Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One of the key lessons I've learned in parenting is that the best way to get kids to do something you want them to do is to make them think it's their idea. Actually, this is effective in many walks of life, but it's really key with kids who have little control of their own lives and therefore employ a Vulcan death grip on any possibility of free will.

Unfortunately, I've yet to figure out how to get my kids to think it's their idea to go to the bathroom. Even when they're dancing around like maniacs rather than interrupt themselves for a second to attend to personal needs. ANY time we recommend that they stop to use the bathroom we are met with an emphatic, "NO!" Case in point, this video was shot immediately after Daniel rebuffed my suggestion that he take a potty break.

I actually shot it last month when the preschool world was awash in snowmen. Then I didn't post it because even though he's adorable with his diction and hand motions, it just seemed too ridiculous with the pee dance. Now it completely illustrates my point.

We had another knock-down drag out this evening when he was dancing and grabbing himself and actually broke down in screaming oppositional hysterics rather than accept reality. And apparently at school sometime today, "I had to go pee so bad I didn't have time to lift up the seat and I tried to use my shirt to hold my pee in but it didn't work." Necessitating a change of shirt.

So if you're into mind games and can come up with any suggestions, I'm all ears.

On a lighter note, I know it's been a while since the last post. Facebook users have already seen this next set of pictures, but at long last they've made their way to the blog. (In deference to three out of four grandparents I try to simulcast my FB and blog pictures, but sometimes it just doesn't happen.)

This was a Sunday afternoon after quite a rocky morning. Part of the punishment from the morning's ill-manneredness was a forced clean up/clean sweep of all toys. Bedroom toys were confiscated leading to a solemn afternoon "quiet time" (and my first opportunity to vacuum without risk of inadvertent Lego removal in...well, let's just say, "a while.") Downstairs toys were not removed, but every tiny piece was returned to its storage (and some useless bits ended up in the garbage.)

Knowing how frustrating it would be to see all of this undone in a single afternoon, I decided we needed to leave the house. It wasn't too cold and there was still some lingering snow, so I told the boys we were going on a "winter hike" and they responded with enthusiasm. That enthusiasm did not wane over the course of our 90 minutes in a nearby park.
They never said they were tired or cold.  
They were thrilled to cross bridges over tiny creeks.

 They exalted in each new path as they selected trails.

They took turns swinging on the thick, ropey vines that snaked up tree trunks.

 They clambered across this fallen tree to find a perfect resting spot.

They explored  a frozen creek bed.

 And as the sun set, they were ready to head home, but not before Daniel discovered he could use his "walking stick" to block the sun from his eyes. If you click to see this picture a bit larger, you'll note a stick-width shadow right across his eyes.

They have talked about it a lot over the last few weeks and have asked about going back. Conditions would not be great right now as the snow is melted but it's not really warm enough for mud mucking. But we talked about how it will look different when we go back during other seasons. We have a lot more exploring to do. 

 This was not the aftermath of that hour-and-a-half trek, but results were similar. This was a night when Edward decided to work himself up into quite a lather over being alone in the dark, attempting to stall bedtime and begging John and me separately to stay with him. Finally in a small voice he asked, "Well, why can't Daniel sleep with me?" The answer was clear: because you'll giggle and goof around too long and never get to sleep. But it was a Friday night, which meant they were both exhausted from their week at school but also not needing to be up and ready bright and early. So when Daniel accepted the invitation, we just rolled with it.

They did giggle and goof for a while, but within 30-45 minutes they were sound asleep. "Now," I said to John, "the real issue is when they wake up at 4:30 and think it's morning." Sure enough, we heard the giggles in the dark just after 4 a.m. But a stern reminder that it was still night settled them back until about 6:30, which is earlier than our usual 7 a.m. weekend wake-up, but not bad all things considered. We haven't made this a regular pattern, but it's a useful skill to nurture as it gives us an empty bed (in Daniel's room) for the occasional house guest and allows them to share a hotel bed on those rare nights away from home.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Mysteries of Faith (or why you should not attempt to explain Transubstantiation to a four-year-old)

We ended up in the front pew today as someone else was sitting in our usual spot when we arrived just before Mass started. The boys were extremely well behaved (a welcome change from last week!) and Daniel was paying more attention than ever before--kneeling when I was, standing when I was, etc. In the front pew, you get to watch the entire congregation file past for Communion, which gave Daniel some time to think.

D: Mom, is that a cookie?
M: No
D: What is it?
M: Bread
D: What kind of bread?
M: Well, remember when Fr. John was holding it up high and saying a prayer?
D: Yeah
M: Well, when he says that prayer, the bread turns into Jesus.
D: The bread is Jesus?
M: Yes
D: (ponders for two or three beats) Well, what part did you get? Head? Middle? Feet?, not exactly an easy explanation there. We ended up with "the bread is a symbol that reminds us that we have Jesus in our hearts." Which led to, "Jesus in our heart is what helps us make good choices." Which led to, "You mean when I make a bad choice Jesus leaves my heart?" And then, "Jesus is always in your heart. He helps you know when your choice is good or bad."