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Parenting – San Fran http://socialinsanfrancisco.com Join the Fun! Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:57:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 30 Things I’d Rather Be Called than Pretty http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/30-things-id-rather-be-called-than-pretty/ Sun, 04 Dec 2016 07:39:04 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/30-things-id-rather-be-called-than-pretty/

by Jenny Hansen

Everyone has that one word that sets them off, for reasons that elude others. For some it’s “nice,” for others it might be “tall.” None of those words are bad, but have you considered what you’d rather be called than that word you hate? Oddysey’s post “30 Things I’d Rather Be Than ‘Pretty‘” got me thinking about this. It’s shocking how hard it was to come up with thirty.

How do I want to be perceived? How do I want my daughter to perceive herself?

Throughout her short life, I’ve worked to find other qualities to compliment my child about, rather than her looks. I tell her she’s smart, creative, responsible, grown-up, so cute. But what would I rather be called? What words make my soul light up and dance? 

Here are 30 that make me feel downright zingy.

[And yes, I alphabetized. I dream of being an organized person, you know.]

1.  Badass

Badassery is a highly underrated quality, encompassing many other qualities. I read a book on the topic I think y’all would love: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.

2.  Brave

The dictionary says this means: “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.” To me, bravery means doing things that scare you.

Bravery

3.  Capable

I like to learn new things…except for those times when I don’t. You know what I mean. The things you must do and basic skills you must master to do this adulting thing. You’ve gotta do them, even when you don’t enjoy them.

4.  Competent

Competent is even better than capable. Think about how annoying incompetence is at work. Now think of the glow that comes with competence. Those are the people you want to hitch wagons with, whether it’s a scavenger hunt or something much much bigger.

5.  Confident

Who doesn’t want to be confident? To feel good about their decisions. This is a great word.

6. Cowbellish

Yup, you heard me. Full of cowbell. A person who really uses their studio space.

7.  Creative

Creative is fun. Creative ROCKS. Creativity is what most of us strive for. Why just settle for “thinking outside the box,” when you can walk all the way around the box and draw cool pictures?

8.  Disciplined

I dream of being an organized person and organization takes discipline. I’ll think, “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to have a routine and a schedule?” However, my brain doesn’t work that way, so except for things like deadlines or mealtimes, my world is pretty much a free-for-all.

9. Dreamy

Daydreams are vital for creatives, as studies have proven our life satisfaction increases when we dream about those we know. For authors, that’s our characters. I get a lot of creative work done when I take time to dream.

dreams_langstonhughes

10.  Empathetic

Everybody has a path of fire they must walk. You might not see it, you might not hear about it, but they have it. I’d like to be described as someone who understands other peoples’ point of view and has empathy for their feelings.

11. Fabulous

Isn’t this a great word? Fab-you-lous! There’s so many ways to say this. Fab-uh-luss.

12.  Flexible

If Plan A doesn’t work, it’s nice to be flexible enough to go with Plan B. It makes life simpler when you can just go with the flowThis doesn’t mean being a pushover, it means being able to adjust.

Ultimately spiritual awareness unfolds when you’re flexible, when you’re spontaneous, when you’re detached, when you’re easy on yourself and easy on others. ~ Deepak Chopra

13. Friendly

Lots of words go with this – affable, warm, affectionate, outgoing, accessible. Friendly is a badass word. And who doesn’t want to live a life filled with badassery? (see #1)

14. Funny

My blog is More Cowbell! Of course “funny” is the best word in the dictionary.

//giphy.com/embed/l0HlBwsIWjIgEQXMk

15. Groovy

I know Groovy is a Java programming language, but that’s not how I mean it. I’m thinking the traditional meaning: fashionable and exciting (she’s sporting a groovy new haircut). Groove-y.

16. Hardworking

I respect people who work their a$$es off. I just do. I might not be the most organized gal, but I can outwork just about anybody.

17. Independent

I freely admit to being afraid of heights, but do you know my deep-down-super-secret fear? Being homeless and dependent on others. I’m a huge fan of independence.

18. Interesting

Every blogger or writer wants to be interesting. To arouse curiosity or interest, to hold or catch attention with my words.

19. Inventive

In the same ballpark as “creative” or “flexible,” inventive takes things a few steps further. Instead of thinking outside the box, you have the ability to think of a new way to use the box. Perhaps an entirely new box might come into being. I love this word.

20. Kind

A few weeks back it was World Kindness Day and, after the election this country just had, I don’t think kindness can be over-emphasized. Be kind, y’all. Be kind whenever and wherever you can.

kindness_is_free

21. Loving

As Maya Angelou says, “be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Just love them. We all have enough rain clouds in our lives.

22.  Nice

I think people underestimate the power of niceness. It’s different from kindness, which often requires more thought and effort. In business, nice will win every time. There’s great books written about the Power of Nice.

23. Nurturing

To nurture is to cherish, help or encourage. Do this with your family and your friends. Do this for yourself . That’s the logical place to start. There are entire Pinterest boards on nurturing yourself. Follow them! They are amazeballs.

24. Phenomenal

Maya Angelou says this wa-a-a-ay better than I do.

25. Quirky

I love this word. Unusual. Eccentric. Unexpected. Roll those in with some fun and you’ve got quirky.

26. Restful

I’m craving restful after the election season we just had. Everyone has been hopped up for months. Quiet and soothing (restful) sound delightful right about now.

27. Sexy

Some days you’ve just got to have your hottie pants on. Celebrate yourself, and share your sexy with the world.

28. Smart

Perhaps I should have said shrewd or astute. Intelligence is grand, but the common sense to go with it is what brings people up to the level of  “smart.” I like smart.

29. Tough

Some people might call this fortitude. “Mental toughness” is what helps people cope with difficult situations. I don’t mean hard or jaded, but rather having healthy personal boundaries. That makes “tough” the highest of compliments.

“Being physically tough is measured by how many fights you win, but mental toughness is measured by how you react when all the chips are stacked against you, how fast you get back on track when life kicks you in the nuts. Any fool can win a fight, but it takes a person with true grit to never give up when all seems lost.” Benjamin Bayani, The Nation

30. Zany

I dig this word…I had to include it. Who doesn’t want to be described as “amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic.” Zany is full of awesome sauce.

How about you? What is you favorite word on this list? What are some of the words you’d like to be described with? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny @JennyHansenCA

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About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2016 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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5 Ways Kindergarten Enrollment Is Like a Job Interview http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/5-ways-kindergarten-enrollment-is-like-a-job-interview/ Fri, 22 May 2015 06:47:44 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/5-ways-kindergarten-enrollment-is-like-a-job-interview/

by Jenny Hansen

parentingI’m warning you, today I’m gonna get my rant on. It feels like I’ve been preparing for my kid to go to kindergarten for at least 4 months now.

Oh wait…I have!

What happened to the days when you just took in a piece of mail, filled out a form and sent your kid to the school in their district? Was that scenario just a figment of my imagination?

Why does this feel like a job interview? The kid doesn’t even start school till September and I’ve been doing this since January.

Let me know if you see the similarities here:

1. You must submit at least 3 forms of ID to the HR Department.

A driver’s license with your current address, a property tax bill, the kid’s birth certificate… And that’s to the district, which is only open for limited times three days a week. We aren’t even talking about the school yet.

Seriously, y’all? What if the family has just moved? Those poor people have to brave the DMV before their kid can go to school? It’s kindergarten, not a space mission.

2. Multiple interviews over several months.

I’ve done orientations for three public schools in my district – one is a magnet school, so that one was optional, but I’m in an area between two local elementary schools. Each orientation tells me about the same things, takes 90 minutes, is tightly regimented and leaves me wondering if this will be the final step.

3. Acceptance hinges on the medical report.

For adults, it’s a drug test; for kids it’s the vaccination report and doctor’s form. What’s all that stuff I heard about “the parent’s choice to vaccinate” the kid?

I’m a firm believer in vaccines, but I’m shocked at how involved this medical report is. Plus, you can’t get it covered via insurance until after the child has a birthday, so my neighbor is having to pay $80 to get it done early before all the kindergarten classes fill up and she’s stuck in the “overflow” classes.

4. Surveys and tests that make no sense.

I don’t know if you’ve ever done those employment tests where they have you manipulate shapes, do math problems that have no bearing on the job, and answer the same question 14 times: No really, I still won’t steal, whether it’s five bucks, five hundred, or five paper clips. Filling out kindergarten forms feels like that, and nobody shares information.

5. You’re pressured to agree to everything, just to get in.

Why yes, I will fundraise, join the PTA, run your computer lab… *comes up for air* 

Wha-a-a–? Really? I just want to send my kid to school. And I want her to like it, and learn a bunch of cool stuff and not get crushed by bullies. I’ll be volunteering as much as I’m able cuz that’s the way I roll, but these parent organizations come at you like pirahnas. It’s a little spooky.

Today is the doctor’s visit. Tomorrow is the 12 page questionairre (still not kidding). Maybe THEN we’ll be done, and the child can go to kindergarten. PLEASE? *whines* I’ve heard there’s a background check to walk on the field for Little League, so who knows what other joys await.

Please let me know what I have to look forward to. I’ve got 100 bottles of wine in this house, so bring it on. I’m ready.

Do any of you with kids remember it being this hard to enroll your kids in everyday activities? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook!

~ Jenny

@JennyHansenCA

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About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm.

© 2015 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me.

Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan – FlickrCC License 2.0
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5 Lessons I Learned Teaching Autistic Kids http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/5-lessons-i-learned-teaching-autistic-kids/ Fri, 15 Mar 2013 08:16:57 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/?p=742
Photo from AutismDontPanic.co.uk

Photo from AutismDontPanic.co.uk

5 Lessons Learned Teaching Autistic Children
by Jenny Hansen

My first job out of college was as an autism specialist for the Judevine Center for Autism, based in St. Louis. It was like learning a strange language in a strange land. An extremely fascinating land, but with completely different rules than I was used to.

Autistic minds don’t work the same way as “regular” minds, yet they’re brilliant and funny as hell. My time with Judevine changed the way I see the world, and really honed my ability to find humor in the “everyday.”

I’ve routinely had students in my corporate classes say, “I’ll bet we’re the hardest class you ever had to teach.”

My standard answer is: “You don’t bite, you don’t scratch, and you don’t spit in my face. You’re a piece of cake.”

They always laugh, and they rarely realize I’m serious.

 

Here are the lessons that really stayed with me from that time in my life:

1. Autism is like having all your senses hopped up on crystal meth.

Imagine the world if you sat in a restaurant with your over-sensitive senses sparking at warp speed. You’d smell the five different shampoos used by your surrounding diners, hear the clink of silverware and the sound of people’s feet scuffing the floor, the air rushing through the vents, along with the hum of traffic outside. And have no ability whatsoever to tune all that sensory input out. Ouch, ouch, OUCH!

2. “Please” and “thank you” imply that a request is optional.

One of the most difficult things for me to learn when I was going through my training was to leave what I considered good manners at the door. The autistic brain is a very concrete one which often makes manners and pronouns difficult to grasp.

For example, the terms “yes” and “no” are quite ambiguous: “Yes, WHAT?” or “No, what??” Adding “please” to a request for an autistic person (in their mind) implies a choice. If it’s something they didn’t really want to do in the first place, it’s likely they’ll just say “no” and go back to their preferred activity.

This lesson has carried into my own parenting. I rarely tell Baby Girl “no” when she’s heading toward disaster — I tell her to “Stop.” It’s concrete and immediate, and so far, it works.

3. Grandmas are damn smart.

One of the first things you learn when you work with autistic individuals is the Premack Principle, or “Grandma’s Rule”. Premacking a child’s schedule means to start with an activity they are ambivalent about, followed by a disliked activity, followed by a like and so on. Premacking their child’s schedule is how the wise parent gets their kid through the day. We need to do “X” before we can go out and play. (See?? Grandmas.)

If you set up a storyboard about the things that will happen in an autistic person’s day with pictures, so much the better. Remember, you’re dealing with a precise individual.

4. Few autistic kids understand the concept of time.

Oh, they learn about time if you tie it to a reward – most of these kids are brilliant after all. But that intrinsic knowing that this is ten minutes and it takes that long to brush my teeth, wash my face and put on my clothes for school is almost always missing from an autistic kid.

Parents learn to “sequence,” using the Premack Principle. For example:

“First we’re going to brush our teeth, then we’re going to wash our face, and after that we’re going to get dressed.” If they start dallying on the dressing part, you’d remind them what comes next. “After you get dressed, then we’re going to eat breakfast, and then we’ll drive to school.”

It’s tiring to sequence all day long, but not as tiring as dealing with tantrums when your kid doesn’t understand why they have to stop doing whatever thing they love to do. If they know what to expect, they’re not as frightened.

Imagine how you’d feel if you had no idea how long you had to sit in a car or do something you hated – you get through activities you hate only because you know when they end.

5. Positive reinforcement fixes everything.

In #1 above, I mentioned all the sensory input bombarding an autistic person in a restaurant. This can be overcome, it just takes some work.

The wise parent undertakes the task in stages, first getting their child into the car for a short trip and reinforcing them until car rides aren’t stressful. The next stage might be stopping in to a restaurant during a non-busy time of day and sitting at the table for a few minutes. Eventually, you will work your way up to a full meal.

Whatever it is that’s important to you, break it down into small reinforceable steps and prepare to do each step many, many times.

Do you have autistic individuals in your life? Tweet me at @JennyHansenCA to share your experience!

~ Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm. Jenny also writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.

© 2013 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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