were the ones who weren’t holding their children accountable for their concert behavior, not the teachers.

TEACHER TROUBLE?  TALK IN PERSON

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google clipart

I really enjoy social media. I have gotten in touch with friends that I haven’t been in contact with in years, and family and friends who are out of state can keep in touch with my family and me. I use it as a way to have fun, and I try to be very cognizant and careful about what I post.

Once August hits and teacher assignments are determined, I often see posts from parents asking about whose kid has or had this teacher and whether the teacher was kind, nice, mean, etc. If you like or dislike a particular teacher, that is certainly is your right. But guess what? It also can remain your private business! It gives me a pit in my stomach, wondering what is being said about me. I am a teacher myself, and I know I work very hard to do the best job I can do for my students. I also know that I am human and have made errors in my career. I would just rather hear about it in person rather than read about it on social media.

Think of it this way: Would you like your kid to post on a social media site how mean, nice, or strict you are at home? Probably not. How about your boss posting on your work performance for everyone to formulate an opinion, regardless of whether or not all the facts are presented? Again, probably a negative.

Conversations about placement should be held in person with the teacher, not with your friends on Facebook.

That’s it for today. So, how do you measure up when it comes to social media and school relationships? Do you pass with flying colors or do you need to brush up on a few skills?

That’s ok.

That’s why we go to school.

Class dismissed.

 

EXTRA CREDIT

Track how often you check and use your phone for messages, texting, and checking your social media accounts for three days. Compare that to the amount of time you spend with your children and spouse.

Which takes up more of your time?

Which SHOULD take up more of your time?

 

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

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Friday Love Notes

 

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I went back to work the August after an unexpected medical leave in January 2016.

It’s been good to be back, even with the challenges of a larger group of students with varying levels of specific needs.

One of the things I love about teaching Kindergarten is that I can literally shape how a child views anything–even the most mundane task–just by my reaction or how I present it to them.  Work they need to do becomes “a project” or “a puzzle”. Assessments or small group work  becomes “working with Mrs. T” time –-and everyone LOVES one on one time with the teacher! Even a little post-it lunch box note from Mom turns into a glorious love note. The kids BEAM when I gush, “OH LOOK!!!! Mommy wrote you a LOVE NOTE!!” We read it together and the child toddles off with a smile on his or her face, so happy they got a love note from home.

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Sometimes, the children bring in pictures for me—beautiful Kindergarten drawings of us together, sometimes with a drawing of my faithful puppet Red Word Fred intermingled with the hearts and shapes and colors. This year, I’ve had a few of my scholars  say, “I made you a love note,” handing their treasure over to me when we collect the mail at the start of the day. I gush and preen over each note, thanking the child and putting it up on my bulletin board behind my table. My bulletin board is already filled with these notes, and I decided it was time to give back the love to my students.

This past Friday, I sent each of them home with a love note from me. Since we do mail in the morning, I had to remind them they couldn’t open it up now, or on the bus, or at the YMCA program after school. They had to wait until they got home to share it with their families.

Their reactions were priceless as they were handed folded notes. Some said thank you, some sat there in awe, looking at their name and heart drawn on the front, reminding me of Charlie Bucket when he found the Golden Ticket, and others were literally just beaming with joy and smiles. I had enclosed both a note and a dot-to-dot page. I’m not sure what will transpire as far as an extra little goodie inside each week—I haven’t planned that far ahead– but my goal is to give them each a love note every Friday morning to read at home.fullsizerender

I hope the love gets passed around this year between home and school!

How do you show your love?imgres

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

6 WAYS TO BE SMART, SAVY, AND SCHOOL-FRIENDLY IN THE DIGITAL AGE

 

20160606_111639_resizedOk, kids. Technology has made things easier to some degree in our lives, but not necessarily any smarter. Let’s go over a few things to keep in mind when you are granting ‘all access to you all the time’ on your Smartphone and social media accounts. And let’s see how you can be smarter for your kids and you at your child’s school for the next school year.

REMEMBER: SAFETY FIRST

imgres-3
google images

Oftentimes, Facebook pages light up with parent complaints about not feeling ‘welcome’ anymore at their child’s school when it comes to attending school functions. Translation: they are upset that they have to sign up to attend school events and just can’t “show up” to “help out” anymore.

When frustration takes over at these seemingly unfriendly school rules, we as parents need to remember that schools are first and foremost, places of learning for students.

Sadly, we live in a much more socially dangerous time, where adults and children have access to guns and other weapons. They cause unthinkable carnage at schools and other public places. Innocent people are killed, families are destroyed, and schools are left trying to make sense of it all while still continuing on valiantly to educate students in the pressing age of data driven instruction and assessment.

Many schools now have systems and procedures in place to account for people in and out of the building as a result of the violence that occurs daily across our country. Principals request all dismissal information to be sent in paper format and parents to call if a child is absent. Schools have set arrival and dismissal times and procedures for all students, whether they are driven in, walk, or ride the bus. And schools have much tighter security during the day, where doors are locked and teachers use swipe keys to enter and exit.

These are safety measures for your children and the adults in the building. The rules that are in place are not made to make you feel unwelcome. They are put in place to keep everyone safe.

So don’t become upset when your child’s school asks for parents to sign to attend a school function. It’s much smarter to realize that your child is in a building with hundreds of other children who also deserve to be just as safe as your child. And you would want those parents to follow the safety rules for the sake of your child’s safety, too.

ANNOUNCE YOUR VISIT

imgres-1
google clipart

Imagine this: You’ve got a big presentation to that you are working on for your job. You went in early to get a head start on the day. Then there’s a knock at your door and your boss is standing there. She needs to you work on some other task right away, even though she knows that you are in the middle of your presentation work. Not the best time, right?

You may think you are doing something loving for your child by a surprise visit to the school by dropping off the forgotten homework or instrument. These seemingly innocent little unannounced visits interrupt the secretary trying to manage the school, the teacher trying to work with students, and your child trying to learn.

A smarter way: pack and check the bag the night before with your child. And don’t worry. One day without the violin or the homework isn’t going to put an end to your child’s school career. Use the forgotten item as a way to remember to plan ahead instead of an excuse to just pop in at school.


PARK IT, PLEASE20160425_082405_resized

Parking can also be an issue at schools. As a teacher, I’ve almost been hit by parents countless times zooming in or out of a school parking lot. Imagine how you would feel if your child were hit by a parent. Or what if, in your haste, you hit another child? Parking procedures are in place to keep everyone safe, including your child, as well as the other students in the school.

There are universal parking rules, like marked handicapped spaces, that need to be adhered to whenever you public places, including schools. And then there are signs at schools that indicate where you can and cannot park because of bus drop offs and fire regulations. At my school, the whole front lot is for parents, and teachers need to park on the side and in the back lots. We work there, and we as teachers need to follow the parking rules just like the parents. Disregarding the signs or rules because you are the PTA President or because you are ‘just running in’ to the school puts others at risk and also shows that you feel you are above any rules. It also sends a message to your child that if my adult doesn’t follow the rules, I don’t need to, either. Everyone: parents, children and teachers, who are part of a school community, needs to follow the parking and safety rules for the benefit of all.

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE

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google images

I love my phone. And I know we all have become so attached to all the aspects of a Smartphone: texting, taking pictures, tweeting, and instant access to online information-all.the.time. It’s a great device for quick communication, but with it comes responsibility of how much and when to use it.

When attending a function at your child’s school, please turn off your phone- especially on field trips, when you are in charge of students. No one likes to hear it ring, and if you really have to check it for messages, or text someone, or look on Facebook, then you’re not paying attention to the kids, and shouldn’t you be? And don’t post those photos that you took of your child performing with other kids. You know the ones…the ones you took while you were blocking the view of the parents behind you who were trying to watch their child.

Save the photo ops until you meet up with your child afterwards. You’ll be able to enjoy the performance from start to finish and get better close-ups later on.

 WHICH OF THESE TWO IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER?

concert.clipart.05
google clip art

I had the opportunity to attend two spring school performances this past year. One was my daughter’s chorus and band concert and the other was my niece’s school play. I won’t pinpoint which event was which, but let’s see if you can spot the difference between the two events. At one event, all the audience members, parents and children, were seated quietly and respectfully, listening and clapping as appropriate. At the other, younger children were wandering all over the auditorium with their friends before and during the actual performance, switching seats and just generally being not good audience members like they are taught in school. A pair of parents sitting directly in front of me could hear their children making noise in balcony seats overhead and instead of retrieving their children and sitting with them, the adults just watched them from afar, gesturing to their kids to be quiet.

Can you tell which event was the more difficult of the two to enjoy? In both instances, the children and teachers had worked all year to perfect their skills, and yet only one audience really showed the proper respect for all their hard work. And sadly, it was the parents who were the ones who weren’t holding their children accountable for their concert behavior, not the teachers.

TEACHER TROUBLE?  TALK IN PERSON

images-1
google clipart

I really enjoy social media. I have gotten in touch with friends that I haven’t been in contact with in years, and family and friends who are out of state can keep in touch with my family and me. I use it as a way to have fun, and I try to be very cognizant and careful about what I post.

Once August hits and teacher assignments are determined, I often see posts from parents asking about whose kid has or had this teacher and whether the teacher was kind, nice, mean, etc. If you like or dislike a particular teacher, that is certainly is your right. But guess what? It also can remain your private business! It gives me a pit in my stomach, wondering what is being said about me. I am a teacher myself, and I know I work very hard to do the best job I can do for my students. I also know that I am human and have made errors in my career. I would just rather hear about it in person rather than read about it on social media.

Think of it this way: Would you like your kid to post on a social media site how mean, nice, or strict you are at home? Probably not. How about your boss posting on your work performance for everyone to formulate an opinion, regardless of whether or not all the facts are presented? Again, probably a negative.

Conversations about placement should be held in person with the teacher, not with your friends on Facebook.

That’s it for today. So, how do you measure up when it comes to social media and school relationships? Do you pass with flying colors or do you need to brush up on a few skills?

That’s ok.

That’s why we go to school.

Class dismissed.

 

EXTRA CREDIT

Track how often you check and use your phone for messages, texting, and checking your social media accounts for three days. Compare that to the amount of time you spend with your children and spouse.

Which takes up more of your time?

Which SHOULD take up more of your time?

 

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

The Big Ten

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If you are a sports fan, you may be envisioning a football conference right now, or the number of your favorite player’s jersey.

For me, it reminds me of my daughter’s upcoming birthday in a few days.  We’ve been planning for a few weeks now, and this morning on my bike ride, it hit me that this will probably be the last birthday that will be more ‘kid oriented’.  I’m a Kindergarten teacher by profession, and I LOVE to use my creativity for projects and activities.  So every year, celebrating my daughter’s birthday has been an extension of my classroom, allowing me to have fun decorating and planning ‘birthday fun’ for her and her friends to experience at home.

A few times, we did her party outside of our home. Last year, we held it at a popular kid’s nail salon at her request. It turned into a bad scene the next day when on of the girls had a skin burn appear across her fingers. Imagine those phone calls! We finally determined it was a reaction due to the chemicals that were used to clean the tables. (Anyone in my area want to know the name of the salon, let me know.) Needless to say, this unexpected event further supported my view of having house parties for birthdays.

To me, being at home to celebrate life events is a nice memory to look back on. Sure, it’s a lot of prep work to clean and organize beforehand, but it’s all part of the party process.  In the end, I’d rather have the cake and candles blown out in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by the people we love.

This year, my daughter is having a Star Wars themed party.   It’s been a big to-do as far as planning.  My husband, a fabulous graphic artist, made an extraordinary invitation that would put any self-respecting Pintrest parent to shame.  I admit, I have been using that website, that sometimes makes me feel like a creative failure at times, to find some cool project ideas. While many are from parents of younger Jedi warriors, we found some pretty good ones for the older crowd. All the party goers have been instructed to wear their best intergalactic gear on party day, and her aunt is making her costume. And my husband has a few surprises in store, too!

I’m looking forward to this party, even though it is a gateway to my daughter’s teen years. I hope her friends will enjoy it, and I hope my daughter remembers all the fun we had getting ready for The Big Ten celebration.

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

Pink Is For Everyone

As a Kindergarten teacher, my job and my students’ interests really made me aware of gender roles, biases, and stereotypes that children are blatantly and inadvertently exposed to from the minute they are born. I had boy scholars who liked pink and dressing up in a Dorothy/ Wizard of Oz dress in the house corner. And girl scholars who liked building with blocks and zooming cars in the car center.

 

We all fall victim to the pink/blue stereotype at one point or another in our lives. When we hear of an expectant mother, we get all giddy and bubbly, rushing out to buy pink clothes for girls, blue ones for boys. We decorate our kids’ rooms in sex-delineated colors or other gender conforming details like flowers or race cars or Disney princesses. It’s a big marketing scheme by Babies R Us and every other American family friendly company, because babies are naturally cuddly and lovely. Why wouldn’t we want all pastels and police cars to subliminally point out the ‘correct’ way to be a girtl or a boy, while our children are sleeping, living, and growing up in that bedroom?  But the question I pose is: why do we?

When I became pregnant, I purposely found out we were having a girl for several reasons. One, I really wanted to know right away. Two, we had a large extended family on both sides, and I just thought it would be easier for people to know what sex to buy for when making purchases. And three: it made it easier to decorate her bedroom. Which, by the way, we painted YELLOW… and did a farm theme. Not very girly, I know.

I am not a fancy Crate and Barrel “pink is for girls and blue is for boys” type of Mom. I’m more like a “pink and blue is for everyone” type of Mom. I’m the mom who tried early on to expose my daughter to all kinds of great things for both “boys” and “girls”. I didn’t want my daughter to be pegged as a “girl”, but rather as a person who accepts and enjoys all things, regardless if our society labels things for “boys” or “girls”. As far as I can see, it’s working. And I’m proud of that fact.

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Her favorite color is blue.

I sang Carole King and patriotic songs to my daughter as a baby. Her first book that she ever really loved on her own before she was even a year old was a Blues Clues book. She still loves the color blue to this day. We read books and sand songs every day. Stories like Big Blue Truck, Goodnight Moon, Peter Rabbit, and George and Martha were commonplace and enjoyed multiple times. As she got older, she loved the Greek Myths, and more recently, she enjoys Nancy Drew, Heidi Hecklebeck, and Judy Moody, and this summer, we are reading Harry Potter together.

As a toddler, she played with dinosaurs (given to us by her aunt who raised two boys) and blocks as well as baby dolls and all of their accessories. She still has a bazillion stuffed animals that she sleeps with at night, including her Layla and her taggy blanket , which she received in the early months of her life.

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A kitchen set I found at a tag sale. My daughter doesn’t want to part with this, even though she rarely plays with it anymore.

When she was in preschool, a co-worker of mine was getting rid of an old McDonald’s play stand, complete with an apron, a pretend headset, and food. She LOVED to dress up and take our orders, writing things down and fixing the trays of food. She played that game for years, and especially when family members came over! It was a joy to see her take control and transform into Diana or Melissa.  Her best friend at the time was a boy, and yet, she still enjoyed painting at the easel and dressing up in the house corner at school, which we typically think as “girl” activities. And her favorite television show at the time? Caillou, the one about the whiney bald boy who had to learn life lessons like sharing and being kind to friends. Yep. We sat through hours of that annoying show.

My husband would teach her “boy” things, like soccer and football. When she turned 8, we got her a basketball hoop that we put together after 4 hours of frustration. Her favorite outfits continue to be yoga pants and sneakers with a little sweat jacket for the winter and lined sport shorts and tank tops for the summer. She does like to get dolled up and have her nails done for special occasions or holidays, but she often sides with comfort instead of “looking pretty” for every day activities. I try to encourage wearing leggings and a cute skirt to school, or make requests to do her hair, longing for the days when she was younger and I could put her in cute little dresses and a hair clip, making her curls cascade on either side of her face. She refuses to be prettied up by me, adamant that a quick pony tail with not all the hair neatly combed in place is just fine. She is independent and confident in herself that she doesn’t need to showcase herself as ‘pretty’ every day to be happy. A clear defiant message both to me and the media, who finger point the way for women and girls to dress and make them selves up to look like Barbie dolls and not be comfortable in their own skin.

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Be gone, female stereotypes!

Her best friends are now girls, but even within the circle of her friends, she’s exposed to both ‘”boy” and “girl” themes. She takes dance and piano, but she also decided to play the saxophone at school this year, and she is the only girl in her grade level to do so. While many of her friends and even cousins were exposed to Star Wars years ago, she now LOVES it, and we are in the middle of planning an intergalactic 10th birthday party for her. It took a long time for my husband to convince her to watch it, since her favorite shows were and continue to be My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop, which are definitely geared towards a more feminine audience. To me, Star Wars seems like such a “boy” story, and yet, it has such universal themes for everyone. My own viewpoint about this classic story just shows how my own stereotypes have shaped my thinking, even though I try not to be stereotypical in what I expose my daughter to.  And I am glad that both my husband and I are giving her the best of both sexes in her development.

When we paint the stark canvas of “boy” and “girl” in front of our children to study and model from, they develop a very static mindset that closes them off to avenues of learning and enjoyment. One of her cousins was asking me the other day about birthday gift ideas my daughter. I told her Barbie furniture for the doll house she created out of a bookshelf in her room and Pokémon cards. “Wow! Such a variety!” she texted.13515302_10206797330707217_711877003_n

Yes, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

How do you teach your children to be a part of both sexes?

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

 

 

 

5 Ways To Be The Best Lyme Warrior You Can Be

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1. Documentation Is Your Saving Grace

When I first became ill, before even seeing anyone who really helped me, I started what I now jokingly call “My Lime Bible”.  It’s a green binder (I want to get a Lyme and tick photo to slip into the clear, plastic front cover….) that is sectioned off with pocket files, one for each doctor, specialist, dietician, or practitioner. I have a separate pocket for blood work results. I also have a pocket with general information about my health prior to my illness as well as monthly changes, positive or negative.

Additionally, I created a table in Word where I record daily my food and liquid intake, with measured amounts, as well as any reactions I had. I note exercise and daily supplements and amounts as well. I make hard copies of this to bring to appointments as needed. Sometimes this information changes, so it is important to note what date supplements were added or stopped as well as reactions that occurred.

I take a loose leaf notebook with me to every appointment, and put all my notes in the corresponding pocket. It’s impossible to remember every thing, so this is a quick way to help me and gives me a system to check back if I need to.

I keep a post it note with the name, address, and phone number of the specialist on the front of each pocket for easy reference as well. This was especially helpful for me when I had to go see a neurologist and was having difficulty reaching the office over the phone with the number they gave me. When they called me on a different line, I jotted that number down as well.

Little things like this help streamline my treatment and make it easier to share my complex history with new practitioners.

2. Know And Listen To Your Body

When you are struck with a chronic illness, your body has amazing ways to tell you when something is or isn’t good for you. Learn to listen to your body and respond. Back to back activities for me right now is a recipe for disaster, so I have learned to really pace what extra activities I can do.  I’ve come to realize my health is more imporant right now than being sure that I attend every family get togther.

If you feel tired, say not to family and friends.

Even if you anticipate being tired, say no to friends and family.

Leave from events early if you need to.

Eat and drink what and when you should to avoid getting more tired than necessary.

Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night; 10 hours is best.

3. Brain Fog Strategies

I was so distressed early on when I realized that my brain wasn’t functioning like normal. I was used to having a ‘ticker tape’ running in my head of things I needed to accomplish each day, especially on the weekends. Now, I realize that is just not a good option for me anymore.

Instead, I use little strategies to help me remember things:

Stay in one area of the house to complete a task before leaving the room. Many a lunch was left unfinished before I started doing this!

Use post-it notes for reminders like : switch the laundry or empty the dishwasher. Display them in a prominent place where they will likely be seen.

Tape invitations next to the calendar as well as write the information down on the corresponding date.

If your store offers this service, order groceries on-line and  have them delivered or picked up when scheduled. This both a time and energy saver for me. The store I use also saves my favorites and my last order, so I always go to those sections of the website first to see what I need before adding new items.  This helps me remember to order staples like milk or eggs, which I may have in my head to do, but oftentimes, I’ll forget, because I get sidetracked looking up other items.

Write due dates for  library books right on the calendar.

Focus and tackle one small cleaning job at a time if you feel up to it.  Starting two or three is too taxing on the memory and the body.

4. Food Can Be Your Best Friend Or Your Worst Enemy

Remember my Lyme Bible? Over time, I was able to see what foods caused what reactions in my body. It was so disheartening to me to find out that I was having issues with almost every part of the food pyramid: dairy, carbohydrates, fruits, nuts, and nightshade vegetables. But I’d never know this if I didn’t keep a food journal on the advice of my naturopath and dietician.

Just as an example, I was drinking lemon water for the longest time, thinking that it was a healthy way to detox my body. One day it dawned on me that lemon was a fruit, and that was probably why I was experiencing a light stinging sensation over my whole body! Sure enough, once I just switched to regular water, the stinging subsided. I felt even better once I started adding green tea into my diet.

Becoming a label reader was really important for me. I read many posts about Lyme warriors eating gluten-free processed products because they are staying away from wheat, and I cringe inside. Gluten-free doesn’t mean sugar-free. In fact, if you start to read and compare labels, you will see that many gluten-free products have just as much sugar as regular wheat produced products! You are just feeding your little Lyme friends by eating gluten-free processed food products like breads, cereals, and crackers.

A few guidelines that have helped me:

Stick to eating whole foods, not packaged or processed foods.

Cook in olive oil.

Drink only water or tea that you brew.   I drink 40 oz of water and/or green tea per meal, and another 10-16 oz in between meals to total close to 100 oz or more of fluids a day. The green tea seems to help me greatly with inflammation.

Eat at least 4 – 6 oz of protein for each large meal to help sustain cravings and maintain energy levels. I typically eat 5-8 oz of protein.

Use supplements that are made out of whole foods and not synthetic compounds. Talk to an experienced holistic practitioner or naturopath about the important difference between the two.

 

5. Reach out and Touch Somebody’s Hand

The best information I received about how to heal wasn’t from anyone with an MD after his or her name, it was from people who went through Lyme, are going through it, or know someone with Lyme. Also, natural practitioners and a dietician helped me greatly. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. There is so much information out there, you need to work smarter, not harder, when you have Lyme.

Ask friends and family whom they recommend for a naturopath, holistic practitioner, dietician, or LLMD.

Research all natural cleaning products, shampoos, and body cleansers, toothpastes, etc.  to find ways to limit more outside toxins entering into your body.    Some companies will send you free samples to try if you ask! Dr. Bronner’s sent me free many free samples of their products, and I’ve discovered what compounds from their line my skin can tolerate as well as which ones aren’t safe for me.

Keep in touch with family, friends, and co-workers either on the phone or by email. These little connections can help you to keep a positive attitude even on a bad day.

Send cards to friends and family via snail mail.  It’s nice to receive letters from people, and it’s equally as nice to send them out, too!

 

And never stop learning. Your health depends on it.

From Shirts and Toothbrushes To Books and Bikes

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When my daughter Sophia was a baby, sometimes I would give her a shirt of mine that I had worn to sleep with at night. I had heard that the scent left on the shirt gives the infant comfort. She’s 9 ½ now, and bedtime has been more of a challenge with her since I’ve been home with Lyme. She’s been clingier at night, wanting me to lie in bed with her for a bit most nights. Some nights, I oblige. Other nights, I firmly say no. Last night, my husband went up with her to read at bedtime. I always check on her before I go to bed, and I couldn’t help but smile and give her a few kisses when I found her sleeping with one of my long-sleeved shirts on over her summer pajamas.

As a teacher and a Mom, I am all about teaching independence when it’s clearly manageable on the child’s end. When Sophia was about 3, we worked on brushing her imgres-1teeth by herself. I would stand next to her as she brushed, and store her brush and paste in a different cup from my husband’s and mine. I was trying to make it easy for her to manage her things on her on her own. But I would always find all of our brushes together in the same cup. I have an adorable picture that she drew of us when she was that age, and I have it framed and hanging in our kitchen. Each of us is smiling in a window a house. Even though the windows separate us, we are clearly happy together. Much like that picture, we were always together, so why would it be any different for our toothbrushes?

Togetherness seems to be Sophia’s internal theme, whereas I am always trying to allow her to be her own separate person. I was never a co-sleeping type of parent. I firmly believed a baby should learn sleep in their own crib, in their own bedroom, starting from the first night at home. I was, and still am, a light sleeper. The first night in the hospital after Sophia was born, she had to sleep my room because the nursery was full. She slept very well. I, however, did not. I heard every little gurgle, sigh, and hiccup she made that night. The next night, she slept in the nursery. It was a much more restful night for me.

When she was about 3, she would start to ask if she could “sleep over” in my bed. Once in a while on a weekend, I’d let her “sleep over”. Again, it was not a restful night for me because she’d take over the bed. But, she slept very well and enjoyed these nights. Even at age 9 ½, she still asks to have a “sleep over”, and occasionally, if I’m not too much in need of a restful nights’ sleep, I oblige.

imgres-2One of my favorite times with her when she was little was when I would read to her at night. It started the first night in the hospital, and it has continued in our home ever since. When she was in first and second grade and other parents were praising how well their kid read by themselves, my daughter still loved to be read to a night. And that was fine by me. Over the years in her reading life, we’d take turns reading and listening to each other, our kitty Max bounding up the stairs and making himself comfortable on the bed to listen to the story, too.   More recently with my Lyme, she’s been doing more of the reading, and I have been doing more of the listening. Even when I am so tired, I will make my way upstairs to her bedroom. After rearranging her 4 blankets, 3 pillows, 1 oversized duck and her 6 stuffed animals, we snuggle down together in her twin bed, and she reads to me for a time, her body resting against mine, her head cradled in my arm just like when she was the listener and I was the reader.

Since the time she was born, we have taken numerous trips around the neighborhood with me guiding her towards independence. From me pushing her in the carriage to pulling her in the wagon to following next to her on her tricycle and then her big girl bike, then riding our bikes together, and last year, me walking while she navigated the sidewalks on her roller blades, she and I have travelled many miles together.imgres

This afternoon, she went on a bike ride with a neighborhood mom and her child. I haven’t even pulled my bike out yet to ride with her because I am unsure of how long I’d be able to keep up. Before dinner, I asked her to put her bike away. I would guess that most kids would just quickly throw their bike in the garage when asked, not really paying attention to how or where it was placed.

When I went to shut the garage door later on tonight, I paused when I noticed she had parked her bike next to mine. From shirts and toothbrushes to books and bikes, my daughter is still showing me ways that we connect together.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Yours in Lyme Adventures,

TWL

Bike, Goodnight Moon, and toothbrush graphics from Google images