Monday, October 1, 2012
The Big Talk
I just started reading Siblings Without Rivalry, and of course I'm loving it. It's also reminded me of some of the parenting tips from the first book, How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk. They are so simple, straightforward and EFFECTIVE.
For example, Little A was feeling down Saturday afternoon because Big A was at a birthday party, and she was sad about not being included. She demanded 'bubble drink' to make her feel better. This is what we call Zevia, which I sometimes buy the girls to drink as a treat. I explained that this was not a time for a treat drink (mostly because I didn't want her to think she could have some whenever she asks). She threw herself on the floor and began screaming. I explained that a tantrum would not change my mind, but this didn't change her mind about having a fit. I suddenly had the wisdom to use one of the strategies Faber & Mazlish recommend: acknowledging children's feelings. I said, "You're upset because you want bubble drink now, and now is not bubble drink time? "Yes", she said. Then I used another one of their strategies: fantasies. I said to her, "Wouldn't it be amazing if we could have our favorite drinks whenever we wanted?" She stopped crying. I asked her, "What's your favorite drink?" "Bubbly watermelon drink", she said (no idea what that is!). This led to a full on discussion of all of our favorite things and she was soon in a delightful, playful mood.
It also led to a discussion about the birds and the bees. It began when she started asking me why my bellybutton sticks out. I explained that it didn't used to, but after having her and Big A in my tummy, it got pushed out (lovely diastasis/hernia I have!). She finally - over a year later than when Big A asked at age 2 - how babies get into mommies' tummies. I gave the very basic information about sperm, egg, etc. and she accepted that fairly easily, although I believe she concluded the sperm goes through the woman's bellybutton to meet the egg. I left it at that for now. Of course being an infertility counsellor, I also said nice doctors sometimes help people get sperm or eggs to make babies if there are two mommies, daddies, etc, etc.).
Our next topic of conversation was what she wants to be when she grows up. Her first response was, "A grown up." High aspirations this kid, I tell ya! Then she decided a doctor, which she later refined to a dentist, just like her zaida.
I can't believe what a turn around Little A had and what a fun afternoon we ended up having. She was still in a great mood when Big A returned from the party with a bag full of toys, and reports about the gummy worms and birthday cake she ate.
I can't wait to finish the second book...the girls' fighting is really driving us nuts. In fact, my mother-in-law admitted that they were bickering so much this past weekend, that she yelled at them when they were over at her place. At least I know I'm not exaggerating when I say it really gets bad sometimes! Hopefully I can learn some new strategies to get things better under control.