Categories
Parenting

The story so far 3 year anniversary

Fleur is almost four. She is running, singing, playing, and helping. She has preferences and willing to enforce them.

Galahad is twenty years old. He loves his sister, but struggles to admit it.

Ada, my wife, works full time in financials. She tolerates my constant need to improve processes. She loves the dad jokes and dad bod.

I don’t read nearly as much. I miss it.

I hope people enjoy reading this blog.

Categories
cousins

Family Fusion

Extended families have two great strengths. The first is resilience. An extended family is one or more families in a supporting web. Your spouse and children come first, but there are also cousins, in-laws, grandparents—a complex web of relationships among, say, seven, 10, or 20 people. If a mother dies, siblings, uncles, aunts, and grandparents are there to step in. If a relationship between a father and a child ruptures, others can fill the breach. Extended families have more people to share the unexpected burdens—when a kid gets sick in the middle of the day or when an adult unexpectedly loses a job.

The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake. David Brooks @ the Atlantic

I love that Fleur gets to play with her cousin. But, I love that our families are close more. It isn’t just seeing each other on holidays.

When my brother and sister-in-law needed help a couple times in recent times, we stepped up to help them. Should we have a similar need, they would be the first we would turn to for help.

I would love that the family base were larger, but this parenting thing is rough. Having help is important.

Categories
communication

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Ada tried to call me. Fleur burst into song over our conversation. Her clarity and confidence melted my heart. Her brazen defiance of asking her to allow us to talk made me almost fall out of my office chair in laughter.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com
Categories
learning

Deep conversations

I love this preschooler age.

Galahad works for a package delivery company. I drop him off at work most mornings while taking Fleur to daycare. I encourage her to help him get to work by moving faster. So, naturally, she views this drop-off as her taking him to work. And, she points out every truck with their logo.

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Today, we had a conversation about supply chain logistics. She was asking about a semi-trailer headed leaving town from the local warehouse. So I explained Galahad works for the depot taking things to people’s houses. The semis we see at the depot brought there the things he takes. Others take things from the airport to the warehouse.

THAT got her attention. Her teacher showed the class pictures of a trip, which connected her to the planes often flying over our house. The signs for the airport are commented upon every time she sees them. Ada took her to the airport a couple weeks ago to see the planes. Connecting the truck to the airport was ah-MAZE-ing.

When I recall things, I go through a series of how it is connected to other things. This scaffolding of information is the basis of how I explain things. And how I am building up understanding in my prodigy.

Categories
cousins Parenting

Imaginary sibling

Months ago, Fleur started talking about relationships. Namely she listed the labels we apply to who people are in our lives and who fit them. Galahad is her brother because they have the same parents. Her uncle is her parent’s sibling. Her cousin is her mother’s brother’s daughter. I loved this working on understanding the taxonomy for individuals.

She has an honorary sister. Abigail and Galahad grew up together. Through a twist of fate Abigail has similar skin coloring as Fleur and I, so people assume she is my kid at times.

For a while, Fleur talked about her sister Addie. Not Abigail. Not another kid at daycare. She doesn’t live with us. Still not sure when Fleur hangs out with her sister. It was super weird.

I can see why people think children tap into the paranormal with stuff like that.

The funny thing is this name is pretty popular. We keep finding kids in the periphery with it.

Categories
happiness Parenting

Stop to smell the roses

In the summer, before she would get in the car, Fleur had to walk over to the roses and smell them. Usually it meant me lowering one down to where she could.

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It became part of her morning ritual. So, now that the roses are gone, we have shifted into denial for the past month or so. She hasn’t forgotten, but she doesn’t ask every morning anymore.

I need to plant some fall blooming flowers for her, I guess. Though, it would just shift the problem to winter.

Categories
play

Pillars to enhance play

From the Good News Network, “Science-Backed Tips for Maximizing Play Time With Kids“. Thankfully, I do try to incorporate all of these when playing with Fleur.

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Pillar One: Active

Stay “active” as you play and interact with your child, for example, by incorporating literary and STEM elements into your speech and interactions.

Zosh said this could mean counting the apples out loud as you put them in your basket at the grocery store or asking your child what letter each block starts with as you build a tower. She also said asking lots of questions — such as “What would happen if we mixed these blue and yellow paints together?” or “What might happen if we stack the red square block on top of the yellow triangle block?” — can be helpful, as well.

Pillar Two: Engaged

“Try to limit distractions as much as possible, including background television and your own smartphone use,” Hassinger-Das said. “These types of distractions are sometimes unavoidable, but they do have the potential to take away from these high-quality times with your child. Focusing and staying engaged during play can help you make the most of these interactions.”

Pillar Three: Meaningful

Try building on topics the child is already interested in during play. If they like dinosaurs, you could suggest a make-believe scenario where you dig for dinosaur fossils at the playground. Or, you can integrate information about dinosaurs like counting how many bones they have and what they ate.

“If you are reading a book set in a different state, get out a globe or a map app and explore where the state is and how the weather there is different from where you live,” Zosh said. “Helping children build connections helps them weave together a rich world of understanding.”

Pillar Four: Socially interactive

The researchers advised letting your child lead in play time while you offer support along the way. For example, let your child decide what to build with blocks while asking questions like, “What would happen if you placed that block in a different direction?” or “How many more blocks do you think it would take to build a tower as tall as you?”

Pillar Five: Iterative

Children are naturally scientific thinkers — they like to experiment, see what happens, and try again and again until something works. The researchers advised giving your children opportunities to guess what will happen, conduct “experiments,” make up new words to favorite songs, and make mistakes. Every mistake leads to learning.

Pillar Six: Joyful

Finally, making playtime joyful can be done in many ways, including incorporating elements of surprise.

“Playing with shadows and asking which one is bigger or how you can make your shadow grow or shrink is one way to foster surprise and joy,” Hassinger-Das said. “Similarly, think about what helps your child connect with whatever brings them joy, from construction with a cardboard box to playing vet with their stuffed animals.”

Categories
Parenting work-life balance

Micromanager 2

In the original post, I described Fleur as a micromanager.

Micromanager

Almost a year later, I think things have improved somewhat.

  • Everything is now: Except now there is a bit of patience sometimes. I have to acknowledge having received the order and appear to make progress.
  • Everything has to be done in a very specific way: I get much more leeway sometimes, having developed trust in my capabilities.
  • And the visions are poorly explained, so meeting the expectation is difficult when the thing is something new: With better delivered specifications and my asking questions to fill in the gaps.

Much of this is my understanding the boss’ expectations and processes better. Much of this could be her appreciating my efforts to keep her world efficient and well run.

I still am working on how to address the things that still frustrate her. For instance, I need to improve acknowledgement instead of just trying to complete it. Many times the task takes longer than a few seconds, so she thinks I am not paying attention.

Categories
cousins Parenting

In the shadow of big cousins

Fleur looks up to elder kids. She studied walkers before she could. She enjoys playing with older kids as she can attempt the things they perform. So, today, spending the day with her cousin was a treat.

Sophie is over a year and a half older. With more experience and maturity, she helped and taught Fleur how to play. She showed how she isn’t scared of some things on the playground to entice the younger to try. And interacted with Rosa as a “not a baby”, talking about things, playing games, and making suggestions. (I’ve seen Fleur hold her own against another cousin who is too assertive.)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This isn’t to say they didn’t argue. They did, but it was more socially mature than I have seen in many cases where it devolved into physicality over not being understood.

It makes me think about my own older cousins who would from time to time pop into town. We played games, explored, tussled, and told stories. I learned much about the world hanging around them even into my late 20s. It may be fair to say I idolized them and followed on the paths they trailblazed for me.

Human transmission of information built societies. And maintains them. It makes me happy to see my child benefitting from socialization. And developing bonds blooming that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Categories
Mini Us Parenting

Micromanager

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

I have a few bosses. My work situation has been a little unclear who is really my boss, but my work has been mostly self-directed for a decade, so that is fine. Then there is my wife.

Now, I have the toddler. The others are far more lassez-faire. The toddler?

  • Everything is now.
  • Everything has to be done in a very specific way.
  • And the visions are poorly explained, so meeting the expectation is difficult when the thing is something new.

Thankfully, most of the time, I meet or exceed expectations.

I need to do some looking into the etymology of the term micromanager to see if the original description was of a boss who acts like a toddler.