It’s starting. My 4-year-old son has mastered the art of negotiation.
He’ll want to ask for something he already knows will be a hard sell. “Mom, now don’t say no. Just listen. And just don’t say no.”
I sigh. “OK, what is it.” And you know what? It works. I’m such a pushover. When my little guy asks so sweetly and pleadingly for something, it’s impossible to say no and he knows it.
The same thing happens when he knows he did something wrong and punishment is inevitable. “Mom, now don’t get mad, even just a little mad. OK? Promise?”
Sigh. “OK, what did you do?” Again, he has complete success. How could I get mad when he prefaces his confession with that plea?
Or there’s the obvious deal-making. “So if I drink all my milk, and eat all my dinner, then I get two ice cream sandwiches, right? Two healthy things means I get two treats. That’s fair.”
I’m really in for it, aren’t I.
Thomas the Tank Engine is chugging into Oklahoma City and tickets are on sale for this very fun event. According to the event website, Day Out with Thomas is in its 15th year, and as always, the Oklahoma Railway Museum will be hosting Thomas’ arrival.
Besides getting a train ride with Thomas, children can enjoy other activities such as arts and crafts, storytelling, playing with toy trains, meeting characters and getting a look at the history of Thomas, who is turning 65 this year.
Get tickets soon, as this tends to sell out. Dates of the event are Sept. 24-26 and Oct. 1-3. Tickets cost $14 to $18 each. When you order tickets online, you can choose which train you’d like to sit in. Pay extra attention to which train car you choose. Some are air conditioned, some only have sliding windows, and others are completely open. Also, I suggest picking an early morning ride to avoid high temperatures.
Two years ago, I mistakenly chose the 2 p.m. time slot and the car with only the sliding windows. Since some of the cars are so old, some windows won’t open. That was our window. September was especially hot that year, and my then-2-year-old son was completely decked out in his Thomas overalls, Thomas polo shirt, Thomas conductor hat, socks and shoes. We couldn’t bring our drinks on board, but it’s a 30-minute ride. No big deal.
About two minutes after we pull out of the station, my son starts screaming and crying. He’s sweating, he’s red in the face, he’s hot as can be. I didn’t know what to do and we couldn’t get off the train. We were starting to get some mean looks from other paying passengers. He cried the entire ride. People were upset with us, asking employees for their money back and just generally being more than annoyed.
About a year later, I was talking to some parents at my son’s day care about how Thomas the Train was back in town. All of a sudden, one parent starts talking about this screaming child on her train car last year … decked out in Thomas overalls, polo and conductor cap. She described my son to a T - an entire year later. She was on that car. She was one of the parents demanding a refund. Yikes.
Me: ”Oh, we didn’t get to go last year … how awful … why would his mom dress him in such hot clothes in the middle of summer? … “
So please take my advice. Choose the air conditioned car. Get an early time and don’t dress your child like a conductor. After all, it’s September in Oklahoma.
For a schedule and tickets, click here.
Back in October, I wrote a post about the importance of water safety for infants and toddlers. (Click here to read that post.) In wake of another drowning, I want to reiterate the importance of taking the best safety measures we can to prevent another tragedy.
Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has for years discourage swim lessons for children age 4 and younger. But this morning, they have changed their stance. According to their news release:
“New evidence shows that children ages 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction. … The new guidance recommends that parents should decide whether to enroll an individual child in swim lessons based on the child’s frequency of exposure to water, emotional development, physical abilities, and certain health concerns related to pool water infections and pool chemicals.”
You can read the entire news release by clicking here.
You can also watch a segment from the “Today” show that features different ways kids learn to swim and about the Infant Swimming Resource program that is available here in Oklahoma. To watch the “Today” show May 24 clip, click here.
As the Memorial Day long weekend approaches, now is the time to get your child familiar with the water and the ways to survive if he or she were to fall in.
And remember, nothing can replace a watchful and attentive parent or guardian. Don’t take your eyes off your children for a moment if there’s water nearby. Be sure your pool has the proper fencing/barriers to prevent your child from getting to the water unattended.
For everything water safety, go the AAP website: http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/watersafety.cfm.
Have a fun, but SAFE summer.
But I’ve got a new one to enter.
First swear word.
My little 3-year-old outfielder was waiting patiently for his cousin to hit him a ball at grandma’s house on Easter. He waited and waited. Begged for a ball to come his way. Finally, it happened. The ball tumbled his way. He ran up, glove on hand and wanted nothing more than to catch that ball in his mitt.
But he missed.
And then it came out.
I think I about fell over from shock. How could such a young, innocent mouth use such a bad word? Not wanting to make the biggest scene on the lawn at grandma’s, I put the seriousness in my eyes and voice. “What did you say? Who told you that?”
He cowered and told me who he heard it from. Still in shock, I let him know in no uncertain terms he is not to use that word again. But I’m scared to know what’s next.
Have a toddler who used a bad word? Did you ignore it or punish them? Let me know here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
Last weekend, I took my son (he’s almost 4) to see “The Blind Side.” Given the rating and subject matter (football), I thought it would be OK to take my boy to see it. And it didn’t disappoint. It was a fabulous movie and really tugged at the heartstrings. My son wasn’t wrapped up so much in the storyline, but he was definitely into the football scenes. And of course, he loved “Big Mike.”
When we got home, he says, very matter-of-fact, “Mommy, Big Mike is brown. What color am I? Am I brown?”
OK, so I really wasn’t expecting that. I was a bit tongue-tied, I must admit. I don’t want him to think he’s different than someone else based on skin color. But I didn’t want to lie to him either. What’s a mom to do?
Call her mom. That’s what.
My mom had some great advice and told me exactly what to say.
“Hunter, God made us all different shades, like paint on a palette. Like snowflakes, no two are alike, and that makes each of us very special.” Then she suggested I show him how my skin tone is even a little darker than his. He seemed very satisfied with that and went on with his day.
Whew! Good answer, Mom. She really does know best.
Ever been asked a difficult question by your toddler? How did you handle it? Let me know by commenting here or by e-mail. I’d love to hear your stories.
At what age should my daughter be allowed to become a mallrat or venture out on her own?
This week, Katie, my 14-year-old, asked if she and a friend could be dropped at the mall on a Friday evening to see a movie. This is not the first time this discussion has occurred at our house. And, once before, my husband did let her see a movie with friends without supervision, but it was during the day.
The first time I let Katie even walk the mall alone with friends was at her 14th birthday party. But I stayed and pushed her little brother around in a stroller while they “did their own thing.”
Skenazy encourages parents to let their children roam and experience new things by themselves, empowering them to be individuals and not live in fear.
I admit this is just the opposite of how I continue to raise my children. I know I’m “too” protective by some standards. Yes. I used to roam all over our 200-acre farm when I was younger. I would go fishing and exploring by myself. And, although it wasn’t my choice, at 14 years old I walked the streets of Washington, D.C., when I was separated from my Close Up tour group. The next day, about five of us (without adults) rode the subway and toured our nation’s well-known monuments and museums.
I loved the experience.
So, why do I try so hard to shelter my children from their own adventures?
I live in fear of ”what if.” I read the newspaper. I watch the news shows. And I’m appalled and scared by what might could happen.
Is there maybe a happy medium? But what would that be?
Share with me your stories of letting your children experience independence. Do you let them walk alone to school, the grocery store or snowcone shack? What are your limits on your children’s independence?
– Linda Lynn
If you’re anything like me, you want to give your child the best possible chance of being a successful, happy person. Most of us can probably recall being involved in some activity growing up, whether in school or not, such as sports, acting, singing or playing an instrument.We see the Olympic medalists, who started training as early as 3 or other professional athletes who are shown with a football or golf club in their hands at 4 years old. We hear of musicians who picked up the guitar or started playing the piano at the age of 2. And sometimes, as parents, we think we need to get our kids involved in something that early, just so they can be one of the few who make it big.
But how early is too early? I’ve been browsing some of the activities I can get my 2 1/2 -year-old involved in. So far, pretty much everything is offered to kids that age. I’ve seen tennis lessons, acting lessons, instrument and singing lessons, gymnastics coaching, T-ball teams, rodeo coaching and even golf lessons.
So how do I choose? And more importantly, how early should he start? I don’t want to be a pushy mom and have my child give up his childhood before it even starts (gymnasts come to mind, who as children, seem to spend every waking moment in the gym). And at 2 or 3 years old, do they even have the attention span or desire to be a participant? Or is it more for the parents’ satisfaction?
On the other hand, it also seems that getting kids involved early on may pave the way for them to crave being on sports teams in school or want to be first clarinet in the school band. They’ll know and want life outside the daily routine of home and school.
So I’d like to hear from parents on this. How early did you get your kids involved with activities? What made you decide to start them at that age?
Leave your comments here or email me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.