Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Discipline & Chores

Many people will argue at what is best for children. When and how to discipline, chores, no chores but Jeff and I agreed to start young. Asa is now a year and a half and for the past 6 months(somethings from the get go) we have been working hard to instill right and wrong, good behavior and manners. We're not crazy strict, we just want to be consistent. The best way for kids to learn, in our opinion, is to follow the rules and create boundaries that you, as a parent must stick too as well. There are many times he does something that I wouldn't normally fuss about but make a point of correcting regardless so that he will learn these boundaries. This doesn't mean we don't have fun, but it does mean trial and error on what does and doesn't work for such a small child and it definitely means keeping your cool and a light heart when trying to enforce the rules.

Take yesterday afternoon for example. Asa was eating some freeze dried banana snacks when he decided to throw a few pieces on the floor. He knows this is wrong and I was quite surprised to see him do this, normally if something drops he says"uh oh" and does his best to pick up the mess. I had just sat down with a cup of hot chocolate and didn't have the energy to get up. So from the couch I asked him politely to pick it up. To make a long story short, he wouldn't and for the next ten minutes he tried to play with me and do anything but go and pick up the banana. I told him no, that I wouldn't play with him until he picked it up and I proceeded to pretend to ignore him. This is not easy when he brings over a book and in a soft and sincere voice starts "reading" it to you. I glanced over at Jeff, who up until now was Switzerland. "He's reading to you, you know." He said with a grin. "Oh I know." I said trying not to let Asa see how cute I thought he was.

Finally Jeff decided to step in. He took Asa by the hand and walked him to the banana, this is one way we enforce when he is being defiant. Jeff asked him again to pick up the banana. Asa sat down and when Jeff let go of his hand, he tried crawling away laughing. So now comes the tough love...haha. Jeff placed him back in the sitting position and held him by each forearm, telling him he needs to pick the banana up off the floor. Asa, now fully amused, throws his head back with a "Whheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Jeff and I keep a straight face, but it wasn't easy.

Again, he was asked and again he through his head back, this time keeping it back, making fun sounds and doing anything to avoid looking at Jeff. He did this two more times amongst daddies requests, the last time after holding his head all the way back for about 10 seconds, he looked forward eye to eye with daddy and said the most perkiest and cheerful "HIIII!" with a smile.

I practically spit out my hot chocolate. I buried my head in my arm so he wouldn't hear me laughing. Jeff, also taken back by his enthusiasm turned his head towards me, also trying not to laugh. I was almost in tears at this point. Finally I collected myself and said to Jeff, if asking him to pick it up doesn't work, then I will often ask " Asa, can you please pick *whatever it is* up, and hand it to mommy." So Jeff tried this approach and our playful son, handed the banana to daddy without hesitation. It's not always easy to discipline a child that is being cute, and sometimes it means trying a new approach.

Asa doesn't have chores yet as I'm not completely insane. But he does seem to take it upon himself to help out. I of course cannot help but to gush over my child when he does these things on his own accord. For example, after sorting laundry I scooped up a big pile to take to the washing machine. Asa seeing two items still on the floor picked them up. "Thanks baby," I said "momma can take those." "Nah!" he responded with a head shake and off he went leading the way. He held these items while I loaded up the washing machine. When I was done, I lifted him up and he tossed the clothes in for me. That's my boy! I'll enjoy it while I can.

Then today after arriving home with many paper bags of groceries, he happily carried a frozen pizza into the kitchen. Curious about what he would do next I placed a very light bag by the door and without fail he went and got it for me. On my trip to retrieve that last bags, I left one "light" bag for him. I had to help him grab both handles but his determined self carried that bag all the way to the kitchen with a few dramatic grunts. Imagine carrying a bag that is almost 2/3 your size! I gave him lots of praise and told him how proud I was of him, then I went about unpacking and putting away the groceries. Asa, however was not done helping. He had found a yogurt, opened the fridge and was trying to put in on the shelf. I moved the left overs out of the way and handed him the bag with all the rest of the yogurts and he, one by one, put each on the shelf. Then he helped put the boxes of cereal away(the only other items on a shelf he could reach). When he was done he went back to the fridge pulled out a yogurt, shut the fridge door and said "Peessss". "Of course you can monkey, you've been such a big help!"

He'll be 19 months in 4 days. I am both tickled and proud at how grown up he is getting, but I am also a little sad for the exact same reasons.


Last night I started organizing and sorting photos to burn on disc and get off my comp. Here are a few that I found amongst the hundreds, that caught my eye. (And this was just from ONE folder titled "Images to sort through") LOL.

Asa @ 6 months, drool and all.

Little toes, 9 months.

Ok, I swore this was taken just a couple months ago when we went to visit daddy at work. It's not a great picture but Asa was all about the daddy snuggles as soon as he saw him. Too sweet to not take a picture of. And the date... last JULY! 11.5 months old. Seriously am I the only one that can't believe how fast time is flying by?!


Anonymous said...

I am such a sap because that brought tears to my eyes. Partly because I am so proud of him and partly because I am missing these moments. It is so hard sometimes being so far away. I love him so much and he is so special. I love my grandchildren so much and I want to cherish every moment with them that I can. I am counting the minutes till I am there holding him in my arms again. I love you big boy, Gramma
PS keep up the good parenting you guys

Miss M! said...

The hardest part of parenting that no one tells you about - trying not to laugh!

This post gives me an idea...

Devon said...

AW so cute!! You guys are doing a wonderful job in raising him. He is a very lucky boy to have 2 parents that care so much for him.
I too cannot believe how fast they are growing up!!

And I can't believe your new one is almost here!