Parenting Catch-all

Katy, I find that really helpful advice. It's great to remind myself of all of that.

Yes thank you Katy. I'll admit that many of my my fellow pre-school parents are all professionals and type A types who are all about getting their kids into a million hobbies and then going ski boarding/climbing/sailing on the weekend. I feel very lame when I let my kid goof off with the iPad or play Legos in front of SpongeBob on a Saturday morning.

jdzappa wrote:

play Legos in front of SpongeBob on a Saturday morning.

How else would people want to spend Saturday mornings, and where can they get the help they desperately need?

Yeah, screw all that Type A overachiever, push your kids into burnout by age 7 crap.

You know what our big summer thing for my girlfriend's 6-year-old daughter is? She's getting swimming lessons, because she loves playing in water but doesn't know how to swim yet so we want to ensure she learns properly.

We definitely would like her to get involved in some sort of extracurricular activities as she gets towards middle school in particular, but playing is a large part of learning for children, so we don't want to push her too hard during her K-4 years. If she shows genuine interest in learning a musical instrument or a specific sport, we'll get her involved in that. But otherwise, these are the years to be a kid and learn through playtime, reading, and socializing.

We plan a few activities a week, but honestly they're just as much to wear the kids down as they are for any other benefit. Generally everyone is crabbier when we're lazy and hang around the house all day. Signing up for gymnastics or swimming lessons is a way to schedule things, and forces us to get out of the house, even if we're not all feeling 100%.
Our oldest (three years old) is to the point where we try a new activity every few months. At the end of her trying three or four we'll let her decide which she wants to do next. As long as she's having fun and is active, we don't really care

Phishposer wrote:

We plan a few activities a week, but honestly they're just as much to wear the kids down as they are for any other benefit.

QFT.

Now that mine are older (13 and 10), our family rule on paid/scheduled activities is this: finish what you start. They don't have to sign up for another season/year/term but they can't bail halfway through just because they've decided it's lame or inconvenient.

Enix wrote:
Phishposer wrote:

We plan a few activities a week, but honestly they're just as much to wear the kids down as they are for any other benefit.

QFT.

Now that mine are older (13 and 10), our family rule on paid/scheduled activities is this: finish what you start. They don't have to sign up for another season/year/term but they can't bail halfway through just because they've decided it's lame or inconvenient.

That's actually really awesome to hear that someone else did that. We had a very similar rule at my house, and you wouldn't believe the crap I got from people (fascist was among the most polite) for that.

That, and bedtimes.

As far as activities, yeah, I limited them very hard. 1 per kid. That was on top of church, library night, swimming night, and our Friday Skate King run. That's more than enough on top of school and social time.

Fascist? Really? Jeez. They're your kids. No one should be able to say boo about your parenting approach unless it's the sheriff with a warrant (and backup).

We learned our lesson badly with our oldest one, I'm afraid. He'd whine and bitch and moan to the point that my wife and I were like, Eff it, quit already, just shut up about it.

The lesson he learned, obviously, was that his bitching and moaning was more powerful than our resistance to it. Also, too: He learned he could quit when he felt like it. WIN!

Now that he's about to turn 22 and has quit on some pretty decent jobs, relationships, friendships, etc., it's tempting to say I told you so, especially now that he's figured out that there are real-life kick-you-in-the-ass consequences for ditching things on a whim. Like homelessness and food stamps, for instance.

I'm hoping to shave a few years off that come-to-Jesus moment with the younger two.

All that said, it's not a hard-and-fast rule. My youngest got to go into a gifted program this spring. He hated it -- hated the teacher, hated the busy work, hated coming back to his regular classroom and not understanding what they were doing, etc. He was miserable.

We had the tough-it-out-till-the-end-of-the-year talk and he agreed. But after my wife had a couple of weird dealings with the AG teacher, she and I realized that my son wasn't being weak about the whole thing but was actually right about the teacher and the program. So we let him tell his homeroom teacher and the AG teacher that he was done with it, and that was that.

TL,DR: Don't let your kids quit unless they have a good reason to do so.

KaterinLHC wrote:

Holy cow, all this advice is crazy useful. Thank you so much, everyone. Days like these I wish I could hug an internet thread.

gamerparent wrote:

We got a soothing music CD to use at bedtime, and we incorporated that into our eventual bedtime routine (Story reading, lullaby, etc). We would play it in their room on repeat, all night. Even to this day (they are 9 and 11), we've continued to use it, and it helps them get to sleep when we're travelling, sleeping in hotels or whatever.

So for soothing, would you recommend we go for Motörhead or Maiden?

Try everything, you'll be surprised. I have a sizable record collection from DJing 17 years, and I've incorporated playing at least 1 record a day for babby when I get home from work. Little dude now rocks his head and waves his hand to all kinds of stuff. The only 'baby' music he gets is from the electronic toys he has, and a music class we took him too over the winter.

nel e nel wrote:
KaterinLHC wrote:

Holy cow, all this advice is crazy useful. Thank you so much, everyone. Days like these I wish I could hug an internet thread.

gamerparent wrote:

We got a soothing music CD to use at bedtime, and we incorporated that into our eventual bedtime routine (Story reading, lullaby, etc). We would play it in their room on repeat, all night. Even to this day (they are 9 and 11), we've continued to use it, and it helps them get to sleep when we're travelling, sleeping in hotels or whatever.

So for soothing, would you recommend we go for Motörhead or Maiden?

Try everything, you'll be surprised. I have a sizable record collection from DJing 17 years, and I've incorporated playing at least 1 record a day for babby when I get home from work. Little dude now rocks his head and waves his hand to all kinds of stuff. The only 'baby' music he gets is from the electronic toys he has, and a music class we took him too over the winter.

Totally agree. Exposure to lots of music and musical styles is good.

For sleeping and bedtime though you probably want something chill, but whatever your baby can relax to, that's cool. It's more about being consistent than about the exact music. So switching it up every night may or may not work. I don't know, we didn't try that.

For other listening times, we specifically didn't get a lot of 'baby' music, most of it is garbage. MIDI-fied auto-tuned crap. For that stuff we went back to our own childhoods, and got a bunch of Sharon Lois and Bram albums. Real singing, real instruments, fun and funny songs, and not too annoying unlike some other kids music.

Now here's the real important question:

What voices do you use for the animals when reading The Gruffalo?

double posting like a boss today =/

Maq wrote:

Now here's the real important question:

What voices do you use for the animals when reading The Gruffalo?

I kind of matched the voices of the animated movie, without knowing they even existed. My kids were very impressed when we all sat down and watched it together.

Daddy, how did you know that's what they sounded like?

The Gruffalo told me, right before I turned him into crumble...

Spoiler:

Robbie Coltrane Gruffalo FTW!

I need to watch the animated version. I'm quite non-standard with mine, favouring a bogan boofhead for the Gruffalo.

Peter Lorre for the Snake. Standard.

Ray Winstone as the Owl. Controversial choice that.

Robert Carlyle as the Fox.

Maq wrote:

Now here's the real important question:

What voices do you use for the animals when reading The Gruffalo?

Mouse - cutesy, but with attitude
Fox - surfer-dude
Owl - airy and whispery
Snake - hissy (obviously)
Gruffalo - all growl

Maq wrote:

I need to watch the animated version.

They do an AMAZING job of capturing the look of the books, it's brilliant.

I caught a few minutes of Room On The Broom when I was in a department store on Thursday. Equally as good in the quality of the transition from book to screen (and the book is great, if you're a fan of the Gruffalo).

Hrm. Looking at the cast I realise I was already doing a James Cordon style delivery for the mouse.

I love the way the mouse comes up with the name Gruffalo in this excerpt from where he first meets fox...

I actually found the story very disturbing in its message and imagery. I would not read it to kids at all. This is possibly a cultural gap. I see the story as openly promoting deceit and trickery.

I'd like to recommend another book that I've found very helpful in thinking about parenting, It's OK Not To Share... has given me a lot of ideas. Really useful.

LarryC wrote:

I actually found the story very disturbing in its message and imagery. I would not read it to kids at all. This is possibly a cultural gap. I see the story as openly promoting deceit and trickery.

You mean Filipinos don't tell their kids about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny? What about myths about how babies are made?

EDIT: Now that I've read the Wikipedia page on the story, it seems like something that belongs in the rape culture thread. How many ladies have told a guy who's making unwanted advances that they have a boyfriend, one who's big and tough?

I tell the kids about Santa Claus, but I don't try too hard to maintain the fiction. Neither did my parents. I also don't see Santa as trickery since I don't really emphasize the reward aspect of it. It's not like I'm ever going to give my kids coal. It's just an extra gift for the kids. It's not a big deal. Most kids know all about it by age 7 as far as I know. Certainly, we did. We chose to maintain the fiction so we could keep getting toys for Christmas. Otherwise, we'd just get cotton underwear.

Santa is not without his downsides. We do eat Noche Buena with the kids, after all. That can last until the next day. Having to maintain a Santa can be kind of disruptive to that after a while.

I don't do Easter Bunny. Few Filipinos do. Neither Tooth Fairy. Don't really see the point in those things.

I'm sure they're important cultural touchstones. I just don't like it when I have to intentionally deceive other people against their own good. Also, sets a problematic example for the kids. Santa Claus is real. We're him, my wife and I. He lives in us. By the time the kids are old enough to find out the imagery is fake, they're also usually old enough to appreciate the reality behind the imagery.

We even have a popular Christmas song "Who is Santa Claus?" which pretty much gives up the whole jig. It gets played lots of places - definitely in the malls and over the radio.

Myths are myths. They're obviously magical and symbolic. When my kids ask where babies are made, we answered them in age-appropriate ways. My own parents didn't have the stomach for it, but they did leave around plenty of helpful scientific material around the house.

With the Gruffalo, the message I took from it was that even if you are 'out numbered, or 'out gunned' you can still use your intellect and wit to 'beat the odds' or 'over come the bully'.

Dee, which Wiki page gave you the 'rape culture' vibe, because that's really not apparent in the book? It's more about empowerment through quick wittedness than deceit and deception.

I'm jumping in here. We have a 5-month old baby girl. So far you all have recommended the same stuff I have noticed and the same gear that has been very helpful to us too so I'm glad to know I'm not totally effing this parent thing up so far. At least to my knowledge. My daughter smiles and laughs a lot and sleeps 11pm-7am so I am one lucky dude. It is my wife who has had it rough. "Mother the mother" and "you have to take care of yourself if you're going to take care of baby" are two phrases that get used at my house a lot these days.

LarryC wrote:

I actually found the story very disturbing in its message and imagery. I would not read it to kids at all. This is possibly a cultural gap. I see the story as openly promoting deceit and trickery.

So smacking okay, but The Gruffalo disturbing and wrong?

We're going to have to agree not to babysit for each other I think.

m0nk3yboy wrote:

With the Gruffalo, the message I took from it was that even if you are 'out numbered, or 'out gunned' you can still use your intellect and wit to 'beat the odds' or 'over come the bully'.

Dee, which Wiki page gave you the 'rape culture' vibe, because that's really not apparent in the book? It's more about empowerment through quick wittedness than deceit and deception.

I meant the summary of the plot. A common tactic to get rid of unwanted attention is to pretend you have a boyfriend who's big and tough. So in that case, the woman is the mouse, and claims her boyfriend is the gruffalo.

But yeah, if people have problems with the Gruffalo being deceptive, then you're sure as heck not going to like Brother Anansi.

To be fair, a lot of children's tale are really dark, at least in their original form. The Little Mermaid? Got legs but felt like she was walking on glass constantly. And didn't get the prince in the end, and dissolve into sea foam. Hop-o'-My-Thumb? His parents lost him in the forest. On purpose. Heck, even the more modern ones do it. Bambi's *mom* dies! And that scene in Dumbo when they lock up his mom; totally brutal. Lion King: Mufasa. Etc.

This is a bit of a 'love', but I felt it kinda belonged here. I've been trying to work all day, at home, so hubby's been (mostly) managing the boys by himself. And I've been feeling some perverse pleasure in seeing him struggle with our "toddler of terror". I know I shouldn't, and when he reprimands him, I'm on board (never show a crack for the spawn to exploit). But good grief, it's sweet payback for all those evenings when he comes home from work, and I've been juggling dinner, breastfeeding and baths for both by the time he gets there. And when I say they've been a bit of a handful, he usually laughs "no way, but they're adorable."
I'm a terrible person.

We have a book of fairy tales in their original form. It's kind of an academic work as it's filled with commentary and photos of old paintings of the stories and stuff, but we've read from it on occasion... from the probably 3 stories in there that aren't gruesome and horrible or just plain sad. Even fairly recent stories like The Little Match Girl are not really something I'd want to read to little kids, and that one is by Hans Christian Anderson. The Snow Queen (on which Frozen is based) is pretty much the same, though at least that one has a happy ending.

Eleima wrote:

To be fair, a lot of children's tale are really dark, at least in their original form. The Little Mermaid? Got legs but felt like she was walking on glass constantly. And didn't get the prince in the end, and dissolve into sea foam. Hop-o'-My-Thumb? His parents lost him in the forest. On purpose. Heck, even the more modern ones do it. Bambi's *mom* dies! And that scene in Dumbo when they lock up his mom; totally brutal. Lion King: Mufasa. Etc.

This is a bit of a 'love', but I felt it kinda belonged here. I've been trying to work all day, at home, so hubby's been (mostly) managing the boys by himself. And I've been feeling some perverse pleasure in seeing him struggle with our "toddler of terror". I know I shouldn't, and when he reprimands him, I'm on board (never show a crack for the spawn to exploit). But good grief, it's sweet payback for all those evenings when he comes home from work, and I've been juggling dinner, breastfeeding and baths for both by the time he gets there. And when I say they've been a bit of a handful, he usually laughs "no way, but they're adorable."
I'm a terrible person. :D

You're not alone...I've had the same thing happen with my husband, and it's definitely helped both of us be aware of needing to give the other breaks from the kids.

m0nk3yboy wrote:

I love the way the mouse comes up with the name Gruffalo in this excerpt from where he first meets fox...

Well recommended, sir. We just watched it and I have never seen Stellan so utterly enchanted. When it finished he looked at us and asked in a voice very small and very far away:

"More Gruffalo?"