Day: May 25, 2004

Kid logic

Children have very different perspectives from adults. The other day I heard giggles and shouts of “boo!” from kids in the kitchen. As I usually do with auditorily unidentifiable behavior, I went to check on them. Link and Gleek were taking turns scaring the fly that had come into the house. I went for the fly swatter since lunch was obviously not going to get eaten until the intruder had been eradicated. The kids met the sight of the swatter with loud protests. “Mom! Let’s keep him! He’s funny!” Pet flies. To avoid major upsets, the fly got a stay of execution on the condition that the kids Sit And Eat. They did. But when they ran off to do something else . . . no more fly.

It amazes me sometimes the mental and physical contortions I go through to appease the four small dictators in my house. Last Monday I had to walk back inside Gleek’s gym class to retrieve the imaginary dog that we’d forgotten. Her teachers were highly amused. Gleek was amused too. As soon as I got back into the car she informed me that I hadn’t brought “the other one” I tried to convince her that I had “See honey, it’s right there in your lap.” With a who-do-you-think-you’re-kidding look, Gleek said “No it isn’t. Go get it!” I was willing to retrieve the first dog because she was honestly upset and in tears that we’d left it, but the second dog seemed to be an exercise in making-mommy-do-stuff. I said “Oh look it’s coming to us. It’s jumping through the open car window! Here he is. He jumps into your lap! Isn’t he a funny dog?” Apparently this was satisfactory because she immediately manufactured a third dog whom she wanted to have me jump through the window. I informed her that we were only allowed to have two dogs and it was time to go. After a pause for thought, she deemed that I’d done sufficient appeasement and we drove home without further incident.

The sad thing is that I do stuff like that all the time. Or maybe it is a glad thing. Because the worlds my children live in are such different places from the one I inhabit. I think in their worlds the colors are brighter. There is a soundtrack for Gleek’s, I’ve heard bits of it. I know that Link’s world is full of special effects. Kiki’s has fairies and unicorns and a sea dragon named Sarah. I remember living in a place like those once. I remember being able to pretend so well that I could actually see what I was pretending. It’s been a long time, and I’ve forgotten how to get there on my own. But my children guide me to places I’ve forgotton how to go by myself.

Frog sitting

I’ve discovered a new parenting tactic. Like many of my favorite tactics it happened on the spur of the moment. I came home from the trip to my brother’s house with a sense that I need to be doing a better job of making my kids accountable for their own choices. I also need to be doing a better job of requiring them to help make our home a nice place to be.

So Sunday night after our three hour car trip, the kids were showing me brownian motion in action and I needed a way to quell them enough for them to pay attention to me. If you can control the hands and feet of kids it is very difficult for them to move the rest, so I said in a loud voice. “Sit down and put your hands on your feet.” The novelty of this command was such that they did it instantly. Quiet. Motionless. It was amazing. I then informed them that this position was called the frog sit. (I’ve no idea where I pulled the name from) And if they didn’t follow my next instructions or got distracted, they would have to frog sit for 3 minutes to think about not getting distracted. I then ordered them into their pajamas. They ran upstairs and did it.

It works really really well on Kiki and Link. Kiki has yet to have to frog sit. Link has had two sessions because of distractions. It doesn’t work so well on Gleek. I have to stand right over her to keep her frog sitting which is time consuming. The true art of parenting is applying consequences to your kids which don’t punish you even worse than the kids. Patches is too young for frog sitting to even begin to work.

I figure the consequences of frog sitting only apply during the brief periods of the day when I’m giving multiple instructions to multiple kids and I need them to keep themselves on task. Times like bedtime or chore time. Hopefully it’ll keep on working. If it doesn’t I’ll have to get creative AGAIN.