On Her Flying Trapeze

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Circumlocution and a Chicken Popsicle

Thanks for all your great parenting advice and encouragement on my “Bumps” post.

Since typing that, we’ve made a few changes, including adding small morning chores, keeping our parental cools a bit cooler and letting her make “becisions” more frequently when the outcome doesn’t really matter in the long run.

Example: Yesterday she started to throw a complete cow when she noticed I had put a “princess panty” (pull-up) in her “underwear door.”

Laylee: Ahh. PRINCESS PANTIES DO NOT GO IN THE PANTY UNDERWEAR DOOR!
Me (feeling defensive, like I needed to show her who was boss): That’s where they go because I put them there.
Laylee: AHHHH!!! WAHHH!!! (real tears emerge) BUT PRINCESS PANTIES CAN’T TOUCH REAL PANTIES!!
Me (realizing that this is a stupid argument, it appears to be a core value issue to my child, and there is no need to get all all “Brown vs. the Board of Education” about segregation in the “panty door”): Okay. Let’s talk about this. What things do you think should go in the panty drawer?
Laylee (sniffing): Only REAL panties can go in the panty door. They can’t touch the princess panties!
Me: Okay, let’s find a place for the princess panties.
Laylee (smiling): O-KAY!

We are continuing to make it clear that it’s not okay to be disrespectful to your parents, including but not limited to dancing around naked with the lights on at 11:00pm and then making a big mess on the floor when you’ve removed your own pull-ups.

Example: The new rule is that if she removes her pull-ups in the night, she has to wear them all day the next day, even (gasp!) if she’s going over to a friend’s house. Pull-ups at a play date?! The horror! We’ve gone two nights accident-free.

We’re also “encouraging” her to take a more active role in things like getting herself dressed and using the potty so she can feel a sense of accomplishment. At this point she seems to feel more angry than accomplished some of the time but she’s totally capable of doing these things.

Example: I told Laylee to find some real panties when she woke up.
Laylee: No. I can’t FIND them!
Me: I think you can. They’re in your drawer.
Laylee (in a super-whiney voice): But I want the ones with the pointy pointy things on the top (This means lace. This is where the post title comes from. When I told Dan this story, he said, “There is nothing cuter than a three-year-old circumlocuting," which I know is a lie. Me in giant fleece footy pajamas is at least that cute.)
Me: You can do it. I’m sure you can.
Laylee: No, I CAN’T!
Me: Try.
After much whining and slamming of drawers, she emerged with the coveted underclothes. She was grinning from ear to ear.
Me: You found them yourself?! How does that make you feel?
Laylee: PROUD!

As far as the food battles go, we did stop fighting them, according to Dr. Nelsen’s suggestions. For breakfast and lunch I give Laylee two choices and she picks once but if she “becides” she doesn’t like it half-way through, then she’s done.

For dinner, I decide what we’re having and then let her choose which food items she’ll eat. The first night she ate only bread and got hungry later. We said, “You should have eaten more dinner.” The second night, she ate TWO HELPINGS of the green (spinach) mashed potatoes on her own, and then she ate some chicken when I explained how cool it was to stick it on the end of your fork like a popsicle and bite chunks out of it.

Things like “advanced” table manners and forced vegetables (of the non-concealed variety) will come after she’s turned 5, I think…

35 Comments:

Anonymous Adam said...

First!!!

Yes!!! Two in a row!!

4/06/2006 5:54 PM

 
Anonymous Adam said...

Moreover,

Chicken popsicles is the only way to properly eat chicken.

4/06/2006 5:57 PM

 
Blogger Journey Mama said...

This reminds me so much of my son--asking him to find something sends him into a fit of melancholy over what a drudgery his life is, meanwhile his two-year-old sister has found it for him.

4/06/2006 6:04 PM

 
Anonymous Elle said...

ahh.. so much to look forward to. I totally get the panties with the pointy things, those are the only ones i'll wear too, and the seperation of real panties vs. accident panties, that makes total sense, she's opening up a new chapter of her life (life without pull-ups) and doesn't want the old chapter to mix with the new... duh.

4/06/2006 6:47 PM

 
Blogger Maine Mom said...

I'm all for the make one dinner for the family and let the kids eat what/how much they want. They do learn to eat what is available, and (gasp) maybe even LIKE what was made for dinner. Having said that, we do let our 7 year old get something else to eat for dinner if she doesn't like what we're having, but she has to get it herself (usually cereal).
I'm enjoying your parenting journey!

4/06/2006 7:06 PM

 
Anonymous Mel said...

Your methods sound very "Love & Logic" -ish, which my daughter's pre-school turned me on to. It's all about giving the kid some power and picking your battles. Good job!

4/06/2006 7:07 PM

 
Blogger Grammy said...

Tow or three acceptable choices is the only way to fly. It saved my sanity on more than one occasion. I'm glad you & DYD are making decisions together about what battles are worth fighting and which ones are just "parental pride". Way to go you!

4/06/2006 7:08 PM

 
Blogger Heth said...

I think it's very wise to let her make some of these "becisions" on her own. She sounds like a girl who has a mind of her own, in a good way. More power to ya Laylee!

4/06/2006 7:20 PM

 
Blogger Queen Beth said...

All I have to say it, choosing your battles is a good lesson to learn.

AND I think Laylee and Duchess would get along very well......

4/06/2006 7:22 PM

 
Blogger Queen Beth said...

All I have to say IS...not IT...stupid keyboard.

4/06/2006 7:22 PM

 
Blogger momofalltrades said...

You'll be so glad you stopped worrying about micro managing her panties. ;)

I had a super hard learning curve when I married my hub. He beleived in listening to the kids arguments, and to me, it sounded like backtalk. I learned to use the phrase "Now, how can you say what you are feeling/seeing/needing/wanting to do, in a nice way? What would be a better way to say that?" I came to learn that you really can balance giving them power and "a voice" with commanding respect and obedience.

4/06/2006 7:45 PM

 
Blogger Liz said...

Yay for DYM "beciding" dinner!!

4/06/2006 8:10 PM

 
Blogger ABC Momma said...

When my kids want me to find something for them, I ask them what they will pay me. Depending on the kid and situation, they could pay money, kisses, chores, whatever it's worth. It is probably SO against all the rule books. Oh well. This morning my 4-yr-old son had to give me a ten-second (with Mississippi's)hug for finding his underwear. I think we both felt like winners afterwards.

4/06/2006 8:48 PM

 
Blogger Abby said...

The only prenting advice my Father-in-law has ever given is,

Say yes to everything that doesn't really matter.

It has become a little chant that I think over and over about things like pull ups in panty drawers, and hair brushing.

4/06/2006 9:10 PM

 
Blogger HangerMom said...

I can't tell you how many times today I thought "only give TWO choices instead of an open ended 'what do you want?'" based on something from your "bumps" post. And it worked like magic a few of those times! I'm glad to hear it's going well for you as well. I still have a long way to go on picking my battles, though.

4/06/2006 9:12 PM

 
Blogger Chilihead2 said...

Dinner is our biggest battle of the day. I think I'm going to try your way and see how it goes.

Love the "beciding"--Wild Thing says that too. She also used to say My insetead of I. As in, "My know, my know, my know! Sheesh!"

4/06/2006 9:12 PM

 
Blogger Carbon said...

I am getting more scared now. Maybe it was a lot easier when they just cried as babies and all you had to do is rock them all night long!

I need to take that book out of the library again and look thru it some more!

And... um... no one else mentioned it but I got to. It's scaring me. I don't like the look of that word in your title :-) I read what it means in the dictionary but all I see is "circumcision" and "electrocution" together. YIKES!

4/06/2006 9:39 PM

 
Anonymous Caryn said...

You guys sound like terrific parents. I only hope we can come close to that someday.

4/06/2006 9:41 PM

 
Anonymous Shannon said...

To funny! She is a kick....haa haaaa!
I too have stopped the fighting over the food thing. What is the point? Somedays he fills himself with fruit......the only problem with that is he fills his diaper with surprises for me about 8 hours later....
I look forward to the pull-ups...NOT the removing of them, but the overall getting to that point. Thanks for the heads up on the no pull-ups at play group....something I will not do when that day comes.
Thanks for the Blog....gives me a good laugh!

4/06/2006 10:02 PM

 
Anonymous Amber said...

The methods you're using are from the book series "Love and Logic." Empowering and giving them choices is the key. I.e. our daughter was throwing a fit last night over having to pick up the beads from the necklace she broke. After three unsuccessful timeout episodes, we then tried a different approach by asking her, "Haddie, which one do you want to pick up: this one or this one?"

Amazingly, it worked. When she doesn't want to wear her coat outside? "Haddie, do you want to wear your coat now or take it with you so you can put it on when you get cold?" Either way, she takes her coat. It's an amazing and inspired parenting method because it works!

4/07/2006 6:14 AM

 
Blogger Liz said...

Karen - are you happy now? DYM's floating head has a loverly Easter bonnet!

4/07/2006 6:56 AM

 
Anonymous sarah hart kingston said...

Madame Daring, are you going to share you recipe for "green mashed potatoes?" My two currently fight over anything green EXCEPT the green veggies. I used to make mashed potatoes with sauteed cabbage and bacon. That's yummy, but isn't everything better with bacon in it?

4/07/2006 6:58 AM

 
Blogger Goslyn said...

Glad you've found some help with Laylee. It sounds like a great method.

My mom was a big supporter of the "two choices rule." She laughed at my dad a lot, because he would ask me "Do you want to get ready for bed now?" and then get mad when I would say no. Mom would just say "It's time for your bath! Would you like bubbles or no bubbles," and so forth, and life would go on.

4/07/2006 7:36 AM

 
Blogger Kristen said...

They make giant footie pajamas for big people?! Tell me where! And yes, that must be cute!

Your Laylee sounds just like my Care Bear. I believe that they would get along oh so famously!

Thanks for coming by my blog the other day! Do come again! :-)

4/07/2006 7:56 AM

 
Blogger HLH said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/07/2006 8:53 AM

 
Blogger HLH said...

Let's try this again-
so, what are Laylee's morning chores? I am wondering, perhaps my 4 year old could have some morning chores to keep him occupied. Fill me in on the details.

4/07/2006 8:54 AM

 
Blogger SarahLynn said...

I like your idea of giving choices! I sometimes do that with my daughter. I think I will use it more often. It seems effective...and you're doing it too! :)

4/07/2006 9:47 AM

 
Blogger Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

All I can say about kids is everything they do is cute UNTIL they learn to talk. That's when the real interesting times start. :)

Right now my Goose is 20 months old and the most she can say is "Ahhhh, mik" and hold out a cup when she wants a drink. Every demand is prefaced with "Ahhh" as in "Ahhhhh, binky" and "Ahhhh, outside" (holding up her shoes).

DYM, I find your stories encouraging and inspiring and your vocabularly is breathtaking. It's like reading "Jane Eyre" - keep your dictionary handy!

4/07/2006 9:57 AM

 
Blogger Carrien said...

On the eating dinner subject, we have a one taste before you can leave the table rule if it's something new. But they don't have to eat it if they don't like it.

Indoctrination works, at least on my kids. Endlessly repeated phrases in our house sound like this.

Yes you do need to eat your salad because it has phytochemicals in it that help you body fight sickness and get rid of the "smoke". (We once has a big talk about axidation and free radical damage and the anti-oxidant properties of fruits and vegetables. HE was 3 but he got it. Fighting the smoke is now our catch phrase to remind him of that.)

Does it have protein mommy? I need protein to help my body be strong and so I won't be as cranky.
variation. But I can have the (sweet snack) I ated enough protein I won't get cranky now. (protein before sugar helps reduce the glycemic index of sugar so they don't get the huge insulin surge and crazy emotions. Mommy's hypoglycemic so I'm careful with them.)

Finally, I swear they actually do this. My kids, even the two year old point at candy at the store and say something like. "Look mom, there's candy. I don't eat candy, it's yucky for my body it makes me sick."

Of course if you handed it to them they'd want to eat it but they would ask me first, and they never ever expect to get it.

I've said these things a thousand times if I've said them once, I'm slowly brainwashing, I mean educating, my kids into healthy eating choices. We label read together too.

4/07/2006 10:08 AM

 
Blogger Trivial Mom said...

I've found with dinner you have to make it fun. I once saved a corn dog stick from lunch and put a piece of chicken on it at dinner. Anything that's on a stick or served in a box is worth eating!

4/07/2006 11:11 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, kids and animals were broken before they were trained. It mostly worked, but at a terrible cost.

Then, when farm animals were no longer necessary, the pendulum swung the other way so far that kids were growing up with no discipline, again at a terrible cost. Too much of that still goes on today.

I think you're doing a perfect job.

4/07/2006 11:22 AM

 
Blogger Lei said...

You are becoming a veteran, Kathryn!!! ;)

4/07/2006 12:43 PM

 
Blogger The Daring One said...

Sarah - there isn't much of a "recipe" to the mashed potatoes. You boil the spinach forever until it is totally killed dead (about an hour) with just enough water to cover it. You have to keep adding as the water evaporates. Then pour the whole pot into the drained potatoes and mash it all together. You can easily use a whole bag of spinach, very nutritious and they love the color thing.

HLH - Morning chores involve "making bed," setting the table for breakfast, clearing her place, tidying up toys she used in the night, dusting, whatever little thing I can ask her to help with.

4/08/2006 11:34 PM

 
Blogger mamato3 said...

sounds so familiar, with the panty thing, my boy has had a major meltdown because he wanted his spongebob big boy pants, not the superman ones!!

4/10/2006 10:20 AM

 
Anonymous californiazenmom said...

Wow!! I'm so impressed that you actually cited Brown vs. the Board in your blog. This is me bowing down to you. Now this is me going to watch West Wing so I can loan it to you tomorrow. :)

4/10/2006 9:04 PM

 

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