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
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
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.

Categories
Experiences

Concrete

I operate in a world of abstractness.

  • The hundreds of machines I manage are virtual machines using logical storage volumes and allowed access to CPU & memory on hardware. I can do my job from anywhere because there is not anything physical for me to touch other than my laptop.
  • The fiction I read allows me to craft my own vision of events.
Photo by Louis on Pexels.com

When Fleur gets to see the things from stories in real life, there is a brightness to her expression of wonder.

My favorite is when she sees a school bus. She breaks out into her favorite song: The wheels on the bus go round-and-round, round-and-round, round-and-round. She does all the verses we know even though the bus is long gone from sight.

Another good one is the horses. They have most been silent and stamping when they want pets. When Molly neighed at her, Fleur was astounded because it was the first time she’d experienced the sound in person.

This process of attaching something concrete to an abstract concept makes me happy for her.

I’m thinking I need to take notes of these things from the books in her collection and brainstorm ways for her to experience them in person.

Categories
Parenting Problem Solving

Help is a four letter word

I do it myself!

Fleur, just now and all the time

I am torn about this stage.

I love that she wants to develop these skills.

  • She perseveres.
  • She makes small tweaks to form to find the one that works if it doesn’t initially work.
  • She learns from the past mistakes.
  • She develops a preference.
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

My hope is experiences like this will help her pass the marshmallow test.

I dislike having to wait. I am not good at padding the timeline to include how long it could take her. I hope to get better about accommodating this.

Thankfully, when I offer to help, she rebuffs me. This tends to be a bit more intense than my preference, but I respect that she wants to do it. Also, if we try to intervene by putting on her socks or shoes without permission, then she will get upset and remove it and get even more determined to do it herself.

Categories
Friendship

Friendship

One of the family stories is my brother has this friend. They were in the same daycare class when they were months old through college with a brief hiatus where they still maintained the friendship. This was the best man at his wedding.

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A former coworker of mine and a current one of my wife has a daughter about the same age as Fleur. They’ve had many a play date growing up. And ended up in the same daycare. COVID put a halt to that, but now they are around each other again.

Pre-COVID, they would play around each other. They acknowledged the existence of the other. They might allow the other to play with a toy that is theirs, but it wasn’t playing together. It saddens me that I cannot peek into the room to observe if this has changed.

This morning, I was informed that the crayons she was taking were:

  • Blue for friend
  • Red for self

Which makes me happy. Our child is growing up and making friends.