Suckers! Start where you are!

Click the pic to order these from Sweetniks.

Click the pic to order these from Sweetniks.


Click the pic to order these from Sweetniks.

I was horrified.

Our occupational therapist brought a lollipop!  I adored her, and it physically hurt for me to try to reconcile my rigid anti-candy position with this gift.  This toy. This tool.  Because it was a tool, actually.  A spinning giant ping-pong-ball of a lollipop.

We spent some time talking about it and I tried to disguise the intensity of my feelings.  Our project was to encourage play in Thing One, my orally defensive kid, aged two, to take the stress out of eating, brushing teeth, and drinking.


Click the pic to order these from Western Hospitality.

I relented.  Whatever it takes.

He pushed the little button and it spun.  She encouraged him to put it in his mouth.  He looked at me.

I smiled and nodded.  He frowned.  He touched it gingerly to his lips. Tongue. Lips. Start where you are.

He didn’t eat that giant damned sucker.  He played with it.  Like we played with straws, blew on kleenex, and blew raspberries.  Whatever it took.  His health did not deteriorate; his taste for healthy foods did not falter (until years later).

We both learned some things that day.  I still am learning that my clear rigid boundaries are usually the ones that help the least.  The further I get into parenting — Thing One is now 11 — the more I miss the clarity and rigid boundaries I started with!

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12 thoughts on “Suckers! Start where you are!

  1. Angela these lollipops are adorable and so are you! I love how you see the bigger picture and look for learning opportunities everywhere. I’m sure everyone can relate to letting go of some rigid beliefs.


    • Elaine, the thing about rigid beliefs is that they are so clear and comfortable! I kind of miss them, you know? It’s scary to jump into the complicated zone~ thank you as always for reading and commenting and letting us in on your journey… in the complicated zone! best, Angela


  2. So true! Being flexible and open minded versus rigid in our thinking frees us from so much stress. It’s like the book, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” We could all benefit from “letting go” of some of our rigid rules.


    • Fay, thanks for reading, and for your comment. Staying open-minded when working with kids is so important — and so hard. I guess I’m learning that rigid rules are the ones that we should red-flag, to think through the complications and exceptions. Thank you, best, Angela


  3. I am catching what you are throwing, Angela! Rigid boundaries are fine and really help when you are dealing with children with specific challenges. Nothing wrong with that. And, the willingness to go outside the lines and find new and creative ways to grow and learn is sometimes half the fun. Great job on going with it, and what super fun suckers!!


  4. I love the simplicity of this. It’s a Both/and for me. I like to think/hope that I guide with IDEALS and keep space for the BEING, while being open to the fact that I am not God, nor am I controlling anything or anyone. Which, gives permission for the Inevitable- that messy thing called life! .


    • Funny, I saw a book at the library that was titled something like “I was a perfect parent before I had kids” and I thought of this post and this journey. Messy, indeed! Thank you, Wendi, for reading and commenting. x a


  5. When I first started reading your article I thought you were going to have issue with the SUCKER because of the stick; not the sugar!

    Me? I like rigidity in a lot of areas in my life. But I’m learning where it’s okay to have it and what to just be flexible with it. I like to HAVE rules but I rarely follow them. I’m excited to see how these change when I become a parent someday!


    • “I like to have rules but I rarely follow them.” Somehow, darling, that is perfect! Haha, it works best for me when everyone else follows my rules, tee hee. And, if I’d thought of the stick I would have worried about that, too! Thnk you so much for reading and commenting. xx a


  6. I love the picture of the lollipops. I too can relate to the rigidness of boundaries sometimes don’t help me with my children. I find that I need to relax sometimes and not be too uptight. Often my kids surprise me when I’m more relaxed.


    • You are right about being surprised when relaxed, Alicia. This is the first summer I haven’t had an academic job and shuffled the kids from camp to camp. It’s been pretty amazing to see them settle into a summer OFF. Really off. Our first one. It’s not all unicorns and sunshine, but they are experiencing boredom, a great imagination-maker! 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting. xx a


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