Archive for the 'parenting' Category

Watching those kids

This is long, but incredibly worth it in my opinion. Hanna Rosin does it again.

Happy April! 17 days until we close!

Love and chaos

I love this. Thanks to Stephanie for sharing it. Another home run, Coke.

Stepping up to the counter

So, as you probably know, kids love to do what adults are doing. Specifically, kids love doing chores. I knew this, but I didn’t really know it until recently. At a Montessori school, where Bear is, they call all of the kids’ purposeful activity ‘work,’ which is cool but the term seems particularly apt when Molly is actually working. For example, we watch Molly spill water over and over just so she can clean it up. Surprisingly, this is only mildly annoying. Last weekend, I bought her some sponges, a spray bottle and a little caddy to carry her tools around in. She likes it, I think, but not as much as the similar version they have at school. The week before last, when we came to pick her up, she was “washing” the glass door and was quite surprised when she saw us on the other side of it. She was happy to see us, but after greeting us, she quickly returned to her chores.

Anyway, recently she’s been pretty obsessed with helping AO in the kitchen and wanting to fiddle with the toaster. I imagine we’ll buy her a play kitchen at some point, but for now I’m more interested in getting her up to countertop height so she can be a part of the actual kitchen (better her than me, afterall). Her teachers suggested we get her a Little Partners Learning Tower, but the $200 price tag has us flinch a little. I mean, it looks great and everything, but it’s really just a step stool, right? Well, not quite, but still. It seemed pricey. I searched on Craigslist and did a Google search for a used one. No dice. AO and I both stumbled upon this cool Ikea hack, though. I daydreamed that we’d be able to pull that together, but quickly got stressed out by the whole thing. Not to mention the fact that Ikea isn’t exactly in our backyard.

In the meantime, we’ve been using a chair. She can’t climb up on it, but it does the trick ok. She isn’t super steady on it, which can make for a nervous cooking session, but it’s not awful. On the other hand, AO didn’t think she was able to participate in things as much as she’d be able to if she were using something more secure. So I did a little more searching and found that Little Partners isn’t the only game in town. There’s also Guidecraft, which makes this number. At $180 a pop, though, the savings didn’t exactly make me feel giddy. I searched around some more and found that, for some reason, Amazon is currently selling them for $125. Hmm. I was intrigued.

[Also, keep in mind, I’m doing this research while having a texting discussion with friends about how we all want to be shopping more locally this holiday season. Oops.]

So, a little more research led me to this amazing YouTube video showing the differences between the two little helpers (that’s my new term for the thingees). Hooray! If only there could be easily accessible videos for every choice I have in life. Ultimately, we pulled the trigger on the Guidecraft one because (a) it’s less expensive and (b) it’s smaller. We’re hoping to move in April and while I don’t know what size our new kitchen will be, I know our current one is pretty teeny so Guidecraft’s smaller footprint is welcome.

I’ll be sure to let you all know what happens when we open up that box.

No screens!

I know everyone and their mother says to keep kids away from screens for eternity – or at least until age two – because they kill brain cells or something, but can it really be that wrong to let Bear watch a little Dark Crystal early on a Sunday morning? Probably, but it’s too late.

Losers

My aunt Jane just sent me this interesting op-ed from The Times and I must say I found it quite timely. Recently, I became aware of some of the phenomena discussed in the editorial. For example, a friend of mine told me that on her 3-year old son’s t-ball team, it is not possible to be “out.” She was describing how her son would gleefully hit the ball and meander over to first base. She said she would yell, “Run,” but her son would just look at her kinda quizzically, as if to say, “Why?” It’s not that he’s lazy – far from it; in fact, she said he’s the first to run after every ball hit. It’s just that he doesn’t understand the point of sprinting to first base. In his mind, quite understandably, all a person does is hit the ball and then move onto the base. In addition to finding the image adorable, I thought, “That’s so weird.” I didn’t have the studies cited in the article to back up my scientific conclusion that the t-ball rules were “weird,” and I didn’t really think about it in terms of harm to the child in the way the article describes.* Instead I thought, “Why on earth would it be bad to tell a kid he’s “out”? It almost seems as though the adults are implicitly suggesting that failure is a character flaw instead of what it really is: a necessary part of life. And certainly a necessary part of baseball. I mean, really. Those games are long enough.

I’m sure it won’t be fun to watch Molly fail (though if the present is any indication: I’m callous. I’m still laughing about her running smack into the clear glass door at the library), but it’s not something I’m very scared of. Of course she will fail! If she doesn’t, how will she ever succeed? It makes so much sense to me that the kids who are uber-praised will stop trying once they have that first failure. If you haven’t learned how to deal with failure early and often, it must be terrifying to experience it after only lots of “success.” Good grief! It’s like just setting kids up to fail by not letting them fall. Oy. Let’s please try not to do that, ok?

Not to mention that I have no interest in storing a boatload of crappy participation trophies in my house.

*And let me be clear: I don’t think there is any harm being done to this particular charming three-year old. I know he’s already been given – and will continue to be given – plenty of opportunities to fail and succeed in his life.