Friday, September 30, 2011


B1 has just started preschool and is one of the younger ones in his class.

After two weeks, he has mentioned a few times that one of the boys is "bumping" him. I ask if he's just playing or if he does it meanly, and B1 says meanly.

And last Wednesday when I picked him up, he had a big scrape on his face. I asked how he got it, and he said this boy C pushed him and he fell and hit his face on the sidewalk outside. I didn't talk with the teachers, just figured he hurt himself on the playground. He didn't tell me how it happened until we had left.

So part of me wants to find out who this C kid is (and his mom!) and put a stop to it.

Buuut I'm really on the fence about whether or not I should say anything to the teachers. I don't want to suggest that I think they're not doing their jobs. I don't want to be "that helicopter mom" who meddles and hovers and fights all my kid's battles.

But I also don't want my precious baby getting bullied. Or pre-bullied.

This is something I never considered when I enrolled him. Didn't even cross my mind.

I wonder what I'll do on Monday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mobile and blogging? Mlogging!

Huh. Would you look at that? I found an app for blogging. You know, cause I have so much time on my hands.

But it may actually help me with two problems.

1) I think of loads of awesome topics to write about all the time, but my two little dictators have this way of preventing me from writing. And by the time I remember I had something to say, I've long since forgotten what it was.

2) Because in the past three minutes, I've discovered that blogging from my iPhone is a little annoying, this may cure, or at least help, my verbal diarrhea.

That is all.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Playful Parenting

Do you ever get tired of the sound of your voice, nagging your kids? They probably do too.

More and more, we are a society that's pressed for time. We are also more overprogrammed than ever before. As a result, Canadians are often found dashing out the door, running late for some activity. When you add kids into this mix, two things happen. 1. The number of activities increases exponentially, and 2. The number of bodies to get out the door is greater. Thus the number of delaying factors is enhanced. And when the kids are younger than, say, five, there are a whole lot of extra delaying factors.

This is a recipe for frazzled moms and dads who are chasing daylight to have very thin patience. We nag, we demand, we threaten, we yell. And, at least in my home, none of it does one lick of good.

It seems obvious, but its easy to forget that when we are stressed, our kids pick up on that and it affects their behavior, their likelihood to comply, and their willingness to be cheerful. After all, if we're being Mean Scary Mommy, what motivation is there for them to be sweet and cooperative?

Enter Playful Parenting. In this book by Lawrence J. Cohen, we explore the concept of making parenting more fun. For everyone. The book discusses approaches like ensuring you are at child level when asking them to do things. The importance of eye contact and face-to-face communication (vs. shouting from downstairs). Making tasks more fun, offering choices, and challenging kids to cooperate without commanding them. Parents who try the approach sing its praises and say their kids have never been so happy, cooperative, or pleasant to be around. Just build in extra time for things, make it fun, and you will get where you need to go without yelling.

But is too much accommodation a bad thing? What happens when our kids start school, or organized sports, or enter the workplace? After living with parents who are ultra creative and use these approaches to coax out the behaviors, will these kids expect everyone to do that? I daresay that teachers, coaches, and bosses will not have the time, energy, or inclination to find every child's hot buttons and maneuver a way to press them. Will these kids then be faced with a crushing disappointment and have trouble adjusting to having to do things they don't really want to do? Is this actually a way of manipulating them - and if so, is that really what we are aiming to do?

I suggest that the best approach is to aim for an 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, be fun. Be sweet. Be creative and inventive and do what you've got to do to get things done with smiles on faces. 20% of the time, allow yourself to fail. Snap. Order, command, and demand. And be ok with that. Showing your kids that you are human is a good lesson for them. Making mistakes, and apologizing for them, are wonderful life lessons in modeling humility. Demonstrating that the world does not revolve around them 100% of the time is a teaching opportunity and it sets them up for realistic future expectations. Not to mention, expecting yourself to be darling and awesome 24/7 is a lot of pressure. And I, for one, am probably not capable of that. Kudos to you if you are, but if you give yourself an ulcer trying, maybe you want to reconsider.

I don't think anyone would say that being Drill Seargent Mommy all of the time is a good idea, nor would it be effective in shaping kids with good self esteem, work ethics, or happy childhood memories. But I also think that being Warm Fuzzy Mommy all of the time sets kids up with unrealistic expectations of life.

So go ahead. Lower your expectations (they ARE kids, after all). Have more fun. Enjoy their littleness. And on the days when you are worn too thin and you lose it, don't beat yourself up. But the great thing is, if you don't nag them daily, it can't really be considered nagging anymore. And you'll stop hating how it sounds if you do less of it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ten MONTHS????

Oh my. Ten months since I last wrote. That's awesome. I knew we were busy, but I didn't realize it was that busy!

A lot has changed. My little boy is getting bigger, and my big boy is huge! They both walk, talk, sing, argue, use the potty (to varying degrees of mastery), and try my patience on a daily basis. My big boy has started preschool and is slowly getting used to the routine, being away from me, and learning to follow instructions. My little boy has had massive vocabulary explosions and chatters constantly. He's also flirting with sleeping through the night most nights (finally, after 18 months of all night nursings!!).

We are still on the fence (mostly me) about having a third child. My husband is much less undecided than I am...he has moments where he thinks another baby would be nice, but I think about it much more than he does. As time goes on and my two boys get bigger, more independent, and more fun, I find the idea of a newborn much less appealing. And then I see someone at the mall with their brand new baby and get that squeezing aching needing feeling.

I've stopped working as much outside the home. I didn't return to my full time job after mat leave, and went through a phase where I was working at a part time job a lot, and then scaled it back too for better work/family balance. Currently I'm freelance writing as much as I can (which isn't enough) and working odd jobs where I find them. I may return to work part time or even full time soon, but for now being a stay at home mom (SAHM) is working for us. We'll see how things look in a few more months - budgeting is difficult, for sure. I'm hatching a few plans for going back for some re-education, and also keeping an eye out for opportunities in my old field, just in case. The idea is for me to stay home until we have both boys in full time school, but that's still a long time away and I don't know if we can do it, both for financial reasons and reasons of maintaining my sanity.

We've enjoyed a few vacations, some mini ones and one larger one. I have a new stepfather and some stepsiblings and stepnieces.

Right now we have a foster dog staying with us while we look for a new home for her. She's precious, and fitting in really nicely with the other dogs. At least once a day someone mentions adopting her and keeping her forever...but I don't know if that's such a great idea. We'll see how things unfold.

All that is the catch up post. Doesn't sound very interesting, but there have been a lot of smiles, a lot of celebrations, a lot of stresses, and a lot of learning and growing these past ten months. I'll be back soon.