Tag Archive 'parenting'

Feb 04 2014

Mortification.

Published by under Parenting,The Boy

Since I’m a stay at home mom, The Boy doesn’t go to day care. He’s also not yet ready for the area preschools. So, he doesn’t get a lot of interaction with other kids. Additionally, I don’t know if you’re aware, but this winter has sucked frozen gorilla balls. Playing outside has not been an option. Both of us are in dire need of escaping the house, and The Boy also has a need to release some energy every now and then. McDonald’s Play Place is the perfect solution. He gets to run and climb and interact, and I get Diet Coke. It’s win-win.

We went to McDonald’s today. Not at lunch time, and not at dinner time. At in-between time, when he is rested from his nap and shouldn’t need food for awhile. I got me a Diet Coke and him a juice and we went into the Play Place so he could play. At first, everything was fine. He was exploring, and running around, and occasionally looking in the direction of other children. Then, he started approaching the other adults who were sitting at tables, hanging out. He specifically zoned in on this older couple kitty corner from us, who had two young girls with them (their granddaughters, as I later learned). He would walk up to their table and grab the edge of it with his hands, and kind of survey the surface like “Whatcha got up there?” I removed him several times, apologizing, but they laughed it off and said he was cute and not to worry.

Then he started eating their food.

Please understand, it’s not like I was ignoring him or just letting him do whatever. But I couldn’t park myself in front of these people’s table like a security guard or bouncer, fending him off whenever he got near. “Sorry, sir. This is VIP. You’ll have to show a card.” It took me a little time to get up from my table and hustle over there, and between the time of me getting up and hustling, Scrounger McHomelessdude started shoving these people’s fries in his mouth like he’d never been granted the gift of solid food before. I was mortified. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” I apologized as, I’m sure, my face turned tomato red. But these people were not just any people, oh no. They were grandparents. Grandparents who apparently just looooved babies (or toddlers, in this case). Before I knew it, I was standing there awkwardly watching my son integrate into a new family. He was getting on the guy’s lap, cozying up to the smallest girl on the bench seat, taking fries from the older girl, all while Grandma cooed at him approvingly. It was like the Twilight Zone. Is that really my child? Did I imagine the last two years? How long until this happy family calls the police and reports the strange woman who is just standing there staring at their grandson?

He sat with those people for a good 10 minutes while I’m making awkward conversation and they are feeding him fries. I started wondering if they thought I couldn’t afford to buy him his own food, or if they thought I was out of it in some fashion (drugs, general stupidity), because what kind of mother lets her child just crawl all over strangers and what kind of mother lets strangers feed her kid?

Here’s the thing though: if I had tried to remove him, it would have been an ugly scene. I mean, he would have thrown the grandest of conniption fits and we would have had to leave the restaurant. Also, the people probably would have been offended andm after all, they were the ones who had the most to be pissed about, really. I knew he wasn’t going to be hurt – those people hadn’t poisoned their own french fries. And I was right there, the whole time, observing like a totally superfluous idiot. I also knew that they weren’t just politely tolerating my child, because I know the difference between “I Am Sincerely Enjoying This Interaction” and “Society Dictates That I Wear My Pleasant Face and Soldier Through This Episode”.

That doesn’t mean that I was enjoying this incident, however. I was actually quite embarrassed and a little troubled that my kid obviously didn’t give two hoots whose lap he was sitting on, as long as they had food. I know that this is a normal phase, where kids are like “I LOVE THE ENTIRE WORLD, INCLUDING BANANA SLUGS”, but it’s still not great to think “My kid would walk off with anyone who offered him anything with a flavor, or a toy car”.

Eventually, I brought the humiliating episode to a close by checking my phone and realizing that we had to get home to meet The Man after his work day. I packed up and we both said goodbye to Stranger Grandma and Stranger Grandpa, and their two granddaughters. The Boy had done a lot of playing, and had made some new friends.

Mission accomplished?

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Jan 30 2014

Tolors.

Published by under Parenting,The Boy,The Man

I bought The Boy this set of DVDs from zulily called “Preschool Prep“. Apparently there’s a whole big series, but the ones we got were:

  • Meet the Colors
  • Meet the Shapes
  • Meet the Letters
  • Meet the Numbers
  • Meet the Sight Words (vol. 1, 2, and 3 on three DVDs)

We started with “Meet the Colors” because he already can recognize most letters and 0-9 numerals, is strong on perhaps four shapes, but has never offered a comment on any color, ever. Sometimes, if I said “Where’s the blue?” he would point to a blue thing, but that was hit and miss, and he NEVER named a color. Well, let’s just say it’s a hit. Upon first viewing, he wasn’t real sure about the whole thing. The Man’s opinion was that he was freaked out. I wasn’t so sure. He seemed pretty interested.

We’ve only been showing this video for about four days, and he identifies colors now. He demands this video multiple times a day by running to me and saying “Tolors? TOLORS?!” The Man was a little worried about the obsession, but I showed him some article that said young children crave repetition because that’s how they master skills.

I tried to switch him out to “Meet the Shapes” today, and while he interacted with it slightly, he was upset that it wasn’t “tolors”. So, for now, I’m going to let him obsess over getting his colors down pat and we’ll move on when he’s bored of it. Before this, his TV obsession was an episode of Bubble Guppies that dealt with fairy tales. That one was referred to as “Witch? Witch? WITCH!”

As you have no doubt surmised, I am not one of the parents who dislikes television. The Boy has watched some television all his life, and to be honest, TV does a better job teaching him than I do. I tried many things to communicate the concept of color to him, with no success. He also didn’t do great with his letters until he got into “Super Why”. Counting was the one thing that I think he picked up from us.

I know there are a lot of studies and a lot of research that shows that television can lead to attention problems and weight problems. I’m not saying that I know better than the experts. But this is what is working for him. We are a very plugged in household, and that isn’t going to change. I don’t want my son to sit in the house all day, staring at a television or computer, but realistically, screen time is going to be an important part of his life and it will form a core of his learning in the years to come. That’s the way things are moving, and there is really no stopping it.

I do want him to have some hands-on skills as well, and I have plans for having him help in the garden, and with homesteading activities I have planned for the future. I’m hoping to get my first hive set up this spring, and next year perhaps we’ll add chickens. A garden will also be part of our future.

I really am looking forward to spring.

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Dec 23 2013

Comprehension

Published by under Parenting,The Boy,The Man

There were two incidents today that really drove home to me that The Boy understands a lot more than he can articulate…and also a lot more than he generally lets on. Which means I may have been too easy on him in certain ways, thinking that he doesn’t understand.

The first:

The Man went outside to snowblow, and The Boy wanted to watch from a window. However, the dining room window he chose happened to have an electric candle in it, and he was monkeying around with the candle. I told him he couldn’t be at the window anymore, and led him away. A few minutes later, he was laying forlornly on his trampoline in the living room. I said to him, “Boy, if you want to look out that window there, you can. Get up, go behind the tree (the Christmas tree) and look out the window.” And he immediately stood up, went to the proper window, moved the curtain, and looked out.

The second:

We were in his bedroom, getting ready for bed. I changed his diapers, said his prayers, and The Man said, “OK, time for bed.” Well, The Boy was not ready for bed. He made quite a screech. So I said “OK. I’m setting a timer. When this alarm goes off, you’re going to bed. Go ahead and play. But when the alarm goes, it’s bed time.” I set the timer for five minutes, and we played. When the timer went off, he jumped up, grabbed his lovey, and went right to his crib to be lifted into bed.

MIND. BLOWN.

He’s just over 22 months. There are some kids who are speaking better than he is, but I’m not worried about that. He knows so much. It astonishes me. He knows a lot of the alphabet. He knows numbers, mostly 1-10 but occasionally he’ll count as high as 15. He knows his colors and many shapes. He can’t say all of them, but if I say “Where’s the square?” he can point to it. Or if I ask him which is the yellow one, he’ll point to it.

Sometimes, he’ll save something up and break out with it at random times, and it’s funny. Today, we were sitting on the couch in the living room, and he said “Spooky!” Now, I know he got that from the Halloween episode of Bubble Guppies, but we haven’t watched that one in a week or more. So, he’s been saving “Spooky” until the time felt right.

I have to make sure I’m telling him more things, especially with transitions. I think he’d be happier if he knew what was coming next, and what we are going to be doing. I have to remember than just because he doesn’t say a lot doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot going on inside.

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Sep 11 2013

Melt down.

Published by under Parenting,The Boy

We are in the process of pushing The Boy’s morning nap back to noon or 12:30. He’s in that transition phase where he doesn’t want two naps, but if he only takes his morning nap at the usual time, he is too exhausted to make it to bed time. Usually, kids will drop the morning nap and move their afternoon nap up, but we got one of the kids who wants to drop the afternoon nap, which means a 7+ hour stretch in the afternoon with no nap…not good. The solution is to push the morning nap back slowly. We started with the morning nap happening at 8-8:30 AM and we now have it moved back to 11:30…except for days like today.

Today I took The Boy to a park in the morning, because it’s supposed to be hot and raining this afternoon. I wanted him to get some outdoor time in, and it’s easier to keep him awake longer if he’s not cooped up in the house all morning. So, off we go to the park, where the very first thing he wants to do is swing. Now, I’m not against swings, but the point of getting him to the park was so that he’d run around and get some exercise. Sitting in a swing while I push him is not exercise. But, whatever, he wants to swing, let’s swing for a bit and then I’ll get him down and we’ll explore.

So, into the swing. I pushed that kid for twenty minutes in the swing while we watched the park employees cut down a dead tree. Then I thought “That’s enough, I’m tired of pushing this swing, the sun is hot, and he needs to run around.” So I said “Ok, kiddo, that’s twenty minutes of swinging. It’s time to do something else.” I took him out of the swing and put him down. Cue the melt down.

This boy LURVES to swing. At home, his swing is not as awesome, because it doesn’t go as high or swing as smoothly. The park swings are like the Cadillac of swings to the swing lover, and he was not best pleased at being told his time with the Caddy was over. He threw himself a nice little fit. He clung to my legs and wailed, and when I reached down to pick him up, I forgot I was holding a can of Diet Coke and dumped it all over him (and my leg, but whatever).

Well, that was it. We had to go home, but he refused to walk and he was covered in soda, so I carried him to the car and drove him home. Once home, I took him out of his seat and he ran off to go get some rocks. I said, “OK, we have to go into the house and get lunch started and change your clothes.” Suddenly, he couldn’t walk anymore. Clinging to my legs and crying again. I tried to take his hand to lead him to the house but noooo…he can’t walk. Threw himself down full length on the grass and noodled around like a wet dishrag.

Dang, I was so pissed at this point. Somehow, we got into the house. It might have involved me holding him under the armpits and saying “Walk. Walk. Walk.” as I moved him to the house. We got upstairs (he miraculously recovered the power to move once inside and climbed the stairs) and into his room. I got him into some PJs, turned out the light, and we sat in the rocker where he finally calmed down.

It was only 10:30, but what are you going to do? The Boy was obviously done in. I held him in my arms and he finally quieted down and snuggled with me. That’s how I knew he meant business: no more awake time right now. He only snuggles when ill or tired. So, we rocked a little bit, and I whispered “I’m sorry, buddy. I forgot you’re just a little guy.” He sighed a little bit and leaned his head on my shoulder. It must be hard to be 19 months old sometimes, especially when your Mom loses her patience.

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Aug 31 2013

Labor Dabor

Published by under Outdoors,Parenting,The Boy,The Man

We did a lot of outside work today. We haven’t touched the back deck since we moved in, other than once I repainted the railings. That was a couple of years ago. The deck surface is in bad shape. It’s not rotted or anything, but it needs help. We decided to try the Behr Deck Over stuff on it, but that means a lot of prep work involving stripping off what’s left of the old stain and cleaning the wood. The Man worked on that and I mowed the lawn while The Boy napped. Lucky for us, he took a 2.5 hour long nap today (WHAT.) so I got most of the lawn done. I also pruned the lilac bush and neatened up the apple tree.

After he woke up, The Boy wandered around outside with us. Right now, he really likes rocks. Whenever he goes outside, he grabs two rocks (always two at a time) from the driveway, or the walkway between the back deck and the garage, or from one of the little stone caches he has made around. There’s a pile of rocks on one of our front porch chairs, a little pile on the back steps, a couple rocks on the walkway around the garage, a couple rocks on the front porch steps…you get the picture. He likes rocks. Fortunately, he does not eat them. He just carries them around.

He’s starting to count. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know what counting is, or what the words mean, but if we say “One”, he’ll often chime in with “TWO!” and maybe “FEE!” He likes saying “Zicks” and “Teen”. We don’t go further than ten. I’m trying to get him to grasp colors and matching, but he gets SO MAD when we’re working on matching, and he puts something in the wrong spot, and I correct him. Dammit, that purple gear is going in the orange spot because that’s the way he wants it! Well, he gets it. (I don’t like it any more than you men.)

 

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