Parenting Henri

this is about henri, and the parenting thereof

They say teaching is the best way to learn… 2011/01/08

Filed under: like mother like child,start your cognitions — lee lee @ 1:50 pm

Henri just came up and asked, “What’s similar mean?”  So, dada explained, it’s like “same,” only not quite.

*15 seconds goes by*

H: What’s same?

M: Same is when two things are exactly alike, and similar is when they are almost the same.

H: Okay, I’ve got to go tell my animals about same & similar. Bye!


Thursdays with Henri 2010/04/09

Filed under: great kid,rhetoric of a 2-year-old,start your cognitions — lee lee @ 7:10 pm

A few weeks ago, I documented what it’s like to be Henri for a day.  So, today, I decided to do the same thing–only through dialog.  Luckily, Henri didn’t let me down.  He had quite a lot to say.

  • Upon waking up:

H: You wanna play?

M: I’ve gotta get dressed, buddy.

H: You got dressed on your own in your closet on hangers and I got my closet next to a tree in my home a house.

  • At Breakfast

M: What are we going to do today?

H: Play. (pauses) And eat.

  • Going Down the Steps

H: There’s a guy in the curtain

M: What? I hope not!

H: My hope — yep.

  • After Nap:

H: My just a baby again. My cried about you.

M: That’s why you were crying?

H: Yep. My got sores. (rubs eyes)

M: You have sleepers?

H: Yep. They cut my eyes.

  • Late afternoon, after snack:

H: My want juice.

M: You need water, after that big poop you just had.

H: My want juice.

M: (thinks about whether she will give in or not)

H: It’s water in it.

M: Yeah!! That’s right!!! Good critical thinking, H!

H: And ANTS are in it TOO!


fisherman boots & bravery 2010/02/27

Yesterday afternoon, Henri & I had to get ready quickly to pick Dada up.  As anyone with a 2-year-old knows, getting ready “quickly,” is pretty much a rare and beautiful thing.  What ends up happening is either the parent rushing-rushing-rushing while the child ignores, resists or flat out defies you; or, the opposite–if a parent tries to coax their child into getting dressed quickly, well, we’ve got the Universal Healthcare “talks” (e.g. disaster) on our hands: tons of negotiation but no product.

So, you have to come up with a scheme.  The scheme must include something like an incentive (“if you hurry up, we might get to ___________”) and a theme.  For Henri, both of these things must include something that has a Very Big Motor that goes Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrroom.

After I’d grabbed his rainboots and stuffed them on his feet, I could see a scheme was going to be necessary.  Right away, he didn’t like the boots; in fact, he didn’t want to wear shoes at all.  Shoes are for the weak.

M: Hey!” (holds him up at just the right angle as to prevent the boots from being kicked off) Do you know what these boots are called!?!  They’re called galoshes! And they’re what fisherman wear!!

*all time stands still, for about 27 seconds*

H: And boats!

M: Yes, and fisherman drive boats!   Yay, yay, yay, yay, yay.  I’m such a clever mommy. Yay, yay, yay. Thank you, Jesus.  For boats.

H: My a fisherman!!

M: Yeah, you’re a fisherman.

By continuing the metaphor, I was able to convince Henri to put on an additional shirt since it was a sweater with a boat on it and get him to walk to the car on his own without melting into a pile of “But I’m Cold” tears by suggesting to him that Fisherman Don’t Get Cold.  They LIKE the cold, rainy weather because they get to wear BOOTS when it’s cold & rainy.

Of course, he kicked them off in the car, which means when he insists on getting out of the car for a few minutes at our first errand, we have to put them back on and go through the initial yuckiness of the boots before remembering that fisherman are cool once again.  But that’s ok.  I’ll take it.

Later at dinner, an increasingly sleepy (and now bootless) Henri displayed his fisherman readiness by eating fish, fries and pickled onion.  He also tried some authentic Irish horseradish stuff and, despite his screwed up face, said he liked it.  Then, I asked him if he wanted to eat some lemon.

H: (hesitates; sniffs)

M: It’s lemon! You like it!!

H: (takes a big bite of the rind)

M/D simultaneously: No!! Did he eat the rind? Henri! You’re not supposed to eat the rind.  Spit that out. Here, give that to me.  Just eat this part.

H: (takes another bite, this time off the top)

M: Good job!   Let’s put your boots on.  Didn’t you have a nice day today? Being a fisherman…?

H: Yeah!

M: You wore Boots.

H: My NOT cold.

M: Nope, you didn’t get cold. You’re a fisherman!

H: My brave.

M: (tears up, realizing how smart her son is, making the connection between boats & fisherman & water & bravery…all. on. his. own.) Yes, you are brave.  *sniff, sniff*

H: My brave–my ate a lemon!


even my ethical dilemmas have changed/are changing 2009/10/04

this past friday, the guest speaker in my ethics seminar asked the students to write down 3 ethical dilemmas in modern medicine and/or science that they might want to research.  to keep myself awake (hey–being a student is {still} boring!), i decided to write down a few of my own.  you never know: i might research something one day.

the important thing to know is that (according to the speaker) an ethical dilemma is one in which there are at least two sides to the issue, if not more.

of course, the first to come to mind was circumcision of newborn boys.  when living through this dilemma, i felt that the decision *not* to circumcise was almost a cop-out–a non-decision, if you will.  however, after thinking for just a few minutes about it in the fabulousness of ethics, i realized that i faced an ethical dilemma and made a decision, based on my ethical values.  maybe that seems like a no-brainer to you.  but it made me proud!  who know i even had values?

the second thing i thought of, which i truly would like to research, or at least would like for someone else to research because i think it’s absolutely needs to be addressed by A) the medical community and B) the world at large, was the question of a drug-free childbirth.  the question being, is it even possible in this day and age?  i know it isn’t in massachusetts, at least not for women who go over 2 weeks from their “estimated” due date.  and i certainly know it wasn’t a choice for me.  at the time, it didn’t seem like so much of a dilemma as a “give me drugs or give me death” sort of moment.  and i’m still very upset at all of the factors that went into that non-decision: including my own weakness, even if it was just a lack of preparation for what might’ve been coming.  in order to actually research this dilemma, we would first have to acknowledge it as such.  so, yeah, that could be a problem.

lastly, the 3rd dilemma i thought of is the one that every biological mother who chooses to raise her own child faces, whether she realizes it or not: to breastfeed or not to breastfeed?  even those of us for whom it really wasn’t much of a dilemma–let’s face it, there was never even a miniscule moment in time when i might’ve considered letting a tiny alien suckle at my bosom–had to not only make a choice, but defend it, lest our ethics be looked down upon.

so there you have it: i’m not just a mom.  i’m a freaking mom who can’t stop being a mom, even when considering {hypothetical} ethical dilemmas with potential in an academic mom-free environment.  *sigh* it seems the kid has finally infiltrated what was left of my mind…but hey, there’s something to be said for “going all in.”  right?


it’s never too early to start planning a party 2009/09/01

as if i don’t have enough things to do, i’ve been staying up late at night planning what will, i hope, be the 3rd best party ever.  (wait–4th, if you count my 30th b-day bar crawl.  and i {kind of} do.)  first, there was the greatest baby shower of all (!) and, then, the 1st birthday party of all 1st birthday parties (theme? Henri!) and, now, there will be an alphabetilicious party, better than your most committed abecederian could plan.

okay. having looked that up. that word does NOT mean what i thought it meant. and it definitely doesn’t mean what most people today think it means, otherwise i never would’ve heard of it.

yes, that’s right.  your ears are not fooling you.  this year’s theme will be (of course!): The Alphabet.

invite new

you're invited!

believe it or not, this isn’t actually a radical idea for a toddler’s birthday party.  i’ve already found cake designs, meal plans, pre-school appropriate activities, AND about a billion color sheets.  um, no.  we will *not* be coloring.  this isn’t pre-school, goddamnit.  it’s a friggin’ party, for God’s sake!!!

so, get your game on.  practice your cursive letters.  and make sure you know which smalls go with which bigs.  because in less than 3 months, a showcase of the world’s smartest 2-year-old’s alphabet knowledge will be on display.  join us.  if you dare.

p.s. i {additionally} challenge you to bring an alphabet-inspired, if not outright intellectually stimulating, gift.  handmade is A-Okay.


common sense parenting = henri using words 2009/08/02

Filed under: start your cognitions,the review is in — lee lee @ 12:46 pm

Last Friday, henri got his first library card, and I got my, well, I got one too. I had to pay 75cents, because you can’t be over $10 in fines to check out books. I guess I returned something late…doesn’t sound like me…but if that’s what they say…

Anyway, Henri got some awesome books with his favorite characters–Maisy, the Sheep, Pat the Bunny, and Curious George–along with some new books focused on opposites, colors & counting, as those are the things he’s cognitively processing these days.

Mom-mom got two books, one of which is Common Sense Parenting of Toddlers and Preschoolers.  Though most of the tips are either Really Commonsensical or geared towards parents whose children are WAY out of control already, I did find the book somewhat useful regarding some savvy parenting techniques, such as “Effective Praise” and “Redo, Undo, Redirect.”  I may not like the terminology, but I like the ideas.  I’ve already tried it a little on henri and it definitely works.

For example, on weekends when we’re being lazy, we will put him in bed with us with a bunch of books.  Usually, when he gets bored or wants us to read to him, he’ll throw the book at us, instead of using words.  Well, yesterday morning, I gave him the book back and said, “Henri, whenever you want us to read to you, you just hand us the book and say, ‘Mom-mom Read’ or ‘Da-da Read.'”  Then, I followed the suggested “Show-And-Tell” procedure and did it myself (handed Da-da the book and said “Da-da Read”).  Then, we had Henri practice it to be sure he understood, which he did.

Guess what? It totally worked!  Even though he did throw a much larger book right at Mark’s head (and really hurt him that time) so that we could practice the technique once again… this morning, he handed Mark a book and said “Da-da Book” just like we’d practiced, with no prompting and no throwing of books first!

I think that’s the most helpful thing I’ve learned from the book…not learned, but been reminded of.  When henri does something we don’t want him to do–whether it’s throw food off his tray or throw an entire pail of water on my computer–it’s not because he’s intentionally being bad or even, necessarily, because he’s doing something to earn “negative attention,” it’s because he doesn’t have the “tools,” or cognitive ability, to ask us/tell us what he wants.  So, the more tools we give him, the easier it will be for him to get what he wants, and everyone to be happy.  🙂

Though, it is kind of a daunting task–we don’t just have to teach him words, but words and how to use them (!)–the book reminds us that it’s also an opportunity to have an even better life, full of obeyed parents and independent, but well-behaved children.  Now, if that isn’t narcisstic parenting, I don’t know what is!