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September 2020

Autism Aid

Routines work

Virtual Nana Kids connect

Find a Tutor Tips for success

Moms-to-Be Local COVID-19 advice

MASKQUERADE Creative Mask Contest for Kids WIN A $100 VISA GIFT CARD!

Family Life Magazine wants to see your funniest or most creative COVID-19 face mask. First place: $100 VISA gift card. Second place: $50. Winners and Honorable Mentions will appear in the October issue.


September 2020

Every Issue 6

Dear Reader


Cooking with Kids Spice It Up


12 Features

Bits and Pieces Online Local Support for Moms Make It Uniquely Yours Inspire Artistry with a Sistine Chapel Virtual Tour Wildly Delicious

10 Pregnant in the Time of COVID How the pandemic has changed local maternal care.

12 Be an Academic Coach

14 Suspect a Learning Disability? Find out the signs.

16 The Glory of Routines How structure and distance-learning helped a child with autism.

Tips for teaching kids at home.

18 Don’t Panic!

Lagahooes, Werewolves & Snakes, Oh My! Learn How to Draw Franklin Build an Imaginary World

26 Calendar of Events Get Free Lactation Help

28 Humor Break Minivan Mafia

How to help children cope with stress.

20 The ABCs of Hiring a Tutor Find an empowering mentor for your child.

22 Virtual Nana How grandparents can stay connected to family.

8 4 SonomaFamilyLife

24 There’s a (Parenting) App for That! Techie aid for the work of raising kids.


September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com





April 2019

CAMP FAIR! See you April 12

Easter Fun Local egg hunts

Tidy Up Get inspired

CAMP GUIDE 119 area programs



Districts’ calendars

Lactation 101 A breastfeeding primer

Eye Care Signs of strain

Protein Power Fast breakie

Success in Sight

Brains for Hire Find a tutor

Less Whine, Disaster Prep More Shine Help for special needs After-school strategies Beat learning probs


January 2018

September 2019

August 2019

Back to School

sonoma FREE!

Private Schools Local guide

Rise from the Ashes Educators’ tales

DIY Foosball Build a game SAT vs. ACT How to choose

To Our Readers

We are grateful to be able to provide trusted resources for Sonoma County parents during this unprecedented time. Now, more than ever, we understand how important it is to come together as a community, which is why we would like to offer you a copy of our upcoming July issue, delivered directly to your email inbox. Please sign up today for your copy by clicking the link below. We truly value each and every one of you!

—The staff at Family Life


September 2020

SonomaFamilyLife 5

Dear Reader


irst we were served a pandemic and now wildfires— parenting gets more and more challenging every Sharon Gowan day. Families Publisher/Editor Sharon@family-life.us coping with special needs have even more obstacles. This issue is dedicated to them.

be a key to coping. That’s what Lynn Adams figured out. Read “The Glory of Routines” (page 16) to find out how lockdown, and structured distance-learning, immensely helped her son, who has autism.

Perhaps you think your child has a problem, but you don’t know what it is. Check out “Suspect a Learning Disability?” (page 14) to find out about the signs of learning disorders and how to get help. Assistance may come in the form of a tutor, especially if you can find a good one. “The ABCs of Hiring a Tutor” (page 20) details attributes to look for, and avoid. Routines may also

Regardless of your parenting circumstances, you could probably use a good laugh. “Minivan Mafia” (page 28) delivers.

Office Manager Patricia Ramos patty@family-life.us

While Adams’ family is benefiting from homeschooling, others are struggling. Read “Be an Academic Coach” (page 12) for concrete advice on how to help your kids learn outside of a traditional classroom.

It’s a crazy world out there. Through it all, we’ll be here with the information you need.

Business Marketing Renee Nutcher renee@family-life.us Warren Kaufman warren@family-life.us

Features Editor Melissa Chianta melissa@family-life.us

Production Manager Donna Bogener production@family-life.us

Contributing Writers


n u FBlast! Weekend

Lynn Adams Kimberly Blaker Andrea Geary Jessica Guerrieri Tanni Haas Christina Katz Kerrie McLoughlin Baylor Odabashian

Billing Jan Wasson-Smith

Publishing Office P.O. Box 351 Philo, CA 95466 (707) 586-9562

Find out what’s happening this weekend.

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September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

Cooking with Kids

Spice It Up Cook a Favorite Indian Dish By Andrea Geary


hana masala can be a quick and easy dish, but it doesn’t have to taste like it was thrown together. We started by using the food processor to grind the aromatic paste that formed the base of our dish. We opted for canned chickpeas because their flavor and texture were nearly indistinguishable from those of chickpeas that are cooked from dried, and we didn’t drain them because the canning liquid added body and savory depth to the dish. The canned chickpeas still retained a bit of snap, so we simmered them in the sauce until they turned soft. Adding stronger foundational spices such as cumin, turmeric, and fennel seeds at the beginning of cooking ensured that they permeated the dish, and reserving the sweet, delicate garam masala until near the end preserved its aroma. A garnish of chopped onion, sliced chile, and cilantro added so much vibrancy, texture, and freshness that you’d never guess that most of the ingredients in the recipe were from the pantry.

Because the sodium contents of canned chickpeas and tomatoes vary, we include only a small amount of salt in this recipe; season with additional salt at the end of cooking if needed.¶ Recipe and photo originally published in Cook’s Illustrated (September–October 2020) and used with permission from America’s Test Kitchen. See cooksillustrated.com for more information.


Chana Masala • 1 small red onion, quartered, divided • 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, stems and leaves separated • 1 (1½-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped coarse • 2 garlic cloves, chopped coarse • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, halved, seeded, and sliced thin crosswise, divided • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil • 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes • 1 teaspoon paprika • 1 teaspoon ground cumin • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, undrained • 1½ teaspoons garam masala • ½ teaspoon table salt • Lime wedges 1. Chop three-quarters of onion coarse; reserve remaining quarter for garnish. Cut cilantro stems into 1-inch lengths. Process chopped onion, cilantro stems, ginger, garlic, and half of serranos in food processor until finely

September 2020

chopped, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, about 20 seconds. Combine onion mixture and oil in large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until onion is fully softened and beginning to stick to saucepan, 5–7 minutes. 2. While onion mixture cooks, process tomatoes and their juice in now-empty food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add paprika, cumin, turmeric, and fennel seeds to onion mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chickpeas and their liquid and processed tomatoes and bring to boil. Adjust heat to maintain simmer, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Chop reserved onion fine. 3. Stir garam masala and salt into chickpea mixture and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are softened and sauce is thickened, 8–12 minutes longer. Season with salt to taste. Transfer to wide, shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with chopped onion, remaining serranos, and cilantro leaves and serve, passing lime wedges separately.

SonomaFamilyLife 7

Bits & Pieces

Online Local Support for Moms


otherhood can be an isolating experience, especially during a pandemic. Even before COVID-19 arrived, the nonprofit Mother-Wise sought to help moms come together at weekly workshops. Now these classes, which offer tips for new moms, are continuing the work of creating community, online. The workshops will be held on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. Topics will include Grandparent’s Day Crafts on September 8, Babywearing on September 15, Car Seat Safety on September 22, and Infant Massage on September 29. Register and find out more at facebook.com/motherwiselakecounty. ¶

Make It Uniquely Yours


ith COVID-19 shutdowns, donating old duds isn’t an option—but sprucing them up is, thanks to the We Heart Fiber Arts class. Participants will learn the basics of hand-sewing and both Japanese Boro and Sashiko styles of embroidery as well as how to use buttons and patches to add flair to that well-loved pair of jeans or shirt. The online class, sponsored by the Sonoma County Library system, is suitable for teens and adults and will be held on September 22, 7–8 p.m. Register at events.sonomalibrary.org/event/4520887. ¶

Inspire Artistry with a Sistine Chapel Virtual Tour


hen Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel’s famous frescoes, he probably couldn’t have imagined people thousands of miles away zooming in for close-up views of his work. But, thanks to the Internet, we can do exactly that, on a digital tour of the Vatican Museum. Not just the chapel, but many rooms and wings of the museum are available for virtual perusal. Check out the tours at tinyurl.com/rdz38g9. ¶

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September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

Wildly Delicious


ver baked with acorn flour or eaten a roasted bay nut? Wild foods are everywhere if you know what to look for. In the Abundance of Fall Edibles online class, naturalist and California School of Herbal Studies instructor Autumn Summers will teach teens and adults how to identify as well as ethically and sustainably harvest these foods. She’ll also share recipes and nutritional information, and discuss how eating wild foods can help one better understand and connect to the diversity of the local ecosystem. Pepperwood Preserve will host the Zoom class, which is suitable for ages 13 and older (younger kids must be supervised by an adult), on September 22, 7–8:30 p.m., for a suggested donation of $10. To register, go to tinyurl.com/ y2xr86w5 or see pepperwoodpreserve.org. ¶

Lagahooes, Werewolves & Snakes, Oh My!


creature that is part man and part wolf is known as a werewolf—in Europe. But in the Caribbean, it’s known as a lagahoo. Different cultures have different names for similar mythological beings. It’s a simple concept wrapped up in the term comparative mythology, explains children’s author Tracy Baptiste in her very literary seven-minute YouTube video on the subject. Kids can check out her “Comparative Mythology Lesson” at tinyurl.com/y6cbskr8. ¶

Learn How to Draw Franklin


n 1968, a few months after the landmark Civil Rights Act was passed, Charles M. Schulz introduced Franklin, the first Black member of the Peanuts gang. Paige Braddock, an illustrator and Chief Creative Officer at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, lets kids can take part in that history when she teaches them how to draw the character. Her free “How to Draw Franklin” video walks novices through each step of the sketching process. Find it at facebook.com/ watch/?v=300647801257090. For more Peanuts how-to videos, see the Snoopy YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/Snoopy/ videos. ¶ www.sonomafamilylife.com

Build an Imaginary World


ids love going to amusement parks. Why not invite them to grab some construction paper and markers and create one of their own? The Khan Academy’s free Imagineering in a Box online course will show them the basics, with lessons covering building worlds, attractions, and characters. The course follows the Walt Disney Imagineering creative development process and teaches both artistic and engineering aspects of designing rides. Find the free course at khanacademy.org/humanities/hass-storytelling/imagineering-in-a-box. Then check out the Academy’s website for a ton of other free online courses for kids. ¶ September 2020

SonomaFamilyLife 9

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the event a mother and baby test positive for COVID and have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, they can continue to room together. We understand the importance of bonding during those first moments together. We continue to offer new moms lactation support both during and after their stay, allowing newborns and parents to safely enjoy the vital Ricci Ros

Pregnant in the Time of COVID

How a Local Hospital Is Caring for Moms


ow has COVID-19 changed the landscape of maternal care? We asked Ricci Ros, director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

FL: How has COVID-19 changed your protocols for pregnant and laboring moms and their families? Ricci Ros: At Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Petaluma Valley Hospital, we believe bringing your baby into this world should be a precious, safe, and joyous experience despite anxiety around COVID. We have developed a comprehensive plan to keep our families together as much as possible while keeping our community safe. 10 SonomaFamilyLife

We require our staff to wear masks and face shields to protect both our patients and caregivers, and we test all patients upon admission to ensure the safety of the patients and staff. Other precautions we are taking include: conducting temperature checks and screening everyone who enters the hospital for COVID symptoms; isolating positive and suspected COVID patients; social distancing whenever possible; and executing thorough cleaning practices recommended by

Childbirth is a natural process and we avoid complicating it, if it is not necessary. activity of immediate skin-to-skin bonding. Mothers who test positive for COVID are encouraged to breastfeed with a few precautions; moms who do not want to breastfeed will be offered donated human milk. We support both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding practices. FL: What is the role of birth partners/spouses during this time? RR: We encourage the mother’s spouse or partner to support her in whatever way they are comfortable. We are family-centered and our focus is to educate and support [mother and partner] as a team. While the number of visitors at the hospital is restricted at this time in order to align with recommendations from the CDC and State of California, we know the importance of having a support person to guide moms through

September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

labor. So we encourage one support person to stay with mom during delivery and postpartum. FL: What is the role of doulas during this time? RR: We understand that many laboring mothers wish to have a doula to support them during labor. We are currently in the process of approving the presence of a certified doula, in addition to

We offer alternative pain relief options, such as… virtual reality goggles with specific labor programs voice-guided by doulas. the spouse/partner, at all births at both Petaluma Valley Hospital and Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. In addition, all of our labor and delivery nurses are doula-trained. They can help mothers through the labor process and provide comfort with a number of non-medical and medical interventions. FL: What can parents-to-be expect at your facility? RR: At Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley Hospital, we offer individualized care that is family-centered. Our team of obstetricians, midwives, and doula-trained nurses is here to support your labor process and birth plan. Childbirth is a natural process and we avoid complicating it, if it is not necessary. We care for everyone from low acuity to more complicated deliveries and strive to provide the least invasive www.sonomafamilylife.com

options, as possible. The UCSF Benioff Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery is available at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for infants that require a little extra care due to prematurity or other issues that may require advanced care. We offer alternative pain relief options, such as, for diversional therapy, virtual reality goggles with specific labor programs voice-guided by doulas. We continue to support vaginal births after cesarean section, and we have an 85 percent success rate. FL: What would your advice be for those who are pregnant or have newborns during this time of COVID and wildfires? RR: We encourage pregnant and new mothers and families to stay inside and frequently wash their hands. If you do need to go out, practice masking and social distancing. Follow your obstetrician’s or midwife’s recommendation for your care. FL: Is there any additional information you would like to add? RR: While the number of visitors to the hospital is limited due to COVID, we continue to offer “Super Sibling” capes and masks to new big brothers and sisters [so that] they feel special and recognized as the family brings a newborn into the home. Please ask your care provider for a “Super Sibling” cape and mask for your children at home. We also encourage video visits with extended family and friends, and have iPads with video chat technology available for those who don’t have access to a cell phone or tablet. ¶ September 2020


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Education, an educational consultancy. Dr. Corinn Cross, a physician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, adds that the daily schedule should be posted on the refrigerator or another place in the house where everyone in the family can clearly see it.

Be an Academic Coach Tips for Teaching Your Kids at Home

By Tanni Haas


ids are headed back to online schools. How can parents support their kids’ education during these new and unprecedented circumstances? Here’s what the experts say.

Dedicate a quiet learning space. The first and most important thing is to dedicate a quiet space to learning instead of letting kids work in different places around the house. This way, kids will come to associate that space with doing schoolwork and won’t be distracted by unrelated activities. Steve Bentley of Method Schools, a large chain of online schools, says that the space should be large enough to have room for their computer and the other things that they need during a regular school day, such as pens, pencils, notepads, and a calculator. 12 SonomaFamilyLife

Create an effective routine. Since they’re doing their work from home, it’s important that they have a well-functioning routine and structure that mirrors what they’re used to from their regular school. Experts agree that kids should wake up at the same time as they would on an ordinary school-day morning, follow the same routine (taking a shower, getting dressed, eating breakfast), and start their school day at a consistent time. “Following a normal weekday schedule will be reassuring and set the expectation of what’s to follow,” says Edith Adams and Carolyn Nelson, counselors at Macmillan

Become an educational coach. So, what role should parents play in helping their kids accomplish all the things they have to do during the school day? Adams and Nelson suggest that parents should think of

It’s not how much time they spend studying that matters but how much they learn. themselves as their kids’ educational coaches: “Your children’s teachers will be providing the content to be studied, so your role is more of a coach [who] facilitate[s] the completion of that work.” Just like real educational coaches, parents should help their kids set specific goals and develop plans (including tasks and timelines) for meeting those goals. Know how they best learn. You can best help your kids meet their goals if you know their learning style. For example, says Dr. Linda Carling, an expert on online learning, if your kids’ teachers give them a choice on how to study certain material, find out whether they learn the best synchronously (when the teacher explains the material to them in real time) or asynchronously (when they engage with the material themselves and in their own time). Have your kids focus on the most difficult material

September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

when they’re most alert, and leave the easier material for another time during the day. Finally, encourage your kids to slow down instead of rushing through their school work. It’s not how much time they spend studying that matters but how much they learn. Give them lots of praise—and breaks. Online learning can be tough for kids, even with all of your support. Give them lots of praise throughout the day, and compliment them on their final products as well as on their ability to keep their focus on difficult assignments. Praise is important, but so are lots of breaks during the day. Adams and Nelson say that kids should spend no more than 3 minutes multiplied by their age in front of a computer screen doing

schoolwork in any one sitting. For a 10-year-old this would be 30 minutes, while a 15-year-old should be able to focus for 45 minutes at a time. Encourage interaction with peers. It may be tempting to insist that your kids be offline during their breaks, but that’s not necessarily the

Parents should help their kids set specific goals and develop plans. best rule. One of the things kids miss the most from their regular school day is the opportunity to interact socially with classmates. Since they’re at home, let them call and text their friends and interact with them through social

media. As Dr. Chelsea Hyde, an educational psychologist, says, “give them a chance to connect with peers during their breaks, like they would during recess and lunch at school.” Remember that you’re not alone. Finally, remember that you’re not alone. Parents across the country are dealing with the exact same issues that you are. Windy Lopez-Aflitto of Learning Heroes, a well-respected education think tank, reminds parents to “stay in touch with teachers and other parents to work through it together.” Most importantly, she says, “don’t be afraid to ask for help.” ¶ Tanni Haas, Ph.D., is a college communications professor.

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An LD can also cause output problems, which can sometimes show up as difficulties with motor skills like handwriting. Another common problem is verbal output. This is usually evident in kids who have trouble organizing their thoughts, either in written or oral communication. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling may suffer as a result.

Suspect a Learning Keep a Look Out Disability? for These Signs By Kimberly Blaker


pproximately 10 percent of American school-age children suffer from a learning disability (LD) and/ or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 4 percent of children have both. But these disorders often go undetected despite children’s ongoing struggles with schoolwork and behavior issues. Often, parents don’t suspect LDs because many people associate them with low IQ. But LDs affect children of all intelligence levels. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for a child with a learning disability to excel in one or multiple subjects and struggle in others. Also, kids with LDs or ADHD may do well under certain conditions, but in others have great difficulty. Depending on the LD and the severity of it, a child might struggle in all areas. 14 SonomaFamilyLife

Types of Learning Disabilities There are multiple forms of LDs. Some pose input problems, which means a child struggles with either sound or visual input. These disabilities are the result of information not being correctly processed or stored in the brain. This can pose problems with the retrieval of information as well as short- or long-term memory.

ADHD is marked by attention problems and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. Girls often have only attention issues, while boys are more commonly impulsive or hyperactive. Symptoms can include difficulty staying on task or paying attention,

It isn’t uncommon for a child with an LD to excel in one or multiple subjects and struggle in others. and, conversely, a capacity to be hyper-focused on a stimulating activity. Children with ADHD may fidget, interrupt, and act without thinking. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a problem with input. It isn’t a hearing problem. Instead, the brain has difficulty processing sounds. As a result, kids with APD can be distracted by loud noises or struggle to follow conversations. This can be especially problematic when there’s a lot of background noise, which makes it difficult to distinguish sounds. Dyscalculia is a math learning disability. Kids with dyscalculia may have difficulty learning to tell time,

September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

counting money or counting in general, learning math facts, calculating, understanding measurement, or performing mental math. Dyslexia is a reading disability, although the symptoms are not exclusive to reading. Children with this disorder may have difficulty with spelling, vocabulary, or comprehension. They may read slowly, have trouble learning left from right, or have organizational problems with both written and spoken language. Dysgraphia is a writing disability. Hallmarks are poor handwriting and often an awkward style of holding a pencil or even contorting the body while writing. A child may also have trouble drawing lines. Kids with dysgraphia can often better express themselves through speech instead of writing. Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD) is similar to Asperger Syndrome and shows up as difficulties with social skills. Academic problems sometimes present as well. But often these don’t show up until kids reach

higher grades. Those with NLD may be afraid of new situations, struggle to make friends, lack common sense, and experience social withdrawal. Academic problems can include reading comprehension and working out math story problems. Visual Processing Disorder (VPD) is also a problem with input. But VPD isn’t a vision problem. It’s actually a problem with the brain processing what the eyes see. It can result in a child bumping into things

Girls often have only attention issues, while boys are more commonly impulsive or hyperactive. or being unable to distinguish the shapes she or he sees. It can also pose difficulty in identifying letters or numbers, or result in problems with visual sequencing, among other issues. Learn more on the website of the Learning Disabilities Association

of America at ldaamerica.org/ types-of-learning-disabilities. What to Do If you suspect your child has a learning disability, the first step is to talk with your child’s teacher and find out what she or he has observed. Then speak to the school principal. Public schools are required by law to provide an assessment. This should include an IQ test, assessments of math, reading, and writing, and testing of processing skills. If your child is in a private school that doesn’t offer this service, you can request it through your public school district. Once your child has received a diagnosis, the school psychologist should be able to recommend and help set up services or accommodations for your kid. Depending on the specific learning disability, your child may qualify for special education services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or accommodations through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Find Kim Blaker at kbcreativedigital.com.

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of the house now. I’ll take my break outside instead of on the Xbox.” This was a monumental breakthrough in terms of flexibility, impulse control, and fellow feeling. To build our new routine, we needed three things: time, consistency, and clarity.

The Glory of Routines

Shelter-in-Place Works for a Child with Autism By Lynn Adams


s a clinical psychologist, I know that a routine is the first step to happiness for my child with autism, James. However, modern life, with its glorification of busy-ness and its infinite choices, resists routines. Most people enjoy the excitement of variety, of the unexpected. Even James. But when he switched to homeschooling midway through sixth grade, the shorter hours, consistent individualized expectations, and lower stimulation were the answer to his academic struggles. A year later, it became the answer for every kid in town, like it or not.

COVID-19 has brought more losses than I can enumerate. But for our family, sheltering-in-place has uncovered a kind of well-being we didn’t know was possible. After six weeks, for the first time in his life, James started reminding me of key events: snack break at 10 16 SonomaFamilyLife

a.m., lunch at noon, bike ride at 1:30 p.m. These were all high points of his day, so I wasn’t entirely surprised. That same week, though, it became clear that James had noticed how my routine had changed. He appeared in the kitchen at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday and said, “Okay, you can vacuum the front

Time In an effort to go easier on myself, I allowed gobs of screen time at the beginning of lockdown. So much, in fact, that after a few weeks the kids got tired of TikTok and Fortnite.

Sheltering-in-place has uncovered a kind of well-being we didn’t know was possible. Create structure. Once the kids were satiated with screen time, we gave it its own spot in the routine: afternoon, following a productive morning and a big lunch. The rhythm of our days demanded “down time,” and we granted it. Use time wisely. Without transitions and social time, online school allowed for condensed instruction. And this meant my husband and I had to make our reduced work time as productive as it could be. Consistency Consistency and repetition cement a routine. For my family, routine changes take about a month to solidify. The Internet would have us print out a schedule, post it in the kitchen, and go about our fancy lives. But making real routines is more like making sausage. You start by respecting the day’s natural rhythms and the child’s individual abilities. It’s hard to get that right the first time.

September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

Troubleshoot. Both James and my daughter, Margot, dutifully hung up their towels after I put it on their schedule. But after a week, they forgot. So I had to shadow them closer. Be flexible. It took James a long time to fold his towel and place it on the towel bar. So I told him to hang it on the door hook instead. And if he didn’t, I’d go find him and have him watch me do it. Margot fully intended to hang up her towel, but forgot—unless she did it right after her shower. So immediately hanging up the towel after her shower became routine. Substitute. Even in quarantine, weather, illness, and monotony mangle routines. So bike-riding time isn’t just for bike riding. It can also be for closet-door basketball, skateboarding, and sprinkler tag.

Clarity On the first day of school-at-home, I posted Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs on our refrigerator. I wanted the family to see that only after basic needs are met can other activities take place.

To build our new routine, we needed three things: time, consistency, and clarity. It’s all important. When I was in college, I’d let tidiness slip if a paper was due. Or I’d skip parties to squeeze in extra work time. Home life isn’t like that. At home, it’s all important and it’s all part of the routine: exercise, meals, rest, FaceTime, porch cocktails. And kids need to see that.

Make it visible. Pre-quarantine, we had a housekeeper who came on Tuesdays while half of the family was out. Nowadays, the kids sheepishly lift their feet as I push the vacuum each Tuesday. Instead of waiting until screen time, I pay bills on the laptop while they do math. All the little invisible tasks of housekeeping have become visible. That’s good for people who need things to be concrete. Our life has been reduced to a more manageable enterprise. I hope I can maintain the well-being COVID-19 has unexpectedly brought after the lockdown lifts and the excitement comes back. ¶ Find Lynn Adams’ writing at lynnadamsphd.com.

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Let excitement feel scary. Is your child excited? Even healthy excitement can feel a little scary sometimes. Not knowing how things will turn out usually makes the heart rate go up and is part of the joy of living. Serve protein-packed meals and snacks. Make sure your child is not suffering from low blood sugar, which can increase anxiety, by serving three balanced meals daily plus two high-protein snacks, such as a granola bar or yogurt. If

Don’t Panic! Teach Children to Navigate Anxiety By Christina Katz


an you anxiety-proof your kids? Probably not completely— especially in the time of COVID—but you can teach your child skills for navigating anxious feelings.

Affirm nerves are normal. Wouldn’t life be dull if there were never anything to get anxious about? Of course, it would be. Talk to your child about how facing life’s challenges makes us stronger and more confident. You might be tempted to minimize challenges for an emotionally sensitive child, but confronting a steady, manageable flow of age-appropriate challenges is not only educational in the short run, it’s also healthy in the long run. Teach self-soothing. Multisensory experiences—taking a bath, singing songs out loud, or 18 SonomaFamilyLife

If you want your kids to be brave, don’t pressure them; cheer them on instead. exercising vigorously outdoors—can immediately shift a child out of a nervous mood. Experiment with your child in low-pressure situations to discover tension-relieving activities to use later as needed. Teach your child the lifelong skill of consciously lowering anxiety and then redirecting attention toward something more productive.

Wouldn’t life be dull if there were never anything to get anxious about? your child shows signs of sugar lows, such as shaky hands or emotional outbursts between meals, blood sugar might be an issue. Make a habit of grabbing a sandwich or a protein pack before a stressful event, no matter what the time of day. Avoid sugar and caffeine. Cut out sodas, candy, and other foods made with high fructose corn syrup. If your child has food sensitivities or allergies, take steps to address them so foods don’t become an anxiety trigger. If sugar and caffeine are often consumed, let them follow meals so they don’t trigger a blood sugar roller coaster. Accept personality quirks. Never assume your children can handle something simply because you would have been able to handle it or because your children’s siblings

September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

or friends can. Part of letting your children be individuals is not comparing them to others. After a challenging experience, ask them how they feel, rather than assuming how they should feel. Cheer them on. We have so many jobs as parents, but one of the most important roles is that of

Reward the daring, rather than the results, and kids will learn that courage is its own reward. cheerleader. Don’t take yourself so seriously that you can’t come down to your children’s level and say, “You can do it!” Your children need you next to them, encouraging them, not scowling down from on high, fretting about outcomes. If you want your kids to be brave, don’t pressure them; cheer them on instead.

Weather disappointments. As a parent, you must be able to see your children cry without overreacting. Teaching children to avoid crying at all costs is like saying that experiencing disappointment or sadness makes them weak. When we teach kids to embrace challenging emotions, they become more resilient, empathetic citizens in the long run. Reward bravery. We live in a fairly unpredictable world, so it’s a great idea to teach kids how to take healthy risks. Kids who learn to push themselves to achieve goals will have less energy to channel into risky or adrenaline-fueled behavior. A great end-of-the-week dinner topic for families is: Who gets to wear an invisible crown of bravery? Reward the daring, rather than the results, and kids will learn that courage is its own reward. ¶ Find Christina Katz at christinakatz.com.

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If your child consistently displays the following symptoms, consult a mental health professional: 1. Anxiousness to the point of headaches, stomachaches, and tiredness with no other known physical cause. 2. Chronic sleep issues, including problems going to or staying asleep and early waking. 3. Low self-esteem characterized by being excessively hard on the self for no logical reason. 4. Consistent, excessive worry about everyday things, such as school, friends, grades, teachers, etc. 5. Avoiding school, withdrawing from friends, irritability with authority figures, successive high-highs and low-lows, use of substances, eating disorders, or other self-destructive behaviors. www.sonomafamilylife.com

September 2020

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failure is frightful? Supportive tutors will give your children a safe place to fail, and in so doing teach the meta-lesson that dancing on the edge of imperfection is the fastest way to grow. Do your children feel isolated or ostracized at school, and are their grades slipping as a result? Empathetic tutors can connect with your children’s unique personalities and give them an emotionally safe place to study.

The ABCs of Hiring a Tutor Find a Creative, Motivating Mentor

By Baylor Odabashian


t’s no secret that after hundreds of hours spent staring at screens through the vacuum of a bad Internet connection, students might become somewhat jaded with the process of education during the age of COVID-19. It’s hard to blame them. It’s harder still to blame the teachers, who are valiantly striving to maintain the intellectual and moral growth of the next generation. Even if your teacher walks on clouds to the sounds of angel choirs, it is simply very hard to educate large groups of students through a screen. So if the problem is not individual, but utterly systemic what to do?

Well, engaging support from a different paradigm of education is a good start. Ever since Aristotle taught Alexander the Great how to craftily judge character in ancient Macedon, tutors have been giving students 20 SonomaFamilyLife

individualized lessons. And just like then, today’s tutors have the opportunity to dynamically respond to students’ learning strengths and weaknesses. Are your children perfectionists who don’t try new things because

Do your children feel demoralized by a subject, convinced that they simply are no good at math, history, or music? Motivating tutors will show your students what they are

Creative tutors can follow your children’s passions. capable of; and they will help your children develop healthy habits for combating anxiety and limiting self-talk. Are your children’s strong, curious minds constrained by the rigid structure of traditional schools? Creative tutors can follow your children’s passions and create a more flexible and self-motivated educational environment than is possible in a large class. When you are interviewing tutors, make sure that they are bringing the right mindset to the job. Do they give you the impression that they will see your children as whole people with valuable insights, or do they only seem interested in presenting their own knowledge of an academic subject? Do they cultivate the human element of the tutor-student interaction or are they more about running down a

September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

checklist of study items for a test? Do potential tutors seem driven and prepared to work with your kids, or do they just assume that their superior knowledge will always show up to a lesson in a helpful

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Empathetic tutors can give children an emotionally safe place to study. way? Finally, do the tutors you are considering exhibit the sort of flexibility and self-reflection that will allow them to change their approach when their usual methods aren’t working? Will they have the humility to be learners as well as teachers? Once you identify an excellent tutor, the vast and mind-expanding potential of an online classroom with a 1:1 teacher student ratio will reveal itself. COVID will not be the time when you child was isolated—it will be the time when she or he began to work closely with a mentor as never before. ¶ Baylor Odabashian is a tutor, musician, poet, DIY playwright, book swallower, ex-data analyst, and all-around action-geek with a passion for sharing the glory of human culture. At UC Berkeley, from where he graduated in 2016, he synthesized studies in music, anthropology, literature, and history to create his own major. Baylor has taught coding to children, English to refugees, and guitar to everyone from his peers to seniors. Today he teaches English, music, and history through his tutoring website, thepersonalhumanitiestutor. squarespace.com. He lives in Fort Bragg but tutors remotely, worldwide.


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with Friends are also a fun and educational way to connect. Recognize holidays and special dates. Keep track of important dates so you can be there for the big events. Set reminders on your phone or put them on your wall calendar so you can send cards or plan a video chat for birthdays, graduations, last days of school, proms, sports, spelling bees, and so much more. Candrian offers: “I think giving gifts is such a natural way to show we

Virtual Nana How to Digitally Connect to Grandchildren By Kerrie McLoughlin


he pandemic has robbed many grandparents of precious time with their grandkids. But those nanas and poppas who have lived far away from their kids know that you don’t have to see your grandchildren often to play a huge role in their lives. Here’s how.

Do your research. Joy Candrian of the blog XOXO Grandma suggests: “When FaceTiming or talking on the phone, ask [grandkids] intelligent questions about their home, school, and the things they have done that week.” Also try watching the latest children’s movie on Netflix. Choose one you know the grandkids are going to see and then discuss the best parts together. Read to them and play games. “Record yourself reading a book and then upload that recording to 22 SonomaFamilyLife

YouTube so your grandchildren can hear your voice and see you reading them a story. After you’ve placed your recorded story online, mail the book to your grandchildren so they can follow along while they watch your video,” shared Candrian. Here’s another idea: Buy a blank puzzle online, and then, if you are artsy, draw a picture on it. If not, write a message on it and color in some of the pieces. Your grandchildren will have a blast putting it together over and over. Online games like Words

Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom make it so much easier to see their faces. care, and giving a handmade gift [such as a quilt] shows we care enough to spend our time for those we love. Your grandchild may not understand that now, but as they grow older and wiser, your gifts should help them feel the love you have for them.” Raise video chatting and social media to a new level. Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom make it so much easier to see their faces. They grow and change so quickly, so make weekly dates to do things like video chat while you are on a walk, or let them watch you bake something, or read to them. One way my 90-year-old grandmother loves to keep up with her grandkids and great-grandkids is to check out Facebook status updates and photos. Display their photos. Make sure you have plenty of photos of your grandchildren around your home and send photos of yourself to them as well. Want them to get to know you? Mixbook makes it so easy to create photo books and books of stories

September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

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• Cheri Fuller, Connect with Your Grandkids: Fun Ways to Bridge the Miles (Focus on the Family, 2009).

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Driver Books, 2007). • Alison Hillhouse, Virtual Grandma (CreateSpace, 2017). • Selma Wassermann, The Long-Distance Grandmother: How to Stay Close to Distant Grandchildren (Hartley & Marks,


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from your childhood for them. Also check out the Marco Polo app for a FaceTime-meets-voicemail experience. Leave and receive video messages that can be forwarded to other family members and remain indefinitely saved on Marco Polo. Try an in-person visit, if and when you are ready. In the age of COVID, everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to visiting in person. Our kids have one set of grandparents who, after five months, finally came over to our house for a socially distanced visit on the deck. Nature centers and parks are also great places for socially distanced grandkid-time. Some grandparents mask up and get hugs from their (masked) grandkids while others just feel like they can’t risk it, and stick to digital communication. If you are in the latter category, stock up on games and toys so that when the kids can finally come over, they have plenty of stuff to play with. ¶ Kerrie McLoughlin is the writer-mom of 5 kids ages 10–18 and blogs at TheKerrieShow.com.


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family calendar between all your devices. In addition to keeping track of schedules, it manages reminders, to-do lists, shopping lists, and recipes. Netspark Parental Control Light. Android. Paid subscription. Want powerful filtering to protect your kids from harmful images, texts, and video content? This app offers it, and also allows parents to set limits on daily on weekly screen time.

There’s a (Parenting) App for That! Control Kids’ Phone Use & Manage Chores

By Kimberly Blaker


hether you need a solution to help monitor your baby, track and reward kids’ chore completion, or keep your teen from texting while driving, there’s a phone app that does it for you. The following useful apps are designed specifically for parents and families. Better yet, most of these parent-tested apps are free for both Android and iPhone.

Parental Control: Screen Time & Location Tracker. Android & iPhone. Free; in-app purchases. This useful app gives parents a variety of controls to limit their kids’ screen time, including the ability to block an app a child is using at bedtime or during school hours. Push a button on your phone to time-out your kids’ phones. 24 SonomaFamilyLife

MMGuardian. Android & iPhone. Free. You can monitor and block kids’ text messages, apps, calls, and URLs. It also has configurations to limit screen time. Cozi Family Organizer. Android & iPhone. Free or paid upgrade. This app will help you manage and share your

Push a button on your phone to time-out your kids’ phones. ToddlyTic. Android & iPhone. Free 30-day trial. Use this app to communicate with your child’s day-care provider or teachers and stay on top of attendance, grades, and more. You can also manage and make tuition payments. Life360 Family Locator—GPS Tracker. Android & iPhone. Free. Create “circles” of family members and friends, and view the location of anyone in your circle on a map. The tracker can also send you text alerts when your child or teen arrives at or leaves a destination. KidsPlace Parental Control by Kiddoware. Android. Free or paid upgrade. Block kids from buying or downloading apps and incoming calls. Premium features include a timer that locks apps after a specified period or based on a permanent schedule.

September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

ChoreMonster. Android & iPhone. Free. Kids can keep track of the points they earn for completing tasks. Then they can use the points to buy rewards, such as extra time for video games, a special treat, or family outing. DriveSafe.ly. Android. Free or paid upgrade. If you have teen drivers, this app is a must-have. It reads text messages and emails aloud and announces the

Set limits on daily or weekly screen time. name of incoming callers without having to touch the phone. The paid version allows for a hands-free response to messages as well. Baby Monitor 3G. Android & iPhone. $3.99. Monitor your baby with both video and audio, and receive alerts when your baby awakens. You can even use this app to see your baby in the dark. It also tracks how often your baby wakes, and it replays audio. Plus you can press a button on your phone to talk to your baby. Wheel of Chores. Android & iPhone. Free. This app adds fun and excitement to chores. Kids can spin the wheel for a task and earn points toward rewards. At the end of the week, parents can distribute earned money or prizes, or kids can bank their points to save up. Âś

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Kimberly Blaker is a freelance parenting writer and founder of the Internet marketing agency KB Creative Digital Services (kbcreativedigital.com).


September 2020

SonomaFamilyLife 25

September Calendar of Events Get Free Lactation Help


reastfeeding is often romanticized, with beautiful pictures of mothers and babies communing with each other. And, yes, while it is very bonding, natural, and, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the preferred way to feed a baby, it is also not always easy. That’s where the free online Breastfeeding MeetUp, hosted by Petaluma’s Luma Center, comes in. Run by a lactation consultant, the meetings offer support and answers to nursing mothers’ questions. Meetings are held on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. and last an hour. See tinyurl.com/y3lmgoga to sign up. ¶

Thursday 3 FREE Breastfeeding MeetUp.

Weekly online group, facilitated by a lactation consultant. Hosted by the Luma Center. Thursdays. 12:30–1:30 p.m. Register: tinyurl.com/y3lmgoga.

Sunday 6 Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga. Online

classes presented by the Luma Center. $15. Sundays. 9–10:15 a.m. Register: tinyurl.com/y2w7avff.

Tuesday 8 FREE Virtual Teen Book Club.

Online club. Ages 13–18. Virtually meet other teens, discover new books & hang out. Theme: Black Lives Matter/social justice. 3:30 p.m. Register: events.sonomalibrary.org/ event/4520887.

Wednesday 9 FREE Mind of a Scientist Virtual Field Trips. Through Zoom meetings,

students interact with scientists & engineers making live presentations from their labs or the field. Breakout

26 SonomaFamilyLife

groups follow presentation. 12:30–2 p.m. Info: rabbott@sonomalibrary.org.

Thursday 10 Believe in the Dream Gala Fundraiser. Online event featuring

special guests, performances & emcee Malia Anderson. For $250 donation, receive a gourmet food platter & bottle of wine at your door (feeds up to 4). Proceeds benefit the LIME Foundation. 6:30–8 p.m. Registration required: eventbrite.com or tinyurl. com/y3w44lrl. FREE Single & Parenting. Three online sessions will focus on issues related to single parenting during the pandemic. Presented by Child Parent Institute. Sept. 10, 17 & 24. 5:30–7 p.m. Registration required: tinyurl.com/y52ageu3. Info: trinellm@calparents.org.

Friday 11 FREE The Big Gala Celebration.

Featuring Transcendence Theatre Company performing dance numbers from some of Broadway’s greatest musicals. Sept. 11, 12 & 13. Friday: 7:30 p.m. Saturday & Sunday: 7:30 & 2

p.m. Register & receive link to show. transcendencetheatre.org. FREE Dirty Cello Virtual Performance.

Bay Area band presents a unique spin on blues & bluegrass. 8 p.m. facebook. com/dirtycellomusic.

Saturday 12 FREE Family Bike Skills. Virtual series teaches parents tips, tricks & tools for bicycling safely with kids. Level 1: Sept. 12, 10:30–11:30 a.m. Level 2: Sept. 16, 4–5 p.m. Registration required: bikesonoma.org/ family-bike-workshops. Calistoga March for the Animals.

Dog walk, silent auction & vegan, brunch-inspired nibbles. $45 donation. Benefits the Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch. 9 a.m.–noon. Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa. 1880 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. Registration required: eventbrite.com. Drive-In: Furious 7. Carpool Cinema

sponsored by Alexander Valley Film Festival. $30 per car. 7–11 p.m. Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds. 1 Citrus Fair Dr., Cloverdale. facebook. com/events/319975449009866.

September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com

Sunday 13 Time to Wonder. Children’s Museum

of Sonoma County fundraiser. Live-stream program includes stories, celebrations & discussions about the museum’s plans for the future. 4:30 p.m. Online silent auction: Sept. 13–22. Live-streamed on Facebook. cmosc. org/time-to-wonder. facebook.com/ cmosc.org. FREE Fiesta de Independencia Virtual Event. Family-friendly celebration of community, cultural diversity & Latino heritage. Features performance by the band Industria Del Amor. Broadcasted thru Facebook & YouTube. 2–5 p.m. Info: 800-7504 or fiesta@lutherburbankcenter.org.

Monday 14 FREE How to Build Up Your Child. Online class will explore what influences the development of a child’s personality, sense of self, self-confidence & self-concept. For parents of children ages 4–12. Presented by Child Parent Institute. 5:30–7 p.m. Registration required: tinyurl.com/yxuhkx49. Info: trinellm@ calparents.org.

Tuesday 15 Monthly Dad’s Group. Online

support group presented by the Luma Center. $10/session. 8–9:30 p.m. Register: thelumacenter.com/ pregnancy.

Thursday 17 Telling Her Story: How Women Are Changing Animation. Pixar

Animation artists Aphton Corbin, Valerie LaPointe & Louise Smythe www.sonomafamilylife.com

discuss their career journeys & how they helped develop female characters & story arcs in films such as Toy Story 4 & Onward. Live online. $15. 4 p.m. Advance registration required: tinyurl. com/y4rky9lu or call 284-1272. All Hallow’s Art Fest Virtual Show.

One-of-a-kind handmade artwork. Visit Facebook for more details or follow Instagram #allhallowsartfest for sneak peeks & giveaways. Sept. 17–19 & 24–26. facebook.com/ allhallowsartfest.

Friday 18 Lady With All the Answers.

One-woman virtual play about Ann Landers. Presented by Cinnabar Theater & starring Laura Jorgenson. Single access: $20. Family access (multiple viewers): $40. Streaming Sept. 18–20 & 25–27. 2 & 7:30 p.m. showtix4u.com/event-details/39309.

Saturday 19 FREE Co-Parenting Children After a Divorce. Online workshops help

divorced parents handle the challenge of raising children in 2 homes. Offers strategies that reduce children’s anxiety & confusion. Presented by Child Parent Institute. Sept. 19 & 26. 10:30 a.m.–noon. Registration required: tinyurl.com/yxoazda5. Info: trinellm@calparents.org.

Monday 21 FREE Mothers & Babies. 10-week online support group for pregnant or new moms presented by the Child Parent Institute. 12:30–2 p.m. Registration required: tinyurl.com/ y4unnk2a. Info: intake@calparents.org.

September 2020

Tuesday 22 FREE DIY: We Heart Fiber Arts.

Online class. Learn the basics of hand-sewing with creative & original embellishment (patches, buttons & Japanese Boro & Sashiko styles of embroidery). Teens & adults. No experience necessary. 7–8 p.m. Enroll: events.sonomalibrary.org/ events/4520887. Abundance of Fall Edibles. Online

class. Naturalist & California School of Herbal Studies instructor Autumn Summers will teach teens and adults how to identify as well as ethically & sustainably harvest wild foods. Ages 13 & older. Suggested donation: $10. 7–8:30 p.m. Register: tinyurl.com/ y2xr86w5 or pepperwoodpreserve.org.

Thursday 24 FREE Bike to Wherever Days.

(Formally Bike to Work Day.) Use the Love to Ride app to set goals, track rides & mileage & engage in friendly competition with other local riders. bikesonoma.org/btwd.

Saturday 26 Party for the Green–New Orleans Style. Virtual event with music, food

& online cocktail party. Features piano legend Jon Clearly (from his studio in New Orleans), 3-course dinner provided by local restaurants, sparkling wine cocktail & party decorations. All proceeds support the Green Music Center & Sonoma Family Meal. $100–$175. 6–7:30 p.m. gmc.sonoma.edu/partyforthegreen.

SonomaFamilyLife 27

Humor Break The author with her three daughters

Minivan Mafia Uncool in the Very Best Way aby number three is on the way!” my friend announced.

“Yay! Now you can be part of the Minivan Mafia!” I said, excitedly clapping my hands. “But I promised my husband I would never drive a minivan,” she said, frowning. “That’s funny. I promised my husband I would do whatever it took to maintain my sanity, and that includes remote-controlled, dual sliding doors.” Unconvinced, she looked at me. “But they are just so uncool.” “Oh, definitely, so uncool. But you can just add cool to that list of things we used to be…” Along with well-rested, life of the party, and world traveler. Now I am mostly confined to a family-friendly box—one that contains ethnically ambiguous, body-positive 28 SonomaFamilyLife

Then, the other day, we were just getting home from our daily walk when I told my daughters to go in the bathroom and wash their hands. Afterwards, my toddler ran over and stuck her wet hands directly into my mouth. Once I could move my lips, I thanked the two big girls for helping their little sister get clean. “Oh, she didn’t wash them.” “Then why are they wet?” “There wasn’t room at the sink, so we told her to just lick them.”

By Jessica Guerrieri


For instance, just this afternoon my daughter painted the dog and brought her in during my Zoom conference call. Did I mention she only used red? Now my coworkers think my homeschool lessons include ritual dog sacrifice.

Barbies; stories about bodily functions; and a list of words like poo-poo, ouchie, and oh gosh. Becoming a mom definitely changed who I am. I used to judge moms, before I became one myself. Parents used to tell me horror stories about forgetting diapers and tying shirts to little naked butts; finding inventive, questionable ways to funnel vegetables into their kiddos’ stomachs; and allowing screen time for any moment’s peace. I would nod along, pretending not to be critical, and smugly think to myself, Never my kids! Cut to raising three children and working from home in a global pandemic. I am constantly teetering between mildly and moderately horrified at the limits of my parental control.

But these are all just opportunities to evolve. I used to sweat the small stuff. I’d be overwhelmed at the idea of tiny bacteria-infested fingers rubbing against my teeth. But today, I’m a ninja—and a multi-tasking one at that. I can simultaneously apply a Band-Aid, feed a toddler, and write notes for my next article. But more than that, I’m able to filter through all the noise, listen to my little ones’ hearts, and tap into the deeper meaning of the life our family has cobbled together. Life used to just mean my life. Now it’s about ours. I became a we. But my identity is not about who or what I am, but about who I am becoming. My children made the introduction, and, honestly—my hands on that minivan steering wheel, an eye toward the road ahead—I’ve never felt more like myself. ¶ Find Jessica Guerrieri at witandspitup. com and on Instagram at @witandspitup.

September 2020 www.sonomafamilylife.com





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