Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Our Year in Unpublished Pictures - 2009

Our new walker turned climber

This book was a favorite all year!

"I see a Grandpa looking at me!"

A "pasickie" being cozy

March Fell asleep just as Mama and Papa got the car packed to go out of town

Justin's birthday

Emily and Maggie entertaining themselves after church

Magnolia meets Burt Reynolds' ugly brother

This picture reminds us why I normally have facial hair

Junkyard Dog never won a WWF championship but Maggie's hoping for a comeback.

Where Brian gets sent when he's bad. (Actually, on a pregnant-Shannon-mandated mission to hunt and destroy all mouse turds)

Bed Blogging

Woof! Yap Yap! nnn nnn nnn! Ruff ruff, ruff ruff!

Julio looks at his cage then the bottle brand and knows the milk is not for him

Gracey Summer Slammer Slamdown

Two Sisters!

Of Aunties and Nieces

Magnolia cites exhibit B to corroborate her argument

As Mama headed back this month, there was little time for blogging.

Kaleia checking out Rana.

Surely the other team will be reluctant to shoot hard at a toddler and, we thought, if that doesn't get them, the freakish hands will

Sampling the produce at the farmers' market

Sampling the--zzzzz

Sharing Mona with Trudy

Ripping it up at the Greek Food Festival

Burning off some energy at Camp Firwood

Your HazMat suit is not complete without frog boots.

Magnolia answers Bozo's questions about Airedale Terriers


Getting to know her second cousin

Kaleia is about 3 months older than Titus!


The Jingle Bell Run/Walk with Santa, a Reindeer and Three Elves

Bonus Video: Post Race Celebration

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy Six Month Birthiversary!

Kaleia Shalom is 6 months old!
She's a goof, a cuddler, a melt-your-heart smiler, a roller, a slider, a jump-jump-jumper, a chomper, a grabber, a razor sharp biter, a two-armed reacher, an easy-put-to sleeper, a chatterbox, a sitter-in-training, a disagreeable digester of rice cereal, a belly giggler, and a 15 lb. package of wiggling joy.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Power of Or

Would you like go down the slide 1 time or 2 times before we go to the car?

Would you like to get into the high chair by yourself or would you like Mama to put you in?

Would you like to go nigh-night right now or in 5 minutes?

To say that questions like these have revolutionized our parenting might be a slight exaggeration. But only slight. Asking them has at least doubled our effectiveness in difficult parenting situations.

Magnolia has always been an agreeable kid but that hasn't meant we haven't had to pry her off the playground, battle over bedtime, and finagle over food. That is, until we read the opening chapters of Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood.

Now I must say that, as someone who appreciates rigorous scholarly writing, reading populist self-help books about any topic can be painful. I can't stomach the over-simplification and cheesy writing the genre usually entails, and this book unfortunately has those ingredients in spades but the advice beneath the cheese has been amazingly effective.

We've only read the first couple chapters so I can't vouch for the whole book (and I suspect the Amazon customer-reviewer who said that the book could be boiled down to a 10-minute powerpoint is right) but, my oh my, the wonders those 'or' questions have done!

I feel like an infomercial but, for real, on our second day of question asking we had zero resistance on the big 3 (nap-time, mealtime, and playtime). At the park, Maggie and I counted our two slides and then happily walked back to the car. At nap-time she (obviously) chose to play for five more minutes but when the time was up she didn't think twice about beginning her nigh-night routine. At lunch, given the two alternatives, she was happy to climb into her highchair on her own, apparently convinced that outright defiance was not an option.

I'm sure it won't last forever but for now asking a question that assumes the desired outcome but gives her some measure of control about how it comes about is working beautifully.

Sometimes I feel a little silly asking the questions but Magnolia hasn't learned to scoff yet. So even their recommendation to ask your child at the beginning of an activity if they would like to have fun or not have fun somehow just works.

So I'm asking you, would you like parenting your toddler to be easy and fun, or not easy and fun?

Check out the authors' website here and let us know your favorite parenting books or resources in the comments.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Firsts on the First

New Year's Day Magnolia got to try out her new panties. (I'll spare future teenage Magnolia some potential embarrassment and not post any pictures.) It seemed like a good idea since we were going to be mostly at home for a few days. Before Christmas, Maggie did really well letting us know when she needed to go potty and the time seemed ripe. In the morning, and following each accident, when asked if she would like to wear panties or a diaper, she enthusiastically chose panties. Wearing panties? Exciting! Playing with new puzzles, books, and toys?  Exciting!  Stopping to go potty?  Devastating! So we've regressed and the panties are back in the drawer for awhile.

Kaleia had her first rice cereal. Ah, rice cereal. The would-be panacea for sleeping through the night. Not with our girl. She enjoyed eating: greedily taking in the new food, moving it around with her tongue, spitting it back out, reaching for more. But that night the monster in our baby's belly reared its ugly head. No sleep for the parents. A couple of days later, we tried again, just in case the first time, there may have been correlation but not causation. Same result. Waiting a few more days, we decided to switch to avocados -- maybe its the rice? An evening of near inconsolability but a decent night. Kaleia may have inherited the digestive problems of her mother's side.