October 15, 2012

Belated Happy Birthday

Within a day or two of Brex's birthday, I put up a photo essay on Facebook. Since then, I keep meaning to do a blog post about it, but didn't have the urgency. I suspect that FB has taken the 'need' out of many blogger's posts.

In any case, we had a fun birthday for the boy. I thought he'd be shy when everyone looked at him; instead he beamed and waved each time he was the focus of attention.

The other revelation after planning an event for two weeks with Mom K is that most of my problems with her are that we are too similar. We both like to have things a certain way, we both want to know the agenda, make lists, plan ahead, have everything ready and make it look good. The whole visit she was also on the phone with members of her church, counseling them, chatting, laughing, and in general, staying connected with a wide network of people. The core problem is that given our similarities, she's better at everything than I am! She's a better cook, more relentless cleaner, more tireless in playing with Brex, more cheerful in serving. She sets a standard that I'll never be able to match so it makes me feel insecure and uber-critical of whatever ways I can find her being 'less than'.

When I mentioned this revelation to Jrex, he didn't disagree with my premise. In fact, he agreed that his Mom and I are both perfectionists (I retorted with known irony, "I'm not a perfectionist! I just want things done the right way...."). He did add though that I'm much better with a power drill than is his Mother. It was actually comforting.

So, here are a couple photos for those of you who aren't my FB friends (or who missed seeing them there).

In the Korean 'dol' ceremony, we put out objects that supposedly predict his future. The money symbolizes wealth & power/ thread is long life / bowl of rice means abundance / tin whistle (non-traditional) meant the arts / pen for a scholar. When I told some of my non-Korean friends about the meanings of the objects, they exclaimed, "What? None of the futures is for anything bad?" Sheesh!

Here's the boy's face when seeing one of his buddies from his old day care. Yes. It's hero worship.

In other kiddo news, he's not quite walking, but I think we have an official first word. What we're going to claim as his first word is the dog's name. He produces a mangled version of her name every time he sees her. However, what he says quite clearly, quite distinctly, quite meaningfully, emphatically and gleefully . . .

. . . is "No".

Sigh. The week after he turned one we had to have two 'obedience sessions'. He'd become increasingly defiant and so instead of moving him or distracting him, I decided to go head-to-head. He crawled over to touch the TV screen. I warned him not to touch it, he looked at me, looked at the TV and then firmly smacked it. I exclaimed, "NO!!!" very loudly (the way I'd say it to the dog). He burst into tears for 20 seconds. Then turned off the faucet, babbled at me, shook his head. Then touched the TV again.

Repeat. five. times.

While he stood holding the table without touching the TV, I praised him in a very happy voice for not touching the TV and listening to me. Then when he touched it, the loud, scary, "No!" He finally stopped trying and crawled over to play happily with a toy.

The day after, we did the same pattern with the dog's food dishes.

Since then, he's been much better about listening to us, but he's also quite excited to use a word that has such power. What have I done!?


Jack Towe said...

He's one. It's time to start spanking. You spank only for disobedience -- i.e. he gets one free ride on each forbidden act. You tell him not to do it again. If he doesn't, he gets spanked.

That's the rule: Speak once, then spank.

Just yelling "no" at him will turn your life and Jrex' into a living hell. And, as you've already seen, it will badly damage Brex.

OTR sister said...

It's exciting that Brex is talking!

My husband was against spanking and I was afraid all the non-spanking strategies wouldn't be effective. Surprisingly they were very effective.

Check out Love and Logic, they have good ideas for toddlers too.

I still raise my voice too much, you'd think after watching Mom I'd know it doesn't work but it's my instinctual response. But we have a lot of different tools in our parenting arsenal.

Good luck with all this! Use what works for your family.

OTRgirl said...

Dad: I don't yell it. It's just a sharp, firm "No". OTRsis, I've heard of Love and Logic and will be checking it out.

I'm not completely opposed to spanking, but I think it's tool of last resort, not a first-line method. The way we did it in our house was certainly NOT effective! Since Mom had arthritis and couldn't do any spankings, we had to wait until Dad came home and then line up outside the bathroom for a spanking. It wasn't connected to the misdeed at all.

Having worked in a situation where the kids were horrible and we had to use (mostly) non-physical intervention, I feel fortunate that I KNOW there are alternatives to spanking. I love time outs and reward as overall methods, he's just too young for them.

The amazing thing to me is that since those two obedience sessions, he hasn't touched the dog dishes or the TV. He might reach out to touch the mat under the dog dishes, but we just say, "Make a good choice!" or say his name in a warning tone and he backs away. And then we tell him he did SUCH a good job listening, etc. So far so good!