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Lazy Kids

Published on June 10, 2008 at midnight by XC

I’ve heard so many other parents gripe about how difficult it can be to get their child to help out with daily chores. This makes me think back 20 years and remember how much I hated doing that kind of mundane stuff. Getting me to clean anything (including myself) was and still is a feat.

Yesterday, I was making our bed. My two year old daughter wanted to help and jumped in. Obviously, she has yet to gain proficiency in bed making and was slowing me down. I began to think of some menial task that I could give her which would allow me to finish my work and then something dawned on me.
Kids see us doing work and want to help. Since they’re so small and inexperienced, we tell them to go sit down, they can ‘watch’ , or we give them some kind of busywork to get them out of our hair so that we can finish whatever it is that we happen to be doing.

After five or more years of telling them to go sit and watch, we complain when they sit there and watch while we break our backs doing chores. Well, that’s exactly what we trained them to do How long does it take to un-learn behavior? Much longer than it took to acquire, for certain.

Happy to report, I can now make a bed while a two year old is jumping on it and trying to hand me pillows.

Category: Parenting

Will Google Kill Santa?

Published on Dec. 23, 2007 at midnight by XC

If you make a person, you must also make some interesting decisions. Religion (or not) being one, basic values to instill being another example. Parenting methods need to be agreed upon quickly by both parents, preferably before said methods need to be employed. Then, there’s the whole Santa issue.

I can remember being rather disturbed when I realized that certain events in December did not occur in the manner that they were explained to me. I can also remember my “little professor” classmates being met with knuckle sandwiches on the playground while arguing that Christmas was round and not flat.

Since most children are literate at age five (or prior) and have access to the Internet, what’s going to happen when they consult Google to unravel the Da Vinci code of childhood?
More interestingly, what is going to happen to the holiday itself? Every parent (and some non-parents) that I know have been complaining in recent years that they’re beginning to resent the holiday in its entirety. Many speak of the event losing its meaning and becoming a commercial monster, some electing to refrain from feeding the monster altogether.

If the last bit of “magic” that surrounds Christmas is finally dispelled once and for all by a relational database query, what are we going to be left with?

Its an interesting question, comments as always are welcome.

Category: Parenting

Spicy Genes?

Published on Nov. 16, 2007 at midnight by XC

I love spicy food. When I refer to spicy food, I’m referring to things that touch you taste buds and cause you to cry for milk and mommy, in that order. I can drink hot sauce straight, I can eat ultra hot peppers such as habanero peppers like grapes, I could probably snort cayenne pepper if it weren’t for my desire to retain my sense of smell.

I have really, really buggy sinuses. Before going to bed, I like to make a spicy snack, usually consisting of ground meat, chow mein noodles, peppers and two eggs over easy on top. I find that eating spicy food just before bed makes me snore less, relax and not get kicked so many times by my wife due to sonic disruptions in the key of ‘Zzzz’.

Not long ago, my two year old daughter took an interest in my bed time snack, refusing to sleep until she had shared whatever it was that was in my bowl.
“No, sweetie, this is spicy, you can’t have it” was answered with an emphatic “MMMMMPH!”. “Ouchie!” while pointing to the bowl produced a similar response. Fifteen minutes of convincing my two year old that the substance in my bowl might cause her to burst into flames proved to be an exercise in futility.

This kid was not going to sleep until she had a taste. First, the eggs.. hoping that she’d be satisfied. No go, she knew that something unfamiliar was beneath the eggs. Finally (as usual) I caved, offering her a very small piece of a red hot noodle while preparing to extinguish her.

Category: Parenting
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Recalling My Recent Toy Shopping

Published on Oct. 26, 2007 at midnight by XC

Our daughter turns 2 years old tomorrow. Yesterday, we went out to buy some birthday presents. To find out what interests our child, we take her to several toy stores and turn her loose. She’ll run through every isle making mental notes then return to several places once she’s completed her first ‘sweep’.

I have been advocating that parents resist buying “TV Toys” for months. I don’t advocate not buying them entirely, just ensuring that other toys that don’t come with pre-programmed adult created plots find their way into the toy box as well.

My daughter headed for a bunch of Diego dolls, I resisted. I’m glad that I resisted because I’ve just learned that Mattel has recalled an additional 55,500 toys (globally) due to lead paint contamination.

In light of this, I’m not going to purchase any more Dora or Diego toys. I’m now as concerned about the safety of those toys as I am about the impact of “TV Toys” on my daughter’s imagination and development.
First, the lead contamination issues. At this point, I’m not quite sure what to think of Mattel, so I’ll reserve forming or expressing an opinion on their ethics and suitability as a company to serve our children’s development. Mattel saved quite a bit of money by shipping some of its manufacturing process to China, they did not anticipate these kinds of problems.

Category: Parenting
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Oh, Sugar

Published on Oct. 17, 2007 at midnight by XC

Our daughter is extremely active. We learned very early that sugar for her was a really bad idea.

This morning, she found a stash of lolly pops left by the pizza guy. She had to have one, she got one and she got it in her mouth (unwrapped) faster than we could realize what was going on. For a two year old, that’s an accomplishment.

Since she does not have sugar (other than what is found in fruits) normally, the sugar hit her system quickly. She became irritable, extremely grouchy and (nearly) downright violent. That’s not our kid, that’s our kid on sugar.

I wonder how many of you give your kids ‘high fructose’ treats without realizing that you might be making them perpetually anxious and therefore miserable?

I watched, from the point of ingestion, to her peak, to her crash, my child so discontent that she could not stand herself .. all due to candy. Candy does interesting things :

It rots your teeth
It makes you irritable
Its addictive (when you crash on sugar, naturally, you want more)
It makes you fat
It satisfies an immediate urge, for about 10 minutes. Then you want more.

Halloween is approaching, there is no way that I can keep my child off of sugar on that day. What I can do is find some way to demonstrate that the yummy candy is what is causing her to feel bad.

I’m not quite sure how to do that, so comments are welcome

Category: Parenting

Parents, Halloween Is Near :)

Published on Oct. 16, 2007 at midnight by XC

October 31′st is nearly here. Your kids are seeking to gorge on anything that tastes good. Why not throw a Halloween party for the neighborhood?

You’ll need to arm yourselves, kids demand constant entertainment. So, what to do? Go back to Baltimore, hon, and check out Edgar Allen Poe. One of my favorite things to read is “The Raven”. Here is the poem and some notes on how to read it:
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
'Tis some visitor,' I muttered,tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.’
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

Category: Parenting
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Oh, Shit.

Published on Oct. 11, 2007 at midnight by XC

How often do you say that? Moreover, how often do you mean that but substitute some other word for the explicative?

For all of you who can’t bring yourselves to say it, I will. Shit happens. Shit more than happens, we personify feces with characteristics that allow us to proclaim that shit does not only happen, shit delights in happening. Why then, is shit still a dirty word (beyond its literal meaning) ?

A rather interesting blogger who delights in the appropriate use of profanity has discussed this topic. The post was an interesting read but left me with a few lingering (and un-entertained) thoughts.
Eric, the Ph.D (and blogger) is correct. Media realizes the value of shock and endeavors to milk this value for every penny that it will yield. I’m wondering, what happens when words alone no longer produce this ‘shock’ phenomenon?

If I was sitting in a class room and had a pen explode in my pocket, screaming “Oh, SHIT” would surely shock my classmates. The fact that I said “shit” is incidental, where I said “shit” solicits this very curious phenomenon.

A few years from now, simply saying “Shit!” in certain places (i.e. on public access television) might not cause jaws to drop. What then? Would I have to stab myself in the thigh with a bleeding pen and fall on my knees genuflecting to solicit such a response? Many people crave, if not feed on ‘shock’ responses. Oh, dear.

I think, perhaps, I’ll refrain from permitting many words from my daughter’s vocabulary. I’m not at all concerned that she says them, I simply hope that her aversion to restrictions manifests verbally, as opposed to the unknown

Category: Parenting

Is That A Kid Or A Wet Log?

Published on Oct. 9, 2007 at midnight by XC

My 2 year old has masterd the art of going limp on demand. Somehow, she’s figured out that pushing against us (her parents) seems futile. She (my daughter) is now completely relaxing (as in face down) each and every time that we seem inclined to have her do something that she does not want to do, like changing her diaper or clothes.

She weighs in at about 30+ pounds now. You would think that she’d be rather easy to lift? Hardly, try picking up 30 pounds of ‘liquid weight’ on a queen size bed while scurrying about standing on your knees, that can be a rather difficult endeavor. Afterward, try dressing a 30 pound (human shaped) liquid weight in clothing, one that realizes her center of gravity and knows how to use it.

Luring her out of such a state by offering treats or misleading her that her favorite cartoons were on the T.V. worked for … about a week.

She can not be tickled unless she wants to be. She can not be frightened (she turns off the lights herself, loves the dark and beats up anything wearing a Haloween mask then giggles), startling her only evokes a cackle.

As the Taco Bell dog once said, “Uh oh, I think I need a bigger box ..“

Category: Parenting

Can Public Schools Be Fixed?

Published on Oct. 2, 2007 at midnight by XC

I’m really starting to wonder about the survival of some public school systems. From what I hear, some of them are quite good. Independent school districts are also having a degree of success. What remains is, we need to live where we can work and our choices remain rather limited. I also know, some of our public school systems are horribly broken.

Right now, we (my wife and I) have an easier life than most other parents that I know. I work from home, my wife is a full time Mom, I’m able to spend much more time with my daughter than many fathers (or even mothers, depending). Freelancing is great but it is not exactly a reliable income. I’ll always freelance to a degree, but likely as a supplemental income that I manage from home to avoid the two-job magic trick that makes me vanish from my child’s life. Affording a private school is not now (currently) in the budget, my two year old is headed for school in just a few short years.
My thinking isn’t just influenced by funds. I can remember having friends who went to private school who never quite ‘fit in’ with the rest of us because they weren’t as much of a part of our daily lives. The reverse could also be true, if you lived somewhere that most kids attended a private school. Most of us don’t live in places where the majority of children attend private school. I don’t want to alienate my kid by ensuring that she does not share her days in school with her neighborhood friends.

Category: Parenting
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Commercial Kids?

Published on Sept. 29, 2007 at midnight by XC

I make no big secret about my aversion to commercial culture. But, that’s just my aversion. We’ve been approached three times by poeple who wanted to put our two-year-old in commercials.

One commercial was for Pampers, the diaper people. The other two offers focused on more generic/stock use of our daughter’s photographs. We turned all three offers down, just because we felt indecisive. Our golden rule remains, “When in doubt, don’t”. I continue to wonder if we made the best decision.

If you get approached (like we did), I don’t think that there is a right or wrong decision. What remains is the best decsion, this is relative to what you plan to teach your kid. I hope that my daughter puts little value in vanity, becoming a commercial kid might be counterproductive. Yet, what if that’s not who she decides to be? Above all, my daughter is free. She’s free to be whoever she wants so long as my input as a parent has obviously been considered.

These are (and were) our issues:

Someone else has rights too our daughter’s photographs.
Someone else has rights to _sell_ our daughter’s photographs.
Our daughter might not like her baby pictures syndicated (and etched on the Internet forever) at various points in her life.
Being the object of admiration just might go to our daughter’s head.
We ( as parents ) are profiting from a kid who can’t yet fully speak.

Yet I can not help but wonder, what if everything went ‘well’ , am I going to face a future ‘Dad, How could you?!’, time will tell.

Category: Parenting