Thursday, 16 July 2009


Life, as usual, has been busy. I've had reams to blog about but no time to do it. Particularly as I am reattempting the unconditional parenting techniques (as espoused by Alfie Kohn) to try and tame the beasties and this requires far less blog time and far more playing of hide and seek. Which is how it should be. However, it means I am falling very far behind on my blogging and blog reading.

But there have been three major milestones that are worth noting for posterity.

Milestone 1:
I got a genuine apology from son1 the other day. Not only that, it was a direct result of putting my newfound parenting techniques into practice. You could have blown me down with a feather. The boys had both upended their drink bottles in the car and deliberately squirted their drinks all over the seats causing quite a bit of damage to the upholstery. Husband opted for the military approached of putting them in their room for sometime to think about their behaviour including a fierce daddy lecture (why is it that mummy lectures never carry the same weight?)

I gave them time to calm down and then went in and instead of reprimanding or demanding an apology, I said I needed them to answer one question, which was: Why did you squeeze the drinks inside the car?

They were initially perplexed but ultimately we got the reason. It was long and convoluted but it did make sense from a small child's point of view. So I explained calmly why we had been cross about it. Son1 listened and then very genuinely and sincerely apologised for not thinking and messing the drink. Of course son2 just yelled his normal SORRY! But I couldn't believe how calm, rational discussion made such a difference. Much of it was just being willing to open up my mind to the reason why they did something rather than assume that they did it just because they're possessed by devils or are hell bent on annoying me. So I shall continue (as best I can) with this approach and see if it results in a calmer house.

Milestone 2:
Son 1 got his first ever report card. I can honestly say that I was nervous about opening it. Why for goodness sake? It wasn't my report card. But actually, it was. As a parent, your child's behaviour and performance at school is hugely influenced by how you parent them at home - certainly while they're young. Have I spent enough time doing arts and crafts with him? (apparently not) Do I encourage a love of reading by getting out books? (yes, gold star for me) Does he show care and concern for others and operate well in a group? (yes - amazing. He beats the daylights out of his brother). Is he punctual? (yes, and that is entirely down to me. If that was his own doing we'd still be looking for shoes at 3pm)

Isn't it strange how as a child you were concerned about the contents of your report card because you didn't want to get a bollocking from your parents. Yet your parents were probably just as concerned all along to see if what they've taught you at home is reflected in your school scores. It's only when your child gets a report card that this truth comes to light.

Milestone 3:
Son2 (aged 3 - will be 4 in a couple of months) has taught himself how to swim. Well, he can swim as long as he doesn't need to come up for a breath. Unlike most children who battle to put their face in the water, this child can't swim unless he swims underwater like a little fish. It's remarkable to watch. He just decided one day to take off his armbands and jump in. He went under the water and swam holding his breath to the side. And he's not looked back. How you teach a child to swim with their head above the water is another thing, but I'm thrilled (and a little astonished) that he's decided to skip learning to swim and go straight to free diving.

So you see - we've had some big stuff going on, hence the blog silence. And today we have pre-school sports day in which I sincerely hope son 2 will take part in. Last week I got to go to son 1's sports day and once again, got to watch other people's children running as he refused to join in until the very last race. At which point he cried that he hadn't had enough turns. Sigh

Bloggy kisses to all


b said...

Well done you on your milestones. My daughter was the same as your number 2 son, she swam underwater first before on top of the water and still to this day (she is 9) prefers to be under the water and is way quicker that way than on top. I had a water birth with her and was attributing it too that, probably not, but who cares!

Part Mummy Part Me said...

wow, you're doing really well. I'm intrigued as to what the explanation was for squirting the car interior!

The unconditional approach sounds interesting..will go off and Google it.

Keep up the good work ;-)

nappy valley girl said...

Sounds like there are some benefits to having a pool then?

well done on all. Must be very gratifying to get such a good report...

bevchen said...

So why did they squirt the juice? I'm intrigued now.

Home Office Mum said...

b - good to know that my child isn't a freak of nature and that other kids do this too

Nappy Valley Girl - here's hoping future report cards are as good. And yes, pools, despite being evil, have their merits

Part Mummy and Bevchen - here's the incredibly boring and complicated reason why they squirted their water bottles:

Son1 had a sports bottle with water in it.
Son2 wanted it.
Son1 wouldn't share.
I gave son2 my bottle of mineral water
Son 1 wanted the bottle of water I had given to son 2
I said no because he already had water in his bottle
In his head, the water in son2's bottle was in some way preferable to the water in his bottle. So he decided to empty his water bottle so that he could then genuinely say that he didn't have any water and could thus have some of the much coveted water from son2's bottle. But as we were in a moving car, he didn't know where to empty it, so just emptied it on the seat.

Son2, being 3, saw his brother doing that, thought it looked like fun and copied him.

Do you see why so many parents are alcoholics?

Noble Savage said...

I just got Unconditional Parenting and will be giving it a read very soon. I hope I can use some of the techniques to my advantage, as you seemingly have!

Steve said...


Can you let me know your email address. I have something nice to send you.

Many thanks,