Thursday, May 5, 2011

This blog is moving...

It has been fun here up until now... but...

time for something new.

Please come visit me at my new site so you can keep up with the latest Ada and Iain fun.

Be sure to say "Hi" when you get a chance.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Sticker Chart

Disciplining a child sucked. It wasn't fun. It often didn't actually work and just frustrated everyone involved. I was a firm believer that discipline was a form of teaching and didn't have to always be negative. Unfortunately, Ada entered a stage where she didn't want to do anything we said. Every other word from her mouth was "No!". And it was often screamed from the top of her lungs while she was flailing her arms in a windmill motion and kicking her legs in a desperate attempt to hurt me for trying to reason with her. Not knowing how to deal with her, I started throwing tantrums of my own and putting her in "time out" just so I would have three minutes to calm myself down instead of punching holes in our walls or throwing things.

Tired of yelling and fighting and counting to three and doling out "time outs", I moved on to the sticker chart. Ada got a sticker for anything that she did well. She got ignored for anything she didn't do well. I still tried the counting and the "time outs", but I also tried the "If you do this for me, you can earn a sticker. Remember, if you earn ten stickers, you get some ice cream." It has worked so far. Now I just had to figure out how to keep doing it. She earned her first ice cream cone last night, and then threw so many tantrums that she wasn't allowed to redeem it. Maybe redeeming it can be the goal for today.

Moral of the story: There are many ways to discipline children. Finding a method that works for you and your child, and making time to reinforce it is key. Don't expect a miracle overnight.

Construction Curiosity

What is it about watching construction workers that is so fascinating? The gas company was laying new pipes in front of our house and the kids watched the contractors for hours on and off all day. After our walk, Ada refused to come inside (as per usual) and stood there watching the digger as it loaded, spun and dumped its contents. She was in awe. I bribed her with hot chocolate to get her inside (which she never drank since it was too hot and then she forgot about it—since she was too busy watching the guys work outside our front window. I did not need to drink two hot chocolates, but I did. Don't ever tell me moms don't sacrifice.) Once she was inside, she went right back to watching them work.

Me: Ada, do you want to (insert anything fun here)
Ada: No. (Or silence as she ignored me.)

Repeat. That's how it was for over a week. Contractors must have some sort of magical fairy dust they use to mesmerize children everywhere. Maybe that's why Bob the Builder was so popular.

Moral of the story: Construction sites can be sources of cheap entertainment for hours. If you describe what is happening, they could even be considered educational.

Sucker Bunny

I was not a fan of suckers. I was even less of a fan of suckers on hard sticks. And especially opposed to them when they were passed out to kids by men dressed as giant bunnies on playgrounds. I didn't have a problem with the man in the bunny suit. It was the idea that he was passing out suckers on a playground. SUCKERS ON A PLAYGROUND!

Growing up, I was taught that suckers were a choking hazard. I was only allowed to eat them while sitting still. If I ran with them, they were taken away. My mother was so afraid I would trip and shove the sucker stick so far down my throat that I would end up in the hospital for days, if not dead from choking on the candy part itself. It was rare, but it could happen.

If there was even the remote possibility that a child could fall and get injured by something you gave them, would you still give it to them? I wouldn't. And if I did, I would watch them very closely to reduce the risk of the situation. That's called close "adult supervision". That isn't something you always get at a playground. I surely wouldn't give my kids a sharp pencil, a knife or scissors and tell them to have fun at the playground. Maybe someone will put a little more thought into this for next year. There must be some sort of gift they can find that won't be a choking hazard or a dangerous allergen or candy. Might I suggest a sticker? Or a stamp on their hand would work and be more forgiving to the environment.

Moral of the story: As a parent, you constantly need to think about your children's safety. They might not like the outcome, but it could save you a trip to the emergency room and that should be worth it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Seven Eleven

Dear Iain,

Seven hours of sleep isn’t the new eleven. Just because you wake up refreshed from your eleven, uninterrupted hours of sleep, doesn’t mean the same applies for the rest of us. You go down at seven, I go down closer to eleven. You get eleven hours of sleep, I maybe get seven.

Mommy really loves you, and hopes you will agree, more sleep is necessary for your daddy and me. Even eight would be great.


Your mother

Moral of the story: Parents sleep is inversely proportional to the number of kids they have and their ages. The more kids and older they get, the less sleep for Mom and Dad. Hopefully this phenomenon will reverse itself in the coming school years


Ada recently became obsessed with computers and computer games. One day she was sitting innocently at the computer playing with the mouse and clicking on random things. Then next day she was demanding games, games and more games. I was trying to limit her total screen time since she also loves movies, but it wasn’t working. As a persistent toddler, she would inevitably wear me down after hours of begging and whining and having tantrums for “puter” games. When I finally gave in, she was on a computer without an Internet connection. Her game options included Solitaire, Hearts, Minesweeper, and Pinball. Pinball won. The bouncing of the ball, flashing lights and sounds, flapping of the flippers had her hooked from the start. Her name was entered in the top five highest score slots (previously empty since we didn’t even know Pinball was on the computer). She was in love…for a day…until she got bored and wanted Sesame Street.

While Ada was busy playing Pinball, Iain was playing his own version of Pinball around the house. He was the ball bouncing from the bookcase to the coffee table to the dining room table and down the hall. He started crawling and was so excited to explore with his new-found freedom of mobility. If I stepped out of the living room to wash my hands, I returned to a quick round of “find the baby”. He was never in the same spot for long.

My hope was that Ada would find Iain more entertaining now that he was mobile. Maybe it would distract her from the “puter” just a little while. Anything to reduce her screen time would be good.

Moral of the story: Kids are meant to be entertained. Know that having a second child might eventually provide entertainment for the first, but be patient. And understand that they are competing with more high- tech gadgets than ever.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New New New

Change is a good thing right?

We recently changed dishwashers, windows, and nannies at our house. The dishwasher was good to us and lived a good life. After several years of making our silverware sparkle, it finally stopped cleaning and told me where to go. The new dishwasher took some getting used to but seemed to be working well.

The windows weren’t ever all that great to us. Some were missing storms and screens while others weren’t able to stay open. They all had to go. The new windows had child safety stops at two and four inches to prevent our precious little monsters from falling out of our house. Not something I put much thought into, but I was sure glad I had them and could rest more easily now. Ada was excited that she could see out of them more clearly since the installers actually washed them.

And the nanny. We were sorry to let her go but we learned that hiring a non-English-speaking nanny for an infant worked for awhile. Once you added a toddler into the mix, things started to fall apart. After three months, we realized that we needed a sitter to speak Ada’s native language to discipline her and teach her to communicate more clearly. She was a great nanny and no doubt loved our kids. The new nanny was fluent in both English and Spanish. It took a few days for Iain and Ada to accept her, but that was the same for most things in life.

Moral of the story: Change can be a good thing. Especially when it makes your children more clean, safe, disciplined and smart.