Parenting

Ask more questions

It’s funny how when you buy a car you start seeing it everywhere. Or when you (or your spouse) are pregnant you start noticing pregnant women everywhere. 

I read an interesting quote from Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting and it opened my eyes to dealing with some of my 3 year old’s behavior.

I almost always answer his questions directly, but this may not be ideal. Apparently, it could be very beneficial for him to think up some answers on his own.

Even when we’re unwilling to give kids the last word, we can still give them the first word— that is, a chance to make their case. Thus, when children ask whether it’s okay to do something, it often makes sense to respond with “Well, what do you think?” This lets them know that their viewpoint counts, and also invites them to play an active role in considering the implications of their request.

After I read this, I noticed Mr. 3 would ask me behavior questions. Perhaps it is coincidence, but I had never really heard him do this before. I decided that he should have the chance to decide a few things.

Mr. 3: Does Blippi put his feet on the table? (Read: can I put my feet on the table ?)

Me: …What do you think?

Mr. 3: No, he doesn’t. 

And he didn’t put his feet on the table, which is an improvement because when he is a baby (as opposed to a dog, a squirrel, Blippi, or anything) he and his brother tend to get in contests to see who can put their feet on the table and scream the loudest.

Mr. 3: *giggles while reaching into the toilet a little* Does Blippi touch the toilet water?

Me: (Thinking: EW you JUST peed in there!!) … What do you think?

Mr. 3: *takes hand out* No, he doesn’t.

And later he asked if Blippi sleeps with his hat on and decided that, yes, he does sleep with his hat on. This is not something worth arguing about so I agreed. He took the hat off a few minutes later because it was hot and\or itchy, but it was his choice.

By the way, it’s been over 24 hours since I yelled at my kids, and I am feeling strong!

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Parenting

Guilt

I was complaining to my mother a few weeks ago about how much I had been yelling at my kids, and her response was simply, “You are going to feel that way for the rest of your life. I still feel guilty today.”

That is both depressing and terrifying and I dont want to feel that way.

For the most part I remember my childhood quite fondly, and was good friends with my mom throughout my teenage years and still today. But if there is a way to avoid the blow ups and yelling and dragging across the room by the hair ( I will never let you forget), then I need to learn it now. Rumor has it that adolescents are even more infuriating than 3 year olds.

They may look like angels…

I started reading Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn and he is saying all the right things. He is saying that parenting is hard, really hard, and that we all make mistakes. He is saying our number one job is to love our children and that sometimes the things we do to them make them forget that we do love them.He is saying with an open mind and heart we can change. We don’t have to yell at our children, we have to listen to them. We don’t have to put them in time out to cry inconsolably and forget the reason why, we have to comfort them and explain, show them a better way to do things.

Hindsight is always clearer and it’s so darn difficult in the heat of the moment to remember these things. For example, Mr. 3 poked me in the eye with his toothbrush and did not listen to me in my repeated requests to acknowledge me, brush his teeth, and put on his diaper. He would periodically and with increasing frustration say, “my name is Morgan!”

Well, that is NOT the name I gave him, and in MY increasing frustration I kept not calling him Morgan, which made him not listen to me. Finally I yelled, and then I cried, and then I apologized and said I needed a moment to calm down. Then I realized my mistake, and apologized for calling him the wrong name and I asked him to be patient with me because I had been calling him — for 3 years and it’s hard to stop. He told me he was happy now and we proceeded to read stories and finish getting ready for bed.

I know I have a lot to learn, and lots of patience to build up. I want to try though, because I love my children and I want what is best for them. I want to listen to them, respect them, and teach them some better problem solving skills than I currently possess. I definitely do NOT want to yell at them again as it is bad for everyone involved.

Adventures, Health, Science

Imagination and Curiosity

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Imagination and curiosity are two traits I admire and value. I love to see my children grow more confident and detailed in their games. I also love when my children ask questions about things that they are interested in.

My 3-year-old has recently developed a really goofy giggle and he will ask me a question such as, “Do baby dogs come from the MAMA dog or the DADA dog? Heeeheheh”

Curiosity

There are two books from the library that have really inspired the 3-year-old. Especially when he is trying to delay nap time, he will ask me questions upon questions, upon questions. 2017-07-12_14-10-16_959

The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss. I borrowed this book because it is not always easy getting my children to brush their teeth. This book has some examples of why we need teeth and what we shouldn’t do with our teeth. It’s not terribly educational, but is rhyming and fun.

This book has inspired such questions such as, “why do beavers chew on trees?” and, “Do they really chew the trees down?” And after discussing beavers and their dental issues, “Do our teeth keep growing and growing? Do we need to go to the dentist to cut our teeth shorter?”

It’s NOT the Stork by Robie H. Harris. We’ve been trying for baby #3 and my 3 year old has had a lot of questions about babies and where they come from. This book is geared toward children 4 years and older, but I thought we would try it out. It’s a very straightforward but detailed book about “Girls, Boys, Babies, Families, and Friends”. I felt a little shy reading this to my 3-year-old, but he kept wanting to read more and more.

Now he asks me questions such as, “Does M- have a penis or a vagina?” “Where do baby giraffes come from?” “Does the daddy giraffe put sperm inside the mommy giraffe’s eggs?” “Why are dogs not people?” “Where do baby dogs come from?”

I had to try really hard not to laugh when he asked me if I went to the toilet and dropped him into it when he was born. I explained that generally people go to a clean hospital, and that I had to have a cesarean to have him and his brother. I explained the process and showed him my scar. Then he asked about his brother. Then he asked me if giraffes go to the giraffe hospital to give birth.

The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington recently announced the birth of  baby giraffe there. We haven’t seen it, but I’m starting to suspect that he’s interested.

Imagination

2017-07-06_09-25-55_676

I think a lot of us are familiar with the long list of benefits of children growing up with pets.

1. Having a friend.

2. Building a child’s confidence

3. Teaching them empathy and responsibility

4. Exposing them to allergens and dust early can reduce the numbers and intensity of allergies that the children may develop.

Parent magazine has a great article about this. Yet, there is a benefit that isn’t mentioned in the article, and this is fueling the child’s imagination. My children spend a significant amount of time playing at being dogs. They like to climb into the crate, run around barking at delivery people, rolling on the floor, and just generally do what little puppies do (except sleep all day long, unfortunately).

2017-07-09_10-39-10_320Sometimes this imaginative play takes place in public areas. The dog park was especially fun for the 16 month old. You can see him rolling around on the rocky floor when I pointed out that our dog was getting tired and was laying down.

I took him to Magnusson Dog Park north of Seattle because this is the biggest and coolest dog park for the northern suburbs. It is enormous, has a beach, shaded areas, open field, little dog area, walking trail, wooden bridges. Also there is a playground next to the parking lot, which is where daddy and Mr. 3 spent their time.

Mr. 1 loved walking over the wooden bridges, and throwing rocks, and most of all 2017-07-09_10-47-29_473meeting all the variety of dogs. Big ones, small ones, brown, white, black, spotted, golden, shy, loving, playful, quiet, and loud dogs.

If you haven’t taken your child to a dog park, I would put it on your to do list. There is so much to see and talk about. You may need to give them a bath later, but it is well worth the mess.

What inspires the kids in your life to use their imaginations in play?