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?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

15 Awesome Things About my Kid

I am taking this right out of Momjovi's blog, because I just loved it on hers, and because I think it's great to stop and think about the good things, write them down to remember later, and to see how different things are down the line. So here are the first 15 awesome things I could think of about A.

1. He holds me tight and says "moi l'aime toi" (his own version of I love you) and claims I am his "copain" (buddy). I am aware that this won't last, so I enjoy it now!

2. He loves to help me cook and bake. He can pour, crack eggs, mix, and taste the batter. Most times, he doesn't even eat the result, but he likes the process. He can tell you the ingredients for crepes and what you need to make a pizza.

3. He can switch from French to English and vice versa, depending on his audience.

4. He has amazing motor skills! That kid can shoot a basketball, kick a soccer ball, and throw like nobody's business ( he certainly didn't get that from me.)

5. He is usually really good in restaurants.

6.He is an incredibly good traveler. He loves planes and trains, and has so far been wonderful to travel with, including on transatlantic flights.

7. He has a very interesting thought process, for instance he says that cats can't play with his toys "because they don't have hands".

8. He has an awesome imagination... Our house apparently has a ghost, but as long as you bring him food, the ghost will be nice. In the car, he pretends his feet are horses, they run, they want to eat, and they want to go potty.He also likes to pretend he is a kitten -- mostly to get my attention if I'm busy-- and he even purrs!

9. He has some of the strongest will I have ever seen in a human being, let alone in a toddler. He can turn down his favorite treats to make a point (see hunger strikes), and if he wants something, he does not back down.

10. He doesn't love everybody. He decides who he likes and dislikes. It can be a tough trait at times, but I also think it gives him a strong personality, and makes "the chosen few" feel like a million bucks.

11. He likes to be precise: a truck is a truck and a car is a car, don't try to call an SUV a car in front of him!

12. He is no dummy. Around Christmas time he was asking for a toy and I suggested we ask Santa, he answered "no thanks, I'd rather go to the store".

13. He has a great sense of humor and can laugh at himself. He will sometimes mimick himself to make fun of some of his not-so-good behavior. (oh and he also says that he comes in our bed in the middle of the night, it's to play a joke on us, ahah!)

14. He is incredibly careful, never runs into the road, and always asks to hold my hand in parking lots. He stays away from the oven when I open it, and doesn't get near the fireplace. I can pretty much trust him.

15. He just started making funny voices to immitate people, and he knows it makes me laugh.

Just a few things that make me a proud mama.
What are the things you love about your children?