Archive for the ‘
Storytelling ’ Category
Thursday, November 29th, 2012
You can’t always change how you feel, but you can choose to decide how you’ll react to how you feel.
In other words, emotions are automatic; behavior is controllable.
That’s the lesson I was forced to teach you today.
I’m not gonna lie. This morning was the most difficult morning I’ve ever had with you.
It was rough! For both of us. Simply exhausting.
After getting you through the front door, I picked up on the fact you weren’t able to let it go that “YouTube time” was over and you had to go to school.
As I attempted to buckle you in your car seat, you screamed at me while bowing out your back, making it impossible for me to strap you in without possibly bruising you, as you violently resisted me.
So I took away your graham crackers and toy train.
That got your attention. I was able to buckle you in your seat as your focus was no longer about fighting me and now you were just simply angry at me for taking away your pre-breakfast snack and morning ride entertainment.
I started up the car and turned around to explain to you the deal, as you began your hostile emotional meltdown:
“Jack, listen. I’m going to give you your crackers and your toy; all you have to do is just one thing: Calm down. That means if you simply stop crying for a few seconds and stop screaming, you’ll get what you want.”
Your response, in a faux German accent: “MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!”
For the following 18 minutes, as I drove towards the interstate, it was a back and forth battle between the two of us: I would explain that all you had to do was calm down for a few seconds, you would retaliate with the equivalent of the Tasmanian Devil cursing.
I held a graham cracker in my hand just waiting for a 2 second pause in your crying. Finally, it happened. I slipped you one cracker.
Then you realized how it worked. If you calmed down, you got the very thing you were demanding.
By the second half of our drive to daycare, you had earned back all your crackers, as well as, your toy train.
Right now, at the age of 2, your emotional intelligence isn’t that high. Being able to manage your emotions is not easy for you.
So that means it’s my job to help you with that.
Your meltdowns seem to be triggered mainly when you are told no. Therefore, my main goal is to help you learn not to cry and get upset when I can’t, or won’t, give you what you want.
On the drive home tonight, I purposely avoided turning down the cul-de-sac with all the inflatable Snoopy Christmas yard decorations that you love to see. Instead, I wanted to test how you’d react.
Son, you did well. You accepted my rejection.
That means next time, you’ll definitely get to see Snoopy.
The more you can handle being told no, the more I will tell you yes.
I know it’s a struggle for you right now, but let me tell you, it’s even a challenge for me as an adult to be told no. I promise I know how you feel.
Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
That’s what I have been asking fellow parents at my son’s daycare.
The appropriate age is evidently around three years old from what people are telling me: My son will be 2 years-old in two weeks.
My wife and I were sort of planning on Jack’s Christmas gift this year being his first tricycle, but after learning he may be too young, or not tall enough to reach the peddles, we began looking at other options.
Then we arrived here in Sacramento for our vacation and I saw that my mother-in-law had bought Jack a Thomas the Train Tough Trike.
No, he’s not old enough for it nor is he tall enough to reach the peddles; he’s currently 34 inches tall.
But, that doesn’t seem to matter at all to him.
He’s put a lot of miles on his trike in the short amount of time we’ve been here. Part of our routine each morning is I walk next to him as he drives around the block.
Jack loves rolling down the driveway into the gutter curve in the sidewalk, as it creates a roller coaster type of effect.
“I go fast. Go fast. Daddy?”
That means I need to run to the end of the driveway ahead of him to catch him. I know when I was his age, I wouldn’t have had the bravery to be such an Evel Knievel.
What’s funny is that because his feet can’t reach the pedals, he has to ride his trike Fred Flintstone style.
However, this is the first toy vehicle he’s ever been able to steer, so the fact he’s not using his Tough Trike to its full potential doesn’t matter at all to him.
One of my favorite parts about escorting him on his morning ride is that fact that Jack refuses (!) to even leave the front porch if his half dozen toys aren’t with him.
No, you don’t see his rubber eyeball from Halloween, or his toy trains, or cars, or plastic made-in-China animals in Jack’s hands.
That’s because they’re inside the secret compartment underneath his seat on the trike.
He treats his special take-along toys like magic fuel to make the thing work. No toys… no fuel.
About every 15 minutes, he’ll awkwardly shimmy off his trike, open up the seat, hold each one of his toys for a few seconds, then place them back inside and return on his journey.
I think he likes the security of knowing he hasn’t ran out of magic fuel.
Now as we wrap up our vacation week in California, we know we will have to leave Jack’s Tough Trike behind on the West Coast.
It would cost 20 bucks to ship it to Nashville, but only 2 dollars more just to buy a new one.
I have a feeling the 2nd option will come into fruition.
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
I say that because it’s exactly what my son Jack has been pretending to do during bath time this week while on vacation in Sacramento.
The first night here at my mother-in-law’s house, Jack wasn’t so keen on the huge jacuzzi I had just dropped him down into.
It sort of freaked him out.
But then my wife handed him three little white plastic cups designed for rinsing after brushing your teeth.
“Coffee,” Jack announced as he ducked down into the sudsy bath water he stood in.
He sprouted back up and handed my wife and me our very own Bubblecinos.
Jack has been our baby barista each night since then.
Imagine in real life a barista who bathes in the coffee they serve you… so absurd.
But not for an almost 2 year-old little boy who uses his imagination to glaze through situations he doesn’t want to be in at first.
It’s funny to me also how instantly he comes up with his imaginary surroundings.
He saw what reminded him of a bar at Starbucks, the bath water made him think of coffee, and the plastic cups became the Starbucks cups.
I’m actually halfway convinced he thought it was real when I pretended to drink his bath water.
Hey, if he can have an imagination like that, so can I.
In fact, I need to if I have any intentions of keeping up with him.
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Thank God. We are in the middle of our vacation week and Jack is sleeping all the way through the night.
It’s because of readers who commented on “Losing Sleep Over Where My Son Will Sleep (Part 1)” that we decided on our son’s sleeping arrangements while we’re staying out here in California:
We have pushed two twin beds together. One is against a wall, where Jack sleeps, and it is bordered with big pillows.
From the very first night, this system has worked well. I have no complaints and have experienced no stress in regards to Jack sleeping.
In fact, he almost sleeps better this way. Last night he slept for 12 and a half hours!
The first morning I was so happy that I promised to get him a treat.
We drove by a party store and let him pick out two Made-in-China plastic animals that cost 35 cents each, as well as, a 65 cent mini Rubik’s Cube.
For his animals, Jack chose another horse and sheep that looks like he peed over itself; it has a yellow underbelly. (Pictured right.)
So I haven’t turned into the Incredible Hulk and the three of us are very well rested on our vacation.
Use me as your Guinea Pig. If you are planning a vacation with a toddler who doesn’t sleep well in new environments, try what I did.
Put pillow borders around a bed that is against a wall and stick to your child’s normal bedtime rituals.
I’m not saying that we haven’t had a share of other behavioral issues since we’ve been here, though. Stay tuned for an upcoming post referring to India Syndrome.
But as long as everybody’s getting sleep here, I’ve got no complaints.
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
It never made sense in the first place that our son would have blonde hair, coming from a lineage of Italian and even Mexican descent.
But we couldn’t have known any better. Jack is our first and only child, so far.
So when his hair began turning platinum blonde after a few months of being born, we figured his strange hair color was just as random as his blue eyes.
Sure, there were a few parents who nonchalantly tried to tell me that it’s actually quite common for a toddler’s blonde hair to go darker when they grow older.
I figured my son was the exception.
But look at his hair.
You can see the remaining platinum blonde amidst the now brown sprouting through. It’s morphing from blonde to champagne gold; eventually to become brown.
It’s like the opposite of an adult whose hair is growing gray.
Lesson learned: If you’re a first-time parent with a child whose hair is light blonde, nothing permanent is promised when it comes to hair color.
That’s just how a young child’s hair grows in.
Enjoy the novelty of it while you can. Chances are, eventually your child’s hair will turn some shade of brown.
Be surprised at the unlikelihood of your child having blonde hair.
Just know that at some point, whether it’s near the 2-year mark like with my son, or whether it’s 10 years, unless you or the other parent has blonde hair, your child probably will have darker hair.
I look at the darkest splotches of my son’s hair and now realize that that is what color his hair will actually be when it’s all said and done.
You are looking at a picture of a little boy will have dark brown hair, just like his dad.
Nothing lasts forever, like the cold November rain. And my son’s blonde hair.