Friday, March 22, 2013

Disregarding the Fish

Sorting through the mess accumulating in my hallway this morning, I came upon a pile of stuffed animals abandoned in the giveaway box. We keep this box in the hallway outside the kids’ bedrooms so it is conveniently located when they determine that an article of clothing, a book, or a toy are no longer needed in their lives due to physical or emotional growth (and sometimes due to the wax and wane of teenage culture). My ten-year-old rarely contributes anything except for clothing he received for Christmas, so I was surprised to find a collection of once treasured stuffies in the bottom of the box.

I admit that my eyes got misty when I spied the colorful fish amongst the other animals. The fish was my child’s first Webkin. I’m certain that Webkins will someday be what Smurfs are to my generation – a relic that causes a mixture of nostalgia and embarrassment when they appear in present day media or in the back window of someone’s car. My two younger children amassed a sizable collection, which is impressive considering those were the days of dial-up.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Talking to Toddlers or Teens

My toddlers

When communicating with toddlers, you have to speak literally, basically channeling Amelia Bedelia and thinking carefully about every word you use. You must be clear as a freshly washed window.

And when listening to a toddler, you have to search for the unsaid words, while simultaneously sorting through the garbled interpretation of the language presented. Many times what a toddler says makes no sense, especially out of context, which is typically how a toddler talks. He might say something like “Today I was dinosaur and kitty was up there. I had the yellow one.” And what the toddler is referring to is sometime last month when there was a kitten in the neighbor’s tree and he was wearing his favorite dinosaur t-shirt and carrying his yellow bucket.

I would give anything to go back to the simplicity of communicating with my teenagers when they were toddlers. It was much easier.

This afternoon my daughter arrived home from school. “Hi!” I said brightly. She continued to rummage through the cupboards without acknowledging me.

I’m used to this because my oldest has ear buds permanently installed in his ears. It’s necessary to physically get his attention. I must clap or yell (just like our 15-year-old dog who can’t hear either).