I’m Sorry vs. I Was Wrong

March 2nd, 2008

When I started student teaching the first place I worked had a policy of not making the kids apologize to each other. I remember being at work and after stopping some type of argument I said you need to tell so-and-so you are sorry. The classroom teacher came flying around the corner and told me they don’t make the kids say sorry but failed to tell what to do instead. About a month or so later, I found out. The kids had to say “I was wrong for (fill in the blank with hitting you, taking your stuff, calling you a name, etc).” And I got on board with this instantly. And it’s carried over into my parenting and my teaching.

I never make anyone apologize. An apology has to come from the heart and so when a teacher or parent says “Say you are sorry.” the kid will say it but not mean it. Plus, they may not be sorry. But they were wrong. A 3 year old may not be the least bit sorry for taking a friend’s toy. But they were wrong for taking it without asking. If a child wants to say sorry after they have said they were wrong, go right ahead because I’m not forcing the apology.

I also like making them say they were wrong because as kids get a little older I also make them correct the problem in a way appropriate to their age. In my class it goes something like this:

Kid A: I was wrong for dumping over your puzzle.
Kid B: Please don’t do it again.
Kid A: Instead of dumping your puzzle I should have asked you to move it or found a different place to play.
Kid B: Can you help me fix the puzzle?
Kid A: Okay.

It does take a lot of coaching to get a dialogue like that but it’s completely possible and my kids do it on a regular basis (at our school we call it Walking the Peace Path).

In a culture where the word sorry carries very little weight anymore, I think saying you were wrong is a more meaningful alternative.

Why buy toys when she plays with junk?

February 22nd, 2008

We’ve been saving the yogurt containers for, well, forever. We have quite a collection in our tupperware drawer. It pretty much fills the drawer. The containers are the kind that come with a lid. Tonight Lexi entertained herself for over an hour by pulling out a larger plastic storage bowl and stuffing the lids inside. She would put them in and then pull them all out, rearrange them, and put them back. And repeat the process over and over again.

She’s a Trooper

February 21st, 2008

Lexi had her 2-year check-up today. She’s 29 lbs & 2’9″ tall. She loved sitting up on the table and have the doctor poke and prod at her. I think her favorite part was that light they shine in your eyes/nose/ears/mouth. She even convinced the doctor to do it again. She also had to get her toe pricked for two blood tests. One was a hemogloben check and the other was to get a baseline on the lead count (or something like that). Basically, a precaution for all the recalls on toys with lead paint, etc. She only had to get her toe pricked once but the nurse has to fill up two vials of blood by catching each little drip. The whole process took about 5 minutes. Lexi just sat in my lap, sucked her thumb and occasionally commented that it tickled. The nurse actually commented that it takes less time if they are screaming because the blood is flowing faster. Then she had to get a shot. She almost had a melt down but quickly recovered quickly at the promise of a sticker.

The Big Diaper Debate

February 18th, 2008

Has anyone ever used these diapers? I am torn right now about what to do about baby #2. I was raised on cloth diapers, I have lots of friends who use cloth diapers, and before Lexi was born I really wanted to do cloth diapers. But the washing machine in our old house was horrible. I’m pretty sure our clothes were never clean – just sort of swished around in water. And the dryer was even worse. Plus, the cost of buying all those diapers at once was a little overwhelming. But, now that we have a very nice new washer and dryer and we could possibly have 2 kids in diapers I’m beginning to see the cost effectiveness of going cloth. Not to mention I really don’t want the Hendricks’ Memorial Landfill that is made up entirely of diapers.

Back to my original question – has anyone used the gDiapers? How do they compare to cloth or disposable?

I don’t want to know.

January 28th, 2008

Right now, Lexi is standing on a stool at the kitchen sink. The sink is about half full of clean water and bubbles (from dish soap). Before dinner I filled up the sink and she stood there filling up cups, stirring the water, and generally making a soapy mess. Now, I’m on the couch and she’s back at the sink. She’s as happy as can be, probably making some gigantic mess on the counter and floor. I don’t really want to go in there and see what the kitchen looks like. I hear a lot of pouring and splashing and I also keep hearing comments like “mmmm…drinka da bubbas!” and “ooh bubbas on da stole (stool)” and “I want mo cups.” (which are empty yogurt containers she keeps fishing out of the tupperware drawer). I’m guessing that there is water everywhere and the sink is probably almost empty. But, she’s been happily entertaining herself for over a half hour so I really don’t care how wet the floor is.

She just walked into the living room. Her shirt, pants and socks are complete soaked. I’m guessing it’s a reflection of the rest of the kitchen.

“I need help, A-B.”

January 23rd, 2008

For some reason, when Lexi needs help, she calls me Abby. Except it sounds like A-b. She doesn’t ever call me Abby any other time, the rest of the time I am “momma”- but when she needs help then I’m A-b.

Strange kid.

Parenting Styles

January 17th, 2008

Stephanie recently blogged about a parenting book that she read and disagreed (is that the right word, Steph?) with and commented on which books she has liked and found helpful.

It got me thinking about the parenting books I’ve read and which ones I’ve liked/agreed with and have used information from. I’ve read Babywise, The Baby Book, The Baby Sleep Book, 1-2-3 Magic, Bringing Up Boys (even though I have a girl), The Happiest Baby on the Block, Adoption Parenting, The Weaver’s Craft, Baby Wearing, and probably a couple others that I can’t remember off hand. All in all most of these books have been not helpful (except for the Adoption Parenting & Weaver’s Craft). When reading them, I always get the feeling that the author is basically trying to bash all other styles instead of just giving parenting advice. There are bits and pieces that I have pulled from books and the authors would probably keel over dead if they knew I was following “the other guy’s” advice, but seriously, can only having one plan/stragegy work for any family? Especially if you have more than one kid.

Some of the things that have worked for us (and I don’t even remember which books they are from): Using a sling. Letting Lexi cry herself to sleep/sooth herself to sleep. Not using nursing or a bottle to help her sleep. Short bedtime routines. Discipline that follows logical consequences (you threw it, you go pick it up and then you are done playing with it. you spill it, you clean it up, etc). Giving her a pacifier right away. Giving her a bottle right away.(And I mean right away as in before she was a week old, not as in the instant she cries.) Having her sleep in her own bed – there is no way family bed would work for us. Sleeping with Lexi is like sleeping with a mad octopus.

I’ve been thinking about parenting styles a lot because with our adoption getting closer and closer, I know that we are going to need to have as many back-up plans as possible. Bonding with the new baby may take a lot of work and it may require things like rocking the baby to sleep, or family bed, or, not letting them cry it out, or, or, or…? Out of all the books I have read, the two that I have liked have been the Adoption Parenting and The Weaver’s Craft. I think I liked these because they deal specifically with issues in adoption and Adoption Parenting is really just articles pulled from all the parenting books on which techiques have worked well with children coming from institutions.

So, what have you read? What have you liked? and what have you used? and which ones did you think were a little crazy?

Just curious.

Big Girl Bed

December 28th, 2007

Yesterday we took down Lexi’s crib and set up her “big-girl” bed. I wanted her to have plenty of time in her new bed so she wouldn’t really notice when we give her crib to the new baby. She did pretty good last night and for her nap today. Although we did realize that she’s not afraid to try and climb out so on those days when she doesn’t really want to nap (but still needs to rest) we’ll see how this goes.

Any suggestions for keeping a 2 year old in bed (without having to sit in the room with them)?

Picking My Battles

May 1st, 2007

Working with toddlers for 6 years I understood the meaning of the phrase “pick your battles”. I also saw the results of parents picking their battles – kids coming to school in wearing the top half of their Batman pj’s for 3 weeks straight. Kids wearing raincoats when it’s 80 degrees and sunny. Kids wearing mismatched mittens because they like both pairs. Kids wears teal pants that are too short with a red sweater and flip-flops.

And tonight Lexi and I were picking our battles. We only read the first 4 pages of “Hey, Wake Up!” but we read those pages at least 10 times. She walked around for 2 hours wearing only 1 sandal. I put both on her but she kept taking the right one off. After 3 tries and convincing her to wear it, I gave up and let her limp around the house. She only wanted to listen to the first song on the VeggieTales cd. But from my point of view, she wanted to read a book, she asked for her sandal to be put on and successfully took of her own sandal, and for whatever reason “This is the Day” was the song that made her happy and kept her entertained for 20 minutes.

Yes, Lexi will be one of those kids who goes to Target wearing a tu-tu, rain gear and a baseball cap. But she will be happy because she’s in a tu-tu, rain gear and a baseball cap and I will be happy because she got dressed all by herself.


April 21st, 2007

Lexi is almost 15 months. That means that according to the state of Minnesota next month she will officially be a toddler and old enough to go to day care. Crazy.

In the past month or so Lexi has learned to do and say so much. She’s not a baby anymore.

She can stand up with out pulling herself up.
She can turn on her CD player (and knows which CD’s she likes and turns off those she doesn’t like)
She plays with toys the “right” way. Tonight she was actually putting her stacking rings back on the post instead of just taking them off and flinging them around her room.
She finds certain things funny – like chasing the dogs, playing tug with the dogs (okay, just acting like a dog in general), running away from you when she’s only wearing a diaper (or in some cases complete naked), laughing when we laugh.
She’s learning how to run and how to climb stairs.
She walks and crawls.
She has favorite books that she can “read” to herself. She’ll read Carl the Dog and say “doggie, woof, woof” when she sees Carl, she opens the flaps of her Peek-a-Boo book and says “peek-a-boo”.
She loves to give hugs and kisses.
She knows her bottle is kept in the fridge and will try and open the door to get it, while saying “ba-bol”
She can say hi, mama, dada, doggie, woof, bottle, Mazie, hey, whoa, rock-rock (she says this while on her rocking moose, in a rocking chair and in her swing), bobo, move, go away, and uh-oh. (bobo, move and go away are always said to the dogs)
She can sign please, more, all done, and down.
She can make a noise like a duck, a horse, a monkey, a dog (barking, whinning and panting), a cat, and a bird.
She can quote the scene from the Simpson’s where Homer is making calming ocean noises to lull Marge to sleep. Lexi will say “Wee-ooh, wee-ooh.” and then make loud seagull noises.
She also has a few words that she says all the time but we have no clue what she’s talking about.
She can point out her head, nose, mouth, feet and belly.

I’m constantly amazed by how much she has learned and how quickly she will learn something new.

It’s fun to watch her grow up.

Update: Lexi can also say bye-bye and ball.