Sunday, April 17, 2011

Good job?

I admit it, when I first heard that it wasn't good to say, "Good job!", I didn't get it. I didn't get it at all. What could possibly be bad about saying, "Good job!", I wondered?? Now I cringe when I hear the phrase, particularly when it's directed at my little ones.

Imagine if every time you did something ordinary the people around you said, "Good job!". You wouldn't believe it and kids don't either. As it turns out, kids are pretty smart.

Scribbled something on a piece of paper! Good job!!
Ate a bean? Good job!!
Got dressed? Good job!!

When you think about it, this stuff is pretty silly. Are there times when, "Good job!", might be appropriate? Sure, but it's far better to praise the process, not the result.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


I've been a little skeptical about Disneyland. I had heard that the lines are long and I had the general feeling that once you've been there might be some pressure to return (among other things). Still, it's a difficult place to resist over time when living in Southern California with young children, particularly when one has scored some free tickets.

So, in celebration of Island Boy's birthday, we finally did it...we went to Disneyland!!

He loved it! And, to be honest, we loved it, too. From Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters to the Monorail, Island Boy loved it all. He even loved his first roller coaster, such as it was. (The big question there was "why is it such a short ride??". Great question, son.)

The lines were perfectly manageable but that wasn't really the issue. Our little Island Boy did SO well. He was clearly fading near the end of our visit and, as hard as it is for most adults to recognize when they've reached their limits, Island Boy seemed to recognize that he was reaching his and we left the park just as smoothly as we arrived. All in all, a really lovely visit and a wonderful way to celebrate Island Boy's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Island Boy!!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Santa Claus Comes to Town!

This evening Santa Claus made a visit to our neighborhood in his sleigh. I think Mommy was just as excited about it as Island Boy. We weren't really sure what to expect since we haven't had much snow around here this year (not that that is unusual, of course, but having grown up in the Midwest, I'm just not that familiar with how Santa travels when there's no snow).

Would Santa arrive via helicopter? Firetruck? Motorcycle? On foot? Reindeer? We had no idea! I have to tell you I was surprised as anyone to see Santa arriving on an ACTUAL SLEIGH!! He was accompanied by police escorts (and he was 30 minutes late pushing us way too close to bedtime for comfort), but he was so worth it.

This was no fake Santa. No, he was the REAL Santa. Jolly laugh and all. When he asked Island Boy what he wanted for Christmas, Island Boy raised the candy cane he had just been given and said, "I have this!".

Oh, yeah! If only a mere candy cane were all it took to make our little American children happy all of the time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Big Boy Bike

Today Island Boy got on his brand new big boy bike and rode!
And rode.
And rode.
And rode!

You would never know it was his first time on a bike with pedals (and no training wheels - we skipped those).
He started out with a balance bike, and voila! He's solid. And fast.
If you're thinking you might walk next to him while he rides his bike, adults, think again. Expect to break into a full run and work up a good sweat. Consider yourself forewarned.

Fortunately, on Thanksgiving Day we were all thankful for the unexpected exercise in addition to so many other things.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kids are People

There has been a lot of noise in the press recently about children and dining out. Come to think of it, there's been a lot of noise lately about children making noise everywhere - on planes, in restaurants and in general.

This post isn't about any of that. This post is about a different disturbing trend I've noticed recently when dining out: the inability of restaurant staff to recognize children as people. To be fair, this probably isn't really a "trend" - it's probably simply that I never noticed it (or experienced it) before I had children.

What's the issue? It goes something like this...we're seated at a restaurant and a very efficient waitress whisks away one of the place settings.

What the?!?

Excuse me, could we have one additional place setting - as in on for each of the people at our table, please?

At times, this request is met with a puzzled look. At other times, the request has been met with, "are you sure?" and the "helpful" wait person glances at the baby with a concerned look. Yes, I'm very sure that I don't want my baby to eat off the table and I don't want her to eat with her hands (unless she chooses to), so please bring her a place setting.

Yes, a complete place setting. Thank you!

A similar situation happens when we request water for everyone at the table and we receive either 2 or 3 water glasses for our family of 4. Yes, we'd like water for all of the people at the table. Yes, the baby is a person.

Yesterday, we had perhaps the worst of this category of experience ever. After our waitress took away one of our place settings and gave us 2 water glasses, she said, "Oh, your baby is so adorable! How old is she??". Island Boy, who is also incredibly adorable, spoke up and said, "I'm 3 and a half!". She glanced at him, did not respond, and continued to comment on and attempt to interact with the baby. Island Boy continued to vie for her attention, to no avail. I told him he was adorable, too and asked for the check.

If you do not have the courtesy, energy or common decency to provide an older sibling with at least as much attention (if not more) than you want to give to a baby, please don't say anything. Older siblings are people(!) and they are completely aware of what is happening. That means they might actually enjoy engaging in conversation and they might actually feel confused and hurt if you don't respond to them.

I am happy to report that we've also had some incredible experiences at restaurants with our little ones. It is such a pleasure to dine at a place where the staff "gets it". We come in early. The children are treated with respect. We're served quickly. We love it. And we return.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Green Expectations

Island Boy graduated to green belt earlier this week and today he was "big man on campus" (or rather "big man on the mat") as the highest rank belt on the floor during Martial Arts class. It was interesting to watch the change in him.

He certainly isn't the oldest child in the class, nor is he the largest - not by a very long shot. Still, he stepped up to the challenge. It's not always easy for him to pay attention during an entire class (he IS three, after all), but today he confidently demonstrated skills and behaved like a green belt: focused, respectful and courteous.

I was beyond proud of him.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to School

Island Boy went back to school today after a summer that was full of good things but still managed to be fleeting.

We rode on trains and planes and rental cars and shuttle buses, trolley cars and merry-go-rounds and boats and scooters, bikes and trikes and swings and slides, noodle boats and noodles and shoulders and orcas. We threw rocks in lakes and oceans and streams. We hiked mountains and forests and urban sidewalks. We fed goats and cows and antelope and yaks and even seagulls. We ate ice cream and more ice cream and more ice cream and cones. We ate tomatoes and beans and berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) and grapes fresh from the vines and sweet corn from the cob so many times. We made pies and ice cream again and again and shared them with friends who loved to dig in.

We visited family. We visited friends. We visited state fairs and aquariums.

We scribbled, we read, we sang and we laughed. We played in the sand and the rocks and the dirt. We jumped into foam pits and bounced on trampolines, slithered through tunnels and soared high on swings. We watched otters and sea lions and seals and octopus and jellies and sharks. We waved at the scuba divers waving at us.

The list of things we still want to do grows longer and longer, but we're back at school now so some things will simply wait.

Of all of the things we did with our days, perhaps I'm most proud of the most lazy days. All summer long we had such a ball and still we made time for nothing at all.