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Cry-In-Arms: Why I Love My Child’s Temper Tantrums

 

Crying

Margo, 4 1/2, had been acting really aggressive towards her 2 year old sister for several days. No amount of asking her to “Be gentle” or “How would you feel if somebody did that to you” was working. Everyone in the house had been worn down from weeks of recovering from the flu. On top of that, I had been working full time on a two week contract. Where usually, I would be able to stay home with the kids and help us all to recover, I had not been available much. The kids had been clingy and grumpy. A big storm was brewing and finally, the time came that I had the energy to deal with it. Read the rest of this entry

Why This School Teacher Thinks Tests Are Really Stupid

tests

Please tell me of one single job on this entire planet where you would have to recall facts all by yourself, without talking to anyone, without LOOKING at anyone, without the help of resources and without the help of the internet or technology.

That’s right.

There are no such jobs.

I mean, unless you’re a highly trained military covert operation specialist on a solo mission deep behind enemy lines, then yeah, *maybe* you might find yourself in that type of situation. Yet, that’s what we make kids do. We make them sit silently at their desks so they can ‘recall‘ information. How far from reality is that? Read the rest of this entry

The Funny Things About Getting Sick

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Have you ever gazed at the scratches on your mug in dumbfounded wonder and taken the time to imagine how they would have gotten there over the years? Have you ever acknowledged the brand name of the ceiling fan in your bathroom for the first time in four years and wondered why you never noticed it before? Have you ever stared at a wall for at least five minutes, without even once thinking it’s about time to move? I mean, when do we ever stop and notice that stuff? Well, that was me and my family for the past few days. Sick with a flu, and not just any flu. Like, worst flu ever flu. All at the same time. Like, even our doctor gave us a sympathetic, “You poor things.” When he saw the state we were in. Read the rest of this entry

When Your Co-Sleeping, Breastfed Child Wakes Up 800 Times a Night: What to Do

Katesurfsbabywakes

I could have done nothing and eventually, she may have started sleeping better at night. But, when my daughter was five months old, she started waking almost every hour looking for boob to put her back to sleep and I was beside myself. She had been sleeping so well up until then! I knew that all babies woke a little at night, but were they supposed to wake every hour for days and weeks and months in a row?! It wasn’t just developmental stuff or teething, it had to be something else…

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Unsolicited Breastfeeding Advice from Clueless Health Care Professionals

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Katesurfsdoctor

I’d walked by this Chinese medicine place a thousand times before and had heard good things about it. The girls were happy, and both in the shopping trolley, so I thought it would be a good time to stop by.

Hello!” I said to the lady at the counter, “I was wondering if you have any herbs or medicine for the gall bladder. This cold windy weather always seems to make it hurt.

Ok” she said with a smile back, “Just a minute.

She went into another room to go get the doctor. Now, I know that doctors of Chinese medicine are not ‘medical‘ doctors. But, they do have to train for many years in order to become certified. They have to learn all about the body and about acupuncture and about medicine herbs, etc. I actually think I had my life saved once by a doctor of Chinese medicine. I stepped on something crazy in the ocean and my feet turned all purple and blue and I couldn’t walk. She did something crazy that involved blood and hot needles and smoke and by the next day I was fine.  Read the rest of this entry

Be Careful saying “Be Careful”

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Margo asked me if she could hop up onto the kitchen counter. I wasn’t really feeling well and didn’t have much patience. I told her “No“. The sandwhich press was on, cooking our lunch, right next to where she wanted to sit. There were things she could knock over, I thought she might fall, etc. But, she kept nagging me and wouldn’t tell me why she wanted to sit up there. I was too tired to argue, so I told her to go grab the stool and do it herself. She skipped away and came back with the stool and climbed up onto the counter.

I had my back turned, making lunch, in my sick-ish middle of the day can’t-wait-for-naptime daze, when all of a sudden, from behind my back, I heard a yelp and then crying. I rolled my eyes… just as I suspected, Margo had touched the sandwhich press and had burned her little finger. She cried and cried and cried for at least 2 or 3 minutes. I just stood next to her and smoothed her hair, without interrupting her crying. When she finished crying, I asked if she wanted to run it under cold water. She said, “Yes.”

I didn’t tell her that she needed to be more careful, or that she should have listened to me, or that annoying, “I told you so.” But, I’m 100% sure she learned a lesson.

Now..What happened?” I said

I touched the sandwhich press and burned my finger!” She said.

Yes, it was really hot, wasn’t it?” I repied

It was hot, but I bet that sandwhich press isn’t as hot as the sun!” She told me.

I giggled, “Let’s go get some aloe vera from the balcony.” And, for the rest of the afternoon, she played with her little blade of aloe vera and nursed her burn.

Did she get hurt? Yes. Did she get hurt badly? No.

I’m a firm believer in the power of children learning through natural consequences. I let my kids use sharp knives, the hand held grater and scissors (with proper guidance and under close supervision, of course). I let them climb and tumble and fall. I’m not foolish about things though. I use caution around roads and I put safety plugs on the electrical sockets, because those are mistakes that could cost them their lives. It’s not like I encourage them to get hurt! But, little stuff, like trips, burns, cuts, bruises… I mean… that’s just life. That’s how they learn!

I tell my kids to “be careful“, but I do my best to use the phrase sparingly. I often find myself saying it automatically, but, if possible, I like to reserve, “be careful” for times when they’re about to do something that is actually dangerous. The other day, my little two year old got too close to a busy road and when I told her  in a stern voice “Ah, Goldie, be careful, come away from the road.” she came running back without a second’s hesitation because she knew I meant business. But, if it’s not a dangerous situation, I don’t like saying “be careful” for three reasons.

1) It makes them stop, second guess their ability and sometimes startles them, when really they may be able to do the thing you think they can’t do (for example, climbing the stairs).

2) If I say it too often, they won’t listen for the times when I really mean it.

3) By letting them learn through natural consequences, they become more confident in their decision making ability and how to use their judgement.

I’ve heard it been said that a child is born with enough fear as there is salt in the food. In others words, they have enough fear to keep them safe, most of the time. It’s up to us parents to not give them too much fear, while at the same time, keeping them from really getting into danger. As a kid, I was always way more scared of things than I needed to be, and I don’t want to pass my scaredy pants tendencies down to my children.

What about ‘Accident Prone’ Kids?

Often, I find my kids will start doing things like climbing and jumping on the bed, simply if they haven’t had enough exercise that day. Another thing, is that when kids are in a grumpy mood and are probably in need of an emotional release, through tears, they are way WAY more accident prone. I welcome the tears that come from an accident prone day. I feel as if though the child just finds way to hurt themselves just to get those cries out. I know not everyone will agree with me on that one, but it’s what I’ve observed in my own kids as well as in others.

When I feel like saying, “Be careful” I look at the situation and think, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” If the worst possible scenario is a cut, scrape, bruise or minor burn, then I let it go. The first time I let Margo use the hand held grater, she was about 2 1/2. I showed her the correct way to use it, but she nicked her finger anyway.. She cried for a second, and kept going. She really wanted to learn how to use that grater! It was hard to bite my tongue and not say, “Be careful” a million times. at the end of it, she had only endured one tiny scrape and she had grated half the zuchinni. She was pretty proud of herself!

I’m not saying it’s bad to say “Be careful” but I think it’s certainly an overused phrase by most parents. Of course, we want our children to stay safe, but maybe sometimes it’s ok to let them learn the natural way.

This is my favorite Ted Talk of all times on Five Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do.

This post is not to say that you ditch common sense and let your kids trash your house. We also need to be keep our kids from getting badly hurt, but without instilling fear in them. There are other ways of bringing awareness to danger, like giving them options or discussion what could happen, etc. Also, if your child is always used to you saying ‘be careful’ and then you stop saying it cold turkey, they might not be used to using their judgement, so they could get hurt badly, it’s probably best to ease them into it.

 

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When Yoga Teachers Get Angry

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We were right in the middle of doing some nice yoga poses, when all of a sudden, this loud blaring music from downstairs at the community center started thumping. It’s not the first time I’ve been in the middle of teaching that this has happened, so I wasn’t overly surprised, but this music was insanely loud. Like, the floor was vibrating and I could barely hear myself speak. We kept going, doing our yoga, sort of being silly and grooving to the beat. I laughed, thinking, “Oh, that person down there has no idea that we are peacefully doing yoga up here, I’ll go down in a minute and let her know that we’re here.” It was only 8:45 in the morning. I was not just teaching yoga, but teaching an Art of Living course, which is a three day program, that was a few hours each day. Yoga stretching was just one part of the class. Read the rest of this entry

“There’s Nothing to be Scared About” is Something I Never Say to My Kids

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Katesurfspool

Her whole body was trembling. She was terrified.

Margo’s swim lesson last week, was the last lesson of the day. She had been going to swim lessons at a different pool for a few years, but we hadn’t gone in about six months and now we were at a new pool. A new instructor. It was cold and windy outside and getting late. Even though we were indoors, she was shivering. A friend of hers, who was supposed to be in the same class, had cancelled because he was sick. All of the other kids had called out sick too! She was all alone, with a new teacher, in a new place and I knew she was petrified. Read the rest of this entry

Life’s Either a Problem or an Adventure

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It was quite an effort to get everyone out of the house this morning by 7:30am. Double check to make sure we had water bottles, spare clothes in case the kids wrecked the ones they had on. Has everyone gone to the toilet? Check. Has everyone eaten breakfast? Check. Does everyone have clothes on that are covering their private parts? Check. Let’s go. We were on our way to the Yogathon (like a marathon of yoga), an event to raise money for charity. Read the rest of this entry

When the World Feels As One

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I’ve never actually prayed for somebody’s soul before. I’m not religious, so don’t ask me what praying for somebody’s soul even means. But for some reason, last night, at one in the morning, I sat straight up in bed and did just that. It was pretty weird. While I did love Robin Williams, and he was, like, the funniest, most creative actor ever, I certainly was never obsessed with him or thought of him too often. But, last night, for whatever reason, my heart was aching over his death. Someone I’ve never even met. I mean, yes, I must have watched Aladdin eighteen million times when I was a kid, and yes, I secretly/not-so-secretly think The World According to Garp is one of my all time favorite movies. But still, why was I thinking about Robin Williams at one in the morning? Read the rest of this entry