Archive | children RSS feed for this section

The Bad Parenting Prerogative

30 Apr

All my daughter has done today is watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And the only time she´s been out of the house, is when I took her to the supermarket. There we bought popcorn, which we had for dinner.

 

In my world, that counts as some pretty bad parenting: no museum visits, no theatre plays, no park, no nutricious three-course meals.

Of course I am not raising my child solely on ninja turtles and popcorn. But today was just one of those days, you know, where you use 15 minute naps to muster up the energy for half an hour of administrative chores.

 

And you know what, I think that´s totally okay. We don´t need to be Super Parents all the time.

 

Besides, on the bright side:

* she spontaneously asked for a tomato after all that popcorn

* she has undoubtedly picked up a lot of (American) English today – and is there anything cuter than a Spanish five-year-old who knows the word “dude”?

 

 

 

Peace Day

31 Jan

 

Last Friday they celebrated Peace Day at my daughter´s Kindergarten. All the children had to come to school wearing a white shirt.

One little boy showed up that day in a colourfully striped T-shirt. Because his father had forgotten about the white shirt assignment, or simply couldn´t be bothered, I don´t know.

I imagine the teacher seeing that boy walking into the classroom in his multicoloured shirt, amid a sea of white. I imagine her raising one eyebrow and sighing. I imagine her thinking what she´d like to tell the dad, like, for real.

But – it was Peace Day. So, you know, what can you do?

 

 

 

On the Existence Of Magic

18 Dec

My daughter has a few recurrent questions. Some are very easy to answer (“Can I have chewing gum today, as an exception?” -No), others are more of a challenge (“What happens after we die?” -Eeeeh…).

A thought-provoking specimen in that last category is “Does magic really exist?
This is of course a logical query for a 4-year-old. She sees all that Bippety-Boppety-Boo stuff on tv, but none of her own magic wands work. Not the ones mum made out of chopsticks, not the wooden ones she found in the park, not even that impressive plastic one her aunt sent over. Pushing its button will make the star at the top flicker like a pink stroboscope, but no magical conversion of spinach into pasta takes place.

To make matters worse, at the end of the Magic Project they´d been working on in Kindergarten a magician came to give a performance. My daughter, who had eagerly been counting down to this encounter with what she hoped would be a real wizard, observed that the magician seemed to have no magic in him at all. He simply used “mechanisms”, she said. How disappointing.

Hence the question: does magic really exist?

Below you can find a delightful answer from Roald Dahl, but I´m also very curious to hear what you think…

 

Magic - Roald Dahl

Neverland

5 Oct

“Of all delectable islands the Neverland is the snuggest and most compact; not large and sprawly, you know, with tedious distance between one adventure and another, but nicely crammed. When you play at it by day with the chairs and table-cloth, it is not in the least alarming, but in the two minutes before you go to sleep it becomes very nearly real. That´s why there are night-lights.”

(J.M.Barrie, Peter Pan, p 7)

A few days ago my daughter said: “I want to go to Neverland. And to Cuenca.”

So for her even by day the Neverland is a real as, well, Cuenca.

Life lessons at the pool

20 Jul

3-year-olds at the outdoor pool, showing off the results of swimming classes

they dive like dolphins

they swim like fish

their confidence wider than the pool itself

and a mother ponders:

we were taught to keep our heads above the water

breast stroke, whip kick, not much more

and we swam in line, our progress being measured by how many lengths we could swim without interruption

the first thing these kids learn is to put their heads UNDER

no breastroke or anything

and it works

they dance in the water, they embrace it

maybe that will help them to embrace life

and to know what to do when they go under

Stuff vs Stories

25 Jun

At the end of the school year, my daughter brought home a folder with all the things she did on the school project, which was about pirates. Apparently this subject was chosen democratically, by means of a poll held among all 126 toddlers of the Primera de Infantíl. The poll was included in the folder and showed the various options as well as the votes each option received from the 3-year-old electors.

They could choose between:

*fairy tale characters

* vehicles

* the circus

* toys

* pirates

As you can see in the picture below, pirates celebrated a landslide victory that day, followed by the circus and fairy tale characters. No doubt a memorable party followed in Neverland. And the big losers were: toys.

Isn´t that remarkable? We live in a time where children are absolutely overloaded with toys in any shape and colour, where they get toys on every possible occasion, where we live under the impression that, to make our child happy we have to give them something material, and to stimulate their development they need educational toys specifically devised to meet their needs at that specific age.

Of course every child pressed with his nose against the shopping window of the Disney store will dictate to you an exhaustive list of things he wants to have.

But if we give children a free choice, if we ask them what they really want, toys apparently are the last thing on their mind.

They want adventures.

They want stories.

And I know this wasn´t in the poll, but I bet their favourite storytellers are the people they love.

poll

Horizontal Parenting

15 Jun

What you need:

* one tired parent, in shorts and a tank top

* one bored child

* a set of face paint crayons

Procedure:

The parent hands the crayons to the child with the instructions to use the parent as canvas.

Then the parent lies down on the sofa, and the child starts colouring.

Note: you will have to wash the colouring off afterwards (or not?), but at least you can rest for a few minutes while keeping your child entertained with a creative and educational activity.