Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

Friday, April 28, 2017

Toddler Destruction and Mayhem

This one lasted almost four months. I got this really neat planner for 2017, nothing too fancy, but nice enough for me to want to keep it looking attractive. My planners were usually freebies that I schlepped around and treated like scrap paper when one wasn't handy. This planner, however, my husband bought for me, and I know he would have spent some time really looking for one that would suit me well.

My husband's like that. He's methodical about shopping, and, man, what a stickler for quality. I love that about him, especially because I know he ends up getting the best deal there could possibly be, but I don't really want to be tagging along when he's hunting down crazy bargains. It's hard on my feet and my patience. Also, on my back if I happen to be carrying a baby as well.

So, anyway, I had this nice planner I'd planned on keeping nice for as long as possible, but with little kids around, that was nigh impossible. Four months into using it, my youngest took a pen to it and scribbled all over it.

Okay, before I proceed, let me just put out there that I'm the kind of parent who believes in letting her kids use and experience our things. It would be silly to hold on to something and never use it for fear of the kids destroying it. In my mind, destruction is pretty much a forgone conclusion. With things, it's going to happen sooner or later, with or without kids. It's best not to get attached. And, as far as I'm concerned, my kids' exploration and learning should be prioritized over material possessions.

If I didn't want them messing with something, it would be hidden in some locked up drawer and probably never used until they're grown. I've learned my lesson. My eldest made short work of my favorite pearl choker, a gift from my mom, when she was two.

Everything else is pretty much fair game, no matter how nice or how expensive. Expensive doesn't always equate to important, in my opinion. If it's something that either I or my husband especially cherish, it's up to us to ensure that the kids don't get their hands on it. And, resourceful creatures that they are, they get into pretty much everything.

You may think we're too permissive, that we're not doing what we should to train them to be respectful of other people's things. First, different families, different values. Second, we do teach them to respect other people's things; we're lenient with our own things. Third, destruction is only an issue with babies and toddlers; after that, they learn to use and care for things properly, so the issue becomes only a matter of normal wear-and-tear. Wear-and-tear definitely wins hands down over preserved in careful storage and never used.

My husband and I both sometimes struggle with this attitude, but we're learning to pick our battles and not sweat the small stuff. That's why almost all our sheets have ink marks on them, why we've been taping up my old books that my eldest now reads and sometimes leaves somewhere her youngest brother can access. why my laptop has missing keys, why my wallet has pink scribbles on it, etc. They can all still be used despite their battered appearance, so no biggie.

The same is true with my planner. For a moment there though, I'd regarded my youngest child's super cute face and exclaimed, "You will not rest until everything is destroyed!" He looked back at me, the picture of innocence, and then reached over to pick another key from my laptop.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Post That Went to Drafts... But It Does Have a Picture

In the aftermath of one of the most unthinkable events to happen in recent history, I add my little voice to the collective din of opinions and reactions reverberating across the planet. And my thoughts articulate into the following: as much as it is every parent's horror to have a son or daughter to be a victim in such a gruesome tragedy, it is even a much greater horror to have one's child grow up to be the perpetrator of the crime.

The morning after the day I wrapped up my full-time working (albeit home-based) stint, I was greeted by terrible news of the Newtown shooting. I do agree with many who believe that the attention should be shifted away from the shooter lest it inspire another mentally unhinged individual desiring to achieve notoriety. While some news programs go so far as to refrain from mentioning the name of the shooter, most of us have our thoughts turning toward him in the futile attempt to grasp at the Why's...

There have been mentions of personality disorder, autism, Asperger's, etc. While many have been quick to fault permissive gun laws (and I don't know enough to comment on that -- although I grew up under the influence of MacGyver and we all know how he felt about guns... that is, we of the GenX and older), the focus on the issue of mental health is also gaining ground.


I just deleted 5 paragraphs. As it turns out, I'm not yet ready to share --  Let's just leave it at: I'm no longer working full-time so I can devote my time to child care.

Btw, we recently took the kids to Disneyland. Here's a picture...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Noting Down Moments

It's obviously very busy still around here, but I thought perhaps you'd like to see some blurry, gritty images from my phone, so I'm posting a few. :)

picnic with Daddy

She's very scared of heights (like me), but she's trying to conquer the queasy feeling she gets from looking down from our window.

all tuckered out

all ready for a night out in Tagaytay, but was foiled by the weather

waiting for the car

I'm always the first one awake. Normally okay, but I didn't have chores this day. I was done with my early morning devotion too. What to do?

No worries. After a few, Little Cameron is up and ready to tear that thing off the wall.

Breakfast isn't until 8. Good thing there's plenty leftover from the "picnic".

Shush. Eats brie and camembert. Pasteurized. So faux, just like our Swiss vacation.

Is not considerate to sleeping people.

Notices that he hasn't latched on yet since waking up.

Out for a stroll

From last Saturday

Another visit to the UP Academic Oval

Just some moments, I'd like to remember:

Cameron was about 10 months old. His Aunt Chip was passing by his playpen (I was seated beside it), when she exclaimed, "Oh yeah, rock on!" I turned to look what was going on and Chip kept on gushing about Cam gesturing "Rock on!" What she thought to be devil horns was actually the sign for airplane.

Marguerite was asking to play with her dad, who told her no because he was watching TV. M came in dejected, so I sent her back with the following lines: "I'll never be six again. When you're old, you'll wish that you had chosen to play with me." Mark turned off the TV en seguida and the two started playing.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Spinning Days

Hello. Just a quick update. I'm afraid that if I scratch beneath the superficial stuff, I'd start articulating all of my thoughts and I just don't have time for that.

And while it's true that life's pretty hectic these days, it's not too toxic that I can't even spare a minute to post a quick paragraph or even just a picture... the truth of the matter is that I'm not finding my days lovely at all. This is not the life I'd set out for at all. I'm praying for positivity. I think I'm thankful. I'm counting my blessings, and I know that there are a lot... I like my work, I like having a stable source of income... BUT...

I hate that I'm just overcome with guilt and shame over the level of stewardship that I'm eking out for my children these days. I hate that I have to tell my daughter that I'm too busy to do things with her. I hate that I'm not able to micro-experience my son's infancy (which I was able to with my daughter - in retrospect, I do admit that there were very many moments when I was almost prostrate with paranoia over the most ridiculous worries, and regrettably over-indulgent when it came to postpartum hormones). I hate that the days are not lovely in quite the way that I want them to be lovely...

I didn't pay too much attention to my physics class my senior year in high school, but I do remember the Uncertainty Principle - I think I can compare my current struggle with that... I don't want to get a hernia explaining the comparison, so I'd leave it at that and not expound...

I'm praying. There's what I want, of course. I'm praying that with the strength of my yearning for something that I don't move heaven and earth to get to the point that I want. In my dorkiness, I can be quite determined, and I'm not sure that getting what I want is the best thing for us. Because, though still (relatively) young, I've already experienced enough to know that it's better when God's will - and not mine - is done...

That's just the surface, believe me -- On a happy note, I do have pictures - stuff from my phone, so they're mostly bedtime stuff (If you try hard enough without hurting yourself, I think you could possibly find the logic there, lol)...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Supermoon, Kiddie Updates and Free E-book

There's a Supermoon (perigee-syzgy) to watch out for later tonight, but the crazy May showers have arrived and the sky will probably be full of rain clouds. Oh well. We'll see if we'll get lucky.

Marguerite came down with a fever yesterday. She may have a cold (it comes and goes), but she usually doesn't get fevers from that. I think it's probably exhaustion. I know she ran a fever before from getting so tired. Is that scientific? lol. Anyway, she started swimming lessons on Tuesday, so I think it has something to do with that. The fever's gone, but we'll probably wait until next week before she resumes her lessons. In any case, the coming week is already promising to be really busy for her; she also has DVBS in the mornings.

Cameron already knows how to sign milk, but he does it only when we say "milk". He doesn't actually sign it to ask for milk. Marguerite started signing to communicate at 8 months, so Cameron will probably start doing it soon. He turns 8 months on the 15th.

Listen, Joan/Sharkbytes recently added another installment to her cozy cool series of Anastasia Raven mysteries. Its title is "The Hollow Tree at Dead Mule Swamp" and you can read it for free. I read it in one sitting; it's that engaging.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ice Cream Commercial's Dangerous Premise

Is it because I watch too much news and crime TV? I recently saw a TV commercial with the following storyline: a boy is left behind by his ride home from school; he sees the ice cream man who offers to bring him home; he helps the man sell ice cream until they get to his house, whereupon the boy's mother is waiting and on seeing how her son got there, expresses her gratitude and pleasure... Isn't anybody else bothered by it? It's a sweet scene and we certainly love the idea of a young boy being friends with the neighborhood ice cream man or of the latter being so trustworthy mothers wouldn't think twice about letting their kids ride around with him... However, doesn't the idea of your kid going off or accepting a ride (albeit the ride being a mere ice cream bicycle cart - but, hey, with a portable freezer! Okay, that aside was mostly hours and hours of Criminal Minds talking) from somebody no matter how familiar horrify you? Some time back a 7-year-old girl was raped and murdered by the very person paid by her own mother to take her to and from school... I don't know. Am I making a big stink over nothing? The commercial just really caught my attention and I reacted to it quite strongly. People probably dismiss it just as a commercial (I couldn't find any sentiments about it similar to mine online); certainly their kids know better... Maybe no kid as yet has gotten the idea from it that it's okay to go off with somebody who's not entrusted by his parent to take him home, but I still think that it's dangerous to put even the merest hint of a suggestion out there. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gentle Discipline, Competition, Etc.

Slight cold, trying to squelch the little buggers with, uh, overeating... I'll let you know if that works. Moving the baby's well-baby visit to the pedi to Sat because, this gal's no longer a freelancin', freewheelin' agent. Who am I kidding? When was I ever freewheeling in my life? No such pentecostal, I believe, lol...
We were doing our groceries last Sunday and Cameron began to throw the mother of all fits, and there was only one way to calm him down. The nursing station was 3 floors above, so I opted to just find a bench where I could feed the baby, but all the benches nearby were occupied, so I ended up at a Books for Less (thanks to the super nice clerks there), nursing and browsing through the parenting section (the chair was right next to that shelf). Anyway, I was thrilled to find Dr. Sears' Discipline book... As I've mentioned here ad nauseam, I'm doing gentle discipline, but my efforts kind of got derailed ever since we moved back in with my parents. It's a lame excuse, but I just don't have a thick enough hide for certain people's disapproval... So essentially, there's my naturally fiery temper and then the fact that my child's behavior is under scrutiny, so I've kind of strayed from what I believe in just to prove that I'm in control of my child (which is not what I want in the first place -- I want to be in charge, but not in control...) Anyway, with the book, I can get some support and guidance. Mark is also reading it, so at least, we could be a team about the discipline thing. In the past, he was pretty clueless about the method, but he trusted me to have chosen well and to know what I was doing (so unfair, right?)...

Also, here's an article I really like: Striking the Right Balance. I first heard this philosophy from the TV show Dharma & Greg. Dharma's dad Larry was against Dharma entering a ballroom dancing contest because he'd taught her to disapprove of competition -- what he said really struck a chord with me, something about not having to be better than others to feel good about one's self. For somebody who could be a little cut-throat, I found myself really liking the thought behind that. I was the dorky kid who had to have the highest scores, who had to win all the contests (not raffles  though as I've always sucked and continue to suck at those... more like the bees type of contests -- you know, spelling, quiz, etc.)... I know this is not a popular belief, but it's what I adhere to...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paintings and Handedness

Marguerite and I played street artists last week. That is, she played street artist and I played sidewalk dawdler/pedestrian/tourist/customer... you get the picture. "I take requests", she said, but when I requested a flower, she replied, "No. A ladybug." So, I suppose she took requests provided they were in sync with what she wanted to paint anyway.

I wish I had taken a picture (it would have been in character anyway, as a tourist). I got one of her berets (pink -- they're all pink and getting too small... I guess I have to knit a black one soon). She had her easel out. It would have made a really cute picture, but I wasn't in blogging mode last week, so I just enjoyed the play and didn't think to take pictures. I remembered the other day that, hey, I blog about stuff like this... so I got the paintings out of her portfolio and took a picture. I guess I'll also let them hang on the clothesline on her wall (remember HER wall?) until we can replace them with a new batch.

Btw, Marguerite is still ambidextrous. Not that I'm complaining because I think that's cool, but I'm wondering if she'll go on using both hands until she grows up or there are really just cases of delayed preference. Most kids her age have shown a long time ago whether they're righties or lefties. Is she really just inherently ambidextrous or is it possibly something I did or didn't do, being such a believer of not tampering with a child's natural development? I've read articles about studies showing ambidextrous children having learning problems. On the other hand, I've also read articles about ambidexterity among gifted children. Generally, both sets of articles have pointed out that ambidexterity can also occur in absolutely "normal" children. So why am I fretting? No reason except that I'm a compulsive fretter (not a word). I have the habit of airing out my frettings (also not a word) and then forgetting about them...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Marguerite's Letters

We made and put up Marguerite's letters on the wall beside her bed. I actually set out to buy plain foam boards in baby colors, but I had Marguerite with me at the store and having spotted the glittered boards, she told me that she wanted those instead. She said she liked things sparkly. They were supposed to be her letters, her wall... My knee-jerk reaction usually is to balk, but after a few seconds to regroup, I do feel glad that she has a mind of her own and that she's very strong-willed. Of course, the strong-willed part sometimes frustrates me (because I don't get my own way, lol).
So, there's Marguerite putting polka dots on her wall. I actually didn't get a pattern for the letters. I thought about doing pretty curlicues, but since Marguerite is learning to read and write (the reading part, very casually -- the writing part is more structured, but there's no pressure; everything's at her pace) I decided to make the letters plain. Anyway, they were sparkly. The bigger circles weren't all supposed to have little circles on top of them, but Marguerite thought it was a good idea when she saw the first one I'd made and started sticking the rest of the big circles with smaller circles. I caught myself from going "No, no, no!". Again, it was her wall. She can have it any way she wants it within reason. Small circles on ALL of the big circles? Definitely within reason.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Marguerite Called Somebody a Tool

Yesterday Marguerite told me, "I have the hiccups," adding, "just like Felipe." Not knowing this Felipe, I inquired, "Who's Felipe?" whereupon my daughter replied, "He's a tool." I was taken aback. I know she's at the age when kids like experimenting with swear words, but since she has yet to encounter those 4-letter bombs, that's not really something I worry about. Our version of this stage is pretty limited to "Shut up" and "Oh my God", which admittedly do slip out from my tongue from time to time.  "Tool" may not be a cuss word, but it's still rude. I was confused, I don't think I've ever called anybody a tool in front of Marguerite and it's one of the words I've consciously been avoiding since I confess I could be quite loose about name-calling famous people. Anyway, thinking I must have misheard, I verified, "Did you say Felipe's a tool?" Marguerite replied in the affirmative. I mulled this over before it finally dawned on me that Felipe was one of Handy Manny's tools. He's a real tool - a screwdriver, I believe. Now what is wrong with me that when I hear "tool", I immediately think of its pejorative definition?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Living Epistles

I know my own testimony is my living epistle, but I think as a parent I also influence the writing of the living epistle that is my daughter's life. I have a long and growing list of values that are important to me and it's a concern of mine how to effectively inculcate them in Marguerite (especially if I might be struggling with some of them still). I just wanted to share a couple of episodes of which I'm really proud, although I can't take credit for either of them since I don't remember myself at any time being an example for something like the following:

The day the Sunday School teachers came over to our house to work on the Christmas pageant props and backdrops, my dad came home with four packets of strawberry cookies. Besides Chip, Mom and myself, there were her two aunts (who are both Sunday School teachers) and her Ate Icee and Ate Bianca. As what has been her habit, Marguerite started offering the packets around. She gave one each to Ate Icee and Ate Bianca and then gave a pause. She had two left and there were still her two aunts. She obviously hasn't learned fractions yet at four, but after a split second, she decided to give all her remaining packets to her aunts. We all sat there waiting to see what she would do and all went "Aaaaw" at her "sacrifice". I just got so choked up to see that she would rather go without as long as the others had their share. Icee and Bianca did give Marguerite back their packets (I guess they felt sorry for the little girl, lol), but not until after she had already given away all of her cookies.

The other episode happened last Sunday after Mom's party. There were just five balloons. My cousin Luigi got them down and managed to pop two in the process (he tried to remove the masking tape from them - we'd taped them up, lol). The third one - he left the tape on - he gave to Marguerite. Naturally, the other kids wanted balloons too. Luigi gave the fourth to Antonella's grandmother, but forgot to warn her not to remove the tape, so that one popped. The last one, Antonella and her cousin managed to play with before something happened and it popped as well. Antonella was upset, of course, and wanted another balloon. She's only three, after all. The only remaining balloon was Marguerite's and Antonella came over, looking sadly at it. Now, I was actually torn myself. I wanted my daughter to be able to keep her balloon, but I thought it was one of those opportunities for character building. Tentatively I told Marguerite that she would make Antonella really happy if she gave her balloon to the little girl. I didn't tell her to give it to Antonella because I knew she would have done just that, but only to obey me. I wasn't really sure how that would have turned out, so I didn't know how to deal when Marguerite gently handed her balloon to her friend and then burrowed her face into my chest, crying. I told her that she did a wonderful thing and assured her that she could have another balloon the next time we went to the mall. I think Marguerite was also tired at that point, so she just stayed in my lap crying quietly. When it was time to go home, Tita Maf (Antonella's mom) brought the balloon back, thanking Marguerite for letting Antonella play with the balloon. We told her that Marguerite had already given it to Antonella, but Tita Maf really wanted to give it back. I asked Marguerite if she wanted it back or if she wanted Antonella to have it and she said that she wanted Antonella to have it (and her still crying about it too). Tita Maf was adamant though (laughingly pointing out that she had a hard time convincing Antonella to let go of the thing), so in the end Marguerite did get it back.

Am I bragging? I guess a little bit, which totally takes away from the awesomeness of those moments. Also, it's not all like that, of course. She has moments when I have to remind her to share her toys, when I have to roar before she pays attention to what I'm saying, when she throws a fit at what happened to the sky (nothing... the sun rose and it officially became morning)... But whatever. I have these memories to cuddle and stroke during dismal moments for the rest of my life. More to come, I hope. And I just pray ceaselessly that ... oh please, please, please, with God's grace and guidance that I get the parenting bit right...

Now, here are pictures of living epistles...

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Race That Knows Joseph

As you know, I'm a big fan of the Anne of Green Gables series and if you are too, then I consider you to be from the "race that knows Joseph". :) When I first encountered that idiom in "Anne's House of Dreams", I thought the meaning (kindred spirit) was kind of anti-climactic. I was expecting it to mean something else or something more. It was reminiscent of something from the Bible about the generation of Egyptians who no longer knew Joseph, so I thought it would have something to do with that somehow (an elaboration would probably show the connection). However, as soon as I had made my peace with the given meaning, I couldn't wait to use the phrase.  As expected, I didn't find many out there who belonged to "that race" and appreciated the idiom, lol. After all, how naturally can you include it in casual conversation? :D
Anne, with her bright red (carrot, according to the juvenile version of her future husband) hair and sparkling gray/green eyes, is a character I would like my daughter to get to know before she encounters the Wakefield twins or Judy Blume's girls. I would love for Marguerite to read and be inspired by characters who are from "that race". I know how impressionable I was as a reader and how I thought I could relate to all those fictional characters (you should have been around when I read "The Catcher in the Rye" -- then again, I read it too young), so I'm thinking, much in the way of friendship, that it's more ideal to expose her to characters who'd be a good influence.
I also naturally love Anne's emphasis on the importance of imagination. I'm big on imagination myself. Every time I see Marguerite involve herself in imaginative play, I feel such a thrill. If she'll be able to hold on that sense of imagination, creativity and wonder as she grows up, I can be certain of an extraordinary life for her. And to have the Lord's joy ever present in her life... I know her days will be abundantly blessed and that she'll know it. Anyway, that's my hope and prayer for her. She'll definitely belong to the race that knows Joseph, which (according to Captain Jim) is the "salt of the airth".

Friday, October 8, 2010

Funny or Heartbreaking... You Be the Judge

I would really like to know how you feel about this video:

My husband emailed it to me, saying it reminded him of our daughter and the time we also made her say goodbye to her binky. I know there are people who believe that she would have given it up on her own when she was good and ready, but she was already 3 and growing more attached by the second. We didn't do it cold turkey though. It was a gradual process, but she was still looking for it the time we made its disappearance final. I remember telling my husband I was going to take time off from my work to focus on helping Marguerite cope with the parting from her binky (that could mean mega-drama at bedtime, which meant exhaustion on my part). All in all, it wasn't as painful or difficult as we had expected it to be. There were tears, but Marguerite got over it quickly.
Anyway, my husband thought the video was funny. I guess in concept it was supposed to be funny, something like a parody. It broke my heart though. I'm not going to comment on the wisdom of the "fanfare" and the enduring effect it may have on the child. Other people have already done that. And it seems the balloon send-off is quite common, so the merits and whatnots of the process will simply have to be discussed elsewhere.
We made the mistake of letting Marguerite watch it on Mark's phone. She finished watching the video before bursting into tears, which made me follow suit (well, just tears rolling down and not actual sobbing like Marguerite).  I was really amazed at the empathy. Of course, she could totally relate anyway, but it has been almost a year since she bade her own binky goodbye. Whatever the binky may be - whether little ones shouldn't be using it anyway - it's still something of a friend (not to mention a powerful force). Expect sweet sorrow at the parting.
I'm just really curious to know how different people react to the video. Do most men find it funny, while most women find it sad? Is it just the moms? Or just the moms who had to deal with goodbyes to a binky? Or just the bleeding hearts? I'd like to know.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Current Reading

I dropped by the secondhand bookstore beside Marguerite's dance school again and ended up buying a back issue of MaryJanesFarm, Parenting and Southern Living at about Php20 each (less than $.50). I also found a copy of Dr. James Dobson's "The Strong-willed Child". I've had suspicions that Marguerite may be spirited or strong-willed for some time now. She certainly seems to be of a choleric temperament. I hate labels, but I'd love some guidance on parenting this kind of child even if Marguerite doesn't exactly turn out to be one. I've received warning on reading this book. Whether I like it or not, I've been prejudiced against it because of what somebody told me. While I'm prepared not to agree, I'm interested to know what Dr. Dobson has to say. I'll be praying for an open mind. There's actually a new, updated version of the book. Maybe in 25 years (my copy was published in 1985), I'll find a copy of that one in a secondhand bookshop, snort. I'm also interested in reading Dr. Sears' discussion of the high-need child and Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's on raising a spirited child. I find I can usually trust what Dr. Sears has to say. I do want parenting advice coming from a Christian point of view. I observed in the past that the parents and experts I shared many parenting philosophies with were pagan. I'm happy to note though that as I read and learn further, I discover more and more Christians of the same beliefs and inclinations as mine.

Anyway, for the moment, I'm reading "The Swiss Family Robinson". It occurred to me when I saw the copy that I've never actually read the complete and unabridged version (which that book was), so I added it to the pile in my arms. I know I had an illustrated copy when I was a child and I know I've seen movie versions as a kid, but that's not the same as actually reading the book as it was written (well, translated from the original, I suppose). Btw, I also followed the series on Nickelodeon when I was a kid, but the show took many liberties (there were three Robinson children instead of 4 - two boys and one girl instead of four boys; Ernest took on the character of Fritz while Franz took on Ernest's - I guess the girl was supposed to be Jack...). The show did inspire one of the many affectations of my youth, and this one came in the form of writing dates the old-fashioned way, with me specifying that it was "the year of our Lord", lol. PS. I couldn't find a picture of my copy online, but it's a Watermill Classic and the cover showed a scene with the tree house too instead of the family on the boat.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Introspective Parenting Post Alert!

My friend Jeanne forwarded this video on unschooling to me and it's very timely. Occasionally, I go through episodes of doubt and self-questioning about certain decisions that I for the most part made (Mark generally agrees, but he's still learning about these things, which is largely a manifestation of trust and confidence in my judgment). I suppose the doubt and the questioning are good things, right? Introspection keeps me on track or at the very least, honest. Why am I exactly going for these alternative ways? Do I honestly think they are best for our family, especially Marguerite, or is it borne by a lifelong habit of just going against the flow? Homeschooling, positive discipline... I'm already feeling the strain and this is only the beginning. Marguerite is being compared and labeled. I shouldn't stand for it. They can just take their inaccurate adjectives and shove them. Comments sting and can erode my resolve if I let them. Am I wrong to let them give me a pause to really study the situation? And am I objective or just defensive in my analysis? I'm new at this. Advices come from people of all kinds - veteran parents (who may have raised happy/unhappy/adjusted/spoiled... children), childless adults, people who know us, people who don't know us but talk like they do... What can I do, right? Pray for guidance, read up, go with my gut... Maybe I just need a thicker hide. So, Marguerite is not like the other kids, but isn't that what I was going for anyway? It's early days. Maybe this is what that grown person in my mind go through in childhood. I want a child who is different, who is not easily affected and yet sensitive, who is free but gently guided and trained, molded by example and not by force. I'm not always on top of the situation. As a parent, I'm probably pretty lazy, but I refuse to spank. I can understand the philosophy of spanking without anger to let children associate certain behavior with pain (like lab rats - I obviously do not subscribe to the idea). I wouldn't trust myself with any permission to hit. The desire ever only comes when I'm furious. In moments when I can keep my head and give my complete attention, I can find other ways to deal with the situation, a teachable moment, I'm sure. How easy it would be to say "It's wrong to do that. Here's a swat to help you remember." Can I be certain that children would be mature and magnanimous enough to understand that it's for their own good, that years later when they remember that time, it would be the guiding love of the parent that would stay and not any feeling of hurt and resentment? Would they understand that punishment was done out of concern and not out of anger and vindictiveness or could it be a moment to demonstrate patience, empathy and true control? Admittedly, I need a lot of work. I do a lot of snarling and Marguerite has already gotten my angry face down pat. Do I dare let myself spank? Even if spanking (the anger-free kind - I have yet to see an example of this) was really the way to go, it still wouldn't be for me. Anger is already something I have to deal with; compound it with the guilt and I'll just be pure misery. Also, with my campaign for a positive life, I can't reconcile spanking with positivity. Then again, what do I know? I'm just a rookie mom. I need the experience to really know.
I know I completely went off tangent there. Hi, this post should have been about homeschooling, another alternative option this deviant mom loves.  Maybe I'll talk about that when I have a video on positive discipline, lol.
Here's the video I was talking about (hope the post didn't sound too hurt, hee!):

Learn Free from Lillian Mauser-Carter on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cootie Catchers and Playdough - Just Some Childhood Staples

Remember making cootie catchers when you were a kid? Of course, I think I was already in grade school when I started fooling with them. Anyway, yesterday for art, we were supposed to make origami dolls, but ended up making cootie catchers. I think Marguerite sees them as some sort of puppets. I made the one in the picture as an activity picker (the choices are "spend time in the garden", "make smoothies", "play dress-up", etc.) Since this pic, we've made two more and it's just silly and fun. One is a hug sweepstakes of sorts (who will get Marguerite's hug - choices include people, loveys, and the fridge - I'd have included trees, but ours are crawling with big red ants); the other is something like madlibs (choices are adjectives and nouns; we pick a person to match the word with, eg. Uncle Giggi is... it could be anything from "cute" to "a potato"). Marguerite is actually still a little too young for them, but she gets them, especially the hugging one.

Btw, when we were packing to move, I threw out all of Marguerite's bunches of clay (they'd all come to resemble mounds of brown turd). Yesterday, she was suddenly asking for them and my mother quickly took her to a nearby school supplies store and voilĂ , we've got clay again. Living with grandparents...
Sigh, btw, how was your solstice? Mine was spent defending my method of parenting. Just because I prefer to not take the punitive approach in discipline somehow means that I lack discipline completely. People just seem to want me to spank Marguerite into shape. Apparently, I'm raising a spoiled brat. While I may resent the criticism on my part, what alarms me is the judgment and labels being heaped on my 3-year-old. I'm open-minded and I've had doubts, but I'm still convinced that this way is best for us. Rest assured that I realize this is experimental for us, having had no exposure to positive/gentle discipline AT ALL, and am ready to modify and correct as I go along. Fortunately, I can verbally spar with the best of them (and I mean "the best") so I won that duel.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

N/M Sounds, Coloring within Lines, Kit Kittredge

I'm not really worried. Everything about Marguerite's development seems to be in order. If there are advances and delays, they're really pretty much still within the standard time frame. Anyway, I just can't help but remark on a couple of things. I notice that she has some tendency to substitute the "m" sound for the "n" in some words. Just some. For instance, she says "Dismey" instead of "Disney; "happimess" instead of "happiness" (she loves the songs from "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown"); and "meed" instead of "need". However, she has no trouble saying the "n" sound in other words like "Nannie", "no", "candle", "knee", "funny", etc. My guts tell me this is nothing, but I very seldom listen to my guts, so I did a little research and found this list of mispronounced sounds. It does not include m and n. My guts are really trying to convince me to just chill and, fact is, I am pretty chill about it. I'm just the kind of cool person who likes to look up things so maybe I'll research some more to see if the "m/n" thing is indicative of any disorder.
The other thing is that some time ago, Marguerite started coloring within the lines.

Now, the thing about it is that I never taught her to do that. For starters, I felt she was too young to worry about staying inside the lines. Besides that, I also felt that staying within the lines is limiting to creativity. I just pretty much let her draw, paint, color... as she chooses to. I asked my sister if they just really learn to do that by themselves and she said, not really, and jokingly added that it might signify a little bit of OCD (mild forms run in the family).
I'm really, you know, cool, a statement which is only negated by the effort to convince you of this, lol. It's just that maybe besides OCD, paranoia also runs in the family, hee. Anyway, I like to research, so nobody's going to stop me from doing so, right? (Flashback: I am a new mother. I just read something about some baby illness. I am wondering out loud if the symptoms didn't apply to Marguerite somehow. As I get in the beginning stages of fretting, my mom yells at me, "Stop reading things on the Internet if you're just going to be paranoid about everything!")
One other homeschool-related thing: I'm really excited to watch Kit Kittredge on HBO (they're showing the making now and if what I read in the website is accurate, they'll show the movie in May). I just love the American Girl Stories (FYI, the first and, so far, only Asian American girl in the collection is named Ivy :D). My cousin Cheska (Tita Patch to my daughter) collects the books. I plan to collect them too for Marguerite. I also love reading stories set in the Depression (lots of great and inspiring children's books are; see here, then add "Thimble Summer" by Elizabeth Enright, another author I love.). Anyway, Kit Kittredge is portrayed by that delightful Abigail Breslin (known to my daughter as Nim from Nim's Island). It also has what I think to be a likeable cast with Julia Ormond, Chris O' Donnell, Jane Krakowski, Stanley Tucci, Joan Cusack... You can tell how cool I am by the things I get psyched about, lol.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution

Marguerite is now three and while I can leave her with certain people she feels comfortable with, she's not totally above separation anxiety. As I've mentioned here before, I practice mostly attachment parenting and when it comes to matters of independence, my position is that I am raising my child to be independent, but levels and degrees of independence occur at developmentally appropriate intervals. I am here to make her feel safe, but not in such a way that makes separation from me trigger insecurity. I also encourage safe explorations and social encounters, but do not force her into them. In the relatively short time I've parented, I have fortunately come to see (with much relief) that Marguerite does let us know when she's ready for something. I am not about to push down her natural inclinations and reactions just because it's more convenient or I'm paranoid about criticism.
In the practical world, of course, there are times when I do have to leave her with somebody else. I have a few tricks on how to go about things free of tears, but I'd love to get more ideas. Thankfully, I can count on Elizabeth Pantley to come up with no-cry solutions for this parenting situation as well. Elizabeth Pantley is a trusted parenting author who has written ten books, six of which belong to the No-Cry series. Separation Anxiety is the latest parenting issue she has tackled. The book has thus far garnered excellent reviews from child care and development experts and parenting websites.
Here are a few excerpts from her newest book, The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution (Gentle Ways to Make Good-bye Easy from Six Months to Six Years)".

Making Daycare or Preschool Good-byes Peaceful
Tips from The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution

You've spent months finding the perfect daycare. It's a wonderful place with kind and loving caregivers, an abundance of toys, lots of new friends, and a great play yard. Then . . . your child cries and clings to you whenever you drop her off, and it breaks your heart. What can you do?

~Understand the significance of the milestone

Heading off to daycare or preschool, and leaving Mommy or Daddy behind for the first time is a colossal milestone in a child's life. There is no way to predict which child will happily run off to play and which will take one look at the surroundings and superglue himself to a parent's leg. If yours is one of those superglue kids, here are some ideas to help him loosen his grip and enjoy his new experience.

~ Have a very specific morning routine

Children feel more assured when their life has a very predictable rhythm. Set up a specific routine for the beginning of his day, since how the morning starts can set a pattern to the day. Waking at the same time seven days a week and then following the same routine for getting dressed, having breakfast and early morning playtime can get your child started with a calm feeling that "today is normal."

~ Encourage friendships with home playdates

Set up a few playdates with one or two children from the group at your home. Plan ahead, and have a craft and a snack ready, since some kids will find a session of free-play difficult to navigate. Once you've had a few successful sessions at your home, branch out to a playdate at a friend's home. These playdates that occur away from school allow children to develop a more personal friendship. Having a deeper friendship with another child or two at the daycare center or classroom can create more security for your child when he's away from home during the day.

~ Coordinate arrival with other families

If you can, coordinate your daily walk or ride to school with another family. Set up a carpool and offer to drive the kids together. If you can't arrange to walk or ride to school with a friend, then set up a meeting place at school to connect. Try to meet at the front gate, flagpole or entry door so that you can all walk a short distance together. Having a friend to walk with into the building can change the dynamics of the drop-off routine dramatically.

~ Stay calm when your child is anxious

When other adults are waving goodbye to their confident children, and your little one is crying and clinging to you for dear life, it's easy to become flustered. It's that time, however, when your child desperately needs you to be calm and reassuring. Put on blinders and tune out the other parents and children so that you can focus on your child only. You can be most helpful when you convey your peaceful demeanor to your child.

~ Create a project for together-time

Some children resist going to school because they see it as the end of your days of playtime together. Show your child that it isn't the end - just a change in routine. Set up an ongoing project you can work on for a short time each day to help bind the two of you together. You can refer to this project when dropping your child off so she has something to look forward to. Spending even fifteen minutes on this when you arrive home makes it the focus for a lovely bonding opportunity. Good ideas for these projects are puzzles, crafts, hobbies, gardening, or reading a book series together.

Five Ways to Reduce Your Baby's Separation Anxiety
Tips from The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution

From the time that babies become aware of the world around them they begin to form important relationships with the people in their lives. They quickly learn that certain people are vital to their happiness and their survival. Babies don't have the ability to understand how the world works, so they don't know what makes these people appear or disappear. When their special people are out of sight they have no way of knowing if their beloved ones are gone forever, and they express their concern: usually by crying and clinging. Here are a few tips to help your baby learn to adapt to separations -- without the anxiety.

~ Practice with quick, daily separations

Over the course of your usual days together take opportunities to expose your baby to a few brief, safe visual separations. This process is particularly useful for the little super-glue babies who need you to be within arms reach at all times. Begin by getting your baby started with playing with an interesting toy or another person. When your little one is happily engaged, walk slowly, and go briefly into another room. Whistle, sing, hum, or talk so she knows you're still there, even though she can't see you. Carry out these brief separations off and on throughout the day in a variety of different situations.

~ Avoid the in-arms transfer

It's common to hand over a baby from one caregiver to another. The problem with this is that your little on is leaving the safety and warmth of your arms and physically whisked away to another less-familiar person. This physical parting is the ultimate separation-anxiety producer. To reduce the physical anxiety-producing sensations of an arms-to-arms transfer, make the change with your baby in a neutral place, such as playing on the floor or sitting in a swing, highchair or baby seat. Have the caregiver sit next to your baby and engage your child's attention as you say a quick, happy good-bye. As soon as you are gone is the best time for the caregiver to pick up your child. The advantage is that your baby's caregiver will be put in the position of rescuer and can help them with their relationship.

~ Allow your baby the separation that she initiates

If your little one toddles off to another room, don't rush after her! Listen and peek to make sure that she's safe, of course, but let her know it is fine for her to go off exploring on her own. A child-initiated separation is a brilliant time to allow your little one to know what a happy separation feels like. This practice can help her deal with longer separations that she won't be in control of.

~ Don't rush the parting

Give your baby ample time to process your leave-taking. A rushed period of chaos, as you get ready to leave and then head out the door can easily set your child up for an episode of anxiety. Instead, create and use a short but pleasant good-bye ritual - certain words & actions you always use when leaving. Be relaxed and pleasant. Allow ten or fifteen minutes for a proper, peaceful send-off.

~ Embrace separation anxiety as a positive sign

It's perfectly okay - even wonderful! - for your child to be so attached to you and for her to desire your constant companionship. Congratulations: It's evidence that the bond you've worked so hard to create is holding. So politely ignore those who tell you otherwise.

When you relax your expectations of independence you can actually help your baby be more relaxed and less anxious about those times of separation.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Collage Homeschool Project

We're forever working on art projects around here. Yesterday, we went beyond the usual paint, crayons, and markers and did some mixed media collage. I included here a picture of the other day's art project which was string painting. Oh wait, that picture is of the project that followed the string painting one - painting with cotton buds. That was pretty wasteful, in my opinion, but I went to the bathroom for a few minutes and when I got back, Marguerite had already used up several Qtips. Painting as usual got a little hairy.
I thought the collage would be messier, but it wasn't.
And yeah, Marguerite insists on wearing bathing suits everyday. With the weather getting really crazy hot (it's not even officially summer yet), Marguerite and I don't go out until later, when it no longer feels like we're baking. Outside, Marguerite plays a lot of hopscotch (or hopstocks, as Marguerite calls it sometimes - meaning she and her friends just hop around like bunnies). I taught her the Laverne and Shirley hopscotch chant (Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated... sp?), which she learned, but she prefers the chants that she invented herself. Some sound just as Yiddish/German, lol, although I think one was about fruits as she was going orange, apple, grape, trossberry (strawberry)... I play too and so far, I learned that hopping is not as easy when you're older and fatter. Anyway, the hula hoop is also a hit around here and Marguerite does the cutest version of playing with it. I'll try to capture that in video... I'm feeling a little listless on account of a couple of things, but hey, I must forge on.
The layout of this post is crazy because... I could say it's a reflection of my mood, but who'd buy that. I just don't know how the spacing of this thing works. :(

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Losing a Big Chunk of My Mind

Yesterday morning, I lost a bit of my mind and decided to let Marguerite and myself have a go at the skin crayons she got for Christmas. No special occasion, just a little pre-bath fun. And then, I thought, might as well go crazy and let her play with her rubber stamps. Ink all over everything. And just myself with Marguerite's version of helping to deal with all the cleaning up. No sweat. Why bust a vein? I caught myself hyperventilating at the mess a couple of times and then checked the reflex. It was fun for her. Why not just share in the fun?