Hand in Hand Connecting! 
March 2008

"If we can remain awake to the challenges and the calling of parenthood...we can use the occasions that arise with our children to break down the barriers in our own minds, to see more clearly into ourselves, and to be more effectively present for them."


--Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn in

Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
In This Issue
Our Schedule: Special Time, Laughter and Limits and more!
The Connected Parent on Creating Confidence
Want to Help with Member Relations?
Lessons from Lemonade
Crying, Peace and Relaxation
Certification Graduation
Dr. Louise Hart "How to Have a Happier Family"
Play, Overtures and Happiness
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If you ever want to review articles in past issues of Connecting!, they are now available in our newsletter archives.  
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A New Class with Patty, Special Time Teleseminar, Laughter and Limits Workshop

Do you wish you could take a class with Patty even though you live outside the area?  Here's your chance!  Patty will be teaching a four week teleclass Making Friends with Your Child's Emotions starting March 19th. This month's free introductory conference call will focus on Making the Most of Special Time. And Hand in Hand consultants are always available to help with individual issues or questions. 


If you are in the Bay Area, join us for Parenting from the Same Page, Laughter and Limits: A Workshop for Fathers or Helping Children with Emotional Moments. Also one-on-one parent consultations are now available in Marin. 


Would you like to schedule a talk, workshop or Family Fun event for your group?  Contact us today to reserve space.


You can see all our upcoming events on the full schedule.

Creating Confidence

This month's article on CleverParents.com addresses the question, What can I do to help my timid little girl gain confidence?  Clever Parents


"Does the answer, "Wrestle!" come to mind? Many of the confident, capable, courageous girls I know have families in which vigorous physical play is a tradition. It's an unsung activity that is far more important to children's development than we've guessed." Read the full article here.
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Classes and Events

Member Relations Volunteer Needed

Oversee membership renewals and work with Hand in Hand board members and staff to build a strong member community.  Build relationships with Hand in Hand members, distribute member information, follow-up on member requests, and track participation in members-only events.


Contact us for details.

Online Discussion Group for Hand in Hand
Do you ever want to connect with a warm, supportive and knowledgeable community--at three in the morning? Just in case you feel the need, the Hand in Hand discussion group is there for you, twenty-four hours a day.
Lessons from Lemonade
Juli Idleman
The lemon tree in our backyard has had lemons on it every day since we moved in.  The other day my daughter dragged one of the patio chairs under the tree and started reaching carefully between the thorns to pick them.  She filled an old Easter basket with bright yellow fruit and ran inside calling to me to come make lemonade.  Several cups of sugar later, the house smelled like heaven and my daughter proudly announced, "I'm making a lemonade stand!"


I watched her out the kitchen window, sitting at the end of the driveway with her small kid's table, her pitcher, three large red cups and a crayon sign that said, "Lemonade 50 cents." She looked small and lonely sitting out there by herself.  It's a quiet street. Only the occasional dog walker passes by.  She waved to passing cars, but no one stopped.  She came inside for some paper and pencils and returned to her post.


Worries flitted through my mind.  Do people really kidnap children right from the end of their driveway? Is that why we don't know the neighbors? Or is that just some exaggerated anxiety that needn't keep us so apart from one another?  What if no one comes to the lemonade stand?  Will she be crushed? Will this damage her developing relationship with the world? Will she somehow internalize the idea that no one wants what she has to offer?


She sat out there for an hour.  She drew pictures.  She waved at passing cars.  She rooted through the trunk of my car and found a ball and glove. She put more signs on the fence.  She drank some of the lemonade. No one stopped. No one bought lemonade. It was excruciating--for me!


Then suddenly she burst through the front door yelling, "I've got a buddy!" She dashed back out the door after snatching a few more cups. Out the kitchen window I saw that another girl, about my daughter's size, had joined her at the lemonade stand. Where had this girl come from?  How have we lived here for years and not noticed another girl my daughter's age in the neighborhood? Soon another child joined them, then a toddler out walking with his grandmother. The lemonade pitcher slowly emptied and soon my kitchen filled with children and neighbors I had never met all passing lemons and mixing sugar and playful banter.


My daughter's patience and leap of faith brought much more than an early lesson in business.  Maybe the sign should have said, "Community 50 cents."

--Juli Idleman
Crying Leads to Peace and Relaxation

I have to tell you about my crying experience with my one-year-old daughter.  After a very short surgery under anesthesia delivered through a mask, she was brought back to me.  She (as expected) was crying and mad, and probably confused.  Her crying went on for a while.


The nurse came in after a bit to ask me if she had a "temper at home too" to which I answered "Yes."  My daughter continued to cry (she was really mad) while I was hugging her.  A neighbor mother asked if she could help by giving me her blankie or something.  "No, thanks, it's OK."  I let her cry.  I went for a walk, and I offered her water and breast thinking she was probably hungry.  Then I went back to my room and my daughter continued to cry. 


The nurse came back and told me, "Nine out of ten kids do better once you put them into their car seat and they understand you are going home."  I told the nurse I did not want her to be so upset in the car through morning rush-hour traffic.  Finally, I closed the door and sat on a chair where the nurse could not see me, and my daughter continued to cry.  She was really mad and did not want anything. 


After 30 minutes of crying in my arms she started to soothe herself, then went back to crying, every time a smaller cry.  Her body started relaxing, she was breathing better, and finally fell asleep in my arms in a very relaxed state. 


I cannot tell you how relieved I was that I did not feel like I needed to entertain her, distract her or stop her from having her feelings.  I was calm and with an internal peace I have not had in a while.  I knew I was there for her, but that it was not my responsibility to "make her" feel better, that she just needed to to feel her pain, confusion and anger. 


My daughter slept soundly for 4 hours.  Then she woke up happy and relaxed! It worked!


                                        --A mother in Texas

2007 Certification Program Complete

We would like to congratulate the many talented individuals who completed the 2007 Instructor Certification training with us.  Their devotion to the work has been inspiring to the Hand in Hand staff and we look forward to the impact they will have on parents and children as they move forward in their teaching careers.  They will be bringing Hand in Hand services to new families from Sonoma, to Austin, to Toronto. We are proud to have them as part of our team.  

 Dr. Louise Hart

"How to Have a Happier Family" is an upcoming teleclass with Dr. Louise Hart. Dad and son


Close relationships are the most important factor for having a satisfying life.  Good family connections, therefore, are crucial for happiness.


For more information about this class and to register, visit her website.

For 20 years, Dr. Hart has taught parents how to nurture positive emotions that bring out the best in children and adults alike.  Her presentations have taken her to conferences around the country and the world. In addition to The Winning Family, reviewed here last month, she has written On the Wings of Self-Esteem. Dr. Hart is excited about writing another parenting book-with her daughter, Kristen Craven, who wrote: "Our collaboration is harmonious and joyful, since this is a powerful life's work for us both."

Play, Overtures and Happiness
  • I enjoyed the video you might have seen going around the Internet, "The Years Are Short," and when I contacted its creator, Gretchen Rubin, through her blog "The Happiness Project" she told me, "I'm off to check out your archives. Hand in Hand sounds like just my kind of thing!"

    Polishing Stone
  • The latest issue of the Polishing Stone contains an article by Patty on the Art of Overtures.
  • "...For most of human history what children did when they played was roam in packs large or small, more or less unsupervised, and engage in freewheeling imaginative play. They were pirates and princesses, aristocrats and action heroes. Basically, says Chudacoff, they spent most of their time doing what looked like nothing much at all." Read the full Morning Edition transcript of Alix Spiegel's segment Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills.

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Stop by any time for some lemonade!
Julianne Idleman
Hand in Hand