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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:19 am 
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Tonight! I learned something!

GlueGun made another of his requests, something he can easily take care of himself, but which he believed he'd do "wrong."

So! Remembering Dr. pandacookie's advice, I cheerfully guided him through each step of the process, thereby (I hope) showing him not only how to perform this task, but also that such tasks are not so fraught and mysterious. The stakes are low and he is more than competent enough to handle life.

Instead of creating an adversarial atmosphere, we did it together, which I bet makes any little life lessons easier to learn. And which makes for a much more pleasant evening.

Thanks, PPK!

Edited embarrassedly to add that it was actually Dr. pandacookie, and not a different wise woman, whose wisdom saved the day.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:31 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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Score one for the Foot and for the GG!

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:24 am 
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Awesome! Way to empower the youth!


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:56 pm 
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The good Dr. A. always has competent advice.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:50 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
The good Dr. A. always has competent advice.


Oops. Wrong sage credited. YOU were the actual advice-giver.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:29 pm 
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Nice job, FootFace :-)

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:12 pm 
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Dr pandacookie always has bizarre advice.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:09 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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Hey! It's a resurrection!

Yesterday Mr Torque and I did some horse-trading about who had to go to the last parent-teacher conference of the year. Sprog is already enrolled in a new school for the new year (starting Feb) and I've had lots of run-ins with the old school, and will be complaining to the state Bd of Ed about some safety issues in the old school, which are numerous and I won't get into now or i'll be out in the street picking fights shortly, i get so frustrated.....
Anyway, I went to the conference and Mr Torque has to cut up branches in the yard this weekend. (i lost).

I got the grades, talked to the teacher, and then learned yesterday afternoon that Sprog's Secret Santa is her math teacher, who is possibly the least sympathetic bag of bones on the planet (her grade was 70, again, and i asked him last semester, what can we do? and he was like "nothing. that's just what she is." should i add that for the semester while we were traveling and i home-taught her, her grade went up 15 points? even though she missed a project and was tested after she returned? but i digress).
We were brainstorming Secret Santa gifts (i did not give my approval for this stupid idea, BTW) and i completely seriously suggested a bag of dogshit. "It doesn't have to be on fire!"
Mr Torque noted that he saw a fake pile of dogshit at a card shop, this might also make a good gift. Second choice: a calculator. Preferably one that doesn't work.

Even Sprog thought we were out of line. Bad Parents!! Bad!!
I suspect we'll be making cookies. i will try VERY HARD not to put laxatives in said cookies.

Hey Dr Pandacookie: what would you give a jerky math teacher?? Cash limit $5-10. (that would buy a lot of syrup of ipecac, you know.)

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:37 am 
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Cookies with at least a cup of salt.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:44 pm 
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Yesterday we were struggling with the school (there is a big surprise) and I lost my cool. I did yell, I was mad and I was frantic.
And then, after I had the opportunity to step aside I realized (wait for it) I was being my mother. Well, shiitake.
At that point I talked to him and we may have solutions. But, it was a shock for me that I hope I will not be repeating.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:13 pm 
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Hey Footie - I just wanted to mention that I think you examine your parenting and beat yourself up more than most parents. I think it's good to examine what you've done in situations that didn't work - I do that every day at my job - but don't be so hard on yourself. Kids can be really hard at times. I teach a class of six 6-year-old boys with developmental delays or behavior issues, several of who do that helplessness/perfection thing that GG is doing. And some days, like all last week, the entire class was amazing. Really. Everyone followed directions and was patient, tried hard, were kind to each other, stayed calm when frustrated, did their work. Then this week it was like some of them were replaced with changelings - crazy tantrums over tiny things, yelling when frustrated, one kid refused to come in from recess and had to be carried in kicking and screaming. Say what? What happened to my angel students from last week?

But instead of feeling really bad about myself as a teacher, I reminded myself that I am a great teacher, I love my students, they love school, and we can work it out. So we created a plan to get things done with a better attitude and short times to have some free play after periods of focus and staying calm, and by Friday almost everyone was back to angel status. We're spending a lot of time talking about how the attitude we have about an activity affects how we do the activity, and how we enjoy it. So it's up to us to make it easier or harder on ourselves. If something is hard, and you have a bad attitude about it, it's going to be harder. If it's hard and you have a good attitude, then it's easier, and people will want to help you more.

And about that helplessness thing, I won't do things for my students that I know they can do themselves. But if they are willing to have a good attitude about it, I will guide them through it, giving them what we call "thinking prompts" along the way, and describing what I would do if I was doing the task. I usually demonstrate it first, then put things back the way they were and let them try. So for things like putting on socks the right way, doing the flip trick to put on your coat, and preparing snack, I'll verbally guide them. Then it works out really well. So I think that was a great idea for you to do. Sometimes I do need to do it with them for a few times, then fade my help as they get more confident, until I am only giving them verbal cues, and then not doing that either.

So one child who couldn't put on his socks, shoes, or coat independently without a huge fuss, can now do all three quickly and competently. And since he knows I'll guide him, when he has trouble with something like that, he'll calmly tell me what the trouble is and I'll talk him through it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:14 am 
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Yelling! Hurray! But in my defense, I was really annoyed.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:43 pm 
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I have a 17 year old, and I question my parenting every single day. At this age, I can not make so many decisions for my daughter, but hope that she's learned enough to manage. The hard part is when I see her doing something with detrimental consequences, and I have to decided how involved to get.

Every day I wonder what I could have done differently, to give her the tools to make better decisions for herself, and every day I wonder what I did wrong.

How I cope- I remind myself that this isn't the end of a story, but just somewhere in the middle, and there's no telling what will happen next. I also stand behind my conviction that I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time. She is her own person, which I brought her up to be. What she decides to DO with that, needs to be her decision, and I will try to guide her the best I can. I can't accept the "what I would do in your situation" scenarios, and only accept advice from people I trust.

I can't say how anything will end, but to the parents out there, you're doing fine. And so am I.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:16 pm 
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GlueGun sometimes has trouble getting to sleep. (Don't we all?) Our transition from co-sleeping to full-on, you're-on-your-own-in-your-own-room has been a slow one. Which is fine. I bring him downstairs (where our bedrooms are), and we do the tooth-and-bathroom stuff. Then, if it's early enough, I lie in bed with him and read for 20 minutes or so. After that, I go upstairs and he reads for a while until he goes to sleep.

Often, he'll call (or come) upstairs and tell me that he needs my help relaxing. He and I have done lots of relax-at-bedtime guided visualizations. I've just talked to him, because he likes that. Or I've just sat in his room. But lately, I've been saying something like, "No, you don't need my help. You know what to do. You're doing fine." Or I'll stall: "I'll be down in 15 minutes," hoping (correctly, often) that he'll be asleep by the time I get there. The whole thing is about showing him, letting him see and feel, that he's in control. He can calm his own body and mind. There's nothing scary about this part of the day.

But last night, this imperfect parent embraced the imperfection. GlueGun came upstairs at around 10:00 or 10:30 and said he needed my help., and asked if I'd come downstairs. Knowing it's not the most "prudent" or "rational" thing to do, I said okay. (When I say it's not prudent, I don't mean it's harmful or bad. Just that it doesn't reinforce the belief I had been trying to instill.) He wanted me to lie in bed with him. I did. He snuggled up to me, and sighed, and said, "This is perfect." And I felt so good doing the "wrong" thing. Why can't a parent enjoy something too?! He kept snuggling up luxuriously. He was peaceful with me. He felt safe. So, yes, of course, I want him to feel that sense of safety within himself, to carry it with him as an intrinsic part of his personality. But it was also really nice to be the wanted-thing, the thing that made it all better.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:55 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
But last night, this imperfect parent embraced the imperfection. GlueGun came upstairs at around 10:00 or 10:30 and said he needed my help., and asked if I'd come downstairs. Knowing it's not the most "prudent" or "rational" thing to do, I said okay. (When I say it's not prudent, I don't mean it's harmful or bad. Just that it doesn't reinforce the belief I had been trying to instill.) He wanted me to lie in bed with him. I did. He snuggled up to me, and sighed, and said, "This is perfect." And I felt so good doing the "wrong" thing. Why can't a parent enjoy something too?! He kept snuggling up luxuriously. He was peaceful with me. He felt safe. So, yes, of course, I want him to feel that sense of safety within himself, to carry it with him as an intrinsic part of his personality. But it was also really nice to be the wanted-thing, the thing that made it all better.


This sounds wonderful, and I hope you aren't still regretting it! I'm not a fan of the phrase "the exception proves the rule," but I don't think it hurts the rule to give in once in a while. Even though it's behavior you don't want to encourage, showing that you are still available for nighttime snuggles may make the idea of your not being there at night anymore in general easier to live with.

(Does that make sense? It might not make sense. I mean that it can be hard/scary for newly-solo-sleeping kids to realize they will be sleeping without mom and dad FOREVER, like there's a long overwhelming line of lonely nights ahead of them. But occasionally breaking up that line with snuggles makes it not so overwhelmingly long.)

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:23 pm 
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You make sense. And I am still not regretting!

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:12 pm 
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GG was using my phone to make a stop-motion animation. He had already been working on this longer than we agreed, and he had a little homework to do. He came in to the room where I was, crying. He had accidentally deleted his movie and he was super frustrated. I told him I was sorry. That's too bad. Sounds really frustrating. Gave him a hug. Told him I needed the phone back and it was time for him to do his homework, and I'd let him remake his movie after he was done. He refused to return the phone.

Me: Give me back the phone.

GG: No! It's not fair!

Me: Give me the phone.

GG: Why? It's not fair!

Me: Give me back the phone.

GG: It's not fair!

Me: You need to do your homework. You can make another movie afterward.

GG: No!

(This goes on and on, with me keeping my cool, but not dealing with the situation very creatively.)

Me: If you want to be able to redo that movie later, you need to give that phone back to me. Now.

GG: No!

After a little more of this, I yelled GIVE ME BACK MY PHONE!!!

He was startled and frightened. I finally got my phone back, feeling like a wonderful bully. Yes, he was being obnoxious. Yes, he was misbehaving. But I'm supposed to have some more tools in my toolkit. I apologized. He was furious. I told him it wasn't okay to yell, but that I was very angry.

We're okay now, an hour later, and it's like it didn't happen. I sure do feel shitty when I do that.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:44 pm 
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Geez! Reading this, I now know that it will only get harder. My daughter is 15 months old and I thought the incessant crying and whining due to trouble communicating was a bugger to deal with. I feel for you guys and although I'm looking forward to the times when she can grow enough to have a conversation with me, reading your situations makes me worry for when that time comes. I know this doesn't compare but I was worried she was manipulating me by waking up in the middle of the night ( I nurse her back to sleep) for the past few weeks. It turns out she had an ear infection and was in pain. I may have told her on several occasions to stop crying and I was really frustrated when we were both losing sleep. It's tough when she can't tell me what she wants!! On another note, you guys all sound like wonderful parents. I think the fact that everyone is cognizant of their flaws, is a great thing in itself. I'm trying SO hard not to be like my mother. It's almost like it's a gravitational force that pulls you. Luckily, my husband can keep me in check when this happens.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:25 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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Footface, it's so frustrating sometimes. I also feel like my toolbox is incomplete- on a regular basis.

Last week Sprog came home with another Bulletin (bulletins come when she's missed three homework assignments), after the last bulletin where i went to the school and talked to the teachers.
This time, instead of me yelling and screaming, I kept calm. She lost TV for a week and wasn't able to go to a birthday party she had really wanted to attend. I also made her sit down and write 100 times "I will do my homework without deceiving anyone" (since she had sworn up and down she didn't have any homework) and then deliver it to her math teacher. The math teacher sent me a note saying "don't punish her so much" and I was pretty pissed. My father would have given me 10 lashes for that (and no, i am not kidding, and it wasn't lashes with a wet noodle, it was with a belt), and i made her WRITE and i'm a heavy-handed parent? And to think I felt rather self-satisfied for NOT losing my temper and screaming and throwing her Harry Potter books in the trash, which i might have done in the past.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:41 am 
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That teacher peas me off Torque! That's a perfectly reasonable punishment. We've made Shae write sentences for the exact same reason before too! Man, does he hate that.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:03 am 
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Umm, that teacher needs to shut the hell up. What would they have you do, wag your finger and say 'Now, sprog, it's wrong to lie about doing your homework.' You need to discipline kids in a way they'll feel, and since this is a repeat offence, I don't think you went over the top at all.

Spoken as someone who got grounded and had to write lines and turned out to be a pretty upstanding citizen who doesn't hold any of that against my parents as an adult...


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:21 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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thanks, later that afternoon i was in the car listening to a podcast (Way with Words) and the host talked about having to write lines as punishment and i thought "at least she's in good company, building cultural character...."

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:35 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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alright, am i the only parent who regularly revives the "crepe parent" thread???

i sent my kid to school with a fever today. in my defense, nearly every day she claims to have some sort of school-skip-worthy ailment, and we have some new rodent guests in the house she would probably like to spend the day playing with, so I assumed she was full of crapola. Even took her temp (101, and she had just held a mouth of hot tea, i saw it), saw it wasn't 103 or above, and sent her on.
School apparently called Mr Torque to pick her up and take her to the clinic. She came home with a basket of ibuprofen, nasal spray and various prescriptions (who knew the public clinic cared so much?) and a note saying she gets 2 days off of school!!!! It is a virus, and I am apparently a Bad Mommy. as usual.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:58 pm 
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Most days I don't feel like I deserve to have such a great kid. I don't know how to describe it, but everything just seems so out of reach and impossible some days. It could be something small like "mommy, can we go to the playground?", and there's no reason we can't, I just find myself strugling to actually do things. Getting up in the morning is hard. Getting motivated to do things is something that I've lost.
And it's weird, because in my mind I have endless lists of fun things we could do, but we never really go anywhere. I end up puttering around the house cleaning, and Malcolm entertains himself. Then I start to feel worse and worse that we're not out doing something really fun, but again, the thought of actually DOING something is overwhelming.
This probably doesn't make much sense. I just feel like a shitty parent like 95% of the time.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:47 pm 
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i know how you feel. i feel like a kind of crepe parent most days too. it's either that i'm totally unmotivated and suddenly it's 3pm and we're still in pjs and have barely had a square meal all day, or she's not really feeling that awesome or skipped a nap, but i selfishly want to go see a friend and be social, so i drag my poor tired toddler around all day. once in a blue moon we'll have that perfect balanced day where i'm in tune with what she needs, and we are productive and playful yet restful and relaxed, and i think "why doesn't it work out this way more often?"


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