(Stay tuned for the next offering of How Full is Your Plate?)
No doubt I will regret the blatant choice of titles for this post sometime very soon, but in this moment, I’m capturing my excitement about learning something new: How to share something worthwhile on my blog and be paid for it! (After writing for free for 5 years, this is a radical thought!)
And, no, I’m not selling my writing; that’s still freely offered. What I’m selling is a workshop that I typically offer one on one with individual coaching clients or in small workshop groups, but never with people far away, who have asked, but I didn’t know how; Until now!
The workshop was called: How Full is Your Plate?; and wait till you see how much it costs you online. (I’ve used my favorite number. And IF I programmed the code correctly, you should see the price when you click, BUY NOW. (Note: you’ll have a chance NOT TO “Buy Now” if you just wanted to peek.)
(Segue: I love PayPal. It’s given me so much freedom and flexibility; but you don’t need a PayPal account since I have one. You can just use a credit card.)
Back to The Full Plate Workshop. It arrives in your email box in three parts. It’s an activity you do with your family or partner or roommates or office mates, but it was first created in response to my first born when he hit the ripe age of 10 and started complaining that his chores were “unfair” and that he “had too much to do.” (Which, of course, was completely absurd, but there was no way to get through to him around this, until…
THE FULL PLATE ACTIVITY: after which he NEVER complained again. He was actually HAPPY about his small share of chores; okay, maybe not happy, but at least silent about it because he didn’t want to have to face the reality (and potential consequences) of The Full Plate Activity again.
Another bonus was that this activity was a wakeup call for my husband, who realized that he wasn’t the only one “doing everything.”
And lastly, as a mom, The Full Plate Activity provided a sense of validation and recognition for ALL I did (and do) behind the scenes of home and family life.
The best part is that no one knew what hit them. When the night came for The Full Plate Activity (Step II of the three part mailing), I made their favorite dinner and even served dessert…
…And then I put out 4 clean plates and a bunch of what look liked fortune teller strips, and life as they knew it changed…
Now, all I have to do is mention The Full Plate Activity and everyone gets moving on their share of the household work.
Does this sound like something you’d like to try with your family? Your partner? Your housemates? Your colleagues?
Contact me and let’s get started. That special price won’t be there forever. Unless no one tries it out. (Then the title of this post will be really embarrassing!)
(Satisfaction guaranteed by the way. No matter what it costs.)
Scroll down for tips on prevention, inspection, treatment & follow up. (Share your own success in the comment section below.)
I thought we were hosting my sister and her new baby for Thanksgiving, but instead my son came home from school with… LICE! Our relatives checked into a hotel and we spent the holiday week giving thanks while picking, oiling and avoiding physical contact with loved ones.
“Can I hug today?” my son asked each morning.
I’ve been terrified of lice for decades. I first read about them in The Thornbirds when little Maggie’s head was shaved; and later trembled as a teacher when my students lined up in front of the school nurse. But even when lice infested children sat beside me or when I had my own children, and we were all exposed–visiting company, best friends, classroom trips–we remained lice-free.
Apparently, lice is not so easy to catch. Honestly.
Still, I enacted my own preventative regime (see below) which was part science/part lucky charm. As the years passed, however, I grew lax. My son grew his hair. His class grew infested.
He had been scratching for more than a week when something unidentifiable fell off my own head. “What is this?” I asked my husband. Neither of us could tell, but later that same day something else, unidentifiable, fell out; and I jumped into action…
The moment my son arrived home from school, I made him stop on the porch so that I could examine him in the bright afternoon light.
“I don’t have lice, Mom,” he said.”They’ve already checked me at school.”
He had been repeating this line for weeks, and I had wanted to believe that his scalp was dry from the wood stove, but now I wasn’t giving up…
I searched and searched and searched until I spotted what might have been nits at the back of his head (those tiny, translucent, sesame-seed-sized eggs, attached to one side of hair shaft, like a cocoon, with an adhesive as strong as super-glue; See video below #1); but I couldn’t be sure. His hair was dirty-blonde, iridescent-ly so, which made identification almost impossible.
“Let’s go up to the bathroom,” I said, “and bring the standing lamp from the living room.”
Under bright lights, I searched the same section of hair and thought I saw something… move.
After a mutual freak out, we returned downstairs to search the internet for what to do next, and we found some fantastic resources which quickly transformed us from victims to investigators/scientists.
We returned to the bathroom armed with information and began the process of combing (see video below #2.)
What I discovered?
Dozens and dozens and dozens of live lice–virtually invisible moments before.
(I’m itching just thinking about it. Aren’t you?)
After our initial outrage and disgust, we were curious…
How were the lice able to set up such an impressive, covert operation?
Why hadn’t my husband been infested given that he lays down with my son each night?
I decided not follow our school’s protocol for treatment given that they had failed to find or prevent lice from spreading (which probably had more to do with individual families and their ability to continue with the rigorous follow-up required. See video under #3). Instead I reached out to other families who had successfully treated (and prevented the return of lice), and I pieced together my own rigorous attack plan.
(For obvious reasons, I chose not to use “pesticides” on my son’s scalp; particularly given the fact that reports indicate that lice have not only grown immune to them, but have evolved into “super-lice” in response to these chemicals–See video under #3.)
In my exhaustive research to be sure we would eliminate lice from our home as safely and quickly as possible, I found the best of the best on the web. In compassion for other families (and in the hope that you do not spread it to us again :), I have compiled those resources and our own protocol here:
This video, from the excellent resource, Head Lice to Dead Lice, helps orient the family to what is in store–with a much needed sense of humor.
Part II of the video with the 5 Step Plan (Video under #3 below) is helpful for making sure you don’t re-infest your household after the initial removal.
This video from, The Hair Fairy, lends the whole picking process a doable, matter-of-fact-ness, instead of our own earth-shattering doom. We relied on their thorough combing process (with a nit comb and hair conditioner) during our first treatment and thereafter. I will use this again if ever I suspect head lice in the family. It’s how we found ours and it’s how we continued to ensure that we didn’t re-infest.
#3 Follow Up
Though lice can happen to anyone, it’s up to us to make sure we don’t re-infest our own households by not following through with the necessary treatment. This 5 Step Plan from Head Lice to Dead Lice takes you through the steps from treatment through follow-up–including letting others know. (Note: We chose olive oil and essential oils over pesticide– with successful results on an infested head.)
#4 Our Own Lice Treatment Plan
Here’s what we did from start to finish over a three-week period.
1) CHECKING: Checked head in natural light for nits, then under bright lights with a magnifying glass.
2) COMBING: Applied AMPLE conditioner (ours was tea tree) and used the combing process (See Video under #2) until we found: NOTHING. That first night this took many hours. We added conditioner as needed. Wiped bugs onto tissues and disposed of them. Washed the comb in hot, soapy water before successive comb-throughs and had our son repeat the process in the shower–using tea tree shampoo and conditioner (since we weren’t using the pesticide); and then did the combing process all over again; this time carefully searching each section of hair for any remaining nits (See Video #2.) Lastly we used a vinegar rinse (diluted) to help dislodge nits before combing again.
3) OIL: We doused our son’s hair in olive oil and applied diluted essential oils (eg. tea tree, lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus) before covering it with a shower cap and securing it with a t-shirt or bandana.
a. We vacuumed the entire house with special attention to beds, couches, chairs etc.
b. We changed all the bed sheets and washed dirty ones in hot water along with any clothing worn recently.
c. We bagged up things we couldn’t wash: stuffed animals, decorative pillows, fancy coats, hats, scarves or we put them in the dryer for 20 minutes on high. (It was freezing outside that week, so we put all the bags on the porch.)
d. We covered the couch with a new sheet each day.
e. We repeated the vacuuming and washing/drying daily until there was no sign of lice/nits in the house.
f. The infested persons avoided bodily contact with others and with couches etc; and also wore a bandana until there was no sign of lice/nits on their head for 24 hours +.
5.) FAMILY: The entire family oiled up that first night and then every 4 nights after for 3 weeks (as per the 5 Step Treatment Plan–video #3), including checking/combing in the morning before the oil was washed out.
This is our family’s time-tested protocol for lice prevention (Note: If we had followed our own protocol during the recent lice epidemic at school we would not have spent Thanksgiving dealing with them!):
1) Coats, hats, scarves into dryer after school
2) Head blow dried after school
3) Hair gel/essential oils (diluted) applied to hair in the morning before school as a deterrent
EXTRA PROTECTION 4) *If it’s a particularly bad school infestation, we apply the olive oil overnight treatment and use a nit comb in the morning to check with a magnifying glass. (No matter what the result, our hair appreciates the conditioning.)
*Note: we also keep tea tree shampoo and conditioner (and other strong essential oils) on hand to use once a week or more regularly when lice is active in the school.
See video under #3 above for more prevention tips.
If you have your own successful tips for inspection, treatment, followup and prevention, please share them below. We have to rely on each other!!
There’s not much sibling rivalry in our home, and I’d like to take credit for that. With a ratio of 2:2, there’s “enough” parenting to go around so that our boys don’t have to compete much for the light of our attention.
But the truth is just as likely that there is a 5 year spread between our children and so they haven’t needed us in the same way at the same time over the years.
Our first-born seemed somewhat indifferent to the arrival of his brother; which is not to say that he didn’t welcome him into our lives, he did, but he just wasn’t a baby gaga kind of kid.
His younger brother, on the other hand, is. He’s begged for a sibling for years; but actually, he’d probably have the harder time sharing us. Whenever his father or I lavished attention on his younger cousins, he was jealous; but not so much of his independent older brother.
Recently, however, I witnessed a startling act of rivalry. Both boys came down with the flu during the Christmas vacation. The youngest first. And in his hours with high fever, he wanted to be on my body like he had as a child. I folded out the futon couch and created a movie theater bed to accommodate us.
As the days progressed, he became too grumpy for cuddling, but he still wanted someone close so I remained a body’s distance from him. When his big brother came stumbling down the stairs the next evening with a sore throat and a high fever of his own, I patted the place between us.
He hesitated; it had been years since he had wanted my bodily comfort; but then surprisingly, he moved to join me.
In that moment, my youngest was completely absorbed in the film we were watching, but as his big brother began to climb onto the futon, he slowly moved his leg across the bed so that it rested on mine–eliminating any space between us.
I chuckled at this dormant sign of rivalry and winked at my husband across the room, as I moved his leg and pulled my oldest beside me.
My stoic first-born had his own heartening display of subtle, sibling rivalry on the day his brother was born. Though he had long called us by our first names, “Casey” and “Kelly,” the moment his brother was born, we became his “Mommy” and “Daddy” ever more.
Recently, he’s been more transparent, saying to his blonde-haired, blue-eyed younger sibling: “You may not be taller, better looking or richer than me,” and then he adds with a smile: “Well, at least not all three.”
I must confess that I’m biased. I pack a lot of personal power into my 5 foot 2, mama frame. As the oldest of 8, leadership came early. That combined with a love learning and children led me to teaching, where to no surprise, classroom management came easily. When I asked my sixth-grade students why they behaved so poorly for a colleague while behaving so well for me, one replied on behalf of the class, “We know you mean business, Ms. Salasin.”
Unfortunately, parenting a toddler was nothing like managing a classroom. I quickly found some wonderful mentors to guide me as a new parent. When my first-born approached double-digits however, things got”stickier”– climaxing on the day that he refused to practice his violin and dashed out of the house defiantly after I told him to stay.
I was beside myself with thoughts of crushing his will.
When we finally did pick up the “conversation” again, things quickly grew heated, and I actually threatened… to break his toys… before breaking into a smile, shocked at myself. (We both shared a belly laugh then at how ludicrous and desperate I had become.)
This was a turning point for me. I knew that my “rule” in the home had to be adapted in order to remained connected to this emerging man. I didn’t want to give up my personal power, but neither did I want him to grow up without his.
Another mentor appeared. This time with a practice: Non-Violent Communication (NVC). A parent group was formed, and I began studying and applying this subtle, but paradigm-shifting orientation toward power and needs. Most parents came because their kids wouldn’t listen; I came because I wanted to be sure that I listened.
Within months, my oldest was able to use NVC as a powerful tool for communicating what he needed. More often than not, he got what he wanted because he was able to connect to the depth of his needs and share them; and I wanted to respond. Equally instrumental, was his growing ability to understand my needs; and respond, accordingly.
Now this son is 16, and his younger brother is following in his footsteps–using communication that connects and relates. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have moments of frustration or that we don’t lash out from time to time; but we know how to rebound and reconnect; and we practice this every day; and it has truly been amazing–particularly in relationship with a young man who is getting ready to head off to college.
I feel proud. I feel proud that my boys have grown up witnessing and respecting the power of a woman; and I feel equally proud that they know how to understand and express their own needs from a place of strength–and connection.
In our home, each voice is respected. This doesn’t mean that I shirk my role as a parent to guide and teach my sons. I am a strong guide, and they don’t always like it; but they are accustomed to it.
At the same time, I work to help them develop the skills they need to leave me… and hopefully return someday–as a friend.
In desperation, we may think that we have no choice, but that’s not true. The exciting thing about needs is that they are not mutually exclusive. A teenager can have a need for autonomy; and a parent can have a need for respect; and both of these needs can met.
It’s only our strategies that are be in conflict, and with creativity and presence, strategies emerge that meet both needs.
I don’t mean to imply that there will be no conflict or pain, but that there is a way–in our homes and in our communities and our wider world–to respect the needs of ourselves and others–with strategies that support both.
The place to start is self-compassion. Had Mr. Jordan deeply connected to his feelings, he would have realized that he was sad and angry and frustrated. These feelings would have pointed to his needs for respect and consideration and even power; and in his connection to these needs, he would have felt compassion for himself in this challenging role of parenting a seemingly ungrateful child.
In the space between connecting with himself and later his daughter, he would have tended to his hurt in whatever way brought him peace. For me, it is yoga and a visit to my therapist and walk with a good friend on a country road. For someone else, it’s sailing or hunting or Tai Chi.
Fully connected with himself, Mr. Jordan would then be ready to explore his daughter’s needs–even in the face of her hurtful Facebook postings.
He might guess that his daughter was needing greater autonomy or that she might need a greater understanding of how the household roles were shared. He could respond to his daughter in a way that not only set limits but also engendered respect–not for his power–but for his feelings as a man and a parent.
I’m not saying that this is easy. As a parent of a teenager, I know how often my son needs a reality check about how the rest of us feel. I also know that this characteristic self-absorption is a necessary edge of adolescent development. Thus I endeavor to provide those reality checks without shame; whenever needed. That doesn’t mean I never get angry or use my anger to more strongly communicate my needs.
It is important to note here that there is an inherent imbalance in the parent-teen relationship. Teens make it their full time job to claim independence; while our role is only part-time. In this imbalance, we often resort quick to fixes: Shooting a laptop for instance. Videotaping it and putting it on Facebook. Or maybe something less dramatic, but equally disconnecting.
On the other side, parents hold a greater measure of basic power: the money, the home, the food, the clothes, the keys, and often size and strength (at least for fathers and daughters.)
Despite how many applaud Mr. Jordan’s definitive line in the sand, most have come to realize, through deeper reflection, that his display of power was one of helplessness and hurt, not one of instruction and love.
He made a mistake, one with great ramifications, but in doing so, he provided the rest of us with an opportunity to look at where we feel powerless, and what we do about it.
At 5, they’re eager to help. At 8, they’re earnest. At 10, they begin to complain… This is unfair… I have too much to do.
I have a solution.
Not one that involves a gun or humiliation or intimidation. Instead, it’s a reality check. It works best with families who have healthy communication systems–where everyone has a “respected” voice. (Check out NVC.) And it also works best if you start this process around the age of 10 (so that it is ingrained in your child’s thinking before hormones take over :)
Choose an area of the home that creates the most angst (the kitchen is a good place to start.) Make a list of every regular chore that goes into that area–not just the ones you ask the kids to do, but every single one that is done by Mom or Dad too. Don’t forget planning meals, shopping, budgeting, etc. etc.
Print these out and cut the individual chores into something like a fortune cookie slip.
Invite everyone to bring their favorite plate to their seat at the table. (A pizza goes along great with this activity and adds immeasurable good will.)
Place the slips in the middle.
Each person then “fills” her plate with whatever chore she does on a regular basis. In a matter of minutes, this is a real eye opener for the entire family.
When all the slips are gone, each person takes a turn commenting on what he notices.
Next, efforts are made to establish better balance: Perhaps Mom or Dad put a few of their chores back in the middle to be taken over by someone else. Perhaps Mom or Dad realizes that others are contributing a lot too. Definitely kids realize that they have it goooooooood.
When all the strips have been re-distributed (and even traded for a more comfortable fit: ie. I’ll clean the toilets, if you take out the trash), then each plate can be used to create an individual or family chore list.
In our house (with boys 11 and 16), we now use one communal list in the kitchen (for the downstairs and meal contributions) and one upstairs. Each person is to make a proportionate contribution each day (eg. 12 chores for 4 people equal 3 chores daily.) On the weekend, we “house bless” (see the wonderful Fly Lady site for resources like this)–again with each person doing his/her share. Chores can be weighted due to the time or unpleasantness or you can streamline and make them all equal.
People still drag their feet about chores, they complain how hard they are (and I’m not just talking about the kids), but no one under 18 says it’s not fair; because the facts are right there; and if they still aren’t sure, we can do the plate activity again; at which mention they quickly get to work!
Note: this plan does require a regular administrator which in our house is typically me; but I don’t get too frustrated, because I add that responsibility to the list, and then I have less hands-on to do. (The kids are welcome to take over the administrator job if they want it, but so far no one has asked about that.)
Kelly Salasin, Valentines Day 2012
This post is my personal resolution of two previous posts on the Dad Who Used Facebook to Teach his Daughter a Lesson.