March 11, 2012

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)

Raising an iChild

Between the iPad, the smartphone, the NintendoDS and the television, there are many screens competing for your children’s attention. If you’re like me, you’ve tried lots of tactics to limit screen time – setting a timer, ordering “not on weekdays” or (when you’re really fed up) an all-encompassing ban on electronic gadgets. It’s a struggle, especially as parents grapple with the marketing campaigns touting the “educational benefits” of television, computer games and apps. But honestly, we all know the best after school play for a child is running, jumping, splashing, digging, or any full body activity that tires out more of the body than the thumbs or index fingers.

So, stay strong, parents. Yes, even educational screen time needs to be limited. No, you don’t have to be the meanest parent ever to enforce those limits. Here are some ideas to help set limits on technology while getting the most…

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March 9, 2012

You never know…

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)

Choices

I was in the park today (03-09-2012) with Logan and I began speaking to a fellow parent. I will not use her name since I do not have permission.

It turned out she is also a same-sex parent of a cute little girl. We began talking and had a lot in common. What I wanted to write about today was things I guess I take for granted were actually of interest to her.

1st – Patience is a virtue. We forget that our little loved ones are just children. We expect them to know and understand at our level. We talked about how can we really, logically, be angry and upset with our child who is so young because they spill their milk, or break a dish or glass. They have no reference, they are learning — should we have not put a cover on the cup, or used a plastic plate. So they spill something – use it as an opportunity to learn, not to admonish! It is hard, but not impossible.

2nd – Understanding consequences. In reference to #1 above and to #2 below “hind sight is 20-20”. I have a client with children in college and were were talking about what our children do and what in the world they must be thinking when they do it. We came to the conclusion, “they are not thinking”. It turns out that our children really do not know what they are thinking and what will happen by what they do. There are studies that show that children under 16 (if not 18) do not have then mental capacity to understand the long term consequences of their actions.

3rd – Discipline of actions (a chance for empathy). I had relayed to her that Logan was very strong for his age and had even bitten a playmate soon after his first day at his daycare. I said we had tried the old ways of saying things like; “Logan, what were you thinking?”, “Logan, why would you do such a thing?”, “Logan, you are a bad boy for doing this!” and then took a different approach. We tried the “empathy” approach. By this I mean we said; “Logan, look your friend is crying.”, “Logan, how do you think your friend feels?”, “Logan, is this the right way to treat your friends?”. Well, the change was amazing. Logan has always showed an early understanding of empathy and he quickly understood what we were saying and changed his behavior accordingly. Now when (if) he does something to hurt someone else we talk to him in terms of the hurt person’s feeling and he understands what he has done wrong.

4th – I am sure there were other things we talked about, but it’s late and I just don’t remember what.

I am not trying to say I have insight to being a great parent. I can only say I am trying very hard to be a better (modern) parent. I am trying not to fall into that same patterns our parents and their parents were taught. I am trying to pause, step back and think about how my actions in the next few minutes can forever change Logan’s future.

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March 8, 2012

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)

My son is turning 5 in October and I already miss his younger years. I do stop, look, listen and yes even smell so I can remember all these wonderful childhood moments. Thank you for sharing.

smileevenwhenlifehurts

When I was younger my family would always tell the children when we would complain about not being old enough… “you have 18years to be a child and a lifetime to be an adult.” As I get older I understand what they meant by that. Even at just 20 I find myself wishing someone would push me in a stroller or thinking kindergarden sounds nice. Recess here I come! 

I see so many parents putting so much emphasis on “I’m preparing my child for the real world”, they tend to forget to let the child be a child. There is nothing wrong with preparing your child with whats to come in life (don’t get me wrong) but stop and take a breather for just a moment. Let them stop and smell the flowers, run wild, so what if the outfit they choose to wear isn’t matching that day and their…

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March 4, 2012

You’re a Dummy…

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)
Words Hurt

Words Hurt

How words can hurt…

This brings me back almost 15 years ago when I innocently told my partner, “That’s stupid!”. He was hurt and upset with me for days. During the following few days he sulked and barely talked to me. I could not figure out what I had said (or done) wrong. I repeatedly asked, but he would not tell me. He would say I should know what I had said. I didn’t. Eventually, he told me I had called him stupid. I was flabbergasted and bewildered. I knew I would never say this, but had I actually said it and not remembered?

Truth was it was a cultural difference. I had said “That’s stupid” and he translated it to “You’re stupid”. He is of Hispanic decent and this is how he “heard” what I said. I explained that in English it really means nothing and it is just a saying. I was talking about the action, not the person. He eventually forgave me, but it did point something out. Words can hurt.

Today he and Logan were in the kitchen and I heard him say “You’re a dummy!” about some silly thing Logan did. Now, I personally would not have taken offense to this, but I decided to take a moment and think about what was just said. Jose and I discussed what he said and I told him I thought we should try not to use such language. No matter how innocent he meant it. I suggested that saying, “You’re silly!” might have been a better use of words. He agreed. Logan is only 4.5 yrs old so probably did not take any offense to what was said but it is never too early to begin watching what we say.

What is said today can have far reaching effects in the future. Now as a parent, I think of these and many other things differently than I might have just a few years ago. It’s an ongoing learning experience for all of us.

This video is very poignant…

March 2, 2012

Sanctity of Marriage?

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)

I find this ad so offensive.

In a world where I can not marry the person I love, they can make an ad where a man can marry a piece of bacon! Really? Are you kidding me? And then the tag line at the end “You may eat the bride!”, what’s that?

So much for the “sanctity of marriage”!

February 23, 2012

Pink Flu! (2012)

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)
Pink Flu 2012
Pink Flu 2012

When : Wednesday, February 29, 2012 8am-5pm
Where: Everywhere!

It’s time — Stand up (call in sick) and be heard!

Let people know you matter, you are important and you are tired of being ignored and taken for granted.

>> Taxation without representation!

>> Equal rights!

>> Adoption!

>> Marriage!

Which denial of your basic rights as US citizens will it take before you have had enough?

Or other events of hate against gays
>> One Million Moms (Against Ellen and JC Penney)

Not gay, no problem! Show your support by not shopping or eating out at restaurants, etc.. on this day! Thank you!

Go to Facebook and show your support!

Thanks.

February 20, 2012

Kool-Aid Play-dough on President’s Day

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)

What do you do with your 4 year old on a “bank\school” holiday? What any sane parent does, invite a friend over who has three year old twins of course.

Our hopes for a warm, sunny clear day were not to be realized as the morning fog burned off. Instead, we got an cool, overcast day reaching a high of about 55F. After all the high pitched screams and giggles finished from the boys seeing each other we got the boys settled and playing with each other.

Milo Helping Making Pay-dough

Milo Helping Make Play-dough

Michelle and I began working on making a great play-dough receipe she knew of and her son Milo came and helped us.

Kool-Aid Play-dough
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 c salt
2 pkgs kool-aid (1/4 oz size)
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 c boiling water
3 tbsp oil

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water.
Stir until thickened.
Let cool and then knead to consistency of play-doh.
Add additional flour if too sticky.

It will last weeks if kept in an air tight container. This is non-toxic if eaten. Mixing it with Kool-Aid gives the dough surprising scents: lemon, cherry, lime, orange. Additional food coloring can be added if color is not bright enough.

Rolling the pasta out

Rolling the pasta out

Liam and Logan rolling all the colors together

Liam and Logan rolling all the colors together

The boys just loved it. They really enjoyed rolling the play-dough out with the pasta roller. As you can see they rolled all the colors together. We ended up with a lot of off-beige colored dough.

After a few hours of this we watched a little of Toy Story 2 and 3.

Then Papa brought the boys outside and they played in the back yard. He made giant paper airplanes. They were a hit.

After a 6 hours play-date our guest left. Everyone was happy and exhausted.

It’s 5:30pm and Logan has had his bath, got into his PJs and had his evening milk. He fell asleep while I was talking to him. He did not even get to play a little of his favorite video game with Papa. Zzzzzzz.

It’s 8:30 and Logan just woke up. His first words to us were “Papa, can we play pirates?” Which is what he calls his PS3 game he loves. He is diffidently his father’s (Jose Fidel) son.

Unfortunately for Logan we had begun watching The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and wanted to finish it.

Video gaming

Video gaming

Update it’s 9:15pm and they are playing. I am going to bed. I have to be up at 5:30am to start my day.

February 19, 2012

I want… Buy me… Please! Please! Pleeeeeze!

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)

We knew this day was coming and this week it has arrived. Logan is 4.5 years old and has “discovered” why they put commercials on TV. Until now when we were watching a show and a commercial came on he would ignore it because it was not as interesting as Curious George or Zulu Patrol. I know this is not a new phenomenon to other parents or unique to us, but it seems that way. We are trying to stop this behavior early so it does not snowball as he gets older. We explain that he really does not need this and that he has plenty of toys in his room. Ultimately it comes down to the art-of-distraction. Can we get him to focus on something else before he becomes fixated?

Here are some of the more annoying ads.

Cuddle-Uppets

Cuddle-Uppets ($19.99) - Blankets that are puppets. Wow! What more could a kid want?

Press Dough Cookie Maker

Press Dough Cookie Maker ($19.99) - Yum Yum

Moon Sand

Moon Sand ($19.99) aka Moon Dough, Magic Sand, Aqua Sand - The amazing new Dough that is out of this world!

Bendaroos

Bendaroos ($17.95) Amazing Flexible Building Stick!

Disney On Ice - Toy Story 3 ($45.00) Yes, we are going to see this the 2nd week in March and looking forward to it.

February 12, 2012

Dragon Breath

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)
Brushing Teeth

Logan was 18 months old when we first saw him for the first time. He was so small and we both fell in love with him instantly.

Since Logan was still a ward of the state (a foster child) we (his foster parents) had to follow strict procedures concerning Logan’s health needs. Soon after he entered our home we had him meet his new doctors including a dentists. At first the dentists said he did not like to treat children under three. I explained that we had a court order from Logan’s Judge requiring regular dental examines beginning by age two. I also explained that I had some concern about Logan’s teeth being discolored. They were kind of grey and translucent looking to me. I thought that they had been neglected and needed to be checked out. Our dentists agreed and we went to see him.

Continue reading

February 11, 2012

To Eat -or- Not To Eat…

by Please Tell Me (Kevin)
Groceries

Groceries

Every parent has had to deal with their children not wanting to try new foods. Our son is 4 years old and is ultra-finicky. We can’t figure out how he survives with as little as he eats. All of our friend’s kids seem to eat everything. We have spoken to his pediatrician and she assures us this is normal behaviour. It does not make us feel any better, but at least we know we are not alone.

This morning I went grocery shopping and bought several food items specifically hoping Logan would find them interesting and want to eat them. Continue reading

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