Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Novica: A Jewelry Review & Giveaway (ends March 15)



I was contacted by people at NOVICA to do a review/giveaway for their artisan jewelry, and was Super excited since I LOVE JEWELRY! 

Novica is a company that represents artisans from around the world.  An exerpt from their website reads:  We want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. And, we want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow.

At the deepest essence of our philosophy, we want to create a bridge between you and the many talented artisans across the globe.
We want you to know about who you're buying from. We want you to feel that attachment to the product and to the hands that created it.
In the spirit of the Internet, let us bring you together.
NOVICA. The World is Your Market.






Click on photos to see larger!

I browsed through the website and looked at the assortment of amethyst dangle earrings, garnet dangle earrings, and amber earrings, silver and gold rings, and assorted necklaces and pendants.  In the end, I fell in love with the artist Jantana and her animal inspired pieces.  On the website along with her photo, is a story told by Jantana:  "My dream is to one day have a jewelry workshop and produce my own designs. My parents are jewelers and created made to order jewelry in our home. Because I've had the opportunity to observe the process and even to help out sometimes, I'd like to continue this family tradition. "  I decided to choose my necklace from her elephant collection.


The jewelry took a little over a week to arrive and came wrapped in a parchment paper envelope with a wooden button.   A postcard from Thailand was included along with a small booklet explaining the origin of the jewelry design.

I chose the "Moonlit Elephant" pendant, which is a matte-finish silver elephant because it was both whimsical and beautiful.  It came on an adjustable length chain and packaged ready to give as a gift.


The booklet tells about the artist and the design.  (click to read larger)

Here's me, modeling my new necklace.




Jantana, the artist - as featured on the Novica website.
 Thank you to the people from Novica for allowing me the experience of choosing a piece of jewelry from Thailand, with the opportunity to read about who made it and where it came from.  It's a unique experience to be able to see who is making the item you are purchasing. 


Novica has also provided me with a GIFT CERTIFICATE to give to one reader to purchase an item of your own!

One Lil Family Blog reader will receive a $25 gift certificate to Novica to order any item they'd like.

Here's how to enter.

Mandatory Entry:

You must be a public follower of my blog either via Google reader/friend connect or Networked blogs. Leave a comment HERE and tell me how you discovered the blog! Don't forget to include your name/email so I can contact the winner!

Additional Entries (all worth one unless otherwise specified) Please leave SEPARATE comments for each entry you are entitled to:

* Like Lil Family Blog on Facebook

* Click on both the "Top Mommy" brown button and "Picket Fence" buttons on the right of my page to vote for Lil Family Blog on both sites. (worth 1 total entry)

* Add one of my buttons to your site (again, on the right of my page, copy the text below the button and then paste it onto the sidebar of your blog). Worth 2 entries.

* Post about this giveaway on your blog or site and leave me a link where I can see it.

* Share this contest on Facebook. (Can be done easily with the little "F" icon on the bottom of this entry near the comments).

* Add me to your blogroll/blog list on your site.

* You get one additional entry for every friend/family member you get to enter (they have to leave an extra comment saying who sent them).



This contest will end on March 15, 2012 at 11:59PM EST. No more entries will be accepted after that time. The winners will be chosen at random and announced within a day or two on the blog. The prize will be emailed to the winner within a reasonable amount of time. Please see my disclosure link on the top of the page for fine print.



Thanks for reading!  While you're here... if you see an ad to your right or below that interests you, please click click!  It makes the advertisers happy, and it all adds up for me!



*EDITED*  The winner is Comment #13 - judy!   I am going to email you!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I Know This Won't Be the Last Boy to Make Her Cry... (Pre-School Bullying)

A few months ago, i wrote about <a href="http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/11/biter-strikes-again.html"> a kid at school that kept biting Lilian</a>.  Well, he is at it again... or "was" i should say.
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Thursday, while i was on my way to pick up Lilian from school, i got the phone call parents dread.  When you look down and see your kid's childcare on your caller ID.  It's never a good thing if they call while your child is there.  And one of the administrators tells me "I know you're on your way here, but i just wanted to let you know that Lilian was pushed by another child, fell on her face, her nose is bleeding, swelling, and bruising.  We have ice on it, but i didnt want you to come in and see that unexpectedly."  I told her i'd be there in 5 minutes.  By the time i got there, the bleeding had stopped and Lily was in the bathroom (which takes a while when the teacher has to bring 3-5 kids to the bathroom and let them take turns.) 
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So i was handed the next most pre-school parent dreaded thing... and that's the Incident Report.  This was Lily's 4th (once she bonked heads with another kid by accident in the bouncy castle, the two reports from the bites, and this one).  It (and then the teacher in person) explained that she was sitting on the rug doing puzzles next to another kid. He was grabby with the puzzle so she picked it up and stood to walk away and sit somewhere else. And just as she stood up, he shoved her from behind and fell flat on her face on the tile, since she was holding something and couldnt block her fall.
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It made me sad to think she was hurt.  But it also made me angry, because it sounded like she handled the problem in a mature way (walking away rather than fighting) and the aggressive child still acted violently...from behind.  If they were fighting tug of war style over a toy and she fell, i'd accept it more as typical toddler behavior, but this was intentionally aggressive because he didnt like her reaction.
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So Mama Bear is pissed.... and the administrator that i was talking to had the incident report for the other kid (kids that misbehave apparently get written reports sent home too), and as she was talking to me, she waved the paper and i saw the name on it.  It was The Biter!!!!!  Then i lost my patience with the situation a little.  The same kid has bitten my daughter twice (for reference, he's 3, my daughter is nearly 3.5 but he's actually bigger than her), hit her a few times shes said, but it hasnt gone on record, and now a shove from behind that ended in a face plant on tile.  Enough is enough!  I've never met the kid (i've only seen him for 2 minutes when picking up or dropping off Lily) and i dont know what he's like most of the time, but i do know that for a fraction of his time... he is violent and aggressive.  I've never gotten a report that Lily has ever raised a hand at any other kid (and i even asked her teachers) and i've never gotten a report that any other kid ever hit her.  It seems like just this ONE kid has his own personal problems and my kid is suffering because of it.  Not cool.  As i left with Lily, i saw The Biter sitting on the floor behind the round reception desk and half-jokingly told them "well, at least i'm glad to see he's in prison".
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Though it has been months, Lily still has not forgotten being bitten.  She still talks about it, she still tells us she's afraid of The Biter and that he's "a jerk" and a "bad boy."  But she wasn't resisting going to school or anything else, so i assumed the problem was resolved.  But starting last week, she was resisting going to school and saying she was afraid of school or too shy. (I think "shy" might translate to "nervous" or "anxious" in her vocabulary).  I didnt understand why and i thought it was possible she was being manipulative just because she'd rather stay home or was too tired.  (Parenting Fail: Listen to your kids!!!)  And then Thursday, she was assaulted at school again.
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We took her to the doctor since the swelling was one-sided to make sure her nose/cheekbone weren't broken, and they weren't.  It was just bruising/swelling, so that was good at least.  But we were obviously really upset and it seemed the school was also upset and concerned, which made me feel better.  They called several times to check up on her, and after a meeting with the owner, i was called and informed that he has been removed from the program.
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The Biter has been expelled from pre-school.  Problem solved, right?   I wish...
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Lily had a three day weekend to get over it, but Monday came and she was hysterical.  I promised her The Biter would not be at school today or any day ever again and that no one would hurt her.  I did get her to go, and when we picked her up we sat down for a meeting with both teachers and both administrators.  We learned that when they split the class a month ago (enrollment had increased, so they split into age based classes: 18 months-3 and 3&4).  In that time it seemed Lily was loving school.  But last week, The Biter turned 3 and was moved into her class (hence the resistance we got from her) and on the 3rd day he assaulted her.  Lily's main teacher told me that on his first day in the big kid class, Lily cried.  The teacher asked her why, and she said that The Biter bit her.  The teacher said "no he didnt, he just walked in the room."  And Lily said, not today but a long time ago, and she was scared.  (I wish i knew that when it happened, not after another act of violence).  Lily told us that he hit her all the time, growled at her, and spit on her.  The teachers told us he is not very verbal and tends to make gutteral noises and spit... so it probably wasn't "at" her, but she didn't know that.  (Or maybe it was, and he was sneaky enough to intimidate her when they weren't looking.)  The combined classes had lunch & recess time together, so she did see him, even though they were split for part of the day.  The teachers said that all personnel was instructed to keep a careful watch on him specifcally, but sometimes things happen so quickly there's no way to stop them.  So where as I believed everything got better (happy child, no incident reports), Lily was actually being bullied at school and i didnt know.
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Yesterday and today we had the WORST mornings we've had EVER in Lily's life.  She has been refusing to do the things that lead up to school... shower, go to bed, wake up and pee, get dressed, etc. I guess hoping that if the routine didn't happen, she wouldn't eventually end up at school.  After several naps/nights she wakes up crying telling me she had nightmares that The Biter was chasing her.  Yesterday morning she was so determined not to go to school, that she refused to sit on the potty and instead peed her pajamas while standing right next to the toilet and wailing.  This morning, i put her on the potty hysterical, and as she started to pee, she hopped off and peed all over her panties, the floor, etc.  This is a kid that was potty trained in 4 days and NEVER has accidents.  And now she'd rather pee herself than go to school.   Several times in the past few weeks she's had Night Terrors where she wakes about 2-3 hours after going to bed in hysterics.  You can't touch her or speak to her or the screaming gets worse and she holds her breath.  It can last 10-25 minutes.  At 2am.  Leaving us all exhausted come morning.  Since her teachers are aware, both they and we are assuring her that she wont see him at school ever again, that she's safe, that no one will hurt her again.  But a 3 year old's trust isn't so easily earned.
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I'm kind of at a loss with what to do.  Once she gets to school this week, she's been fine.  But the anticipation/fear of school is driving her crazy.  Because she's happy when she gets there, the school reccommends that we keep sending her and she'll soo learn to trust again.  But i'm not sure if showering, putting her on the potty, dressing her all by FORCE in the mornings is healthy.  We are also considering taking some time off from school hoping she'll miss it, and request to go back.  And we're also considering getting her in to see a therapist for even just a few sessions who may be able to talk to her about it better than we can.  But she went from a happy kid who LOVED school, to a fearful, anxious kid that is terrified of school and has nightmares.  In the past 2 weeks, she has literally been suffering emotionally.  It seems crazy that another toddler could have this affect on her, but i guess his aggression, threats, and violence did a number on her.  This is literally the first time she's been threatened with anything (more serious than loss of TV time or the time out chair) or physically hurt (we don't believe in hitting or any sort of violence in the house).  This is probably the first time she's ever even met someone who didn't treat her with love and respect - since most everyone else she's around thinks she's awesome and funny.  And whereas it is important to learn that not everyone is going to like you... it is not necessary for her to feel threatened in what should be a safe place.  So here we are, dealing with a traumatised child.  I'm extremely glad that the school kicked him out (we didn't request that) and are taking this very seriously.... but i just want my happy girl back!  (And as for The Biter, i hope his parents recognize the seriousness of the situation and get him some help ASAP.  Especially before they try to get him into another schoool where he may terrorize some other kid.)

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I know this won't be the worst thing she ever gets through and it won't be the hardest thing I ever deal with as a parent.  But as her Mommy, it makes me terribly sad to see her so afraid every day.

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*edited to add*  - Missy called a child psychologist in our area... and happened to catch her in the car, so she was willing to give her a 1/2 hour of her time on the phone.  Missy explained it all.  The advice we were given was to keep her on her routine.  It sounds like clear cut PTSD but kids have a different way of sensing time then us, so although a week ago may seem like a long time to us, it may feel like an hour to a toddler.  It may take her what seems like a long time to us to get over, but she will.  She also said that since the Biter was removed from the class once and brought back... Lily will have a hard time believing that he's not coming back again.  Having him come back to her class after a month of not being there cost us all a lot of trust in her eyes.  She'll need extra reassurances and affection at school to rebuild trust.  (And the therapist said the Biter should be the one in therapy sessions!)

So... I'm pretty sure our plan was to just keep at it and hope it gets easier anyway.  Good to know we aren't doing the wrong thing by forcing her to go.  It is, however, so emotionally exhausting for ME to deal with these tantrums.  I'm having anxiety before going to bed because I dread being woken up an hour or two later with her night terrors. 
I know it'll get better.  I just hope it's sooner than later.


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