Reading and Writing

22 08 2010

We read Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. I can’t review this book, because I didn’t get to finish it. We started reading it together, on the beach:

But Floppy enjoyed the book so much….

that he finished it on his own. So I didn’t get to read the ending. But I guess it must have been pretty good, at least according to Floppy.

He continues to blog, most recently about his lemonade stand, to which you can contribute, if you want to save the planet and/or receive a hand-drawn picture of a glass of lemonade.


Writing: Blogging Berries

10 07 2010

Floppy and his father went for a walk to get the mail and found an embarrassment of summer riches. I’ll let him tell you about it.

Writing: Revenge is sweet.

7 07 2010

If you felt that I risked embarrassing my offspring with my last post, check out his latest blog entry. (The remainder of his writing lesson today consisted of generating thank you notes. They really did need to be written. It wasn’t a return salvo from mom.)

Writing: An Exciting Weekend

5 06 2010

Memorial Day weekend was an exciting one for Floppy. On Saturday, our neighbor invited him over for a day of playing secret agent with her grandniece, hot-tubbing, boating over to the Baited Hook for ice cream, and feasting on brats and potato salad. A pretty good gig! So today it was time to write a thank you note for her generosity. We sent it along with a blueberry upside down cake, which is the most delicious thing you can do with a blueberry.

The other exciting thing about Memorial Day weekend was taking a trip down to Boston to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the mummies. Floppy has been studying ancient Egypt in his real school, and he knew an amazing amount about everything we saw. The museum was having its annual open house, when admission (normally 16 dollars) is free, and also the special ancient Egypt exhibit (admission usually $20) is open free to all comers. I thought it would be mobbed, but it wasn’t bad. Plus, there were lots of cool art-making activities:

However, the trip was extra exciting because right in the middle of our lunch a scary-sounding siren went off, and a nice guard told us we had to evacuate! We evacuated. Rapidly, I might add. Then fire trucks came. But whatever it was, it wasn’t much of an emergency, so the Boston fire department graciously let the kids crawl all over the trucks while we waited to go back inside.

Floppy blogged about the trip much more concisely on his own blog.

Writing: Blogging and Child Behavior Modification

10 05 2010

If you follow Floppy’s blog, you might have noticed that today he blogs about “good choices” and claims that we parents are allowing him to do whatever he wants as long as he makes good choices.

We’re trying an experiment — Mountain Mike’s Magic Parenting Trick for rearing self-managing children, specifically. You might think that as a Ph.D. in psychology and faculty in psychiatry at an Ivy League university I probably should find better sources for parenting advice than Mountain Mike (he’s a butcher). Furthermore, I’m not a big consumer of parenting advice in general: I think my child is perfect, and when he isn’t I think I’m perfect as a parent, and when neither of us are perfect I generally rely on repeating my parents’ and grandparents’ mistakes. In fact, we’ve bought just two parenting books ever before — Dr. Sears baby operational manual and a PESI manual that I never read or implemented past chapter 2 (neither of those chapters were all that helpful).

But I prefer to think of all this as evidence that Mountain Mike’s advice is just that compelling. My initial reaction to Amberlee’s version of the Mountain Mike story was to be let down — surely this insight was not all that remarkable. But she seemed so impressed we had to try it, and 48 hours in to the Mountain Mike experiment, I’m impressed.

Floppy seems to be responding much as Amberlee’s kids did, but the parts I find most striking are A) how much he seems to enjoy it, and B) how it changes my behavior as well as his.

For his part, he is not only more cooperative, he feels he’s been let in on a great privilege. He seems to see himself as an independent person,  privileged to make all his own decisions (so long as they are “good choices”) and rewarded with free agency and “whatever I want” (so long as it’s a good choice) for behaving well. He seems to feel that he’s been granted grownup-level freedom, and he’s reveling in it.

His response to negative feedback is interesting, too. In the past, when we got upset with him, it often engendered an angry power struggle as he tried to get us to help him with some problematic situation he’d created. But now, when we warn that he seems to be making “not such good choices,” and therefore refuse to cooperate with him, he makes an immediate effort to fix the problem himself and right his behavior so that the next request will be honored.

But even more interesting is what it seems to be doing to me. I make an effort to say “yes” to all requests that occur when he is “making good choices,” even if I’m busy or it’s an inconvenience to me. It makes me more attentive to him, and more polite. He’s hollering less, and cooperating more, but so am I.  He says “good choices bring peace to our family.” So far, he’s absolutely right.

I’d be curious if you try Mountain Mike’s Magic, and how it works for you.

Writing: Mother’s Day and Good Times

8 05 2010

We made Mother’s Day cards for our Nanas and Grandmas for writing class this week. I’m pretty sure by now they must’ve been received, so it’s safe to show them to you. Here they are:

Floppy has also been blogging. This week’s topic, he decided, was Good Times. Hope you’re having peaceful good times with your mamas today and everyday!