Saturday, April 26, 2008

Three Random Things

Wendy tagged me with this topic several days ago. If I were in elementary school, I would be "all-time-it" considering my reaction speed, but alas. So, I think the idea is to share three random things about myself....

1. I have an intense, to-my-core-being, dislike for honey. I don't like "mocha" anything either (which some try to convince me is really code for chocolate, when in fact it is code for "still-tastes-like-coffee"), but even that doesn't bring me to literal tears the way honey has in the past. I am a painfully rationale person, and even with Beau's incredibly sound arguments about how local honey would probably help my spring allergies, I would rather take a pill every single morning for the rest of my days than purposefully put a single drop of honey in my mouth. And yes, "honey butter" is no better.

2. I have a secret (can't say that anymore) desire to be a midwife, or at least a doula, at some point in my life. Attending my niece's birth was an incredible experience that so greatly affected my attitudes during Bryn's birth. I would like to contribute to other women having similar experiences. I have absolutely no idea how to become one, so I may as well have said I would love to be a Rockette, but at least now the universe knows.

3. I make killer apple pie and homemade rolls. I think baking suits me because it requires precision. I absolutely can not improvise in the kitchen whatsoever; I work strictly from recipes. Always been a pretty good rule follower. And to set the record straight, the apple pie recipe came from my sister--who can also bust out some serious bread.

How cathartic that turned out to be.

Bonus #4: As I looked around the office, thinking about how to wrap up this post, I glanced over to Beau's aquarium. One of the Oscars was totally staring at me while I typed...just treading water right at my eye level. Kind of freaked me out a little bit, because it was like when someone catches you staring at them (or vice versa) across a restaurant or something and you have to look like you were actually looking just over their shoulder before casually turning away. This fish did that! He didn't jump right away, but eventually, ever so casually turned and swam away.

Back to the catharsis....perhaps I'll write random things about other people in the family from time to time. This was pretty fun.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm back

Sorry for the lengthy absence. I was being a little hopeful a month ago when I bid farewell to the morning sickness that ended up lingering for another 2-3 weeks. I just couldn't muster the desire/energy/motivation/creativity/vocabulary to get on the computer after spending the day on one at work.

But....I have been making mental notes of what I would be writing about "were I to blog today," so have some stored up. Have one started, but need to go wake the family.

Happy Monday everyone....funny stories to come.

Books as Currency

Bryn is a complete delight 90% of the time. With that kind of record, Beau and I are ALWAYS shocked when she has a bonafide three-year-old moment. We regularly forget that she is still learning right from wrong, how to make good decisions, that bad decisions have consequences, that she doesn't always get her way, etc.

To date, all the discipline that she has really required is--what amounts to--a "stern talking to" (in Southern-speak). More recently it has dawned on her that she has to be a willing participant for these little chats to be effective. She has taken to the "courtesy" of announcing when she doesn't plan on being a willing participant (although that typically doesn't go well). The conversation usually goes like this:

Mom/Dad: "Bryn, come here. we need to talk about how you are acting right now."

Bryn: "I don't WANT to talk to you!" (or the nominee for most creative variation: "I don't want to listen to your words!!")

Exasperated parent takes a deep breath--knowing where this is heading--and escalates to "oh, yes, you will" posturing. Then out come the big guns--what will happen if she proceeds on the path she's chosen. And here's where it becomes very clear that she doesn't have a firm grasp on consequences.

We've elected not to spank, so our options are to take away things or opportunities that she holds dear. Sometimes there is an event that she is really looking forward to, but usually our go-to is books. (NOTE: as an educator who firmly believes in the importance of a book-rich environment, this is a constant struggle for me. But you harvest where there's fruit, right?)

Sometimes, I try to ward off a fit by bargaining with bedtime books. Our usual routine is two books before lights out. If she is being uncooperative/defiant, I'll (politely) warn her that if she doesn't pull it together, we'll only have time for one book (or heaven forbid, zero books). The unfortunate part of this strategy is I don't have much wiggle room when I count down from 2 because when we move to only reading 1 book, she keeps up the protests about "But I want TWO books!!!" (Which, for those of you paying attention, is exactly the opposite of the reaction I'm hoping for.) So then, all her arguing about two books (whose ship has sailed) leads me to explicitly state--again--that she now has the choice of one book or zero books, and that she is making the choice by the way she is acting and talking to me. Usually, the continued argument about two books requires that I take away all books. (Which, of course, IMMEDIATELY makes one book the thing she wants more than anything in life....but at that point, even the one book has sailed.) As mentioned earlier, sending a child to bed with no books is bordering on un-American and inhumane, but my thinking is---she had fair warning and continued with poor choices.

Last night she chose so poorly with behavior so unacceptable that we had to skip all bargaining, going straight to zero books. Straight out of the bath, to bed, no books. Oh, my goodness. You would have thought we had cut off a finger or something. She was nearly inconsolable. She tried to say "sorry" to undo her actions, but this was not a "that's okay, honey" situation. We thought it warranted making a more explicit statement about consequences. It's great that you are sorry, but there are always consequences to what you choose to do. That's a good life lesson, right? So, "we love you, but no books."

Instead of books, we just said a prayer. Bryn wanted to do it "allbymyself" (her new favorite phrase), so through the tears about not reading books she offered this gem of a prayer....

"Dear God, Please help me to slow down all the crying. Amen."

And all the people said....Amen to that.

PS: I was in the kitchen when Bryn woke up. She came downstairs with two books and asked sweetly, "Can you read these two books to me now?"