Monday, February 21, 2011

Your successful preschooler

There is a book titled 'Your Successful Preschooler.' Here is the link:

It promises instruction on how to mold your child to be .. successful.

I think publicists all over the world noticed the success of Amy Chua's memoir and will be certain to follow the example of her brilliant publicist. Making people feel insecure will help sell any product. Anyone who has seen any advertisement knows this. The make-up industry is amazing at the 'you are not good enough message' just to name one. I still find this idea exhausting when it is aimed at me. I fall for it every time. I read the tiger mom book. It's not really as advertised. It's light and funny. The author was humbled by her parenting mistakes and I feel that she is lucky she had girls. Part of her epiphany about her parenting style came from her parents who felt her parenting style was not working with her younger daughter. They reminded Chua that her father hated his parents for treating him that way. She writes he was relieved when they died.

Where are the books titled "How to make sure your children aren't relieved when you die?" or "How to get your kids to want to spend time with you when they are adults"? I am in this for the relationship. But I struggle mightily (obviously) with these parental pressures. I hate the word "playdate" but I organize them. I think it's ridiculous that people think there is a relationship between Jack being able to identify the alphabet or correctly use scissors and his intelligence WHEN HE IS 4. Yet, I taught him how to identify the alphabet and how to use scissors just so people will leave me alone about that. I am not good at being counter-cultural. ANd I don't want Jack to suffer.

This is a self-portrait Jack took when he figured out how to launch the photo-booth feature on my computer:

Birthday Parties

Now that we are at the fun preschool, we go to birthday parties all the time. There seems to be an unwritten rule that all kids in the class are invited. I think that's nice but also exhausting for everyone. Jack loves these parties.. the toys, the cake, the games, the gifts. He now has the idea that when it's someone else's birthday, he also gets a gift. The parents of these kids are so organized they give gift bags away at the end of the party. One mom had made sandwiches for the kids to eat on the way home. THese are A list stay-at-home moms. I am on the C list for sure. I am trying to be a better SAHM. I volunteered to make sugar cookies for the valentine's day party. Of course, I have never made sugar cookies before. 10pm the night before half of the cookies broke because they were stuck to the cookie sheet. I had to wake up at 6 am the next day to make another batch. I learned how to make the cookies though.

End of a party:

The dinosaur cake:

Early morning sugar cookies:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The other day Jack asked me 'How do they steer the space shuttle? Does it have a steering wheel?' We learned the shuttle does not have a steering wheel .. as steering in space is impossible. We learn a lot from the random questions Jack asks about airplanes, space shuttles, and lately, domes. As in the dome on top of the cathedral in Florence and the Holy Names Academy. After the space-shuttle-steering question, Ryan was annoyed. He said, 'see? Jack isn't dumb.' This is a reference to the student teacher conference we had in November. That conversation still comes up and even though Ryan wasn't as affected by it as I was, it still bugs him. On good days I have sympathy for the woman who had the conversation with us. She believed Jack was suffering developmental delays and felt we needed to be made aware of that fact. I wonder why she thought we would not notice something so dramatic. Her follow up email to us seemed to indicate she thought he was autistic. Only time will tell who Jack will become but I am embittered by the fact that in our age of specialization the definition of a normal child has become more narrow. I imagine in the old days children with undiagnosed disabilities suffered for lack of help and special education. But now, it seems every other kid has a diagnosis. The new normal I suppose.

Jack, like many adults, is fascinated by all things technological (our phones and camera especially). He started taking his own pictures. I didn't realize until I uploaded them that he had taken 210 photos in one session. Yay for digital. From Jack:

Lately, we are just hanging out.. taking it easy. After many, many years of preparation 2 events are starting in the next two weeks: our house remodel and my graduate school. Grad school makes the house remodel look like a hawaiian vacation. It will certainly be a difficult 2.5 years.. but I think we'll be ok. I am getting as organized as I can. We'll just do our best. Some hanging out pictures:

J imitating dad:

Making cookies with heather: