Monthly Archives: November 2011

Simplicity Parenting

I remember as a  young child, a trip to the toy store was a huge treat.  My brother and I were left mainly to our own devices and I don’t think we were any the worse for it.

These days parents are busy scheduling their kids days with activites, trying to entertain them, home school them. With limited energy these days, the kids are left on their own in the afternoons. Usually they end up playing imaginary games with each other and in the process, they turn the house upside down. I don’t mind since they know that whatever mess they create, they have to clean it up later. Their idea of tidying up isn’t exactly tidy but at least they pitch in and help.

Recently I have realised that Ally has become very demanding. Not in a bratty sort of way, but she expects a special treat daily. It could be something as small as sleeping with the air-conditioner turned on but nonetheless, she expects it. And when that expectation isn’t met, she’ll sometimes sulk or whine for a bit which would result in a stern scolding from us. I kept wondering what brought about this sudden change in her and then I realised, we were giving her too much. She now expected instant gratification,  which meant ” I want means I get NOW” without realising, we have created this situation for ourselves.  A special treat used to be just that, special, then it became daily which meant it was no longer special. Now, it was EXPECTED.

I read a quote recently and it definitely applies to our current situation. “By allowing down-time, we restore balance, and the “high” moments, the camping trips, the birthday parties, the trips to the zoo, are made even more valuable.  They are anticipated.  Daydreamed about.  Remembered.  Kim explains that anticipation counters instant gratification – and strengthens our children’s inner life with patience and an ability to wait, to hold back their own desire for ‘everything now.’

I remember how excited I would be about a trip to the zoo or even a friend’s birthday party. It was a huge deal to me simply because we didn’t do it often.  Now we need to undo this mess that we’ve got ourself in with Ally. First I’ve explained to her that priviliges have to be earned. Secondly, I need to remind myself that a treat needs to be just that, a treat. Not something that is given out on a daily basis. If I examine the reasons why I’ve started giving out daily treats, I think it ties in with the fact that I’ve been more tired and spending less quality time with the kids. This in turn has made me feel guilty and therefore I let them have “treats”. Of course I can see how its all backfiring now.

I’m going to have a chat with Ally about her recent behavior and hopefully make some headway. Luckily she is mature and hopefully we’ll be able to turn this situation around.

 

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Holidays Are Upon Us

In two weeks time Ally would have finished her year in Pre-K. Her school report has been sent home and we are so proud of how well she has done. Not just academically, but more on the social front. She has settled down well in school and made friends, most importantly, her teacher says she’s always courteous to both friends and teachers.

We aren’t planning any holidays this time round since I can’t travel but I’m going to try to use this time to help Ally with her weaker areas like writing. While she has made great progress with her pencil holding, she still struggles to write. She shows very little interest in coloring, to her it’s still a waste of time.

I’m also hoping to help her with her reading, she is now noticing signs and starting to read short words on her own so we’re going to use this time to expand on that. I usually take my cues from her, when she shows an interest in something, I follow her lead and expand on it. Which brings us to Math.

A few months ago I started a program with her called ” Math U See” and so far, we are both still loving it. She has nearly finished the first book, today we just learned simple algebra. What I love about the program is it only takes me 15 minutes a day, very doable even with Max around. Sometimes he sits in and listens, but most of the time he would rather play with the manipulatives.

The last thing I hope to work on with her is something that is ongoing. In recent months we have noticed that she has come home from school using some rather unpleasant words. We expected this sooner or later, so it’s a daily reminder for her to use kind words and to share with her brother. Max doesn’t make this easy of course, he is now at that age where he demands his fair share. So this is something that we need to work on with both children,  to share nicely with each other and use kind words.

While entertaining the children the whole day can get very tiring, I’m quite happy not to battle the morning traffic for the next month and a half.

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Witches, Princesses and Penguins

My mom had this idea to dress Ally up in her various costumes and get some pictures taken. Thankfully my cousin agreed to be our photographer and he did a great job. Unlike Ally, Max hates dressing up but he did get his picture taken as well.

A very demure looking Ally as Sleeping Beauty

Max acting like he is way too cool for all this

In her halloween outfit

My favourite shot

Max goofing about

For Halloween this year, Ally wanted to be a witch. Thank goodness she didn’t ask me to make her a costume, honestly that child gives me too much credit. Max didn’t have a choice, I just took out Ally’s old penguin costume, altered it to fit him and that’s it!

Ally the flying witch

 

They both looked really cute, an American friend of ours invited us to her place which is Halloween central. The kids had a blast, Ally helped to hand out candy for close to 2 hours and they filled their treat bags pretty quickly as well.

They both looked so adorable that night, in my totally bias opinion

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