Monday, June 4, 2012

The Boob Tube

My kids watch television and movies everyday. There I said it, now let me explain.

They are not staring at the television all day long, but they get an hour or two in each day plus a few movies each week. Studies have shown.... blah, blah, blah. It is hard for me to justify not allowing my kids television or movies when they play such an important part in my life.

 I watch several movies a week. I also have shows that I follow pretty religiously. I enjoy them because I fell they add something positive to my life. Before we had kids, we went and saw nearly every movie that came out in the movie theater. I love to laugh, cry, and gasp at the things I see in films. And my kids get something important out of their television viewing also.

Lukas gets lost in episodes of How Its Made. Logan claps and sings along with the Muppets. We have cheered Harry Potter on together and compared the story book Jumanji to the movie. We clap for our favorite superheros and learn about different kinds of families. Yes, all these things can be found in books, but why not experience it in different ways?

To me, not allowing my kids to watch a show or watch a movie would be like telling them that the art museum is a waste of time or that we shouldn't listen to music. I consider television shows and movies to be an art form. Yes, even Phineas and Ferb. It may not be very highbrow, but the animation is vivid and the writing is witty and fun.

Like most things in life, television watching is fine in moderation. As long as my kids are still getting out and riding their bikes and showing enthusiasm for the books we read or the art that we create, I don't see a problem with allowing more television than the recommended amount.

Besides, how else will I get dinner cooked every night?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Just a Logan

*Insert required comment about not blogging in over a month and how crazy busy I have been.*

The boys are at the age where there is quite a bit of discussion about bodies and gender. They are processing the biological differences, but also starting to analyze some of the things they see that aren't biological. They notice their girl friends wearing dresses and having longer hair. When they are playing with their mixed gender play group I overhear them negotiating with each other about what is acceptable for boys and girls.

As the liberal lady that I am, I don't necessarily want my children to paint themselves into little blue and pink corners, but I do accept that this is a part of life and a part of basic human socialization. We humans like to categorize and define things. We put things in their place, including humans. No matter how many times I tell Lukas that boys can wear pink and girls can play with trucks, he is eventually going to have to process through these things himself.

Which brings me to the conversation my boys had in the car today. Their innocent little ramblings illustrate what these tiny people are going through as they try and figure out the world.

Lukas: I have a penis and I am a boy.

Logan: Mommy don't have a penis.

Lukas: Mommy is a a grill. You have a penis Logan.

Logan: (Raises eyebrow quizzically)

Lukas: That means you're a boy.

Logan: No, I not a boy.

Lukas: You're not a grill Logan. You have a penis.

Logan: I just a Logan.

Logan sums it up nicely. As they are working these things out, it is important to remind them that even though there are these differences, some biological and some societal, all that really matters is that you are allowed to be yourself.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gotcha Journalism

The other day I was heavily involved in commenting on someones facebook post when Logan came and asked me for something to drink. "Go ahead and get yourself some water." I told him.

I hear him get some water and think nothing of it until about four minutes later when I notice it is unusually quiet for all three of the kids to be awake and standing right around the corner from where I was sitting.

I wander into the kitchen to find the entire floor covered in a puddle of water. Ack! Not on the expensive wood floors!! Logan is jumping happily in the puddles while Lukas is doing something with my IPhone.

"Who is responsible for this mess?" I ask.

"Lukas!" yells Logan giving the predictable answer.

In a completely out of character response, Lukas simply hands me the phone and walks out of the room. I look at the phone and see the following series of photos.

Here we see the glass sitting in the puddle of water.

Here we see Logan dumping out the cup of water onto the floor.

Here we see Logan happily jumping in the mess he created.

Innocent bystander.

Here is Logan refilling his cup to have another go at it.

And finally we see Logan sitting in time-out for dumping water all over the floor.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What. A. Day.

Most days with my kids are pretty simple. They are almost always tedious, but fun. There is the usual day to day things; getting dressed, making meals, reading stories, going to the park. It sounds easy, but the multitasking involved in feeding, dressing, teaching, herding, and entertaining three small children for twelve straight hours without a break every day is astounding.

Even a simple task like folding a basket of laundry becomes a test of your ability to maintain calm and patience. You fold a pair of pants and then you hear some shouting from the next room. You go and investigate. When you return the baby has gotten into the basket and unfolded the pants and is throwing the clothes all over the room. So you stop that little game and gather everything back up. You attempt it once again and this time you get halfway through the basket before you notice that someone needs a fresh diaper. You take this child to get a diaper change and when you come back the basket has been dumped and the older child is sitting in it pretending to be an astronaut. So you give up and leave the laundry on the floor for three weeks. The floor is now your dresser.

And that is how it goes for pretty much every simple task. At least for me. I know some things will get easier as they get older. They will be able to do their own laundry and help out with the simple things. They will have more ownership and responsibility over their own things. I will be able to delegate more to them. But for now it really does seem like I will just never catch up. I know some parents who are able to juggle all these tasks with what seems like ease, but I know that they are like me and are making tough choices everyday about what they can and cannot manage.

Today was a tough day for me for many reasons and I have been doing some thinking about how I want to be interacting with my children so that the important day to day tasks get done, but that my children are still getting the attention they need.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Neverending Toy Story

I have spent countless hours and shopping trips devising various ways to store and sort the toys. I've done the whole put some of them in a closet and switch them out. I've bought bins with lids and bins without lids. I've used fabric drawers and plastic drawers. I am ready to admit defeat, but I am not ready to have the toys rule our house.

I am of the opinion that my kids have a reasonable number of toys. The problem is that this reasonable number of toys have an unreasonable number of parts. Tinker toys, legos, train tracks, blocks, and so on. It has gotten to the point where I feel I am spending more time sorting the toys out than the kids spend playing with them.

So once again I am trying to come up with a solution for the "toy problem." Do I get out a box and have them fill it up with toys they don't want anymore? Do I search for an even more advanced system of organization? Do I just saw to heck with it and let them wallow in their junk? Or is there a better option?

I am toying with the idea of putting each toy with pieces in its own lidded container and putting a clear label and photo on the container so the kids know which toy goes where. But that still doesn't solve the problem of them opening all the boxes and dumping the toys on the floor, mixing them around and leaving them for me to sort.

Another option I am considering is to go in there while they are otherwise occupied and just filling a box myself with toys I know they don't play with at all. If they ask for the toy anytime in the next month, I will get it out and give it to them. Anything left in the box goes bye-bye out of my house.

The other sad thing is that I am putting this much time into contemplating it as though it were some sort of life or death situation. I suppose whatever I decide to do will be fine. I guess it is time to just go get it done already.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Punch Me in the Face

Asking introspective and probing questions simply does not work with Logan. He's one step ahead of me so I am constantly having to dig deep into the parenting reserves to try to figure him out.

This morning I walked in on Lukas hitting Logan. He was put into a time out. I asked him if he thought he would like to be hit. Predictably, he said, "No." He apologized to Logan and they went about their business.

Fast forward about one hour. I walk into a room and see Logan cornering Luella in the corner and bopping her on the head. So I use a similar tactic. Logan gets a "time-in" and I ask him the same question. "How would you like to be hit like that?" Logan says, "I like to be hit Mommy."

"Oh really?"

"Yes. It's funny." He then smacks himself in the face five times to illustrate his point. I sigh.



"Will you punch me in the face please?"

"Um, no. I won't punch you in the face."

Now I have a three-year-old running around the room, slapping himself in the face, and screaming, "Mommy punch me in the face! Mommy punch me in the face!"

Good thing my neighbors are all at work.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Sometimes as parents we all do things we regret and that we know will be ineffective. I seem to do this more often than I care to admit. I know in the long run my kids are going to be fine and to err is human, but there are times when I know I owe one of my kids a sincere apology for a poor parenting decision.

This morning there was much frustration in the getting dressed department. Lukas just flat out refused to put his clothes on. When all of my tactics failed to result in compliance, I finally picked him up despite him being a big four-year-old now, placed him in his bedroom, and said in a louder than necessary voice "don't come out of this room until you have clothes on! Argh!" I guess it worked because he was dressed less than five minutes later, but that doesn't mean it was a great method.

When he came downstairs and was dressed, I gave him a hug and said, "I'm sorry I yelled. I was very frustrated." Then I added the thought that was in my head, "Sometimes I wish I was a good mommy all the time."

And this sweet boy that I had just yelled at cupped my face in his hands and said, "Well mommy, wishes do come true."

Seriously, how did I get so lucky?