Monthly Archives: August 2011

Brushing teeth

Parenting book review:

The gist: this isn’t a book of rules to follow. It follows the premise that you’ll be the best parent you can be if you learn the stages of development for your child, and apply your own knowledge/morals/intuition–tailoring your parenting to who you and your child are.

I found the book while looking for information on Waldorf education.

From ages 0-7, we use our bodies (senses unfiltered) to experience the world. We also learn about our bodies (like learning to eat and walk).

As parents, we have to model appropriate behavior, since our actions mean more than our words (this rings true to me, as I am more successful if I gesture as I explain things to 80).

Some of the theories used in the book are a bit beyond what I’m willing to accept. For example, the explanation for why very young children are fascinated with simple objects has to do with the “unspoken ‘soul language’ by which simple items speak to the qualities in the spiritual world and the nature of the soul’s journey to earth”.

The book isn’t written in a way that makes me roll my eyes when I encounter passages like the above. I like what Dancy gives as actionable ways to think about parenting, so I’m happy to skip the deep explanation for something I’m willing to just believe exists because it does.

On discipline and negative behavior, be loving but firm. Punishing doesn’t work on a toddler, they don’t understand cause and effect well enough for next time.

Make your home a “yes” place, so you don’t have to say “no” all the time, but be firm and consistent about the nos.

Keeping things the same works well for toddlers, since they are attached to order.

Use statements “it’s time for bed.” rather than questions “do you want to brush your teeth?”

When they get all “No!” on you, you can physically move them, or remove them from the situation. Follow through on the action that sparked the problem, don’t give in. If you remove them, be firmly boring, so they want to calm down and get back to the action. This works better than ignoring, and can take a few minutes to kick in.

On tantrums, when they first happen, firmly remove the child from the situation, calmly tell them to stop screaming/kicking/etc, and after settling down (5-10 min), go back to the activity. If they flare up, remove them again. Perseverance early on can nip the tantrum thing in the bud. [I like the sound of that.] Keep calm and insist on good behavior.

Take discipline action in the moment, or the child will forget. Make it stick now, and the payoff will last.

On getting them to do things: do it with them, model it. Use imaginative play as you do.

On books and reading, in the second year, read only one book in a sitting. Too many “clutters the child’s soul” and sticking to one keeps the images and words from the book in the child’s mind. [I have trouble with this, but I understand the idea. I’ll take it under advisement.]

Draw your own book [zine!]. It doesn’t have to be great, that’s what imagination is for. [Channel The Little Prince, with an elephant who’s swallowed a boa constrictor.]

On toys: real-looking and simple toys lend themselves to imagination.

This gets us halfway through the book. The rest is for older (2 and up) children, that I’m not going to read yet.

It is good enough to revisit for more advice when 80 gets to 2. In the meantime, how what I’ve read applies to her will affect how willing I am to read more.

Brushing teeth,
originally uploaded by sundaykofax.

Abby came to visit,
and spent one glorious, shining day. 80 took to her right away, naturally. Between the two of them, the amount of effervescence and happy-go-luckiness is more than the state of Nevada.

Via Flickr:
80 was thrilled to find out Abby also brushes her teeth in the morning, and insisted on helping.

Mini milestone: quirkiness

We’re a quirky family, humor-wise (not bodies-in-the-basement-wise). Jason and I have a flow of verbal and physical humor that is near-constant.

Stemming from a witnessed moment of this*, we’ve maintained that I stick my nose in Jason’s ear as a way to both
a) prove I’m me, an not a robot facsimile (though that particular jig is up, now that I’m writing this)
b) say that everything is all right

Today, while playing “This Little Piggie”, 80 stuck my toe in her ear. She truly is a Wadsgreen, through and through.


Mini-milestone: less mouthing

We’ve been saying things like “not in your mouth” and “that’s not food” for so long, I was incredulous today when 80 held up a seed pod at the park and I said “that’s not for 80’s mouth”, and she put it down. Seriously, I’ve been waiting for a part in the clouds for months.


Early birds get the diner seats


We got a hand-me-down ibert bike seat (thaaaaaank you A+S+J).

Most people biking with a kid have the seat that attached to the back of the bike. There’s also the trailer that sits on it’s own wheels, down on the ground behind the bike. Our front-attached bike seat is much rarer. It’s a newer design, and there are grumblings that it’s not as safe — though I disagree.

I’m not an expert. I’m not sure who would be the most qualified to speak to the safety of each bike seat, but I can give you my opinions. I’ve been in bike crashes before, and if my bike slides out from under me I’m going to have my hands on my handlebars and be able to have a small amount of control of the front of the bike, and help guide it down. If it’s a head-over-handlebars, I don’t know if either seat is going to be better or worse. That’s where wearing a helmet, long pants, and shoes is important.

In summary, the iBert is the best commuting or street-biking seat style.

The other option I’d consider is the bike trailer:


The safety issue for me is having a trailer down where cars can’t see it. An upside to this kind of trailer is that there’s lots of room (you can put two kids in there), there’s protection against the elements,  and if you were to lose your balance they’d be low to the ground already.

The trailer is a great option if you’re on bike trails, or otherwise not in traffic.

The most popular bike seat I’ve seen is the rear-attached seat:
Bike baby seat test run

I’m not a fan of this seat. It puts the kid level with your ass, so their main view is blocked. It’s also hard to hear them, and you can’t see them without turning around and looking down (which is hard to do and dangerous while biking). They do have a higher back, providing more support for wobbly heads. The downside is some models don’t account for the child wearing a helmet, which means the child’s head is pushed forward and they can’t rest comfortably.

You can get the iBert on Amazon for something like $90, which is the same price as the mid-range rear-attached seat, so I can heartily suggest the iBert.
on Flickr” href=””>Early birds get the diner seats


80 and I are having an early breakfast out. I love breakfast,
and one tiny upside to an early rising toddler is getting a prized seat at the Deluxe Town Diner.

Mini milestone: shoes


There comes a point when your baby becomes more interested in trying on your shoes, rather than mouthing them. Today is that day. It’s a small victory.

Today was generally above average. Usually, 80 and I muddle our way through a day that revolves around eating and naps. The rest of the time is fill-in playing at home or out (the park, library, the rare playdate). By right around 5 pm, I start having the same vague thoughts of wishing J was home from work, wishing I lived near family, and dreading making dinner (I am not much of a cook, what do I make that’s 80-friendly, how do I make it while she’s underfoot?)

This morning I took 80 on a bike ride. We got home, and she refused to get out of the bike seat. She held the crossbar down and shook her head vehemently (well, it looked vehement with her bike helmet on). So I went out for another ride.

While biking, I tried to tell her if we were going to hit a bump, so she wouldn’t be startled. She started signing [more] after a bump, and I started looking for rough patches in the road.

We went down a hill, fast enough to pick up some breeze. 80 lifted her hands from the bike seat crossbar and put them above her head in the typical “rollercoaster” fashion. It was spontaneous on her part, so I wonder if it’s innate (also, why). It made me giddy to see her do it, knowing she was experiencing a flying feeling, and probably some baby euphoria.

Again, when we got home, she wasn’t happy. An hour and a half after we initially left the house, I finally got her to agree to go inside with the lure of snacks and hand-washing. (That sounds OCD, but remember she’s a toddler, and it’s like a mini pool party.)

That long set of rides readjusted my view on our lives. We went out and did something we were both happy to do. If we can have more experiences like this, I can continue to handle this stay-at-home thing.

Out to breakfast

Out to breakfast, originally uploaded by sundaykofax.

You know you’re a toddler’s mom when you have to wash your hands (and arms) before going to the bathroom at a restaurant.

80 likes to clutch my arm with her crumby, sticky hands to get my attention so I can get her more food.