Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Words Around Town

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Solutions Monday: Lego—My Sanity!

We have a Lego problem in my house. And by “we,” I mean my husband. He has very fond memories of his childhood obsession love of his Legos, and I have the tubs of his beloved bricks, just waiting in the garage for our boys to be big enough for them to play with, to prove it. For now we are a Duplo family, and we have amassed what I think is a completely outrageous amount of them—he’s been placed on Lego Time-Out!

I remind myself every time I step on one of those swear wince inducing suckers, that at least they aren’t the small sized variety, microscopically embedded in my aching foot. But Legos are one of the most pernicious of the love/hate toys for me. My son can happily play with them for a blessedly good chunk of his regularly highly distractible pre-schooler attention span, but they get everywhere, and cleanup takes forever, if I don’t think strategically (hello former life in management, I've still got it on occasion).

I will tell you that the best advice my mother-in-law has given me thus far was obviously hard won during her years weathering my husband’s young obsession, and is, as most good solutions are, beautifully simple: a sheet. The rule in this house is that my Legomaniac can dump out every single Lego block to his heart’s content, as long as it stays on the sheet.

That makes clean-up go from this:



To this, in about ONE minute:



Another instance of brilliance survival instinct I’ve had is to save the flaps on the Lego boxes, so when my little builder simply MUST have the fire station rebuilt exactly to specifications (again), I have something to go on. Now he can also use these pictures to inform me I’m missing a critical piece that MUST be found as a guide for himself:



Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Legos; I get a kick out of what the kids and the husband come up with:

As long as it stays on the sheet...

Do you have any brilliant Lego management techiques? Do share!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Batteries Included: Relevant Kid-Proofing



You know those cute musical cards, the ones that play snippets of well known songs to express your sentiments? My three year old loves them. In a pinch I can always get a smile if I visit the aisle that has them, until he starts demanding that we get *them all* because to him they are "toys." And that's a problem I learned today. I had a chilling moment when I read this article in the New York Times cautioning about the danger posed to young children by the small button lithium batteries that are found in many modern gadgets, including you guessed it, those super cute singing greeting cards. With a nine month old who is cruising around and getting into everything and a three year old who *should* know better, but is still more impulsive toddler most days, I made sure to remove these seemingly innocuous bits of fun from the playroom and started to look around at my gadgets with a sharper eye. I hope you will do the same. They are still wonderful fun, but should be *supervised* fun.

Monday, April 19, 2010

TV is a Cinch, Twitter...That's Gonna Hurt a Bit: Teching Down and Tuning Into the Outdoors

If you follow me on Twitter, you know this is going to be a hard one for me, but as a mom and beginning homeschooler (for now anyway or my husband will start to have heart palpitations) I thought this "experiment" was a perfect way to really kickoff my journey into homeschooling. This week I shall be "down-teching" (at least during the day, I was too big a wuss to completely jettison my tech). We shall be getting outdoors, as well as exploring some interests connected with the letter "O," the Circle shape, and, you guessed it, the color Orange. I chose these because my 3 yr old seems to really "get" these right now, so we will start with having fun with something he is fairly comfortable with and interested in and ease our way in. I'm also looking forward to the outdoor activities in the nature journal. Want to join us? Please feel free to share what you are doing!

Still Banging Our Heads Into That Glass Ceiling: Relevant Feminism

A woman? Have a daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, female friend...? Don't think that the glass ceiling (though cracked, as Hillary Clinton famously declared in the last Presidential election cycle) is still firmly over our heads? Read this article in the New York Times, "Why So Few Women in Silicon Valley?"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spare the Rod, Save the Child?: Relevant Discipline News

I haven't shared much personal stuff lately, but I am now the mother to two boys, a full fledged 3 year old, and sprouting 7 1/2 month old, and discipline is a constant puzzle we are working our way through one day at a time as the rubber really hits the parenting road. I have some baggage (who doesn't really) from my parental relationships and a few posts/stories in the wake of the newest research that shows strong links to adverse outcomes for children who are spanked are food for thought and discussion in my household of late:

  • I read Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting early on in my first child's life, and I have to admit that while I sorta got what he was saying in theory, I didn't really understand what it would look like in day to day life. Still don't, but working on it. It is undeniable for me however, given my past experiences, that he does make a compelling point that cautions against using parental love and attention as a leverage point in managing your children's behavior. Read more in his recent New York Times health piece.
  • If I'm conflicted about spanking, you can believe the thought of a member of the school's personnel being at liberty to hit my kid, with an implement, doesn't sit well with me at all. (That's an understatement) A city in Texas has revived the use of the paddle in school discipline. Again, I have some personnel experience here. I was a straight and narrow, high achieving third grader who once found herself in the Principal's office facing a paddling because another kid lied and said I was talking about a woman's period (why that would be a paddling offense is a whole other story) in the lunch area. Needless to say the old spelling trick to learn how to properly spell "principal," as in "the principal is your 'pal'" most definitely was voided in that moment. Point is should fear ever be employed in a place of learning? What I was taught in that moment, beyond the fact that women's bodies and functions were something to be ashamed of, was that I was subject to a power beyond myself that would harm me regardless of whether or not it was true or not. I toed the line, for sure, but I felt betrayed and learned to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself. Is that the lessons they want to teach?
  • Finally, the HuffPo had a really good post about learning to recognize and respond to "the about to moment" and build the ability to stop and more mindfully choose one's response.

The Uncomfortable Side of the Russian Adoption Shocker

The nightly news thrives on the extremes and this was fully evident in the furor caused over the recent (shocking) return of an adopted Russian boy by way of an unaccompanied one way airline ride back to his native land. Little is really known about why this mother felt this was her only viable option, and in the wake of this story and the attendant outrage poured over this family for doing such a thing, some interesting stories and posts are starting to surface that make for interesting reading, and a deeper consideration of what may have been at work beyond the shocking headlines:


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