Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Some temperament traits: activity level, regularity, first reactions, adaptability, sensory threshold/sensitivity, intensity of reaction, mood, distractability, persistence/attention span. (The talk explained what each of these traits is, but if you think about it you could probably figure it out yourself).
So what? You're supposed to spend time observing your kid so you can figure out what end of the spectrum he fits into for each of these categories. I'm already stuck on #1; activity level. No one can deny that William loves to run around, but he also enjoys sitting reading a book, or quietly playing blocks, or watching TV for an hour (Yes, I am that sort of parent. Technology is there for us to use people!)
At the end, we were given a little quiz we're supposed to do to where I put every family member (I didn't really include Jadzia because she's a baby) on a scale for each of the temperament traits. That way we can see at a glance whether there will be a conflict of personalities. Let me just glance here... It seems my husband is the problem. His intensity of reaction is too low and he has too much attention span with too little distractability. I, on the other hand, have the temperament of a two-year-old, so William and I should get along famously.
Unless, of course, he goes the entire day without a nap, even though he is clearly tired because he refuses to listen, hits his sister over the head multiple times and spends the afternoon throwing things, including a water glass that makes a big dangerous mess on the floor, and feeding crayons to the dog. But what are the odds of that ever happening?
Friday, March 27, 2009
On the right we have a sculpture my son created all by himself, which he has entitled "A Robot, Wall-e." This is an obvious reference to Wall-e from the recent Pixar movie of the same name, so I've included the pic on the left for comparaison (assuming blogger actually formats this properly). The yellow legos sticking out of the side of William's version are his hands. I know this because when I asked "Where are his hands?", my son answered "Oh hands". And went searching for those yellow blocks to add to his masterpiece. Only two, and already he's graciously accepting artistic criticism.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
One of the things the expert drew on the chart paper was an iceberg. A child's behaviour is what's on the surface, and their feelings and reasons for that behaviour are all under the surface: they need attention, they're angry, they don't understand what they should do. If you only address the "tip of the ice berg" the you aren't dealing with all the underneath stuff. Okay, so it's an overused metaphor and the writer in me is screaming against clichés. The whole point is, I think, to understand why a kid is doing what they're doing, and to address that, rather than just the behaviour itself.
The expert also talked about "Time-In" which is supposedly the opposite of time out. The idea is that we tend to send our kids away to their rooms or whatever just when they need us the most: when they're out of control and need help dealing with strong emotions. With this "Time-In" you sit with them, cuddle them if they let you but give them space if they need it, and do whatever you can to help them deal with they feelings. I know, gag me, but a lot of parenting is about warm cuddlies and this is actually similar to what I do naturally. It's not the opposite of a time-out though, says the writer in me, it's a time-out where you hang out with them. Calling that the opposite of time-out, would be like saying that ice cream with chocolate sauce is the opposite of ice cream.
After the talk we received five hand-outs. Three of them were about the time-in thing (so I guess this is the hot new trend). One of them is about positive reinforcement and how to listen "reflectively" (yawn). The last lists strategies to change a childs behaviour, one of which is time-out, which the expert specifically frowned upon. Talk about mixed messages. I just don't think anybody expects me to actually read the hand-outs.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Morty has one of those dog dishes that has food on one side and water on the other. My son has the unfortunate habit of putting handfuls of dog food into the water, creating a mushy mess. Luckily my mother left behind a large supply of catfood-like single-serving wet dog food, which Morty will gobble up faster than William can destroy.
So I filled Morty's dish water side only. Apparently, a bowl of water on the floor is too much for a two-year-old to resist. William has been, very deliberately and with much giggles, dumping Morty's water dish all over the hardwood floor. After several rounds of "No, William, don't touch", multiple re-fillings of the dish, and a very soaked towel, I finally took the bowl away completely. Now the poor dog only gets water when he whimpers at me.
If that isn't bad enough, I didn't walk Morty today at all. I simply didn't have the energy in my brain to work out the logistics of walking two children and a jackapoo by myself. Morty has been out in the yard several times (not looking forward to what I will find out there).
Despite all this neglect, I'm told that my house is still better than a kennel.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Jadzia just got her first library card today. I'm not sure what kinds of stories she likes yet, so I picked four board books at random. (Also the only method of selection available to someone who is also chasing a two-year-old around). Yes, that big wet spot on her shirt is puke. Puking is her hobby right now, but I'm hoping she'll take up reading instead.
I left Jadzia on the floor in her baby gym thingie and when I came back she had totally turned around so her head was pointed in the opposite direction. Now she just needs to roll-over, crawl, walk, get her driver's licence, and then she can go to the library all by herself!
I didn't capture secret spin maneuver on film, but here's a video of her doing nothing in particular for 3 minutes:
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Handouts in my stack of hand-outs:
We began the talk with a fairly easy "True or False" quiz about brain development. Fairly easy, that is, if you understand the agenda: to emphasize the importance of the early years. How else can the Early Years Centre get its funding?
The second handout is an article printed off msn about a girl who was so severely neglected that when she was found by police, at age seven, she couldn't talk, wasn't toilet trained, lacked basic social skills, and skittered around on her toes like a crab intead of walking properly. All this to illustrate that having a nurturing, loving environment at an early age is important. Also to make us all feel good knowing that no matter how imperfect we are as parents, there's always someone out there who is much, much worse.
The next is entitled "feeding a baby's brain" and lists a bunch of stuff most of us would do with babies anyway: snuggle, play peek-a-boo, provide a visually interesting environment, play music, talk to babies, express emotions, encourage babies to practice small motor skills.
Last, we have a drawing of a boy with an exposed brain. Apparently, the upper brain lets us think, talk reason, and create, the mid-brain controls emotion, sexuality, and has a role in memory, and the lower brain controls breathing, heart rate, and "many basic instincts". The hand-out wants me to colour the three parts of the brain different colours. Perhaps I'll get William to do it.
Not sure what all this has to do with "discipline", but I assume the latter half of the presentation (which we never got to) would tie it all together for us. In any case, I shall be obsessed with stimulating my children's brain development for the rest of the afternoon.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Yesterday we fed the swans at Lasalle Marina. As you can see, they aren't shy. Soundtrack provided by Jadzia. BTW: The ones with the black beak and the yellow tags aren't for sale. They're trumpeter swans. I think they've been tagged as some kind of conservation innitiative.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Which means I've been working late too.
Picture me as a juggler, only instead of balls, or bowling pins, or fire, I have a baby and a toddler.
Which is especially difficult after 6pm.
Usually Adam puts William to bed, and I put Jadzia to bed.
Sometimes, Adam comes home from work just to put William to bed, then drives back.
Tonight I had to do it.
Of course I had to put the baby down first.
William just went to sleep now, more than an hour after his usual bedtime.
Adam is still at work, but he says he'll be done soon.
I miss him.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Jadzia got her first shots today. I kept telling her that they would help keep her from getting sick. She cried anyway.
William fought going down for his nap and was cranky when he woke up. I can tell this is going to be a difficult evening.
Adam will be late at work tonight...again.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
One dad was the youngest of five kids who always felt at the bottom of the totem pole.
Then there's a mom of twin ten-month-olds who are already competing for toys.
Another woman has to deal with a tantruming toddler, and a defiant preteen.
And still another is an only child who now has three kids.
The expert then read us stories and showed us cartoons all about sibling rivalry. Entertaining, but I think I'm bettter at remembering when I get a handout. Some points:
-Look at things from each child's point of view.
-Resist the urge to compare.
-Don't belittle a child's feelings.
The one thing everyone can agree on is that siblings fight, whether we like it or not. No amount of discipline workshoping will keep my son from becoming a bully like me, or keep my daughter from becoming a brat like my sister. Oops , I'm comparing and labeling already.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Suddenly, and very quickly, William recited "one, two, three-four-five-six...eight." Sure he skipped seven, but I was still shocked and amazed.
I turned to my husband, who was sitting at the computer next to us. "Did you hear that?" Unfortunately he hadn't been paying attention and neither of us could get William to repeat what he had just said.
I think that all the knowledge of the universe must be locked up in that toddler brain, just waiting to spew out at random moments.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Mommy car, Daddy car, Baby car
Since Jadzia arrived William has been refering to all small things as "baby" and most big things as "Mommy" or "Daddy". (Although he also knows the word for big, "beeg"). After I asked him many times "What about the William car?", he now occasionally says "Wee-um car."
Instead of just "up", William now says "Wake-up". He doesn't quite get the concept, however, that to wake someone up, that person must be asleep and not just sitting there. With the way his vocabulary is rapidly expanding, I'm sure he'll soon learn the more appropriate phrase "Get up."
I will get you!
Normally when we are about to go somewhere, William will politely bring me his coat and shoes, then run away, delightfully squealing "I will get you!"
Mommy HUGS, Daddy HUGS, Baby hugs, Wee-um HUGS
William's always been great at hugs and kisses. Now he demands them. I find this extra cute, even though he uses them to delay bedtime, and also to make diaper change and potty time just a little more messy.
Where'd it go? Daddy
William often says his words out of order. "Where'd it go? Daddy" instead of "Where did Daddy go?" for example. Sometimes he chats with me while my husband is at work: "Where'd it go? Daddy. No. Daddy work. Okay. Mommy work. No. Baby work. No. Oh! Daddy Work!" Sometimes I add my two cents here or there, but he doesn't always need me to respond.
Red, Yayo, Boo, Geen, Back, Wet, Peenk, Pupple
Yes, William knows most of his colours now. I've asked him a couple times which his favourite was. The first time he said "Peenk" and later he said "Uh, Boo." That's ok, he doesn't have to make up his mind just yet.
Back n Back
My son is a big AC/DC fan and "Back in Black" is his favourite song. Whenever we go to my parent's house. He asks someone (usually my Dad or my brother) to put on "Back n Back", pick him up, and dance with him, over, and over again.
The vocab game
This game of William's invention, involves him excitedly yelling out the name of something in the room, and I yell it back. Sometimes the words are clear, other times it becomes a guessing game for me: "Bocks!" "Blocks!" "Baby!" "Baby!" "Mommy!" "Mommy!" "Wee-um!" "William!" "Pitters!" "Pictures!" "Bo Pins!" "Bowling Pins!"
William occasionally says "yes", but more often he says "oh, okay". This is especially amusing when he's super-tantruming for something, a cookie for example. He'll be screaming "I need Cake-ee, I need cake-ee" and the tears and snot are streaming down as if it's the end of the world. Until some says "Do you want a cookie?" or even "I know! I know! You want a cookie, I get it." Then he'll say "oh, ok" as if he's reluctantly agreeing.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Today's class was about positive parenting, a seemingly unrealistic utopian philosophy in which one focuses on positives rather than negatives. But I have an open mind, so I give you the Five Key Aspects from my handout:
1. Ensuring a safe, interesting environment.
This is all about keeping the knives up high and stuff like that. My motto is "If it's within William's reach, William will play with it." So when I leave the cereal out on the table after breakfast, and I later find a toddler sitting on the floor, waist-deep in frosted flakes, I really have no one to blame from myself. Also, teacher says that an interesting environment doesn't mean that it has to look "like Toys R Us threw up in your basement." Too late.2. Creating a positive learning environment.
This sounds like a repeat of #1, but this is actually where they talked about paying attention to the positive behaviour. So I shouldn't be calling attention to the fact that William has been throwing things and hitting people. No, I should only reward positives. For every negative thing I comment on, I have to point out at least ten positive ones. Kumbaya.
3. Using assertive discipline.
Okay, you got me. I don't really get this one, but then my lack of assertiveness might be my problem. I tried telling him how to behave ("We don't throw blocks. Look! We make a tower with them."), but I felt like a big faker.
4. Having realistic expectations.Every time I provided the group with a scenario, I was told "you have to remember that he's only two, not five." Of course what I heard was "Your method of using no discipline whatsoever is totally the right thing. Good job."
5. Taking care of yourself as a parent.
I think taking time to write this blog entry counts. Ah yes, I'm feeling relaxed already.
Monday, March 02, 2009
So today I called the only two mommy friends I have phone numbers for, one I couldn't reach, and the other is making the trip down from St Catharines tommorrow.
But I want free wings now, thought I. So I kidnapped my parents and took them to the restaurant.
"Free wings. Free wings." My son repeated over and over as we walked in the door. The wings were free, but we all had to buy drinks and my Mom had a salad, so we (buy "we" I of course mean my mother) ended up paying $25 including tip.
They were out of highchairs, so once William was finished eating (mostly cheese out of my mom's salad) he went wandering about the restaurant with my Dad. The manager had a stash of toys, and gave William a package of six dollar-store quality racecars.
I'm thinking of going there for lunch this week. 450 Appleby just north of New St, if anyone wants to join me.