Mini Picasso

 

“This is a big big big mountain and it have a train and it go ‘choo-CHOOOO!’ round and round and also flowers but you see them fast because it a train and rainbow and my name.” (J.N, age 3:4)

 

mini picasso

 

 

For The Daily Post

I Mean It!

 

He plopped himself on the rug and pulled his sock on, tugging on the elastic till the fabric stretched to his knees. He gazed down at a bump. Scrunched his forehead, patted the bump down. It flattened but not all the way.

The furrows in his forehead grew. The bumpy bit was connected to the sock … like always … but something still seemed wrong.

He twisted his foot. Examined the sole. No bump there.

He pulled harder on the elastic. Re-examined. No change.

He shrugged.

Somehow when mommy or daddy did this, the sock looked different. No bump on the bottom. No bump on top.

He stood, took a step and stopped. Another step. Stopped.

The bump bunched. It felt funny when he walked.

He sat back down. Stared at his feet. Wiggled his toes.

It felt funny again. He bent his foot. No good.

Maybe the sock was broken.

He pulled it off.

Took a look.

The sock appeared completely normal now. Just like always.

He pursed his lips, pointed his toes into the sock and tried again.

The fabric bunched. A bump.

He moved his foot, paused, narrowed his eyes, and sighed. Tugged the sock off and held it between thumb and finger.

“Be good boy, Sock,” he admonished. “No more no-sense. I mean it!”

 

toddler-putting-on-socks-wearing-winter-water-factory

Photo by: agirlnamedpj.com

 

For The Daily Post

“I can, but I can!”

“I can, but I can!”

His small face ablaze

Part conviction, part plan.

He can go to the park on his own (in the rain, in the dark).

He can tie his laces (with shoes on wrong feet and socks turned around …).

He can eat three big slices of pizza (before finishing one).

He can drive the car (“the real one, with the key!”).

He can take a bath on his own (“Mommy help me get in …”).

He can dress himself (two legs in one pant, head wedged in a sleeve).

He can use a phone (especially “Delete” …).

And he certainly can, he is sure

Stay awake

All night long.

He’s not sleepy.

He won’t even be tired

Tomorrow.

Or ever.

Till he is “really big.”

He can stay up.

And not sleep.

Even as eyes flutter closed … and he yawns and he yawns and he ….

makingmotherhoodmatter-com

 

For The Daily Prompt

Stressful Situations Simulation: A resource

Below is a good resource and simulation of stressful situations that can be immensely helpful to parents and caregivers. I especially recommend the ones involving “Family Support”: “Calm Parents, Healthy Kids” and “Building Family Bonds.” These scenario simulations inform, teach, and actively guide parents and caregivers through various scenarios of interactions with toddlers in commonly challenging situations.

The resource can be invaluable information for parents and caregivers who are inexperienced and/or may have had less than good enough parenting themselves, and who may not know how to facilitate clear, supportive interaction with their own children, especially under stress. The simulation is presented in a non-shaming, educational way, and provides the participant with an active role in choosing different ways of responding … and being able to see the possible reactions to them … It also allows the participant to ‘re-do’ situations so they can experience how better choices can bring better results …

Practicing is important for any skill, let alone for skills one needs to apply in stressful situations. The very way our brain processes information is affected when we’re stressed, so it helps to already know what to do beforehand. Also, our own stress and how we manage it gets communicated and passed onto children in our care. This makes it doubly important to learn and practice (and then be able to model) new skills when one is calm and in neutral situations–as this simulation allows one to do.

Calm, informed caregivers help raise calm, healthy, competent kids. This can help!

I highly recommend you take a look and see:

https://conversationsforhealth.org/#conversations

bubble happy

 

What do you do with a melted child?

I could hear them before they even entered the building … his screech, her frustrated murmuring, unclear words with clear intent to hush and stop the fussing.

It did not get better in the vestibule, or the stairway. Screaming, banging on the rails (there’s fantastic echo in the building–apparently it is spectacularly irresistible for maximizing the effect of tantrums).

The mother’s pleas inched up in volume, from “stop this” to “please behave” and “you are making too much noise” to “other people are going to get mad at you” and “if you don’t stop this there’d be no playdates.” The immediate effect was a proportionate rise in the child’s loudness.

I decided to go meet them half-way. It is not something I usually do, so my very appearance in the hallway was enough to generate sufficient surprise to elicit momentary silence. I capitalized. “Sounds like you are having a hard day,” I noted, directing my words to both red-faced figures, one with mortification, one with the exertion of maximizing vocal output on steep stairs.

“I’m melting,” he noted, quite matter of fact, I might add.

“Oh,” I responded.

The mom looked from him to me and back again. “Melting?”

“A meltdown, I suppose,” I smiled, turned to the boy. “It sure sounds like a major meltdown.”

He nodded emphatically, satisfied.

“Do you think you had enough of a meltdown for one time?” I offered my hand to him. “It sounds pretty exhausting.”

He considered, placed his little hand in mine. Turned to his mother with a rather smug expression. “I done melting now.”

“I’m glad,” she managed.

“What was this about?” I wondered aloud.

“He wanted to be the one to press the button for the bus stop …”

“Ah.”

“But someone else on the bus already pressed it … so he refused to get off …”

I looked at him with a raised eyebrow. He nodded, approving of the testimony. “It was my turn to push the button,” he accused.

“Hmm, maybe other people on the bus didn’t know that.”

He looked shocked at the very notion. How could anyone not know what he clearly had?

We climbed. He pondered.

“It only got worse from there,” his mother added, still debriefing. “I had to carry him off the bus, screaming. He threw himself on the ground …”

It explained the stage of his clothing … it had rained earlier …

“He got himself all wet …” she sighed, “I’m sorry for bringing him in such a mess.”

He turned to her, his face a mask of indignation. “Of course I wet, Mama! I was melting!”

meltdown1

Find A Song

She never stops singing.

She sings when she’s playing. She sings in the stroller, the high-chair, the booster, on the carpet or floor. She sings in the sandbox. She sings on the swing. She sings in bed every morning. Come evenings she’s singing to sleep. She sings in the bathtub. She sings when she’s walking. She hums with food in her mouth. She’s heard singing while deep in a dream.

She sings top chart melodies. She sings the same line for a week (drives her mama nuts, but it is what it is … all she can do is introduce another song and hope it will be picked up on a whim).

She hums nursery rhymes, sings odd jumbled phrases. She repeats parts of jingles and mangles their lines. She mashes music from a hundred places and switches song to song without missing a beat. She makes up nonsense rhymes unselfconsciously. She fills in random words as she goes.

She does not quite keep time or pitch. She does not really carry a tune.

Not one would expect her to do so. She’s not quite three-years-old, after all.

So who cares if she pauses in imperfect rhythm or raises volume in an off-pitch pipsqueak dramatic flair. She’s adorable. She lives life utterly happy. She finds music flowing in every moment and in every action. She listens, she follows, she sings.

Her humming brings smiles to the lips of strangers. It melts the hearts of loved ones. It has people raise an eyebrow in amusement and meet the eyes of others in a shared moment of delight.

She’s a wonder. In her quiet content singing she’s a teacher, too:

For can you find the music that surrounds you? Do you listen? Can you hear?

It is flying on the molecules of oxygen around us. It is weaving in and out of every atom. It bonds the flow of leaves upon the water, it jingles in the rustling of branches waiting patiently for spring. It hums the breath of every living thing.

May she never lose touch with her singing. May her inner music flow unhindered and her heartbeat always rhyme with joy. And may those who wish to keep on singing, always find their song.

singing, joy, children, naamayehuda

The ‘other’ Oscar

A three-year-old, upon hearing that tonight is the “Oscars” resisted going to sleep. No matter what. Full tantrum ensued. When his parents tried to tell him that it was “not for kids,” he burst out crying, insisting that “it WAS for kids” and that it was not fair that they were going to “watch Oscar.”

Took them a while to understand that their little guy had every right to be cross, considering that he was thinking about … well …

The ‘other’ Oscar…

oscar sesame

Superhero Story

superhero

The little boy loves chocolate. He adores candy, cookies, florescent sour sticks. His idea of a balanced meal is french fries and ketchup with some chicken fingers on the side. He cringes at anything that grows on trees and runs away from any shorter plant life, especially those grown on farms with salads in mind.

He thinks brownies are a food group and can name all the junk food in the aisle of a mega-mart. He’s a keen critic of the varieties of cheese doodles, pasta shapes (no sauce), donuts, and icing from a can.

He perfected pouts and frowns to span the whole range of disgust, denial, and gradients of ‘no-way-Jose’ with which to respond to any and all attempts at offering healthy nutrition. You can dress vegetables however you like, try to hide fruit in a smoothie or an ice pop, claim that dried fruit are “as sweet as candy”–he sees right through the sneakiest disguise. The only way a vitamin will pass his lips is in a gummy.

His world revolves around sweets, snacks, and superheros.

Of the latter, he owns every size, shape, and denomination; in clothes, sheets, watches, slap-on-bracelets, stickers, backpack, cup, cap, hat, and mittens. He is genially inclusive of all superheros, identifiable by characteristic puffy chests, disproportionate arms, odd skin color (tending toward green), and various kinds of billowing plastic capes and armament. There are of course the Spiderman, Batman, and Superman, Green Lantern man, and Darth Vader, but also many others that adults keep confusing and, more’s the pity, cannot even name … 

The boy lives, breathes, sleeps, plays, narrates, and animates his superheros. He is rarely found without one–they are constant companions–at home, in the car, in the tub. He takes one with him to the toilet, for some friendly company and conversation.

He keeps a place at the table for his superheros. He lugs a carry-on packed with them onto the plane. He delights in having them, ecstatically anticipates upcoming birthdays and holidays as opportunities for enlarging his beloved collection.

Some may think his ‘fixation’ willful or limiting. They may frown upon his adulation of plastic figurines with overstuffed musculature and unrealistic proportions and stereotype. Others see him walk along the street in full superhero regalia, grinning, prancing, proud as rain … and they cannot hold back a smile. He is absorbed, enchanted and enchanting. At almost-four, he bobs easily in and out of the bubble of delight in mystery and magic-thinking.

His parents tolerate sheets and towels becoming capes, draping furniture, and sweeping fragile items off of shelves and coffee tables. They have learned to live with constant sound effects as Spiderman climbs walls and Superman flies atop buildings and other superhero this-or-that saves all manner of fallen toy-victims. His parents accept that going anyplace takes longer when there’s a world to rescue with each move, a hero to swoop wide from every stair, a never ending battle between good and bad to wage and master.

Speaking of battles … there is the matter of his aversion to tooth brushing. Sugary and colored yellow with sticky cheese powder, he refuses to allow any mention of teeth cleaning. He clenches jaws against attempts at probing. He flees, superheros in each hand, at the sight of toothpaste or mouthwash.

Oh, he has some valid reason to–medical professionals have spliced his little mouth all too many times in efforts to reshape what a birth defect distorted. They came from care, but his experience left him wary and refusing further vulnerability. He controls access to his mouth with iron will that puts maximum security detention centers to shame.

His parents despair — they loathe to force him when so much was forced already and yet they know that to neglect his mouth is to invite issues in the future and invasive dental work besides. They admit helpless caving in to his refusal. Embarrassed, they are torn between their worry for his pain and the need to work beyond it.

So we had a hubbub, he and I, and we’ve come to an agreement. An understanding. A plan of action. Superheros brush teeth, too, you see. They floss regularly with gusto. They gargle mightily. They epitomize mouth-care and a fighting spirit against germs a-hiding. The proof is seen in any superhero movie, cartoon, or poster; where one is certain to be dazzled by the light reflecting from their pearly white perfection ….

Now, superheros line the sink, the toothbrush is adorned with muscled plastic. Towel cape on shoulders, feet in puffy superhero slippers, he seeks to destroy all hidey-holey bugs that wish to burrow cavities.

Superheros brush teeth, too. Whew. Next, they will be eating vegetables…

superheros

Sky-High Practicality

airplane

Seven hours into a twelve-hour flight the other night, an adorable (and chatty) curly top three-year-old in a nearby row: “Mommy, I don’t want to stay on the airplane anymore. My legs want to run.”

Mommy (sounding similarly fed-up if not run-ready): “I know, Sweetie, but we can’t get off right now.”

Curly Top, miffed, tone slightly rising toward whine-a-thon: “Why?”

Mommy: “Because we’re very high up so we can’t go out now.”

Curly Top: “We’re in the sky, Mommy?”

Mommy, voice disheartened: “Yes … we’re up in the sky.”

Silence. Then Curly Top again, pensive with a touch of wonder filtering in: “Mommy, we flying?”

Mommy: “Aha … the airplane is way up high because we’re flying.”

Another silence, followed by bubbly cheerfulness in the toddler’s voice: “Oh, that okay Mommy! We can just fly down right now!”

🙂

airplane2