Parenthood is an exciting, confusing, rewarding, infuriating, isolating, and community-building experience. Through writing about my experiences and reactions to parenting-related articles, I aim to foster a sense of inquiry and inclusion rather than to promote any sort of ideal or philosophy. After all, most of us are just flying by the seat of our pants, doing what works and what feels right.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Changing the Tone on Sour Behavior

I have given the topic of changing the tone on sour behavior a LOT OF THOUGHT over the last year, as my child has found being four years old to be quite challenging.  Here's what has been working for us.  The over all approach is to change the tone and assert my authority.  It has been working for the most part, and it's made life more livable.   

1. Keep cool, at least on the outside.  At least pretend to be calm.  I try not to let my anger turn into big reactions.  He matches my anger with more anger.  I don't succeed all the time, but MAN is it better when I stay calm.  Sometimes, I literally repeat to myself "Calm, patient, loving, consistent, firm." Or something like that.  Because it's HARD. 

2. House Rules.  We are not religious, but I was really noticing its absence in our lives with regards to rules about how we treat each other.  I made a poster of our house rules that we ALL have to follow, including listening and following directions, and my favorite: "Control yourself.  Act from a place of love, not anger."  We can recite them now, and I sometimes have him remind me what the house rules are.  Then there's the "Be Gentle: no hitting,..." etc. 

3. Incentives: We tried changing the tone of things with an incentive system. I noticed that his explosiveness is way worse around (surprise!) getting ready in the morning and getting ready for bed.  So we use a star system to get him something he REALLY wants.  When he does well enough (again, not perfect -- just working on changing the tone), he earns a star.  After 20 stars, he gets fancy new train tracks for his overpriced but really very good Brio Set.  Or a Micro Scooter.  Or a trip to JP Licks.  Whatever. 

4. CONSEQUENCES.  If he really violates the house rules (like totally loses control of himself and bites one of us, which has happened when he's too tired), the consequences kick in. We took his most prized possession, his LEGO away from him last week for a whole week, and I've been letting him earn them back with good behavior.  When he behaves well, he earns a day back.  When he behaves really terribly for a lot of the day, it adds a day.  And I remind him of the consequences.  That's generally all it takes.  I just gave them back this morning, and I made it clear that I can take them away again, but that he knows how to act in order to keep them. 

5. I physically, but gently move him (when I can).  When I can't physically move him, I rely on consequences more.

6. Reinforce a positive identity.  I remind him every day what a good, caring loving, helpful person he is and what a great member of his family he is.  I want him to identify as a good person who behaves respectfully and lovingly.

7.  Otherwise, Keep the tone light!  Our stress leads to his stress, so if we let him know that his behavior doesn't stress us out, he won't identify it as the only thing going on in his life.  This one is a really big deal.  He needs the time he spends at home to be positive and uplifting, so we try not to spend too long correcting his behavior or talking about it.  Just move onto the next thing, and keep the tone light. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Things to tell my new parent self

This great post from Mommypotamus was inspired by Mother's Day, and I have to say I couldn't agree more.

Number 2 really resonates with me right now... to be "suspicious of the quiet toddler."  Last week when I was getting ready in the morning, it was suspiciously quiet for a minute or so, after which point Calvin said, "snow!!!" ... and then he walked into the bathroom carrying an upside-down and now empty box of breadcrumbs.  I dashed into the kitchen to clean up the "snow" only to discover that the "snow" was trekked all throughout our (this time thankfully) tiny apartment.  Be suspicious of quiet toddlers.

In addition, I'm so happy to see her mention to check your babies for tongue ties and lip ties yourself.  Unfortunately, most docs are not properly trained in this area and don't diagnose them most of the time., and right now, a lot of parents are just having to advocate hard for themselves.

Anyway, check it out!

11 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Pre-Momma Self

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tongue Tie and Lip Tie Survey

Hi there!  If you have a child who has/had a tongue tie or lip tie, please consider taking 15-20 minutes complete this survey about your experiences.  

This kind of research is key to promoting the importance of getting tongue ties and lip ties checked and potentially getting pediatricians properly trained and informed on the significance of tongue tie and lip tie.  Currently, there is a strong body of clinical and observation evidence as well as a growing body of experimental evidence, but not much in the way of survey data.  

Continue to Tongue Tie and Lip Tie Survey

Monday, May 5, 2014

Guest Post about Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

As word about tongue ties and lip ties grow, I wanted to reshare this post from Vasowhat?!?!  about her journey working to breastfeed her kiddo with tongue tie and lip tie -- and what she went through to get the ties diagnosed. 

We Made It! From Vasowhat?!?!

Indian Food Kick

I have been on an Indian food kick, which means that I've been attempting to make it since it's quite expensive.  Bonus: when we make it at home, Calvin is more likely to try it than when we are at a restaurant in the most distracting of all distracting environments.

I have discovered a couple of recipes that Calvin seems to very much enjoy (as long as I keep the hot peppers moderated).

I might as well mention that I"ve put these on my Pinterest Page, which I use less to find things and more as a bulletin board for online recipes.

Saag Paneer, the famous spinach and cheese dish that is the perfect balance of creamy and spicy, courtesy of the Food Network.
Saag paneer recipe.  I made it without the paneer since we had none and used a pound of fresh spinach (brought to a boil and drained) rather than frozen, and it still came out well.  Word to the wise -- it doesn't taste great when it's still hot.  This recipe really shines a few hours later.

This particular recipe calls for yogurt.  I used full fat FAGE yogurt, and I should also mention that I omitted the paneer (cheese) altogether.  You can use potatoes, too, to make a dish that is called "aloo saag."  In addition, I used a pound of fresh spinach cooked for 2 minutes in hot water rather than frozen.  I then used an immersion blender to make it smooth.

Note: this recipe tastes wayyyyyy better after it has settled for a few hours.  I would recommend making it ahead of time.

Red Bean Curry from the Smitten Kitchen

red kidney bean curry by smitten, via Flickr

This recipe is probably my current favorite DIY Indian dish because it really does come close to tasting like what you might have at a restaurant, or even better.

I use red beans made from scratch in the crockpot.  Ideally, the beans would soak for 6-8 hours and then cook in a crockpot overnight with onions and salt.  They don't need much more time than that.  If using black beans instead of red beans with a crock pot, then I cook them for 24 hours.

I serve both of these recipes over rice.  Sometimes I use basmati rice when I have it on hand, but otherwise, I use long grain brown rice.  The trick is really how the rice is prepared.

Lindsay's rice that is fit to serve with Indian dishes:
1 cup rice (basmati or brown long grain rice)
       If using basmati rice, then use 1 3/4 cup water.
       If using brown rice, then use 2 cups water.
10 or so cumin seeds
1 tbsp butter or olive oil or a combination thereof
1/2 tsp  - 1 tsp salt

Cover in a pan, cook until rice is done (approx 10 min for basmati and 40 min for brown rice).  Optional:  Add 5-10 safron fronds, stir in.  Set aside and fluff 3 minutes later.

These recipes have broken up an otherwise monotonous menu plan of black beans, kale, and some kind of grain, whether it be quinoa or rice or noodles.  It's nice to mix things up a bit, isn't it?  I know Calvin likes it, but let's be honest: so do I.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I just give him food.

An article in the New York Times recently documented the baby food industry's reaction to its decreasing number of sales due to more parents making -- shhh -- FOOD for their babies.

That's right.  Can you believe it?  Rather than purchasing costly (and often ghastly) jars or pouches of baby food, some people are just giving their children food?

Some of the reasons acknowledged by the food companies are that parents are wanting to offer their children as close to the whole food as possible, avoiding things like preservatives.  Some parents want their kids to be eating only organic food.  Some parents are making their own purees to cut down on costs.  Still other parents are finding that higher cost but higher convenience pouches work for them.  All of those are valid points.

But I think they've missed one of the big points.  A lot of parents just want to give their kids regular food