Rather than share the awesome and wonderful things I’ve done right as a parent so far, I find it much more entertaining to pass along the things I might not have thought all the way through and didn’t do as awesome nor as right as I could have. After all, I have to live up to this blog’s namesake, and what better way to do that than to the good, the bad – and the just plain fail.
So for your information, education, and entertainment, here’s three things that I probably should have dedicated more brain-time to before putting them into action:
- Buy your preschooler play swords. Doing this means you are a-OK with your child swatting at other people, the furniture, the floor, their toys, books, and pretty much anything else that comes into their path – with a sword. What on earth was I thinking when I picked up a pair of foam swords at the dollar store last Halloween? Did I really believe he was going to limit his sword play to that of pretend pirate-ville? Honestly, I guess I must have. Argh. Oh, and it wasn’t bad enough that it was one sword, but I went ahead and got two of them, so we had double the fun when a buddy came over to play, too! Yeah, it probably goes without saying that the play swords are long gone, but no worries: I reckon that I’ve definitely not forgotten, me hearties! (P.S. – please, no play weaponry for T’s upcoming birthday, thanks in advance!)
- Teach your child “arm farts” to replace biting/ other oral behaviors. In order to redirect T’s play-biting that he would do with his dad and me, I decided to teach him to blow, not bite, on us. Of course, this was his introduction to the “arm fart” and the harmonious sound that comes along with that action. Harmless, right? At first, yes, yes it was – T did it, he self-amused for a few minutes, we both chuckled, and we moved on. But then almost overnight it grew into an obsession: T was arm farting on us morning, noon, and night. Even now he still tries to sneak them in months later! Whoops. Again, bad idea, Mom (insert raspberry noise here along with two huge thumbs down).
- Let your kid watch TV without setting limits up front. This means when T asks to “watch a show” he doesn’t just get one show, but he gets one to two hours in a row because I’m too into other things to notice; then once I do notice it’s only then that I’d swoop in and turn off the TV with no advance warning. Yeah, all together now: My bad. Anyway, while television is not banned in our house (please, we’re not ogres), TV definitely is more limited and chunked into smaller stretches for all of our sakes. T now gets about an hour of TV in the morning to allow me to shower and wake up. After that and if and only if he asks then he’ll get about another hour or two tops for the rest of the day and only about 30 minutes at a time (i.e., one hour-long show split into two sittings; two half-hour shows in two sittings; or one 90-120 minute movie divided into two or three separate sittings). It’s discussed in advance, it’s agreed upon, and it definitely comes with fair and ample advance warning when the time is about to end. With these new limits in place, we are not getting the tantrums we once were, and we’re all much, much happier. In fact, we all are watching a lot less television as a result of this change, Sundays aside (it is football season after all), which probably helps with our efforts with T, too (that whole modeling as a parent thing you hear so much about… yeah, seems to be some truth to that, go figure).
I’ll check in every so often with more mommy mistakes. In the meantime, hope you are having as much fun learning from the errors of your ways as I am learning from mine – daily!