Burning Questions from a Kid’s Mind

Remember the last time your  kid asked you a question that made you stop in your tracks ?  It’s probably happened more than once .  Your first response might have been “We don’t talk about such thing!”  But then you realize that the question is coming from a mind that is immensely curious and still learning about this world,  even though it might teeter on the border of “Ewww, gross!”  Below is a few of those questions that my own kids have asked me and some answers to help you through those awkward moments, when you’re not sure how to respond:

What are farts made out of? So I actually looked this one up because, you know, teachable moment.  The average human farts 14-15 times a day.  Farts are comprised of various gases such as nitrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, oxygen, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia.  Passing gas is normal, I explained to my son.  We just have to remember to say “excuse me” when it happens.  I’m sure you are so happy you kept reading this article right now…

Why is Alexa’s head in the cloud?  If you don’t have an Amazon Fire Stick or Echo, then this question probably won’t be brought up in your house. One of the kids discovered that Alexa on the Fire Stick will answer questions.  The problem is that he thinks he is talking to a real person and one day he asked Alexa where she lived.  Her response?  “I’m here and my head is in the cloud.”  WHOA!  WHAT?  Three weeks later, I am still trying to explain that the cloud is storage for computers and all of their knowledge.   I tried to be as basic as possible, I couldn’t really explain how it is really a network of servers that allow you to store and access information.  This would bring up a whole other list of questions that I would have to go and research before answering.  Very esoteric for a 5 year to wrap their head around.

If I eat all of my fruits and vegetables, will I grow up as tall as Alexa? Uh…. sure! (If this gets the picky eater to eat a carrot, I’ll try it.)  Which then led to:  How big is Alexa’s bed?  and Does Alexa have a bunk bed like us?  Of course, this novelty of being able to grow as tall as Alexa only convinced them to eat vegetables without complaint for about a week.

Why is pee yellow? This happens because your body is ridding itself of urochrome. There is a more detailed explanation on Medical New Todays website.   This was a good chance to explain to the kids that when they go to the bathroom, the color should be a light yellow.  If they are not drinking enough water, then the color will be darker, which means their body needs more water to be healthy.   Still happy you’re still reading this article?

Do bugs sleep? Do they snore like mommy? Most bugs go into a sleep-like state called torpor.  There is a great educational website called Wonderopolis that explains more.  Your kids will have a blast exploring answers to all of their burning questions, plus ones they haven’t even thought of yet.

And, no, bugs do not snore.  That’s because they have a different system of breathing from people.  And mommy doesn’t snore either!  I have delicate sinuses, that’s all….

Can I take the cat’s temperature with the thermometer? This, of course, led to a discussion about the logistics of that and how the cat would not be too happy about having her temperature taken, never mind the fact that there was no way we were using our brand new thermometer for the cat.  Do you know how hard it is to find a thermometer that you like? Seriously, it took four years to find one that I feel is accurate, and it’s an old-school one (like the old mercury thermometers).  This one uses Galinstan, an environmentally friendly substitute for mercury.

 

Confessions

Confession#16 – I have been a teacher for 25 years and I have never felt as overwhelmed as I did last night when I sat in my child’s teeny tiny kindergarten chair and was handed an envelope for the school candy sale.

Confession #15 – Ever have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with two chocolate chip cookies?  Ultimate comfort food….seriously.

Confession #14 –  I am starting to sound like my parents… “When I was a kid, we didn’t have cell phones.  What did we do when we had something to say?  We spoke to that person face…to…face.  And I walked to their house, up hill both ways, in the snow, to ring their doorbell.   I didn’t sit outside and text them that I was here!”

Confession #13 – Just when I think I’ve got it together, I go and do something like show up a day late to a birthday party.  My own fault, I put the wrong date in my phone.  Luckily, my friend was very understanding and didn’t laugh at me (too much) when we rang her bell…

Confession #12 – I secretly celebrate inside my head every time I meet another mom who is just as frazzled as me, if not more.  That happened recently at a party where the kids were running around from one activity to another and I caught another mom trying desperately to keep tabs on her kid, like I was.  I gave myself a secret high-five for the brilliant idea of putting the brightest red t-shirt on my kid that he had.  He was easy to spot from anywhere in the room while speeding around from one bouncing house to another.

Confession #11 –  10 days until summer vacation – whoo hoo!

Confession #10 – I thought the kids could handle dressing themselves, until I heard my son exclaim from the bathroom, “Wait a minute, I’m wearing two underwears!”  Seriously, how do you not remember putting on the first pair?  (Says the mom who wore her pants inside out to work one day….)

Confession #9 – Fidget spinners drive me bananas.  My kid woke us up at 5 am because he couldn’t find his fidget spinner.

Confession #8 – I drink too much coffee.  K-cups make it so easy to make a great cup of coffee.  K-cups are the best invention.  K-cups and Amazon… two things I wish I invented.

Confession #7 – I am SO happy my kids still nap sometimes.  I know it is soon coming to an end, but I’ll push it for as long as I can.

Confession #6 – Sometimes I give the kids cold pizza for breakfast.  Tomato sauce (veggie)? Check.  Dairy (cheese)? Check.  Whole grains (pizza crust)? Check.  Three food groups covered.

Confession #5 – I never wanted to be one of those moms who drove a minivan, but after squeezing my butt  between the car seats for a drive with the family, I am reevaluating my opinion.

Confession #4 – I was hoping for a snow day too….

Confession #3 – Bubbles! I had just as much fun (maybe more) at the Gazillion Bubble Show.  And when the kids asked if we could go again tomorrow, I almost said yes.

Confession #2 – I cannot remember life before Amazon.  How in the world did people function without free two-day shipping???

Confession #1 – I ate you Halloween candy.  It was late and I needed chocolate.

 

The Haircut

Do you ever look at your child (or children) in amazement and think about how incredible they are? This beautiful child who melts your heart with his or her smile, or little hand that holds your hand.  Who turns your world upside down and you cannot clearly remember life before your child was born?  Think about how much they have learned over just a few short years.  This tiny human has learned to talk (sometimes in two different languages), how to walk, and hundreds of other things.  I read somewhere once that you learn more in your first three years than you do for the next eighteen.  He or she will amaze you with the songs they sing, the dance moves they’ve learned, and the unending curiosity to figure out how everything in the world works by asking you 1,001 questions.

 

Do you ever look at your child in amazement and think, ”Where in the world did they get the idea to give themselves a haircut?”  Or “Why in the world did you think my favorite lip gloss would be good for finger painting on the mirror?”  Which is exactly what happened to me yesterday.  What I really couldn’t believe is how my sweet little girl could look me straight in the eye and deny that she cut her hair and used up my favorite lip gloss.  There was a clump of hair in the garbage pail, and her hair, which is all one length, suddenly had bangs.   How she could think I wouldn’t figure this out?

Of course, we had a talk about telling the truth, not cutting our hair (or anyone else’s hair), and not touching mommy’s makeup.  We have had varying conversations before.  Raise your hand if any of these sound familiar:

  • Writing on the wall
  • Eating the cat/dog’s food
  • Writing on the floor (with permanent marker)
  • Feeding the cat your lollipop
  • Writing on the couch with crayon (are you starting to see a pattern here?)
  • Trying to dress the cat/dog as a baby (ok, we definitely have a pattern here)
  • Drawing on yourself or a sibling with markers (I know, I know, we are very artistic, it’s just that paper doesn’t seem be first choice here)

I know everyone has a story or two similar to mine.  It’s easy to forget that even though we know not to do these things, our kids don’t know that these are not okay.  Please share what happened and how you dealt with it.  I am looking forward to hear from you!

Chore Charts

Trying to establish morning routines without aggravation…

 

Getting the kids up in the morning has never been a problem.  They are up by 5:30 am every day.  This is great for weekdays, not so great for weekends when you hope to sleep in a bit.  We don’t even set our alarm clocks any more, they are that attuned.

Getting the kids ready for school and ourselves ready for work and out the door on time is not so easy.  Everything has been a real struggle, from getting them dressed to convincing them to eat breakfast.  At 3 and 4 years old, they only want to play, which is understandable.

So, with their birthdays looming upon us, I decided we needed to change tactics and turned to one of my favorite online obsessions – Pinterest.  What responsibilities can and should we expect of each of our children?  Is it too early to start a list of chores?  an allowance?  The plethora of information found is both inspiring and overwhelming.  I finally came across a pin from the blog My Name is Snickerdoodle that seemed perfect.  It was easy to make and easy to use.  As the kids finish each morning routine, they simply flip up each tab to read “Done”.  I made one for each child, sat them down and together we talked about what routines we have to do each morning in order to make it to work and school each morning.  As an incentive, I decided to add that they could earn 25 cents a week if they did their without complaining.  They liked the idea of getting money each week for their piggy banks and agreed easily.

Establishing morning routines without tears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the five morning routines I expect them to do everyday, without complaint:

  1. Get dressed.
  2. Make bed.
  3. Eat breakfast.
  4. Brush teeth.
  5. Put on shoes

Day One – The kids eagerly started their routines and flipped up each one to read “Done” as soon as they finished.  It soon became very competitive.  Who could flip up all five responsibilities first?   I had to leave for work as they were eating breakfast, but their Lola (Filipino for grandmother) reported that they finished breakfast without argument and brushed their teeth and put on shoes in record time.  When I returned from work that afternoon, they were so excited to show me that they had flipped up everything.

Day Two – The kids were not quite as enthusiastic as the first day and I almost despaired that the novelty had already worn off.  My older child needed a couple of reminders that the jobs needed to be done without argument in order to earn 25 cents at the end of the week.  However, once he flipped up the first responsibility, he got more excited about doing the rest.

Of course, the younger child was not about to be outdone.  As soon as the older one announced that he had flipped up the second one, she switched into high gear.  She got dressed and made her bed in record time.  For her, everything she does involves a song and dance, and I mean literally she has to sing and dance about while you wait with increasing impatience and try to keep her moving along.  This time, she showed some will power and withheld on the improv performance about her life.  After two bites of her cereal, though, she declared herself full and was off to flip up the third before her brother.  Luckily, I intercepted her and sent her back to the table to finish.

Day Three – So, today was a little trickier because the kids had pajama day at school.  Try convincing your kids to put on fresh pajamas to go to school… not so easy.  Once we flipped up the first job, they set about making their beds and I left to pack the lunches and make breakfast.  A few minutes later, my younger one came in and announced that she was done making her bed.  But I discovered when I was preparing to leave for work that she did not even touch her bed.  Soooo… we had to have a talk about not telling the truth… which made me a little late for work.  It’s ok, some things are more important, right?

Days Four, Five, and Six – The rest of the week went pretty smoothly.  I had a few complaints, but generally, they were more willing to get the routines done than ever before.  And I purposely did not remind them about the 25 cents at the end of the week.  I didn’t want the money to be the only reason they did their chores,  Flipping up the chart seemed to be satisfactory enough for them and I want to try and keep it that way.  It’s like crossing off your to-do list.  It’s giving them a sense of accomplishment.  So on Day 7 when I presented them with 25 cents, they were ecstatic.

Two weeks in and I think we forgot to do the chore chart one day (it was a weekend day, we were taking it a little easy).  Otherwise, it is still working pretty well.  Next up, I ‘m going to come up with the afternoon/evening routines and .  I don’t want to overwhelm them with too many, so I need to think about this a bit.  I’ll keep you updated on how this goes.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving holiday!  While traditionally we have the family over at mom and dad’s house where everyone eats too much, watches the parade, the dog show, and the football game on tv, and we get in at least one good family argument, this year is much quieter.  My youngest has a stomach bug and my husband has to work.  On top of that, my mother-in-law is here and very jet-lagged, so she is sleeping right now (it’s nighttime in her country, so it is understandable).  I am waiting for my husband to come home early and then will take my older child and mother-in-law over to meet the rest of the family.  Hopefully, no family arguments or oven fires will happen.  And yes, they do happen.  My husband and I were dating when I invited him for Thanksgiving at my sister’s house.  As we were walking in, there was a family argument and then, a little while later, the oven caught on fire.  The pan that the turkey was in had a pinhole leak in it and was dripping onto the bottom of the oven.  As we watched my boyfriend help my sister clean the oven, my mother leaned over and said,”If you don’t marry him, I will!”  Four months later, we were married.

So as I reflect on Thanksgiving today, I would like to say that I am grateful for my family and friends and their infinite patience and love.  I am grateful for my children.  My son and I have a running joke, “You’re driving me crazy!  But I still love you!”  I am grateful that I am able to get up every morning and hit the ground running, sometimes slipping and sliding all over the place, but hey! I am moving and that’s what counts!  I am grateful for all of the people who remind us that though we may not agree politically on who should be president, it is the people of this country that make it great and wonderful.  For we still have the right to speak our mind and fight for what is right and fair and just for all people.  And as A.J. Jacobs reminded us when he held his Global Family Reunion in 2015, WE ARE ALL ONE BIG FAMILY.  So stop fighting about every little thing and instead do something to help someone else.  Even if it is as small as paying the coffee for the person standing on line behind you, show someone that you care.  I challenge you to do one act of kindness a week between now and New Year’s Eve.  Can you do it?  I bet you can!