Peculiar Expectations on My Kids Blog Post - Peculiar Expectations on My Kids Report Card Expectations

Peculiar Expectations on My Kids

Peculiar Expectations on My Kids Blog Post - Peculiar Expectations on My Kids Report Card Expectations

My Peculiar Expectations

If you are reading this, I know you are constantly striving to do your best as a parent (or grandparent, interested aunt, uncle or friend). I know I am!

The trouble is that a lot of how we parent is not consciously taught. We haven’t decided to parent in a certain way because of a particular book or article. We may have got some tips from reading things over the years, but we mostly parent our kids with deeply held beliefs and ingrained behaviors from our own upbringing.

Usually our little families fare okay from this combination of trying to do the right thing and intuitive parenting. Sometimes, however, it is worth shining a spotlight on our parenting practices and asking ourselves if they are the best we can do.

After a few days away, just the kids and I, I had some space to observe some of my parenting expectations. I have decided that I need to question some of the more peculiar expectations on my kids.

 

Examples of Peculiar Expectations

One of the things I expect my kids to do is share or take turns with toys. Of course, learning to share and being able to be patient are good things to learn. However, I wouldn’t like it if I was told to share MY toys. I don’t want anyone else to use my iPhone, laptop, even my new drink bottle! Especially if a birthday boy or girl is given a new gift, I completely understand him or her not wanting to let others have a turn. It is a brand new toy! Other kids could damage it or run off with it. From now on, however controversial this may seem, I won’t be so quick to admonish my kids for not sharing or taking turns.

Another thing I have been guilty of in the past is simply expecting my kids to want to go up to and possibly even pat dogs, cats, rabbits and other pets. In a similar vein I just assumed most kids would want to be curious about and even pick up spiders, insects and various creepy crawlies. Not all kids have any desire to be that up close with nature, something I completely understand, as I certainly don’t want to touch spiders or bugs. I am not sure why I would expect my kids to get up close and personal with any creature if I wouldn’t do it too.

I also expect my kids to be okay with occasional periods of boredom. I really want them to be able to find ways to cope with boredom, learn patience and find ways to entertain themselves with their own imagination. This is very important to me… and yet… and yet… at every opportunity that I could be bored – waiting in line etc. – I pull out my phone. Every time! I don’t let myself be bored so how can my kids learn to do it? On our car trip recently, the kids had no screens, we didn’t listen to audio stories and they had only a couple of toys to play with. Yet they coped very well. They looked out the window, noticed things, happily joined in with some games of ‘I Spy’ and were generally very well behaved. I often felt bored and wanted to reach for my phone – and as I was driving that was out of the question.

 

Types of Peculiar Expectations

So the expectations we can have on our kids can be peculiar because we would never do the behavior ourselves (share new gifts) or we don’t take consideration of what a particular child actually likes to do (picking up insects) or because we don’t hold ourselves up to the same standard (being okay with being bored). There are probably other types of peculiar expectations I – and other parents – have on our kids as well.

So what to do with all these peculiar expectations? I guess it is a step in the right direction that I have some awareness around this now. Next step – as guru, Tony Robbins, advocates is to “trade your expectations for appreciation”. Every time I come up against a peculiar expectation I will try to alter it so I express some gratitude instead. At the very least, focusing on being grateful will help me stop feeling so bored!

Peculiar Expectations on My Kids Blog Post - Peculiar Expectations on My Kids Blog Post - Bored Expectations

 

3 of the Most Disconcerting Things Kids Say Blog Post - Dylan Drawing of Me Nov17

3 of the Most Disconcerting Things Kids Say

3 of the Most Disconcerting Things Kids Say Blog Post - Dylan Drawing of Me Nov17

The Case of the Missing ‘L’

I now have a few ‘embarrassing incidents at the supermarket’ stories. Dylan contributed with his loud observation asking, “why has that man got many chins?”. Now Eloise has chimed in with her booming request to use the scales in the fruit and vegetable department. Except that she thinks the scales are a clock. And she can’t pronounce the ‘L’. When a three-year-old girl is yelling ‘I want clock’ (but without the L) in the supermarket it makes a dull trip for groceries rather exciting.

However, these embarrassing incidents do not make it into the top three most disconcerting things kids say. It is expected that kids are going to blurt out what they want and what they are thinking at any time and this can often lead to humiliation on the grown up’s behalf. No, disturbing or unnerving things form another list altogether as they can be quite startling.

Here are three disconcerting things my kids say:

 

1. “I see dead people” – Part One

I don’t know about you but I get shivers when my kids say they see things I can’t see or hear sounds that I am oblivious too. The practical explanation for this is that they simply have better sight and hearing than me, being younger plus not exposed to hours at a computer desk or rock concerts at their tender age.

However, sometimes there seems to be an eerie truth to their spooky reportings of a dark shadow or an unexplained thump. A friend of mine with twins said the girls went through a stage of running out of the playroom because of the ‘ghost’ in there. They did it so often and with so much intensity she almost believed them.

 

2. “I see dead people” – Part Two

A few months back I asked Dylan what his pencil drawing was about and his exact words: “This is Mama. She is dead. Blown up by dynamite”.  Errrr, I wasn’t sure how to reply to that one. At least he is thinking of me and drawing pictures of me. I guess that is a good thing.

I have already discussed how Dylan and I have had many conversations about the subject of death and dying and how I still find it a difficult topic to get my head around, but a visual representation pushed it into the disconcerting top three.

 

3. Say My Name

However, the most disconcerting thing kids say, especially when they are young has nothing to do with death. It is when they talk to you and use your actual name.

When a little voice peeps out from somewhere and says “Julie”, I do a double take. Every time. What makes them switch from a natural ‘Mama’ to my actual name? There seems to be no pattern to it. Dylan can be calm (“That’s OK, Julie”) or annoyed (“Julie, why won’t you let me watch TV?”) when using my moniker. I think if I knew when usage would more likely happen I wouldn’t be so shocked, but as it can happen sporadically but at any time it is my number one most disconcerting thing kids say.

I would love to hear your examples of disconcerting things your kids say in the comments below.

3 of the Most Disconcerting Things Kids Say Blog Post - I See Dead People Bart Simpson

Rethinking the Toothfairy Blog Post

Rethinking the Toothfairy

Rethinking the Toothfairy Blog Post

Tooth Milestone

Last week a major developmental milestone occurred – Dylan lost his first baby tooth. Yes, a tiny (and I am talking cucumber seed infinitesimal) tooth became very wriggly and finally came out at the end of school lunchtime on an otherwise quiet Wednesday.

On pick up, Dylan bounded up, keen to show me the rather large space left behind. Its almost a week later and I still get a little shock each time he greets me with his gappy smile. The tiny tooth was carefully wrapped in tissue and secured in his lunch box.

This is where the interesting part begins…

 

Rethink Opportunity

Dylan had informed me when his tooth started getting wriggly that he “didn’t believe in the toothfairy”. This took me by surprise, as he is still a firm defender of the jolly man in red at Christmas time. I tried to pry out of him why he thought the toothfairy wasn’t real but it wasn’t clear whether an older kid at school had spilled the beans or if he had decided on his own that believing in fairies – any kind of fairies – was a bit silly.

I took this information on board, and instead of trying to convince Dylan of the merits of believing in the toothfairy, it dawned on me that this was my opportunity to rethink the entire notion of the toothfairy.

 

Not a Toothfairy Fan

After all, there are many things I am not a fan of with the whole toothfairy concept.

Firstly, it encourages parents to lie to kids even more than we already do. I had reservations about perpetuating the myth of the jolly fellow in red, but had succumbed to the path of least resistance when Dylan was a baby. But doing it for one thing doesn’t mean I have to keep doing it.

Secondly, I was uneasy about exchanging teeth for money. What did it really teach a six-year-old? And what were we to do with this money? It was likely he would lose it, or keep it forever in his piggy bank, or – and this is the worst idea but highly probable – spend it on sweets. Oh the irony – getting money for losing teeth and then spending it on sugary snacks. No thanks.

Finally, even though the concept of a toothfairy secretly coming when the child was sleeping, taking a tooth and leaving money was a central tenet, there were many inconsistencies beyond that between families. Surveying friends showed a vast range in money left behind for a single tooth – anywhere between 20 cents and 20 dollars (!). The toothfairy could leave a note or sprinkle glitter around or not perform any added extras. And sometimes coins were found under pillows and sometimes next to the bed. There didn’t seem to be a stable societal norm I had to adhere to anyway, so why not throw away the whole concept and start over?

 

New Traditions

So after a few mature discussions with Dylan, here is where we have got to. The toothfairy may or may not exist (there seems to be some wavering on earlier conviction) but she doesn’t come to our home. Instead Mama or Daddy take Dylan’s tooth and exchange it for one Lego figure (I bought a bundle second hand, equivalent of about $2 each). This is still done when Dylan is asleep and the Lego figure is placed near his bed, not under his pillow.

Not quite a complete do-over but something a little different.

I understand that this is not for everyone and it may take some of the ‘magic’ out of it. And yes, there are still some tricky hurdles to overcome – I have already been asked whether I have kept the tooth and where it is. But Dylan is delighted with yet another Lego figure and I am happy to not perpetuate a lie and hand out money for doing nothing.

In fact, the freedom of not blindly following cultural norms is quite liberating. I am already starting to look at other areas where we can ditch convention and instead create new and more meaningful family traditions. You never know – the Lego figure idea may be something that is continued into future generations.

I would love to hear your good, bad and ugly toothfairy stories. Comment below.

Rethinking the Toothfairy Blog Post

3 Important Things My Kids Have Taught Me Blog Post - Snail

3 Important Things My Kids Have Taught Me

3 Important Things My Kids Have Taught Me Blog Post - Snail

Birthday Central

Our beautiful tiny humans, Dylan and Eloise have just turned six and three years old, respectively. Born exactly three years and three days apart, it makes for a busy but fun time of the year.

Becoming a mama has changed the whole course of my life and has been the most challenging and magnificent thing I have ever done. I have learned a lot about myself, being a parent and balancing (juggling?) everything. I expected there to be a steep learning curve in all these areas.

What I didn’t anticipate is how having kids has helped me rediscover what is truly important in life. My children remind me on a daily basis on how to live life to the fullest. I may be the one imparting knowledge but they divulge the real wisdom.

Here are three important things my kids have taught me in the past six years:

 

1. Ask for Everything

Expect the best, ask directly for what you want and have huge goals. Dylan didn’t just want a Lego set for his birthday – he wants ALL the Lego sets. Christmas is just an invitation to a never-ending wish list.

And of course the kids don’t get everything they ask for and they deal with feeling disappointed but it doesn’t stop them asking again. And again. Imagine if everyone had huge goals and didn’t back down at the first obstacle in striving to get what they really wanted. The world would be a different place.

 

2. Be Curious

When I picked up Dylan from school today he ran off with his friends to look at a snail. Yes, a snail. When I joined him, after finishing a conversation, five minutes later, he was still poking around that poor snail, trying to cover it with a leaf and feed it some crumbs. Eloise was marveling at the creature as well.

No grown up ever does this. Although we are told to ‘stop and smell the roses’, we almost never do and so miss out on the sense of awe that being curious can invoke. Children remind us that the world around us is full of wonder and I, for one, want to make sure I remember that.

 

3. Create Just Because You Can

Kids innately love being creative and they never worry (until they are older) whether what they are creating is ‘good’ or not. The simple act of creating something is enough. In the past year, Eloise has produced dozens and dozens of paintings and we now have boxes of Eloise’s artwork stored away. I don’t think Eloise, at three, would care whether we kept any of it. She has had a good time producing the art and giving it to us to look at and now she has moved on to the next creation.

Whenever I am struggling over my writing (which is frequently) I try to take this reminder about creativity on board – it doesn’t matter whether it is good, whether it is displayed or what happens to it – the act of creating something is a gift that only us humans have been given. We should cherish any time we get to be creative.

 

Happy Birthday

It is humbling to realize that I am the student, not the teacher when it comes to my kids, but if it means my life is improved with their wisdom then keep the lessons coming, I say.

Happy birthday, Dylan and Eloise, my wise tiny humans.

3 Important Things My Kids Have Taught Me Blog Post - Artwork