On Communicating with Toddlers

toddler tears

Bobby recently took a three hour nap, and when he woke up, he was inconsolable. He came down the stairs crying, upset, and I had no idea what he wanted. Bobby will be two this summer, so communication is still a challenge. I tried picking him up and asking him what he wanted, but he cried and thrashed, so I put him down. I tried offering him all the things he usually wants---his pacifier, his sippie cup, a snack---but he rejected all of it. Having failed to console him, I decided to let him … [Read more...]

A Picture of Pain

paddle

Sean and I and the kids occasionally go for visits to my parents' house. Sally and Bobby love their grandparents, and I enjoy the time with my siblings. My parents live in the country, so weekends at their house can be fun getaways. The last time we were there, though, I was stopped in my tracks. It was a picture displayed prominently on the fridge. It was my mother, standing proudly in a jean jumper, pregnant with one of my many siblings. The picture was taken years ago, and it was the … [Read more...]

Solving Sally’s Meltdowns (Together)

TANTRUM

Even as a big girl of four, Sally still sometimes has meltdowns. A few weeks ago, she shed loud and angry tears and created a bit of a scene in the middle of a store because I told her I would only buy her one set of princess jewelry, not the five sets she had picked out. (It may be easy to laugh at the seeming absurdity of the situation, but those five sets of princess jewelry were very important to Sally at that moment.) Generally, Sally's meltdowns start with simple disagreement. She … [Read more...]

Kindergarten Approaches

schoolhouse

Next fall, Sally will board a school bus, turn and wave, and leave for kindergarten. Sally is excited. She babbles on and on about kindergarten. But if I am honest with myself, I am scared. This may seem silly given that Sally currently attends full day preschool, and has been in daycare since she was little. But public school? As a K-12 homeschool graduate, public school is something that is still foreign to me. Lately, Sally has been peppering me with questions about kindergarten. This has … [Read more...]

Respecting Every BODY

spinning bucket

Today I was pushing Bobby on the swing at the park. Each time his swing came toward me, I reached forward and tickled him. He responded by smiling and laughing, leaning forward and grinning at me. Each time as he came toward me he became excited, anticipating my tickles. Then something changed. Bobby still laughed when I ticked him as he came toward me, but he did so in a forced, annoyed way, and he leaned away from my touch. He managed to get out an "uh-uh" in the midst of his laughter. And so … [Read more...]

Just a Story

Wedgits

This evening I was sitting with my laptop, working, when I vaguely noticed a commotion behind me. Sally was playing with WEDGiTS, and Bobby was butting in. He wasn't trying to be mean, he just wanted to play too, but the result was that he kept knocking over Sally's creations and she grew upset. She tried to elbow him out, to surround the toys with her body, but it didn't work. Bobby wouldn't be put off, and he couldn't play with the WEDGiTS with her without getting in her way. Finally, she ran … [Read more...]

“Don’t Lie to Me, Mommy!”

25239379-little-girl-is-yelling-hysterically

Sean and I have a bit of a habit of "kidding" each other, and it's something we've carried over to how we interact with the children. To explain what I'm even talking about here, I'm going to have to give an example. "Mommy, are we rich?" Sally asked me recently. "Well, we have plenty to eat and a safe place to live and lots of friends, so I'd say yes, we're rich," I responded. This was not the best answer, maybe, but I wasn't exactly in the position to explain things like global … [Read more...]


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