Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So many stories to tell, it's hard to decide what should be first. Kids are sort of a universal topic -- we all have either been one or had one or both -- so I'll start there.

I have tried hard to be a "good" mom. My husband laughs at me for reading so many parenting books and magazines. I guess I share a conviction with my brother that, if you want to do something well, all you have to do is learn enough about it, then dive right in. Reading is a great way to learn. So I read a lot.

One parenting technique recommended in the parenting magazines was to let your kid make a choice from a range of acceptable alternatives. That way, you avoid the battle over the unacceptable thing you know they'd choose if left to their own devices. So, you ask something like, "Would you like to wear this yellow shirt or this red shirt today, dear?" and the kid chooses one, thereby avoiding the otherwise inevitable battle over whether the kid could wear his favorite stained and torn spider man jammie top to school. I used this technique often. "Would you like to brush your teeth, or take a bath first?" "But mommy," they'd say, "I want to watch tv!" "Well, sweetheart, that wasn't one of the choices." "Oh, ok, then I'll take a bath first." And so it went.

Until one day my daughter (age 5 at the time) said to me, "Mommy, are we having brownies or cake for dessert?" "We're not having dessert tonight sweetie," I replied. "But mom," she said, "that wasn't one of the choices."

She got me with her legal "mumbo jumbo."

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