Sunday, March 20, 2011

should have mentioned that before you married me

Let's all go poop in the forest.  It's the thing to do.
Is it too much to expect a child to have some ability to discern appropriate and inappropriate behavior by four years old? 
Sometimes I'm caught in a twisted world.  Unimaginably dysfunctional upside-down scenarios occur in real life and I have no idea how to react.  With all the out of ordinary things I've lived to see, you'd think that nothing would surprise me or catch me off guard.
But then, the kid poops in the woods, in ear and nose range of the neighbor's kids.  

The kids got home full of energy on a beautiful day and we went outside to climb an awesome climbing tree discovered in the back yard.  Kaio's doing the potty dance and I suggest peeing against a tree.  OK maybe that encouraged him, but I truly believe that we should recycle our fluids safely back into the earth.  It fertilizes the plants, and I'd prefer to help the local wildlife than destroy the PH balance of the Potomac river. 
I made that suggestion and he obliged.  But, then midstream he turned and started squat action.  It took a sec to hit me... and then… gross!

Ugh.  So many things going through my head.  I wanted to yell and be mad and spank him for doing something so out of line and disgusting.  But then I knew that I had suggested him relieving himself in the woods, and maybe he really didn't realize that one defecation is acceptable while the other one is not.
So is it too much to expect a four year old to know that pooping on the ground in not ok?  
Mari was home and he came out to take over the situation.   I went to clean up the mess.  I'm so glad he was home because I just did not know what to do.  
Mari's really good with Kaio.  His approach, although sometimes too drill sergeant-like for me, actually compliments Kaio's personality.  No matter how intense the fight gets, they emerge buddies and Kaio tall and proud.  Mari becomes tense and demanding, while maintaining calm and with moderate praise.  This  method pushes Kaio to recognize his responsibility.  Mari's approach has been especially transformational around food. 
Kaio suffers all kinds of manias around food textures.  Avoiding the foods he finds uncomfortable stokes the behavior.  So Mari forces and coaxes him to eat and swallow instead of spitting out.  By the end of the ordeal Kaio is running up to me, "Mom! I eat the broccoli, I'm gonna grow big like a man!  I'm gonna grow strong like a tree!"  Full of pride he boasts.  Sometimes he even asks for Mari to 'make him eat.'  
So Mari took control of the situation and ordered Kaio in the shower.  Nene joined in, cause she loves bathes!
While the kids were entertaining  each other, I vented to Mari about what a crazy kid we have, "How does he not know that's not ok?!" 
Then Mari confessed that he went so far as to poop his pants a couple times as a kid.  He just didn't want to take a break to go to the bathroom until the sensation entered the point of no return. 
"Oh so this is genetic then?" I said.
His response, "I guess I should have mentioned that before you married me." 
"Well were you're parents upset with you?"
And he laughed in a manor clearly intending that all hell broke loose. 
I felt reassured that Mari did even worse than Kaio and still turned into such a great and successful guy.  I also felt reassured that Mari's parents, whom I respect and admire very much,  reacted off the hook as well.  I wasn't crazy for feeling upset.
As the kids played in the bath, Mari and I locked the door and took advantage of the alone time for the third day in a row.  It such is nice when the kids can occupy each other.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Antidote Simplify

Saturday mornings for the past month Mari and I have been taking an Introduction to Bee Keeping class at a library nearby.  The class is great.  I've been learning a lot of incredible things about bees.  Like, did you know that the colonies are primarily female and males only serve for breeding?  If a male goes too long without fornicating, the hive will kick him out.  AND once a male does get it on, he dies shortly afterward.  What a way to go!  The bees communicate using pheromones, and by little dances, like sign language or a game a charades.  So interesting.  I've already put in our order for a package of Italian bees, bread in Georgia.
bbq for carnival
We're fixing to build a couple Warre hives for the back.  The Warre hive, also called the People's Hive, is lower maintenance than Kenyan Top Bar or Langstroth hives.  That is exactly what we need, since Mari and I tend to get a little lazy sometimes.  Not many folks sell them still, the Warre hive is pretty uncommon in the US.  But I've been doing some research, and I joined the yahoo Organic Beekeeping group as well as the Organic Homesteading Group.  Heard all good things about the Warre.  Also found this great blog, The Bee Space, with help on how to build them.  Plans are available on the internet for free.  So I'm ordering some wood off of craigslist, and we're either going to get my mom's contractor to cut the wood for us, or we're going to borrow his tools and do it ourselves.

his lego art continues to get more complex in design

So since the class is at a library, I've been perusing the isles during break time.  Found a book on simplifying your life with kids.  The book is from the 90's.  It's not exactly AP or crunchy.  But I like the size of it, only about 5" tall, and also like the chapters broken into bite size pieces.  So I can pick it up and always manage to get through at least one chapter before falling asleep or getting called to attend to something.  Nothing groundbreaking, but I am finding the little tidbits and helpful suggestions worth trying.  Like the latest one: do one thing at a time and you'll be amazed how much more you get done.  
I do pride myself on my tremendous ability to multi task.  It's something I always put on my resume, and slip into interviews, "I thrive off of high stress situations."  Well, I'm starting to believe that in our day of ADHD, speed dating, and internet and channel surfing: the new highly marketable skill will be the ability to focus on one thing to completion.  
Sometimes at work I realize that I've got 7-10 different programs open at the same time, and it takes me a few minutes to remember what I was doing and cycle through them an find the window I need.  At home, I might be dialed into a meeting, making and packing a lunch, and helping Nene go potty while finding Kaio's shoes and helping him get dressed to go out.  Take too long on one task, and Nene gets bored, gets off the toilet, Kaio runs off and ends up with even less clothes on, burn the food, and miss something important being said in the meeting.  
If I manage to make it all work, I don't feel fulfilled, I actually feel pretty spent.  If I drop the ball, well that's devastating.  So my goal this month is to try simplifying life a bit by focusing on one thing at a time.  

Or at least no more than 3 at a time.

ravenous for quail
So Wednesday I waited until my meetings was over, then got the lunch packed before I started telling the kids to get ready.  Then I helped one kid at a time.  When I put Nene on the potty, I stayed in the bathroom with her instead of running off to get myself dressed.  After they were dressed, I handed them their socks and shoes and asked them if they could put them on while I got dressed.  Amazingly, when I came back, they were ready.  
So I doubt that we were out the door any faster, but it sure felt kinder to my brain and energy.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Train School

My new solution to getting Kaio to leave his Thomas the Tank Engine train at home when he goes to preschool.
So I know that the train is his comfort creature.  He feels more secure with his friend Thomas in hand.  But added baggage includes fights on the playground when other kids want to hold Thomas, crying when he leaves Thomas somewhere and cant find him, and distraction from the activities at hand if he is playing with the Thomas train.  I've let him take Thomas with him to preschool since I felt that Thomas would help him adjust to the new school.  But a couple weeks ago Thomas broke on the playground or something and I received a note from the teacher saying that it would be easier for her if Thomas stayed at home.
So now each morning Kaio leaves Thomas at train school where he learns to chug and puff with his friends.  When he gets home from school Thomas is right where he left him.


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