Tag Archives: Parenting

Co-Sleeping

This is our bed.

Did I shove all the laundry out of the way to take this picture? Yes. Yes I did.

Did I shove all the laundry out of the way to take this picture? Yes. Yes I did.

When I say “our”, I mean mine, Yohannes’s, Nati’s and Lily’s.  In fact, the crib and toddler bed are really just ornamental.  No one actually sleeps in those. I usually avoid describing our sleeping situation to others because I’m afraid my spare-the-rod friends will think I’m a crazy hippy, and then my crazy hippy friends will be offended that I called them crazy hippies, and I’ll suddenly find myself all alone in the world…but here goes:

I’ve moved! Read the full post here.


Lessons in Parenting #2: Putting Your Foot Down

We’ve all heard plenty of advice from parenting books, weather we read them ourselves our had them quoted to us by some fanatic.   It seems like the holy grail of parenting advice is to be consistent.  I guess I thought it meant, “I am consistently not a push-over,” or “I am consistently the boss of you,” because I always associated that phrase with laying down ultimatums and putting my foot down.

I have since learned that the exact opposite is true.  If you want to be consistent (follow through on what you say,) then don’t ever put your foot down ever.  The reason for this is quite simple: In all likelihood, your child can put their foot down harder than you can.

IMG_4440[1]

Feet

You say, “Child, you are not getting up from that table until you finish your food.”  Now who is responsible to enforce that  ultimatum?  You are, you stupidhead poor lost soul.  If you want to be consistent you are going to have to make sure that your child stays at the table until they finish that food.  Should I tell you a secret? The child doesn’t want that food.  The child will not eat that food.  At 10:00 p.m. they will be asleep with their face in a pile of spaghetti, and you will have missed that precious hour you are supposed to have to yourself between putting the kids to bed and passing out from exhaustion.  (Thankfully, this exact scenario has yet to happen.) The battle is over and they’ve won, because you can’t teach anyone a lesson when they’re asleep.  Taking a hard line in other situations is often just as futile.  For example, saying, “Stop crying,” or, “Go to sleep,” in a firm tone of voice is successful approximately 0% of the time.

Next time, try saying something like: “Now I see you haven’t finished all of the food that I labored to put on your plate.  I’d like you to finish it, but I’m a reasonable human being.  Let’s negotiate. I’ll let you get off with two more bites if you promise not to wake up before 6 a.m.  Deal?”

In conclusion, try not to say anything you’ll later regret if your child turns out to have a stronger resolve than you do.  In most cases, putting your foot down really is going  to hurt you more than it hurts them.


Chicken Craps

I’ve always hated group projects.  Feel free to judge me on that character flaw.  When I was in middle school working on one such group project, I freaked out when someone started to color the dog on our poster purple.   Come on, people.  Have you ever seen a purple dog?  I also got a little annoyed when people put the colors of the rainbow in the wrong order.  ROY G BIV.  It’s not that hard.  So it was a running joke that my poor future children would be traumatized when I criticized their art.

I guess I’ve kept that side of myself pretty well locked down…until last week.  On Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving I was at my parents’ church with the kids.  Nati made this:

Turkey Craft

Nati: “Look! I made a chicken!”

Me: “Wow! I’m so proud of you! But I think maybe it’s a turkey.”

Nati: “Yeah.  Miss Cheri is a good teacher.  She shows us how to make craps.”

Me: “Crafts.”

Nati: “I like making craps.”

Me: “You mean crafts.”

Nati: “I want to show everybody my chicken. They’ll be so proud of me!”

Me: “Yes they will…but it’s a turkey.”

I guess I’ll have to work on taming that beast to spare my budding artist.

When we got home that night, Yohannes was inexplicably watching Spy Kids 3-D.  Towards the end of the movie, a computer animated flying pig showed up, presumably from one of the previous movies.

Nati looked wide eyed at the TV and said, “Whoa! A flying pig! I never knew that pigs could fly!”

Clearly this is why you are not supposed to let toddlers watch TV.  Shame on us. For those of you who are similarly flawed and allow your children to watch Dora, here is a little treat that my brother-in-law Pierce showed me on Thanksgiving:

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving with turkeys and crafts.


Lessons in Parenting #1: How to Put Down a Sleeping Baby (without waking them up)

Now that I am a seasoned* mother, I thought it might be helpful if I shared some of the important things I have learned.  I know that I would have benefited from some of this information and I hope that I can be a help and inspiration to others as well.

I’ve moved! Read the full post here.

 


I Voted

I voted today.  If you think I made a bad decision (by voting or because of who I voted for) I hope we can still be friends.

More importantly, I ate this giant bowl of cereal for breakfast:

yum?

Nati said he wanted cereal. I thought, Cereal sounds good. I’ll get some for myself too.  I poured two bowls of cereal…with milk.

Nati saw the milk and said, “Cereal without milk!”

I felt that the mistake was partly mine. It’s important to always ask your toddler for detailed instructions on how to prepare their food.  So I poured his cereal into my bowl, rinsed and dried his bowl, and poured him cereal without milk.

Nati looked down at his fresh bowl of dry cereal and then over at mine.  He handed it back and said, “I want milk in my cereal, just like you.”

This child…

Also, pictures of our Halloween pumpkin, which wasn’t stolen! Yay!

It’s a kitten, not just some weird, mutilated pumpkin.

See? A kitten.


Our First Halloween

Yesterday we celebrated our first Halloween. Growing up we didn’t do it.  The most obvious reason is probably that we lived in the middle of the bush in Kenya.  But even when we were in the States, we didn’t, I think because of concerns about pagan holidays or something like that.  I’ve since learned that Christmas and Easter also used to be pagan holidays, so I’m over it.  Nevertheless, we always bought a giant bucket of candy for the “trick-or-treaters”.  And there were never any trick-or-treaters because we lived at the end of a mile long lane, so we got to eat all the candy ourselves.

To be honest, I hadn’t really thought I would celebrate Halloween with my kids either until a few weeks ago when Nati said, “Halloween is when you dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating and people give you candy!”  Well, I wish Yohannes wouldn’t have told him that, I thought.

A few days later while I was away, Nati said the same thing to Yohannes and the babysitter.  Yohannes said, “I kind of wish Esther hadn’t told him that.”  The babysitter said, “Me too.”

It turns out Caillou was the culprit.  He always is.  So yesterday we went to the store, bought a bunch of candy for the trick-or-treaters, and a tiger hat for Nati.  I thought the tiger hat would be enough, but he kept asking where his costume was, so we improvised.  The tiger toga isn’t my best work, but it was the best I could do in 15 minutes.

Preppy Tarzan Tiger?

My plan was to just sit on the porch and pass out candy, but our porch light was broken.  Since no one would come to a house without a porch light, I thought I’d just take Nati trick-or-treating around to our neighbors.  But only one neighbor was doing it, so we ended up walking a few blocks, and that’s how we inadvertently celebrated our first real Halloween.  Nati would say, “Trick or treat!” and try to give people the candy in his bucket.  Lily was just along for the ride.

Lily Bunny

Spoils of war.

It was kind of fun to see all the people in the community out and about and interacting with each other.  Afterwards we came inside, ate candy and carved a pumpkin.  Actually, the kids watched a movie while I carved a pumpkin.  Not a bad day.


One in Diapers

Nati is potty trained. We’ve been working on it for over a year, but never fully committed.  That is, never fully committed.  I didn’t want the hassle of an accident in the middle of the grocery store or church. Nati’s been ready for a while, but every time we left the house or at bedtime, I diapered him up…and also any other time either of us didn’t want the hassle of the potty.  I decided it was time to rip off the bandaid, and on his third birthday I insisted that he wear underwear all day.  He had zero accidents.  I was high on this success so we decided to try underwear to bed.  He was dry in the morning.  We are going on 72 hours diaper-free and accident-free. I am so happy I could cry.  (Actually I did get a little misty-eyed as he voluntarily pooped in the potty yesterday.  Motherhood makes you do weird stuff.)

Sitting on the potty like a pro.

The following conversation took place while he was sitting on the potty shortly after I took this picture.

Nati: “Is that a picture of me pooping?”

Me: “Yes.”

Nati: “Thank you! It’s beautiful!” (Sees my deodorant.) “Where’s my shaver?”

Me: “You don’t have one, but when you get big, you can shave your face like Dada.”

Nati: “Oh.  Do you shave your face like me and Dada?”

Me: “No.”

Nati: “Look, big-boy-diapers! I don’t need a diaper right now.  Do you need a diaper?”

Me: “No.”

Nati: (Looks at his wrist.) *gasp* “Do I have a watch? I don’t know what times it is!”

Me: “You don’t have a–”

Nati: “Shhhhh! I think I hear a car on the road.”

*pause while airplane drones in the background*

Nati: “Okay you can talk now.”

(This conversation has been shortened to fit the allotted space.  Other funny things were said.)

Washing hands all by himself.

Thankfully, turning three has in no way diminished his hurricane superpower. This took less than 60 seconds:

Unfortunately, I wasn’t born with a corresponding cleaning superpower.

Meanwhile, little miss Lily has been growing by leaps and bounds. She says Mama and Dada*. (*This has yet to be verified by a third party.)  She tries to say Nati, but it comes out more like “Aaaa-Eeee.”  She is also cruising around holding on to furniture, and occasionally lets go for a second and stands on her own.

Still rocking the diaper.

Accordingly, she is also sporting her first fat lip.

Poor baby.

Onward, ho, to the land of just one in diapers!


A Fire Truck, a Bamboo Stick, and a Snake

What do the following objects have in common?

Fire Truck

Bamboo Stick

Toy Snake

These are all essential props in the magic shows performed by Nati.  Did I say props? I meant accessories.  Nati informed me that he needed a hat, a magic wand, and a cape to do his magic show.  I was busy thinking about what I could easily get my hands on that would make the cut when he announced that he was ready — costume and all.

Hat, Magic Wand, and Cape.

The magic show commenced shortly thereafter.

“Mom, put the camera down and come here so I can disappear you and Lily!”

This child is the most creative and entertaining person I have ever known.  A few days ago, I had just (finally) gotten Lily off to sleep for her nap when Nati started pounding on the bedroom door and woke her up.  As she lay there crying and (now) fully awake, he said in a loud whispered, “Mama?”

What,” I asked, in my most irritated voice.

“Can I sing Lily a song?”

“Okay,” I said, feeling a bit guilty.

He started singing: “Rock-a-bye Lily, go to sleep.  Rock-a-bye Lily, you have to go to sleep.  Rock-a-bye Lily, can’t go to sleep. Rock-a-bye Lily, can’t go to sleep.”

Happy Birthday to the sweetest little 3-year-old I have ever laid eyes on.

Nati Quote:

Nati: “Mama, where did the pumpkin go?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Nati: “But where did it go, Mama?”

Me: “I don’t know, Honey.”

Nati: “But where did it go?”

*I go and find the pumpkin.*

Me: “Here it is.”

Nati: “But where did it — oh.  Um…Where did the pumpkin come from, Mama?”


Refugees

There comes a time in every persons life when you find yourself camped out on your parents basement floor with two kids.  Well…maybe not every person, but I think it’s quite common.  Our house is being sanded and painted.  Carpet is being pulled up and ceiling tiles are being taken down.  Overall, it’s just not a very kid-friendly environment, so here we are.

A luxurious take on nomadic life.

Grandma and Pop Pop’s house agrees with him.

It’s mostly the same as being home.  Except for Sophie.

“All I want is some people food!”

I had to lock her downstairs with the baby gate because Nati can’t eat his supper while she’s looking at him. I’m guessing it won’t be long before Nati’s having that very same fight with Lily. “Mom, she’s looking at me!”   Since I don’t plan on locking Lily downstairs at meal times maybe I should have made him suffer through it, but it’s so rare that he eats voluntarily and I didn’t want to squander it.

Sad face.

Other Sophie moments have included using her as a step master and riding her like a horsey.  This dog has more patience than Job.

While we’ve enjoyed our stay, we’re looking forward to heading home this evening to see the final product (and start the clean up.)

Nati quote of the day:

Nati to Grandma: “Thank you!”

Grandma: “You’re welcome, darlin’ boy.”

Nati: “Mama, I said ‘Thank you,’ and Grandma said, ‘You’re welcome, darlin’ boy.’  I’m a Darlin’ Boy!”


Chocolate Milk

Hi!

I have a confession.  I lied. To my 2 year old son.  It started with his introduction to chocolate milk.  He loved it, and refused to drink regular milk again.  Concerned about his health with an addiction to refined sugars at such a young age, I tried everything to get him to drink plain milk, but to no avail.  Then one day it just happened.  I gave him plain white milk in his cuppy, and told him it was chocolate milk.  He drank it.

So every single day since then, I have been telling him that his milk is chocolate milk: a blatant lie.  As you well know, we went on vacation with my family a couple weeks ago.  Somehow, in his foray into the real world, (interacting with a handful of people other than myself,) Nati figured out that I had not been completely straight with him.  But not only did he figure out that plain milk is not chocolate milk.  He also decided that chocolate syrup is chocolate milk.  And he does not want chocolate milk and milk.  He only wants chocolate milk (aka syrup).

This has resulted in many tantrums as he asks several times daily for chocolate milk, and is each time disappointed with the product, whether it is white milk or real-live chocolate milk.  Today I had had way more than enough of this when he brought me his cuppy and asked for chocolate milk.  I said, “Do you want to know how we make chocolate milk?” (He said no, but I forged ahead).

So I sat him down in front of the fridge and got out the chocolate syrup and the milk.  I pointed to the chocolate syrup.  I said, “This is chocolate.” I poured a small amount in the cup.  I said, “This is yucky. Do you want to drink this?”  (This could have gone badly, but thankfully, he said no.)  Then I opened the milk.  He started to whine, but I continued. I poured the milk into the cuppy and mixed it up.  I said, “See?  We put in the chocolate and we put in the milk.  Now we have chocolate milk!”

There was a pause.  I held my breath in anticipation. Was this the quiet before the storm? Would he hurl the cup out of my hands and throw himself to the ground screaming?

Suddenly, he broke out in a huge grin, and said, “Mama!  Chocolate milk is like chocolate milk!”  He took the cup and drank it all happily down.

Now if I can just figure out how to get him to drink it without the chocolate again.

Basket as marching drum? Why not!