Mr.Frog – A Playground Story

Across the playground you hear a young child crying as his teacher panics yelling, “Ugh–he is so dirty, put him down!” knocking the frog out of the child’s hand. She then picks the toddler up as he screams “My frog! My frog!” She puts the boy down and walks away with the child in tow. You hear her explaining how dirty that frog was and how he shouldn’t touch it.

Sobbing with boogers dripping down his face, he screams louder about his frog friend. He becomes inconsolable. He is flailing his arms in anger. Nothing she can do now can stop the temper tantrum. The damage is already done.

At this moment, I wish I had an imaginary teacher helper that could run around and say “No, no, no, try it this way!” This insane moment that was created by an overreaction is so unnecessary. The teacher, the child, and anyone else in the class now have to feel the stress created by the teacher’s reaction to poor Mr.Frog’s visit.

  • Remi and Frog

The skills needed by a teacher, caregiver, babysitter and a mother/father are all the same in these moments. Patience, love and IMAGINATION.

Skill #1 Love: How would I feel if …

If I was holding a frog in my hand and someone tore it from me, how would I react? I would throw an adult temper tantrum. I would feel unloved.  I would demand to know who has the right to grab my frog from me, and cry just like the child! Okay so maybe I wouldn’t cry, but I would certainly question anyone who treated me this way.

We should only react so abruptly to children when there is an emergency scenario. Emergency scenarios do not count picking up a frog or a ladybug! (Step #4 will address the safety issue of frogs)

Children need to be viewed as little future adults and deserve kindness and respect at all times.

Skill #2 PATIENCE:  Remember what it was like to be a child…

A young child is not going to want to hand you their new friend.  They will run from you, hide from you, maybe even stick the frog in their pocket for it’s safety!

Stay patient and remember to laugh.  Young children are developing their own survival skills and yelling at them about a frog will cause fear, not compliance.

Sit with the child and pet the frog too.  Tell the children as they gather around how this frog needs to go home to its mommy.  Stay calm, loving and patient.

Skill #3 IMAGINATION: Join the child’s world…

Get on the child’s level. Remember what it is like to be young and excited about something you’ve never been able to hold before. Join the child in their adventure. Be as excited as they are and save the frog–with their help!

“Johnny, that frog is amazing. How did you capture him? You must be a super hero to that frog. Come on everyone, let’s save Johnny’s frog and get him back to his mommy!”

Even a 2 year old will be excited to help. Slowly walk the child and frog to the fence line and say goodbye together. Release Mr. Frog and wave goodbye.

Suggest that maybe the frog will be in the classroom and go for a Frog Hunt! Hop around like frogs on lily pads! If the child still throws a fit, then at least the child crying won’t be a stress and distraction to the fun the rest of the children are having!

But wait, can’t frogs be dangerous?

OK, sure, some say that contact with frogs can cause an infection because they may carry salmonella bacteria. Still, this is not a reason to freak out. After touching a frog, you should simply wash your hands with soap and water immediately. Don’t eat or touch food before washing your hands. Frog juice is not tasty anyway.

After the Frog Hunt or lily pad jumping session, warn young children not to touch any frogs or other living creatures without calling for an adult first and keep an eye out for any sneaky frogs that have made it into the classroom or home!

Costa Rican Frog


Pets from Santa Clause: Naughty or Nice choice?

It’s that time of the year again.  The Christmas lists are being written, stuffed into envelopes and mailed to Santa. Parents glance over the lists before mailing them to 1 Reindeer Lane, The North Pole. The children gleam in excitement as they await their new kitty, a puppy or a horse!

Santa Clause holds your child on his lap and looks at you anxiously as he reads this amazing list. He looks for a sign on whether or not the live animal entering your home is the best idea! You shake your head NO profusely, praying Santa understands or give the wink of approval for the beloved new animal!

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Holiday houses: Which style will you choose?

Decorating season is in full swing. We have the ladders, hammers, nails, decorations, lights,extension cords, and plugs all ready for the big unveiling of our homes. It’s that time of year again, to truly show your personality through the outside decorating of your yard. Will you be elegant and fancy, fun and creative, tacky or lazy?

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Note from your preschool teacher.

Dear Parent,

I love your child.  We have a blast playing every day. He/She laughs at the simplest of acts.  You know that laugh, the one where you can feel their inner adult coming out.  I often spend time trying to hear that sound come out of your child.

Laughter is the main idea I have in my preschool program!  We use our imagination to run around and act like monkeys or zebras, we fly in pretend spaceships, we caught an alien, all while learning real life.

Sometimes your child struggles.  They all do.  I am always going to tell you where your child struggles because, I am the first hope of helping your child become amazing in school.  You got this at home, I promise to be here in school.

Sometimes your child is going to get picked on or pick on another child or even BITE.  NO your child isn’t bad.  They are figuring out their way, at this time in life.  I will never judge your child. I will redirect them and help with making better choices, just like you would on the playground.

I will always tell you when he/she has decided peanut butter and jelly is gross.  I won’t force your child to eat.  They dont starve if they don’t like your lunch.  Would you want to eat a mushy sandwich happily? Me neither.  I wish I could share my own but state laws so NO!  I’m sorry.  I’ll teach them to share in other ways.

I am going to hug your children when they fall, scrape their knee, or their feelings are hurt.  Sometimes just one hug can make the difference.  I will also give a band aid even if there is no wound to show for the pain.  It’s just a band aid and sometimes its worth giving one up.

I am not just the teacher of your child.  I am your friend, your eyes when you can’t be there, and the other person showing your child real life and dedication.

I am here for your child and I will teach your child to be there for all other children.  I am teaching them this lesson along the side of you, the parent.

Thank you for being a great parent and raising an adorable child.



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Got Fall Depression? 10 Ways to enjoy your holiday!

Holidays are upon us, families are getting together, celebrations are all around us, friends are flying in from other states, holiday cards come to your mailbox. People are putting their best foot forward and singing carols to older folks. Happy children are all around us, chasing the Elf on the Shelf and writing Santa letters, begging for their current entire year’s bad behavior to be dismissed! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

If all of these amazing things are surrounding us, then “Why do people have higher levels of depression during this time of year?”

To read how the 10 ways please go to my Union Times Article!

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Party time is here: How to “clean” your home in 30 minutes.

The party is at your house this year. Your entire family is coming over, new friends from work, and the 5th grade chorus.

Maybe you are excited, maybe you are not! Either way it’s the day before the big event and the last thing to do is…clean your ENTIRE house from top to bottom. Just to be clear, we clean our home so people can trample through it and we can clean it again tomorrow. Yes this is what we do.

Since we will continue to make this choice, let’s identify that there are 3 levels of cleanliness in a home.

Click on my Union Times Post to read  how to clean your home in 30 minutes!


My journey to capture life…..

Every story, moment, feeling, emotion, is able to be captured.  People have amazing records of  history through art, photographs and writing. Everyone has their own version of the memories.  They become the stories that we tell, folk lore that we have learned, and the history passed down from generation to generation, changing and growing as they evolve and finally reach our children and their children’s children.

Throughout my life,  I have always photographed as many moments that I could.  I have photographs from when I was in 6th grade, dancing with my friends, 7th grade at field hockey practice, 8th grades dinner dance, and so on throughout high school, into college, and the camera never stopped after that.  Moment after moment captured inside of a frame.  History recorded and documented through the photographs, through my eyes.  Mind you, they aren’t the best photos, with my 35mm, yellow, under water camera, that my mother said “I don’t care if you break this one.”   I would gladly take that camera with the hope that I could capture the story of my life.

My life long journey of  photographs are all stored now in albums, boxes, canvas’s, on the walls in frames, on social media, and so on.  They sit near my parents stories and their parents and so on. They are browsed through periodically and I feel all of the emotion from the day they were taken. Newer memories don’t even make it off of my hard drive.

Some photos are just memories of people who no longer exist in this world.  Photos of people I miss and I wish they were still with us.  Sometimes I long for our friendships, as they were, when we were younger.  I no longer long for this because I feel sad.  I gladly embrace the photographs (the memories) and I am amazed to have them all. However, I can’t help to allow moments of wanting to reach back in and be that person, if even for a second.   I long to feel that moment and the power of just being there again.  The thought of embracing someone who I can no longer, sinks in, as I reach back into these images. DMW_4338.JPG

I have contemplated the idea of creating a wall of frameless collaged photographs, however the fear of ruining all the photos holds me back! I often find that I want to hold onto the memories more than I should.  I can remember details when I look at the likeness.  The distinct smells around me, the feeling I had at the moment, the laughter or lack their of, in the captured story.  I can remember conversations and all that was around me.  It’s as if, just a photograph, can bring that life back to me.

My photography has led me to my career.  A successful career of photographing others, capturing their lives and their happiness.  I spent years loving that I was a part of someone else’s memory, if even for a moment.  I love that there are walls around the globe with photos that I have taken.  Friendships that I have created by just being on a beach in the Dominican Republican and emailing a photograph to a stranger because, I captured their memory.

Their have been moments in my life that I chose to not hold my camera in my hand.  I have just recently (6 months ago) completely stepped out of that pain.  I gave up on wanting to capture many moments when I sat through a divorce, the death of my mother, the loss of my home, the turmoil of my family, and I lived a disconnect from that life.  I forced myself to photograph happy family’s because it was my job and yet it killed me internally for about a year.  With the holidays in full swing,  I long for my mother and wish things were the same, if even just for one more photograph.

I am now back to my old ways, capturing moments as they come to me.  I am free to recreate memories and make sure that the future knows the people from their past.  I embrace that my children will remember their stories, even if it brings a pang of ache, for a moment. I photograph our family as it is now…

My journey to capture life continues, I will be remembered for the portraits I have taken and I will grow, even if I cry a tear or two when I look at my walls.