Archive

Archive of : Parenting

Testing Timmy’s Emotional Empathy

I’m not instinctively compassionate, by nature.  That’s not to say I’m mean, let’s be fair. My Cognitive Empathy is good. I can intellectually put my mindset into the values of another person, wearing their worldview like a Mardi Gras mask. But my Emotional Empathy is much weaker. When I...

How does a Thinker teach a Doer?

I can parse linguistic etymologies, but apparently I can’t teach the alphabet. It’s a tough reality for me to face. I don’t know how to enable information to reach my 3-year-old, Daniel. He doesn’t think how I think. How can I make myself think like I don’t think? I...

A Guide to Sportsmanship by a 4-year-old

The game of Snakes and Ladders has a simple premise. Dice-rolling, space-moving…all while being bored at the beginning and breathless at the end as you race to the be first to space number 100, so you can throw your hands in the air and yell victoriously, “I win!” If...

The Self-Restraint Test 2

Six months ago I put the boys through the Stanford marshmallow experiment, using a biscuit. (Perhaps my recurring readers will remember it, from a post I made in June.) It seemed an appropriate time for a sequel. Not just because watching such things is fun, but because I was...

Teaching Handwriting: Ks and Crocodiles

I hadn’t thought writing a K would be all that difficult. Perhaps I did think so, once upon a time, but I don’t remember it. Of all the letterforms in the English alphabet, I’d thought K was one of the easier ones. Timmy disagreed. Regardless of my teaching efforts,...

Timmy and the Excessive Solution

This week, what started with a cut on Timmy’s lip ended with his having a midnight surgery in Acutes theatre, staffed by seven sets of blue scrubs. For no serious medical reason. It was just the result of a social tendency I’ve noticed; a near-consistent psychological algorithm: If a...

Child see, child do.

I hate being shown up, especially when I’d been sure what I was doing was justified. But an imitating preschooler will demonstrate things with a clarity that adult introspection doesn’t touch. I hadn’t been looking for a self-flagellation opportunity when I read an excerpt from a counsellor’s parenting book....

Even experts can be wrong

Psychology—the study of the mind and human behaviour—is fascinating. Knowing how it works is the closest you can get to activating gameplay’s God mode, in real life. Psychiatry—the medical study of mental disorders—is, I think, a bit hit-and-miss. Mostly miss. I had a psychiatric assessment four years ago. Before...

How a pre-schooler out-philosophises a grownup

My four-year-old was sketching some unidentifiable streaks on his Dry-Erase board. I couldn’t make out any particular shape, but he looked intent. “What’s that?” I asked. “What are you drawing?” “Um, I don’t know,” Timmy said, unperturbed. He continued to add another shape. “Are you finding out as you...

Homeschool by any other name…

Teaching a child to write is like nailing jelly to tree. It’s one of the first lessons of home schooling that I’m learning. Hot on the heels of that, is the realisation that this is going to be as big a growth exercise for me as for them. Maybe...

The Biscuit Test

I ran an experiment with the boys, last week. I like to see what data can do for me. I use it to make decisions in all other areas of my life, and with this parenting task being so significant, I need data in spades. For research and training...

The first Pet Death

Explaining to a 3-year-old that the budgie is dead, is unpleasant. But explaining that it’s Mummy’s fault because she job-shares with the Grim Reaper, is unnecessary—so at least Timmy doesn’t blame me for anything. Only two days ago, I’d been joking with someone about not being able to keep...

Restlessness and Rubbish

Last night, if good for anything, was good for reminding me what living with a newborn is like. Just in case I’ll get nostalgic for it at some later date. I’m pretty sure I won’t, because just seeing a newborn baby—even before it’s made a noise—gives me Post-Traumatic Stress...

Parent/Teacher interviews…at daycare?

What do you imagine would be discussed with your child’s teacher, in a Parent & Teacher interview? Spelling? Mathematics? No, no, we’re not there yet. This is daycare. Your child is two. So when I received an appointment time for such an interview at Timmy’s daycare, I was perplexed....

What will Timmy remember me for?

When I’m dead, I hope Timmy remembers me for having let him lick the beaters, before he remembers my yelling at him for wrenching his brother’s arm behind the highchair. Timmy’s temperament and anarchistic independence mean that I’m loudly and urgently yelling “Stop!” and “No!” on a regular basis....

A non-party for a 2-year-old

This year I outdid myself in party-organising economy: I didn’t even get the party hats out. Last year taught me party hats are only good for ruining photos as Timmy helplessly grizzles about having elastic around his head. I didn’t make a cake, either. Or order one. No. I...

How my grubby toddler will make me rich

Timmy tells me, through the medium of some sort of sign language blended with interpretive dance, the greatest terror a toddler can be faced with is a bath. And when he saw the above picture, he pointed at it and said, “Timmy!” What puzzles me is the context of...

To Daycare or Not to Daycare?

If you had to be either aggravated and overwhelmed, or useless and redundant, which would you choose? I love my son. But I don’t like him at all. Timmy is too much for me. Too much noise. Too much mess. Too much noise. Too much demanding. Too much noise. I’m...

Toddler Talks of a Nappy

My first coherent conversation with Timmy…and it’s about a dirty nappy. Not all things can be poetic literature, I suppose. I was putting a new nappy on Daniel when I hear behind me, “Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!” I turned to see Timmy looking at me expectantly. “What’s yuck?” I...

Regrets of Acute Camera Laziness

Last weekend didn’t go as I’d hoped. Husband’s father visited from Australia, and I’d hoped to get photos of him with the boys. I always have their scrapbook spreads in mind during such things. Otherwise I’d probably never take the camera out, because why distract yourself taking pictures of...