Chairs to Bedtime, I’ll drink to that!! From Coffee or Vodka? Parenting 911

Dear: Parenting 911

Hi, I really enjoy reading your blog / article.  As a first time mom everything is new territory for me, and your blog has been a go to guide for me lately. That being said, my four year old Abel is posing a huge sleep issue in my home….EVERY NIGHT Abel refuses to sleep anywhere except my bed. Recently my boyfriend Mark and I finally took the next step of our three year relationship and moved in together.

Prior to the new place Abel had ALWAYS slept with me. It was a an easy and convenient solution to the problem of sharing a single bedroom in my parents home. Although Mark and Abel are very close, and Mark treats him like his own; Mark and I both feel uncomfortable having Abel in ( OUR ) bed. Now I feel guilty trying to change this by demanding he stay and sleep in his own room.

Since I started and enabled this sleep ritual, I don’t want him to feel that I’m deliberately “being mean” because of Mark, or choosing my boyfriend over my son. This lack of sleep and the awful discomfort of trying to cram into a toddler bed so Mark gets some sleep is relentless torture. I / we really need Abel to begin to separate sleep with ” Our bed”.

How can I please everyone?
Sincerely — A night cap.

Dear: A night cap :
Okay so you clearly recognize the problem that’s a great start. The problem being you made the rules early on, and now you want to change them. In a four year old’s world you might as well have packed his things and left him on a doorstep. Being evicted from mommy’s bed, where, it’s safe, warm, comfortable, and inviting… a mortal sin to a four year old…What are you thinking mom? The problem now is…You are doing the right thing, and your ALL paying for it. Its an extremely difficult thing to live in and share the confines of one bedroom. Since that is no longer the case, and you have a new environment -you now have the ability to establish new boundaries.

Every fairy tale with a happy ending has a villain. So break out you horns and pitchfork, AbeHELL is about to have a melt down .With new living arrangement comes new routines- START THERE :
A) Make a bedtime checklist perhaps on poster board or something he can see EVERY NIGHT. With every completed task let him put a sticker on the board beside the task. Tell him that once he reaches (the amount you deem appropriate), he will receive a prize. But the prize should always involve” special mommy and Abel time”. Try doing something new with him. Do activities that promote independence, and interactions , or that have the potential to build his social skills. Set the bedtime goals to things he is sure to complete.  I.E.: Get into PJ’s, pick out a book, brush teeth etc. The last task being to ”  get in his own bed” and stay there till morning, when he can add a GIANT sticker for staying in his bed all night.
B) Make sure his “new” room is aesthetically pleasing to him. Have him help with picking the decor. Perhaps putting a recognizable and familiar thing in his room matching the one in yours; be it a painting or picture of the two of you.
C) Take him to Build-a-Bear and make him a “sleep buddy” or “bed friend”. Most Build-a-Bear’s offer a recording device that you can build right into his buddy. Record your voice singing lullabies,  or a few soothing words. That way when he is lonely, scared, or uncomfortable  squeezing his buddy and hearing your voice can at least curb the temptation to run to the  ”  safe haven”that is- your bed.
D) Try to duplicate the feel of your bed. As your aching spine is all to familiar with the unacceptable feel of a toddler bed; with its  over- starched 50 / 50 poly-cotton blend sheets and crunchy crib mattress, a toddler bed is ( just not the same).
E) BE CONSISTENT………. I can’t stress that enough…
If you cave or give in,  even a portion of the time, this WILL NOT work. Stick to the parental play book and DON’T. Back down. Four year olds sniff out weakness like a vulture smells an injured animal from the sky.
F) If by now all else has failed, and the monotonous “musical beds” game is still in full swing, then pull up a chair……literally. Time for some Jedi mom tricks! >>>>
1) Do the bedtime routine chart as usual.
2) This time mentally and physically prepare for a two week stint in “The Battle of Wills”.
3) Grab a chair.
4) After the story time part of your routine, shut off the main light, turn on his night light ( though I think a small fish tank is far more helpful).
5) Have a giant hugs and kisses session saying goodnight.
6) Put the chair right up to his bed,
7) Explain that you are going to sit there while he falls asleep.
8) Sit quietly.(If he continues to talk, DO NOT engage him, you simply ignore his request for attention. I know it seems harsh but it’s not, IT’S EFFECTIVE.
9) If he gets out of bed, he gets a warning, and placed back in bed lovingly one more kiss and hug, an I Love You and a Goodnight. If he continues to get up after that-firmly but calmly return him to his bed without a word. ( Repeat as many times as necessary till he has fallen asleep…IN HIS BED).
10) Each night of the two weeks move the chair just a few inches toward the door and away from his bed. By the end of week two you should be sitting outside his doorway, then not at all.
He will soon realize his incessant crying, whining, and sleep refusals…are useless. By night 6 this should be a cake walk for you both.
Hope this helps…..
Sincerely — Heather C of.
Or Vodka!! Parenting 911

Wishing for fishin!!!! “Coffee or Vodka? Parenting 911”


Dear: Parenting 911
My husband and I are currently trying to blend our families from previous marriages. Now that he has won full custody of his two boys; and I’ve always had full custody of my son- as a single mom.

My husband’s son’s were raised around many” outdoor” activities such as soccer, little league and their favorite past time FISHING. Jacob and Jared are 2 years older then my son Lucas. Lucas has always been shy, and introverted; more-so since my divorce and remarriage. This will be our first summer living together as a family. Lucas has never been interested in sports, and is especially jealous of the Father- son bond he sees and lacks. My husband is very willing to take him fishing and is always trying to include him, but Lucas shys away; and he’s apparently freaked out about baiting a fishing hook…Jake and Jared have teased him relentlessly all winter about it.

We’ve talked with them, but nothing. Even my husband has no ideas on the next step. Parenting 911 I hate seeing my son hurt and I hate to say it but- I think I may have created a wuss!!!! How can I help him learn to love a hobby I know will bring the boys closer together??? I DONT KNOW WHAT IM DOING…. Any advice would help, thanks so much.

Swedish fish Vodka

Dear: Swedish fish :
The blending of two families, homes, rules, standards, and backgrounds is no easy feat. Any therapist would advise you that this task is more than fishing trips and family night’s. I will say this, you are right in wanting to bond them now. As time goes on and things get harder- the boys will begin to focus more on the disruptions, and differences instead of what good might be there. On the bright side you already know this and want to fix the leak before it sinks your “boat”. The way to being a successful captain is to run a tight ship. Including sneaking Lucas the extra pointers needed to play with the big boys. You mentioned in your e-mail that Lucas is a bit of a “neat freak”- dirty hands are not welcome…. I would try this; take a day for you & Lucas to practice. You will need baby wipes hand sanitizer, or sometimes even rubber gloves will do. Also know your baits, tackle, and the type of fishing you will be doing. Will it be salt or fresh water? Are you using worms, shiners, mackerel, or squid? You get the idea. What type of fish are they fishing for? If salt water..perhaps they are going for big game such as striper / striped bass, or blue fish..Fresh water possibly and most likely it is small or large mouth bass, catfish, trout, or salmon they are after. Know your target! And of course it’s favorite entree.

Make Google your new best friend, learn some lingo, familiarize yourself with how to “rig up a pole” English translation; Know how to set up the pole from start to finish by threading your fishing line through the eyelets of your pole. Learn if a sinker is needed and how to attach it.  Leader wire and barrels- what are they used for and how they are attached to your line. Hooks, what size how sharp etc..and even when, where, and how to use bobbers where applicable. I know it sounds daunting but I assure you a few times of getting stuck on a rocky bottom, or a stray cast lands your rig on a tree limb; causing you to lose your tackle- and you will be a pro by days end. Lucas seeing his mom do this happily and persistently will more likely intrigue him to try more himself. And continually encourage his efforts at trying and attempting new things. Lucas’s effort is not the only effort needed here though. So as a new blended family unite with your husband and demand respect, and honor among the boys. That hurtful things WILL be punished, that it’s unacceptable in your new home together. Hope some of this is helpful…

Heather C of Coffee or.        Vodka, Parenting 911


Mayor connections : Hyde Park’s Rob Consalvo at BAGLY (Boston Area Gay & Lesbian Youth) event

Mayor Tom Menino’s more or less last minute announcement that he would not be running for re-election set of what has turned out to be a mad scramble, by a hurrying multitude, to get to the “final” in which only two will face off. To date there are twenty-four (24 !) candidates signed up, making 1967’s eight look sparse. Could 24 people actually all have a chance to get past the September primary ? The answer is yes, for most: because in a four and a half month campaign, anyone can shape up. Usually a run for an office as powerful as Boston Mayor begins well in advance — at least a year before, maybe two. Indeed, as any veteran campaigner in Boston knows, your whole life — maybe also those of your parents and grandparents — goes into making you strong on vote day. Still, all that life history of connections and re-connections needs to be organized and called upon. That this year a candidate will get only 20-odd weeks, no matter who he or she is, grievously levels the odds.

Some things remain the same, however. Candidates holding current office already have made their connections and reconnectiions. They are combat ready. The first battle is to collect 3,000 certifiable nomination signatures. Large organization in place makes it easier to collect at least 3,000 signatures — and to submit them first, because if a voter signs more than one Mayoral nomination paper — and many do — only the first submitted counts. Consider also this : for 24 candidates to qualify for the ballot, at least 72,000 signatures will need to count. that is fully 20% plus of ALL Boston voters. The City has probably never seen such a huge street-level effort.

Probably half the 24 will actually make it onto the ballot. So what comes next ? Already the major eight or so candidates are running all over the city; marching parades, meeting and greeting at eateries, shaking hands at festivals and crowd gatherings, congratulating park League sports teams; holding coffee parties in neighborhoods; advancing an agenda. But does any of this even matter on vote day ? Not many voters give their vote, in a multi-candidate field, to a candidate they happen to meet once, or even twice. Likely they have already known at least one of the “major 8” already and have interacted with him or her. It is difficult for another candidate to overtop a voter’s long experience of another candidate. Truly, in local politics, it’s an axiom that the longer that one has known a candidate, the more likely he or she is to vote for that candidate.

The force of this axiom is likely why the “major 8′ are spending so much time right now acmpaigning to communitiues of voters — LGBT and allies, Haitians, Cape Verdeans, Asians, “new Boston — who for the most part do NOT have long connection with Boston politics. If the long-connected voters — the “traditional” voters of Wards 6, 7, 16, 19, 20, and half of 18; and the “new Boston” voters of Wards 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 21 — are pretty much already “in the bag” for one or another of the “majors,” then it makes sense for them to seek out whatever they can bag up from the less connected communities.

Less connected voters also means “issues” voters. Voters who may not be able to say to a “major”, “geez, I knew your Daddy back in the West End — great guy,” for example, can judge that candidate’s stand on the issues. Thus the rolling out of agendas, that we have already seen from the canniest candidates: Dan Conley (gun control; citywide casino referendum), Felix Arroyo (labor rights), and Marty Walsh (education).

Canny candidates have also sought, smartly, to demonstrate that however they may be “based” in a long-connected community, they have the respect and support of leaders of the less connected. thus Charlotte Golar Richie, African-American of Dorchester, parades endorsements by State Reps. Michael Moran of Ward 22 and Aaron Michlewitz of Wards 3 and 8, and the Callahan Brothers of Ward 2. Likewise Marty Walsh, Irish-American from Ward 16, has the support of openly gay State Rep. Liz Malia of Jamaica Plain. City Councillor John R Connolly, too, strongly based in ward 20, has a house-sign campaign going on all over the city. Almost certainly the other “majors” will, if they can, announce similar cross-community support.

Ward 16’s Marty Walsh greeting City Life / Viuda Urbana supporters at the SEIU Hall.

This, then, is the exciting phase of the Boston mayor campaign. watching the city’s long-connected candidates dig deeply into its less-connected communities enhances the city’s togetherness and makes everyone feel that he or she counts in the halls of power. It is “retail politics” at its truest. It’s also a campaign phase that didn’t exist until Ray Flynn made it happen in 1983, as a South Boston guy campaigning among Jamaica Plain lefties. Before Flynn, Boston mayor races were combats of the powerful versus the powerful — the less so didn’t matter much and were, in fact, often pushed out of the city entirely by “urban renewal.” And Flynn himself had already worked with Jamaica Plain activists on Logan Airport issues, specifically approach run overflights of residential areas. This year, the “majors’ are seeking out the less connected voters no matter what, for their own sakes. This year, the less connected are being welcomed into the halls of city power.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere



Sat, May 18, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Hello, dear Kat people !

Today’s topic is one that we often ignore. Hint: we do it all day and don’t realize it. It’s a subconscious, involuntary, and oblivious action we fixate ourselves on daily.

Is your curiosity aroused? Do I have your full attention? Drum roll please!

The hot topic of discussion is “PERCEPTIONS”. Ta-dah! Perceptions are how we interpret everything around us. Although simple in theory my topic is rather complex in its dynamics. Everything we encounter is actively being analyzed on an extroverted level. The complexity of perceptions is unique to each individual. For example, how we view ourselves is usually inconsistent with those around us. Perceptions tend to be exclusive in the sense, that no two people identify an object identically.

If you have read this far I feel it’s safe to say, “Get a mirror”.

I apologize for engaging you, my readers, in so cruel a manner, but remember : there’s a point to be made, so let’s get to it, OK ?

Hair colors obviously unnatural and artsy hair styles have been resurrected; but so has misconception. News Flash: It doesn’t look good on everyone! If I somehow managed to offend some people by saying that, I place complete blame on the media. Everyday we’re bombarded with perception-altering ideals and images. More ladies should reflect their own perceptions inwards prior to dyeing their hair electric red — and please drop the Wahl clippers! You are not replicating a Rihanna/ Miley Cyrus hybrid. Instead you resemble a strung out Ronald McDonald suffering from ringworm of the scalp.

Personally, I hold perceptions to the same standards as I apply to drugs. Perceptions alter judgment and hinder responsible decision making. And so I conclude, if perceptions are a drug, some people are higher on them than the ceiling in Charlie Sheen’s private opium den.

—- Kat Gottlich / “Kat Got your Tongue”

Here and Sphere in Syria : direct reports from the horror

The founders of Here and Sphere are proud to announce that we will now be reporting direct from the battle fronts in the horror that is Syria today. A connection has been forged between here and Sphere and the Free Syria News.

By no means does Here and Sphere advocate American military involvement in this horror. There are simply too many factions, sides, and interests alive on the ground in the lives of real people. Any side that we take will end up grievously injuring real people. especially at risk, in our opinion, are the Christian communities in Syria, which represent at least 16 % of its population — many millions of people. These are among the oldest Christian communities in the world and link up to a world-wide Syrian Christian diaspora that we respect completely.

That said, we are inclined to favor the side that has risen up against the truly brutal Assad regime of torturers and murderers, a regime resting on a power base numbering less than 10 % of Syria’s entire population. It is time for Assad to go and for his Alawite power base to start sharing power with Syria’s Sunni, Christian, and ethnic Kurdish communities.

Getting to that will be most painful — if it can be gotten to at all. Meanwhile we have vicious, brutal war, the brutality emerging now on both sides. Part of that story of courage, idealism, viciousness, retribution, and battle will now be reported right here, at Here and Sphere — your place for news and reviews, lifestyle and crazy stuff from Here and from the entire Sphere.

— Michael Freedberg and Heather Cornell




The beginning of any new venture in the media world should be a time for celebration. And we the editors of Here And Sphere are celebrating.

We celebrate the desire of people to know what other people are doing, locally and world wide.

We celebrate that people talk about what people — including themselves — are doing.

We celebrate the written word, the languages that guide and protect words and give them collective shape in the service of meaning; of information; of intention and inclination. For without language, we could not exist or serve.

We also celebrate Here and Sphere and its mission: to bring to YOU, the reader, the information we care about; information that we find interesting, or useful, or necessary, or any combination thereof.

Here and Sphere means what the name says : we live in the entire world of information, from Earth to Cloud; and we also live in specific places. The world is Sphere; specific places are Here. We shall report from both and about both.

Here and Sphere will report the news and opine on it.

Here and Sphere will review arts performances — the good, the mediocre, the lousy, and the great.

Here and Sphere will talk your lifestyles — and the life observations of our bloggers.

Here and Sphere will talk Cars; Pets; Social advice; Parenting; and “Crazy Stuff.”

We will not be all things to all people. Other media have their priorities, and we will have ours. We are trying not to replace other publications but to add to them.

We will have an identity, readily noticeable, distinct in tone, content, and look.

Lastly, Here and Sphere will report politics and opine about them. Our outlook is that of a sensible progressivism: we believe that all people matter; that all have full civil rights and are entitled to have their civil rights rigorously defended; that all people deserve meaningful health care; the right to a job and pay sufficient to survive and even prevail; and that all people deserve a place to call home, sufficient food, and the quiet enjoyment of their lives and the lives of their family, friends, and neighbors.

We affirm that governments local, state, and federal exist to assure and promote these basic rights, expectations, and aspirations; and that all of us are equally responsible, morally and politically, to see to their application to all of us.

We rue the negativity in today’;s political discourse; the fear; the grasping after illusions; the retreat into mythologies; the disinclination to facts and evidence; the rush to judgment; the attempts by some to use the law to impose this or that religious regulation on the entire community;, the self-promotion at the expense of others; the attachment of many to guns and ammunition; and the lack of patriotism in those who attach the word “patriot” to their profiles.

We prefer hope to gloom; inclusion to exclusion; and a fruitful imagination to a diet of self-deceptions.

We shall rigorously pursue the good and never shrink from spotlighting the bad. And in both Sphere and Here there is plenty of each.

And that, dear readers, is what Here and Sphere now sets forth to do. We are honored to have your company as we journey forth.

—– From the Founders and Editors of Here and Sphere

Michael Freedberg

photo (46)

and Heather Cornell