Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Playful Parenting

Playful Parenting I recently finished this book by Laurence Cohen, and thought it was the best "parenting advice" book I've read. At the beginning, I thought I already did most of the things he recommended, and that I might pick up a few tips, but as the book progressed I found much more good advice than I could have imagined. The area of most use in our household is the discussion of how to deal with the parent who is out of the house all day being rejected by the child upon return. We have had many nights of "I don't want Daddy," and the situation has improved after just a week of trying his techniques.

We have always followed a policy of trying to turn everything into a game, but Cohen recommends a level of play that reaches full-out ridiculousness. It feels funny at first, but wow, it really works. Read the book, try a few techniques. You'll be glad you did.

What We Read Last Night

Pierre Lucy read this to me, and I have never read it to her, so we got quite an interesting tale! As far as she was concerned, this was another book about lion dancing.

Too Many Rabbits by Peggy Parish This one is a fun story, but the pictures are really not too exciting compared to the lushly illustrated books we are used to reading.

Ladybug Magazine She has been reading magazines a lot lately. This particular one had an article about what you call the driver of different vehicles (a pilot flies the plane, etc.)

Mr. Book

My mother is a teacher, and she has long had in her classroom a friend named "Mr. Book." Mr. Book gives the students advice about how to treat him, with pages like, "Don't eat me, I'm not food," and " Turn pages carefully, don't tear me." Lucy got her own copy of Mr. Book, and has learned to treat her books like friends, although if you ask her what Mr. Book says, she'll proudly tell you, "Don't eat me, I'm food!"

The most special books in Lucy's collection are those created by her family. Construction paper, pens, and some form of binding are all that are required, and they really make her feel good. In addition to Mr. Book, she has Lucy Visits California, Lucy's Sleep Book, and Lucy's Alphabet Book.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sometimes People Call Me Honey

A beautiful morning at the Guggenheim. Sketching the David Smith sculptures. Like a science fiction novel, the same cab driver who dropped us off was waiting at the entrance. He was very sweet, chatting with Lucy and giving her the receipt. When we got out of the car she told me, "Mommy, sometimes people call me honey." They sure do, and in your case it's only because you're so sweet.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Buzz Buzz

Flight of the Bumblebee, running around in circles for 45 minutes. We may never relax. On the other hand, it's an excellent workout...

What We Read Last Night

Lucy read to herself, Clifford's First Snow Day. She wanted to sleep in her igloo tent from Ikea, but didn't quite make it.

Of Big Bird and the Monkey King

Last night I joined Lucy in the bath, and we had a really pleasant long conversation about what she is thinking about: Big Bird. And when can I visit China like Big Bird? Where is the Monkey King? When will Sesame Place be open? I love quiet times like this when we just talk. It made the ensuing 45 minutes of being cold, wet, and pruny worthwhile.

Yum Yum Glitter

Yesterday we had friends over to make valentines. Lots of glue, tape, scissors and crayons. A toddler's dream. Lucy wanted to try using "yum yum glitter" like Ruby in Max's Valentine, so we got some beautiful pink and purple sanding sugar. It looked great on her valentines, and felt nice and crunchy on our feet all over the house!

Friday, February 03, 2006

I Want to Push the Elevator Button

We live in one of those giant apartment buildings that is like a miniature city. There is one neighbor on our floor who each time we see her at the elevator announces, "I want to push the elevator button because I am in a hurry." I guess she fears that Lovely L will dawdle, fuss, complain, and otherwise prevent her from reaching her destination in a timely fashion. The funny thing is that Lucy likes to push the elevator button, but it is not a critical part of her journey. She is perfectly ok with someone else pushing it. So obviously this woman has elevator button issues of some sort. Is there a way we could turn our relationship around, make her happy to see us?

Last night I was reading Playful Parenting, and the author related the tale of a drunken and obnoxious man whose aggressive attitude was turned around by a group of friends who invited him to join them. So how did they do it? Although I am not an outgoing person, that is what I want to work on for a while. Making the world a brighter place through empathy and connection. Any suggestions for implementation from those who are more "socially enabled" are welcome.

Not a big thing, but you never know what will happen.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"Sleep Hygiene"

We lead a very unstructured lifestyle. All three adults have been self-employed for most of our careers, and sticking to a schedule is really not our strong suit. I tried to do it, for months on end; schedules posted around the house, bedtime rituals, menu plans, but it never really worked. Each day ended with me lying in bed for hours with Lucy trying to get her to follow a bedtime schedule, while she cried piteously at the thought of all that fun happening without her.

Before long, I just gave up. At the time it felt like a combination of laziness and frustration, and later grew into faith that she would figure it out herself, and we would provide her with the neccessary resources. For a long time, she would tell me when she was tired (sometimes as late as 12:30 pm) and I would rock, nurse, pat, sing, and generally break every rule of "sleep hygiene." She would wake many times a night, crying needing help going back to sleep.

And gradually, it got better. Sleep stretches got longer and longer, until 6 hours or more was the rule, not the exception. Going to sleep got easier too, until this week when she reached the ultimate goal: she says "I'm tired," closes her eyes, and goes to sleep. Simple, beautiful, and worth the wait.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What We Read Last Night

Guess How Much I Love You

Dora's Day at the Beach-No, we haven't completely escaped her!

My Bunny Book

About Television

Sometimes when you try something scary and unknown, the reults can be terrific. We didn't let Lucy watch tv at all until she was one. If it was on when she was awake, we would make sure she was facing the other direction. At one, we let her watch Sesame Street each morning, and that was it.

Then she met Dora. The Children's Museum of Manhattan has a Dora exhibit that is remarkably engaging. Costumes, adventure slides, animals to drive in the rescue truck, they have it all. Once she met Dora she wanted to read her books, and watch her on tv, and watch anything else that might be on tv. Her television obsession was growing, despite our best efforts to restrict her viewing to a reasonable amount.

One, night, around her second birthday, she woke up at 2 am screaming, "I want to watch tv!" As I sat on the living room floor with her, trying to remain calm and resolute in the face of her irrational, but heartfelt pleas, my mom came out and asked, "Is it really worth the tears?" And you know, it wasn't. She watched Dora, and she watched Sesame Street, and whatever else she wanted that I could stand. My only television restriction was not during dinner. We had a few months of VERY HEAVY television use.

The result? In the past 2 weeks, she watched ten minutes total of television. She rarely asks for it. When she does, she quickly gets her fill and moves on to another activity.

She's just done with it, and I am glad.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Even though she is not really old enough to understand the math, Lucy loves Cyberchase. And we love to see how masterfully the writers craft math and problem solving into the stories. It really shows how math is useful in everything. I only wish I had learned this lesson much earlier! I would love to wake up one morning and see evrything in "math vision..." (yes, I'm a geek)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Dinner Tonight

pork chops. applesauce. hash browns. peas.

Ten Things About Us

1. I am a stay-at-home mom.
2. I live with my husband, sister, and daughter.
3. We live in Manhattan.
4. This means we don't have that much space.
5. Yet, we have enough books and magazines to outfit a small library.
6. Lucy is 2.5.
7. Her favorite subject is the lion dance, and she has 3 books and 3 videos about it.
8. She loves to demonstrate the lion's eyes opening and closing.
9. She named this blog
10. My husband is a programmer.