July 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
Why can’t I just adjust what “the books” say are the major milestones for toddlers? Why can’t I just tear out the page on disciplining your child where it says that toddlers should be told to stop throwing, and tape it right next to the page where the author goes on and on about the marvels of your toddler’s ability to drive a spoon into their mouth, and the many ways to praise them for this physical achievement?
Maybe then I wouldn’t be so uptight about baby brother being a thrower. When we’re alone, like this morning (bb was still sleeping when I was typing), and stuff is getting thrown about, I don’t worry that anyone will get hurt. I don’t worry about the items being thrown, cos, well, they’re things. Things are replaceable.
Can I spin this capacity to throw so that I’m actually proud of my son? So I’m not embarrassed when he throws in front of others?
Maybe I should buy Arun’s Academic Translator– wonder if there’s a Droid App for it yet? My first search [toddlers and throwing] might pull up the following Harvard study on the Physics of Overarm Throwing. After reading it, I would be ready to declare that my son was doing a scientific study to prove or disprove the findings of the Harvard study, that states:
The total kinetic energy of the mass, hand, and the forearm was found to be almost independent of the object mass, and the throw speed is almost independent of the mass of the upper arm.
Baby brother’s conclusions would be kept in private mental notes, but he’d be willing to show anyone interested how it all works. Just make sure you’re ready to deflect a rubber stamp or toy car.
Goggles and helmet will be provided.
Eventually, bilingual baby came downstairs and wanted to start the day playing with stamps. She asked where they were. I told her that they were around the floor. She asked, Why? Well, I said, your brother was throwing them. Why? Well, I told her, he was trying to figure out how they’d fall when he threw them. Oh, she replied.
If it were only that easy with everyone.
July 30, 2010 § 4 Comments
I only know how to love my kids one way- my way. No parent really knows if “their way” is the best way, but this is my humble take.
The other day, bilingual baby was doing something that had me all reactive. I just couldn’t connect with her at all. I remembered something Josh and I heard a pastor say during a wedding ceremony we went to in Michigan.
You need to fill up each others love tank.
The pastor went on but this is what made us giggle. Love tank? You gotta be kidding me. Several years gone by and I still would chuckle at what I thought was a simplistic, silly, and rather odd approach to marital advice. I silently vowed never to give that kind of advice.
What I could have never anticipated was feeling that pure, simple, silly love for someone else. It’s the kind of love that I have for my children. It’s a level of love I have never felt. One that supersedes the love I felt up until I first gave birth. The love that rips your heart open and nestles inside. The love that gets you to say the sweetest things, and the most hurtful. The love that made me reconsider what I had heard those years ago.
I think I understand now. The pastor was onto something. His heart was open to divine intervention and although his advice may have felt pity at my hard heart, it stayed with me for the moment when I would need it.
So there I stood, in front of my little girl, who was having the hardest time opening her heart to her brother, and I wondered if her “love tank” was depleted. What if the advice the pastor gave me was ready to be put into use? I asked if she needed me to show her my love, and she said, Yes. I held her, remembering the day she came into this world and into my imperfect care. I thought of a day when she might not feel as close as I did to her in that perfect moment. I tried to imprint on myself the feeling of being in tune with my brown-eyed girl.
She let go, and as she patted her belly, told me that her body was full of my love and now she could show her baby brother love. We talked about showing love to our family and that sometimes when people get mad, they may just need us to show them that we love them. She verbally drafted a flow chart of who needed love from whom in our family.
I don’t always find the space in me to grow, but the few days I do, I’m thankful.
July 28, 2010 § 2 Comments
Here in the bilingual baby household, we’re in flux. Baby brother is nursing less and less (though still going strong) and both kids are enjoying time away from mama. That leaves me with more time on my hands. It’s a game of hurry up and wait. I get the food request as if they haven’t eaten in weeks. I make the mad dash to make some food and they sit and shovel it in. Once their tummies are full enough, they get back to playing.
Sometimes I get included in the play, sometimes I don’t. I don’t mind, but I feel like I don’t know what to do with myself while I wait for the next request.
Oh, yes. I could clean.
Only problem is that baby brother wants to see me when he’s playing, so I can’t be gone long. I need to be within eyesight, which leaves me only a few things that I can do.
It just feels like a big transition. The kids play together quite a bit during the day, which is not altogether new. It’s the duration of play that’s increased.
Today, I taught a private sewing lesson, and now have two sewing machines sitting on the dining room table. I’m working on some diaper repairs that I received last weekend. This is the perfect kind of work for a transition week. I can start and stop at any point- these repairs won’t self-destruct if I set them down to help a little someone out.
I’m just not sure what this will lead to- not that knowing will make anything better. It’ll be interesting to see how this week leads into next week, or next month.
Here’s a painting by Jules Breton. I’m feeling really connected to it today:
July 25, 2010 § 1 Comment
The first Ian I met was in 1992 when our family moved from Colombia to the U.S. It would be our final trip to the States. It was a big transition. We sold our house- the only house our family owned when we were still all living together. Moving up here was a big deal, which I only noticed a year later.
I met a lot of nice people. I met a Brian and an Erica, who I’m so glad to still be in touch with. I met people whose names I will never remember, but whose long hair I will never forget. But Ian… I had never heard that name before… and I wanted to name my future unborn son Ian. It was such a cool name. I freely tell people that I never really dreamed about my wedding (though I always wanted to be married) but I did fantasize about having children. It was only natural for me, then, to picture these children, and consider name well in advance, right?
The next Ian I met was in high school here in the U.S. My last high school- the one I graduated from. See, I went to 3 high schools, so keeping track of people is hard. A lot of high school friends’ names (especially those who I didn’t know that well) meld into one high school. Ian stood out. I met him through FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). He was quiet and altogether a nice guy. That name kept coming up as a name that I could only equate with generosity, kindness, and friendship.
The third Ian I’ve met is one of our neighbors here in Vermont. He’s the guy that took the pedals off of bilingual baby’s bike. No matter how busy he is, or how stressed he is, he’s always willing to stop for a second and say, Hi. He always seems to have enough time to step back and take it all in, to take a breath.
I know I’ve had my kids, but the thought came back to me the other night. An image of a younger me who thought she knew what she would name her son. The names Josh and I chose for our kids are absolutely perfect. My kids are perfect for me. I would never change them or want to change their names.
But it’s fun to remember projecting myself into a future that I now live in.
July 23, 2010 § 2 Comments
To preface this weekly special, I have to tell you about the last week plus. I’ve been sharing some articles I was writing for a blog called KidGalore. Well, from what the editor told me tonight, they aren’t accepting any more paid content, so I’m back to blogging here alone. Fine by me. Before the short writing stint ended, I was asked to think up a weekly article. I asked a couple trusted friends if they could suggest anything and the answer in my heart came out.
This is me loving you.
So, I’m going to be posting every Friday a special that will tell a story of how I find creative ways to love my kids, despite myself.
Here is my first entry into the new weekly special.
This week, my kids both got fevers. Baby brother got a fever for one day on Tuesday, and bilingual baby got hers today, Thursday. I don’t have to say that it’s tricky to take care of kids all day. Getting up the courage to try a different tactic sometimes exhausts every muscle in my body. It seems like it’s easier to just say the same stupid stuff and shove them aside. It would be, if it were sustainable for me.
When my kids get sick, it’s instantly easier to bend over backward for them. “I want more apple cider”, I’m told in a faint voice. “Sure thing!”, I say as I run to get it. The requests for food, books, blankets continued- most of which was laid to rest seconds after receiving them.
My challenge will be to keep the open heart and readiness when everyone is well again.
July 21, 2010 § Leave a comment
I was woken up at 5am by baby brother who seems to love early mornings. Not even our laptop likes being up that early, so instead of writing directly into WordPress, I wrote down the following list of stupid questions I’ve asked my kids on paper. You read right. I used paper and a pen. Pen! Yes, we still have pens here. (Bear with me. It’s only 10:30am.)
I call these questions “stupid” because they are rhetorical, or at least that’s how they are perceived by kids. Kids also can’t quite figure out what the right answer is, so they usually say whatever the think of first. Their answers are never what we want to hear. In effect, these questions should be said, screamed, and pounded inside our heads and not at our kids. Notice how many are related to sleep?
- What do you think you are doing?
- What are you doing awake?
- Why won’t you nap?
- Do you know how late it is?
- What were you thinking?
- Do you want me to do that to you?
- Do you really think I want to be hit?
- Can’t you see I’m tired?
- Can’t you see I’ve got things to do?
- What do you want to eat?
What are your favorite stupid questions. They can be ones you say or ones you’ve heard others say.
July 17, 2010 § 1 Comment
It’s been so hot here in Vermont. I’m having a hard time doing much other than make food, wash dishes, pick up, and fill up the pool. We haven’t been hanging out with even the closest of our friends. In part, I have to admit, because I have a concern.
He and bilingual baby definitely get along and they are awesome playing together- most of the time. I don’t think I should expect more. But I do. During the week of heat wave we got, the kids played together for long chunks of time. The following week, we’d have spots of indecision- who wanted to play with whom, and when? Their play was off by a millimeter, but that’s all it took for there to be more collisions during the day.
My big issues these days include, but are not limited to:
1. Throwing. He throws anything he can get his hands on. Food, crayons, cars, did I mention food.
2. Fits of despair. He’ll flail on the ground when he’s tired and isn’t getting what he wants. Sometimes it’s just the broken cookie thing- y’know. He’s not totally upset about what’s going on but he wails anyway. The “cookie” becomes the door to a venting session.
I’m glad I sat down to spell this out for myself. It seems almost more manageable to look at it and realize it’s really just a couple of things.
A. Find ways to channel the throwing. Give him soft toys. Do the ABC train puzzle he’s really into these days. (It’s cute. We put the puzzle together and then the kids walk all over it, as if they were trains and the puzzle were track.)
B. Get him to the playground more often. He’s way more physical than his sister and I need to meet that need. We still enjoy playing stamps (and he’s moved passed smearing the ink pad on his head), painting, and some stickers.
C. Get time away from the family. Today, I met up with a Peruvian friend of mine and after chatting a bunch, I really felt refreshed.
Fun stuff bilingual baby is into:
1. Everything Space related. She told me the other day that our house is on the planet earth. She discovered that thought on her own; perhaps through visuals, but I don’t remember saying anything like that to her. It was wild and so cool!
2. She wants to learn how to roller blade and ice skate. I couldn’t be happier. I actually am borrowing a pair of roller blades from a mom in town. I’ve been out once, but hope to get out more soon. So, now she’s got it in her head that she needs to learn how. I love it. I actually think both kids will love ice skating. After a couple of months on skates, I’ll see about getting them some of their own. Till then, we’ll just bike everywhere.
Here, a picture of the kids on swings. This is a big deal for them.