Archive for category Child-raising

Live Long And Prosper!
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The world over, parents are regarded by many of their children as a kind of super hero. Fathers, especially, garnish this perception of seemingly possessing great wisdom, strength, and agility—far beyond their little supporters … Our age and experience helps reinforce this ideal. Little boys and girls grow up with a sense of awe as they watch their parents conquer daily tasks. Although parents may not realize it, this perception (in some cases) can slightly inflate their ego to the point that they take on a task or perform an act outside their abilities. Now, I’m not referring to leaping tall buildings or lifting cars. I’m speaking of something on a much smaller scale: watching someone in another discipline or profession who may not perform to that parent’s expectation, which—interestingly enough—may cause the parent to believe they can do better.

Please don’t mistake me, I’m not judging others. I’m merely speaking of my own recent experience. Let me set the stage for you. Consider a normal monthly occurrence: a trip to the mall for a child’s routine haircut. Now factor in that my son has a fear of hair-dryers, electric clippers, and generally dislikes a person cutting his hair (which I’m sure some of you may be able to relate with). All that aside, barbers (or hairdressers as some prefer to be called) have the difficult job of quickly cutting the child’s hair, while simultaneously coordinating with the parent (if they assist) to distract the child, and re-assuring both the parent and child that all is well. Let’s not also forget that the act of cutting hair requires experience, a license, and a talented execution by the licensee. But, we tend to be quite critical of the end result (especially if it’s our own hair). And, particularly in a circumstance such as mine, the hairdresser may not even be able to fully complete the task.

Vulcan hairstyle akin to the bowl-cut

Vulcan hairstyle akin to the bowl-cut

Perhaps you see where this is going. Upon an incomplete execution of a haircut, my son had a couple uneven areas in the front and back and long strands around his ears. Dissatisfied (and slightly embarrassed), I determined that trimming a few hairs could easily resolve the issue; and, with my son’s trust and my own mild OCD, I also determined that I could easily do better than the hairdresser and complete the task. Now, in my own defense, the areas around his ears came out quite well.

I now have my very own Vulcan (for those who may not get the Science Fiction reference to Star Trek, his hairstyle is akin to the bowl-cut).

Fifty Words – A Few Too Many
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Fifty words - a few too many

Fifty words - a few too many

As some of you may know from following the tweets, my son (with the help of his mother) has called several times while away.  And it brings up an interesting topic—the conversations of two-year-olds.  It’s a curious time during which a child knows what they want to say, but aren’t necessarily capable of saying it.  Thus the general fits and temper tantrums that have contributed to the phrasing of “the terrible two’s”. 

Doctors (such as my son’s pediatrician) say that at the age of two, children should have a vocabulary of at least fifty words.  Some books and sites even suggest one-hundred.  When you think about it, that’s a lot of words.  But where do they all come from?  Sure, many come from interactions with parents, family, and friends.   My son learned the French words for Grandma and Grandpa from my parents who wanted to be called by them (Memere’ for Grandma, Pepere’ for Grandpa).  He also calls my girlfriend Pepere’; mainly because she laughed one day when he called her, and everything else, Pepere’—so it stuck.

But what’s most fascinating is how phrases like “I want”, “mine”, and “my turn” quickly accompanied “no” in his daily usage.  These weren’t things we said.  And so it stands to reason that these came from elsewhere.   A quick and easy culprit was television.  Although not on often at our home, we had to make sure that we screened what was on and mainly watched DVD’s of known content.  Our home wasn’t alone.  We also collaborated with his mom, who noticed him parroting things directly from the T.V. and so started a similar effort.  Another large contributor was from his observation of the interactions with other children and families.  You could see him absorb it like a sponge and look on with keen intrigue.  And so now begins a difficult task of not only filtering what he hears and says, but swaying his actions from the negative interactions he observes—I’m excited…  can you hear the sarcasm in those words?  As my Mom and Dad would say, “Welcome to parenting…”