Tag Archives: kids

Say That Again Saturdays

This begins a weekly sharing of my favorite quotes. Sure, you can find most of them on this page I’ve created, but isn’t it nice to take a minute to savor them one a time?

Today’s quote:

“Creativity is the antidote to destruction.” – Trey Anastasio

Yes, it’s that guy from Phish and yes I’m a freaking hippie. But, really. This is a great quote. It even applies to my 3 year old at those moments when he is really invested in tearing things up in his room. Destruction at its purest. He usually has no interest in coloring, but pull out the art spinner machine (just like they used to have at school fairs,) and the boy gets crazy with the paint. Loves it. Give him something to create and he will stop destroying.

On a more personal note, if I’m not creating something- either every day or at least once in a while, a little part of me feels like it’s dying. I think that is true for a lot of people. Creativity doesn’t just build the world, it builds us up too.

Children’s Book Review: My First Day

There are so many things I come across from day to day that spark an interest, make me smile, or catch my kids attention. I thought I’d devote Fridays to sharing some of those favorite things with you. (No- it ain’t gonna be whiskers on kittens and bright copper kettles, though that is one of my favorite songs for all of eternity.)

Before I share today’s favorite book, I’d like to give a shout out to libraries. Libraries are one of those things that I will never take for granted. Unlimited access to books, music and information. Including kids’ books. For FREE. Hello? It’s like traveling to an alternate universe anytime you want…Where else can you just walk into what is basically a store and take items- as many as you want- and show them your id and say, “Yeah, I’ll bring these back in like a month. Maybe. My kid might tear some pages, but other than that, they’ll be good as new”  This system is amazing! Really. Where am I? Have I transported myself into a culture where I say “I’m good for it,” and that’s enough of a social agreement? Is this America? Can we transfer this policy to the real estate market?  I almost can’t believe how good it is. It’s the guiding force of my abundance meditations. If libraries exist, there is hope for us all. Now on to the favorite…

Today’s Favorite: My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

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I love this book.  I am a sucker for animal books that aren’t super sappy and this is a good one. You can read a full review here.  In a nutshell, it captures different animals’ first day on planet earth and how very, very diverse those experiences are. “On my first day, my mother held me close so I wouldn’t drift out to sea,” says a sea otter. A giraffe says, “On my first day, I was born high above the ground – and I landed in a heap. But I wasn’t hurt, and before long I was taking my first steps.” For me, it shows the vast differences between species: different worlds, one planet. I’m hoping that will come ’round to validate for my kid that it’s ok for his experiences to feel unique to him. He likes it too.

One of these days these boots….

I love finding or remembering songs that are both awesome and  translate well into my 3 year old’s world. One example we have been playing non-stop is “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” by Nancy Sinatra. For me and my husband, it is just a great tune. For baby Wyatt, it’s got a great beat he can boogie to it. For my 3 year old, Braden, there’s one deciding awesome factor: it contains the lyrics, “One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you!” Which for him is HILARIOUS!

Another one he likes is The Beatles “Hello Goodbye.” To him it is hysterical to hear grown-ups saying what seem like random words to him: yes, no…why, I don’t know…stop, go….goodbye, hello, hello.

Baby, We Were Born to Run

Last year in my mama support facebook group, I posted these words, “I’ve got a runner.” I was referring to my then two year old who had taken to sprinting away from me as soon as he saw an opening. “Can’t catch me!”  he would shout. And I would think, “You are right! I am eight months pregnant with what must be a fifteen pound baby and I can barely waddle fast enough to catch a caterpillar!”

He thought running away was fun, hilarious, a game. I was panicked. I could not stop him from running and, being a slow-moving planet, I could not catch him.  In my mind, as happens often in parenting, my sense of time collapsed and the phase we were in became an always/never situation. He will never stop when I ask him to. We will never be able to walk down a sidewalk together. I will always have this panic that he will run into the street.

He didn’t have a sense of danger at all: traffic, bikes, losing sight of each other in public places. These were all amusing to him- they had no consequences that he could see other than the consequences I created for him which mattered little to him.

Perceiving danger was my job. And I’m damn good at it because I tend to be an anxious person when it comes to my kids safety.  (I cut blueberries not just in half, but into quarters for the baby, just to be safe.)  But during this phase, unless I had him strapped into a stroller, shopping cart, or car seat, I could not keep him safe.  He would almost always hit the ground running.

Below you will see pics of B in action during this phase:

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Throwing down his best juke moves on Justin to get past him.

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Justin is foiled again!

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At last Braden listens to reason and comes back when we call him.

The advice given to me by my facebook group was outstanding, as usual. They recommended having consistent consequences and rules, and saying things like this:

You must hold my hand in the parking lot.

If you don’t stay where I can see you and you can see me, we are leaving.

But what I learned in this phase was that, despite our consistent warnings and consequences, there was no way to keep him safe other than strapping him into something. I wanted him to have the freedom to learn, but I couldn’t keep him out of danger if we did.  So anytime we left the house, it was like we were flying through turbulence- because he was always buckled.  He went directly from the car seat to the stroller and stayed locked in until we were done with our errand and I could put him back in the car seat. Same for shopping carts. I could not let him try and walk next to me on the sidewalk holding my hand because he could never resist the temptation to run, no matter what consequence I could offer. And given that I would not be able to catch him, I really had no choice.

This lasted for a few months. I would see other toddlers walking across a parking lot holding their mom’s hand and I would then want to cry. (Time collapses: We will never be able to hold hands in the parking lot.) But I am happy to report that we do now.  He still really loves running, but usually not away from me.  He listens when I ask him to stop (usually.) He even turns around to check in.  “Is this too far?” he will yell if he’s run ahead of me on a path.  And I am so glad to shout back, “That’s far enough! Just wait there for mama!” And he does.

And for his next trick….poop again.

My second born son is 6 months old and up until the time we went on our Epic Road Trip to Florida last week, he was pooping once every 2 days.  Since the moment we placed him in the car seat in the van on our way south, he has pooped every 3 hours AND with each poop, has blown shite out his diapers onto his pants/onesie/shirt.   What great mystery of life has caused these three simultaneous things to happen?

  1. His digestive system kicked from 1st gear into a 5th gear we were unaware existed.
  2. His car seat cradled his bottom at an angle just so- so that every single fracking poop found an exit route from the diaper.
  3. His timing of pooping always occurred 20 minutes after we had just stopped for either gas, 3 year old potty needs, or food.

We have spent over 40 hours in our van over the past week and he has gone through no less than 10 outfits due to blow outs.  I don’t believe in Murphy’s Law, but after the last week, I do believe there must be some great cosmic road trip poop law ruling his bottom on this trip.  There is no other explanation.

Top Three Things My Three Year Old Prefers to Do Without Wearing Clothing

3. Go potty.  His preference is to remove all clothing, if possible, but most importantly shoes, socks, pants, and undies.  It doesn’t matter if we are at home or in a public bathroom at say, Target, where one typically likes to hurry things along to get out as soon as possible.  His attitude is usually, “What’s the rush, Mom?  Why not enjoy this a little?  Let’s take off our shoes and socks.”  He gives no explanation when asked why he prefers naked potty time. Perhaps he feels more able to heed the call of nature while in his natural state.   At home he also prefers to have the lights off with the green night light on and the door halfway open for some privacy.  I can only hope that such specific requirements do not stay with him beyond the toddler years.  Dorm living would be tough.

 

2. Run around.  Usually this occurs immediately after bath time.  After I dry him off, he giggles and asks, “Can I run around?”  by which he means, Can I run back and forth across the room naked over and over and yell “Wheeeeeee!  Haha!”  It is very, very difficult for me to say no to him running around naked.  I think our society might be just a little bit better if there were more running around naked time at home.  People would feel just a bit more free.  A little happier.  I watch him run around, do somersaults and downward dog without a  single self-conscious moment.  He is completely and totally in his body.  I have alot to learn from this little master.

 

1. Eat.  This is a puzzler.  He actually seems to eat more without pants on.  At one point, my husband and I had not re-dressed him yet after a naked potty time and we noticed him in his room, squatting next to a plate of snacks he had taken in there earlier.  He was using his hands to eat rather than utensils ala Quest for Fire and nibbling away ferociously, kind of like a wild chimp.  Given that we usually have a hard time getting him to sit and eat anything, we were thrilled he was eating, clothes or not.  For such an active guy and picky eater, if he wants to recreate a scene from his feral ancestors, scurrying about foraging for food, that’s fine with us.  While some parents might look at their naked little squatter with concern about social graces, my husband and I looked at each other and felt relieved.  Together we had the same thought: We can place nuts and crackers strategically around the house.  At least he’s eating.

 

 

If you don’t put that down, I will hold my breath until I’m blue

Illogical consequences are the enemy of modern parenting.  In order for kids to make sense of why they are receiving a consequence, it should be related somehow to their undesirable behavior.  Like this: “If you throw the blue truck, the blue truck is banished to the closet for the rest of the day.”  Consequences should not be randomly linked (“If you throw the blue truck, you will not get to watch Dora”) or fueled by frustration and anger  (“If you throw the blue truck, I will throw it in the fireplace and make you watch it burn.”)  My problem with this system is that often the most frustrating misbehaviors do not have rational consequences.  Here is a list I compiled of such behaviors that took place in our household in the last 24 hours:

Bouncing on the bed
Unrolling the toilet paper roll
Climbing into the the refrigerator to try and reach yogurt
Throwing noodles on the floor
Laying down on the floor, limp, when it was time to walk to our car
Laying down on the floor, limp,  when it was time to get dressed
Laying down on the floor, limp,  when it was time to eat
Running away from me in a public place
Laughing at me and continuing to run when I say “STOP NOW” in my sternest mommy voice
Banging a brush repeatedly against the cabinet door
Sitting at the forbidden computer and starting to type on the keyboard
Trying to unlock the car door with his foot while in his car seat
Unlatching his car seat buckle
Throwing his cheddar bunnies on the floor of the car
Torrential splashing in the bath

What is the logical consequence of throwing noodles on the floor?  Not letting him eat them and excusing him from dinner?  He didn’t want to eat anyway!  That’s not a consequence, that’s what he wants!  Or what about a logical consequence for unlatching his car seat buckle?  Stopping the car and being Stern Mommy seems logical but then, what if it’s a trip I wanted to make that he could care less about?  Like to Starbucks or something?  He would love it if I stopped the car and headed back home- that’s where all his trucks live.

What is so stressful about these behaviors is that I’m so Nice and I Follow the Rules of being a good parent.  I give clear expectations, set great boundaries, and offer clear consequences for undesirable behavior.  I usually do not get emotionally invested in his naughty-ness, but remain calm in guiding him toward appropriate behavior.  What frustrates me the most about times like this when he’s acting out is that:

1. I feel helpless to help him navigate his emotions.
2. I feel like a failure as any kind of guide in his life.
3. I feel angry that these time-tested parenting strategies don’t seem to work for him or me (Like time-outs, for instance, are a joke.  He literally laughs at them.)
4. I am disappointed that I am not being rewarded for my undying love, strict obedience of the Rules, and consistency.  I am used to Following the Rules and being rewarded for it.
5. I feel scared and inadequate as a parent when I can’t help him control inappropriate behaviors.

Is my kid smarter than me?  Is there a secret key to unlocking daily, consistent desirable behavior that I am missing?  I admit that I don’t like classifying children’s behavior into “good” and “bad” categories.  For me, the behavior I’m trying to correct usually falls into these two categories: “unsafe” and/or “pain in the ass.”

Is it really earth-shattering that our toilet paper sits in a pile on the floor?  In the grand scheme of the things, no.  Gross, perhaps, if we plan to actually use it.  Wasteful if we don’t.  My stress comes from knowing he has directly ignored a clear instruction.  It’s like I expect him to be a little soldier.  He’s not.  He’s not even 3 years old.  I can literally not believe how stressed out I feel at these little things that happen all day long.   But then I think, my stress isn’t real stress.  We have a roof over our head, food on the table, good people in our lives.  These parenting stresses are the stresses of a luxury American lifestyle.  Deep breathing, a glass of wine and some yoga poses usually cure them.  But sure enough, when they happen again, I feel like a failure again.

I want him to listen and do what I say without fighting me.  That’s basically what the mom in me wants.  And when dealing with a 2 or 3 year old it seems that yes, that is too much to ask.  And though as a mom I want his happy obedience, as a human being I want him to think creatively and disobey authority a little.  Frankly I think a little disobedience is an asset in our society.  Anarchy!  Not quite, but sort of.  Part of me wants to let him do whatever he wants as long as he is safe.  Bounce the crap out of your bed!  Let me get you another toilet paper roll!  Yeah, lay on the ground when it’s time to go to preschool- I didn’t want to drive you there anyways!  Is it the rebel in me that he is reflecting back to me?  Nope, probably more likely to be a developmental normalcy of an almost 3 year old.   I hope.