Lazy Loubie

Loubie is a Middle Eastern dish I’ve often enjoyed in restaurants.  A little experimenting at home showed me that it’s quite easy to make using canned vegetables! Read more…

The Five-Part Furniture-Finding Plan

It’s Works-for-Me Wednesday, so here’s the system by which Daniel and I have furnished our home:

When there’s a piece of furniture you’d like to have,

  1. Wait for it to come along.  When you can wait no longer,
  2. See what you can scrounge from what other people are discarding.
  3. Go to yard sales.
  4. Go to used-furniture stores.
  5. Buy new furniture.

Read more…

Family Bed in the Kid’s Room

It’s Works-for-Me Wednesday!

Before our child was born, we decided to have the family bed in his room and keep the master bedroom as our couple space. We’d read a lot about co-sleeping and thought it sounded like a great way to minimize the disruptions of night nursing and give our baby a loving, secure environment . . . but Daniel already felt his sleep was disrupted by having me in the bed, and he wasn’t sure he could handle having a baby there, too! Also, it seemed odd to set up our spare bedroom as “the baby’s room”, with all the diapers and baby clothes and such, but not have the baby sleeping in there.

Four years later, we’re very happy that we co-slept but got our child accustomed to his bed instead of ours! Read more…

The Other Three Bears

Nicholas often asks me to tell him a story while we’re walking somewhere.  Most of these stories are anecdotes from my childhood, well-known fairy tales, or made-up ramblings that entertain him for the moment but are never requested again.  This story, however, is one I invented with his help over a year ago and have told dozens of times since then.  I hope other people will enjoy it, too!

Once upon a time, there were three little bears sitting on three little chairs, very quiet and very still.  They were sitting like that because their father had told them to, and they always did everything their father told them to do.

The father bear needed his little bears to be quiet and still because he had to work very hard at his desk.  He worked and worked until . . . yawn . . . zzz . . . flop! he fell asleep right on top of his papers.

The three little bears looked at each other, and they looked at the door, and they looked at each other again, and then they very quietly tiptoed outside and shut the door.  They got their sled, and they sat down on it, one little bear behind another little bear behind another little bear, and they pushed off and slid downhill through the snow: “Whee!” “Whee!” “Whee!”

They were having great fun, when suddenly they saw ahead of them . . . a pig!  The pig had wandered out of the forest and was just standing there in the middle of the snowy hillside, looking the other way.  He couldn’t see them coming!  They had no way to steer!  Bang! Crash! The sled hit that pig and knocked him up into the air so he landed right on top of the three little bears, and they all went down the hill together: “Whee!” “Whee!” “Whee!” “Squeeeee!!” Read more…

Second Chance

Disclaimer: We only have one child.  Other children may react differently to this technique.  Give it a try and see if it works for you!

I started into parenting thinking that it’s unfair to impose a consequence on a child without warning him first (except in a dangerous situation, of course) and that once you’ve chosen a consequence you must stick to it, to show your child that you mean what you say.

Here’s what I’ve learned from Nicholas, who just turned four years old:

Often, warning a young child that his behavior will result in a consequence has no apparent effect or perhaps gives him “permission” to do it one more time. Read more…

Navigating into the New Year

Nicholas just turned four years old.  Over the past few weeks, we’ve become more confident that the tantrum stage has finally ended, but he still gets into moods where he acts extremely annoying.

Yesterday was a tough one.  Nicholas and I woke at the same time, and before we were all the way down the stairs he’d launched an elaborate negotiation to watch every television program available on this rare weekday at home.  We reached an agreement about which shows he would watch, and he abided by it, but at 11am when the listing said “Mister Rogers” would be on, the station was instead broadcasting a lecture about brain maintenance for aging adults.  That was upsetting.  Nicholas became so irrational we decided he needed an early nap, which was achieved fairly easily.  He’d slept in his clothes the night before and now decided to even things out by changing into pajamas for his nap.

After napping, Nicholas noticed the nice weather and suggested he and I go out for a walk.  That sounded good to me too.  I pointed out that he was still wearing pajamas.  He said, “I know that!  Now get me dressed!” in a tone of withering scorn.  Read more…