metaphortunate: (Junebug)
Did I do right?

The Junebug came home from daycare the other day with the story of how his friend* Prince** had kicked him when they were lining up to go out to outdoor play. He said it had hurt. That he hadn't seen it coming, that it had come by surprise. That the teachers hadn't noticed or hadn't interfered. Which seems legit, because the teachers tell us about incidents of fighting, and no one told me about that one.

At his daycare they teach the kids to say "No!" and block the other kids with their hands if they try to push or hit or bite. He said that he said "No!" but that Prince kicked him anyway.

I asked what he did. He said he had cried. He said he thought he'd cry till I came.

(That small dry snapping sound you just heard was my heart breaking in half.)

(I should note for the record that when I actually did come to pick him up he was laughing and running around outside, totally non-traumatized, and that he told me the story without seeming to suffer any emotional pain in the retelling.)

I said that Prince should not kick him. People shouldn't hurt each other.

I pointed out that if Prince keeps hurting him (and Prince did bite him the next day, hard enough to leave a mark; and also pinched him, according to the Junebug; and the teachers did tell me about that one) then he should think about whether he wants to play with him anymore, or whether it would be better to play with other kids.

(Note for the record that the Junebug had grabbed Prince's puzzle pieces right before Prince bit him. We talked about how that's not the right way to play with someone else too.)

I generalized from that that if we hurt our friends, then they won't want to be our friends anymore; so he should not hurt other kids.

I told him that if Prince tries to hurt him again, he shouldn't just say "No!"; he should yell it as loud as he can. That way the teachers won't be able to ignore it. I told him that was the one time it was okay to use his outside voice inside. We practiced yelling "No!" as loud as we could, outside. He's, uh. He's naturally gifted in that area. He can produce a very loud "No!" We'll practice some more.

I told him that he must never kick anyone smaller than him, or who can't defend themself. Like, he must never kick babies; he must never kick Rocket.

I told him that he must never kick anyone first. (Visions of Han Solo dancing in my head.)

And then I told him that if someone kicks him again, and he screams "No!" and they don't stop, and the teachers don't help…to kick them back.

Did I do right?

I feel like you should never tell your kids to hurt another kid! It seems wrong! But I could not think of what else to tell him. Kids are gonna fight. Kids are gonna attack each other. I know my parents told me never to hurt anyone else. It seems like the right thing to say. But in reality I remember that I just took that to mean that my parents were completely out of touch with anything like my reality and there was no point in asking them for advice. "Just ignore them," my ass. "Just walk away," yeah sure I'm going to teach people that they can kick me out of any space by lifting a finger. That'll give me a peaceful time in the future, no doubt. My. Ass.

And there is no way in hell I'm going to tell him to tell a teacher. Yeah yeah, in an ideal world that's the way it would work; if there were people in charge of enforcing the social contract in a space, you could report violations to them and they would take care of it. Back to childhood reality: it's social suicide among the kids AND the teachers. Nobody, not even the supposed social contract enforcers, likes, or listens to, a tattletale.

So….what do you tell them? I'm serious. I'm officially asking for advice. If you have a solution that's worked for you, I want to hear it.

I think I did wrong. But I don't know how to do better.


*Yes, friend; one of the two kids he plays with all the time.

**Not his real name.
metaphortunate: (Junebug)
Internets, I come to you for advice.

In my previous incarnation as a much more attractive person who had no children, I didn't come into contact with a lot of kids. And when I did, in retrospect, I realize, I kind of interacted with them on their own level. I didn't do much dealing with them as an authority figure. I set boundaries more in the way that kids set boundaries with each other: rather than as parents do, with rules.

Now that I have kids, I have rules. No spitting in the house, spitting is only for outside. Use your inside voice inside, outside voice is for outside. You may only throw things if they are squishy. You can climb into the baby's crib but not stand in it because it is not stable enough. You can poke Mama gently but not hard. You must be gentle with the baby. If food lands on the floor, your meal is over. You must ask before picking up my phone. That sort of thing.

So that's easy enough to do with my child - relatively speaking, I mean. Mr. E and I decide what the rules are, and the Junebug decides whether he would rather follow them or take the consequences, and we decide what the consequences are and enforce them.

But then there are other people's kids. Other people's kids come over to our house or whatever, and now there are questions. Do they have to follow our rules? If they don't have to follow our rules, why does the Junebug have to? Especially if it's rules about not grabbing toys or hats from each other/taking turns/not hitting: I want to enforce good manners from my child, but I really do not want to teach him that I will enforce rules about respect on him but not on anyone else. If other kids have to follow our rules, do I enforce consequences if they choose not to? Their parents will have Opinions about that. If I had infinite time to discuss with the parents in advance, I'm sure we could come to reasonable agreements, because my friends are all reasonable people: but we don't, and consequences need to happen in real time for kids to take them onboard.

And how do I back up other parents' consequences? If a kid does something to me or my stuff that their parent has told them not to do, how do I reaffirm that it's bad and I don't like it without implying that their kid is bad or that their parenting is bad?

Internets, how do you deal with other people's kids, when you're not in an official position of authority over them? (Nannying is different, I expect.)

This question brought to you by the frequent interaction of:

Junebug: *grabs at someone on the bus, or at their phone*
Me: Stop. Do not grab at the people. They do not want to be grabbed.
Stranger: Oh, it's okay, it's fine.
Stranger: *wants to make me feel better about my ill-mannered child*
Junebug: *learns that Mama is making up rules for no reason*
Me: *is frustrated*
metaphortunate: (Junebug)
Advice requested:

The time is coming soon when the Junebug will be tall enough to climb out of his crib and need to switch to a toddler bed.

This is causing me to lose sleep with visions of a two-year-old wandering about the house unsupervised while Mr. E and I are (optimism, I know, given the newborn) asleep. I just lie awake and see him pulling bookshelves down on himself. Falling out of windows. Turning on the stove and burning himself. Figuring out a way to climb up to the knife blocks or the poisons shelf.

People who have dealt with this already: how did you deal with this? Did you lock them in their rooms? Did you put up baby gates? (We think at the point that he can climb out of his crib he'll be able to climb over a baby gate, but maybe that's not so.) Did you somehow manage to babyproof the whole house? What did you do?


Oct. 20th, 2012 12:05 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
My fuchsias are succumbing to some sort of fuchsia disease. New growth, buds and leaves, comes out pale green, fuzzy, and sort of twisted and clubbed. It's very Elephant Man like, if the Elephant Man were more of an Elephant Plant. Plant body horror.

Something horrible has decided to make a home by gluing together the leaves of my primroses.

Birds eat my seedlings down to the stalk. The red chard is totally gone, nothing but a few sad stems. The kale is almost gone. But it's true of anything I plant. The spinach gave up. I tried putting chicken wire on top of the pots, which worked great until the seedlings got too tall for it, at which point I had to take it off and the birds began their reign of destruction. Feathery little bastards.

Today I am a sad and frustrated gardener. Any thoughts? I have this "anti-disease" spray that claims to be okay for organic gardening and smells like vinegar so it's probably worthless. And an anti-bug spray soap that seems to keep the aphids off, anyway.


Jul. 11th, 2012 09:47 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
Google image search and my own memory has failed me. I had an idea for an artwork - but it feels suspiciously familiar. Is there a famous image that has a layout similar to this:

other than a common "loading" icon, of course?

It's going to be something embarrassingly obvious, isn't it. I am preemptively embarrassed.


metaphortunate: (Default)
metaphortunate son

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