Philadelphia Sprayground Guide

With temperatures scorching these past few weeks, I have been on the hunt for ways to keep cool and tire Xavier out at the same time. The perfect solution? SPRAYGROUNDS!

Kid jumping into water

Lucky for us, Philadelphia has tons!

Fairmount

  • Sister Cities at 18th & The Parkway
  • Smith Playground at 2100 S. 24th Street
  • Clemente Park Playground at Wallace St & N. 18th

Fishtown

  • Shisshler Rec Center at 1800 Blair St (The corner of Berks & Frankford)

Germantown

  • Waterview Rec Center at 5826 McMahon St (Rittenhouse & McMahon)

Manayunk/Roxborough/East Falls

  • Neighbors Park: The corner of Hermit & Terrace St 
  • Houston Playground and Rec Center at 900 Grakyn Ln – Behind Andorra Shopping Center
  • McDevitt Rec Center at 3531 Scotts Ln

Mt. Airy

  • Mt. Airy Playground and Rec Center at 7001 Germantown Ave. (Sedgwick St)
  • Pleasant Playground at 6720 Boyer St.

Northeast Philadelphia

  • Ferko Playground at 1101 E. Cayuga St (‘J’ & Cayuga)
  • Junod Rec Center at 12770 Dunksferry Rd
  • Picariello Rec Center at 10801 Calera Rd
  • Chalfont Playground at 4330 Deerpath Ln

South/Southwest Philly

  • Herron Park Playground at 2nd & Reed St
  • 48th & Woodland Rec Center at 4740 Woodland Ave.

Strawberry Mansion/Brewerytown

  • Athletic Rec Center at 26th & Master St

Washington Square

  • Seger Park at 1000 Lombard Street (11th & Lombard)

Stay Cool Out There!

Keeping Your Kids Safe

As a parent, I feel like WORRY is part of the job description. We worry or think about everything, all the time. Did X eat enough? Is his foot too bendy and slightly to the right? What is that small dot on his arm? Silly things, medium things, huge things – we worry day and night. It’s just part of the bag and also part of the reason I might never sleep soundly again.

Since my *almost* attack a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about victimization and the role it plays in our lives on many levels. As a Mother, I am always thinking of ways to keep the people I love safe and healthy. 

We’ve all heard the stories of sexual abuse or abduction and some of you might even know someone or be someone who has been closely affected by it. To me, there aren’t very many things worse than horrendous things happening to innocent children. The thought of someone sexually assaulting my child brings up feelings that fit into their own category of darkness. It’s something we hear about and something we think about – and I want to prepare my family the best way I know how, with information.

I realize that I am not in control of anything other than my own actions - however I’m a big believer in giving people the tools they need to handle situations they might come face to face with. Throughout my research, I have come across some very useful tips that I think every parent can put into practice to equip you and your family to lessen the chances of a predator viewing your child as their next victim.

1. Talk about uncomfortable things. As soon as you can, teach your child the proper names for their body parts (penis, vagina, breasts, nipples, etc) so you know what they are talking about if they try and tell you something. Make up a song, read a story, just make sure they know the names of their body parts. There’s a link at the bottom for some great books you can use.

Explain that their parts covered up by their underwear or bathing suit are what people will refer to as ‘private parts’. Tell them that only Mommy and Daddy and the doctor (when you are in the room) are allowed to touch them in these places. If someone tries to touch their private parts, they have the right to say NO! or STOP! and run away – even if they think they might get into trouble for not listening.

2. Body Ownership. Don’t force your kids to hug or kiss anyone (even relatives). This also teaches them to trust their gut and gives them control over their own body. Ask before you go in for that smooch, “Can I hold you and give you a kiss?” This is a difficult one as older relatives often do not listen and will grab kids anyway, but you can use this as a teaching moment to talk about respecting peoples’ words/wishes and feelings. You could ask, “How did it make you feel when PopPop didn’t listen to your wishes and played with your hair anyway?” and then the door is open for conversation in a safe environment.

3. All Feelings Are Okay. In our house, we feel a lot. We cry a lot, we laugh a lot and we talk a lot. I work to build an environment in our home where X can feel like he can express his emotions and unless he is hurting himself or someone else, I let him do his thing. Sometimes a good sob is all ya need :) [Side note: last week at the park a little girl was crying and X went over and sat with her and said, "It's okay to cry. Sometimes crying makes you feel all better!" Holy proud Mom moment]

4. Don’t focus on stranger danger. X is SUPER friendly to literally, every single person that walks by him. I want him to be aware and prepared but I also never want him to lose the love he has for ALL PEOPLE. The statistics show that 1/10 of abductions are committed by strangers. That comes out to about 115 a year. The rest are by close acquainteances or family members. We talk about not talking with people we don’t know when Mommy or Daddy aren’t with there.

5. No Secrets. Create a difference between surprises and secrets. If Grandma says, “we can get cookies later just don’t tell Mommy”, firmly and politely reply, “We don’t keep secrets in our family. Surprises can be fun sometimes, but not secrets. We can tell each other anything”

6. If You Get Separated. Kids run FAST and in the blink of an eye, they can be across the room from you. It can be a scary feeling and those few seconds feel like hours when you are searching for your little noodle. Tell your kids if they ever can’t find you, to look for another Mommy and tell her you are lost. She will help you find me.

More Resources

Your Body Belongs to You

Some Secrets Should Never be Kept

8 Common Myths About Child Sexual Abuse

Your Child’s Best Defense is YOUR Warning

Urban Adventuring: Summer in Philadelphia

Throwing Rocks in The Wissahickon

Throwing Rocks in The Wissahickon

I always enjoy discovering new things to do around Philadelphia to keep life interesting and learning fun, and summer in Philly is the best. Last spring I shared some ideas here and here for Fun & Free Toddler Adventures. With these, along with our Frog Pond escapades and general roaming about the city, we definitely won’t be bored :)

While I am all about nature and learning in natural environments as much as possible,  it’s also good to change things up and go to actual events. While events can sometimes be tough for spirited kids (sensory overload), it’s good for us all to push beyond our comfort zones. This is where we can experience the most growth.

Philadelphia has a ton of great stuff going on this summer and we’re taking our urban adventuring up a notch!

Here’s where we will be ~ join us?

City Hall Observation Deck: Come catch a glimpse of the city from a higher perspective. Just below the William Penn statue in Center City, tours run every 15 minutes from 9:30am-4:15pm (Adults $6; Seniors & Kids $4)

Philadelphia Magic Gardens: Local artist Isaiah Zagar has constructed one of the most interesting pieces of public art around with his recycled ceramic and glass walls and sculptures. Open daily for self guided tours (Adults $7; Students & Seniors $5; Kids 6-12 $3; Free for kids under 6). Guided tours are also available for increased pricing.

John Heinz Wildlife Refuge: A 1,000 acre oasis located just one mile from the Philadelphia International Airport. The refuge is free and open from sunrise to sunset year-round. There are trails for hiking and biking, and self-directed and guided tours are available.

Fireman’s Hall Museum: The perfect spot for your firefighter in training and you can even run the hoses.

East Passyunk Car Show: If you’ve got a kiddo that LOVES anything with wheels, this will be right up their alley!

The Oval: Transformed from an asphalt parking lot, this space is constantly changing and always has something fun to explore. A quick bike ride down Kelly Drive from Manayunk too!

And one for date night: Philly’s Beer Garden Series featuring a different pop-up beer garden each week in a new location.

These are just a few things going on, not including all the festivals, movies under the stars and random other happenings. Cant think of something to do? Head over to my favorite secret place Philly Love Notes. This is an awesome project that highlights the city’s hidden gems through the beautiful stories of its’ residents. You won’t be disappointed, promise.

Happy Summer Fun to your family from ours!

Strolling the Streets

Strolling the Streets

 

 

 

The Day I Was Almost a Victim

Trust Yourself

 

Mondays are my day off, my “me” days, and this past Monday I decided to lay in the sunshine and read. So I picked up some water and snacks, grabbed the newest book off my shelf (Everything That Remains by The Minimalists) and headed to Kelly Drive, a section of Fairmount Park complete with running/biking trails and a view of the water. Exactly what I was looking for.

The grass was muddy from all the rainstorms, so I headed to the wooden rowing bleachers which – looking back – I suppose wasn’t my best move – because of their placement, I was more out of sight from the beaten path.

It was hot and humid, my favorite kind of weather, and I was enjoying my quiet time (something everyone should make time for!) when all of the sudden my heart started racing and beating forcefully out of my chest. A few seconds later, a man walked by me on the thin strip of land between me and the mucky water’s edge. We made eye contact and I said hi as I do to everyone, but this felt different…this meeting of the eyes sent chills down my body and goosebumps spread from the top of my head to my toes. After his eyes left mine, he glanced at my bag which had my laptop peeking out of it. He kept walking and took a seat about 50 yards away from me. All of the alarms in my body were going off, telling me this was bad man. I kept my sunglasses on and pretended to keep reading, but really I was watching him out of my peripheral vision and my body was preparing for fight or flight.

Eventually, he got up and walked in the opposite direction, back up to the path out of my sight. Uneasiness surrounded me. I didn’t want to overreact but I felt that something wasn’t right and I felt it in my bones. I stayed and contemplated getting out my switchblade and holding my ground. Deciding against it, I slowly, calmly, began to plan my exit. I took my rings off as not to attract any more unwanted attention (did he want to rob me?) and within that second he was back, circling me like an animal does its prey. This time walking slowly and licking his lips as his eyes locked onto my upper thighs. His teeth were dark and one was shiny gold – a slow motion scene forever burned into my memory.

Once again, he took a seat a little ways away but I knew I had to get out of there, quick. So I gathered my stuff as calmly as I could, making sure to appear confident and unrattled. All I kept thinking was, “I just have to make it to the path of runners and I will be ok…I can do that.” But as soon as I stood up, he stood as well and headed right for me. He yelled something inaudible and I picked up my pace…so did he. At this point, I had a choice – take the steps to the top (the shorter distance) and hope someone is walking by at the same time or go around the longer way and be visible to more people quicker. I took a step to go the longer way and my foot slipped in the mud. I immediately changed direction and sprinted to the top of the steps, now engaged in a full blown chase. I made it to the top first and threw myself at the first person I saw, an extremely large african american priest. I don’t remember what I said to him but he must have understood me and held me tight. Not a moment too soon, the other guy reached the top within seconds grasping for my ankles. He took one look at the man I attached myself to and bolted in the opposite direction towards Center City.

So many feelings and thoughts were -and still are- rushing through me. After I stopped shaking and the initial shock started wearing off, the whole thing felt completely surreal. Mostly I was grateful that I didn’t ignore that feeling that told me to get out when it did. What if I did ignore it? What could have happened to me? I am trying hard not to focus on that, but I have my moments. Was it because I was wearing shorts and a tank top? Was I showing too much skin? Was it because he saw that I had a computer and rings and things he could steal? Then I got pissed off. Pissed off that we live in a society that makes me HAVE TO think about these types of things. How DARE you make me feel like that! HOW DARE YOU!?

Listening to my intuition on Monday saved me from what I think could have been a truly horrendous experience. And for that, I am so so so grateful that I was able to sense danger and make the right moves in time to get myself to safety. Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about intuition and I travelled back to a time in my life where I didn’t have that little voice within me.

It was a cycle that I recall all too well. I firmly believe that we are all born with a strong intuition and over time, it becomes ignored, neglected and overruled by our brains’ rationalizations and reasoning. Then one day you wake up looking for it and it’s gone. I remember a rough point in my life, desperately trying to find it, and upon locating it, not knowing if I could trust it or not. Not trusting myself was the most frustrating point for me and the hardest to work through. It was like being stuck in a foreign land where you don’t speak the language, have no maps and no way to navigate. But I did know that I had to just keep moving.

Eventually, through an onslaught of self reflection, mindful actions being present, I began to live an authentic life, trusting and believing in myself.

It’s tough though, because everywhere we look, we are being told to think logically and think things through before making decisions – but your intuition is based in your emotions. So…which is it?

Perhaps – like all things - it’s about finding a balance.

Living Deliberately: An Evening with The Minimalists

Free Kisses

Free Kisses

Last night, I had the profound pleasure of meeting two people that have helped me along in my journey in ways they may never know the depth of. Josh Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, or better known to the masses as, The Minimalists.  I started reading their blog about 2 years ago when I began my own journey to declutter my life and focus on the important things (which ironically are not things at all). Every word they write resonates with me and propells me into action. They are a true inspiration to living a life of love and purpose.

The thing about great minds is that you can listen to them speak/read their words a thousand times and each time you will walk away with something new to think about and incorporate into your life. My favorite take away from last night: Live deliberately.

Minimalism will look different for each person who chooses this path. Some people can live within 250 sq. ft. and have 50 things and some choose to have more. The key though, is to do everything deliberately, with intention. Doing things this way allows more of a connection – be it to an item, a relationship or an experience. It feels better when we act in this way and our actions not only benefits us, but also those around us.

Minimalism and living deliberatly can truly be applied to every aspect of your life. Think about television for example: From what I hear, a majority of Americans come home after work and turn on the television until they fall asleep – mindlessly flipping through shows as a mechanism to check out of their own reality. I get the allure of losing yourself in a good movie or show every now and then, but doing this most nights sounds dangerous to me. So how, you may ask, do you mindfully watch t.v.? We don’t have t.v. or cable, but we do have a laptop and stream Netflix (for $8/month) so when we want to see a show or movie, we can. It’s not about cutting something out completely, because that seems unrealistic -it’s about finding a healthy balance.

You’d never realize this unless you didn’t have a tele, but SO many conversations begin with talk of commercials and shows. Once people learn I don’t have any clue what they’re talking about I get 1 of 2 responses after their look of shock and horror:

1. HOW do you not have t.v.? What do you do every night?

or

2. You’re smart. I should do that.

Let me ask you, what would you do with that time if you weren’t watching t.v.?

Think about all the time you spend on your stuff from researching what to buy, buying it, playing with it, cleaning it, etc. What if you had less stuff to deal with and more time to do the things you enjoy? This is part of the allure of minimalism for me and I think a lot of people. You automatically become happier and lighter because you have less crap to deal with and more time for doing things you enjoy! It’s an equation that works.

There are so many people out there doing inspiring things and living lives they feel good about. Whenever I begin a journey, I look for people who have already seen the light and gain wisdom from their experiences. The Minimalists and The Thrifty Couple are my two favorites.

Here is a link to The Minimalists most popular essays from their blog – I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.

The Thrifty Couple had a series on their blog called Be Intentional 30 Baby Steps for Whole Life Change that were simple and a great place for someone to begin without feeling overwhelmed.

I write a bit about Minimalism here at OSL, and intend to focus more on this in the upcoming weeks.

If these dudes are stopping by your city, be sure to go get a free hug!

Walden

Walden

 

Let’s Try Easy

gtfoThe other day as I twisted and turned through uncomfortably crazy yoga positions in a room that was heated to 100 degrees and filled with smelly feet inching a little too close to my face – the instructor nonchalantly said:

“Isnt it funny what we put our bodies through just to get away from ourselves?”

And I cannot get it out of my head.

It IS funny. It’s funny and it’s messed up.

I’m not entirely sure if it’s just me or my entire generation or a whole universe of people that consistently make the game of life harder than it has to be?!?  But if everyone is constantly seeking different forms of happiness and contentment, then I think it’s safe to assume we are all in a similar boat.

Growing up I was always surrounded by drama. It began with my home life. My older sister was the rebellious one and my younger brother was the bad one – leaving me to easily take the golden child crown. But when I turned 18, I took a look around and thought, “Fuck this, I wanna be bad too!” And so I did – for the next 4 years or so. 4 years is a LOT of bad choices and drama kept “finding me” wherever I went. I have “finding me” in air quotes because now I know that that’s entirely untrue and I was creating it and inviting it in every chance I could. I didn’t/couldn’t understand life without it.

6 years of therapy, a house, a husband, a wild child and a yoga practice later – I am no longer interested in drama. I actually run away from any slight signs of it. However it has morphed into something new. I am constantly making things harder than they need to be. Which is just another form of drama that I am ready to be done with.

Like everyone else, we have a lot going on with life’s regular demands. Add on top of the routine life stuff our massive amount of debt we are tackling and the feeling of being stuck in a place and situation where we no longer belong. Life can feel really heavy sometimes. There’s no room for light if you’re busy being heavy.

As a mother and wife, weather I like it or not, the tone of the house is often set by me. My words, my attitude and my presence all create the environment in which we live. This can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s a lot of power to hold and on the days when I feel like quitting life and reading a book all day in a hammock, it can be a real struggle. But it has also shown me that I do have the opportunity to change my thoughts through the power of positive thinking and therefore, change the environment of my home for me and my boys.

Lately I have been feeling extra heavy with stress and when that happens Mike tells me to, “Pick one thing and let it anchor you.”

So I choose yoga. I choose yoga because I can count on my body to keep going even when my brain doesn’t want to and because I know that sometimes you have to get out of your head to get back into it.

Learned from one of my favorite yoga instructors, my newest mantra has been “Try Easy” and I repeat this to myself multiple times a day. On and off the mat, just try easy. Do your thing, but don’t make it hurt.

It’s simple, easy to remember and has been working really well when I stay on top of it.

So…who wants to TRY EASY with me and make this game of life a little lighter?!

Urban Adventuring: Frog Pond Escapades

 

Look Ma, Im IN the tree!

Look Ma, Im IN the tree!

One of the reasons I love Philadelphia is that it’s home to Fairmount Park and the Wissahickon trail system. Boasting more than 9,200 acres of urban green space, there is no shortage of things to do on any given day -rain, shine or snow. We ride bikes, deep woods hike, swim, rock climb, have picnics, and have relaxed science lessons.

We live in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia which gives us easy access to dozens of trail heads, and each part has something unique about it.

So far, we have hiked trails both easy and challenging, seen horses trotting, swam with the dogs in the swimming holes, built stick boats and had races, discovered a frog pond and made more friends than we can count.

Since it’s Spring, the frog pond is the place to be. Located right off of W. Mt. Airy Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philly, about 100 yards from the trail head to the right you will see a small unassuming pond. It doesn’t look like much – but don’t let this fool you. It’s filled (right now) with tadpoles, pollywogs, frogs and toads. Fish, turtles, woodpeckers, chipmunks and tons of other creatures come out to play too, you just have to wait for it.

To get here, type W. Mt. Airy Avenue Philadelphia into your GPS. This will take you to a dead end. Park there and walk toward the dead end. After the row of gorgeous homes, the trail begins and off to the right is the pond!

The Legendary Frog Pond

The Legendary Frog Pond

This easy science lesson can be a fun source of information kids of any age – as you never know what you’ll discover! Here’s an example of what we do:

A Lesson on Frogs

  1. Print out this worksheet to provide a visual of the Frog Lifecycle for your kiddos and begin to talk about it while you color it in before your visit to the pond
  2. Grab your gear: Nets (any dollar store or Target dollar bin will have these), mason jars or buckets, & rain boots, change of clothes and a towel or wipes, and then head to your local frog pond
  3. Talk about safely handling the tadpoles, pollywogs and frogs – sustainability is an important lesson too! If you’re interested in bringing them home to watch them grow this article has great information on how to safely do so
  4. Start scooping and see what you find!  I like to find critters at different stages to illustrate our worksheet and see which category it fits into.
  5. Return back every few weeks to watch their metamorphasis continue to unfold before your eyes

Have Fun!

Toads!

Toads!

Squishy

Squishy

Scoop & Search

Scoop & Search (Also: Flip flops was a bad idea, it was a spur of the moment trip)

Brieftons Spiral Slicer: A Game Changer (and Coupon for YOU!)

Over the holidays I put the Briefton’s Sprial Slicer on my wish list. I haven’t been that excited to unwrap a present since childhood. And it has been everything I wanted it to be and more.

This fun kitchen gadget has been the ultimate game changer in our household. No more heavy pasta as a base for our meals, instead we use zucchinis, squash, cucumbers, carrots and other in season veggies. And it’s hard to tell the difference!

The Brieftons Spiral Slicer in Action

The Brieftons Spiral Slicer making Zoodles!

We are now consuming more raw and lightly cooked vegetables than ever before in a tasty, fun way. It’s easy to use, simple to clean and priced to fit into most household budgets. Some other benefits are:

  • Eliminates or reduces the amount of gluten in our diets
  • Increases our vegetable intake
  • Decreases our starchy carb intake: It has been said that starchy carbs are a main contributor to loads of health issues
  • Increases our overall health and energy level with minimal effort

A friend introduced me to this awesome blog, Inspiralized, filled with tons of recipes and ways to use your veggie slicer. While this is a difference device (there are many out there), it yields the same results. There is also a complimentary e-book on the Brieftons webpage with 20 recipes to get you started!

Julienne Peeler & Rainbow Carrotts

The nice folks at Brieftons have agreed to offer my very special readers a discount on 2 of their awesome products!! Details below :)

Brieftons Tri-Blade Spiral Slicer

  • $5 off the regular price of $24.99
  • 1 per customer
  • Coupon effective 5/4/2014 @ 12Noon EST through 5/5/2014
  • Click HERE and enter coupon code UFQ6KR2W at checkout

Brieftons Spiral Slicer:

  • $5 off the regular price of $19.95
  • 1 per customer
  • Coupon effective 5/4/2014 @ 12 Noon EST through 5/5/2014
  • Click HERE and enter code: GAZPHPXL at checkout

Happy Spiralizing!!

 

Do’s & Don’ts of Hot Yoga

from YogaTrail.com

Thank you YogaTrail.com

One of my passions in this life is yoga. The style of yoga that lights me up from the inside out is Baptiste power vinyasa. You can read more about this specific style on Baron Baptiste’s website and all the reasons I am in complete love with it here. This is very different than Bikram yoga. While they are both hot, there are very few other similarities.

Each class is a hot, full body – mind – and soul workout. You will leave drenched in a pool of your own sweat (and maybe your neighbor’s) but with more energy than you came in with, guaranteed :)

Recently I have come to the realization that I am a yogavangelist. The power of yoga has shaken me to my core and I want to share it with anyone and everyone I can. Friends, family, random strangers on the street – - I WILL try and get you to come to class with me.

I always hear people say, “I want to try it with you but I’m afraid!” I guess like anything that’s highly intense, it can be intimidating. So I want to write a few Do’s and Don’ts that will make your experience more pleasurable and less scary.

DO

  • Wear tighter clothing. Sweaty clothes soaking wet are uncomfortable and you don’t want to spend your time putting things back in place.
  • Drink a lot of water before and after your class. During class take small sips when you need them but too much water will not sit well in the belly
  • Bring a towel to put over top of your yoga mat and also a small towel to wipe your face with
  • A headband is helpful in keeping your hair out of your face
  • Gents: please wear something under your shorts, no one wants to see your balls
  • Go at your own pace and listen to your body. If something hurts in a bad way, stop doing it
  • If you need a break, take a break. Child’s pose is still yoga
  • Return the next day or day after, your body will be hurting (the good kind) but hair o’ the dog – -it’s the truth!
  • Wear antiperspirant – no smell is the best smell

 DON’T

  • Eat a large meal before class. I personally have to practice on an empty stomach or else I feel sick the whole class
  • Try and keep up with handstand guy next to you
  • Come to class wearing lotions or oils on your skin. When you start to sweat, it runs. I once had a very unfortunate accident involving coconut oil and crow pose.
  • Talk during class or  bring your cell phone in – try your best to be present on what’s going on IN the class

My most favorite part about yoga is that it meets you wherever you are. Most classes are “All Level” for this very reason. 30 people can take the same class and walk away with 30 different experiences. Whatever you need, it’s there for you.

With all that said, I have an exciting announcement to make:

I am taking my yogavangelistic ways to the next level and have signed up for the teacher training at my favorite studio. It begins in October and I am so so so excited  about it – it’s hard to stop smiling :)

The ‘N’ Word & Natural Consequences

Xavier's Life in a Nutshell

Xavier’s Life in a Nutshell

Growing up in a sheltered environment, I was never allowed to experience much on my own. No helping in the kitchen, no being a part of the household chores, never straying too far from my mother, no sleepovers, no, no, no, no, no. Rarely a yes. I suppose then it shouldn’t have come as much of a shock when I turned into an 18 year old rebel! But that’s another blog post :)

Because of all these built up no’s and their effect on my personality, I was determined to be a YES as a mother. Let me clarify my viewpoint.

What is a YES person?

A YES person is a caregiver who allows their children to experience situations and outcomes on their own. They encourage exploring and curiosity in daily life. I will never say no to something just because I don’t feel like cleaning it up. I will say yes, because learning is more important to me than a big old mess.

I provide boundaries and limits and safe environments to explore within-but I reserve the word ‘No’ for dangerous situations.

Yes, you can help the gardener we met on the street

Yes, you can help the gardener we met on the street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, you may use your entire body to finger paint with

Yes, you may use your entire body to finger paint with

Yes, you may see what the wild iguana feels like

Yes, you may see what the wild iguana feels like

Yes, you may use my fancy camera to take beautiful photos

Yes, you may use my fancy camera to take beautiful photos

Yes, you may come with me on the SUP in the middle of the ocean

Yes, you may come with me on the SUP in the middle of the ocean

Yes, you may check out the fountain, any way you'd like to get there

Yes, you may check out the fountain, any way you’d like to get there

I always hear people talking about the terrible two’s and the even worse three’s – - but I am going to have to go ahead and disagree. Can they be a challenging time? Yes. However, if we shift our stance on the challenges, and resist less, the easier a transition it will be. I have found that what makes these periods of time challenging as a parent are the constant power struggles that are being fought. This is a time when kids are beginning to branch out on their own and become independent of us. They are testing the waters and isn’t this what we want them to do? My goal as a mother is to raise a happy, healthy, kind, empathetic, successful human. Every moment X is learning from birth to adulthood is an opportunity to practice the skills I want him to possess as an adult. The more he can experience, the more confident in his abilities he will be!

There is nothing I enjoy more than watching Xavier be independent. Just yesterday he asked me to please leave the room so he could “eat with the guys”, as he sat and watched a baseball game and cut his own ham with a real knife. I was overwhelmed with joy and such a proud mama.

Natural Consequences

Natural consequences are what happen when parents don’t interfere with a learning situation. Cause and effect. I try and make use of natural consequences (NC) whenever I can.  X loves to be barefoot, no matter the time of year and it seems the cold doesn’t bother him. One example of NC is when Xavier wanted to go outside in barefeet this winter:

X: Ma, I want to go out with naked piggies

Me: It’s very cold outside, Xavier

X: That ok, Ma. Pwwweeease? Really want to try it!

Me: You can try it, just let me know if you change your mind and we can put your shoes and socks ok

::::runs out back and right back in again:::::

X: Brrrrrr! Please put shoes and socks on me Ma

Boom. Parenting win right there folks. I did a few things here:

  1. Avoided a power struggle/argument
  2. Avoided being the bad guy that said NO
  3. Let him see for himself that it was cold outside (trust me more?)

While NC can be a great tool, it doesn’t always work and I don’t always use it. Due to his spirited nature, X is relentless when it comes to getting what he wants. Another story, a sweet treat, no nap – - and there are certain things that are not up for discussion:

  1. If he is in danger or if the experience would put someone else in danger
  2. If it involved self care or hygiene (bathing, teeth brushing, eating too many sweets)

I strongly encourage everyone to try these tactics out and see if they are a good fit for your family. It’s made life a lot more fun around here that’s for sure!