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Slanty eyes

7 May

My daughter totally caught me off guard this morning for a “teaching moment.”  I hope I did OK.  The conversation went something like this.

A:  “People in China have eyes that look like this.”  A takes her fingers and pulls the corners of her eyes back.

Mom:  “That’s not nice, A. Daddy’s eyes look like that.  You shouldn’t make fun of the way people look.” 

A:  “No his eyes don’t.”

Mom:  “Yes, they do.  Did someone at school say that?  You should tell them it’s not nice to make fun of the way people look.”

A:  “Daddy’s eyes don’t look like that.”

Mom:  “Did someone at school say that?”

A:  “No.”

A is now upset.  I have a very sensitive child.  She runs off to her room.  She needs time to process.  She was upset all morning, but did not want to talk anymore about it.  I reminded her that if other kids were saying things like that, she should either tell them to stop or get a teacher. 

This stuff starts early, huh?

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Tuesday Tip Jar: 5 ways to let your Kindergartner get themselves ready in the morning.

4 May

Here’s my first try at a Tuesday Tip Jar.  Let me know if this is helpful! 

I hear parents complain that they have a hard time getting their kids out the door in the morning — dragging them out of bed, tangled hair, “where’s my socks?” and “I’m HUNGRY!”  Well, in my house, my 6-year-old Kindergartner gets herself ready. In fact, sometimes she’s ready before I’m out of bed!  Often, she’s the one nagging daddy, “are we going to be late for the bus???” (he is in charge of getting her to the bus stop).

Now, I’ll admit my daughter is pretty responsible for a 6-year-old, but we did a lot of “prep” to have her be this independent in the morning.  Here’s my tips for helping your Kindergartner be independent in the morning:

  1. Pick out clothes at bedtime.  This is a no-brainer, right?  Ok, I admit I’ve forgotten lots of times, if you do it enough your child will remind you! 
  2. Put an alarm clock in their bedroom and set it.  They don’t even have to be able to read time yet — just have to know how to turn it off!  We have one that has “sounds” (birds, rainforest, waves) in addition to the radio and BEEP BEEP, so that seemed more appropriate for waking her up.
  3. Show your child how to do her/his own hair. And don’t criticize her when it’s less then perfect!  It’s OK if your kid’s hair is a little bit moppish.  They will gain confidence, and gain their own sense of style.  They play on the playground everday — it’s going to get messy anyway!
  4. Have breakfast food that they can access.  We have fruit bars, bananas, fruit cups, and cereal.  The key is to have things that do not require YOU (the parent) to be present in order for them to get started with breakfast.  My kids know what are acceptable choices for breakfast from the pantry, and can get them out themselves in the morning. 
  5. Have school supplies ready to go.  Make sure lunches, backpacks, and anything else that is needed for the day is already packed and waiting at the door.  I usually go through my daughter’s backpack after she gets home from school, and repack after she goes to bed.

That’s it. Oh, I also have one more tip for those who like a little peace in the morning:  show your child how to turn on and off the TV! I don’t mind if my daughter watches a cartoon in the morning — after she’s done with everything else.  It motivates her to get ready.

Tell me Thursday: It’s a good thing they are cute.

29 Apr

My family has 2 cats, one dog, and 2 kids (plus one hubby and me).  It’s the all-American suburban demographic, including a nice sized two-story home with 3 bedrooms.  With all that space, you’d think I could sit somewhere — anywhere — without having a warm body touching me at all times.

No, it is not possible.

Somehow I have become the pet/kid whisperer, and if I decide to rest my tired feet in any location for more than — say, 30 seconds — I will have a furry critter or small child invading my personal space.

And I LIKE my personal space. 

I’m sure some mothers might see me as “unattached” or unmotherly for this, but I am my OWN person.  I need my OWN space.  I like — no love — to snuggle with my kids and pets.  But I sometimes feel like I’m being stalked in my own home!

If I rest on the couch?  Kids and dogs are clammering for the spot next to me.  The dog will even sit at my feet waiting for a kid to get up, then jump up on the couch — usurping the spot.

If I work on the computer?  One kid next to me asking “can I see pictures?”, while a cat wiggles her way in behind my back.

If I’m in the bathroom?  While I have learned to lock the door, a cat usually sneaks in first.  Meanwhile, I listen to knocking and “Momma?  Momma?” for the entire duration.

If I want to sit at the kitchen table and try to have an adult conversation with friends?  Peek under the table — you’ll see an interesting “game” of “block the kid from mom’s lap.”  He usually squirms his way on anyway.

After my children go to bed, the animals reign supreme. They dictate my bedtime.  If I do not go to bed on-time, a cat will meow at my feet until I head up the stairs. 

It’s a good think they are cute.

New game invented

3 Apr

Spin the daddy!

Save the playground

23 Mar

The scene:  two dads and I were pushing our kids in swings at the playground.  All three of us watched as a group of 9 to 12-year olds played a game of “grounders” on the playscape.

NOTE: This game appears to involve one kid closing his eyes and occasionally yelling “grounders!” Meanwhile, the other kids climb all over the playscape.  I have no idea if there are winners, if someone is “it”, or if points are scored.  However, I have seen it played many times at the playground by my house, and most kids seem to walk away happy and exhausted.

Dad #1:  “You are thinking the same thing as me, huh?”  He is thinking that one of those kids is going to slip and fall off the slick plastic playscape roof.  They keep climbing on top and dangling off the side.  Game strategy?

Me:  “Yep. Kids will always find a way to play on something as it was NOT intended.  But, let’s not take pictures. Somebody might decide the playscape is unsafe and remove it.”

Dad #1:  “Right. Some over-protective mom might decide it’s too dangerous.”

Dad #2:  “Man, we did way more dangerous stuff when we were kids.”

After our short parental conversation, I thought that this chat could have gone another way — we could have decided to tell those kids to get down from the playscape roof.  We could have told them that they were not allowed to play that way.  We might have prevented a 9-year-old from taking a bad fall. Maybe 8 feet down. Onto wood chips.   

We could have done that.  But that would have ruined all the fun they were having.

Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double beetloaf. I hate meatloaf!

8 Mar

Like most mothers of this age, I’m concerned about childhood obesity. I’m concerned that my kids eat too many snacks, don’t get enough healthy choices, or don’t get enough exercise.

However, I didn’t think I’d end up with a Randy — the kid from A Christmas Story:

Every family has a kid who won’t eat. My kid brother had not eaten voluntarily in over three years.”

I loved this movie since I was a kid, but I always thought this scene was odd — a kid that won’t eat? Really??? They have to EAT!

An odd scene… until I had a kid who won’t eat. Now I have a Randy.

My son has not voluntarily eaten dinner in months. Every night it’s… “How many bites?” “I don’t like it” “I’m done.” “I’m not done!” “I DID eat it!” Every third night he stuffs too much in his mouth — on purpose — and chokes on it. I have that “finger sweep” down. I’ve caught half-chewed food in my hand more times than I would like to count. I’ve smacked my son on the neck/back enough times that the boy doesn’t even react to it.

Now, don’t think that my son is starving; I call him the snack monster. Fruit bars, bananas, milk and raisins — apparently this is the food of the gods. I have restricted his snack intake (no snacks before meals) but this seems to have no affect on mealtime. One evening, he really, really, really wanted these baked Cheetos. We made a deal: you eat everything on your plate, you can have the Cheetos. He even placed the Cheetos right in front of him as motivation. He had a 1/2 cup of pasta, one hot dog, and a 1/4 cup of corn — a preschooler’s DREAM meal. He couldn’t do it; he didn’t even get close. No Cheetos for you, young man.

Well, let’s hope it’s just a phase.

What a beautiful man!

3 Mar

As with most of the world, I became addicted to the Olympics in the past few weeks. I also had a few “favorites” that I cheered a little louder for. One was Apolo Anton Ohno — the 8-time medalist for short track speed skating.

YUM. What a beautiful man!

I’ve been addicted to Apolo since his first Olympics. In fact, I briefly tried to convince my husband to name our son Apolo (he was having NONE of it — probably a wise choice!). As a mother of white/Asian young boy, I see my son growing up to be just as handsome. At least he will be in my eyes.

I also found another Olympian to follow this time around — Johnny Weir. The ever-flamboyant figure skater who placed 6th, even though the crowd and his fans gave him the Bronze medal. I’m no expert in figure skating or the new “judging system”, so I will not debate his placement and scores. I’ll leave that to Scott Hamilton and the French judge.

However, I was extremely impressed with how this young man — known for his controversial and outlandish statements — responded to homophobic remarks (in French) from a couple of French-Canadian sports reporters. Johnny Weir did not asked for an apology — instead he asked for these men to think about the children watching the Olympics, and how it might affect them.

“I want [their remarks] to be public because I don’t want 50 years from now more young boys and girls to have to go through this sort of thing and to have their whole life basically questioned for no reason other than to make a joke and to make people watch their television program.”

“I hope more kids can grow up the same way that I did and more kids can feel the freedom that I feel to be themselves and to express themselves.”

Johnny praised his parents and his upbringing. He knows he is a role-model and needs to the kids watching the Olympics to know he is not ashamed of who he is. He is proud, and has a loving family supporting him. He also understands and respects having freedom of expression and freedom of speech means some people are going to say things you don’t like. He responded to ridicule with compassion.

What a beautiful man!

Reference:

Propos homophobes: Mailhot et Goldberg 19/02/2010 (in French)
Johnny Weir responds to commentators who questioned his gender, example he sets

The poop monster

2 Mar

A friend of mine asked (on facebook) at what age moms were allowing their kids to go to public restrooms by themselves. A few with young boys (age 5 or so) said that they stood outside the men’s bathroom, but let the boys go in by themselves while mom “stood guard.” Most, however, mentioned ages like 8, 10, 13 and even one mom accompanyed her 17-year-old daughter to the restroom!

Last Sunday evening, I was out to dinner at a family chain restaurant with my kids, my brother and my sister-in-law. My daughter, age 6, announced she was going to the restroom. By herself. She did need one confirmation from mom:

A: Are the toilets aujomadic?
Momma: No. They are not automatic flush.

Side note: She hates those things. The sensors are not meant for children — they go off while the kid is still on the pot. FLUSH! My sensitive offspring leaps right off the toilet and hits the ceiling.

After my daughter left the table, I announced to my brother “I’m now an outlaw mom.” He was confused. Clearly, letting my 6-year-old daughter into woman’s restroom by herself could lead to my arrest. Child abandonment. Neglect. Endangement! There are pediphiles lurking in every suburban family chain restaurant!

However, I would like to think that in some small way this is a teaching moment. I am teaching my daughter self-reliance. She can find her way. She knows the difference between adults that she can ask for help, and “strangers” that should be avoided. She does not need her mother to be safe. And she does not need her mother to wipe her butt.

Reference:
Self-Reliance as a Core Value of Parenting