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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 10:58 am 
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I feel like a crappy parent. When I changed Lydia's diaper this morning, there was desiccated poop that had probably been there since the night before. I was wondering why she was so upset last night and was having trouble falling asleep, but attributed it to her being a bit sick. I wish you could talk so you would tell me what's wrong, Lydia! She has such bad diaper rash right now. Sigh. At least I now know to always check her diaper if she seems unusually fussy at night.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 8:07 pm 
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I left the Magician taking a nap in the middle of the bed. I moved all the pillows and blankets out so there was nothing for him to smother himself on... Put him in the center of the queen sized mattress that's on the floor and left. I check on him periodically, he's fast asleep and otherwise hasn't moved.

Suddenly I hear the most horrifying little baby terror/pain screaming. He fell out of bed... Despite my precautions. He must have rolled like three times in a row to even get over the edge.

He's fine now and I know this wasn't caused by gross neglect on my part or anything but man do I feel like a shiitake-y parent right now.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 4:30 pm 
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I am so sorry C&S. I completely feel your pain and you're a great parent for putting your mattress on the floor! Minimizing the impact of the inevitable :)

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 4:24 pm 
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*hugs* We've had both missed poop and crawling off the bed incidents here. Actually around 8-9 months Vi went through a period of somehow clunking her head in several spots a day, despite my best precautions. I felt terrible, but they have to learn somehow.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 5:33 pm 
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I think LittleBodhi fell off a few times, but I think pretty much every child falls out of bed sometimes. Even as a baby. It can't always be helped. I remember the first time though, I was SO scared! I mean.. he was screaming like he was dying, so I was sure he was! Haha. He was totally fine, and just needed snuggles.

So I'm at almost 34 weeks pregnant now, and I'm SO tired. When I'm not tired, I want to clean and cook and prepare for the baby, and my sweet little son just wants to play. All the time! I want to play with him, but I feel like I don't have enough energy to play with him, get all the preparations done (I really only try to get about one thing done per day, because I don't want to go overboard!), and still do regular house things, ie make lunches, cook dinner, do a load of laundry, etc. I'm trying to find a good balance, because I know it won't be any easier once the baby arrives, but sometimes it's super hard! (And yes, I have a partner who helps with all the home stuff, plays with LittleBodhi, etc. He is awesome. I am super lucky.)

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 12:42 am 
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Boy, was this a night of imperfection!

Feel free not to read any of this soap opera.

GG went to a friend's after school, and I went to pick him up around 8:40. The trouble started as soon as we were in the car. He wanted to know if he could have more computer time when we got home. It was understood that the point of going to this kid's house was playing on the computer together. He said they had about 90 minutes on the computer. (The amount of computer time he gets is a near-daily source of arguing, negotiating, and stress for all parties.)

Being the wise adult, I said I thought that was enough. He's "supposed" to get 45 minutes, but the understanding (at least between him and his mother) is that time spent on the computer at a friend's doesn't "count" for as much. I don't understand this, but anyway. I said he'd had enough time and it was close to 9:00. (His bedtime.)

He refused to put his seatbelt on, so I couldn't drive home.

I told him there'd be consequences if he didn't put his seatbelt on. He gave in.

But the whole way home (less than 10 minutes), he won't let up. That's my bulldog. Sometimes I actually admire his tenacity. Keep fighting, kid. But, seriously, knock it off. "You stole my computer time." "Why are you stealing my computer time?" Etc. And I'm taking the bait.

When we got home, he was in full-on Snot Mode. He was spoiling for a fight, and I let him sit and read in peace, and I made him a snack. (A white bread, daiya, mustard, and red onion sandwich. Don't look at me.)

Finally, at around 9:30, he said he wanted to "do something with me." I said it was time for bed. And the arguing started in earnest. "So I can't have fun just because it's late?!" It's past your bedtime. "I'm not talking about my bedtime! Why can't I have fun just because it's late?!" It's past your bedtime. "You keep talking about bedtimes, but I'm not asking about that!" It's past your bedtime. It's important that you get enough rest. And it's also important that you stick to a schedule. "Why won't you answer my question???!!" I have answered it! You just don't like the answers! "You keep talking about bedtimes!" And on and on and on. Finally I told him he'd lose his computer time tomorrow if he wasn't downstairs in 2 minutes. Tears. Utter misery. Righteous anger. Despondency.

But he goes downstairs. He ends up going into the bathroom and locking the door (which he never does), so I go upstairs. "So you're just going to leave me here?!"

I know this is at least partly my fault. For engaging. For letting myself get into an argument. For losing perspective and getting angry and sarcastic. But for crying out loud! Just do it! You're not being tortured. (He said I was "literally tormenting" him.)

We ended on a better note, but not much of one. He wanted me to stay with him in his room. But I just couldn't. I was angry and fed up. And I really need him—and he really needs—to wind down, to keep learning HOW to wind down. How to let these things go.

Basically, it was a shitty, shitty night. And I feel rotten.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 5:49 am 
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I am so sorry Footface.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 7:25 am 
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Ugh! That sucks.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 7:39 am 
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FootFace wrote:
Boy, was this a night of imperfection!

Feel free not to read any of this soap opera.

GG went to a friend's after school, and I went to pick him up around 8:40. The trouble started as soon as we were in the car. He wanted to know if he could have more computer time when we got home. It was understood that the point of going to this kid's house was playing on the computer together. He said they had about 90 minutes on the computer. (The amount of computer time he gets is a near-daily source of arguing, negotiating, and stress for all parties.)

Being the wise adult, I said I thought that was enough. He's "supposed" to get 45 minutes, but the understanding (at least between him and his mother) is that time spent on the computer at a friend's doesn't "count" for as much. I don't understand this, but anyway. I said he'd had enough time and it was close to 9:00. (His bedtime.)

He refused to put his seatbelt on, so I couldn't drive home.

I told him there'd be consequences if he didn't put his seatbelt on. He gave in.

But the whole way home (less than 10 minutes), he won't let up. That's my bulldog. Sometimes I actually admire his tenacity. Keep fighting, kid. But, seriously, knock it off. "You stole my computer time." "Why are you stealing my computer time?" Etc. And I'm taking the bait.

When we got home, he was in full-on Snot Mode. He was spoiling for a fight, and I let him sit and read in peace, and I made him a snack. (A white bread, daiya, mustard, and red onion sandwich. Don't look at me.)

Finally, at around 9:30, he said he wanted to "do something with me." I said it was time for bed. And the arguing started in earnest. "So I can't have fun just because it's late?!" It's past your bedtime. "I'm not talking about my bedtime! Why can't I have fun just because it's late?!" It's past your bedtime. "You keep talking about bedtimes, but I'm not asking about that!" It's past your bedtime. It's important that you get enough rest. And it's also important that you stick to a schedule. "Why won't you answer my question???!!" I have answered it! You just don't like the answers! "You keep talking about bedtimes!" And on and on and on. Finally I told him he'd lose his computer time tomorrow if he wasn't downstairs in 2 minutes. Tears. Utter misery. Righteous anger. Despondency.

But he goes downstairs. He ends up going into the bathroom and locking the door (which he never does), so I go upstairs. "So you're just going to leave me here?!"

I know this is at least partly my fault. For engaging. For letting myself get into an argument. For losing perspective and getting angry and sarcastic. But for crying out loud! Just do it! You're not being tortured. (He said I was "literally tormenting" him.)

We ended on a better note, but not much of one. He wanted me to stay with him in his room. But I just couldn't. I was angry and fed up. And I really need him—and he really needs—to wind down, to keep learning HOW to wind down. How to let these things go.

Basically, it was a shitty, shitty night. And I feel rotten.


This is my house, but trade computer for wii. And Malcolm is only 5. He plays non-stop at his dad's house on the weekend from what I understand. So then he doesn't understand why the rules are different here, and I don't want the stupid thing on all day with him glued to it. "Can I play video games?" "No" "Whhhhyyyyyyy???" "Because there's tons of other more fun things to do" " I don't WANT to do anything else" "oh well, I guess you can sit and be bored" "BUT I JUST WANT TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES" "ok, how about if you keep bugging me about it, I'll get rid of the whole wii, and you'll never be able to play it here again??" "Hmph!"
There are days where I want to throw it out the window. But then I remember I watch netflix movies on it.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:15 pm 
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I'm back in the Trap. In my mind, I never left.

We signed TRS/GG up for this computer game programming class. He's taken others like this before. The kids learn how to use some game-making software, and it's fun (enough). Shortly before the fourth session, TRS announced he wasn't going. He "needed a break." He wanted to have a "relaxing Sunday." Why? What happened? All we got were vague protestations that the class was boring and annoying. Did something bad happen in the class? Is anyone bullying you or anything? No, no.

So, finally, after way more unpleasantness than we ever should have allowed—unpleasantness from him and from us—we didn't make him go to class. I figured, What can I do? I can make demands. I can set out rational arguments. But I can't drag him to the car. I struggled with this, though. When I was a kid—well, an older kid than his 10 years—I was a quitter. I quit the guitar. I quit photography. I quit writing poetry. I quit foreign languages. (And I've been "working on" my novel for 6 or 7 years.) I was a one-man quitting task force. It reinforced a very destructive pattern and quitting things hasn't exactly created a sense of accomplishment and pride in me. Except for the pride of being to able to say, "I am awesome at quitting!"

So maybe I'm way overthinking this. Maybe I'm wrong to worry about the things this triggers in me. (There's the cost issue, too, but I'm not going to get into that line of questioning and argumentation, fascinating and fruitful though it was.) Maybe it's much simpler than I think. He doesn't like the class, don't make him go, the end.

Until this week. When he declares that he's not going. So the whole thing boils over again. He's in tears. He's whining and moaning. Somehow, the class has morphed from "it's okay" (after picking him up after the first three sessions) to "it's horrible and I hate it!" (after not going last week). This kid is raising the stakes. This is important, and I find myself once again in the Land of Parental Doubt.

Is it better to make him go or to let him quit? Which is bigger, the danger of coloring new endeavors with the memory of having to buckle to his parents' will, or the harm that comes from quitting when things are difficult (or boring)? What's the right thing to do? I have no idea. All I want to do is the right thing, but it's rarely easy to determine what that is.

(This is the problem I have with pat answers about discipline that rely on the distinction between punishments and natural consequences. When we told TRS that if he quit this class, we might be reluctant to sign him up for things in the future, we thought that was a simple statement of a natural consequence. Our money is finite and limited. But he just kept railing against the injustice of our putative punishment.)

So he's not going. I'm trying to calm down. And in a little while, I'll go to the gym, which I do even though I totally hate it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:24 pm 
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I still haven't bathed Leela since she was born. She hates water so much. We draw baths and she freaks out, we try and shower with her and she freaks out, baby tub and she freaks out. I just give her little sponge baths.

I have no idea what to do, but since it isn't hurting her, and she seems to be healthy, I just take a breath and stuff down my feelings of inadequacy and pray that soon she'll turn a corner and enjoy it.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:20 pm 
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Silas was terrified of bathing for a really long time too. I just did them sparingly and as fast as humanly possible. One day something clicked and he started absolutely loving bathing and has ever since.

His OT said that for some kids it's a sensory thing. Not just the feel of the water, but the echoing of the sound of the water and harsh bathroom lights can just be too much stimulation. Have you tried drawing the bath while she's out of earshot? Or nursing her as you get into the bathtub with her? That would buy us a minute or two before Silas would flip out.

I definetly remember how stressful this is and hope it gets easier for you guys and Leela soon!

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:42 pm 
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Oh that is good news. We haven't done nursing in the water, and I haven't tried drawing the bath separately. The weird thing is she loves the pool.

I just think all of us have challenges, and its so good to know we're not alone. I think about littlebear's story about N's parents being to scared to bathe him when they brought him home and hey, even though that wasn't for as long as ours, I like the idea of Leela saying when she has her kids "You know, its ok to be scared. Would you believe my parents didn't bathe me for over a year because I hated it so much?" And they'll laugh at the idea of grandma and grandpa being so terrified by a tiny baby once a long time ago. And then they'll get in their flying car and get veggie burgers.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:58 am 
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FF, I know this is after the fact but have you heard the Freakonomics podcast about quitting? I've always thought that sometimes quitting is wiser than sticking. This backs me up a bit.
http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/09/30/ ... -quitting/
i won't expound except to say that i sometimes find myself having to shut up and walk away so that i don't transfer my own history/neuroses/failures to my own kid, who is her own person and busy developing her own history/neuroses/failures. And successes.
Hang in there. We've just hit 13 yesterday (and had an AMAZING birthday-- which means that today will probably be an epic fight.)
I think it's OK to just say, ok, well we tried the class (my daughter quit capoeira, which broke my heart, but it was her choice, and i realize i wanted her to do sports because i did sports at her age, and want her to be like me, just like I want her to go to my college. It's not realistic or fair to her to insist.) Later, when it is almost forgotten, maybe you could investigate why he wants to stop. But no need to poke at the wound right now.

Also, you ain't the only one setting limits-- in fact, i recently took away FC's computer time for a month (after we got a note from school that she hadn't turned in an assignment). Access to email only on a request basis. Her friends are treating her as if she has been sentences to breaking rocks or something.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:45 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
I still haven't bathed Leela since she was born. She hates water so much. We draw baths and she freaks out, we try and shower with her and she freaks out, baby tub and she freaks out. I just give her little sponge baths.

I have no idea what to do, but since it isn't hurting her, and she seems to be healthy, I just take a breath and stuff down my feelings of inadequacy and pray that soon she'll turn a corner and enjoy it.


Have you tried taking Leela out back and hosing her off? Kidding! Sponge baths sound just fine for a baby. I wonder if it's even necessary for babies to have a bath, or if the idea of daily or even weekly baths was something promoted by companies selling baby wash products. Babies don't get stinky underarms like adults, and food or dirt can be wiped off.

My son didn't like baths when he was a baby but he outgrew this. By the time he was 3 or 4, he enjoyed baths and was dragging the cat into the bathtub. Luckily for him the cat seemed to enjoy being petted & bathed (weirdo).

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:47 am 
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torque wrote:
FF, I know this is after the fact but have you heard the Freakonomics podcast about quitting? I've always thought that sometimes quitting is wiser than sticking. This backs me up a bit.
http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/09/30/ ... -quitting/

Yes yes yes. That episode changed my life.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:05 am 
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I am going to listen to that podcast!

And tofulish, grey sometimes loves the bath and sometimes hates it. Definitely nurse! Nate or i always take a bath with grey, I don't think he is ready to be on his own but he loves playing with us. I also agree that she probably can just do a sponge bath.

FF, you are an amazing parent, you put so much thought, love and energy into TRS.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:45 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
Oh that is good news. We haven't done nursing in the water, and I haven't tried drawing the bath separately. The weird thing is she loves the pool.

I just think all of us have challenges, and its so good to know we're not alone. I think about littlebear's story about N's parents being to scared to bathe him when they brought him home and hey, even though that wasn't for as long as ours, I like the idea of Leela saying when she has her kids "You know, its ok to be scared. Would you believe my parents didn't bathe me for over a year because I hated it so much?" And they'll laugh at the idea of grandma and grandpa being so terrified by a tiny baby once a long time ago. And then they'll get in their flying car and get veggie burgers.


Maybe she prefers cooler water? Maybe she'd be more comfortable wearing a bathing suit in the bath, or whatever you usually have her wear in the pool?

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:07 pm 
***LIES!!!***
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a) now I want a veggie burger; b) I was going to suggest CQ's solution; and c) how do you wash her hair?

I am lucky to have a waterbug baby.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:14 pm 
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We don't. Just wipe it down with a wet towel about a handful of times in her life and brush it. She definitely likes cooler water - we wash her butt after she poops - but a full immersion isn't happening, at the moment.

Want to have veggie burgers with me tomorrow? Elevation Burger has a good one I hear and is kid-friendly. We could do lunch and a playdate.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:28 pm 
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I am a big fan of Elevation Burger. A playdate is plausible, although this morning Malka was super snotty, so I'll have to watch that and see if she's sufficiently non-disgusting tomorrow.


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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:04 pm 
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it is a small thing but i feel bad.

i am on sort of shaky emotional ground today and a nasty email that should have just made me raise an eyebrow sent me over the edge. I went to pick up FC from her dad's shop on my way back from work and had to hassle her to finish her snack, gather her crepe and get ready to go, i finally went to go wait in the car because she kept dawdling. 10 minutes later she gets in the car, where I had been sitting having a good cry in relative privacy. She immediately, frantically started spinning her wheels trying to apologize for being so disorganized and such a messy, lazy slow kid. I explained i wasn't crying because of her, but i felt so bad that she was desperately casting about for something to apologize for. (it was sort of funny to watch, which surely makes me a case of "Bad mommy strikes again").

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Aw, torque. I think this just shows that she's a really caring kid. Hope you doing better <3

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:50 pm 
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I'm back, with more self-recrimination and frustration.

Last night witnessed a grand tantrum from our 10-year-old master of ceremonies.

He went to bed on time (a little after 9:00). He didn't ask me to read to him, which he has been asking for lately, after stopping for a while. He seemed relaxed and happy.

About an hour later, or maybe longer, he came upstairs to say he was having trouble relaxing. He had probably been reading almost all that time. I stalled. I am tired of being on-call for a task I shouldn't need to perform anymore. He's 10. He and I have talked about how to relax. I've walked him through the steps countless times. I

The real problem is that I have talked him to sleep so many times that it has become his preferred method. Often it seems like he's incapable (or believes himself incapable) of getting himself to sleep.

When it became clear that I wouldn't be "helping" him (around 11:00?) he launched a four-alarm tantrum. He was yelling, crying, screaming, berating, and pushing every damn button he could find. (And he can find a lot! And mine are easily pushed.) Basically, he turned himself into a furious, then a wheedling, then an outraged, then a frightened mess for maybe 30–45 minutes. It was awful.

And I can't help blaming myself. It doesn't look like I've done a very good job of teaching him how to take care of himself. Discipline is just so important—and so fraught. It provides the structure kids (and adults) need. It reinforces positive habits. It teaches. There are so many ways that loving, well-meaning parents can blow it. I think I've blown it in all of them.

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 Post subject: Re: The Imperfect Parent Trap
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:17 pm 
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Location: Colorado
Footface, have you tried letting him listen to a podcast, guided meditation, audiobook,etc to fall asleep to?

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Lumpy Space Princess is my spirit guide.


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