Friday, April 02, 2004


The weather is still perfect here. The orange tree creates a wonderful scent that pervades the yard. We spent some time back there today. Under the buckeye tree there is another scent, also pleasant. We have oranges (currently ripe), plums, and apples (not until Fall). I am thinking of planting an apricot where the stump of the old redwood is. Or maybe an apricot and a nectarine. Do they have dwarf varieties of these trees?

So good back there. Sigh!

The guy who smashed the mirror off of my car paid me the $67 just a few minutes ago.

My son is napping. The toddler girl seems happy. My wife had yet another hard night last night due to a combination of the girl waking, and herself not being able to get back to sleep. But she took a 1.5 hour nap this morning and that seemed to help.

I am thinking of making a sort of flowchart for haggling with a four-year-old, to show the various stratagems and their likely outcomes. For example, today at nap time he protested, then went limp and I had to carry him up the stairs. He said "but I'm not tired, and I'm never tired." He fell right to sleep when I put him in bed. And today was easy, sometimes he puts up a ferocious fight. As a parent you are trying to work towards some kind of consistent pattern, expectations, rules, customs, so that you don't have to fight every battle with all your wits every day. You might think it would be smart to remind him, after he wakes up, "You said you were not tired, but you fell right to sleep, just like always." You might think that would be smart, because then he would come to agree with you that he is tired at nap time. But it would be almost the worst thing you could say. Because tomorrow he would make a point of not falling asleep, even if he is tired, just to prove his independence. That's what kids want at this age, a sense of independance, of personal gravitas, to feel that they matter and have to be taken seriously. Now, those of you without kids might think that the answer is easy: Just give them love, appropriate praise, involve them in decisions, show them ways that they can help, and presto, no arguments! Wrong. What happens when you raise 3- and 4-year-olds in a loving way is that you get twice as much arguing as cooperation. When you raise them in a non-loving way you get 10 times more screaming and hitting than cooperation. See, love does not erase friction, because kids at this age need friction, just like a boxer needs to beat a bag. It's training for them. And as the parent, you are the bag.

I love my kids. I love my son and am fascinated by him. Everyone goes through stages. I did. I remember doing the same sorts of things to my parents that he does. Only, I was worse. And they were too, so that may explain it.
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