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February 2021

Pandemic Romance Sustain relationships

Little Yogis Upbeat activities

Puppy Love Teens & dating

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February 2021

Every Issue 6

Dear Reader


Cooking with Kids Bourbon Chicken

10 Features 10 Love in the Time of COVID Tips for keeping your relationship healthy.

12 Puppy Love How to coach a teen through dating.

14 Mo’ Metta Learn a family lovingkindness practice.

16 Little Yogis


Activities to help children stay positive.

18 Fibs & Fabrications


Bits and Pieces Dance to African Rhythms


Rosa Parks in Retrospect Funnel-Cake Fun LGBQT Teens Create Community Charlie Brown in Love DIY Sweets for Sweethearts Pick a Preschool

22 Calendar of Events Lambs & Little Ones

26 Humor Break The Tooth Fairy Went AWOL


What to do when kids lie.

20 Tot’s Tooth Care How to find a great pediatric dentist.

4 MendoLakeFamilyLife

February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Cutest Kids & Pets Contest JUST UPLOAD A PICTURE


with Dennis Urbiztondo Photography (Family Life Cover Photographer)


Dear Reader


ince Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, we’ve dedicated this issue to love. We all could use a little kindness right now during these difficult Sharon Gowan Publisher/Editor times. ZenCare’s Sharon@family-life.us “Love in the Time of COVID” (page 10) says that, for couples especially, it’s important to be as nice to each other as possible, to thank our sweethearts for little things—making a cup of tea or washing the dishes—and to let the compliments flow freely. Read the article for more advice on keeping relationships healthy and strong. How about teen relationships? Well, when it comes to their kids dating, most parents would rather turn a blind eye. But, according to the recent Washington Post article “Teen Romance in the Age of COVID,” unstructured days seem to have made adolescents more likely to explore

romantic relationships. So it’s a good time to turn to “Puppy Love” (page 12) and find out how to guide your teens through the ups and downs of dating. Of course, romance isn’t the only kind of love. Consider compassion and a sense of positive regard for self and others, too. “Mo’ Metta” (page 14) explains how to cultivate both with a simple lovingkindness practice that even kids can do. Meanwhile, Crystal N. McCreary, author of the Little Yogi Deck, offers simple exercises like the Hugging Breath to help kids stay upbeat. Turn to “Little Yogis” (page 16) to learn more. So here’s to love in all its forms. We know it’s the magic stuff that not only bonds couples and families, but also communities. Of the latter, we are so very thankful to be a part. Happy Valentine’s Day!


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February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Cooking with Kids

Bourbon Chicken Make Dinner in a Jiffy

By Momma Chef


rowing up, one of my favorite meals to pick up at the mall food court was delicious bourbon chicken. In fact, my brother and I used to go weekly to the mall just to eat it. You can imagine how devastated we were when the restaurant closed, and we could no longer find our favorite dish. After trying several times to replicate the recipe, I finally came up with a very similar one. And it’s super easy. Probably for nostalgic reasons, of the recipes I have created, it is one of my favorites. ¶ This article originally appeared on MommaChef.com. It has been reprinted here with permission. Karen Nochimowski, aka Momma Chef, is a mother of three active boys (ages 12, 8, and 5). On her blog, MommaChef.com, find more of her recipes, all of which require no more than six ingredients and six minutes of prep time.


Delicious and Easy Bourbon Chicken Ingredients • ¼ cup bourbon • 1/3 cup soy sauce • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar • 1 teaspoon ground ginger • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 2-inch cubes Instructions 1. Pour bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, and ground ginger into a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and shake all ingredients to mix. 2. Add chicken cubes, seal the bag again, and shake one more time to coat the chicken.

3. Marinate several hours or overnight. 4. When ready to cook, heat up wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour all ingredients in Ziploc bag into wok/ pan. Stir-fry over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, mixing until the sauce is thick and coats the chicken. 5. Alternatively, you can make this in a Crock-Pot, just pour all ingredients from the Ziploc bag into a Crock-Pot and cook on high for 3 hours. Serves: 6

Tips 1. I like to serve this with Trader Joe’s brown rice. 2. If you are purchasing your chicken at a butcher or meat department, ask them to cut it into 2-inch cubes. 3. If you prefer white meat, you can use it instead of cubed chicken breasts.

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MendoLakeFamilyLife 7

Bits & Pieces

Dance to African Rhythms


Tatiana Zamir

ith so many of us forced to stay at home, the temptation to become couch potatoes is pretty high. The online Afro-Joy Dance Party aims to offer a remedy: dancing together. At the follow-along class, performing artist and movement instructor Tatiana Zamir will teach participants to move to Afro-diasporic music. The one-hour event, which is for all levels of experience, happens on February 18 at 6:30 p.m. It’s free, but participants still need to register via Eventbrite: tinyurl.com/y3ucuxz7. ¶

LGBQT Teens Create Community

Rosa Parks in Retrospect


osa Parks is a Civil Rights icon. But there is more to her history than just the fateful day she refused to sit in the back of the bus. Find out about her life at the online historical re-enactment Rosa Parks: We Shall Overcome, starring professional storyteller Janice Curtis Greene. The free performance will be held on February 5 at 4 p.m. PST. Register on Eventbrite: tinyurl.com/ y45uqnue to get the link. ¶


Janice Curtis Greene as Rosa Parks

t can be challenging for LGBQT teens to feel a sense of belonging, especially during a pandemic. The Virtual Pride Club for Teens aims to make meeting friends and allies easier. The club, for ages 13–18, is sponsored by the Sonoma County Library and is held on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. Email teenpride@sonomalibrary.org to register. ¶

Funnel-Cake Fun


iding carnival rides and milling about in big crowds are big no-nos in a pandemic. But that doesn’t mean the Cloverdale Citrus Fair is throwing in the towel. Organizers of the annual event have figured out how to celebrate community anyway, with virtual exhibits and fun food. Customers can satisfy their cravings for funnel cakes, gyros, and kettle corn at the Drive-Thru Fair Food Frenzy and then drive around the fairgrounds to see floats and other displays. There also will be virtual exhibits and contests, including a community talent show and diaper derby. The Fair Food Frenzy will be held February 12–14, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Find out more at cloverdalecitrusfair.org/citrus-fair. ¶ 8 MendoLakeFamilyLife

February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Charlie Brown in Love


noopy and Lucy, Sally and Linus, Charlie Brown and the Little Red-Haired Girl—Peanuts has delivered some real romantic comedy over the years. Learn how to draw the star players at the Charles M. Schulz Museum’s How to Draw Peanuts: Valentine’s Day Edition online drawing class. Robert Pope, a veteran cartoonist who has contributed to many new Peanuts comic books, will teach this interactive class. The event will be held on February 11, 4–5 p.m., via Zoom and costs $10–$15. Register at schulzmuseum.org/calendar. ¶

DIY Sweets for Sweethearts


ake Valentine’s Day kid-friendly with a family baking project. Bake It Up by Lorena offers free Facebook Live and Instagram Live cooking classes. On February 7, she’ll be featuring easy Valentine’s Chocolate Donuts. And on V-Day itself, February 14, she will teach her cyber culinary students how to make a lava cake. The classes will be held at 11 a.m. Sign up for free to get the recipes. Donut class: eventbrite. com/e/136058630025. Lava cake class: tinyurl.com/y4l9fyjv. Find out more details at facebook.com/bakeitupbylorena or on Instagram at bakeitup_toronto. ¶

Pick a Preschool


ow and where to educate ones child is a biggie on the parenting to-do list. And the deliberations start with preschool. The free online course Choosing the Right Preschool is crafted to help moms and dads make the best decisions. Parents will learn about various options available to them and how to navigate health and safety concerns, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will be held on February 2 at 7 p.m. and is for parents only. It’s free but participants must register by 3 p.m. on the day of the event via Eventbrite: tinyurl.com/y34xaqdc. ¶


February 2021

MendoLakeFamilyLife 9

questioning their validity. Plus, as renowned relationship therapist Esther Perel points out, you can use these differences to balance your perspectives instead of exacerbating tensions. 2. Keep communication open and ongoing. As scary as the pandemic situation is, it’s important to air your worries and fears. While your partner can’t be

Love in the Time of COVID How to Sustain Your Relationship


ere are five morsels of advice for tending to your relationship and keeping it healthy.

1. Understand how your partner responds to stress... and how you do, too. It’s often easy to assume everyone reacts to high-level stress in the same way we do. But you and your partner might actually have different coping mechanisms to mitigate pandemic-related triggers—and if those responses are vastly different, your actions stand to baffle each other unless you openly explain them. For example, you might prefer to stay on top of breaking news updates, 10 MendoLakeFamilyLife

while your partner only weathers the larger updates as they come. Whereas you’d prefer to spend 30 minutes of quiet time in the morning drinking your coffee and getting up to speed on the news, your partner starts their day with funny videos or silent meditation. Neither of your responses is the “right” one; they are simply your respective ways of getting through the situation. Being aware of what you both need to process stress can help you learn to grant each other the space and respect to honor those needs, without

Consider working with a counselor to help you get through this chaotic time. your sole source of support, they can provide solace about things that are concerning you. If you and your partner don’t have the vocabulary for this type of open communication (or even if you do, but these trying times have rendered your emotional roadmap irrelevant), you can set the stage for mutual support by asking each other open-ended questions, like: • What are you feeling today? • How has this day been for you? How about the week overall? • Is there anything I can do to be a better partner or source of support for you today? One exercise from couples counseling, called uninterrupted listening, can help you deepen this type of communication. Set a timer for 3–5 minutes when you are able to talk freely about absolutely any stressor(s) on your mind. It could be work, your health, the health of your loved ones, your future, etc. Your partner can

February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

respond with non-verbal cues, but they can’t chime in until the timer ends. Then switch, and take your turn as the listener. Working on building this communication may help establish what preeminent relationship psychologist Sue Johnson refers to as a “secure bond.” Such an attachment is formed with someone when we know they are emotionally responsive, and that they feel for and with us. It doesn’t mean that they’ll protect us, necessarily, or that they’ll do the labor of problem-solving for us. Rather, it means they’ll face our problems with us (not for us). 3. If you feel an argument coming on, pause—and plan to revisit it when you’ve both cooled down. The upheaval in routine and living conditions can leave us feeling unsettled, and may trigger more arguments than we’d normally have. If you feel a spat or full-blown argument coming on, plan to touch base again in at least half an hour and no longer than 24 hours later. Go for a walk alone in the meantime, engage in a breathing exercise, practice self-compassion, or call a friend to check in. Revisit the argument when you’ve both had the time and (mental) space to cool down. Above all else, avoid unleashing unfiltered criticism on your partner; along with contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling, such behavior is considered by esteemed relationship psychologists John and Julie Gottman to be one of the “four horsemen” of the apocalypse for romantic relationships. www.mendolakefamilylife.com

4. Go overboard with compliments and appreciation. In these times of absolute tumult, many of us are craving kindness and comfort. The little niceties matter more than ever—meaning your small notes of appreciation will go extra far in keeping your relationship strong. Be sure to thank your partner for the little things, like boiling water for your tea, making the bed, giving you an extended hug, or putting away the dishes. 5. Consider starting couples counseling. The global pandemic has triggered distress and disconnect for countless individuals and couples. If you’re finding yourselves fighting more, seeing eye-to-eye less, or just generally experiencing a surge in tension, consider working with a counselor to help you get through this chaotic time. Most counselors have begun offering online services, so you can get help now while having the option of switching to in-person sessions when the shelter-in-place ends. Reprinted with permission from ZenCare, zencare.co.

Looking for Local Help? To find an area mental health care provider, go to the website of the Redwood Empire Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (recamft.org) and click on Find a Therapist in the top banner. A limited number of therapists listed on the site are offering 3–5 free sessions for those in crisis during the pandemic. Find these providers at recamft.org/ page-1861338. Also find local therapists on PsychologyToday.com. February 2021


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Lisa Tiano, “they’ll tune you out, or give you the occasional eye roll, waiting for the lecture to be done and over with.” Tell them what good relationships are like. Middle school counselor Phyllis Fagell suggests that parents discuss relationship characteristics, such as dependability, empathy, generosity, kindness, and considering someone

Puppy Love How to Help Teens With Dating By Tanni Haas


arents are not generally comfortable with the idea that their teens may be dating, but it’s a fact of life that we all need to acknowledge and accept. As behavioral psychologist Shane Owens says, “Dating is a rite of passage for kids—and for their parents.” What should parents do and say if their teens reveal that they’ve started dating? Here’s what the experts suggest.

Listen carefully; don’t lecture. You should feel flattered if your teens tell you that they’re dating. It’s a sign that they trust you and are excited to share the news with you. “Kids don’t confide in their parents as much as they get older,” says Rachel Ehmke of the Child Mind Institute (childmind.org), “so when kids do feel like talking, really make an effort to be available and listen.” 12 MendoLakeFamilyLife

Fight the temptation to minimize the relationship or make it bigger than it really is. Listen carefully to what they say and try to react in a non-judgmental way. Avoid lecturing them because if you do, says clinical psychologist

Listen carefully to what they say and try to react in a non-judgmental way. else’s perspective. Fagell adds that parents also can recount their own experiences: “Talk about how you fell in love with your partner. What qualities did you admire?” Teach them how to solve conflicts. Explain to your teens that conflicts are inevitable, even in the best relationships. Encourage them to deal with conflicts instead of ignoring them. Make your teens understand, Ehmke says, that “it’s much better to admit when something is wrong, talk about it together, and try to fix it together.” It will prepare them well for what it’s like to be in a mature, adult relationship in the future. Clinical psychologist Jose Delerme adds that parents should teach their teens that arguments aren’t about winning or losing: “Shift the idea of control to compromise, because no relationship should be one-sided.” Encourage them to keep their own friends and interests. Remind your teens how important

February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

mendo lake it is for them to have interests that are separate from those of their romantic partners. Delerme says that parents should tell their teens that “relationships should complement your life—not define it.” Also encourage them not to ditch their regular friends just because they’re in a relationship. Explain to them, Ehmke says, that “no one wants a friend who will throw her over for someone else, and [that] you still need a social life outside your boyfriend or girlfriend.”

Discuss relationship characteristics, such as dependability, empathy, and generosity. Give them a sense of perspective. Anyone who’s been in love knows that the feeling can be all-consuming. Your teens may feel that a current partner, especially if it’s the first one, will be a one and only ever-lasting love. As parents, we know better but should fight the temptation to minimize the relationship or make it bigger than it really is. Well-known lifestyle writer Dina Cheney puts it well: “When your child reveals a crush for the first time, it’s easy to accidentally make fun of it, but you should resist the urge to trivialize things.” But, she says, parents shouldn’t aggrandize it either: “Asking your son or daughter if they’re going to marry the person, for example, would apply too much pressure.” ¶ Tanni Haas, PhD, is a college communications professor.


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nor dislike. Direct the thoughts to that person. 4. Next, direct the thoughts to someone you don’t like or someone with whom you are having a difficult time dealing. 5. Finally, direct the metta toward everyone in the world: May all beings everywhere be happy.

Mo’ Metta Teach Children Lovingkindness Meditation By Sandi Schwartz


e must love ourselves before we can love others and offer kindness to the world around us. This month is all about love. So why not learn a practice that will help us to better love others and ourselves. I’m referring to lovingkindness meditation, a practice so simple we can even share it with our children.

Understanding the Practice Also called metta or compassion meditation, lovingkindness meditation is one of the most commonly practiced types of meditations out there. Quite simply, it is the practice of directing positive thoughts and well wishes to others and ourselves. It may seem odd at first, but you can easily learn it. As you sit comfortably with your eyes closed, imagine what you wish for your life. The four phrases that you either say out loud or think silently during the practice are typically:

14 MendoLakeFamilyLife

May I/you be safe. May I/you be healthy and strong. May I/you be happy. May I/you be peaceful and at ease. You repeat these wishes, directing them first to yourself and then toward different people in your life, as follows: 1. Start by directing the phrases to yourself. 2. Next, direct the metta toward someone you feel thankful for or who has helped you. 3. Now visualize someone you feel neutral about—people you neither like

Benefits of Lovingkindness Meditation Practicing lovingkindness meditation ultimately changes how we relate to others and ourselves; we start to feel less isolated and more connected. According to meditation expert and author Sharon Salzberg, “When we practice it, we

Children can develop a sense of power as they gain self-love and compassion for others. acknowledge that every one of us shares the same wish to be happy, and the same vulnerability to change and suffering. We can shift the way we view ourselves and others—with kindness instead of criticism.” Scientific research shows how lovingkindness meditation leads to positive changes in the brain. Just as performing acts of kindness gives us a natural high, sitting and practicing this meditation can cause the same changes in our bodies and minds. Lovingkindness meditation brings so many amazing benefits to our lives. It: • reduces stress and anxiety; • lifts our mood and produces more positive emotions; • increases feelings of hope;

February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

• decreases physical and emotional pain; • reduces anger; • increases positive social emotions towards new people as well as loved ones;

in their lives. Don’t be afraid to get creative and ask your children to come up with their own loving thoughts. They can also send their wishes to favorite objects, such as a pet, television or book character, toy, or stuffed animal. You can also go


September 2020

• activates empathy; • improves social connection; • increases self-love and how we feel about ourselves How to Share This Practice With Children After learning about all the benefits, don’t you just want to share some lovingkindness with your kids right now? This type of meditation allows children to get in touch with their feelings. It can help guide them to send positive and healing energy to people and children in other places—even those who have hurt them, like a bully at school. Children can develop a sense of power as they gain self-love and compassion for others. The practice is special since it goes beyond cultural barriers, economic situations, educational backgrounds, and geographic locations. It is also very simple and does not require any equipment. We can teach our children about lovingkindness by helping them send the four wishes to different people

Scientific research shows how lovingkindness meditation leads to positive changes in the brain. through the wishes by saying them to each other. One mother explained how she incorporated lovingkindness meditation into their family’s bedtime routine. She says “may you be happy” and then the children repeat it back to her. They go through this process a few times, repeating the different phrases. This month is the perfect time to teach your children how to spread love through lovingkindness meditation. It is also a tool that they can take with them throughout the year, helping them to feel happier, calmer, healthier, and better connected to others. Sandi Schwartz is a freelance writer/ blogger and mother of two. Find her at happysciencemom.com.

A Kid-Meditator’s Bookshelf Audrey’s Journey: Loving Kindness by Kerry Alison Wekelo (Zendoway, 2016) Loving-Kindness Meditation by Sami Jo (CreateSpace, 2016)

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Little Yogis Keep Kids Positive

Editor’s note: We live in trying times and the Little Yogi Deck, by Crystal N. McCreary with illustrations by Andrea Pippins (Bala Kids, 2021), is an imaginative way to teach children of all ages how to calm emotions, balance their bodies, and focus their minds with mindfulness and yoga. The deck features 48 cards, which are organized into eight color-coded categories: anger, worry, excitement, sadness, joy, jealousy, shame, and peace. Each card gives kids a specific practice to help them manage a particular emotion. To offer additional support to parents, teachers, and caregivers, the deck includes a booklet that explains how the practices help children develop emotional intelligence.

Cards excerpted from the Little Yogi Deck: Simple Yoga Practices to Help Kids Move through Big Emotions by Crystal N. McCreary and illustrated by Andrea Pippins © 2021 Reprinted in arrangement with Bala Kids, a children’s imprint of Shambala, www.shambhala.com/bala-kids. Crystal McCreary is a yoga, mindfulness, and health educator, actor, speaker, and writer. Find her on Instagram @cmccrearyyoga.

16 MendoLakeFamilyLife

February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

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Registration Opens January 5

Register Online at www.uusd.net If you have questions, need assistance with registration, or access to a computer and printer, contact your school’s office. Calpella Elementary 151 Moore Street 472-5630

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Grace Hudson Elementary 251 Jefferson Lane 472-5460

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Deadline for Grace Hudson Kindergarten registration: February 19, 2021 Deadline for registration at your elementary school of choice: March 26, 2021 Children age 5 by September 1, 2021, will enroll in Kindergarten. Children turning 5 between September 2 and December 2, 2021, will enroll in our Transitional Kindergarten Program.

choked on a plastic straw, requiring hospitalization. Another routinely insisted that her mother was picking her up at noon, even if she was staying at preschool for the afternoon. These children were learning to lie, or as my friend puts it, learning to use their lies to their own advantage. “If I insist that I’m leaving at noon, will that make it true?” wonders the young child. “How exciting would it be if my dad got to ride in an ambulance?” the other may have thought. Through this type of

Fibs & Fabrications M

How to Guide Your Child Toward Honesty

By Jill Morgenstern

y youngest daughter has recently become reliable about brushing her teeth. I can tell, because the sink is now filled with gobs of toothpaste when she claims to have brushed. Before this development, her routine was to pretend to brush her teeth, only for me to find a dry sink and a dry toothbrush. How she went from someone determined to pull one over on her unsuspecting parents to someone who now brushes so enthusiastically that the sink suffers from her efforts was partially a matter of awaiting her maturity. But as parents we want to do more than just wait and hope. There are steps that we can take to drastically reduce lying and guide children towards honesty.

Experts believe that children learn to lie at about age four, but one of my best friends disagrees. “Children are born learning how to lie,” she insists. “They just don’t learn to use it to their 18 MendoLakeFamilyLife

advantage until age four.” And it’s true that as a preschool teacher I have heard fantastic yarns spun by those even under the age of four. One little girl convinced me that her father had

Children will learn from you, whether you want them to or not. experimentation, children eventually learn the difference between fact and fantasy, lying and telling the truth. How can we best guide children to tell the truth, particularly to us, their parents? Here are some suggestions: Don’t put them in the position to lie in the first place. This is important especially as they get older and a lie would compound or complicate the situation at hand. If you are already fairly certain your child has committed an offending behavior, explain your thinking rather than ask what he or she did. For example, rather than asking, “Did you hit Geoffrey?” you can say something along the lines of, “I heard that you really wanted that toy and Geoffrey is crying. I think you got mad at him and hit him.” Saying, “I see cookie crumbs on the table and it makes me think you took a cookie even though I told you not to” rather than, “Did you take a cookie after I said not to?” will help your child not to be tempted to lie.

February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Talk often about the difference between lying and telling a story. Preschool age children in particular don’t always realize the difference between fact and fiction. Point out the differences. Read stories and talk about how it’s okay to make up stories for fun but not okay to try and trick someone on purpose. Acknowledge the child’s feelings. In the example of the preschooler who tried to convince me that she had to leave at noon, I could say, “You wish your mother would come for you at noon, don’t you?” Discussing these types of situations helps children begin to understand that saying something aloud does not make it true, as much as they might wish otherwise.

Model honesty. If your child hears you tell someone “I’m on my way” when you haven’t left the house, he or she is learning that small lies are acceptable. Children will learn from you, whether you want them to

you like my dress?” you may not want your child to reply, “No, it’s hideous!” So what do you do? One option is to practice finding one nice thing to say about a situation rather than lie about it. Discuss these kinds of scenarios and how to react before they happen or as they occur. These types Talk about how it’s okay to make up stories for fun of conversations can be confusing for children so it is helpful to be persistent but not okay to try and Family Life - Draft Ad in pointing them out.

trick someone. December 2020, February 2021

or not, so if you choose to tell these small types of lies in front of them, be aware that they will imitate you. On that note… If speaking the truth is unkind, then talk about what to say or do instead. If someone asks, “Do

Make it easier to be honest. Of course, if our children are afraid that we will blow up or harshly punish them for their mistakes, they will be more prone to trying to cover their transgressions with lies. The more forgiving we can be, the less they will try and hide from us. ¶ Find Jill Morgenstern’s writing at dotrythisathome.net/p/featured-on.html.

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Focus on prevention. It’s important that the dentist is adept at diagnosing and treating dental problems, and it’s also necessary that they work at preventing them. This includes explaining to kids the basics of good oral hygiene; demonstrating the proper way to

Kids relax when things are fully explained to them in advance.

Tot’s Tooth Care 8 Tips for Finding a Pediatric Dentist

By Tanni Haas


t’s important to find the right pediatric dentist. If you choose well, you’ll have a great dentist for your kids for years to come. But what should you look for when you’re looking for a pediatric dentist? Based on my own experiences, as well as conversations with other parents, I’ve compiled a list of nine important things to consider. Evidence of their credentials. Make sure that whoever is on your list of candidates has the right qualifications. Most pediatric dentists have their dental school diplomas, certificates in pediatric dentistry, and licenses to practice prominently displayed in their offices. If that’s not the case, ask the receptionist to see a dentist’s credentials. You also can contact the local State Dental Board. Good communication skills. If you get a chance, speak to the 20 MendoLakeFamilyLife

dentist and ask her or him about how she or he interacts with kids. A good pediatric dentist will follow what’s known as the “tell, show, do” technique: 1) She’ll start out by telling your kids about the procedure they’re about to have; 2) then she’ll show them how she’ll do it, which includes explaining which instruments she’ll use and how; and 3) only then will she complete the procedure. Kids relax when things are fully explained to them in advance. They hate surprises, unless it’s something really fun like an unexpected treat.

brush, floss, and rinse; and teaching them how food and drinks affect their oral health. The dentist also should take the time to explain what parents can do to support their kids’ oral care, and should patiently respond to any questions or concerns parents may have. Assess accessibility. One of the keys to finding the right pediatric dentist is availability. Finding the perfect dentist isn’t useful if she or he isn’t available where and when you are. Look for someone whose office is conveniently located near your home, workplace, or (in post-pandemic times) your kids’ day care or school—ideally all these places so that you can get there quickly in an emergency. It’s also important that the dentist has evening and/or weekend hours and offers same-day appointments. Weekend hours are great, even in a non-emergency. It’s much less stressful to take the kids to the dentist on a quiet Saturday morning than to go in the late afternoon on a weekday, after you and the kids have both had a long day. When the office is closed, there should be an

February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

answering service that forwards your messages, and you should be able to email the dentist with any questions.

their eyes from the bright lights, and popular children’s shows playing on a wall- or ceiling-mounted television.

whether they accept your insurance plan and what, if anything, the co-pay is for the most common

An inviting office. Kids and adults alike are often apprehensive about going to the dentist. A good

A smiling staff. When you enter the reception area, staff should greet you and the kids in a warm and friendly manner, to put everyone at ease.

Weekend hours are great, even in a non-emergency.

Some of the most popular places to look for online reviews are CareDash, Healthgrades, and Zocdoc.

Excellent reviews. A good pediatric dentist will have top-notch reviews, whether you ask your friends, family members, colleagues, your kids’ pediatrician, or your own dentist for recommendations, or you go online. Some of the most popular places to look for online reviews are CareDash, Healthgrades, and Zocdoc.

pediatric dentist will have a bright, cheerful, and fun office with kid-sized furniture as well as books, toys, and games in the waiting room. The exam rooms should have kid-sized equipment as well as features like sun glasses to shield

Insurance coverage. Dental care can be very expensive, even with a good insurance plan. Ask the pediatric dentists you’re considering

procedures: basic examination and cleaning, fluoride treatment, and cavity filling. A final piece of advice: Hold on to your notes about the pediatric dentists you didn’t select. If your insurance changes, you may find yourself looking for a new dentist, and it could take a while to find another one that’s right for your family. ¶ Tanni Haas, PhD, is a college communications professor.


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This includes 95% of those under 35 and 95% of those under 25.

(MRI-Simmons, Fall 2019)


February 2021

MendoLakeFamilyLife 21

February Calendar of Events

Meet the lambs at HREC

Lambs & Little Ones


very winter, lambs arrive at the Hopland Research Extension Center in Hopland. And ever year, the center invites kids and grown ups to come and spend time with them. This year, due to the pandemic, lamb visits are being scheduled for family pods. Familiars—up to nine people—can plan a time in February to hang out with and even feed the little bundles of fur. Participants will be sent home with a kit to make a felted wool ball. The fee is $100, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. To sign up for a slot, go to hrec.ucanr.edu, look under the Calendar of Events on the right side of the homepage, and click on any of the several Meet the Lambs events. ¶

Monday 1 FREE Virtual Circle Times with First 5 Lake County/Horarios del círculo virtual con los primeros 5 del condado de Lake. Via Zoom.

English: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10 a.m.; Thursdays, 4 p.m. Spanish: Tuesdays, 4 p.m.; Thursdays, 10:45 a.m. Email: earlyinterventionreferrals@ esnorcal.org. Also see: facebook.com/ First5ELC./A través de Zoom. Inglés: martes y jueves, 10 a.m; jueves, 4 p.m. Español: martes, 4 p.m.; jueves, 10:45 a.m. Correo electrónico para enlace: earlyinterventionreferrals@esnorcal.org. Consulte también: facebook.com/first5elc. FREE Perinatal (Pregnancy & Postpartum) Mood Support for Moms. Support

group held every day of the week at various times. Sponsored by Postpartum Support International. Register: supportgroupscentral.com.

Tuesday 2 Black Mamas Matter. Support group

sponsored by Postpartum Support 22 MendoLakeFamilyLife

International. Tuesdays. 5:30 p.m. Register: supportgroupscentral.com. FREE Mother-Wise Weekly Online Workshops. Check out weekly

topics on Mother-Wise Facebook page. Tuesdays. 1 p.m. facebook.com/ motherwiselakecounty.

Wednesday 3 FREE Virtual Full STEAM Ahead.

Science, technology, engineering, art & math projects for kids. Presented by Ukiah Library via Facebook. Wednesdays. 3 p.m. facebook.com/ ukiahlibrary. FREE Queer Parents Support Group. Online group sponsored by

Postpartum Support International. Wednesdays. 11:30 a.m. Register: supportgroupscentral.com.

Thursday 4 FREE Virtual Foodie Finds for Teens. Learn how to make a variety of

yummy sweets & savory snacks. Ages 12–18. Thursdays. 4 p.m. Instagram Live @thehideoutteens_mendolibrary.

Friday 5 FREE Rosa Parks: We Shall Overcome. Learn the full story of

this Civil Rights icon thru a historical portrayal by Janice Curtis Greene. Virtual streaming. 4 p.m. Register on Eventbrite: tinyurl.com/y45uqnue. FREE Virtual Storytime.

Mendocino County Librarians present stories, songs & rhymes on Zoom. Children of all ages. Text STORYTIME to 707-405-0163 for link. Fridays. 2 p.m. facebook.com/ roundvalleypubliclibrary.

Saturday 6 FREE Anderson Marsh Nature Walk. Hiking

trails remain open. Walking, jogging, hiking & bird watching. Social distance & masks required. Picnics & parties not allowed. Pack out all trash. Tours cancelled. Park open: 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Anderson Ranch Pkwy., Lower Lake. andersonmarsh.org. Hopland Hikes: Meet the Lambs.

Social pods of no more than 9 people

February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

can reserve a time to visit the lambs. Masks required. No dogs permitted. $100 per group fee (no one turned away due to lack of funds). Saturdays: 10 a.m., 11 a.m. & noon. Wednesdays & Fridays: 2 & 3 p.m. Runs thru: Feb. 13. Hopland Research & Extension Center. 4070 University Rd., Hopland. Must register online by 2 p.m. the day before the visit: bit.ly/HRECEvents.

Sunday 7

Learn how to negotiate & wrap up a deal using active-listening & compromise-crafting skills. 7 p.m. Register via Eventbrite: tinyurl.com/ y52bft9t.

Tuesday 9 Safe Passage–Group Teen Triple P.

New Zoom parenting course. Tuesdays. Feb. 9–March 30. 3–5 p.m. Register by calling: 961-1100 or email jami@safepassagefb.org.

Le Vent du Nord Virtual Concert.

Band from Quebec plays francophone folk music. $15. Via Zoom. 2 p.m. Tickets: brownpapertickets.com/ event/4548968. FREE Bake It Up by Lorena.

Facebook Live & Instagram Live cooking classes. Feb. 7: Valentine’s Chocolate Donuts. Feb. 14: Valentine’s Chocolate Lava Cake. Register for Feb. 7: tinyurl.com/y4zlwtm6. Register for Feb. 14: tinyurl.com/y5hpmvxx. Also see facebook.com/bakeitupbylorena.

Monday 8 FREE Art of Negotiation for

Wednesday 10 FREE Online Kids’ Book’n & Cook’n Club. Kids discuss favorite books &

make kid-friendly snacks. Presented by Lake County Library. 4:30 p.m. facebook.com/lakecountylibrary.

Friday 12 Cider Tasting in the Orchard.

Taste Gowan’s cider sitting under 100-year-old apple trees or in their newly renovated barn. Social distancing. $15. 205-1545. Book a table: gowansheirloomcider.com/ book-online.

Teens. Grades 6–12 & parents.

Fair Food Frenzy. Drive-thru version of the Cloverdale Citrus Fair. Purchase fair food & drive thru the fairgrounds to see community exhibits & a display of floats. Feb. 12, 13 & 14: 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Citrus Fairgrounds. 1 Citrus Fair Dr., Cloverdale. cloverdalecitrusfair.org. Valentine’s Dinner to Go. Use

online form to order by 9 a.m. Feb. 12. Pick up meal on Feb. 14, 4:45–5:30 p.m. $35. Caspar Community Center. 15051 Caspar Rd., Caspar. casparcommons.org/calendar/index. php#february14. Whale Watching & Nature Breathing.

Series of self-guided activities for parents & kids. Activities in English & Spanish. $8–$15; kids 5 & younger free. Masks & physical distancing required. Wednesdays– Sundays. Timed tickets offered in 2 sessions: 10 a.m.–1 p.m. & 1–4 p.m. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. 18220 N. Hwy. 1, Fort Bragg. Preregistration required: gardenbythesea.ticketspice.com/ mcbg-admissions.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

2 steps to a healthy smile! Funded by the CDPH under Contract # 17-10704


February 2021

MendoLakeFamilyLife 23

Sunday 14 Love Is Magic. An

interactive magic show designed for the virtual stage, featuring Jeff Black. Black has been featured on America’s Got Talent & Masters of Illusion. $10. 6 p.m. Tickets via Eventbrite: tinyurl.com/ yxz9yzvn.

Tuesday 16 FREE Virtual Where the Wild Books Are: Book Talks for Teens. The

Ukiah Library teen librarian will talk about the latest releases from various genres. 4 p.m. Live: instagram.com/ thehideoutteens_mendolibrary.

Thursday 18 FREE Afro-Joy Dance Party with Tatiana Zamir. Follow-along online dance party inspired by Afro-diasporic music & movement. 6:30 p.m. Register via Eventbrite: tinyurl.com/y3ucuxz7.

Saturday 20 FREE Doktor Kaboom! Doktor Kaboom blends science & comedy in his virtual demonstrations of the physical sciences. Sponsored by the Clover Sonoma Family Fun Series. 48-hr. viewing time: Feb. 20–21. Register: lutherburbankcenter.org/ event/doktor-kaboom. FREE Pomo Tule Toymaking. Make traditional Pomo tule toy dolls & birds in this virtual workshop with Meyo Maruffo. 3 p.m. Craft kits will be available at the museum. Meeting: global.gotomeeting. com/join/529967877. Info: gracehudsonmuseum.org.

24 MendoLakeFamilyLife

Toast Your Honey


t’s hard to find safe, in-person activities these days. So Gowan’s Cider Tasting in the Orchard is a rare find. Guests will be invited to sit under the orchard’s 100-year-old apple trees while they sip hard cider and learn about a range of fruit-forward flavor profiles and food pairings. If it rains, visitors can hang out in the newly renovated barn. Tastings are available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., at Gowan’s Orchards in Philo. Tickets are $15. Book a table at gowansheirloomcider.com/ book-online. ¶ February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

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January 2021

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COVID-19 vs. Flu How they differ

Fact or Fiction?

Scientific literacy

April 2020

Best Beaches Top local spots

Let’s Talk about Race Pointers for parents

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Make traveling fun


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As the #1 resource for local families

Humor Break came up with 10 reasons why the tooth fairy had shirked her duties: 1. The dew was too heavy. Her wings had gotten wet and she couldn’t fly. 2. The regular tooth fairy was on vacation and the substitute tooth fairy didn’t know what she was doing. 3. She couldn’t get to your pillow due to your messy room. 4. Too much traffic. She’ll leave earlier tonight!

The Tooth Fairy Went AWOL 10 Reasons Why She Didn’t Arrive By Katy M. Clark


t glistened in the soft morning light, the single tear that fell from my eight-year-old daughter’s eye as she stood in our bedroom doorway.

“Mommy, she didn’t come!” she cried, breathing despondently. Then that single tear turned into a torrent. Oh, fudge. The tooth fairy didn’t come last night. “Uh,” I stammered in reply, elbowing my husband awake. “What happened?” he mumbled. “The tooth fairy didn’t come last night,” I replied. “Oh, f—” he yelled. (Let’s just say that fudge was not the first thing out of his mouth.) How did we let this happen? Quickly I reviewed the night before. Oh, yes! 26 MendoLakeFamilyLife

Exhausted by schooling our kids and working at home, we had simply fallen asleep without remembering our tooth-fairy duties. There were more extenuating circumstances, too. Our daughter’s tooth had been wiggly for just a day. That was extremely short notice. Plus, it had been months since she’d lost her last tooth. We were getting rusty. Still, the plain, hard truth was that we blew it. The tooth fairy had not come. We sprang out of bed, soothing our daughter (and each other) with hugs and reassuring words. “There has to be a good reason why she didn’t come,” we told our daughter. In fact, my husband and I, along with friends, family, and the Internet,

5. She was sick. 6. Spreadsheet error. Your tooth was projected to come out on Friday so she wasn’t ready when it came out on Monday. 7. Some tooth fairies like snacks. Leave one out tonight and she’ll probably come. 8. Oh, look, she dropped the money on the floor over there. She must have wanted you to keep your tooth as a souvenir. 9. You probably woke up and scared her away, even if you don’t remember doing that. 10. She ran out of money and will be back tonight. She’s a tiny fairy so she can only carry so much. My daughter seemed to calm down after she spent the day listening to our reasons why the tooth fairy hadn’t come. All was made right with the world the following morning when, hallelujah, the tooth fairy did come. Moms and Dads, may your tooth fairy always arrive. In case she doesn’t, remember there’s always a reason why! ¶ Katy M. Clark is a writer who embraces her maternal imperfections at experiencedbadmom.com.

February 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Marketplace Preschools


Give Your Give Child a Head Start! C E N T E R S

Free Your & Low-Cost Quality Preschool! • Ukiah Child a classroomsTuition-free ✓ 1/2-day & full-day for Montessori North Ukiah - Bush St. ages 18 months to 5 years Nokomis - Washington Ave. Head elementary South forUkiah ages 5-13 - S. State St. ✓ Potty-trained not necessary Peach Tree - S. Orchard Ave. Start! Hands-on, arts and music  ✓ Children with disabilities welcome • Willits

integrated with academics Near Brookside School at ✓ Referrals for transportation available Free & Low-Cost Spruce St. & Lincoln Way  National Green Campus Quality Preschool! • Lake County Also providing FREE in-home services for

 Promotes responsibility, Upper Lake - 2nd Street infants, toddlers & pregnant women!

Head Start Child Development Program

Lake - Clover Valley respect, andUpper peace

www.ncoinc.org Head Start

(707)Development 462-2582 Program License #230111843 Child Jeff Black

Applications online: www.ncoinc.org • (707) 462-2582

Lakeport - Howard Ave. Clearlake - Pearl Ave. ClearlakeLocated - Meadowbrookon Dr.

• Coastnorth end of Fairgrounds Fort Bragg - Lincoln St. PO Box 966 Ukiah 95482


Do You Believe in Magic?


treeoflifeschool@pacific.net www.treeoflifeschool.net

agician Jeff Black has entertained the likes of Emma Stone and Drew Carey with his shows. And now he is bringing his illusionist skills online with the 45-minute Love Is Magic Show. See it on February 14 at 6 p.m. PST  via Zoom. Tickets are $10 and are available on Eventbrite: tinyurl.com/yxz9yzvn. ¶

Accelerated Achievement  Academy 

Find a School or After-School Activity in our Online Directories MendoLakeFamilyLife.com

Get Mom’s Attention!

Focused on the future of each child  FREE public school  Support for struggling students  Small classes  Grades 4-12

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Let’s Make a Deal


hether its jockeying for a raise or solving a conflict with a roommate or a spouse, life requires us to negotiate. The free online class Art of Negotiation for Teens aims to empower kids and help them to get what they need and want. Developed for students in grades 6–12 and their parents, the class will cover different negotiation techniques, as well as active listening and compromise-crafting. The event will be held on February 8, 7–8 p.m. It’s free to attend but registration is required by 3 p.m. on the day of the event. Register via Eventbrite: tinyurl.com/y52bft9t. ¶ www.mendolakefamilylife.com

February 2021

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Mendo Lake Family Life February 2021