Growing Up and a Tiffin

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Posted by Meeta K. Wolff

Isn't it interesting watching how your kids grow and develop? Soeren is going to be 5 in August and I am enjoying his company almost every minute we are together. Once what used to be a baby whose vocabulary was reduced only to the "gooo goo" or "baah baah" and as a mum I was sometimes reduced to tears to figure out what was asked of me. Then we moved on to the next stage - a small child who just did not accept or understand explanations. Now all of a sudden the same child takes on responsibilities and understands explanations of why things cannot always go his way. The coolest part is he accepts them like a real grown up. Sure he goes and sulks but then he comes back and talks about it - in my eyes an extraordinary step forward in our communication.

Due to this learning process we both have become a great team and many things that resulted arguments the first time just do not happen the second time (or third time if he is feeling slightly stubborn). For those who don't know, Soeren is my only son and just like he is learning many things in life, I too am learning great new things about parenting. You can certainly imagine the contradictions I go through. On one end I want to spoil him silly and on the other I know I have to be strict and set down rules.

I found that being consistent in my behavior and with the rules makes it easier for Soeren to see the seriousness on the matter. Once he realizes there is not much he can do to change it there is no argument about it. What I then find great is as a parent you can then show that you are still "pretty cool" by just bending the rule on rare occasions.

An example might highlight best what I mean. Soeren watches about half an hour of TV on weeknights. In Germany we have something called the Sandman and it is like a bedtime story with wonderful short stories. This normally marks the end of the day after which we go brush our teeth, read a bedtime story from his favorite book and then sing a good night lullaby together. A routine that we have had since - as far as I can remember. On Fridays, he knows that there is one chore he needs to do before he can watch Sandman on TV and that is clearing up his room. Yes, I got every excuse in the book that a 4/5 year old's imagination can come up with, but in the beginning I stuck to my guns. Now, the first thing he does when he gets in from KIGA is clear up his room. As I realized what he was doing I figured that now as this rule is more or less set in his head, I can show that I can be flexible too. So, I surprise him once in awhile with reading him an extra bedtime story or allow him to play for a few minutes longer or even watch TV for another couple of minutes. I never said to him "This is because you cleared up your room." And sometimes when he says he does not feel like doing it today, I allow it and ask him if he'll do it tomorrow.

Soeren learns that there are rules set up at home and are to be followed on a regular basis. The gentle encouragement he gets, not every time but every now and then, shows him that there are always nice exceptions to the rule.

More important is what I learned in this process. As a parent I do not have to be head strong in each and every case. It is not about winning or showing who is the boss. It's about being consistent but allowing the exception to the rule.

Your stories would really interest me too. How do you tackle such issues? Every child is so different and behaves or reacts differently. Maybe you are in the middle of such an issue and would like some help. Tell us about it. I am sure many of our readers will have some good advice for you too. For me, I know more advice or feedback from readers will help me get ready of what's to come - LOL!

Today's Tiffin Idea

In today's lunch box I have used the same smooth fruit mousse I mentioned in my last post. It is the perfect answer to providing vitamins and nourishment in the winter months, when fresh fruit is not always available in abundance.
However, there is a large portion of juicy, sweet and fresh honey melon too. A piece of Soeren's favorite chocolate cake will certainly put a smile on his face. Use your or your child's favorite cake as a special treat. A nice idea for this could be this Gugelhupf.
A delicious sunflower seed bread roll is spread with some plain cream cheese and filled with a slice of Italian mortadella. Simple but extremely good. A few ripe and sweet cherry tomatoes go along well with the sandwich. If you are making this for an adult you can always make a nice tomato salad with a honey-balsamic vinegar dressing.

Enjoy the week!

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This Post was written by Meeta from What's For Lunch, Honey?

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Meeta, I came across this lunchbox builder from Kraft and thought I'd send it your way.

Anonymous said...
January 16, 2007 at 8:42:00 PM GMT+1  

There were times when my kids were little that at the end of the day, the husband and I would sit down and talk about our days and I would say we had a "training" day. Really they were learning the rules of the house and the consequenses were firm and consistent. Hit the dog? Sit in time out. Maybe the kids were training me to see if I could be consistent at every turn. Once those rules seem to be hard-wired into the kids, it really is easier to make an exception to the rule.

It does get easier now that they are getting older, doesn't seem to take as many days to really understand how and why we do things. And the kids are finding rules for themselves that make things easier. Just recently they've gotten in the habit of finding all their winter gear and laid it out before bed so in the morning it is much easier to get out the door. No more lost mitten emergencies at 8:45.

Anonymous said...
January 18, 2007 at 12:39:00 AM GMT+1  

Manisha Thank you! It looks interesting.

Stephanie I am glad to hear that it gets easier. What I absolutely love is the idea about setting out their clothes for the next day the night before. At the moment I do that and in the morning we get a few tantrums about things that want to or do not want to be worn. Yes, my son is worst than any woman LOL! I do believe that kids do their bit of testing too so I was glad to hear that you too went through the same situation.

Meeta K. Wolff said...
January 18, 2007 at 1:51:00 PM GMT+1  

Meeta, It was heartwarming to hear ur contradictions. It is difficult to be a strong and inculcate responsibility when all u want to do is hug ur kid!

Anonymous said...
January 19, 2007 at 3:34:00 PM GMT+1  

Mallugirl, Yes, the contradictions are many with a child around. But I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one that experiences this. From your comment I believe you have the same issues!

Meeta K. Wolff said...
January 22, 2007 at 10:12:00 AM GMT+1  

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