Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rocking the Winter Wear

Over the summer/fall, Londo and I did a lot of rearranging and cleaning. One of the areas we cleaned out was the coat closet in the front hall. The state of that closet was similar to my closet growing up when my mom told me to clean my room--and I of course just shoved everything into the closet and prayed that she didn't open the door and see everything falling out. That was the state of our coat closet. I literally had no idea what was at the bottom of it.

As we were cleaning everything out and sorting items into keep or giveaway piles, I started teasing Londo about how many coats he has. WAY more coats than I have. More coats and jackets than he ever wears. Coats for every possible variation of the weather. Who could possibly need all those coats? And when he put only 1 or 2 in the giveaway pile? I started giving him an even harder time--lovingly, of course. But he held strong, saying that he just loved coats and jackets. He liked having a lot to choose from. He doesn't ask for much, so I shut my mouth and gave him the majority of the coat closet hanging room.

Then we got to the hats, scarves and gloves. And I was sooooo glad I shut my mouth about his coats. Cause I? I have a huge collection of winter accessories. I LOVE matching hats, scarves and gloves. I have them in many colors, many styles and many materials. Most of them were Christmas gifts from one person or another. And I didn't want to get rid of any of them! Luckily, I simply admitted to Londo that I now understood his feelings about coats, because I wanted all my hats, scarves and gloves. He smartly just nodded.

Well, it was a good thing I kept all of those. Many mornings, they have been key to getting the Pumpkin out the door. You see, it probably takes us at least 10 minutes to get from the point of the Pumpkin finishing breakfast and getting her shoes on to actually getting out the door and into the car. I can get her shoes on pretty easily, either as she is finishing breakfast or in the family room right after breakfast.

But then I have to get her from the family room to the front door, where all our winter wear is located. At the same time, I need to gathering up all my things, including my pump, my work bag, my purse, any lunch or breakfast I may be bringing with me and whatever else needs to come with us in the car to school or work. I also have been starting the car before the Pumpkin goes out to get in it. So I'm trying to juggle all those things and get the child motivate to the front door. Not easy.

Brilliantly (if I do say so myself), I've started asking her which hat and scarf she wants to wear. Sometimes she wants her own, sometimes Daddy's, and often mine. So runs to the cubbyholes at the front door and looks through them to pick out the ones she wants to wear that day. Mommy's white scarf? Which one? Daddy's Redskins hat? Put it on, and let's go!

Her teachers at school have all told us that they think it's so cute that she comes in to school in different hats and scarves every day. I told them it was the best way I've found to get her out of the door. Plus, she gets to practice making her own decisions, AND she's learning about fashion!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Trying New Parenting Techniques

If you are interested in child development, child psychology and a behind-the-scenes look into kids as you are trying to parent them, you really should be reading the Child of Mind site. Recently, Bella and Tracy have been writing about discipline and parenting techniques for dealing with those kids of ours. I particularly enjoyed the posts on the coercive cycle and being a flexible parent.

Recently Bella offered to sort of host a parenting challenge. For this challenge, she is going to post a write up about a different parenting technique on Mondays, and those who want to try it out over the week should do so and then comment about how it is working in that Monday post. I'm always wanting to learn new parenting tools, especially with a place to discuss its effectiveness with other parents whose opinions I admire, so I'm in for the challenge.

This week, the parenting challenge is "Let's Pretend." She highlights a strategy from Playful Parenting, one of my favorite parenting books. I tried it out on Tuesday morning, because mornings can be so frustrating in my house. And? It worked like a dream that morning!

I do love to be a "playful parent," although it can be so hard when I'm really tired, stressed, depressed or rushed. There are times when I just want the Pumpkin to just do what I say because I said so or because it just has to be done. There are times when I don't want to have to come up with a game just to try to get her to do things.

At those times, I try to remember that I want children who cooperate with me and others, not ones who mindlessly comply. I don't want to raise children who are automatons, who follow authority figures and simply do what they are told. But as the book Raising Your Spirited Child pointed out, the traits we admire in adults can be so frustrating in our children.

Regardless, playing "Let's Pretend" is right up my girl's alley, and mine as well. This is one I have used in the past and will continue to use. Feel free to join in the parenting challenge if you are interested!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Siblings

She is full of energy,
full of life. She thrives
as the center of attention,
as an entertainer. Not yet
three, she is bigger than her
body, greater than her size.

He is full of humor,
full of curiosity. He loves
to watch, to laugh, to reach.
Just learning to sit on his own,
he is mesmerized by his
sister and her antics.

She wants to make him
laugh. She jumps, spins,
makes faces. His whole body
jiggles with his chuckles,
his two teeth apparent with
his wide-mouthed smile. She
informs us that she made
him laugh, giggling and pleased.

He reaches for her, tries to
grab ahold of her hand, her
hair, her spirit. He investigates
her with his eyes, hands and
mouth. She guides him, letting him
hold her hand but not pull her hair.
She tries to teach him words:
da da, ma ma. He thinks it's
funny, entertained by the sounds.

They already have a strong bond,
love and enjoyment for each other.
They compliment each other in how
they interact, how they play.
Fun and laughter, hugs and kisses,
but also vieing for attention and
competing needs--these are all
part of their life together, in
their future as brother and sister.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Question of the Week - The Best Candy Bar

Last week, I was eating a Butterfingers as my afternoon snack/sugar rush. A coworker walked by and said, "Butterfingers? That's so random."

I responded, "Random? I eat them all the time. Butterfingers are one of the best candy bars!"

This sparked a hotly debated topic, which drew in many other coworkers, about the pros and cons of different candy bars, what makes a candy bar good and where the line between candy and actual candy bars was, as well as the general consensus that English chocolate is better than US chocolate.

So this week's question of the week is one I asked many coworkers last week:

In your opinion, which is the best candy bar?

No question in my mind: Caramello is the best. Candy bar. Ever. I also really love Butterfingers, Skors bars and Heath Bars. I really enjoy Kit Kats, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Twix and Hershey's Chocolate with Almonds. Oh, and Symphony chocolate bars.

So tell me, which candy bar do you buy at the checkout line when you need a little something sweet? Which one do you swipe from your kids' Halloween loot? Which is, in your opinion, the best candy bar ever?