Monday, July 30, 2012

Can I Fit in a Bouncy Castle?

My daughter, Luna, is turning 2 in 1 month.  I decided that we should have a birthday party - with other kids and their parents - in the park, and started planning a couple of weeks ago.
Now I know a 2 year old doesn't really *need* a party, that she probably wouldn't even know it was her birthday if we didn't mention it.  And I know there's a cliche of already-tired parents wearing themselves out planning giant fetes that cost more than a small island country.  I know all the things you're thinking, right now.

But the party isn't really *for* her, exactly, is it?  It's for her dad and I, we can, just this once, be surrounded by friends who know what it's about.  People who will also have to chase their toddler around and pick up dropped food and wipe snotty noses and never ever have a complete conversation ever again.  I feel that in this sort of modified party setting I can really shine.  Ok, sort of shimmer, at best.  But the point is, I expect I'll be comfortable and feel less lame if everyone else @ the party has a tiny master or two that they obey, like I do.
I like parties.  I like fun.  Shocking, I know.  And I like the idea of feeling, just this once, that I'm part of the majority in my friend-group, one of *many* parents, not the one parent among all the cool people.  I love hanging out with my non-childed friends, but when I'm with them, after a while, I feel nostalgic for the freedom and simplicity of pre-baby life.  Too many lunches cut short by tantrums or no-naps and I start to feel like an alien among my peers.  It's good to be around other parents sometimes, to escape that feeling of Utter Uncoolness.

Playdates are the same, now that I'm finally coming to understand what they're really for.  Within the context of the playdate itself, I don't feel like I miss being the fun pre-parent Holly.  I don't compare the 'fun' I'm having with past Times of Awesome (tm) - because (and this tenuous messed-up pseudo-logic really does help me) Pre-parent Holly never WENT on playdates.  So she doesn't exist in this playdate dimension.  So I can't compare myself to her.  So I don't.

So I will collect my friends-in-the-same-boat and we will chase our children around and frolic in their cuteness and panic about their safety and (if we're lucky) manage to eat a tiny burger or two, ourselves.  It's gonna be great.  I'm just going to admit this, shall I?  I'm throwing *myself* a kiddy art & pirates party for Luna's 2 yr birthday.  ;)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nap planning

A friend of mine (who happens to have four children) commented lately that she wished kids would tell you how long they were going to nap, when they went down.  Thirty minutes?  Good, put up your feet and read a book.  Three hours?  Start a major project.

To that I would add, that I wish when the baby went down at 4pm today, he'd told me whether he was going down for the night or not.  He has a pretty reliable 7pm bedtime, but it's 7:30pm now and he's still asleep.  Is this it, or do I have an hour and a half of misery before me this evening?  He normally wakes up at 5am; so if he sleeps through the evening, is he going to think it's morning at 2am?  The possibilities are mind boggling.

Perhaps he heard the rumour that a new baby toothbrush arrived in the house today, to brush the two tiny pearly whites that popped out of his gums last week.  I would believe that kids would go to these lengths to avoid getting their teeth brushed.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Morality for Toddlers

Yesterday I found myself trying to explain Spiderman's Law to my nearly-2 year old daughter Luna.  It's harder than you think, breaking down the concept for a toddler....I couldn't manage it.  I couldn't explain it in a way that she seems to understand, but I'll keep trying.

This is a lesson I fear Luna may need to learn and re-learn a few times, as she's....a bit.... tempestuous.  She is a very assertive little girl with an invincibility complex and a sense of entitlement, and my goal is to encourage her to rise above her immediate Hulk Smash! rage responses.  The worst thing I could ever imagine one of my children growing up to be is a bully, and I won't have it.  Strong is good.  Over-emotional is acceptable.  Wanting to oppress others is not. 

Anyway, I'm rambling.  This was meant to be a short post.  I was just observing her in her natural environs and thinking about it.  So far, there is a bare-bones "morality" that I see manifesting in my toddler - I think there is a special very basic pattern of moral learning that is forming in her little brain.  I suspect there may be similarities in other toddlers, but frankly I hardly leave the house so my view of the world @ large is limited.  :)

Luna's Code of Honour:
  1. Don't make people cry - by hitting, usually.  (it's mean.)
  2. Don't take toys from other people who are playing with them.  (it's selfish and may result in breaking rule #1)
  3. Don't spit chewed up food on the floor.  (it's rude and gross.)
It turns out that I can't really think of any other "moral" rules that she's starting to follow.  And I often think that these few moral codes she follows aren't followed because she understands and *wants* to be nice, but just because she knows I'm serious about them. 

I've tried to teach her the golden rule, and about karma, but her brain doesn't seem to grasp these complex ideas yet, and that's fine, I guess.  I don't mind keeping her in check until she's able to act kindly on her own.  For now I'll take what I can get, and just keep her from biting other kids.  :)

What moral rules do you see @ work in your kids?