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.

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Mr. Beanbum on Pexels.com

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
Comedy

#fleurjokes: Frozen

Listening to “Love is an open door” from the Frozen soundtrack…

[Hans:] Can I say something crazy?
[Anna:] [giggles]
[Hans:] Will you marry me?
[Anna:] Can I say something even crazier?
[Fleur:] NO!

Love is an open door

She throws in the NO louder and just before Anna can say yes. And just laughs so hard at herself it is infectious.

Categories
Nutrition Parenting

Toddler metabolism

Being an older parent of a preschool child, I marveled in the toddler stage at how much energy she manifested in the constant need to play, explore, and otherwise get into trouble. I wore a watch that tracked calories in the amount of moving and heart rate. Going to work and the gym, I would burn about 3,500 calories. Staying home with Fleur by myself, I would burn about 4,000.

Seeing this article about toddlers burning 50% more calories, I believe it.

When the scientists plotted metabolic rates across life span, they found infants are born with the same metabolic rates as their mothers, when adjusted for their smaller body size. But between 9 and 15 months, they rev up their cells to burn energy faster, the team reports today in Science.

Children’s metabolic rates stay high until age 5, but the rate slowly begins to glide down until it plateaus around age 20. Interestingly, adult rates are stable until age 60, when they begin to decline. After age 90, humans use about 26% less energy daily, Pontzer says.

Little kids burn so much energy, they’re like a different species, study finds. Ann Gibbons. Science. Aug. 12, 2021

Crazy.

So… I definitely need to get back into shape to keep up with the little Tasmanian Devil for the next decade.

I also will worry less about her eagerness for carbohydrates. She is burning through them hard right now. Will still push the proteins as she needs them to grow muscle.

Categories
communication Parenting

Unreliable narrator

Occasionally, she will tell stories about an event that happened at daycare. Almost all of them are another kid pushed her or her BFF. That, of course, raises our alert. But, in asking follow up questions, I sometimes question whether it really happened at all.

  • The name of the perpetrator will change.
  • The teacher present will change.
  • What the individuals did will change.

I know her class has lots more boys than girls. I am fairly sure the boys are all the youngest with older brothers. On the other hand, I am pretty sure Fleur is as tall as any of them, though not has heavy. If the class were a baby fight club, then she would hold her own.

Usually she says the perpetrator said they were sorry.

Categories
Games

Pull-Up of Protection

After bath, Fleur wants to air dry by running away from us. We encourage her to put on the first step of getting dressed, the Pull-Up, by calling it the Pull- Up of Protection. I have not decided the bonus yet. Maybe +5 as it is powerful enough to stop us.

Of late, it has not worked so well. Maybe we need to put more effort into getting her. So she understands how powerful the bonus.

“Viking – Shield Maiden” by Danielle Pioli is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

She has gotten too comfortable hearing us encourage her. Time to restore the fear.

Categories
Daycare

Shy

Something I have seen with kids Fleur’s age is shyness around strangers. This morning I sort of exploited that. Her new classmate experienced a lot of anxiety about the dropoff at daycare.

He was in tears, so I asked him what is my name. (We had a conversation about how we had the same one a couple weeks prior.) This went on for five minutes of encouraging him to answer, but the shyness kept him from doing so.

He stopped crying. He looked to mom for reassurance that I am okay. And was able to go on without any further fuss.

Categories
sleep

Brain Fog

Yeah, the sleep deprivation as a parent is impressive. Before parenthood, I assumed it would end after the late night feedings. I saw the stuff about it lasting years. I didn’t grasp that it remained as strong for years and then maybe taper off.

But, yeah, Mondays are like walking into a wall.

My approaches are:

  • Coffee doesn’t help so much as mask the tiredness. I use it anyway.
  • Sleep when I can. (For me, I fall out hard early in the night which matches the kid’s usual pattern.)
  • Leverage the external brain (calendar, reminders)

My wife does similar, but her sleep cycle wants the hardest sleep starting after 4 am, so the kid waking up around then hits her harder than it does me. I try my best to get the kid quiet in another part of the house. But, still, the brain fog is hindering her more.

Categories
communication Evolution Parenting

Fairness

Fleur went through a fairness phase. It especially escalated around age two where she would express displeasure about unfair treatment. I have no doubt her like and dislike of daycare adults is based on her perception of their being fair. She is getting better about expressing that position. But, I would agree she has been evaluating this since around a year old.

The results suggest that toddlers reward those who are acting fairly, adding to the evidence that very young children have a strong sense of what is “right” or normative. But, interestingly, these kids don’t seem to punish those who have been unfair (in fact, the researchers suggest that the children instead tended to avoid making responses towards unfair distributors, as they touched the screen fewer times overall after seeing those who acted unfairly).

At Just 16 Months Old, Toddlers Will Reward Someone For Acting Fairly

Lots of ideas about evolution suggest the human brain is geared towards communication. However, I would suggest that brain power is about evaluating fairness. People suck at mathematics and logic until it deals with fairness for themselves. Communication is also about fairness in that we talk and write to establish common ideas upon which to make judgements.