Time-Out

Kyra (that’s my rather inspirational daughter, for you new readers) just tried to put me in the corner for no reason. As amusing as it was, I’d have felt better if I’d slipped up and said a bad word in front of her, or something. It raised questions for me, the way she did it. Now, I know she’s only three, but I would still hate  to think that she sees her punishments as unwarranted, in any way.

I asked her why she wanted me to go to the corner and she could produce no reason. I take pains to explain to her the behaviors inducing punishment, but now, I fear she doesn’t always understand. The attempt, itself, makes me wonder; does she think I go without punishment for my indiscretions? It also makes me wonder if she has no idea why she’s in time-out, when she’s put there. I’m pretty consistent, and I don’t fly off the handle, or punish her for normal kid stuff, like crying over nothing or goofing off. If she’s being blatantly mean or disrespectful and spiteful, or endangering herself, willfully, that’s an automatic time-out.

I may, in fact, be too ‘lenient’ (as has been suggested, by some old-school, spare the rod, spoil the child, types). I do teach my daughter respect, by treating her with it, as evidenced by her assumption that she has the equal authority to put me in an arbitrary time-out. Like I said, mostly it was funny, but it did cause some consternation, on my end.

It’s only natural, I suppose, to wonder if we’re doing it at all right. The only reason she might have been angry with me, was the fact that I wouldn’t let her go outside in the dark. Perhaps, she thought that mere anger is my inspiration to put her in the corner when she gets too fresh, and I guess that’s what’s really bothering me. If she thinks I’m unfair, it sucks, but it also means I must be doing something right. Right?

Oh, man, I hope so. I have to do right by this amazing little goofball. I can only hope she understands, one day. Probably, as she watches her own daughter pack up all of her toys, only to dump them on the floor, three feet away. Or, while she sits in awe of the obvious, crazy, gracious love for a daughter who “builds a spider”, by sticking crayons into every hole of her Wiffle ball, and packs all the fingers of one hand with alphabet fridge magnets, so she can “be a robot”.

Come to think of it…yeah…maybe I am doing okay at this whole (wonderful/silly/insane) ‘Mommy thing’.

Weird Stuff My Kid Eats (and does)

As she gets older, my daughter becomes increasingly overzealous and individual. I should have known, when I was pregnant, and craving pure fat intermixed with the spiciest foods known to man, that she was going to be a quirky eater. Kyra has eaten raw onions like they were candy, for a while, now (but, won’t touch broccoli, even with cheese), so I’m used to that one.  Today, she wolfed down a whole plate of tuna casserole. She’s three. Three-year-olds don’t eat tuna  (expletive!) casserole. It got me thinking about all that weird stuff she eats (and does). Naturally, I had to exercise my brain and write it down.

Right now, for example, we’re watching the Phineas and Ferb Movie, on ABC (no; I don’t work for either of them) and my daughter’s favorite character is Ferb. Ferb, in case you don’t know, is the one who barely speaks. She also likes Jeremy, the older sister’s semi-boyfriend.

The spicy food kick definitely transcended the womb. Salsa, hot peppers, spicy cheese dip, jalapeno poppers; she doesn’t care what it is; she takes a bite, scrunches up that adorably fearless face, and takes a big swig of her milk. Then, she proceeds to eat the rest of it.

Earlier today, she was up in her room, with an empty, overturned laundry basket on her head, like she was in a tank. She ate fried green tomatoes last week, but wouldn’t touch her sautéed (in butter and garlic) asparagus, yesterday. She likes McDonald’s cheeseburgers, but, not mine. She speaks of arbitrary and irrelevant things, in frenzied, nonsensical sentence fragments. She sleeps, like bad dreams don’t exist, and dreams, like bad people don’t. I kinda wish we were all still in the Weird Stuff Club.

misery…company…all that good stuff.

We know who they are. Chances are, they do, too, because their actions as dirtballs, jerks, and out-and-out sociopaths, are usually premeditated. Few people who are chronically miserable, sprinkling our lives with their douchebagery, are ignorant of their actions. My question is; what makes these people tick? What in them, fails to realize the beauty of simplicity, or the underlying reassurances in our every day?

When life hands these people lemons, they find a way to squirt themselves (and often, their loved ones) in the eye. Everything is a bother, and not in a cute, sad Eyore sort of way, but more of an evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz (without Perry, to thwart him) way. I know, I know…I watch way too many kids’ shows. What can I say? I’m not a big fan, in general, so the three-year-old runs the TV. I can’t wait for it to cool down a bit, so we can get out-of-doors, more. But, I digress. Forgive me; this is off the cuff, where usually, I have a first draft, in good old-fashioned ink.

Back to the perpetually abject and pitiful, who seem hellbent on destroying any spark of joy, they see in the world around them. This is particularly dangerous to children, for obvious reasons. As much as children see the possibility for fun, these year-round Ebeneezers, see the destruction of that nearly indomitable spirit. It is harmful for a child to be stifled, stuffed, and placed on a shelf of shame. As hard as it is, for me to sit here and type, through the sounds of Woody and Buzz (goodness; that laser on the  actual toy is annoying), what am I supposed to do? Make her stop? Send her to exile, upstairs in her room? Heck, no, I won’t have it. I laugh, and sigh, and sip my wine, loving and resenting the interruptions, alike.

If I can’t connect with my little girl, now, when will I ever have the time? In a few more years, she’ll hold me in disdain, then, downright hate me, for a couple years after that. Finally, she’ll be mature enough to realize what  I was up to, this whole time, and our relationship will be stronger, for it. Even now, at three, she’s been asking to spend more time on her own, in her room, or what-have-you, and as her independence grows, so does my respect for this awesome little person. We have to remember, when we speak to our children, when we play with our children, when we speak to each other, that we are molding the future of our race/culture/society. The least we can do, is be here, when they need us. God knows, we need them.

Elmo’s Potty Time

 

As I’ve shared, before, potty-training has been a daunting process. For every ‘good’ day (with no, or at least, minimal accidents), we have a day or two of complete forgetfulness, where the potty chair is concerned. When I began down this road, I knew it would be difficult. I was utterly unprepared, however, for the actual level of hardship and find myself wondering…will my daughter ever stop pooping her pants? There is an end in sight, at last, though this has been the most tedious and frustrating journey, thus far.

‘Elmo’s Potty Time’, a video I bought after Googling the genre, has been invaluable. So have (and don’t judge me; I’m only human) occasional bribes. Where the former has been a productive and helpful tool, I do NOT recommend the latter, as it only leads to trouble and confusion. I messed up, giving her treats, but the first time we potty-trained, our efforts were thwarted, by a week off with her grandparents, and I didn’t know what else to do.

Elmo has a potty book out, too, with stickers and sounds, which I’ve also found to be incredibly useful. Many of our children’s favorite characters have similar products, so that, if yours isn’t the biggest Elmo fan, you can probably look up their favorite character online and purchase their training tools. I didn’t find much online, in the way of instructions for us parents. My mom didn’t help, either. It’s true, each kid does this in his or her own way and, most certainly, in his or her own time.

Some people (curse you, lucky ones) have it easy. I did, the first time. Kyra pottied like an old pro within the first couple of weeks and her first successful potty chair venture was a BM, so, we were on the right track. That first time around, I took her to the bathroom with me, every time I went, and pretended (every couple of hours, or so) that I had to go, so she would be encouraged to go potty “like a big girl”. I praised her for every effort, and partied when she succeeded. She knows, now, that it’s a big deal, when she goes to the bathroom, but still, she sometimes forgets. I can’t say that I blame her grandparents, per se, but I do feel a little disappointed about their initial negligence. Some people have it like I do, now. All I can do, as always, is to share my experiences, in the hopes that it helps you, out there, searching for some advice and empathy, where potty time is concerned.

It’s one thing, to say and understand (if, abstractedly) that every kid learns it in his or her own time, and quite another, to live it. I can say, “be patient”, or, “it will happen”, all I want, but the truth is, I’ve agonized over it for almost a year. I’m not going to lie, or sugarcoat it. It’s frustrating. It demands consistency and patience, and we have no choice, as parents, but to grin and bear it. Each day brings us closer, even when it doesn’t feel that way, so, chins up! We’ll all get there, in our own time, and in our own way.

And, the Casey Anthony Award goes to…

Parenting, particularly bad parenting, has been brought under a harsh and shining light, with recent headlines. This, as a result, will be more of an opinion piece, than one offering advice, or tips, and reaching out for them, in turn. Just to forewarn you, Reader… So, now, disclaimer aside, I begin.

As the mother of a three-year-old, I see a lot of weird things, which make up my day. My daughter is imaginative, intelligent, stubborn, demanding, manipulative, silly, shameless, and altogether lovely. She is at the beginning of the ‘fibbing stage’, still not potty-trained, merely, for a lack of willingness to be consistent and want of cooperation, on her part. Needless to say, it is an exhausting and frustrating job, full of laughs. I know how that sounds, but, life itself, at this point, seems to be a contradiction. I’m big on discussion. I sit Kyra down and talk it out, particularly when either of us is angry with the other. Each discussion ends with a “squishy hug”; I wouldn’t have it any other way; and we move along with the day.

She’s definitely a goofball. She pulled her first little joke on me when she was just over a year old. I’ll never forget it. I was getting her dressed for the day, so I told her to turn around (for some reason, unfathomable to practicality in young children’s clothing, there were buttons of the back of her shirt), so I could put her pants on for her. She slowly turned, a full three-hundred, sixty degrees. All the way around. Then, she started giggling. I was baffled. My one-year-old was messing with me. She is something else. See, the thing is, they all are and, if you listen, you can learn as much (if not more) from them, as they learn from you.

That said, there are days, naturally, where I just want to bang my head against the wall; and every parent knows exactly what I mean. The thing is, when I found out I was pregnant I knew that the life I’d led, until then, was over and a new one; one with a new cast and a whole different star; had begun. Everything changed. No coffee, no aspirin, no beer, a lot of weird, fatty food… I even moved to the damned suburbs (ugh).

Bad parenting starts out small. A woman (for example) who disregards her unborn child’s health, in favor of her former lifestyle, is not likely to ever put her child’s best interests above her own. A man (biological father, or not) who, in any way, endangers kids (born, or not) is also far from the pinnacle of an exemplary adult. As this sort of negligence evolves (if you can even call it that), so, too, do the negative ramifications on said child’s development, worsen and grow. These are the parents who scream at and slap innocent babies (they’re all babies, to me, until about age eight, or so) for the slightest infraction. In other words, these kids are abused simply for being kids.

My father always taught me that respect is reciprocal. It is earned; not owned; and I certainly can’t expect it from my daughter, unless I show it to her. If she doesn’t see it from me, how can she know what it is; let alone; reciprocate it? All I ask is that, whenever you see these monsters of parents, step up and speak out. The parent will likely never learn, as it is too late, for him, or her. It’s not too late to teach the children, through a single act of kindness, that people care, even if their parents don’t. It may save a life. It could even-dare I hope?-break the abusive cycle, in which they might otherwise, be trapped.