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s to Help a Grieving Friend - Dreams and Caffeine

10 Tips to Help a Grieving Friend

Good morning and welcome to today’s post on 10 Tips to Help a Grieving Friend.  It was the anniversary of my mother’s passing recently and it really got me thinking of my loss and how it has truly changed me and my life.  My mother passed about a month after I got engaged (luckily, she knew and supported my future husband and our relationship).  Since her passing, I have had so many life changing moments that I would have loved to share with her… getting married, battling infertility, IUI & IVF/FET, getting pregnant, having a baby, and then having a second child.  There are days that I look at my children and they just crack me up… and I think of my mom and how much she would have adored my kiddos.

As you can tell from the above paragraph, I am able to talk and write about my mother and her passing in a much more positive light.  That has not always been the case, especially when I first lost her.  Digging deep and going back to those first moments, I can’t help but remember the pain (it actually physically hurt my heart) and the anger.  The pure exhaustion and heartbreak I felt from seeing my dad, sisters, and nieces & nephews go through this truly painful experience.  So, as the old saying goes, I thought I would turn lemons into lemonade and put my experience to good use to hopefully help someone else who might be experiencing loss.

Here are my 10 Tips to Help a Grieving Friend…

  1. Send texts or emails to let your friend know that you are thinking of them and that if there is anything you can do, just let you know.  This may seem impersonal, but I promise you, during this time they may be only able to handle a text.  And know that they may not respond, but when all is said and done, they’ll remember.
    *Facebook – avoid public communication unless they have initiated it.  This is a very personal situation and should be dealt with as such.
  2. Send a card and let your friend know that you are there and supporting them every step of the way.  When the dust settles, they will have the card there to remind them of your support.
  3. Bring food… and by this, I mean prepare a meal and drop it off.  Don’t bother them with conversations, questions or socializing unless they initiate it.
  4. Drop off groceries.  Their house is probably empty because they haven’t been able to or don’t want to go to the grocery store.  So, bring things like milk, butter, laundry soap, dish soap, etc.
  5. Bring snacks (donuts, coffee, candy, chips, etc.)I remember when my mom was passing our entire family was there and everyone was in a zombie state.  No one was really eating, but some family friends had dropped off bags full of candy and snacks, making it easy to walk by the table and grab a handful and eat it.  I don’t remember what it tasted like or if I even liked it, but it kept me and my family fueled.
  6. Offer to run errands.  Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop for our pain or loss and the bills still must be paid.
  7. Be a good LISTENER.  If your friend does want to talk, just listen and be supportive.  Don’t make it about you… it’s their pain and their loss.
  8. Don’t make statements that are annoying… like “everything happens for a reason,” “they are in a better place now,” or “at least they are not in pain or suffering anymore.”  While these all might be true and your friend might agree… they probably don’t want to hear it.  When I lost my mom, I wanted to tell people who said phrases like this to quit talking.  Though I agreed, I still hurt from my loss and didn’t want to hear it.
  9. Let them cry, be angry, vent their anger, rationalize, etc.
  10. Be patient.  It is going to take time for your friend to heal and during that time there will be good days and there will most definitely be bad days.  Just be there and support them in any way you can.

At the time, it won’t seem like they noticed your support, but I promise you they did.  When I lost my mom suddenly and unexpectedly, I can tell you exactly who was there for me and who was not.  I can also tell you who was helpful and supportive and who was not.  Please realize that what we’re going through you cannot fix, take away the pain, or speed up the process.  You can only be our supportive friend… which means a lot.

Also know that at the end of the experience we grow and learn that the pain from our loss never really goes away, but it does get easier with time.  And even with time something will happen, a family gathering, or your kiddos might do something that your loved one would have loved, or the holidays roll around and it reminds you of your loss and your heart and soul rips open to the same anguish you felt the very moment your loved one passed.  To say time heals is a joke… it just simply numbs the daily pain to make life manageable.

So, dear friends, I hope you find this sad, but honest information helpful, and please remember that everyone deals with loss differently.  In the end, just be sure they know you’re there for them and willing and ready to support them in any way you can.

To the Mom I lost way too early… you may be gone, but never forgotten!

Cheers to healing!

I know now that we never get over great loses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.


Goodbye Binky - A Success Story - Dreams and Caffeine

Goodbye Binky… a Success Story

Yes, you read that correctly, we have successfully gotten rid of the binky.  I have to admit, it’s kind of a sad day, another milestone is met with success, but it just means that my tiny little baby girl is growing up.  I’m not quite sure how we went from the hospital for delivery to her now going without a pacifier… where has the time gone?!

As you will remember (if not, check out this post), a few weeks ago I posted a list of ideas of how to get rid of the binky.  It was full of various fun ideas to say goodbye to the binky… hopefully making the transition not too traumatic for my little one.  After much discussion, we decided to go with the Build-a-Bear Workshop.  We felt Miss Sassy Pants would have the most fun with that idea.

After we had the idea, we set the timeline… one week.  This would give me time to plan out a fun-filled day as well as to spend the week talking with Miss Sassy Pants about getting rid of her binky.  During the discussions I had with her, I just let her know that it was time to get rid of the binky, because she was such a big girl.  Now I do want to point out that Miss Sassy Pants only used a binky for nap time and bedtime and it was not allowed out of the crib.  So if your child is using the pacifier more frequently, you might want to reduce its use before taking it entirely away.

Saturday arrived and we were ready to go.  We of course wanted to keep it as relaxed as possible to prevent any additional stress for her.  I also had her pick out her four favorite binkies to put inside her bear that she was going to build.  I put them in a special bag which went in her backpack, giving her full control of the situation.

When we arrived at the Build-a-Bear workshop, I let the very helpful employee know what we were doing.  We took lots of pictures throughout the process… mainly because Miss Sassy Pants loves posing and I figured anything to keep her in a good mood would be beneficial.

Miss Sassy Pants selected Tender Heart (a Care Bear) and headed over to the stuffing station.  The lady controlling the stuffer was absolutely amazing.  She offered a little cloth heart to include in Tender Heart’s belly along with her binkies.  She had Miss Sassy Pants kiss each of her binkies as she put them in the bear and then before putting the cloth heart in, she asked if she could rub it on Miss Sassy Pant’s cheeks so Tender Heart would have a smile like hers… to say the least, my daughter absolutely loved the idea!

After Tender Heart was all put together with favorite binkies inside, we let Miss Sassy Pants go shopping for an outfit and any other items to wanted for her special bear.  In the end, she selected the cutest blue jeans, blue t-shirt, and red rain boots.  She also got a little brush to keep Tender Heart’s fur nice and fluffy and a birth certificate.  All in all, it was a super fun activity that she really enjoyed.

Once we were on our way home, we talked more about why we did the Build-a-Bear workshop and why we put her favorite binkies inside Tender Heart.  I didn’t want to lose the focus.

The first night was a little difficult because she thought she could get the binkies out of Tender Heart when she wanted them.  It was heartbreaking, but my husband and I both stayed strong and just comforted her and explained why she couldn’t have binkies anymore.  The second night was much easier!  She still needed some comforting, but she never asked for a binky!  We are still binky free and falling asleep has gotten much easier… almost back to normal.

Here are some suggestions that worked for us when getting rid of the binky

  1. Reduce the use of the binky prior to removing it all together.
  2. Make it fun… find something your kiddo will enjoy, hopefully making it less traumatic.
  3. Take the time to talk to them about it… explain why it’s time to get rid of the binky and how and when you’re going to get rid of the binky.
  4. Try to make the first day as stress-free as possible. The event of getting rid of the binky is stressful enough.
  5. Be patient, provide lots of comfort, and stay strong. As a parent, it can be so heartbreaking to see your child hurt, but in the end it’s in their best interest.

That’s it folks!  Happy Thursday!


Potty Training and Fancy Resturants - Dreams and Caffeine

Potty Training and Fancy Restaurants

Well my friends, today I am here to tell you the tale of potty training while dining in a fancy restaurant in hopes that you may learn from my mistakes and never have this happen to you.  About a week ago, my friend called and invited our family out for her birthday.  A fancy new restaurant opened and she thought it would be fun to celebrate together, so I marked it on the calendar and went about my day.

Miss Sassy Pants is pretty much potty trained with the exception of nighttime, so dining out is really not a big deal.  Once she wakes up in the morning, we take off the diaper and puts on undies for the rest of the day, minus naps.  Even if we leave the house, she wears her undies and I pack her little potty in the back of the car along with a slew of other potty training must haves.  We’ve dined out many times and have never had an issue.  If she has to use the restroom while we are out, I just run her out to the car and take care of business then go back in and finish doing whatever we were doing.  This is a great routine, unless you forget something.

About an hour before we had to leave I started getting the kiddos ready to go to dinner.  After getting them dressed, I got all of my potty necessities together and organized.  When my husband got home, I had Miss Sassy Pants use her potty, and as I was helping her pull up her pants, my husband suggested using a diaper to ensure we wouldn’t have an accident at the restaurant, which I thought was a great idea. We then grabbed the diaper bag with the kiddo’s stuff and headed out the door, forgetting her portable potty.

Once we arrived at the restaurant, I quickly got set up and began feeding Moose his bottle.  I couldn’t believe how well I had planned everything… it was working out quite nicely.  Everyone ordered dinner while I finished feeding Moose and just as I was setting him down in his chair our meal arrived.  The food was divine, and even Miss Sassy Pants was eating well!

FYI… you should never pat yourself on the back until the job is completed!  The mood of the restaurant was great and the view was impeccable, and since we were celebrating a birthday, we couldn’t pass up dessert.  As everyone was finishing up, Miss Sassy Pants said she had to use the restroom.  As I was getting up to take her out to the car, I realized we had forgotten her potty at home and she had a diaper on (making using a public restroom slightly harder).  Just as panic was starting to set in, my girlfriend jumped up and said she would help me.

As we were finishing up in the restroom, I (being ever so careful) dropped the diaper on the floor.  I quickly went to grab the extra undies out of the diaper bag and realized I had left them on the bed where I had been packing the diaper bag.  Not only did I forget a change of undies, I also forgot to put in an extra diaper. I decided I had nothing to worry about, that I would just have her pull up her pants up with nothing else on and we would quickly finish up and head for home.  After all, we were only going to be another 10-15 minutes!

Just as we were finishing our dessert… IT HAPPENED!  Miss Sassy Pants looked at me in a panic and said she had to use the potty again, but before I could even get up, I heard the sound of a faucet pouring, not in a sink, but on the beautiful restaurant floor followed up with an “ah oh” in her adorable little voice.  I calmly looked over to see a ginormous puddle on the floor and sat frozen for a second.

Luckily, mommy mode kicked in and I quickly tossed Miss Sassy Pants to my husband to take her out to the car and change her, then I loaded up Moose in his car seat, and I waved over the waitress to request items to clean up the mess and disinfect so the staff wouldn’t have to do it.

So here are some suggestions to those in the midst of potty training and would like to dine out:

And lastly, stay calm, write the incident in their baby book, don’t forget to laugh, and leave a GENEROUS tip for the waitress whether or not you know them!  To all of you in the trenches of potty training… good luck!

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5 Ways to Say Goodbye to the Binky - Dreams and Caffeine

5 Ways to Say Goodbye to the Binky

It’s a sad, sad, day my friends.  The binky must go.  My little girl chipped about a quarter of her front tooth while playing with one of her friends.  I made an appointment with a pediatric dentist to have her tooth evaluated and see if any further action was needed.  Luckily, it appears no major damage to the tooth occurred.  The dentist did ask if she still used a pacifier and I explained that she only uses one at nap time and bed time.  He then suggested that we discontinue the pacifier to prevent an overbite.  I may have cried a little bit on the inside when I heard those words because it’s just one more thing to remind me that my little girl is growing up.  I swear, I have no idea where the time goes.

I have decided to take this week and just start talking with her about getting rid of her binkies because she is such a big girl and big girls don’t need them.  So far she has been pretty receptive to the conversations.  Then next weekend we are going to select one of the suggestions from below…

Ways to Say Goodbye to the Binky

  • Take away the binky cold turkey
  • Have a big girl/boy party – tie the binky to some helium balloons and the child lets them go and the balloons carry the binky away
  • Build-a-Bear Workshop – have the child do the build-a-bear workshop and put their binky inside the bear
  • Have the child gift their binky to a newborn baby of a family member or friend because they are a big kid now and don’t need a binky anymore
  • The child gets a toy in exchange for their binky

I will follow up next week with the option I chose and how it went.  Fingers crossed, I’m hoping it goes well!