Saturday, November 21, 2009

Theater first

C. has a big day today, his first time going to see a play. Although it is a production for children, the reccommended age range starts at 4, which C. is still over six months away from. But Grandma S. is enthusiastic about getting his arts education started, and his attention span is pretty good already, so there he goes. Last night, I was giving him a preview, trying to prepare him for the experience, and I realized that it was a big deal: his real introduction to the world of theater. Soon, Shakespeare plays with Grandpa F.!

So much to learn...

The other morning, C. was playing in the living room, after having put on his own underwear. I didn't even notice the problem from the front. It was only when he turned around that I started laughing...

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Fear

I just read a fantastic memoir by a Southern California writer with a terrifying, heartbreaking, fascinating story about surviving a plane crash that killed his father, his father's girlfriend, and the pilot, when he was 11 years old. The father had made him conquer all kinds of fears when he was tiny: skiing and surfing in conditions that are hard to imagine in any case, let alone trying to envision going through that fear as a young child. A parent these days would most likely go to jail if they subjected a kid to the conditions his dad inflicted on him. The irony is that the balance, instinct and confidence that he developed are what allowed him to escape that deadly crash.

C. (3.5) is going through a "Fireman Sam" phase. But of the six episodes currently available On Demand... only two of them can be viewed without a screech of, "I don't like this one! Change it!" He doesn't like it when someone gets hurt, lost, or if the story is otherwise too scary. He's a sensitive little guy. This morning, I was thinking about what it would have been like for C. to have a parent that made him confront and tolerate intense fear. As it stands, he has two pretty indulgent ones who don't like to scare him... perhaps to a fault. Some fear is clearly good, at least in the confidence that he gains from getting past it. (Case in point: preschool.)

He starts soccer tomorrow, which he says he doesn't want to do, presumably because he is scared. He'll go anyway, any probably like it a lot. But that's about the speed of my tolerance of having him confront fears. Now I can only hope that he won't be in a situation where he would need to be able to scale down an icy mountain solo in a freak accident...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Boarding the Bribe Train

C. is pretty smart. However, he does not excel at everything. One particularly weak skill has proven to be… potty training.

His preschool teachers have been supportive. Relatives have had their opinions. Hubby and I have done our best. But the kid is stubborn. And he hasn’t wanted to do it. It had not gone well. That is until… Teacher Susan said to C., “C! You like playing with Gordon? I’m going to put him up in this cabinet. If your mommy tells me that you went pee in the potty, I’ll let you take it home and keep it for a few days.” Next time we were at school he was able to take it home; finally, he was interested (and motivated) in using the potty. And today, when he took Gordon home for a second time after some more sporadic practice, he really was on a roll, using the potty on his own for the rest of the day. I am cautiously optimistic that we are rounding the PT bend…

I had been against bribery. It sets up "things" as a reward, rather than the satisfaction of accomplishing something… it just seems so capitalistic. But at this point, with C. knocking on the door of 3.5, I’m genuinely OK with a little bribery to neutralize the stubbornness. I even told him that if he continues to try to use the potty over the weekend, we’ll buy him his own Gordon. Peep peep.