Monday, May 22, 2006

The Popsicle Police

I think I mentioned yesterday that I have been having trouble with Trevelyn eating an exhorbitant amount of popsicles. I mean like a dozen in a day.
Today I told him to hold off until I could think about it. A couple of days ago I started making them with condensed koolaid and no sugar, thinking that I would not care if he ate them all up in one day. But as I saw his stained cheek when he woke up this morning, and his blistered lips, either from sucking on something so cold, or they were cold and ripped some skin off his lips, I got upset. My true feeling was "I want you to learn to self regulate, but you are not doing it fast enough to please me so now I have to take away your freedom until you can be trusted to eat healthy foods again."
And then I realized that the boy does not have any apples in the house. Or washed and rinsed sugar snap peas. Or any grape tomatoes. Or crackers for peanut-buttered crackers. So. After being a decent parent, by practicing some mindful parenting and realizing that it was actually my fault that he was looking for popsicles, I then sat down with him and told him what I was thinking and feeling. That I wanted to allow him to have as much as he desired, but that I wanted him to pay attention to his body's need for healthy foods. So tonight when Daddy got home (or tomorrow, if it's unreasonably late) we would go to the store, and he could pick out lots of healthy foods for him to snack on. I also posted on the Littles group for great summertime treat recipes. Then I got on Martha's site, and found some recipes for yougurt and berry popsicles. So I made some out of yougurt, lemon juice, orange juice, and blueberries. Sarah on Littles also suggested chocolate milk popsicles. I am thinking with Ovaltine. Aah. Now we're thinkin'. I asked him if he was hungry, made him another sandwich, got him a huge glass of water, gave him some graham crackers, and am now feeling like a half-way decent RU mother.I had considered earlier that since his lip had blood marks that I was justified in taking away his right to the popsicles, but it just didn't sit well. I had to do some searching to figure out what I needed to do.
No doubt it helped immensely that I am reading "Unconditional Parenting - Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason" by Alfie Kohn. It's not specifically for RU, but about mindful parenting, teaching our children that we love them unconditionally instead of conditionally, ie respecting them as people, and not withdrawing our love for them when we are angry or frustrated. Which I am very guilty of. It's not that I don't love him, of course, it's that my emotions run high, and when I am angry I have a really hard time being pleasant, way too self-indulgent in my emotions. Or at least the display of my emotions. It is extrememy challenging for me to be the parent, and not a fighting-for-control child.
Back to the popsicles...he had a peanut butter sandwich, frozen peas, and carrots for lunch. Then a popsicle. Then grapes. Then another peanutbutter sandwich. Then the graham crackers. Then a popsicle. He was just in there for another, and I saw the red burn on his cheek, "Does this hurt?" "Nah, it only hurts a little bit!"as I was trying to scrub off the koolaid stain that I think is a red freeze-burn. "Trevy, I don't like this. Let's go see your cheek in the mirror. That's from freezing your cheek, honey. It needs to heal." and then the dreaded "no more popsicles today." But actually I feel okay with the decision, I don't like that angry red mark on his cheek. "How about some green beans?" "Broccoli!" great. Broccoli is on, he's in the fridge (it's now 6:00) getting out the peanut butter for another sandwich. Hungry boy today.
Of course the whole thing seems more pronounced and important than it probably is because it is constantly on my mind, and I am reading the book. Trying not to be controlling, and trying to muddle through this current issue with grace and consciousness.
Parenting is tough.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

May 20, 2006

Much of life has passed since I have last written. No quarrels, thankfully. Oh, except with Trevelyn.
go back and forth with him.
I want to let him have his freedom, but then he eats a dozen popsicles in a day, and I worry that he is not regulating, paying attention to his body. Maybe I should spell it out for him - "You can have a popsicle whenever you want, I will not take them away from you. But please pay attention to the other things your body needs, protein, vegetables, fruit, and calcium." Every thing I read on RU says that after they see that you really are NOT going to take it away from them, or tell them how much they can have, the novelty really does wear off, as it isn't a matter of hurrying and eating as much as they can while you are outside mowing the grass. I did decide to make sugar-free popsicles at home, instead of buying $4 boxes of them. I'll make some real ones with juice (or buy them) but I also bought koolaid to make them, and am making those with stevia, a natural herbal sweetner. I also bought 4 more popsicle makers today, they make 4 at a time. Those cost very little to make, 25 cents for two dozen?, so it won't put me in the poor house, or make me irritated that he is eating them up all in one day.
I guess that is what I should do, sit him down and talk with him about appropriate foods, what foods are good for what part of the body. A video and a couple of great library books. He would go for that, I think.
It's not as if he is going to fall over and die, I think most teenagers (and some of our adult friends) live on fastfood hamburgers and french fries. People can live a long time on that sort of stuff. I just need to let him know about how and why to keep his body healthy and strong.
He is a reasonable, intelligent boy, so I think he would listen.

We got a Leap dvd from the store the other day, and since then he has been going around the house singing "the 'a' says aaa, the 'b' says b" and so forth. He was singing in the bathtub a few days ago, and I took a couple of letters in there, an 'i' and 'f', and he managed to put them togetherto read "if". I, of course, was thrilled. Been asking him on and off a bit since then, but I don't want to take the pleasure out of it for him, and don't want to stress him, or make him think he can't learn it all on his own. He should be very proud of himself, he is teaching himself how to read. I am releived, thrilled, and very pleased. I don't want to forcefully teach him, and therefore am thankful he is learning on his own.

Parenting is a brutal business. Do you know it? God. You want to get it right, indeed - perfect, and it's a very tough game.I am currently reading Alfie Kohn's book "Unconditoinal Parenting", which talks about the trouble with rewards and punishments, and how devistating they can be to a child's confidence, learning, and destructive to who they are. It's a most valuable read, right now.
I am still in the part about "don't do this because this may happen", so I am eagerly making my way through to the "do" section.I am hoping for a paradigm shift, as I believe the theory to be true.
More on this later, I really have to get for now.