Friday, December 26, 2008

Re-Post: The Kissing Hand

The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn, is a perfect back to school book for all young readers. I know many teachers use it in their first day curriculum, but why not do some projects together right at home after reading the book. Here are two ideas.

1. Trading Hands. Trace and cut out your child's hand and your own hand onto some stiff card stock or cardboard. Give your hand to your child to decorate while you are busy decorating their hand. Use stickers, crayons, markers, etc.--anything that helps you to show how much you love that person. Then punch a hole in the palm part of the hand and loop some twine, yarn, or string through the hole. Tie your child's hand ( the one you decorated) onto their backpack and hang your hand somewhere in your home or office as a reminder of that love. You both have kissing hands to help you through the day.

2. Kissing Hand Cookies. Make sugar cookies and use a hand cookie cutter as your shape. You can either cut a small heart out of the center of the dough or just decorate with frosting and sprinkles once they are baked. Remember to send one in your child's lunch the next day with a special love note from you.

In case you are not yet familiar with this delightful book, here is a review from Publishers Weekly for The Kissing Hand:
In her foreword to Penn's sugary tale about Chester, a young raccoon who would rather stay at home than go to school, Jean Kennedy Smith notes that the story is "for any child who confronts a difficult situation, and for the child within each of us who sometimes needs reassurance." Its obvious message is delivered by Mrs. Raccoon, who tells her son that "I know a wonderful secret that will make your nights at school seem as warm and cozy as your days at home." She then kisses his palm, and Chester feels the kiss "rush from his hand, up his arm, and into his heart." Whenever he gets lonely, she advises, he is to press his hand to his cheek and "that very kiss will jump to your face and fill you with toasty warm thoughts." As it may for youngsters in comparable situations, this "secret" works for Chester, who in turn kisses his mother's palm so that she, too, will be reassured.

Midweek Pick Me Up
I realized over the last couple of weeks that I have been thinking things like this: "Wow, Deneal does such fun activities with her child. And he doesn't even watch any TV." "Staci always has such fun projects going on with her kids. They get so many opportunities to create neat things." "Deborah is such a fun person. I know she's a fun mom too." "Jenni has an infinite amount of patience as a mother." I noticed that all of these thoughts had an undercurrent of, "I'm just a big ball of stress right now with the upcoming move. I'm ignoring my children way too frequently. They are fighting more often and I'm sure it's my fault." Then I had a lightbulb moment:

When we compare ourselves with others, we're comparing the best they have to offer with the worst we have to offer.

It's useless to compare ourselves with others. If something must be done, evaluate yourself. And if you are going to evaluate yourself, recognize your strengths in addition to your weaknesses. Yes, we're moving, so it's okay to be stressed out. It will get better. And I read to my children, sometimes for an hour. And I make paper airplanes all of the time, even though I don't like to! Our kids love and appreciate us for the things we do for and with them.

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