Wednesday, August 8, 2012

One Long Flight Back

Yes, I know, I haven't written a post in ages, so I don't know if anyone will actually read this, but I'll just write it anyway. A and I got back from a 5-week vacation in France (SleepyPapa joined us for the last two weeks) earlier this month. I'll write more on our trip later but today I need to rant about our return flight.

A and I were flying back on a separate flight from SleepyPapa because his ticket was bought with miles and buying our tickets on the same flights would have cost $500 more. The way there is usually easy because it's nighttime so A sleeps the whole way. The return is another story because we leave Paris around lunchtime, so I can usually count on a nap and the little individual TVs to keep A happy and quiet for a good chunk of the 8 1/2 hour flight (which is followed by a 2-3 hour layover and another flight back to Syracuse).

So on the return day, we woke up early to get to the airport on time (7am Paris time/ 1am Eastern time), got to our plane just fine, but as we got to our seats, my heart stopped a little when A asked "where's the little TV?". I looked and discovered with horror that we were flying on a dinosaur boeing plane that only had one screen up front, with one movie showing! No offense to Nicholas Sparks, but there's no way a three-year-old will be interested in The Lucky One. Here's the thing, we fly back to France every single year, and I can't even remember the last time we didn't have an individual TV, so I hadn't planned too much to bring along because I didn't want to carry too much stuff. I did have our own little DVD player, but its battery is getting old and only works for about an hour. I had one book, some little cars, some markers and paper for coloring.

Because of our early start, A fell asleep at take-off. He slept for about an hour, watched the DVD player for the hour that it lasted, and then, I was on my own, with 6 1/2 hours to go until Charlotte! To top it all off, we were surrounded by French people, who are definitely not kid-friendly like Americans are, and gave me the evil eye the minute A spoke louder than a whisper.

I ended up making up a lot of stories, which A loves, and I have to say that A was the perfect little traveler, who behaved and stayed still the whole flight. I was the one getting tired and cranky..
When we got to Charlotte, we both got a little reward - A a small plane, me a Jamba Juice. That refueled us for the next flight, which ended up being delayed by two hours ( including a boarding, de-boarding, re-boarding episode.)
A was excited to get to Syracuse, see his dad, and his house, so even though we got there after 8pm (which makes it 2am France time), A still took a little time to play before going to bed.

Me? I was pretty cranky and did not find it amusing when SleepyPapa mentioned the several movies HE got to watch on HIS flight. A good night of sleep helped my mood.

Now, just a little plea to USAir: please update your fleet so that moms can get a little rest on your transatlantic flights, we do pay quite a bit for those tickets!

Have you had bad experiences traveling with your kids? What do you do to keep them entertained?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Early BFFs

We have entered a new phase, and that's the "friends" phase. A is now obsessed with playing with his friends and when I offer to go to the park or do other fun stuff, his first question is "with whom?" ( well, he doesn't have a perfect grasp of grammar yet, but that's what he means) and if I say "just us" he loses interest -- I don't take it personally though, there's still plenty he only wants to do with me. If I tell him we're going to see one of his friends that day, he gets so excited, I can use that to get him to do pretty much anything, including napping!

Seeing him have so much fun with his friends is a true pleasure! Right now he clearly has two BFFs, one from school and one who is the son of our good friends and whom he has known forever. Last week, we even had him sleepover and it was great! A was soooo excited and the two of them behaved perfectly, they played until it was time to sleep, and then they both fell asleep without a problem! (I don't think it would be as easy the other way around though...)

The craziest part is that A cries when I leave him with family (even with his own father), but doesn't care on bit when I take off if he's at his friend's house. (he does cry when I pick him up though... nothing's perfect)

I really enjoy watching him enjoy himself with his friends, because to me, there's nothing better than friends. And I know from experience that early friends can turn out to be some of your best friends for life. I met one of my very best friends when we were 3 1/2, and more than twenty years later she was my maid of honor!

How early did your kids really develop friendships? When did you meet your best friends?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Starting Soccer

A few weeks ago, I saw a groupon for little kids soccer classes.  We did basketball and baseball classes at the Y before. He enjoyed basketball, but wasn't as fond of baseball. However, almost since the day he could walk, A's been running after a soccer ball, so I thought it would be fun to try soccer (or football as we Europeans call it).

So we started going three weeks ago, and our neighbor decided to try it too. When I first told A it was a class and that I wasn't going to be playing with him, he wasn't thrilled, but as soon as the class started, he didn't care one bit. The class is 50 minutes long, they mostly do games that involve running with a ball, and A loves every minute of it.
 It's so great to watch him have a blast, and laugh with the other kids! At the end of the first class, A said he loved it, but that next time, he would like a "shirt with a number, like the other kids". The other kids got a jersey when they enrolled, but since we're only doing the 4 groupon classes right now, we don't get one. So I went on a quest for the said "shirt with a number". What did I end up with? A Derek Jeter shirt from Target.

I know, it's the wrong sport, but A doesn't know that. I should add that I am not a baseball fan, and that my husband is a Twins fan (they don't like the Yankees too much...), so it makes his Yankees-soccer t-shirt even more comical. If we stick to soccer, I'll work on getting him a French team jersey, because they ARE the best (when they don't fall apart, call their coaches names, or head-butt Italian players.. ah!)

The biggest problem now, is that we only have two classes left. I will think about enrolling him when we get back from our France trip this summer. I hate to spend money on top of our Y membership, but A enjoys the class so much, it would be a shame not to do it. I guess they know what they are doing when they offer those groupons....

Trying the MOST again..

Syracuse doesn't have a ton of indoor things to do for kids, and A has been a bit picky about which of those places he actually likes. There is a Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) downtown, and it offers some activities for kids, including a fun climbing/sliding structure. I took A there a few times when he was little, but he never really liked it, mostly because that structure has a 'ball blaster' in it that makes a really loud noise and freaks him out. This, combined with the fact that parking downtown is hell, and that the entrance is not cheap ($8 for adults, $5 for kids), made me not try it again in over a year. But it was raining this morning, and since A's three now, he's able to enjoy more things than he used to, so I decided to give it another try. I also thought that since it was a weekday morning, it might not be too crowded and we could enjoy the place without too much noise and mayhem... guess I was wrong on that one...

A was very excited about going. It took us a while to find a parking spot, and I started regretting my choice when I saw at least ten school buses parked nearby. My whole plan of having the place to ourself was falling apart. When we went inside, he was definitly taken aback by the noise level, so I offered to go look at the model trains. (in truth, just one model train going around)

 That kept him busy for a while, I even wondered if we were going to be stuck there the whole time, but he evetually agreed to go explore the rest... but every time we got to a new part, a big group of kids would show up and we had to move on.
We eventually made it to the climbing structure, and he seemed to be enjoying it quite a bit, until a lady told us we had to wear socks to be in it..oops!

It didn't really matter, because one of the school groups was just about to climb in, so we made a quick exit and headed to the toddler area. A enjoyed building a little house for a while and tried a few more activities.

he picked a space shuttle from the gift store

Overall, it was an improved visit, but still not worth the $15 I had to shell out (not including parking--$2-- and a toy from the gift shop --$5). When I asked him if he had fun, A said yes and that he would like to come back with a friend. I may sound like a spoiled brat, but when you've been to really cool kids museums (like the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia -- see trip to PA post) or to "real" science and technology museums like we have in Paris, this place seems a bit lame (and very loud). I think I'll wait a while until we try it again.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Four Messed Up Books for Kids

You may recall I worked at a book store for a while. While there, I got to check out a lot of children books. Some I fell in love with, some not so much. There are a lot of bad books out there, but there is a special category in my mind: books that are really successful and people seem to love but that I find totally messed up. On my hit list of weirdo books:

Coming in at number four: The Poky Little Puppy by Jeanette Sebring Lowery.Five puppies sneak out and run around all day. Four of them get caught and get sent to bed without dessert, the fifth one is slower and sneaks in later. He eats all the desserts. Then one day, the four get caught but fill in the hole they had dug to get out. So they get the dessert and the slow one gets caught and doesn't get dessert. What is the point of this story exactly? Why doesn't the mother realize there's a puppy missing the first few days? I just don't get it.

Coming in at number three: The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. The young bunny wants to (understandably) run away from his mother, but no matter what, she will find him, so in the end, he just gives up. My understanding: basically, the mother emasculates him, and he gives up on his dreams and creativity. Good job, overbearing mother, I hope you are proud of yourself!

The number two spot goes to Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. Seriously, what's the message of this book? To me it shows a boy who grows up and is portrayed as selfish and greedy, when truly, it's normal to develop interests other than swinging from tree branches when you become an adult. On the other hand, you have this ridiculously selfless tree, that gives everything away in desperate hope that the boy will come back to him. Is it a symbol of parents? Well I sure hope I don't turn out to be a "giving tree" parent, and that I have a life of my own and don't sit around waiting for my children to come back. In my view, that tree can be summed up in one word: pathetic.

Speaking of pathetic and messed up... here comes number one: Love You Forever. by Robert Munsch. What's up with this creepy mother who crawls into her grown-up son's house and bedroom to rock him at night. That's just plain f'ed up! She needs to get a life, and the son needs therapy. Besides, the illustrations are hideous. 

There are plenty of great books that tell stories of parents' love for their children without being creepy . Guess How Much I Love You is one of my absolute favorites. It's OK to read books that tell kids parents love them, but maybe we can help cut the cord a bit instead of trying to guilt them from the very beginning.

Do you have differing opinions on these books? Am I reading them wrong? Do you know other children's books you think are messed up? 

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Toddler-Friendly Language?

Could some languages be easier to use with toddlers that others? This is by no means a study in linguistics, but more of a personal theory that comes from my day-to-day experience. To tell you the truth, raising my son in French in an English-speaking country, I have developed  a sort of English-envy. I feel that the English language is better suited for toddler-rearing, because of its simple words and clearer ways to express things. For instance, it's a lot easier to repeat "share" than "il faut partager!" You can also use 'sharing' for lending toys, whereas in French you have to switch to "preter" which brings in a whole other concept. 

There are also some simple phrases parents use that convey easy messages like "use your words". I try to translate it, to "utilise tes mots", but it sounds a bit awkward and unnatural. I also like the saying "it hurts my feelings", the translation for this would be "ca me fait de la peine" but I think the French expression is a lot more abstract (it literally means "it pains me"). 

Finally, I think the English language can easily be put into simple phrases you can repeat over and over. I have heard A's teacher say to a child who was upset about the sticker she got "you get what you get and you don't get upset", I think that it's a great way to put it, and that there is no way you could do that in French. Maybe it's because I don't live in France and have lost some of my skills, but I feel that French requires you to explain things in more complex ways. 
Don't get me wrong, I love the French language, and its complexity is what makes it particularly interesting, but when it comes to toddlers, the English language may have an advantage. Maybe a linguist could actually study the issue.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Great Mother's Day

This is my third mother's day and my best so far.. mostly because it's the first time I got a gift from A (thanks to his teachers at school.) So here it is, A's gift, a super cute mold of his hand, painted by him, along with a card and wrapping paper he decorated:

He was so excited to give it to me that he wanted me to carry it with me everywhere -- including to his swim lesson -- and I was petrified at the idea of breaking it.
Sunday morning, the day started with SleepyPapa and A bringing me a card and gift in bed. The gift was a necklace I love:

After that, it was time to go to brunch (we have this tradition with my mom that we go to brunch the Sunday before she leaves, it just happened to be on Mother's Day this time). We all got dressed, but A had his own idea of what to wear to brunch. All the kids there were wearing fancy outfits, and this is what my son decided was appropriate:

That's his PJ top, with shorts, and a pair of sneakers without socks. Oh well, it's not a big deal. He had fun at brunch, and was very good, and that's all we ask for. Who cares what he wears, since he doesn't want to pose for pictures anyway...

The rest of the day was spent doing stuff around the house and in the yard. Then we inaugurated our grill by making burgers, hot dogs, and grilled zucchinis. I don't want to brag, but for a first-time run, it was pretty yummy! All in all, a really nice day...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What we've been up to

I took a little break from blogging recently, mostly because we were sooo busy: end of the semester, trip to LA, and many other things. So here's a quick recap of what we've been up to since the birthday extravaganza...
The weekend after A's birthday was Easter weekend. We went to an egg hunt in our village on Saturday  and held our own along with a brunch with some friends of Sunday. The weather cooperated and a good time was had by all.

The Wednesday following Easter, the three of us flew out to L.A. for my sister-in-law's wedding.

A's idea of packing

 We packed quite a lot in the four days we were there: a trip to the doctor for A (stomach problems), Jamba Juice, a fun morning at Zuma beach in Malibu,

 a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, an afternoon with family, dinner at In-and-Out

mani-pedi with the bridal party (I was a bridesmaid), rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, a beautiful wedding day (A was great and danced with us until 10 pm!),

wedding day!

 a morning at the pool, an afternoon at Griffith Park (they have a great little train to ride), sushis and a red-eye flight back home on Sunday night.
The past two weekends we enjoyed a picnic at Green Lakes State Park,

 some gardening and house projects

(we planted flowers, a blackberry bush and three blueberry bushes), reseeded the area where they dug up our septic tank last fall, and tried catching some butterflies-- A actually caught one at first try, but there has been no repeat since.

So we've been busy (ans as you can see form the clothes, the weather has been crazy!) but as of Friday, I'm done with work and done with school for a while. Now on to new adventures...and hopefully better weather!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Breastfeeding and why I'm mad at Whoopi

I haven’t watched daytime TV in years, but today I came across a tweet about Whoopi Goldberg ranting on The View against a new initiative by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to encourage breastfeeding in New York hospitals. I usually like Whoopi, but this time I think she’s just being ridiculous. What is wrong with encouraging new moms to breastfeed? It’s clearly best for the baby (and for the mom too), it’s also cheaper for the household than buying formula for a year. I understand that some women just can’t do it, and those women shouldn’t be stigmatized, but encouraging people to do something that benefits their child doesn’t mean you are blaming the others.

I breastfed A for a full year. It certainly wasn’t an easy thing for me, but I set this goal for myself and am glad I stuck to it. My main reasons for breastfeeding were:  1 my baby’s health 2. Not spending money on unnecessary formula, 3 shedding the pounds 4 not getting my period back (it sounds dumb but it’s a great motivator). I was able to do it, in part thanks to those lactation consultants and Leche League members who helped and encouraged me along the way. I took a class at the hospital before giving birth, and in the maternity ward, the nurses were incredibly helpful. The hardest part for me was probably having to pump at work and worrying about having pumped enough. The bonding part they talk about? I didn’t really get that… my son couldn’t stand being talked to while eating and would promptly stop if I said anything. He also never looked at me while eating. His feedings were about 30-40 minutes long, so no; it was not a simple, easy thing. But knowing that it was the best thing for my son kept me going.

What shocks me the most is how it’s so often women who are their own worst enemies when it comes to breastfeeding.  Like Whoopi and that dimwit Elizabeth Hasselbeck did on the show, I often hear women deride La Leche League and accuse hospital lactation consultants of being horrendous militants barging into new moms’ hospital rooms and guilting them into breast feeding. I am not sure how they operate in other hospitals, but in the one where I delivered, the main problem I encountered with the lactation consultant was that she wasn’t available enough. I never saw anyone from the League, but when I needed advice, I did pick up the phone and call a woman from the local chapter and she was incredibly helpful.

I pumped three times a day at work for about nine months (I had a three-months maternity leave). I was lucky to have my own office, so I just had to shut the door and pump. When I was done, I would put my bottles in the community fridge and rinse my apparatus in the kitchen sink. I never heard a word about it from any of my male coworkers. That’s right, it was the women in the workplace who gave me “the look”, and the women who made comments about my milk in the fridge. Seriously, what is so gross about human milk in closed bottles? You drink the same thing that comes out of a cow’s teats every day. At the time I worked in a store, and I heard female coworkers comments several times about women breastfeeding in the store and how “wrong” it was, suggesting they go to the bathroom to do it. Nothing angered me more. I didn't really care about any of this, because I knew I was doing what was best, and other people's opinions didn't matter to me, but I could see how it could discourage other people.
My point is that it seems that women DO need to be educated about breastfeeding, so yes, Whoopi and Elizabeth, it is a good idea to encourage it. It’s easy to make fun of things and act like a 6 year old about anything that involves boobs, but it’s time women grow up and support each other instead. Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do as a new mom, but it’s not an easy thing, so new moms need all the help they can get. Thank you Mayor Bloomberg for taking the initiative to help our families, and sorry that some women don’t see what good you are doing.

Did you have a hard time breastfeeding? Did you encounter weird looks and comments about your breastfeeding?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Birthday Extravaganza

There are many reasons I could never be a Jehovah's witness, but the top one is that I LOVE birthdays! ( if you didn't know it, Jehovah's witnesses don't believe in celebrating birthdays). I think birthdays are the only time you celebrate only the person, and you get to show the birthday boy or girl how much he/she matters to you.
I love my birthday of course (and have been known to celebrate it for weeks), but I also love celebrating the birthdays of people I love, so when it comes to A, I go a little birthday-crazy...
This year is especially fun because he gets it. So the celebrations started on Thursday ( the day before his actual birthday) with cupcakes at school. On Friday, I thought it would be fun to have Mickey Mouse wish him a happy birthday on the phone (you can set it up on Disney Junior's website). He hated it! (his reaction --seen below -- is pretty funny!)

Friday afternoon, we went to the bouncy house with our neighbor and those two bounced away for two full hours! At night, we had a simple dinner with cake and gifts, he loved everything.

On Saturday, SleepyPapa's parents and aunt and uncle came for a birthday lunch. A was excited again. I am not sure why he had made up in his mind that they were bringing him a fire truck, and he kept talking about it. There were no fire trucks, but we had more cake  (I made a French cake called Fraisier, which turned out to be delicious -- what did people do before Internet recipes by the way?), and there were more presents... which he definitely enjoys... (note the small cars on the bottom of the picture)

Finally, on Sunday, it was time for the birthday party he had been waiting for since February... the kids' birthday party at MyGym! Those parties may be pricey, but it was well worth the money. The only things I had to do were: making cupcakes, ordering pizza, and making favor bags. The kids had an absolute blast, there was no fighting over toys, and no mess to clean up!

how many kids can fit in a ball pit?
I'm a little caked-out, and we're just a bit worried that Monday is going to be a big let down... but no need to worry too much because next week, it's all about egg hunting!!! That's right, life's just a big party!

Friday, March 23, 2012

In It to Win It

I am not sure whether this is an age thing, or just the genetic combination of a former athlete (SleepyPapa played football, basketball, and lacrosse in high school, then lacrosse for Ithaca College) and an overly competitive mother (ask anyone who has played trivial pursuit, cranium, or scrabble with me), but A is all about winning these days.
Everything is a competition:
- any game played with our 3-year-old neighbor ( their conversations go something like this "I won", "no, I won" and "I'm faster"/"no, I'm faster")
- books we read (When a main character says "I'm a big boy now", A follows up with "No, I'm bigger")
- shooting hoops at the Y's pool
(picture A standing next to an 18 month old who's playing ball with his dad and announcing "I'm going to win!")
- his favorite thing to ask "you wanna race?"

The great thing about it is that I can get him to do many things by turning it into a race-- "let's see who can eat those broccolis faster!", "let's race to see who can drink this medicine faster"... You get my drift?
I think it's great to be competitive and it will likely help you challenge yourself to be the best you can be.
Now we just need to understand that

A. Not everything is a competition
B. two people can win or be equally as good.
C. Sometimes, you lose and that's OK too...
But maybe I still need to learn some of these things too...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sweet Little Lies

Do you lie to your children? I am a big believer in telling the truth, I don't even think making them believe in Santa Claus is right, because I see it as a big orchestrated lie, but lately I have been resorting to a few little lies to help us get through the day. Am I proud of it? Certainly not! But I figure those won't work for much longer and right now they are convenient way to avoid big battles. Here are the lies I have been telling A:
- this week, I've been telling him I'm going to work in the morning, even though it's Spring Break. Why? Because it's an easy explanation to why he has to go to school
- many times after school, A asks to go to the library or to Barnes & Nolbe. If it doesn't fit into my plans, I sometimes say they are closed. (I have to say that, in our world, B&N keeps a very odd schedule) why do I lie about that? Because it's easier than fighting.

I think that's about it. So really, it's not that much, but is ANY lie acceptable?
Do you lie to your kids?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Missing the Parade

Yesterday was a parenting first for us, and probably the first of a long list: the first time we missed a school event. A's school was celebrating Purim (the jewish carnival holiday) and they had a costumed parade to which the parents were invited. School starts at 9am and the parade was scheduled for 10am. My class starts at 9:30am so there was no way I could go, and SleepyPapa had an interview scheduled at that time. The good thing is that A is still too young to care whether we are there, but that will probably change down the line. From talking to other parents, it seems like many schools here hold similar things during the day, and I think that's not very fair to working parents. We feel guilty enough taking a day off when our children are sick, we are not going to ask for one to go see them dressed up (at least I am not).

I don't remember my school having anything for parents during the school day when I was little. We had shows at night or on the weekend. Obviously in Paris there are far fewer stay-at-home moms, so no one would show up if they did that stuff during the day anyway. I do remember feeling bad that my mom couldn't chaperone our field trips, and I think she did take a day off once to do it. So if I felt that way about chaperoning, when most mothers were also unable to chaperone, I am afraid to think about how children feel here when their parents can't make it to events where there are many moms. I feel that the schools could maybe hold the event closer to pick-up time... it's easier to leave work a tiny bit early than to leave it 20 minutes after you got there.

The good thing is that A had fun at the parade and told me all about his and his friends' costumes. The school took pictures and I am looking forward to seeing them. And I'll wait to feel guilty until A actually cares...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ode to Mother Nature

I just want to say a big thank you to mother nature for the amazingly mild winter we have had this year, here in Central New York. Most years we are buried in snow and have to deal with below-freezing temperatures from November until April, but not this year! It was actually 65 degrees Wednesday March 7th in Syracuse.

What does this amazingly mild winter means? It means I haven't suffered from the usual winter blues,  I haven't been dreaming as much about moving to Miami, and most importantly, I haven't blamed my poor husband for my misery.

In short, I have been much happier than usual... We've been able to play outside all season long, and had just enough snow to have fun with it.

January 2012

So once again, thank you mother nature, and although it's unlikely, I'll be hoping for a repeat next year!

January 2012

January 2012


February 2012
February 2012
March 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Update on the Bilingual Thing

I last wrote about our adventures in bilingualism a year ago (see Raising a Bilingual Child) and a lot has changed since then. The most important thing is that A started nursery school in September. You may recall that until last Spring, he had been in a mainly French-speaking environment. I gave the teachers a list of useful french words, and they were great and just went with it. School had the expected effect: a major jump in A's English skills (take that nay-sayers and worry-buddies). A not only understands everything in both languages, but he can now express himself fully in French and English too. He usually knows pretty well how to separate the languages and to speak English to English-speakers and French to French-speakers. Lately however, he has started using more and more english words while speaking French. It's usually words that are easier in English --spider instead of araignee, or duck instead of canard -- or words he uses often at school. I am not worried because I know it's a normal step in the process, he'll eventually sort everything out. I do not correct him, because I read that's a sure way to have your child get frustrated with the language and refuse to speak it.

What I'm doing now is:

- continue to only speak French to him
- read books in French and continue to watch some French cartoons (although Mickey Mouse and Chuggington are definitely more popular these days)
- try to have him play with other French-speaking children
- visit France as often as we can

Are you raising a bilingual child? Has he or she mixed the words at one point? How did you handle it?

Monday, March 5, 2012

To Try Or Not To Try

 I am often faced with a difficult dilemma with A: should I try new things with him, or not? Most times, he is not very open to new situations, but sometimes, I push him a bit and he really likes it... other times, I fail and regret pushing. There are many things that I think will be fun for him, and turn out not to be, so should I stop trying?

Here's a recent and concrete example. Sesame Street Live came to town this past weekend. We went last year and A loved it (see Weekend with Elmo), we even went to Sesame Place twice last summer, so we thought we'd go to the show again this year, but in the back of my mind, I wasn't sure that A would love it as much this time around. Well, that little voice wasn't too far off.

We tried to get him excited about the show before going, but I could see that the excitement wasn't quite there. He got ready without a problem Saturday morning, but as we were pulling into a parking spot, he said he didn't want to go to the show, he wanted to go back home to water the plants! He was starting to become louder about not going, so I did what all good parents do.... I resorted to bribery. I told A that if he was good during the first half of the show, he could pick a gift at intermission. It made sense at the time, but looking back I wonder if I am completely crazy. Who needs to bribe their kid to go to a show that is really for them anyway? I mean, I like Cookie Monster and Elmo, but if A wasn't here, we wouldn't be going.
The bribery worked, A sat quietly during the first half, he watched the show, but kept asking me "when can we go get my present?"

 At intermission, I kept my promise and he picked out a box of Sesame Street figurines.
He was very happy with them and watched quietly the second half of the show, although he did ask several times "when can we go home?"

A obviously didn't have a horrible time, but he wasn't exactly thrilled with the show either. In
His defense, SleepyPapa and I both thought the show was a bit disappointing, clearly not as good as last year. But should we not go to shows at all for a while? Maybe I'll wait for him to ask me to go next time, but I feel like if I wait for him to ask to go somewhere, we'll never go anywhere. I want him to be exposed to different things, but I also don't want to turn him off by forcing him to do things he doesn't enjoy. When to try, when not to try?

The zoo is a good example in the other way. A normally doesn't like the zoo (which stinks because I pay for a membership we rarely use). Last Friday was really nice out, so I suggested to my neighbor we take the kids there. When I told A we were going to the zoo, he immediately replied with an emphatic "NO", but when I said his little friend was going to go with us, he was excited. We had a great time there, A ran around with his friend and looked at most of the animals.

Maybe the secret is to bring a friend...

Should I keep pushing him to do stuff? Should I give up and just stick to what I know works? So you have to push your kids to do fun things?