Tag Archives: sharing

Weekly Weirdness

Lately, I’ve been admiring the Weekly Roundups some of my fellow bloggers have been posting and I want to try it too!

But here’s my spin: I’d like to share a few funny exchanges I had with my weird kids this week, then mention some reactions the week’s topics:

Our Ridiculous Dog

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-2-36-25-amBrontë (looking very serious): Mommy, I need to talk to you about something.

Me (sitting down): What is it?

Brontë (deeply sighing, then taking my hand): Well, Douglas chewed up the cushions, ate our toys, barks at the kitties, and keeps knocking us over when we play outside…

Me: I know. He’s a very frustrating dog.

Brontë: And I think we should change his name from ‘Douglas’ to ‘Butthole.’

Kids Who Won’t Nap

 

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Bidgie pokes her sister in the eyeball as she naps

Brontë: So are we gonna go on a walk and then swim?

 

Me: That depends on you. We’ll have time if you guys take a nap when we get home. If I keep having to go in there because you’re playing, then we’ll probably run out of time.

Brontë: We’ll be good and take a nap but first, I want to make a bunch of noise and have you run in and say, “SHUT IT DOWN, BABIES!” Then we’ll be quiet, okay?

Me: That works.

Refugee Lemurs

IMG_5215Brontë (upon seeing her stuffed lemur in my room): What are you DOING here??

Me: He’s been hanging out here lately.

Brontë: Why? To pet Violet the kitty?

Me: Yeah. Plus he said your room smells like farts.

Brontë: WHAT!? Okay, that’s fair. Can you come open my window?

Weekly Feedback

  • Got props on Twitter this week for being the mommy blogger who actually worked the phrase “Angry Rabbit Perverts” into an article.
  • Turns out, most parents are still firmly in the pro-sharing camp. I think that’s probably wise.
  • According to my kids, Bubbles and Beebots remains painfully short on bunny captions.

Have a great weekend, everyone! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Do You Teach Your Child To Share?

Whether or not to teach your child to share is a matter of great controversy.

Some may find this surprising, because sharing is good, right? Doesn’t it teach kids not to be selfish?

Eh, not so fast. Like practically every other aspect of modern parenting, the issue is much more complicated than it seems…

For example, let’s say your coworker Todd likes your watch. Or your car. Or house. How would you feel if your boss made you hand them over, just because it’s so nice to share?

 

sharingWe’d find the idea outrageous, yet we expect our kids to comply without question. It’s admittedly a bit of a double standard, and one that rewards any kid who demands another kid’s stuff. We wouldn’t be happy if the adult world worked this way.

So, there’s a certain logic to the idea that making kids share is misguided, and NOT making kids share happened to be the policy of a preschool our daughter Brontë used to attend. It seemed to work well enough for kids who were around a bunch of kids who were roughly their own ages.

And probably also for only children, which my husband John and I both were.

But… once we had another daughter, it didn’t seem to work anymore. We were completely unprepared for the new dynamic.

You see, Brontë was two when her little sister Bridget was born. Brontë understandibly faced her changing reality with some ambivalence: on the one hand, her baby sister was cute and seemed to like her.

On the other, Bridget was a blatant usurper of mommy and daddy’s love. Brontë would “accidentally” trip and scream whenever Bridget needed attention.

And if that wasn’t enough, Bridget also felt entitled to grab any toy in the house. Brontë was used to ALL toys being HER toys, so she found Bridget’s behavior absolutely unacceptable.

To make matters worse, around the same age that Bridget began crawling and grabbing anything she could get her hands on, Brontë also reached that apex age of insisting the entire world belonged to her.

Other parents will know exactly what I mean by this. There’s a phase, around age two, where a toddler’s chief motivations involve negating suggestions and declaring universal ownership.

Well, our kids both reached the possessive and grabby stages, all at once. John and I would watch Bridget grab something Brontë was holding, then hear Brontë scream “NO!'” and “MINE!”  approximately six thousand times per day.

Bridget would then move onto some other object, which Brontë would also wrestle away from her while screaming “MINE!”

That was PURPLE BUNNY, for the love of all that’s holy…

This would go on and on until Bridget finally broke down in hysterical seizures.

sharingdog.jpgWhich makes sense, because Bridget could hardly speak a word of English at the time, let alone fathom concepts of ownership. And Brontë couldn’t accept that while she had heretofore held complete dominion over every object in her environment, she now had to hand them over to get chewed on. Even when it was purple bunny.

It wasn’t easy to reconcile, but they clearly had to learn to share.

Problem is, the concept of sharing is a tough one for toddlers to grasp.

Because what does sharing actually mean? When you share a cookie, you don’t get it back. When you share a toy, the other kid keeps it as long as they want, which could be forever.

If your kids are supposed to hand over toys whenever another kid wants it, then they will also feel entitled to grab any other kid’s toys. Even when that kid is some stranger at the park. I mean, they’ll just pick up some other kid’s Tonka truck and try to take it home, which is super awkward, because you just told them that maintaining the integrity of one’s personal property is unacceptable.

So… after much trial and error, this is what my husband and I figured out:

Kid’s thinking may not be especially nuanced, but they can usually grasp basic concepts of fairness.

Fairness includes the idea that if *you* get one, then *I* get one.

It also involves the idea that everyone should get the same thing, including a turn at playing with or participating in whatever desired object or activity is in question.

So, instead of telling them to “share,” which is really vague, it’s easier to tell kids to “wait their turn.”

It gives them clearer rules… You will wait patiently until the other kid is done with the object, then they will let you play with it without hassling you.

And in return, they won’t bug you for playing with it once they’re done, just as you won’t pitch a fit when they pick up something you’ve discarded.

purplebunnyThis approach has worked sooooo much better for us. The kids understand these rules better and seem to respect them. It appeals to their inherent sense of fairness. They get the idea of “you were done with it, so now she gets to play with it.”

And weirdly, now they’ll patiently wait for a toy (sometimes finding something else to do) as long as they know they’ll be the next one in line.

I’m guessing that as kids get older, they’ll have an easier time distinguishing the difference between personal property and community objects that should be shared.

But for now, telling our kids to “wait their turn” has made life a while lot easier.

So, what do other parents think about teaching your kids to share?

Do you believe it’s a good idea? Do you believe it’s better to let kids work it out on their own?

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sibling Torture Tactics

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My husband John and I were both only children, so by having two kids, we knew we were setting forth into a brave new world.

Both of us, like many only children, always dreamed about having a sibling we could pal around with. Of course, these were imaginary siblings, the pinky-swearing, truce-keeping pretend siblings who were so much better than the teddy bears we dressed up and had conversations with.

Actual siblings, if our friends’ siblings were anything to go by, tend to take your stuff and tell on you, whenever they aren’t busy punching you in the stomach. We witnessed plenty of that too, while growing up.

So when we had two kids of our own, we did our best to encourage a good relationship between them. We took pains to give our older daughter Brontë plenty of attention after baby Bridget was born, hand out toys and snuggles in even doses, and reward them for treating each other nicely.

One thing we’re quickly discovering, however, is that siblings fight, no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Now that Bridget is walking and talking, we’ve had to lay down a couple of rules: no hitting and no calling each other bad names.

Aaaaaaand… it has been fascinating to see our kids come up with workarounds.

  • Bridget Tactic #1: Holds something big and whacks her sister in the head with it, then immediately gives her an “I’m sorry” hug, before whacking her again.

Poor Brontë keeps falling for it. It sounds a lot like this: “Aww, her being nice now… OW!”

  • Bridget Tactic #2: Flails her arms around wildly while walking closer and closer to Brontë until Brontë *happens* to run into her arms.
  • Bridget Tactic #3: She has figured out that Brontë is so afraid of the dark, she’ll flip out if you switch the lights off during daytime. So, game over…. all Bridget has to do is run around flipping switches and her sister is a quivering mass of panic.

But Big Sister is developing her own strategies.

  • Brontë Tactic #1: “Not” calling Bridget names. It sounds like this: “SISTER! You are NOT a poo-poo head and you are NOT a stupid-head!”
  • Brontë Tactic #2: Rolling into a sobbing ball whenever Bridget bumps into her while yelling, “OW, I’M HURT! SISTER HURT ME!” Sometimes she has to purposefully walk into Bridget’s path to get bumped.
  • Brontë Tactic #3: Shoving her little sister into the bathroom, shutting the lights off, and closing the door. This one is very effective, as Bridget will immediately scream bloody murder.

Clearly, these kids are motivated to fight, and sometimes it’s hard to not laugh at their creativity.

But just as I was wringing my hands in parental despair, I witnessed an incident that reassured me that deep down, the girls actually do love each other:

We were recently all at the Children’s Museum in Sacramento, a fun place for kids with lots of toys. Bridget was playing with a big train set while Brontë was across the room, playing with blocks. There was a little boy building a giant wall out of cushioned blocks, a wall as tall as he was. Brontë decided it looked fun and tried to get in on his game.

Brontë walked over to him and smiled, saying, “HI! I’m Brontë!” The little boy scowled.

Brontë picked up a cushioned block and put it on his wall.

The little boy grabbed her block and chucked it as far as he could, saying “GO AWAY!”

Brontë looked hurt, but decided to give it another shot. She walked up to the boy, smiling, and asked, “Friends?”

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This baby is about to rain down vengeance

The boy put his hands on her shoulders and pushed her to the ground, barking “GO AWAY!” I jumped up to intervene, but before I could, I caught sight of Bridget stomping across the room.

Bridget was livid. Fixing the boy with a cold, hard stare, she kicked a hole in his wall with her tiny foot. Then, like a Baby Godzilla, she kept kicking his masterpiece into rubble.

The boy thrashed and screamed, but what could he do? It was a baby.

When every last cushioned block was scattered to the floor, Bridget swirled around and smiled at Brontë before walking back to the train set.

Brontë watched her for a moment. Then, looking at me, said, “Her a good baby.”

Ah, siblings… it’s a complicated relationship, yes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Popcorn, Movies, and Trampolines: Kids Live in the Moment

Brontë is bouncing on a trampoline while eating a giant bowl of popcorn and watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Never thought of that particular combination, but it looks pretty fun.

Brontë loves popcorn and since it is a relatively healthy (whole grain) snack, we like to make it often, particularly when settling down to watch a movie together. We have one of those nifty stovetop poppers where you turn a handle to churn it after putting a tablespoon or so of oil in the pan. It pops dramatically and Brontë gets really excited.
We figure that popping it ourselves means we can use a decent oil, like avocado or olive, and we like to buy fancy heirloom grains. They taste more flavorful, so you don’t need to add a bunch of butter. Microwave popcorn is a little more convenient, but I read that it’s horrible for you–they are packed with hydrogenated fats and weird plastic chemicals that give you cancer (I shudder to think of all the microwave popcorn I’ve eaten over my lifetime).
The family likes to get a giant bowl of popcorn then sit down to watch a kid-friendly movie, usually on Sundays. Apart from DVD’s we have bought, Netflix online offers an endless array of kid movies, so we definitely are getting our money’s worth from that subscription. A couple great movies we have seen lately are “A Cat in Paris,” and “A Monster in Paris.”
“A Cat in Paris” is about a cat that hangs out with a cat burglar and befriends a little girl who lost her father and is too sad to talk. The little girl’s mother is a police officer. The animation is very cool, reminiscent of film noir, and I like that the mom is police officer because I want to expose my daughter to the idea that women can be adventurous and brave as well as sweet and pretty (we need some counterbalance to the unavoidable Disney princess monopoly). Brontë, of course, likes that it stars a little girl.
“A Monster in Paris” was a fabulous accidental find. It’s a French kids movie, but dubbed in English (which works well for cartoons). It has shadows of “Phantom of the Opera” and Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.” The animation is spectacular and the music is beautiful. The characters are drawn with surprising complexity for a children’s film. The message, a la “Beauty and the Beast,” is that it is character that makes one a monster, not appearance. I love Disney films, don’t get me wrong, but given that you can generally tell the good characters from the bad by counting the warts, I’m hoping to temper my kid’s perspective from a pure good=pretty and bad=ugly universe by mixing things up with films like these.
At any rate, as bonding as it is to watch movies and eat out of a communal popcorn bowl, Brontë’s father has started giving her a personal popcorn bowl out of recent concern about the amount of time she spends with her fingers up her nose. This is understandable, but Brontë can’t help but notice the disparity between her little yellow plastic bowl and the giant shiny silver family bowl. She keeps plotting about how to get her hands on the massive silver bowl, which usually involves her running away from the kitchen with the big bowl, laughing, as soon as we set it down on the counter.
So now, she is bouncing on her trampoline, watching “Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang” while holding onto the silver popcorn bowl like a giant diamond beach ball. Her father is telling her he likes popcorn, that she should share the popcorn, and asking for some popcorn.
Meanwhile, Brontë struggles with the ethical dilemma of Sharing Her Popcorn vs. Having all the Popcorn. You can see her face contort as she tries hard to share while not wanting to relinquish her treasure. “No!” she yells, then slowly… slowly… pushes the bowl toward her dad so he can grab a handful. He barely puts his fingers in the bowl before she snatches it back and starts stuffing her face with as much popcorn as she can manage. Then he asks for popcorn, and she reluctantly drops a single kernel in his palm.
She looks so happy bouncing on the trampoline while eating popcorn that I couldn’t bring myself to stop her, although it’s easy to see how this would end. It was just a matter of time before she tripped and flung popcorn all over the room. But somehow, I was compelled to let it all play out.

Now we are having an impromptu lesson about Picking Up All the Popcorn.

Popcorn is FREAKIN' AWESOME!
Popcorn is FREAKIN’ AWESOME!