Parenting and Kids

“Arlo, where are the batteries?”

“Arlo, where are Mommy’s scarves? How about the Apple TV remote?”

“Arlo, did you put the fingernail clippers somewhere?”

“Daddy, do you know where my legos are?”

“No, Silas… ask your brother, he probably packed them somewhere.”

You should know that Arlo is not our freelance organization expert. He’s four years-old, and has recently taken a shine to wandering the house, collecting items (sometimes very important) and placing them in containers: grocery bags, boxes, suitcases, random drawers and cabinets, the subwoofer. If he were an adult with money and the freewill to purchase items, one might consider this youngster a hoarder, but I believe such status entails acquiring new stuff, not simply aggregating stuff one already has. Continue…

If you’d like to see human frustration in its most natural state, simply say “no” to a three-year-old. You can also adjust a “wall” of the “grocery store” he made out of Magna Tiles. Another option might be to move one of his Calico Critters 1/32nd of an inch in any direction. These are his dearest items, but merely being in the vicinity of his stuff will elicit Arlo’s primal yell.

We could deal with the crying and occasional tantrum. But this new “angry monkey defending his territory” yelling—a rich dessert to the main course hissy fit—causes us to close the windows in September for fear that our neighborhood might think we’re operating a tattoo parlor for children, or branding chickens. Continue…

Silas (6) is a Power Rangers junkie. I’d like to send out my hearty thanks to Netflix for providing him and the rest of my family with the opportunity to watch all 1,000,000 episodes spanning three decades. The modern Power Rangers (the “Samurais”) live in a Zen loft with a Sensei. They tease each other and experience various angsty teen things like zits and existentialism. It’s 90210 if Brenda and the gang used huge Lego weapons and acrobatics to defeat saggy-skinned rubber monsters called “Nighlocks.”

Marigomori

This fella’s name is Marigomori and he’s equal parts snake, eagle, armadillo, trash can, bungee cord, olive tree and auto parts warehouse. Continue…

We were trying to get out the door, and Arlo was one shoe short of a pair. In these situations, I wander aimlessly, often looking in ridiculous places so that perhaps I might heroically discover a missing mitten in the back of the freezer. It’s never worked. Lindsay always finds the missing item because her goal is to succeed, and mine is to be amazing.

I was searching the fireplace when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the shoe behind the ottoman. Lindsay had already searched this room to her satisfaction, so not only had I found the shoe, I’d also found it in a place she’d already looked. Continue…

Our family has endured some heavy changes recently: we moved to a different state where we don’t yet have a house; we lived with my mother-in-law for a month, only to transfer to a furnished apartment that smells weird; Silas (my 6 year old) started first grade today at a new school. Clearly we’re under some stress, and we’re all behaving badly as a result. We generally communicate better than this, but I must admit the exchange below is rather common. Note: I have a very difficult time multitasking—especially while searching through Netflix.

Silas: Can I watch another Power Rangers?

Me: ………. Continue…

Awesome morning. We all got up late—late enough that we had to rush so Lindsay and the boys could make it to a music jamboree-hoedown-puppet extravaganza, and drop me off at my temporary office on the way. I went from full-on REM sleep to being in the car in around nine minutes. Immediately after pulling out of the driveway, Silas and Arlo began bickering about the windows being up or down (Arlo wanted his down, but Silas wanted his up because he was “freezing”) We’ve tried the “Only mommy and daddy control the windows” thing, but that’s always resulted in infinite fuss. Continue…

Reading to your child is one of life’s greatest gifts. But sometimes, as a result of fatigue, even a sweet opportunity can feel like a curse. Consider the following questions: Have you read your child’s favorite book a hundred times? Is it making you insane? Do you frequently get caught trying to skip pages so you can get downstairs and eat cheese for thirty minutes while watching Netflix? You’re not alone!

My three-day seminar provides all the tools needed to turn a thirty-six-page story into a twelve-page story. Start giving your free time the respect it deserves!

HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE SEMINAR’S HIGHLIGHTS:

The Two Page Turn: Children are extremely susceptible to slight-of-hand. Continue…

The key to show-and-tell is to bring something significant, but not so cherished that it can’t be lost or barfed on. My wife usually ends up saying something to Silas like, “Think really hard about it and choose something really special to you. Sorry, no. You can’t take ice cream. Nah, probably not your pillow either.” Here are some slightly more inappropriate things:

  1. His brother’s shoes
  2. The small plastic baggie he found at “the bad park”
  3. A dead squirrel
  4. A live squirrel
  5. The bracelet with a pot leaf on it he found at “the bad park”
  6. Daddy’s pills
  7. The frozen placenta from his birth.
  8. Continue…

Saturday morning was crisp. The skies were blue and the sun had already dried the dew from the grass where Arlo and I sat to watch Silas’ T-ball game. On our walk from the car to the field, Arlo had collected two small rocks, which, in case you didn’t know, are religious artifacts to three year-old boys. They’re worshipped, clutched and squeezed like a rosary in the hand of a dying Saint. But the toddler is also easily distracted by birds, the position of his shirt, and interesting leaves. As we watched the five year-old boys of summer fiddle with their giant mitts and fastidiously untuck their jerseys, I heard that phrase which every parent fears,

“Daddy, I dwopped my wock!”

I tried to remain calm. Continue…

I received an email this morning from SayYesToPixieStix@PantsOptional.org containing a transcript of my three year old son, Arlo, interviewing The Honest Toddler. As you might imagine, it gets pretty deep. I’ve copied it here, unedited.

—BEGIN TRANSCRIPT—

Arlo: Any idea why my mom can’t make a sandwich while driving?
The Honest Toddler (HT): Maybe she didn’t hear you- ask again (louder). Don’t rule out that she dislikes you intensely and wants to see you suffer.

Arlo: How many books do they read to you at night? I’m averaging around 16 these days, eight of which are Clifford. Continue…